A true model home being constructed

Published 12:52 am Thursday, December 18, 2008

A home being built in the Carriere area has a pint-sized version of itself, a near exact model made by the homeowner four years before construction of the real thing began.

Craig Rushon started building the model of his home when questions he had about the design of the home could not be answered by his architect, such as how some of the duct work would pan out in confined spaces of the attic.

As he built the model, Rushon said he was able to find things in the home he or his wife wanted changed, which were easily modified in the model. Using the model, he was able to shuffle square footage from one room to another to compensate for furniture placement and work out the mechanical issues. Rushon said fixing those problems during construction of the real house would have been much more expensive.

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Construction of the balsa wood model began in April of 2004 and took about nine months using about an hour each evening. Rushon said he used the architect’s construction plans as a basis for the model. During construction of the model, Rushon said he would image what it would be like to walk through the real thing, and when construction of the home began, his tours were just as he had imagined.

He has no plans to add siding or an exterior to the model because he says that would hide the interior work he put into it. Even a casual examination of the model shows off the intricate detail Rushon put into it. Almost every board on the model is the same as on the home. He did consider adding the mechanical system to the model, but decided against it.

Four years after themodel was completed, construction of the home began following several delays, such as family issues and Hurricane Katrina.

“You know, life gets in the way of things,” Rushon said.

When construction of the home did begin on Good Friday of this year, Rushon saw the timing as a good sign.

“Good Lord willing, we hope to be in it on Good Friday of next year,” Rushon said.

Rushon and his wife of 30 years now live in Lacombe, La. He was raised in New Orleans East but born in Biloxi, so building a home in Mississippi is like coming home to him, Rushon said.

Since his extended family lives in the hurricane flood prone areas of Slidell and Metairie La., the extra room in the 3,450 square foot home will come in handy when hurricanes threaten the Gulf Coast. Rushon said he expects his family to stay with him during coming hurricane seasons.

Rushon said he might put his model in a Plexiglas case and is considering displaying it, once the home is complete, but he’s not sure where yet. He does plan to build a hobby room on the second floor of the home where he will continue his interest in building model airplanes and plans to start working with stained glass. He said that room could be a good place to display the model.

he thanks God for the guidance he received in building the model, and for leading him to a good local contractor to help him build the real thing after all the hard work he put into the building the model.

“All I can say is God is good and we’re truly blessed,” Rushon said.