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"We're here. We've made it. We've made it this far. Come on. It's really exciting to show this to you."
That's Rachael, inviting you inside her home—which was rebuilt from the ground up after she and John sadly lost the original to a fire on August 9, 2020.
Rach and John told us a year ago, in November 2020, that the rebuild was underway and that there was a footprint of the house—and they gave us a first look at the progress a few months later, in February 2021, when it was still "empty with white walls," as John put it.
Well now, they're inviting us inside—and it's not empty anymore. In fact, it's as cozy as ever.
"We are very grateful to be back in our home," Rachael says, just a week before Thanksgiving. (The first meal Rachael cooked in her new kitchen? A Thanksgiving feast, of course!)
"The first time I came here when it was all empty, the last time we visited with you guys, it was very hard to even catch my breath," Rach adds. "Because all you saw was what was not here. Now that it's mostly back, it fills me with joy to look around because it's so similar."
Among the similarities is a lamp that Rachael's mom, Elsa, gave her and John when they built the original house roughly 16 years ago. (Yes, the original lamp!)
"That funny-looking lamp that my mom gave us when we built the house 15, 16 years ago," Rach says, "that survived." (The grandfather clock Elsa gave them for their wedding also survived—but it's not fully functioning quite yet.)
Not much about the rebuilt house looks different at all, actually. And that's just how Rach and John wanted it.
"I originally built the home in 2009 and after the fire, [Rachael] said, 'Let's put it back to what it was,'" Rach and John's builder Steve says. "It is put together from several barns, so we had to source the barns and then kind of put the whole puzzle together to duplicate exactly the way it looked. You're not going off of blueprints or anything. You're going off a memory. And that was quite the challenge."
A challenge to which he certainly rose.
For starters, Rachael's kitchen—in all its stunning glory—is back and looks strikingly similar to the original. (YES, the pizza oven is back!) And it has us feeling a little emotional. After all, she invited us all into the original kitchen at the start of the pandemic, when she started filming shows from home—months before the fire.
Rachael and John also take you inside one of their guest bedrooms, their master bedroom ("which is really Bella's room," Rach says), the room where Rach says their first Christmas tree in this house will go and John's studio (ie. man cave), of course—the one part of the house that actually never burned.
"I am thrilled to be back," John says.
Us, too. 🧡
Go on the full tour in the video above.