Clayton Built® homeowners Dale and Elizabeth Phillips share their story of home renovation, surviving Hurricane Harvey and how they Have it made®. Check it out to see how much real people love their Clayton home.
In the cozy town of Sealy, TX, Elizabeth and Dale Phillips spend their days entertaining neighbors, drinking coffee and working on different projects to make their Clayton Built® home their dream home. From the kitchen, to "Queen E's Garden" Elizabeth and Dale have put a lot of work and love into creating the perfect home for their family.
When you walk into the Phillips' place, you will be welcomed by the couple's warm personalities and a home that is just as welcoming as they are. However, this isn't their first rodeo.
In 2010, the Phillips bought a pre-owned 1987 single wide home and moved from the noisy streets of Houston to the quiet town of Sealy. The couple quickly began work on renovating the home entirely to fit all their wishes. The first thing the couple did was rearrange the rooms to fit their love for entertaining guests. Elizabeth began documenting their journey on her blog, Phillips Place Renovations, where she shares her and Dale's experiences as well as provides first-hand homeownership advice. In her first blog post, Elizabeth wrote "What did I get myself into!" but it was clear she was excited to be on this journey with Dale. From painting the house to harder projects like transforming a shower into a closet, the Phillips worked for years to turn the home they bought into the home of their dreams.
Unfortunately, life on the Brazos River isn't always easy. In 2016, the river went over its banks and the Phillips' home flooded. In Elizabeth's last blog, she parted with their 1987 mobile home, thanked all of her followers for sharing their journey with them and assured them that God had a plan for her and Dale. She also told her readers that she hoped she had inspired them to reach their homeownership dreams, but it was clear she and Dale had not given up on their own.
Elizabeth and Dale began their search for a new home shortly after the flooding in 2016. They began by looking for site built homes but quickly realized they couldn't find a home within a reasonable price that also had everything they wanted. The Phillips looked at several homes, but they were all well over $100,000 and still had several things they wanted to change. That just didn't suit them. They didn't want to settle for anything less than their dream.
None of the homes the couple toured appealed to their dreams or budget - until they visited Clayton Homes of Brenham.
"It was like David K. (a home consultant at Clayton Homes of Brenham) was waiting for us. He was standing on the front porch of the home center when we arrived, and he invited us in," Elizabeth said.
They began telling David about their story of how they had spent years renovating their last mobile home and the flooding stopped them in the middle of their work. They were now homeless and looking for a new home that wouldn't require as much work.
"He really took his time to be sensitive toward our situation and listen to our story," Elizabeth said.
While listening to their story, David took notes about the Phillips' wants and needs in a new home and what their budget was. After the Phillips finished telling David their story, he told the couple, "I have the perfect home for you all."
David took them out on the lot to show the couple the Anniversary model, Clayton's newest model to celebrate the company's 60th anniversary.
"I knew it was the home we were looking for as soon as we walked into it," Elizabeth said.
The couple chose the Anniversary model and worked to get financing from the lender they chose. After about two months, the Anniversary landed on their property in Sealy.
"When I first saw our home on the property I cried happy tears!" Elizabeth wrote in her blog introducing their new home to her followers. "I felt like, for once, I could breathe!"
Excited and relieved to have a new home, the Phillips set forth to make this home their own, but with less work than their first home.
"With our new home, we were able to focus more on the fun parts of renovating and less on the harder projects like our old home," Elizabeth said.
If you read their blog, it is easy to see that both Elizabeth and Dale have a knack for home renovation and decorating. The dream team has tackled several projects to make their Anniversary model the home they dreamt of with the goal to entertain.
The two most important rooms for the couple were the kitchen and movie room. The couple wanted to be sure that the kitchen had plenty of room for guests to sit and gather. And with a shared loved for movies, creating a theatre room in one of the bedrooms was also a must.
The first thing you will notice when you enter the Phillips' home is that they don't have a traditional living room, instead, they changed it into their dining room! The couple admits that they don't watch much TV, and instead prefer to have conversations with their guests while listening to music. Having enough room for a larger dinner table and enough space to seat 6-8 people was very important to the couple. So, they thought out of the box and extended the kitchen into the living room.
"When people come over, it is normally for a meal," Elizabeth said.
They added a white wood island that they purchased on a road trip to create a breakfast area, added a rosewood farmhouse table where you would normally place a couch and used the space intended for a television as a shelving area to place decorations.
Although Elizabeth and Dale both use their mini home theater, it is the space we know many husbands will love. Elizabeth and Dale decided early on that the third bedroom of their home would become their media room. They had an electrician come in add an extra outlet on a separate breaker to the room so that all of the electronics in the room would have their own power source. Dale added LED lighting, non-reflective wall paint and even created their own acoustic sound panels! Elizabeth told her followers in her blog that doing everything themselves saved them about $600.00! We love the diamond DVD rack that hangs between the speakers.
Living in Texas can be tough, especially during hurricane season. Elizabeth and Dale didn't want to risk another home flood, so they took their experience from their first home and used it to their advantage when they purchased the Anniversary model. They had their home set up higher than usual and made sure to select a home with a strong foundation. even took extra steps to add extra soil and white rock under the slab of their foundation for extra stability and to help the home from moving due to flood waters that might make their way into the ground under their home.
The Phillips' home was put to the test in August of 2017 when Hurricane Harvey rolled through Texas. Flood waters due to the creek near their home overflowing forced them to evacuate. The couple was worried that their home would flood again, but their decision to raise their home two and a half feet higher than their last paid off. Their neighborhood received 32 inches of rain, deep enough for neighbors to go around the neighborhood on small boats! However, the rain only reached the third step of their home, and their manufactured home survived the flood waters!
Photo by Dale Phillips
"Harvey was the test, and our home passed!" Elizabeth said.
The Phillips admit they made the right decision to buy a Clayton Built® home for several reasons, including a great home center team to work with, an affordable space that lets them renovate as they please and even lower utility costs than their previous home!
"We were just really blessed," Elizabeth said.
From the home center experience to the set-up crew, Elizabeth and Dale exclaimed that their entire home buying experience was great. Since the Phillips were able to buy a brand new home that included most of their wants and needs, it gave them the freedom to work on the fun renovation projects they enjoy.
"We love the floor plan, the separate utility room, the double sinks in the bathroom, the separate shower with the tub, the cabinets and the farmhouse sink," Elizabeth and Dale both said.
The Phillips even mentioned how they noticed their new home is more energy efficient than their previous 1986 home. They had a difficult time keeping their older home cool in the summer and warm in the winter, but said it is always comfortable in their new home.
"We definitely noticed a difference. In the other house, it never felt like it got cool, and we didn't want to pay a high bill so we just dealt with it," Dale said. "We have noticed a difference. When it is cold outside, its warm inside. The old house, if it was cold outside it was cold inside."
As manufactured homeowners, Elizabeth and Dale are no strangers to the stigmas surrounding prefabricated housing. However, they expressed how family and friends have always been impressed with their home.
"When people walk in, they are shocked," Dale said.
Elizabeth and Dale told us several stories of people's reactions the first time they see their home. Friends and family have been very impressed by their manufactured home. Even the person who set up their internet commented on how much he loved their home!
"Everyone that comes to visit the first time talks about how nice it is," Elizabeth said. "It is great for living the life we want without being in debt."
Elizabeth unveiled their most recent project, the primary bedroom, and it's a home renovation guru's dream.
Elizabeth and Dale have worked hard to make their dream home become their reality. They extended their living spaces to the outdoors. Check out these awesome outdoor spaces that the couple created to extend their living space beyond their walls
Elizabeth loves planting flowers in her garden! It even has a cute bench she and Dale love to sit on while they relax.
Elizabeth's and Dale's Texas shed sits right next to Elizabeth's garden. There is a cozy table outside where the couple often sits and enjoys a cup of coffee.
If you're looking to create your dream home like Elizabeth and Dale, check out their blog for some great tips on home renovation ideas! You can also find homes, like the Anniversary, on our website!