Modern House Build with Brandy Kollenborn

by | Jan 6, 2023 | 2023 January, Blog, Home

Modern House Build

Our Winter 2023 Spotlight Artist Brandy Kollenborn had so much to share in our latest issue about what adventure means to her. We especially loved her story of building a house from the bare bones for her family. Keep reading to hear how Brandy’s modern house build has been her biggest adventure yet.

Modern House Build by Brandy Kollenborn

My biggest adventure to date, by far, has been building our house. The journey was a rough one. We looked for years for a house that was everything we wanted, we even bought one and did a complete remodel — thinking it could work — only to turn around and sell it a year later without ever having lived in it. The standards were high because I loved our small starter home so much and it was the only home my kids had known. We had completely remodeled it and leaving would be hard. That was compounded by our kids having a spot in a coveted charter school and leaving that starter home meant giving up their spots in school. The risks felt huge, but I had always felt unsettled knowing it wasn’t our forever home. We took a chance, searched high and low, and bought 5 acres of vacant land with no clue what we were doing. I figured that, if it wasn’t meant to be, at some point a roadblock would go up and the house would never happen. That was the fear talking but, one step after another, it just kept moving forward.

We found an architect and designed a floor plan, we had a friend who was a builder that agreed to take on the project, our construction loan was approved, and we got our permits! After a year of planning, we broke ground and poured a foundation. Another year of construction and we moved in. The only way we could do this, make this house a reality, and take the jump from a starter home to a dream home, was to do as much of the work ourselves as possible, so we moved our three kids into a vacant shell of a house. That was the time we had no roof, no stucco, no kitchen, and just one functional bathroom. We put carpet in the bedrooms and moved in. One project at a time we hung cabinets, installed flooring, painted every surface, and put in tubs, faucets, and light fixtures. Those are some of my favorite memories, living in that shell, and we never thought of it as anything but normal. After another year the house was finally inspected by the county and we passed! There are still projects, and things I may change, but our hearts and souls are in this house. Our handprints are in the foundation! Leaving one day would be hard. Sometimes I find myself looking out the back door and wondering how we get to live here, in my sanctuary, the biggest mountain with a daily reward.

Brandy Kollenborn is a furniture painter from Sacramento, CA, and the owner and artisan behind “Brushed By Brandy.” She is a stay-at-home mom of 3 boys and has been married for 19 years to her favorite furniture cameraman, repairman, and delivery person, Sean. She prefers soft, ethereal finishes, wax accents, and color in a classic way. Brandy is proud to partner with several reputable brands, creating sample pieces, lives, and blogging tutorials at

You can follow Brandy on her website or online @BrushedbyBrandy

Find more from Brandy, including exclusive pictures, in the Winter 2023 issue! Subscribe today!

We are looking for submissions for paint, craft, home, or lifestyle tutorials!