After renting for many years and saving up, we decided we wanted to take the step to finally set down roots. We looked for about 6 months before ultimately buying. When we were looking it was a sellers market so we toured and placed offers on countless houses, only to be outbid. I know that this story is so familiar for so many people. The town we were looking in did not have a lot of inventory for sale, so even older homes that needed a substantial amount of work were flying off the market. We felt so discouraged that we were never going to find OUR place. One day I broadened our search and looked one town further than we were originally planning. There was definitely more inventory and the prices were encouraging. I took the kids and drove around the neighborhood one morning and fell in love with it before we even looked at the house. Both of us still weren’t sure about the town’s location but decided to look at the house. We found out it was still in the building process and had only been framed. My dreams came true when I later found out we were going to be able to pick out all of the finish work. I had dreamed of doing this but I never thought it could be a reality. The multiple vendors that our builder used for finish work were all about an hour away. This became our weekend trip as we went down about 5 different times to choose everything from flooring, tile, fixtures and lighting to paint and appliances. I had always wanted to be an interior designer but choose to pursue a teaching degree in college instead. I had always loved researching the latest trends and could flip through home design magazines for hours. To save money we decided to not hire an interior designer and to just do it ourselves. I learned so much throughout the process, but in retrospect I would have loved to have another opinion and insight on our build. This decision did help free up some of our budget for actual materials, which did make it worth it in the long run.
Our kitchen is definitely the heart of our home. We really do spend about 90% of our time in it, so it was important to me that it was a bright, welcoming area. We are not into microwaves (I know we are crazy) and I loved the look of an over-sized hood so we invested around $1,000 extra to install the vent and woodwork. At the time it felt like a big investment but it remains my favorite part of our kitchen. We also spent money on painting the cabinets instead of doing a stain. The stain came standard with the builder but we paid $4,000 extra to paint. We knew we wanted a light grey and after lots of samples on the wall decided on this bright color by Benjamin Moore called London Fog. We loved the color so much that we carried it throughout the rest of the house in different areas.
Our entryway lights are the one part of the build that we ended up replacing after installation. When I was ordering all of the lights, many of them were not available to look at in the lighting store and so we had to order them through the catalog. For the most part this worked out but not in the case of the entry lights. In the picture the glass looked opaque but when they were installed they were almost black and did not fit the light, bright theme we were hoping for. They only had one light bulb in them so they did not put out enough light for the large entry they were intended for. We ordered a bigger light for both of these that ended up being a much better fit. I will do a follow post about those!
I love the look of shiplap and I always have, even before Joanna Gaines. In a perfect world I would have it on a majority of walls throughout our house. Trying to stay within our budget we decided to do an accent wall of it in our living room area. This wall is opposite of our kitchen and made the most sense for making the biggest impact. I wanted this main living area to be airy and bright so we choose Benjamin Moore Simply White for all of the trim, doors and and all of the white walls you see throughout the house. Simply White has a little warmth to it but is still modern feeling.
We choose an upgraded tile surround for the fireplace but saved money on the flat tiles. Instead of doing marble, we did a marble look alike tile.
Board and Batten is another finish work item I had always dreamed of doing. In our build the finish work installer charged us $800 extra to do this wall. We thought about trying to do it later after we had moved in but after getting pricing for the woodwork and professional painting of it, we decided this was a great price. This room is also one of my favorites and one we spend a lot of time in so I am happy with our decision. We choose the color Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore. I love the rich blue tone of it, without it being too bright or having any purple tones. Finding the perfect navy is harder than I anticipated.
Since we put a lot of our extra budget into the main living areas, we had to find areas to cut back on it other rooms. We had originally picked out marble for our bathroom counter tops but once we crunched all of the numbers we realized we needed to make some bigger cuts. This came in the form of putting tile in the bathrooms instead. From a design perspective this was not ideal but it was also so good to learn to prioritize and compromise within my own head throughout this process.
What a learning process this whole experience was. Overall, we have been so happy with the areas we decided to skimp and splurge on. Most of all we are so thankful we had the opportunity to make this house our own, with our unique personality and style. We are so grateful for the memories we have made here as a family and can’t wait for our future here. Please reach out with any questions about the process or the finishes.