MAGNOLIA, Texas (AP) -- The framing and the walls were already up when Jill Williams and her husband discovered a home they liked in a suburban area north of Houston.
However, it was a subsequent conversation during a walk through the construction site with Shauna Wallace, the builder's wife, that reinforced their decision to buy.
"She said, 'I want to show you something,"' and brought the pair into the area of the master bedroom, Williams recalled.
"You're standing on the Word," said Wallace, who explained that the builders place a Bible in the frame of a home's foundation before covering it with concrete.
"Chills just went up me," said Williams, whose family moved into the home in April. "The beauty of that. When we heard that, it was just confirmation, more than anything, "
Wallace's husband, James, 37, has been building homes for about a decade and formed Possibility Custom Homes based in Magnolia about a year ago with partner Andy Eckert, 29, of Conroe. James Wallace said, "We shared the same core beliefs: Give praise and honor to God in everything we do."
"If you give praise and honor to God in everything you do, everything else takes care of itself. It's pretty simple," he said.
Building homes with a Bible in the foundation is not something they advertise, but they do not hide the practice from buyers.
"The Bible symbolizes the godly principles we use in our company," Wallace said. "We felt that if we built our company on a godly foundation, God would bless our company."
Eckert likened the practice to an old Irish tradition of placing a potato under a stairway for good luck.
"We do it more for us than anything else," he said. "It's not a sales technique."
Bible passages on the wall
Besides the Bible, brief Scripture passages, appropriate for the individual room, get printed on the wood framework. A passage about children is printed with permanent marker on the wall studs of a room intended for kids. On the doorframe of another house is the opening verse of Psalm 127, which refers to God establishing houses, or families.
"It's nice for me to have a reminder in there, when I'm walking through the frame, of where my principles are," Eckert said. "It keeps me straight."
Wallace said they explain to buyers why they do it and so far have run into no opposition.
"We've found most of the people, they like the fact we're giving them a reason why we're building this house well," Eckert said. "People like that we're actually conscientious."
If someone was opposed, they wouldn't do it, he said.
"We don't force our beliefs on anybody," Eckert said.
Another company, Jones Custom Homes in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, has had a similar practice of building Bibles into homes for about a dozen years, and includes a prayer for new homeowners. The company says some customers bring their own Bibles to be placed in the foundations.
"We are Christian, and our motto is: 'It all starts with a solid foundation.' And that's just what we do," said Joyce Jones, who is a partner in the Mansfield company with her husband, Scott. Like the Wallaces, Jones said she's upfront with customers and has never encountered opposition.
"The Christianity part is a part of who we are," Jones said. "I'm glad there's other people out there doing the same thing."
Donna Reichle, spokeswoman for the National Association of Homebuilders, said her organization knew of no other companies who put a Bible in the foundation. The Texas Association of Builders, based in Austin and representing 10,000 members, said the same.
On the day the foundation is poured at Possibility Homes, a soft-covered Bible is placed at the outside corner of the master bedroom -- "where the spiritual leaders of the house stay," according to Eckert -- or somewhere else if the buyer prefers. The book is open to the center and the concrete is poured from a huge boom connected to a truck. Workers then smooth the area along with the rest of the foundation.
"In Scripture we have found peace and order in our home and our family, and that's of course what we want for these families," Shauna Wallace said. "Peace and harmony and love in a home is a good thing."
XOn the Net: Possibility Custom Homes: ww.possibilitycustomhomes.comJones Custom Building: www.jonescustombuilding.com