A patchwork of thick forests and gentle glades covers the rolling hills as they slope toward the Missouri River. The postcard scene is the ideal setting for Tommy and Sarah Purk’s modern Colonial farmhouse, known on Instagram as Three Acre House. The recently completed home is the capstone of this Missouri couple’s search for a place to put down roots and raise a family.

The Purks have been documenting the home’s construction on Instagram since they purchased their Boone County acreage in February 2018, fulfilling a dream they’d had since graduating from the University of Missouri in 2012. “After Mizzou, we moved to Chicago, so we really started falling in love with architecture in Chicago,” Sarah says. “That’s when I first started watching the show Fixer Upper.”

The couple had enjoyed living in Columbia while attending the University of Missouri and always planned to return, Sarah says. “We actually decided to move back right after we got engaged,” she says. “So this is just our decision of where we wanted to plant our roots.”

Since returning to Columbia in 2014, the Purks have owned two other homes in the city before they built their 3,100-square-foot country house. In their new space since last October, Tommy, Sarah, and 2-year-old James feel at home. This fall, they’ll add another family member when their daughter is born.

“I like having a house that looks like it’s really old, but everything’s brand-new inside,” Tommy says. “This just seems a little bit different to me, like maybe something that would have been built in the early 1900s.”

The Purks’ decision to build on 3.1 rural acres involved a few key factors, especially needed space for their growing family.

“We knew of other people who were starting to build houses and they were buying $80,000 lots inside a neighborhood, really, a postage stamp,” Tommy says.

Sarah says their collies, Valor and Vixen, also played a big part in the decision. “Our collies—we always call them our farm dogs—they’ve always had a postage-stamp backyard themselves, so we figured come here and let them run free,” she says.

When construction began in April 2018, Sarah and Tommy were ready with a list of “must-haves” and a plan drawn up by local residential design draftsman Todd Hague. He helped the couple incorporate features they loved from Fixer Upper and home websites such as ArchitecturalDesigns.com and Houzz.com. Builder Jeremy Spillman took it from there.

“Every room expresses a different type of creativity, but I think that’s just her,” Jeremy says, describing his work with Sarah. “She has kind of a passion for it.”

One of those creative items is a shiplap shower in the master bath. This was the first time Jeremy has had anyone motivated to do a shiplap shower, he says, given the extensive work and considerations involved to create this feature.

“It was probably a little bit painful, but it was really worth it in the end to create that farmhouse look,” he says.

The shiplap shower is one of the home’s treasures, Sarah says, along with the upstairs coffee bar and the way the setting sun floods the family room with light in the evenings. The biggest splurge, though, is the kitchen. Custom cabinetry, countertops, and finishes make it her favorite area.

“We knew we would spend the most time here even though we’re not great cooks,” she says.

Sarah has chronicled every step of the Purks’ home-building journey on Instagram. “Instagram kept me sane during this,” she says. As construction progressed, she found a community of people going through the same process, sharing problems and solutions they found that helped the Purks anticipate issues early. She attributes some of the home’s more unique elements to the community, as well.

The visual documentation on the social site also comes in handy when tradespeople need reference points for studs long since hidden by drywall. A few projects remain—some staining, installing a dog-wash station in the garage, a front sidewalk, and landscaping the yard, among others—but Three Acre House already feels like home.

“That’s kind of our story,” Sarah says. “We’re not this perfect designer home; we’re just real life.”

Follow the rest of the Purks’ journey on Instagram @ThreeAcreHouse.