The Story of the Vaughan House Greenhouse
I used to joke about how I had a black thumb. I couldn’t even keep fake plants alive. It was always a running joke in our house. Succulents died the second I looked at them so there was no way I could keep anything leafy and green alive.
In 2016, Mitch (my husband) and I had our first child, our son, Maximilian. He was perfect in every way and we were a happy, plantless family
Early 2017, we miscarried. It was the most terrible thing we have ever gone through.
My angel of a friend, Sarah, left some daffodils on my doorstep. I wasn’t expecting them. But when I passed by the door, I saw them sitting there. They were bright yellow and orange, smiling up at me. I loved them immediately. I got it into my head that I was going to keep these alive because that was life I could control. I looked up how to care for daffodils. I loved tending to them and they always seemed so happy to see me.
Negative pregnancy test.
I decided I wanted plants. Lots of plants. All under my control, all things I could keep alive. My mother-in-law and I researched house plants and how to care for each of them. Then we went shopping. I loved them all so much. They made me so, so happy. I got all the pots, the right dirt, set timers on my phone for when to water them and when to fertilize them. It eventually got to the point where I didn’t need the phone reminder anymore.
More negative tests.
I wanted… no, needed… more plants. More things to care for that I had complete control over. I never seemed to have enough. Each month we had a negative test, that day I’d go to a nursery or Home Depot or Lowe’s and get more plants. I’d take my time walking through the plant isles. I’d run my fingers across their leaves, waiting for one to call out to me. Sometimes I’d go with Max and let him pick one. Sometimes I just wanted to go alone. This was an outing where I couldn’t be rushed. I needed to take my time and let the minutes, sometimes hours, in the company of plants work their magic.
More negative tests.
Go buy more plants. But they made me feel so much better. My coping mechanism. Then I started going to buy more multiple times a week. Ordering more online. It got to a point where Mitch had to have a serious conversation with me. And if I’m being honest with myself, I needed that conversation to happen. I decided I had enough to care for (over 100 now) and I should tone the plant buying down.
Our house has slowly evolved into a plant friendly home, and the home of someone who clearly has a plant obsession. Max helps me water them and I love seeing them every day. If I get in a bummy mood, I’ll play with their leaves and study the patterns on each. I really can’t explain it but they just make me feel better and comforted.
I’m sure there’s some deep psychological reason why I went from having a black thumb to a green hand after a miscarriage. The love of plants has turned into something a little more. Buying clothes with plant prints, home decor, painting walls in our house and even into my branding.
I needed more room. A bigger space. A sanctuary for healing.
I woke up one morning at the beginning of June 2017 with this thought in my head. Greenhouse. I want to build a greenhouse. I pitched the idea to Mitch (my husband) and after a little convincing, he was on board. What was it’s purpose? Why are we building this? We brainstormed, planned and saved for months. How big? What materials?
The Greenhouse was built by us, for us. It’s for our family, earthside and in Heaven. To be honest, if we hadn’t had a miscarriage and in the grieving process, developed a love for plants and all that it entails (blogs on both of those subjects coming soon), I don’t think this thought ever would have popped into my head. I like to believe the baby sent me this idea, so in some way, it serves as a memorial. I believe with all my heart that we were supposed to build it.
After our loss, we tried for an entire year to get pregnant again. Why wasn’t this happening? Seven months of that year was spent building the greenhouse.
The timing of this pregnancy and all the circumstances that have surrounded it are so undeniably Jesus. His Glory needs to be given.
There are things that happen that you can chalk up to coincidence or a ‘hmm, that’s weird’ mentality. The timing of this pregnancy is not one of those things.
These are important facts to take note of:
1.) On the day of our loss, there was a thunderstorm (how appropriate, right?) and afterwards, a double rainbow appeared in the sky. I forced myself outside to go see it, and I’m so glad I did.
2.) A year later, another rainbow appeared. That was also the day we completed the shelving inside the greenhouse, which was the final installment. I got to place my plants that day, which I’d been dreaming about doing for 7 months.
3.) The next day, we found out we were pregnant. That’s also the same day the landscaping outside was completed. So technically, on the day the greenhouse was done – the idea and dream that was born from our loss – is the day we found out we were expecting our rainbow baby. I joke with Mitch and tell him all he had to do for us to get pregnant was finish the greenhouse! All the planning, every set back with building, every good weather day, every bad weather day, every minute that was spent outside, every piece of material that had to be saved up for, ordered, get to our house and installed… it all added up and was timed perfectly for us to find out on THAT day. That is what completely blows my mind.
We found out the gender of our baby inside the walls of the greenhouse. There couldn’t have been a better location.
Our baby girl, our Rainbow Baby, due December 2018.
Q: Did you buy a kit? If so, where?
A: No kits! Mitch and I sat down beside his parent’s pool in Texas in July one evening, and sketched out what we wanted the greenhouse to look like. Surprisingly enough, we didn’t go through many variations for the main structure.
Q: Where did you get all the windows?
A: They were sourced from 3 different locations. The front and back walls are the same size, and the left and right walls are the same size — different from the front and back. They all had to be the correct size to fit within the beams.
Q: What’s the roof made out of?
A: Clear, corrugated roofing material.
Q: Where is it located?
A: We’re in Virginia. The greenhouse was built in our backyard on our private property.
Q: Will you sell the supply list?
A: If this is something you’re truly interested in, please inquire. This greenhouse was custom built by us and us alone, and has exactly what we wanted. It has indescribable personal and sentimental value to us, so pricing on a supply list and/or kit would reflect that.
Q: How long did it take you to build, and who built it?
A: It took 7 months to build, the huge majority of that being in the winter months. Aside from a couple days where a friend stepped in to help, my husband, Mitch, was outside all day, every possible day, building it by himself.
Q: It is weatherproofed?
A: Not yet! All the plants will come inside for the winter. Weatherproofing is something we intend to look into for next year.
Q: I’m a photographer! Can I rent it from you for sessions?
A: We’re opening it up for photographers to rent in 2019!
Q: Can I get married in your greenhouse?
A: Yes, you can! Please inquire!
The location we were planning to build in our backyard.
We cleared out the area and got it ready to start building. We knew we wanted it to be surrounded by trees.
Cleared out! Measuring the space. How big do we want this to be?
(13) 3 foot holes were dug. The beams are 16ft tall, with 3 feet of them secured by concrete underground.
All posts are centered and leveled!
Prepping for the roof.
Rafters are in!
Placing the roofing material.
The roof is on!
Leveling out the area.
Time for windows.
Windows are all painted and sod is going in.
Almost a full year after the thought of the greenhouse was formed, it’s finally completed.
Rainbow Baby Gender Reveal
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