Monday, September 19, 2011

Overwhelmed...and I Need Your Tips

So we're finalizing plans for building our own house.  I know...crazy exciting, right?!?  Seriously...I'm super excited.  Sometimes I tear up a bit just thinking about how totally blessed we are to be able to do this in this crazy economy.  We've been married 11 1/2 years and saved our pennies, and we're finally going to be home owners.  (This is pretty much what it will look like.

It's also a bit overwhelming.  There are so many decisions (big and small) to make about the house plans, and the bulk of the built-in ones (walls, windows, lights, electrical, etc) need to be made in the next week or so.  We're hoping we'll be in this house for the next 20-60 years, so we want to get it right, but of husband is a high school teacher, so we have to keep things simple.

I'd always assumed we'd buy an older house and fix it up...because you know that's what I do with everything used and make hand-me-downs work.  Well it turns out, this totally awesome tiny town where Hubby got a job last year is gradually growing and once people buy a house here, they don't move out.  There was no housing boom and bust here, so there's actually a shortage of housing.  There have been very few houses (as in only 2 or 3) even on the market during our time here, and those just didn't fit our needs.  We lucked out and some friends are putting in a small housing development right next to Firecracker's school...and since Firecracker's school is also right next to the high school where Hubby teaches, it's the perfect location for our family.  So we're building a house (or rather having it built for us...remember our front-facing bookshelves...that's the most building experience we have) just a couple blocks from where we live now.

We've been trying to think through things carefully...but we're up against the weather now.  The concrete for the foundation needs to get poured before it gets too cold, but there are still a few steps in the process before we can get the permits and everything going...rather importantly changes to the floor plan, so the modified floor plan can be drawn up.

The trickiest thing about this for me is figuring how we're going to use the space in a house that's not built yet...and trying to figure out how we'll use this space in 2, 5, 10, and 15 years as our family ages and our needs change.  I have an awesome friend who designed her own house and is helping us think through all of it, so that has helped a lot.  Figuring out where we want windows and how it will work with our furniture...made even more difficult because our living room furniture is nothing to write home about and will probably be replaced in a couple years.  (You know...we've got the free hand-me-down sofa sleeper with a rip in the seat and one in the side curtesy of our last move...if it says long term, I'm going to have to learn how to re-upholster.)  How do I figure out how the windows will work with furniture we don't have yet?  And of course even though we don't have to decide about window treatments yet, they do have to play into consideration a little at this point because I've been warned my several friends that the cost for the treatments after construction blew them away.

Then there is figuring out the electrical...they told us we can have another week or two while the engineer is looking at our floor plan changes.  The lighting, I think we'll leave mostly alone...although we are going to add overhead lights in the living room because I NEVER understood the craze to only use lamps to light your living room.  And I'm still trying to figure out who we know if we want extra electrical outlets if they're not shown in the diagram anywhere.

And of course every change comes with a little price tag, that while not huge individually, they add up.

I won't even start on picking paint colors...because that thankfully...doesn't have to be decided for months...and we'll probably do that ourselves after moving in.
Ugh...I know...there are a lot of people who would be thrilled to have my problems right now, so I feel a little bratty even mentioning them.  If I'd read this post 3 years ago when Hubby was in grad school with no immediate end in sight, I would not have been very sympathetic and probably wouldn't have read this far.

By the time you read this, though, the bulk of the changes in floor plans and window placement will most likely have been emailed off to be sent on to the engineer, so you can't be much help there...but I'd still love your ideas and feedback on lighting and decorating end.
If you're still reading this, though...and are interested in this sort of thing, I'd love to hear your comments (the good the bad and the ugly) and input on some of the ideas I've been pinning on Pinterest.  Feel free to send me more pins (@Polly Carlson) if you come across fun ideas.  I'll probably post about each topic separately later. (because honestly right now I should be looking at the floor plans instead of writing about them.)

You can see some window treatment inspiration here.  Overall, I'm looking for cute/classy but simple/inexpensive.  I'm thinking of cafe curtains in the dining area off the kitchen and most of the bedrooms, although I'm open to suggestions.  I'm still totally lost as to what to do with the windows in the living room. 

Some lighting inspiration is here.  I haven't found anything that really calls out to me yet.  I'd especially love to hear from you if you have some living room or kitchen lighting in your home that you just LOVE...and didn't break the bank.

Or if you're more into color, you can see my color pins here.  I'm warning you though...I've been pinning things I like AND things I hate because I was pinning these with a post in mind that I haven't had time to write.  Right now, for the downstairs, I'm thinking of going for grey.  I really like this room.  I already have some red accents in my kitchen.  I think grey is versatile enough that I can use different accents in the living room and still have it work.  I also like that this grey is light, but still contrasts nicely with the white trim.  You can see the source here at Live Your Life where Brittany shows you she made that awesome table.  (Maybe this picture will give you an idea of which of those pins are on my "good" list and which are on my "cool...but not in my house" list.
I have no idea yet, about the upstairs except that I want to have fun with some color in the kids' rooms.

I also have a For the House board, which has some fun ideas, but nothing I'm currently planning on.



    We are planning on building this year so we are trying to think through everything as well...very big project! Anyways this site will give you lots of ideas.

  2. How cool! I've built 3 houses in 26 yrs of marriage and my one thing I've always wanted and have never had is a HUGE laundry room; one you can walk in, fold clothes or hang them up, with a utility sink, storage for bulk items and a place for the dog to eat/sleep in her crate. So far, no house has had this or had a place I could make one............that's on my wish list for the next house (someday!) Good luck!

  3. Speaking of laundry rooms, even though my "room" is just a closet, I LOVE having it upstairs near all the bedrooms. It has simplified my life so much. I also love my huge kitchen counter, the pull-out cupboard for trash can in the kitchen, the built-in bookshelves under the living room stairs, and the "nook" (where the china cabinet used to be) in the kitchen. The nook has turned out to be very versatile. I also really love having a defined entry area. You can't have too many lights in the kitchen, especially over the sink and the work areas.

  4. I agree with the lights in the kitchen thing mom said. If possible have the lights or a few different switches. My kitchen has lights but it is all or nothing, one switch. Same as the problem with the lights in my bedroom we talked about on the phone. I agree to have over head lights in the living room. Recently went to a friend's house who did not have any overhead lights except in the kitchen, and her house is so dark! You can always add lamps, but you need some lights. A ceiling fan with a couple bulbs is nice.


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