Saturday, May 3, 2014

Building a House: Month 1 Updates

We cannot believe it has been almost a month since we purchased our lot. We met with our builder and realtor today to pick out all of our upgrades and preferences, and it was such a fun two hours. We agreed on all of the decisions, and for the most part, we could make them very easily.

The first thing to pick was exterior trim. We've already picked our brick, so we were looking for something to match. This is NOT our house, but this is the brick color we picked, and we matched the trim to the one in the photo. Also on the exterior, we picked our front door. Again, NOT our house, but gives you a good idea of what the front door looks like. Our front door color is "traditional walnut," which matches all the cabinets in our house.

Once the exterior was taken care of, it was time to decide on options for the interior. The look I personally like is simple and traditional, and Brendan was all on board with that philosophy. We're trying to design not only a home we will love the look of, but also one that potential future buyers would like. We did the lightest shade of granite possible, which is a ivory color with black and brown specs, with a light ivory stone backsplash. The cabinets are in "traditional" walnut. For the tile, we picked a light cream color. I was indecisive about what size tile (and Brendan had no opinion). In the model, they had large rectangle tile, which is supposedly the new thing, but in the end, we decided to go with 16x16 square tile. The walls will be beige with white trim. The fixtures (lights, facets, shower door, door knobs) will be in brushed nickel, an upgrade from the traditional shiny chrome. We picked a red brick color for the fireplace.

That part wasn't too hard, and then it was time to move on to the upgrades. We had spent a lot of time talking about these already, so most of the decisions were already made. We had set a budget for ourselves, and we actually stayed a little under it, which was great! In terms of upgrades, we decided to get those that were most important to us, plus anything that we thought would add significant future value to the home. Here is what we choose:

Outside, we added 4 down lights in the soffit, and a flood light with switch on the back patio. We added a garage door opener and keyless entry pad for the garage.

Inside, We did "brushed nickel" fixtures throughout the home. It should match nicely with our granite and cabinets.

In the kitchen, we upgraded to smudge proof stainless steel appliances and a double oven. The realtor agrees with us: our kitchen is a "dream kitchen" and definitely a selling point for a future buyer. The double oven should add yet another "wow factor." Also in the kitchen, we are doing under cabinet LED lighting, and 3 hanging pendant lights over the bar (the kitchen has a skylight and looks out to the backyard, so there is going to be a lot of natural lighting too). We added a reverse osmosis system, since it is the only way to get good tasting water in Midland (I will NOT miss carrying gallons of water up three flights of stairs). I can't wait to cook in our new kitchen! It's going to be amazing to finally have the space that we crave. Plus, we got so many nice kitchen appliances for the wedding...and now we'll actually have space to display them.

In the bathrooms, we opted for tile around the showers (fiberglass is standard). In the master bath, we will have a jetted tub. These two upgrades make a lot of difference in look and desirability. I take baths constantly, so I'm very, very excited about my large jetted tub!

In Midland, the water is...bad. We added a water softener system for the house (it cleans and purifies all of your water). I hope the purified water will be better for our skin and hair.

Crown molding adds a polished look, so we decided to add it in the entry way, formal dining room, family room, and breakfast area. We added ceiling fans to the two extra bedrooms (they are standard in the master bedroom and family room). Our house will be energy efficient, but it is my hope that fans will make it even more so. Plus, if we do have children (not anytime soon), a ceiling fan in the nursery reduces the chance of SIDS. We added faux wood blinds on all of the windows (goodbye blinds our cats can destroy).

Speaking of the cats, they are related to our last and biggest/most expensive upgrade. We decided we wanted absolutely no carpet in our home. For one, the cats will destroy it, and secondly, we didn't like the way it looked. Carpet was standard in the hallway between bedrooms two and three, and we replaced it with tile. Carpet was also standard in the master closet, and we replaced that with tile as well (closet is connected to the bathroom, so it should look pretty seamless). Carpet was also standard in the dining room, family room, and all three bedrooms. We knew that we wanted wood laminate (we don't have the option of real wood, but laminate has its advantages). We had a choice of standard laminate and engineered laminate, which has texture and looks more like actual wood. The engineered laminate was more expensive, but we really liked the look of it much better, so we choose that. The color we picked is quite dark (called Hickory Chocolate) and basically matches all of our cabinets. We're really excited about the flooring. Not only will it look nice, but it should be easy to keep clean.

The next step will be a team meeting with the actual builders in a couple of weeks. They are still set to break ground on the house in June. We're feeling more and more excited about it!

In other news, we found out yesterday that Brendan won the student voted Teacher of the Year Award for Fine Arts and Communications division. I am super proud of him! He honestly is great with the students, though he is always talking about how he can be better! What a wonderful way to finish off the school year. We head into finals next week. For now, it's grading, laundry, and trying to enjoy the weekend as much as possible.

Happy Saturday!

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