Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Fun Part!

Well I have been missing in action on the blog front!  We have been enjoying getting into the holiday spirit around here and I can't believe it is right upon us.  There has been a little travel for work for me, and a trip for thanksgiving with a wedding all wrapped into one.  It has been busy! But onward we go with house planning right in the mix of it all....
I love this part of the design process!  Seeing how it will all look is so fun.  Taking a floor plan and actually turning it into a house is the amazing part of architecture to me.  We started by sending Wilson(the architect) tons of inspiration photos.  Some of which were just in my "inspiration folder" on my computer before the evolution of Pinterest helped me keep them organized. 

I wanted to show him tons of pics so he could get an idea about the things we like.  Even if there was just a part of a photo that we liked I would send it his way so he go a feel for what we were going for.

 And again...what I call contemporary Texas architecture.  Limestone, metal roof, and a little bit of wood mixed in.
Source:  Ron Ross

Oh and this little beauty!
So simple and has the mix of materials we love.
Stone, stone, wood, metal, and my new love on the exterior of a home..board and batten!  

I have usually never been drawn to any kind of siding but the board and batten mixed in with these materials is gorg!

So you wanna see one of the first renderings that Wilson prepared for us?
First..I have to share this pic that I made the hubs and Wilson suffer through.  Welcome to the home of a blogger.. If you enter your sure to be photographed so smile and enjoy yourself!  That's hubs on the left pretending he likes to be plastered on the internet...and then the architect being shy and pretending to work;)  Seriously though he is a trooper to spend some time at our casa late at night after between the two families we get our six kids to bed.  Because there is no way we could talk about board and batten or sill heights( I don't really know if that is the right word but you get my drift) with kids running around.

Be still my heart!  The materials and look were spot on!  He even went for it and gave us a glimpse of what it would look like with a little color! 
 After drooling a bit and studying what we liked and didn't like about it with Wilson we decided we needed "more" for the front door.  What more?  We weren't exactly sure but the door was lacking a little importance to all of us so we decided to start playing with adding more of an entry way to it.  More to come on that....

This is the back.
As far as I'm concerned this is perfect!  Actually..I haven't told Wilson this yet but he may know now;) I think we want to give the dining room(the area that juts out right in the middle) more of a "sunroomish" feel so I want to move those taller windows in the living room(to the left) over to the dining and do the shorter ones in the living so we have a little wall space underneath them for um..well..who knows..I just like the thought of not having to put anything right up against a window.
And here is the garage side of course...stating the obvious here.
I love square windows!  We wanted to add them where we could..

See those awesome square windows and this gorgeous inspiration pic? Wilson totally picked up on that!

oh and then there is THIS side of the house!  I love this!  Is it weird to love the side of a house?  I mean really it won't even be visible to anyone but the neighbor to our right.  What a waste of some beautiful architecture;)  More squares!
So what do you think? Are you as excited as I am?  Of course your not silly but I do hope you enjoy following along this adventure and seeing how we have to give a little or a lot to get this whole house building thing into our budget...It's way too gorgeous for a thrifty couple like us right?  


Monday, November 14, 2011

Have you ever built a house?

Did you know it can make you gain weight?

When you spend countless late nights drawing and measuring and trying to visualize spaces you end up(or I do anyway) doing a lot of this

and then in return a lot of this......

Oh yes I did put the coffee pot in the cabinet!  It was one of those wow I can't believe I just did that moments...and yes I snapped a quick pic with my phone.  How could I not share my absent mindedness with a few friends.  Friendship is about being transparent right?

Well here is what has kept us up so much.  Last year we started contemplating coming up with our own floor plan because we couldn't find a floor plan that would work on our lot (it slopes down a little so it needs to be long and shallow to trim foundation costs).  We found some nice plans but they were all missing at least one thing we were looking for. Whether it be a mud area from the garage, or a large laundry room, or a space where our 10 foot dining table could fit but we don't want a formal dining room.  You can imagine there aren't a whole lot of one story plans out there that fit the bill.  Oh yea and we want it to be a one story...
That's were we googled and came across this floor planner website call  There is a tiny little learning curve but it is pretty easy to get started and it's free unless you need to work on multiple designs(then there is a small fee).
We worked on a couple of different options.
Here is option #1
Oh and I forgot to mention we were also trying to shoot for 2400-2600 sq feet and no larger.  Due to the HOA restrictions in our neighborhood we have to build it at a minimum of 2400 sq feet.  Once we really started looking at floor plans we realized it would be hard to fit all that we wanted into anything under 2600 but we still wanted to shoot for it. 
So anyway..back to it..

Option #1

You see there are tons of details missing here but we just wanted a simple drawing to give our architect so he knew what we were thinking.
The main goal was(and is) to have a "great room" that consists of the kitchen, living and dining all in one space.  Our last house had a pretty cramped little main living area so I am determined to be able to have more seating in the new casa.  You'll see the dining table rests right between the the kitchen and living.  I couldn't decide if I loved that idea or not.  Sadly the one thing that turned me off from that design is not wanting to be limited in the type of lighting that I could put over the dining table because then we would have to look through island lighting and table lighting to see what was going on in the living.  Silly right?  But still something that weirded me out.  The one thing I loved was having a window over the kitchen sink!    You will see you walk into a mudroomish area from the garage and then right into the playroom or as the hubs likes to put it "family room" because he never wants the kids to think our house revolves around them and their things.  I get it I totally do but...anywho..
There are three bedrooms around the "family;) room" and two baths.  One of which is a jack and jill bath for our girls to eventually share.  We will have one room and bath as a guest area until the kids get older and don't share a room any longer.

Below is our work up of another option.
Ignore the details or lack there of.  There is a reason we had to hire an architect!  Some things we just couldn't figure out how to do (like lay out our bathroom).

I hade been "pinspired" if you will by this

We already had plans for an 8 x 4 island so I obviously was loving the length of that one but I also loved that the island looked into an area of windows surrounding the dining table... know what?  The original inspiration came from this HGTV dream home kitchen

You can't tell much from this pic but if you go to the site you get the vision.  We have already come to the conclusion that we can't afford to do a fancy smancy ceiling like this but oh isn't it purdy!
So this was what we took to our architect.

And here is the hopefully finalized plan!  
There is a good chance we have really gone over our building budget by adding the large porches and probably the playroom..oh I'm sorry.."family room" so we may have to nix the 'family room" all together.  If that is the case who knows what that end of the house will look like but for now here she is..
We love it!
Unfortunately it grew to 2800 sq feet though.  I think this is all par for the course of designing and building right?  Please tell me yes.  You gain things, you lose things, you squeeze and stretch things until you finally get to a house you love and hopefully can afford.
I will be sharing some exterior inspirations and elevations next!  
If your in the Austin or Central Texas area our Architect is Wilson Robertson and you will be wowed by his work as we go along I'm sure! 


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Mirror Mirror on the Wall(s)

Hey homebodies!
Let me just say I love mirrors!  When we got our first home and I was attempting to decorate with little to no budget I often found myself bringing home mirrors.  The hubs was usually like "another mirror..really.  Are we that vain?"  Well no as a matter of fact I'm not a fan of seeing myself in the mirror on most days but they are so stinkin easy to use to fill up a wall.  Especially if you don't mind seeing the reflection of the rest of the room.

About a month or so ago I ran across this picture on Pinterest.

At first I just noticed and liked the symmetry in the picture.  I have also been loving the look of having two tall pieces of art on either side of the bed instead of a piece above the headboard. "wheels" remembered the mirror we have in the kids room and I thought " I need a good reason to go to IKEA and buy
Ram Mirror

10 Bucks!

And then...I got all wacky and thought I would decoupage it with some fancy tin foil to give it the silver look without having to paint(which to me means taping and being careful not to get the mirror all funky)

Well..It was still messy and time consuming so instead I went even fancier with


Oh yes I'm classy like that.You can do anything with Duck tape right?  There isn't a thing I won't try to get a certain look quickly and cheaply;)  Did you know there is such a thing as Color Duck tape?  There are all kinds of fancy patterned ones too.  Who knew?

I know now your thinking why on earth didn't she just paint the mirror silver?  I'm thinking that now that it is all said and done myself but I like trying new approaches so I had to finish it and see.

It doesn't look too horrible does it?  Really when you think about it it doesn't have to be perfect.  These will probably be in a place that no one really gets near if they are on the sides of your headboard anyway.

Next up I needed some circles for the inside of the mirror(s).
After searching for the perfect random material I finally decided that a piece of foam board would do the trick as long as I could cut it without destroying it.

I searched for some circles..The kitchen always comes through for me here.

I then used a utility knife to cut through.  This was a little time consuming and they definitely didn't turn out perfect but I was planning on covering them anyway.

I laid them out to make sure the design worked.  You'll notice it is a bit different from the picture...Didn't have circles in my kitchen that big;)

Then I added a bit more class to the project and covered them in foil.

I brushed a light coat of copper latex paint over the circles and the mirror to patina it up a bit.  On a side note if I were taking the same approach(foil and duct tape and all) I would use a rub n buff to patina it instead.  I don't think the latex is going to hold up very well on the shiny duct tape surface.

Then I applied a thin line of hot glue because that is what I had(we shall see how it holds up)

Applied the pattern and viola!

I have seen these mirrors somewhere online for around $450!  
Don't get me wrong I am sure your $450 buys you a bit more class but hey I'm willing to be a little bit country if it saves me $435 bones.

That being said...If I wanted to do a little more work it would totally be worth it to cut some thin wood into these shapes and either stain or paint this whole project. Honestly I would recommend it if these will be in an area where people get all up close and personal to them.   But...don't you love it when you don't have to break out the power tools?

I'm linking up this project to 

The pinterest challenge hosted by 

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Monday, November 7, 2011

You want me to do what?

Meet Marc and Lori
 (and.... the precious and oh so smart Addy)

A few months ago Marc contacted me about wanting to surprise Lori with a bedroom makeover. (Brownie points for Mr. Marc right?)  
He had been considering hiring the real deal (a real designer, with real education, and a real hourly wage;)
Mr. Marc decided instead to ask me if I wanted to help because he said "we always like the way you guys decorate" and I said uh...."well I'm honored and blushing and am absolutely uncomfortable with you paying me to help you do something that I will probably stumble through." This is not word for word of course but you get my drift right? 
They wanted to "hire" me and I wasn't sure if I could 
One: Find the time to help or 
Two: Accomplish the goal and have a happy Lori
We are going for it! I have absolutely no problem buying things to put in my own home but the pressure to "make a house a home" for someone else is actually what helped me steer away from an interior design degree and instead go with the oh so concrete end results of a degree in Dental Hygiene(yes there is such a thing;)

So do you want to stumble through this with me?  I mean how could I say no to some online and in person shopping trips for a friend!

 We kinda sorta live in the same town but it is quite a road trip and trying to find a time to meet up when the traffic isn't bad or when I don't have my three chillins isn't easy so we have for the most part done a lot of virtual design.

So first off I had them send me some pics.  

This is what you see when you walk into their HUGE bedroom.
There are two large windows on the left with about 6 feet in between them and to the right of the bed there is a wall at an angle and then a fairly large wall that runs parallel with the bed.

Standing near the foot of the bed you see this.  There is one of the windows I mentioned.  This is a great little nook for a chair or two.  That door there leads into their master bath.

Marc also sent me some close ups of the furniture they had so we could decide if we could use it or not.

This is what is on the angled wall near the bed.

So here is where the fun starts for me!  After Lori mentioned a paint color that she had been eyeing
Sherwin Williams Inkwell
Dramatic Huh?

and a duvet cover from West Elm she had in mind...

then I attempted to find something similar for a mood board and started pulling some things together that I hoped she might like.  We didn't really discuss much in the beginning.  I just took her color choice and ran with it to see if I could get an idea about what she liked.

 I of course also encouraged her to "pin" away at things she likes so I could get a feel for her style.
Then I "pinned" away myself!
Which by the way if you haven't started your addiction yet then just contact me via my little envelope button with "pin me" in the subject line and I will be your "dealer" and send you an invite;)

Here are some things I started pinning

Isn't Pinterest awesome!(not a question...a fact indeed)  It is so great that I can pin something and she can go right to the link and buy it if she likes it.  Shopping is becoming way too easy!  Anywho...after she o.k.'d the look that I came up with we met up to buy the duvet and check out her sample of the paint color and she went home and went to town......I am so excited and nervous to see how this all turns out.  It has been slow going for sure(like I was afraid of) but we will get it done!  More coming soon....

Linking to:
Monday Link Parties


Friday, November 4, 2011

Are you confused yet?

If you are one of probably 3 readers of this here blog you may be saying whaaa?
She went from all those staging posts and little tweaks to "we are in a rent house" with absolutely no mention of the house being sold.

Well guess what?  I can finally say it (or show it)..
We Sold our House!

I have been more than apprehensive about posting about it.  Why?....Oh my is it a long story! It ended up dragging on and on and I could tell you the saga but I don't want to be a negative Nancy nor do I want to re-live it because I was on the verge of a panic attack and we don't wan't to spur that on now do we?
It got to the point where friends would ask if we sold the house and I would just shrug my shoulders and say I don't know because there was so much up in the air from the buyers side of the transaction.

I just knew as soon as I posted that we sold our house it would fall through and bite me.  So I couldn't do post about it due to sheer fear of bad luck.
That being said I wanted to mention the "positive side" of the house selling story.  We did have to spend some dough and lose some dough to sell it but the getting it out there and getting people interested was smooth as butter!

So here goes...
Once we felt we had de-cluttered as much as possible(this included renting a storage embarrassed that we have that much stuff) then we got down to business.  I hired someone to wash our windows(two story house = not easy task) and clean all the carpet upstairs.
While getting all of that arranged and scheduled I started researching real estate photographers in the area.  As I'm sure you know..."pictures are worth a thousand dollars"oh that's not the real saying but you get where I'm going right?

You've seen those horrible pictures of homes on the MLS where all you notice is the overflowing trashcan or the half made bed with dirty clothes under it.
Wanna see a whole slew of funny pics that people put on the MLS?
Go visit Julia @ Hooked on Houses!  Crazy stuff I tell ya! Those pics kill me.

  Today pictures are the "first impression" when attempting to sale.  Most people find their own homes online and then contact their realtor to let them view the ones they are interested in.  It is an easier way to eliminate the hassle of driving all over town to be disappointed. So we were A O.K. with spending some dough for some awesome pics and we weren't disappointed!

I would not only look around your area for a good real estate photog but I would make sure they do HDR photos as well.  What is HDR photography?  I didn't know either but I did know that they looked richer, fancier, had more depth and shadows than a normal picture.  HDR is
 High Dynamic Range and to me an amateur it is just a better pic.  I attempted to learn more about it and try to do it myself but it was beyond my skills, patience and equipment to do so and more than worth it to just hire it out.

Non HDR from a girl that knows little to nothing about photography

 HDR image with better angle from a guy that knows a lot;)

Not only did they take the pics but they put them in this slideshow too!  From the slideshow we could even make our own fliers.

"Why would you wanna do that yourself" you might ask?   Well because we wanted to sell our home ourselves of course!  Of course we want to DIY it all and try to save every penny.   Or in this case not lose as many by having to paying a listing agent.  
So we put it out there.  We had the For Sale by Owner sign, the flyers, the add on craigslist and didn't get much traffic.  There is something to be said for the MLS of course.  It gets it out there but we just had to give the FSBO route a shot.  

We set a goal of 2 weeks and if we hadn't had much interest we would list it. That's where good ol' word of mouth comes in.  An acquaintance of mine had mentioned selling their home in a for sale by owner manor but being able to get it on the MLS and provide the lockbox, sign and all. That's how we found Marshall @

This was the "smooth as butter" part of our house selling story.  I contacted him about what we were looking to do.  We paid him a flat fee, I entered some info about our house into the site, downloaded our professional pics and viola by the next day we had a listing on the MLS, a sign in the yard, and a lockbox so buyers realtors would have access.  
You can decide what you are willing to pay a buyers agent as you work up your listing.  We added a flyer holder to the sign and printed up some flyers on our own.  I would highly suggest this!  Especially if you have good pics!  Choose your pics wisely and make the buyer want to see what else is inside your lovely home! 
We had three people look at it within the first 7 days and on day 7 had a contract and another interested party.  Some had a buyers realtor and some did not so you never know who will find your house but they definitely put it out there.
And.....(insert several paragraphs of things not working as they should through a real estate transaction) 3 months later we close on the property!  Hallelujah!
Did I mention we moved out of the pending property in late august?
The stress of paying rent and a mortgage all while trying to maintain the lawn on the pending house, raise three kiddos, and work was cardiac infarction producing or could have been anyway;)

I kept mentioning to Marshall that the whole process was almost too easy and that I expected some bumps to crop up...Call it woman's intuition;)
So!  All that being said..we did it, we sold the house and can move on with building our house!  I am sure that too will be a journey.  We are prepared and excited to learn a ton and can't wait to see how it all turns out!

A little side do not have to be in central texas to to use Homes by Owner

Just click above to look for someone in your area that will list your home this way.  

We were not paid to recommend this site.  Just really happy with how professional Marshall was!