Kelli Smith and James Ladd are engaged to be married and have big dreams about building a dream house in Chattanooga, Tenn. James has designed the five-story, 6,500-square-foot home himself, but the site they've chosen to build on is a 45-degree slope, making it virtually unbuildable. Kelli's father, B.R. Smith, is a general contractor and has agreed to help get the job done, and her brother Chad Smith is onboard as project manager. After four months of weather delays, the day of the groundbreaking finally arrives.
Family dynamics are in full swing and tensions are at an all-time high while everyone tries to get the foundation work finished. But with the rocky soil and steep slope, this critical portion of the build is taking much longer than anyone expected.
Kelli and James are excited as the first walls go up on their dream house, but the tough terrain promises to tax their limited budget. Kelli's father and contractor BR drives everyone hard to clear up the site for the massive retaining wall pour of 160,000 pounds of concrete. A huge truck carrying wall materials gets stuck on the hill, but BR comes to the rescue.
Contractor BR's mission to stay under budget is threatened when the staggering amount of foundation materials pushes costs over $20,000. Everyone takes a break for Chad's wedding except James, who can't make it due to a prior commitment. BR is pleased with the progress, until the need for steel support beams adds more unexpected costs.
The framing stage of Kelli and James' dream house continues while Chad works at another job site. Work on the upper levels begins, but with the temperature climbing to over 90 degrees progress is slowing down. James and BR continue to second-guess decisions and the budget. But BR gets his first glimpse of the breathtaking views of the multi-level build and declares that it's worth all the work and all the money.
Progress is well underway on Kelli and James' dream house, but there's still a lot of work to be done if they're going to make their Thanksgiving deadline which is just three months away. The roof almost goes on, but the crane is too short to lift the enormous beams to the top. James scores a surprise victory in his battle with for a roof deck. But a visit from a zoning official may bring construction to a halt.
In spite of a soaring budget, family clashes and time quickly running out, Kelli Smith and James Ladd still plan to host Thanksgiving dinner at their dream house. It's decision-making time, but with Kelli's indecisiveness, a designer is called in to help her focus. What is supposed to be a watertight surface on a deck turns into an expensive mistake that has to be removed. A surprise inspection results in a surprise meeting for contractor B.R. Smith and James at city hall, and more money being spent on a sprinkler system. The one design choice that has been made turns into a big disappointment for Kelli when the exterior stonework she selected turns out looking pink. B.R. gets to show off the build to his wife, who's amazed with the views but alarmed by the cost.
Tensions are at an all-time high as Kelli Smith and James Ladd try to get the house ready for a big party that's only a month away. B.R. Smith's patience has run out, and so has the couple's building budget. James is at last appreciating BR's attitude toward saving money and making quicker decisions. B.R.'s frustration peaks when the hasty installment of floor tiles causes a delay in the installation of cabinets. The great elevator debate finally draws to an end. And there's a wake-up call for the young couple, which brings on a dramatic change of heart and priorities.