But even as she daydreamed on this sunny October day, Edwards, 61, gasped for breath with tears in her eyes and cursed her chemo.
"Damn these drugs," she cried. "Damn cancer."
Elizabeth Edwards would never move into that house. Instead, just days after learning that the breast cancer she had been fighting off-and-on since 2004 had spread to her liver, and that treatment was no longer productive, she died in the home she built with John.
"She's at peace," said a close friend who saw her the day she died, surrounded by friends and family, including her children and estranged husband. "After so much pain the past several years, it was an easy passing, and she deserved that."
For more on the triumphs and heartbreaks of Elizabeth Edwards's life, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday