If you had told me when Jay and I first starting building, that the journey would last much longer than after the house was built, and be as hard as it was, I probably have thought your were crazy. And probably would have never followed through with building a house. It turns out that building a home is one of the most challenging, emotional and never ending process you will potentially complete in your lifetime. Building is a choice that shouldn’t be taken lightly and even after thorough consideration, it still won’t be easy. However, Jay and I knew that building a home was the right choice for us and was one of the best decisions we ever made. One of the most stressful, but rewarding decisions. I still have frequent meltdowns about our process and we have been living in our home since November!
Even though I have a tendency to have breakdown, after breakdown, about our home, I would never trade a single bit of it. It is worth every tear, “heated discussion” and struggle we have been through over the past two years. If you are considering building a home, buying a home or just want to know more about the process I would say that you should do your research, but completely go for it! I could write for hours, and hours, about our journey and how things went for us. I hope to share more posts here, and there, about that. But for today, I wanted to share a quick Q&A because I get a ton of questions, all the time, about our house and building process. I decided to just go through the most popular questions we receive and answer them, for you! As I promised, Jau and I will be doing a Q&A together, on my Youtube Channel (very soon I promise), so keep an eye out there so you don’t miss that!
Without further ado, let’s talk home building!
HOME BUILDING Q&A
What made you decide to build?
I always feel like so many people think Jay and I just fell into this beautiful home and it wasn’t stressful or didn’t cost us money.
Let me just tell you.
For quite a few years prior to deciding to build, Jay and I looked at so many different houses. None of which were the right fit. We decided that we wanted to stay in our hometown but couldn’t find any homes that we loved that fit into our budget. Everything was overpriced and needed so much work. After a lot of consideration, praying running numbers, and tears (on my end, Jay is much more sensible), we decided that it would be best to take the plunge and decided to build. My parents built their home several year ago and my mom did such a incredible job on their home. I seriously could have never made it through this process without her and her exquisite taste, and knowledge.
By deciding to build, and self contract, we were able to save money and get exactly what we wanted in a house. At the same time, however, we had to pay a ton of money out of pocket while building, hence the lack of furniture in our home now. In the end we were able to get much more than what we wanted and for a better price, than what could have ever bought a home for.
When you first decided to build your home, did you two design the house yourselves or how did you pick a design/layout? Then, how did you select a builder?
As for the layout we had such a hard time picking out a house plan. None of the plans we found fit just right. We would like the inside layout but hate the exterior look or vice versa. After month of debating we landed on a Southern Living house plan but went to an architect and had her basically redesigned the entire house. Once we were through tweaking the plans, to get them how we wanted them, the only thing that looks relatively the same is the front view of the house! It’s so hard to find just what you are looking for. I would recommend finding a good architect. We have had a few bumps in the road with the one we worked with. But having a good architect, to help you design your dream home, can make all the difference.
I can’t speak too much on selecting a builder, because Jay and I self contracted our home. Jay is a Class A contractor, therefore we were able to select a contractor for every trade. This was both a blessing and a curse. Self contracting can be extremely stressful, if you aren’t used to contracting. But in the end, the blessings outweigh the curses.
Deciding on a Brick Color
For us, deciding on a brick color wasn’t really one of the challenging parts in the entirety of our building. At first glance, we did feel a bit lost. We couldn’t decide if we wanted something more of a whitewash or a more red colored brick, we even considered stone mixtures but decided it just didn’t fit the look we were going for. Obviously if your home is going to be entirely brick, you will probably debate a bit more than what we did. We have a brick foundation and wanted something with texture and personality, but at the end of the day, the most important factor for us was whether or not it would compliment our Hardie plank. My parents home is entirely brick and I love my moms brick so much we ended up going with the same brick that they have. Our brick has a tumbled look and is very imperfect. It has color variation and isn’t too red, which I love!
Is there anything about the process you would do differently?
No matter how experienced, or talented, you are,I personally think there is always room to say that you would do things differently. In our experience, we didn’t really have any experience (lol)! Naturally building a home, as our first ever home-we both have always lived with our parents prior to building our home– was quite the learning curve. We poured our heart, soul, time and clearly a ton of other emotions into this home and have learned so much along the way. Next time, I would prepare even more than what we did. I would have every single detail selected before we broke ground and double check to ensure whatever it is, (hardware, light fixtures,bathroom mirrors etc.,), will work out in a given space in the home. I would also go with a different architect and design every little detail from scratch.
Truthfully, I think we did a pretty great job for not knowing more than what we did, this go around. Jay worked so hard on making sure everything was perfect and kept contractors moving along. This time we found which contractors we would use again, given we ever build again in the same area, and which ones we wouldn’t. There are always thing you will want to do differently, no matter what you are doing. I would definitely give myself, and Jay, more grace than what I did the first go around!
What are you favorite parts of your home? Decor, finishings, design,etc.,
Going into the process I knew I wanted our home to be a very relaxing, but thoroughly styled environment. Now, more than ever, I am learning that these things take time. Patience is huge when it comes to building a home, or just creating a home out of a house. There are so many things that I love about our home but the calm feeling generated from the wall color we chose has to be one of my top favorites. The marble accents through our tile and countertops, is even more wonderful than I could have imagined. Lastly, I love all of the brass fixtures and feature. The blend of cool tones and marble, mixed with brass and antique brass fixtures combines my two favorite aspects of our home and really, I think, creates a good balance.
Did you have priority areas? If so, what were they?
Definitely. Prior to working with an architect and selecting our plans, Jay and I made a list of all (or at least most), of the features we wanted in each room in our house. Now I think it’s essential to note that we weren’t exactly able to incorporate every, single detail that we wanted too. But we did our best to get the most of them! Call
us me selfish, but our master suite was probably one of the biggest priorities. We are newly married, with no kids so let’s just we I wanted to spoil us!
I wanted our bedroom to be a sanctuary where our individual lives and relationship could thrive and rest. I wanted us to find peace, serenity and inspiration, when surround by the softest textures and lighting. We still have a long way to go on creating that sanctuary, but we built a good foundation, with a warm fireplace and plenty of windows. We are also still working on our master closet. The master bath is my dream come true. Brass fixtures truly set off the marble shower, floor, tub surround counter tops. If I could have tiled all the walls, I probably would have.
The kitchen and keeping room were also a major priority. I have so many memories in my mother’s kitchen and Jay, and I, both truly love entertaining. We wanted an open kitchen space filled with our favorite appliances that fostered communication and long lasting friendships. If we aren’t in the bedroom, or the kitchen, you can find us in our keeping room. Don’t ask me what a keeping room is because I will just replicate whatever the google definition is. I can however tell you what the keeping room is for Jay and I. We fell in love with this little nook off of our breakfast area shortly after finding our house plans.
At first thought, we could have easily chopped it off the plans and saved some money. After a little more thought and a pinning spree-because that’s where all good blogger stories begin– we decided that might just be our favorite room in the house. So we kept it. My original plan was to make it look like this. However, that much glass is against county building code so we opted for a window seat that looks perfect. After that, our obsession with this room began and naturally it became priority. I could probably write an entire book on just this room and how it has come together over the past two years. We’ll save that for another day.
What was the most difficult part about the process?
The real question here should be, What wasn’t difficult about the process? You might get a shorter answer to that one! There were various different struggles when it came to building our home. Finances are huge. What do you invest in and what do you save on? The emotional stress and pressure it put on our individual lives, our relationship and our families, was intense. Not too mention how many decisions we had to make! Also, at the same time we were building, Jay was working two jobs (one of which is his own business he was running), I was in my last year of college and we were both planning our wedding AND building our house. Talk about stress.
As for the most difficult part about the process, I would say balance was the biggest struggle. Whether we were balancing our sanity, bank accounts, which choice to make or trying (and failing on my behalf) to not rush the process, balance was the most difficult part.
What advice would you give someone who is looking to build a home?
I would say go for it! Please do your research first, but by all means go for it. We learned so much from our process and have been so blessed along the way. Building is not for quitters, even though I wanted to quit so many times during the process. It’s not easy, it’s stressful, heart-wrenching and sometimes down right terrible. But the outcome is beyond worth it and the journey is life changing. When you are in the trenches, stressed outanddoingthework,you will probably want to give up. Don’t do it. Keep going. I can guarantee you, you will say you would never do it again, but you will already be wanting to add/change things to your home, or plan a new build, shortly after you finish!
To be completely honest with you, I don’t think I have written anything this long since college! It feels so good to sit down and write about things I truly enjoy chatting about, because I feel like the words just pour through my fingertips and onto my keyboard. As I had promised, Jay and I will be doing a Q&A together on my Youtube Channel, very soon so don’t forget to subscribe so that you can see that too! If your questions didn’t get answered, in this post, be sure to leave your additional questions in a comment here so that we can answer it together in our video Q&A!