Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Our New Adventure -- House full of studs!

That's wood studs, not bovine studs ... just so we're clear.  ;)

Guys -- after waiting three months for building to start, it is AMAZING how fast things move once they get going.

Yesterday, I gave you a sneak peek at our slab:

Two days after that picture was taken, we saw this:

WHOA! That looks like a HOUSE! (insert choirs singing here)

Let's walk through the first floor, shall we?

This is the door from the garage:

Garage door (where box of nails is); beyond that is the mudroom.
Here's the hall bathroom:

Here's the Hub's office:

And the family room looking into the kitchen:

Here's a view of my pantry:

And the breakfast nook:

It had just rained before I took these, thus the water.

Here's a shot of the dining room:

And the front porch:

As we visit, we are writing Scripture on the studs as a symbolic (and literal) way to follow this command:
"Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the LORD swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth." - Deuteronomy 11:18-21
 Here's the first verse we put up (on garage door):

Remember how I said in a previous post that we're taking pics of the boys in/near the fireplace each time we go? Well, D-bug wasn't with us this time, so Beebee got to go it alone...

We also let him write his name on the kitchen window:

On the home selling front -- we had a surprise showing this past Sunday. That makes NINE showings so far. Now, if one of these sweet families would purchase our home, that'd be great. :)

Thanks for sharing our adventure with us! And, please pray that our current house sells in time for us to be able to get this new one we're building. We know whatever happens will be God's best for us, but I'll be honest ... we will be pretty heartbroken if we don't get this one. I'm already imagining life there and decorating in my head (and on Pinterest). Trying not to count my chickens before they are even in the eggs, but it's hard not to get caught up in the excitement sometimes, you know?

Thanks for the prayers and encouragement! Y'all are all ROCKSTARS!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Our New Adventure -- We've got pipes!

We have plumbing!

Kinda hard to see ... but look to the left of the pic. See those white things sticking out of the ground with the black bottoms? Those are our pipes! :) Specifically, those are pipes for our hall bathroom and utility sink in the garage. And our master bath will tie into those I think.

As for that REALLY TALL pipe to the far left ... I've got no clue what that is. Even though Jason (builder) told us. Cannot remember for the life of me.

Here's a picture of the kitchen plumbing (to the left of pic) and the upstairs laundry and bath plumbing (middle of pic):

Once the plumbing is in, it has to be inspected before they can pour the slab. The above pics were taken on a Thursday. Here's what we saw on Monday:

We have a slab, people! :)

Friday, June 24, 2016

Our New Adventure -- We have a foundation ... sort of

First off ... update from last night's showing for our current house. When we got home, we noticed that our dining room chairs were moved out and some of the boys' toys were moved around, so apparently they made themselves quite comfy while visiting. Their agent said the wife LOVED it, but the husband said it's too far from his work, so in the end they decided to put an offer on another house.

So that dampened our spirits quite a bit.

Still trusting in God to do "immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine..." (Eph. 3:20)

Now, on to happier things...

The stem wall was finished on June 9.

Then it was backfilled and tamped down the next day...

So, naturally, we ran around on our new floor for a while!

It cracked me up how they mainly ran around in the yard and played in the dirt. Boys!

We even found a baby tree in our yard!

You have to look closely in front of D-bug's feet. See that green sprout?
It's probably a weed, but we're calling it our baby tree. :)
In the below pics, I'm standing on our back porch. In this pic, I'm looking toward the kitchen, dining room and front porch/door.

Kitchen to left of pic, dining room toward right in background
And, in this one, I'm looking toward the family room, mudroom, Hubby's office and the garage.

Family room is center foreground, mudroom and Hubby's office is to right, and garage is in background.
By the way, isn't that sunset pretty?
We've also decided to take a picture of the boys in (or near) the fireplace each time we visit.

Things are moving along!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Our New Adventure -- We have a builder!

Hey gang! I've had on overwhelming response to these new house posts -- so THANK YOU for sticking with me. And if you have any questions about the process, etc., feel free to ask in the comments and I'll try to answer them.

The structural changes and design choices are done (that was finished in March), so let's move to the present.

A few highlights over the past three months:

  • We found our real estate agent for selling our current house. He is a great guy that we grew up with, so it's neat to be working with him!
  • We cleaned up and cleaned out our current house ... I'm not kidding when I say that took the better part of TWO MONTHS. How can four people accumulate so much JUNK in 17 years??
  • We rented a storage unit and moved what seems like half of our life into it. (And let me just add here -- probably 3/4 of that stuff is NOT coming back into the new casa.)
See what I mean? And this wasn't all of it. *sigh* How embarrassing.

  • At this point, our house has been on the market 4 weeks, and we've had 7 showings. Not bad! And we just had one yesterday that like it so much they're coming back today and bringing their family! WOOHOO!

OK -- on to the fun stuff!

There wasn't a lot happening on the new home front ... that we could see anyway - mostly paperwork, permits, etc. ... until the beginning of June.

Then we rode by on June 2 and saw this:

Ok, I know it's hard to see what that it, but it's our foundation stem wall going in! You can see the corners of the house are outlined with the wood stakes. Our foundation is a slab foundation, so the first step is to pour the foundation for the stem wall. After that, they put in the stem wall, backfill with sand, put in the plumbing, put down that rusty looking fence stuff (not the technical term - haha!) in the foreground of the picture, and then pour the slab. (Don't worry -- I've got pics of all that!) :)

Then we got the call -- time for our builder meeting!

With this builder, each house has it's own "building supervisor." This person is a licensed builder who is employed by the company and who oversees the building process for several houses. He's our contact person for questions, and he sends us email updates about how things are chugging along.

Our building supervisor's name is Jason, and we got to meet him June 3. He, along with the builder's agent, sat down with us and went over our build plan (basically our blueprints, structural changes and design choices) in great detail. After the sit down meeting, he walked us through our site and showed us where various things were, explained lot grading, drainage, setbacks, and the next steps. 

This is how our lot looked when we walked around it with Jason. Those cement blocks will make up the stem wall.

It was all very informative, and I really wish I would have recorded it as I have now forgotten most of it.

One part I did remember was Jason said our estimated completion date is the first week of November, but it'll probably be earlier. EEK!

Side note -- we're buying this house contingent on selling our current house. So if we don't sell this house before the cabinets, etc., are going in the new house (which will be sometime in August), then our builder has the right to put it on the market and possibly sell it to someone else. That's a bit stressful, but we are trusting God through this process to make this happen in His time. Our consistent prayer is that, if He wants us to move, that He will clear the path and make it happen. But if He doesn't want us to move, that He will make that clear as well.

Our trust and faith in the Lord has grown exponentially over the past few months, let me tell you! After our builder meeting, I read this verse:

"He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them." - Psalm 145:19
It's so AWESOME to look back on all those times I begged and pleaded with God to lead us to a new place, and then to watch Him work now. Very cool and very humbling.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Our New Adventure - Design Time Part 2

Picking up where we were last ...

The Kitchen (*SIGH*):

Y'all. This kitchen. It is going to be STUPID gorgeous. Open to the family room. A breakfast nook with windows on all three sides. A bank of cabs along the back wall, with the fridge and the gas range and overhead microwave. A set of smaller cabs on the side wall. A walk in pantry (that was HIGH on my must have list, considering I don't have a pantry right now). A butler's pantry area with floor cabs (I'm all about storage, my friends). And the NINE FOOT island in front containing the stainless sink and dishwasher.

Yes, you read that right ... NINE FEET of fabulousness!! I may sleep on that bad boy for the first week or so.

Here's a pic I snapped when we toured the model of this plan while it was under construction.

See what I mean. STUPID gorgeous. (Just so you know, this isn't our house ... just the model. So colors, etc. are different.)

The cabinets (which are the same in the laundry room, butler's pantry and all bathrooms) are a gorgeous shaker style that's painted white, of course, with brushed nickel bin pulls and knobs. And all the counters are Luna Pearl granite -- white background with gray and brown flecks. GORG!

Cab front with granite choice in background

For the backsplash, I totally channeled my inner Joanna Gaines -- white subway tile with very thin dark gray grout lines. Love it!

All of the faucets, etc., are brushed nickel, as well as the door knobs, hinges and light fixtures.

Speaking of light fixtures...

This is where I struggled a bit. I'm looking for something like this or this for the two-story foyer light -- big but simple, you know? But choices were VERY limited on the lighting side, and this is what we're getting...

Now if this is your thing, rock on. But this is SO not my taste. Way too frou-frou. But, since choices are limited and it comes with the house, so be it. Our dining room and breakfast nook lights are smaller versions of this as well -- all too "over the top" for us. So they will be going as soon as possible.

As for the other rooms, we get plain white ceiling fans with lights in the master bedroom and the family room, and a plain black ceiling fan with lights on the screened porch. The other lights (except listed above) will be those lovely builder boob lights, prewired for ceiling fans. So all that will be changing as well.

Speaking of family room -- it has the fabulous coffered ceiling and a fireplace. The pic below is one I took from the model ... sweetness! Our fireplace is different than this one, but this is a great shot of the ceiling.

Our fireplace mantle is called "Kenwood" -- this is an upgrade to the base mantel, but the base one  is smaller and has dentil molding so looks a bit weird with our craftsman style (you can see a tiny bit of the base choice to the far right in the below picture). This one is chunkier and more "craftsman-y":

Don't let that crazy tile freak you out ... our surround is solid black granite. Much prettier!

For the stairs -- we considered getting stained wood treads, but as our boys are still young-ish and this is our first "step house" as the boys say ... and I'm a HUGE klutz ... we decided on carpeted treads for now. We may change later once the boys get older, and I get less klutzier (as if that'll happen). Our bannister will be stained to match the hardwood floor, and our spindles are a simple iron twist instead of wood. Love!

Outside, we get these gorgeous and large carriage lights flanking the garage, and the other outdoor lights are also black. The front porch light is a little too plain for my taste, so I'll probably change that out later.

Front porch light

Over that beautiful kitchen island (did I mention it's NINE FEET LONG?), we are having the builder prewire for two pendant lights. I was going to do three, but I'm thinking about something large such as this or this. The builder only offered a couple of choices, and I really didn't like any of them. So prewiring it is.

That about wraps up the design choices. We did pick out light fixtures for the bathrooms, but went with the base choices (as there were only two choices and both not great). So lots of shopping for lights in my future. And we added some recessed lights to the kitchen to brighten things up.

What do you think of the choices? Any decorating tips or advice? I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Our New Adventure - Design Time

Ah, yes ... my fave part of the process so far ...

Picking out our design choices!

Flooring! Tile! Cabinets! Carpet! Counters! Brick! Shutters! Siding!


Warning -- LOADS of pics coming your way...

Our builder has a design center, where they have rooms set up with samples out so you can see and touch your choices. (Think a really small version of IKEA.) Our designer was a lovely woman who TOTALLY got our tastes and helped us pick the best choices for us and our budget.

Some background for the uninitiated -- builders like this have different "levels" of houses they build, based on the plan and the neighborhood. And the materials you get to choose from are different based on those levels. Each level has different "base" selections -- those are selections that are included in the price of your home. Our house is in the "prestige" level, so we had some pretty awesome choices to choose from. However, there were some things that we wanted that were outside of our "base" selections. In that case, we had to pay extra for those. In addition, there were some selections that we didn't like any of the choices on (lighting for one), so we just stuck with the base selections and we will change those out later. I'll explain more as we go along.

We are BIG fans of "Fixer Upper" (who isn't?!) so that's kinda what we are going for, except a little less rustic. Lots of neutral colors -- white, gray, natural wood -- and then will add pops of color with furniture, pillows, etc.

First up -- the outside:

We had about 5 brick choices, so we picked Bessemer Gray (on the right in below pic) with light gray mortar. And we had 4 or 5 stone choices, so we went with Cobble Ledge in Gray Drift (on the left in the pic -- I love the rough hewn look of the stone, don't you?). The lighting in the design center wasn't the best, so the brick looks a little brown/red in this pic, but never fear - we took all of our final choices outside in the sunshine to see the true colors, and they look GREAT together.

For the vinyl siding around the garage roof, we chose Flint, which is a light gray. And for the vinyl shakes on the garage, we chose Cottage Gray, which is a medium gray. Our shutters will be craftsman style shutters and our front door is a two panel door with sidelights -- both the shutters and the door are Dark Navy. Our windows are white and our shingles are charcoal gray.

Close up of the Flint vinyl

Close up of the Dark Navy and the Cottage Gray

Close up of our charcoal shingles

Next up -- Flooring!

Our entry, dining room, kitchen and part of the first floor hallway will be hardwood -- Oak Granite 5" to be exact.

Our family room, upstairs hall, playroom, stairs and all bedrooms will have carpet in Castle.

Two of the bathrooms, the laundry room, back hall and mudroom will have vinyl floor in Seashell. I'd like to have some really cool slate tile in the back hall and mudroom eventually, but this works for us now.

Our master bath is going to be FABULOUS! The floor and 5' shower will be in Roca Linen White 12"x24" tiles with white grout. And the shower floor will be tumbled stone with light gray grout. So cute!

The Hubs (who is 6' 2") insisted on the big shower with the built-in bench seat. I wanted a soaker tub, but the shower was cheaper so we went for that. Never fear though, the bathroom comes standard with a smaller garden tub ... just not one deep enough to swim in. ;)

Ok -- this post is entirely too long already, so I'll cover the rest of the design goodies tomorrow.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Our New Adventure - Signing on the Dotted Line

Ok -- we're traveling back in time to three months ago.

So after much debate, prayer, etc. (see previous post), we decided to pull the trigger and build the house. Of course, it's not as easy as just "pulling a trigger." More like "writing your name over and over again until your fingers are numb."

When you put a contract on a new house with our builder, you have to first make all of your structural decisions (for example, each plan usually has several elevation choices, and then you have to decide on extras like a screened porch or adding an additional bathroom, etc.).

That part is pretty cool because our builder has an interactive floor plan program where you can make changes in real time and then print out the exact floor plan you want. Fun stuff!

Here's a picture of our plan -- of course the colors will be different but it's four-side brick with stone accents and craftsman columns. Isn't it cute?! Also, the plan will be reversed due to our lot location, so our garage will be on the left instead of the right.

Photo credit: Essex Homes

Once all of the structual stuff is agreed on and in writing, then you pick your lot. The section we are building in only had about 4 lots left, so we picked the one we liked the best. All of them were a little under a 1/4 of an acre (which is CRAZY small to us considering we now have over 1/2 an acre!), but ours is the flattest of the lots and is in a good spot neighborhood-wise. It backs up to a cul-de-sac where the lots are bigger, so we won't be staring straight into our backyard neighbor's house. It also works with our plan (only certain plans can go on certain lots due to plan size, setbacks, etc.).

We thought about picking a lot in the next section they were opening up, but that meant adding over $5000 to the cost of the house! And, even though many of those lots backed up to woods (which we loved!), they had a steep slope, so water would run straight down your driveway when it rained. So ... nope.

Once all of the choices are made, then you sign the contract (insert numb fingers here) and you put 2% of the total cost down to reserve your lot.

Once all of the paperwork is ratified and you get pre-approval from the mortgage company, then you wait for your Design Center appointment. This is where all the FUN stuff happens!

Till next time...