Bridget Sittel can’t wait to cook in the kitchen she helped build.
Sittel used to love to host dinner parties. But after she and her mother lost their La Pine home a little over a year ago, they had to move into a fifth-wheel trailer.
“You don’t have a lot of space,” Sittell said. “I sleep on the couch.”
But this reality is about to end for the 40-year-old La Pine resident.
On Saturday, Sittel will move into the town home she helped build through Habitat for Humanity.
She will be one of the three inaugural residents of Putney Place — Habitat for Humanity’s first-ever multifamily housing project in Central Oregon. The nonprofit organization helps people finance and build their own homes. The first three homes, which are situated behind the La Pine Senior Home, will be officially dedicated in a ceremony at 2 p.m. Saturday.
“It’s surreal,” Sittell said. “I still can’t believe it. I don’t think it will feel real until I put my bed into my bedroom.”
Her home marks a milestone in a larger project to build 19 affordable townhomes in the area. Deschutes County donated nearly two acres of land to jump-start the project a little more than a year ago.
Since breaking ground this spring, Habitat for Humanity staff and volunteers have turned bare dirt into three townhomes and completed all of the roads and utilities necessary for the other 16.
Each home averages about 1,300 square-feet, with three bedrooms, and carries a mortgage of about $900 a month, Wade Watson of Habitat for Humanity La Pine-Sunriver said on Monday. Each home is worth about $200,000.
“It was a pretty big undertaking,” Watson said.
Sittel was ready for the challenge. Six years ago, Sittel became involved with Habitat for Humanity by volunteering to help a friend build a home through the program. She enjoyed the feeling of helping someone create a home.
But it wasn’t until Sittel lost her house that she saw herself as a recipient.
For more than a decade, Sittel lived with her parents on their La Pine ranch, helping them raise a small herd of cattle. But life took a turn one day after her father was injured by one of the cows.
In 2015, her father died, and Sittel and her mother struggled to keep the ranch afloat. Eventually they sold the business and moved into a trailer together.
During that transition, her boss suggested she apply to Habitat for Humanity.
“I didn’t realize I was able to apply for it myself,” said Sittel, a reservation sales agent at Sunriver Resort. “I always thought it was for families.”
Now, days away from moving into her new home, to say she was excited would be an understatement — and mostly for things most “people take for granted,” she said.
“Having a door that shuts. A bathroom with a real shower. A washer and dryer,” Sittel listed. “When the fifth wheel furnace goes out, we won’t have to worry about being freezing.”
Sittel enjoyed the community she felt and the skills she learned while building her own home. With each beam and nail she touched, the house began to feel more personal.
But perhaps what she enjoyed creating most was the interior of her home. Every room hosts a different color, with splashes of pinks, turquoise and a daffodil yellow.
Her favorite room — the kitchen — is painted “mango margarita.”
“I want the room to feel like sunshine when I’m drinking my coffee in the morning,” Sittel said.
After seven months of building her own home, Sittel isn’t tired yet.
“I can’t help to wait to help (my neighbors) next year,” she said. “I’ll be right there, next to them.”