Tom and Shannon Reichert, her toddler in tow, each moved their accumulated adult-life possessions from two large homes and squeezed into an air-force base basic, 1,074 square-foot ranch in Tucson. That was 18 years ago.
“Someday,” Tom promised his new bride, “I’m going to build our house with a master suite that’s just as big as this whole place.”
And so he did.
Their new house idea grew and changed over the years. What never changed was knowing — from their very first years of dating — where they would build it.
Tom had driven his new girlfriend on a whirlwind tour of the Northwest, centered on his own hometown of Brewster. They crossed through the Methow Valley, touristed in Seattle, headed east over Stevens Pass and dropped into Leavenworth.
Tom remembers Shannon saying then, “This place is so beautiful. I could live here forever.” Being the dutiful boyfriend, he committed that comment to memory.
They knew exactly what they wanted: “a place with ‘understated elegance,’” said Tom.
They bought their Peshastin property in 2011 and had house plans drawn by Copeland Architects of Spokane (guided by a precise 12-page wants-needs proposal by the Reicherts) and then they bided their time, knowing that building the house would take their life savings and plenty of sweat equity.
Shannon taught elementary school, Tom retired from the Air Force after 24 years of service and was piloting commercial airliners.
Helped by occasional housing provided here by local high school buddies and with a lot of strategic planning and longdistance commuting, they initiated the complicated move from Utah to the Northwest. “We asked the architect to dust off the plans and create the builder set,“ said Tom.
Excavation on the sloping 4.78-acre lot began in August 2018. A long burst of building was followed by 10 months of frustrating COVID-19 restrictions, but the neighbors remained neighborly, and friends and family, especially his brother in Idaho, volunteered copious hours of labor to help keep the project going.
Tom said, “We received our Certificate of Occupancy on Dec. 4, 2020, about two and a half years after I brought the first tool on the place.”
His experience building a few past houses taught him forethought was foremost, so Tom worked as general contractor on this shared dream.
Aided by the internet and the advice of local experts, he also did most of the interior finish work, including plumbing, lighting, flooring and trim by himself.
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