Building a House: Frequently Asked Questions Part 2

April 5, 2016

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I love that you all love talking about house stuff! In my first post, I answered a few of your questions and today I'm back to answer a few more! Let's do this.

1. How long did the actual "building" part of the process take? 
I shared that the entire planning + finding land + building took about a year...but from the time they actually broke ground to the day we moved in was about 6 months. I've heard it's sometimes faster to build a new house than it is to renovate an old one.

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2. How did you choose your interior finishings (flooring, lighting etc.)?
This part took the LONGEST time for me and was probably the hardest part. Early on our builder kept telling me how much fun this part would be so I was really looking forward to it. And don't get me wrong, it was fun at times, but mostly it was just overwhelming. I also had a brand new baby during the time I had to make all of these decisions so it made it doubly hard. Our builder has clients pick out EVERYTHING (I'm talking every cabinet pull, doorknob, flooring, light fixture, toilet, tile etc) before they break ground on the house. That way we knew exactly how much money we would be spending. 

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(That's my laundry room sink sitting in the middle of my living room. Also, I designed the fireplace based of of something I saw on one of my favorite blogs, The Lettered Cottage. I love how it turned out.)

So, we basically had appointments over the course of a few weeks at different vendors that our builder worked with. They had me go to each place with their designer to help me make decisions and help keep me on track with the number of items I needed. For example, our designer would tell me I the number of hallway lights I needed to pick out or the number of cabinet hardware in each bathroom and the kitchen. She also wrote everything down for me and got photos of everything, which really helped since I had Sadie with me at each appointment and I was often a little distracted! Once my designer had a feel for my design aesthetic she was able to help suggest things she knew I would like....I felt like the two of us were on the same page and she totally "got" my vision. But she was more of a facilitator than a traditional designer. 

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Since I had to pick out everything before the house was even built, it meant that I couldn't actually see the layout or design of my house while making these decisions. Let me tell you....picking out an entry way light fixture when you can't even picture what that entry way will really look like is tough. Picking out tile for your bathroom, plus cabinets, plus shower tile, plus countertop, plus a backsplash when you've never even stepped foot in the bathroom is also hard. I'm no designer, so figuring out what would look good together was tough.  If I had to do it all over again, I would have made maybe hired a professional designer to put together mood boards for each space for me. BUT I had just had a baby, so that didn't even cross my mind! I spent a ton of time on Pinterest so I knew generally what I wanted before going to any appointments, which helped.  My designer would also give some companies a heads up as to what I wanted (like white cabinets in the kitchen, or subway tile in the bathroom) so that when we arrived for an appointment they were prepared with specific things to show me. I was just plain exhausted from having a newborn...several of my appointments were quick and I knew what I wanted right away. Flooring and cabinets were the easiest for me. Lighting was the hardest and I ended up going back to the lighting place four different times, and I actually changed a fixture when it came in because I didn't like how it looked in the space. My lighting designer loved seeing how much Sadie had grown each time I came in! Jon went to a few of these appointments with me (flooring, and one lighting I think) but for the most part he let me pick whatever I wanted....or whatever was "in the budget."

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Speaking of budget, our builder had a general budget set out for us for each category. The goal was always to stay in budget or come under. So, if I ended up going over budget on lighting then I knew I had to come under budget on flooring. At least that is what my husband told me to do. And well....I kind of did this. I went over a few times, stayed on budget a few times, and went under budget maybe twice? I can't remember. If I had it all over to do again I wouldn't sweat the small stuff. 

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Once the house was up and some of the items I picked started to come in I was SO happy with how it all turned out. I remember being at the house one day and a worker had some questions about where certain things went...and I totally couldn't even remember what I had picked! It was like Christmas morning watching him unwrap everything that had arrived! Also, I had to pick out paint colors early on too....luckily we were able to wait until it was time to actually paint to decide, so I could walk through the house and get an idea of what would look good and wouldn't. Picking out paint for an entire house is hard too! When I saw the painted rooms for the first time I was so excited! I remember walking through the downstairs and just feeling like I had made so many good decisions! I seriously loved it all....that is, until I walked in to Sadie's room. It. Was. Horrible. And the funny thing was I was so nervous about all of the other colors I had picked, but I wasn't nervous about Sadie's color at all....and I turned out loving every other room and HATING Sadie's room. I almost started crying. It's silly, but I wanted my little girl to have a soft pink room and somehow she ended up with a pepto bismol room! My mom and I ended up re-painting it ourselves before we moved in. Ha!

Does that answer your finishings question? I can go in to more detail if anyone wants. Let me know in the comments!

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3. What's your favorite part of your new house?
That's tough.....but probably my pantry. It's HUGE and amazing and I pinch myself each time I walk in. 

So that was only three questions, but it was a lot of info! What else do you guys want to know? Let me know in the comments and I'll be back to answer them soon!

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12 Responses to “Building a House: Frequently Asked Questions Part 2”

  1. It turned out so great. And funny how the thing you were most sure of you hated. Love the pantry.

  2. Loving these posts. Filing them away for future reference:) And girl - your pantry is the stuff of my dreams! We just moved into this big new home...and the pantry is smaller than the one I had before in my tiny little 1500 sq foot cottage. Makes NO sense. Sigh. One day.

  3. Yup. Way faster to build than remodel! But I love all the decisions you made. Your house is perfect for you guys!

  4. I love these posts, keep them coming! We are in the process of remodeling our kitchen but I am holding myself up because SO MANY DECISIONS! haha ;)

  5. You made some great design decisions! I'm so impressed you did all this with a newborn! And I can see why the pantry is your favorite... It's impressive!

  6. Your pantry is absolutely amazing!!! Can I move in there? ;) We built our first home and it was great. Once we had two littles we needed something bigger, but man did I love that house.

  7. I can't wait to build our house! ha. But we did a 700 sq/ft addition on our current home and it took a good 6 months alone. Grrr...

  8. I'm curious about your kitchen & deciding what drawers and cabinets you wanted. Did you have an idea of number and type or did you just go with whatever fit the space? I know nothing about kitchen design but we're building in a couple of years and I'm already stressed about the idea of kitchen planning!

  9. We just moved last summer in a new to us house. I've always had interest in homes, home decor, etc, so I find these posts so fun!

    When I was little (and still now)my mom & I would go to open houses. Haha! We now go to our local parade of homes. So fun!

  10. Love it and what color paint is on the walls with the stairs

  11. This all sounds like so much fun!! My husband is super handy and I cannot wait to break down a wall or two with him one day when we are home owners!

  12. Your new home is gorgeous, Julie!! Congratulations!!!


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