Monday, July 21, 2014

Save Room For Kent and Phyllis!!

In the last post I talked about allocating space for creative furniture pieces or built-ins in your new home plan.

You all must know by now that I'm a furniture hoarder, soooooo it shouldn't surprise you that I already have two pieces in mind for the master bath.

We haven't even broke ground yet and I have started an inventory of finds from flea markets, thrift stores, and outlets.

I recently met this piece...

His name is Kent. Clark Kent.
I found him at the Restoration Hardware Outlet and he is in pretty decent shape.

I fell for him instantly. Especially because he was about to go on sale.

I think I have a problem. 

I made this before I purchased him.

Isn't he handsome??

He even goes with an array of vanities:

and I am finding that vanities are my new addiction.

My current favorite is this one:

The Hudson at Restoration Hardware. It's just so clean and shiny!!

I do NOT like the price though. 
Not saying it isn't worth a bajillion dollars, I'm just saying I don't HAVE a bajillion dollars.
I DO know a welder though.....and a great place for I'm thinking that I might be able to make this happen for about half the Restoration price.

But then there is this pesky, real-life thing, called FUNCTIONALITY.

We could need more storage than this piece offers.
There is additional storage in the bathroom besides Mr. Kent, but I know how frustrated I get in the morning when I don't have everything I need right in front of me. So Mr. Hudson could very well just be a lusty dream for me. 

Plus, where in the world would my husband plug in his toothbrush??? 
You can't have vanities like these and then have an electric toothbrush plugged in on the counter.
That's just wrong.
It would have to be a very sleek, almost invisible, high tech looking toothbrush in order for that to be ok.

I did NOT just google "sleek toothbrush" because buying a new toothbrush to go with possible future vanities would just be insane.

Meet Issa.
I know what you're thinking.
Issa is a TOOTHBRUSH from Sweden. I swear!
She is all silicone and costs a mere $3,000. Wouldn't she go nicely with the possible future vanities?? 

I can't help but wonder how much the replacement heads are.....$1000 each??

Anyway, back to reality and my options for the "creative space"

Here is option 2:

A secretary named Phyllis.

I found her at a flea market for $175. She is from the 40's and is in perfect condition.
Errrrr....she WAS in perfect condition until I got my hands on her....she may have gotten scratched on the way home......shhhh...I feel terrible about it!

She would actually fit between the two sinks and could fold down and be used as a vanity.

Like this:

or this...

But she isn't as tall as Mr. Kent and would probably fit better in our front hallway as well as make a larger impact.

I have dreams for her that look like this:

and this:

image from Divine Distractions

image from Kiki's List

Wouldn't a pop of color make Phyllis a bit more of a statement piece for the hallway??

Black and tiffany blue never disappoints!

and the color combo reminds me of favorite little mugs...

How is a girl to decide?!?

Good thing I have plenty of time!

When I am homeless and it feels like it is taking an eternity to build our house, I will sit in my parent's basement and stare at Mr. Kent. 

Monday, July 14, 2014


......needs to be 100% finished or EXACTLY what you have been dreaming of before your newly built home can be deemed "finished" or ready to move into.

I plan to leave gaping holes.

Not in the floor or anything. Inspectors don't really like gaping holes in floors.
I mean gaping holes that might usually be filled with cabinetry, expensive doors, or built-ins.

If you dream of doorways with transoms, large butler pantries, and amazing built-ins like myself, you may soon realize that you can't always squeeze them into the budget right away, but you can plan on incorporating those things in the future. 

Besides, compromising to meet a deadline, and rushing around like a crazy person to find that perfect piece that has to fit very specific measurements is often not a good idea. And anyone who has searched flea markets, antique shops, and stores alike, can attest that when you are LOOKING for that magical piece you won't find it. That's because magical pieces FIND YOU when the time is right. 

SO, I plan on leaving gaping holes.

Like, one right between our vanities in the master bathroom.

I left a gap of about 31" for the perfect little apothecary cabinet, hutch, or secretary.

I am envisioning a painted piece with glass cabinets on top and closed storage below. 
Like these:

Or even a secretary hutch!

You don't see THAT every day!

I might even already have one!

Another idea would be to incorporate a huge antique mirror between the vanities:

That huge Rococo style mirror is amazing! 
Finding a piece like that and incorporating it into a bathroom as lovely as this is nothing short of pure design mastery. 

I would sleep in that tub!

Another area that you can leave a hole for something interesting to come later is if you have an area in the kitchen for a closet pantry, a side buffet, or desk area.

Instead of going with typical cabinetry you can incorporate something more interesting...

With our kitchen design at the moment I do not have room for anything like this but I wish I did.
If things move around and I have room, I am totally doing it!

Another area is the mud room. 

This type of built-in is nearly standard now days...

Of course I want something different and something that hides clutter a little better because as nice as these pictures look....

They are not reality. 

When I see these in people's homes they are usually so filled with stuff that I can't even see the pretty woodwork and details.

Some hooks with mostly closed storage  is better:

image via David Sharff Architects

Incorporating pattern and color as well as beautiful lighting is even better! 

You could even leave the mud room blank for the day that you find a magical piece like this!

The beauty of an armoire, or pieces of furniture that offer closed storage, is that you can hurry up and cram everyone's crap in them right before guests arrive instead of having to clean out an entire space in 10 minutes.
Just close the doors!

I wouldn't know anything about that!

I am most excited about the gap I am leaving in the bathroom.

Here are some inspirational images:

Packed with turn-of-the-century charm and unexpected pieces....

I think I am most excited for the bathroom because I have never worked on my own bathroom before.
We just painted the vanities in our old house and called it a day.
They were never a real priority even though I had dreams for them.

Now I have a few bathrooms to do and I want them to be awesome.
Even if that means having some empty areas and cardboard boxes for storage for awhile.

Have you seen any random pieces in a new home before? 
I would love to hear about them or even better, see pics!

Until next time.... :) 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Closets & Kegerators

Two VERY important things. 

This whole home building process is bringing out a new side to my husband.

This new side REALLY cares about things like the location of our vacuum, having an abundance of cold beer and pickles, and the depth of the doors that will ultimately lead to the toilet. 

Who is this man?? 

If you have been following my blog over the years or just happen to know me, you are probably aware of the fact that when it comes to most things home related, I run the show. 
Not that I don't want him to, he just doesn't usually care.

He suddenly cares.
About kegerators.
and vacuums.

I'm not complaining.
I just think it's funny that all of a sudden he cares about really random things.

Please note the location of said kegerator in the garage.

A man should have a nice garage with a keg. 
Who am I to hold a man back??

Plus, I got my closet for coats in the front entry AND a closet in the office for supplies, so I guess we're even.

It is also important to note that for re-sale purposes, we have space behind the entry door to the office for a small closet, should we ever want to have this room considered a "bedroom".

Now that we have the most important elements of our home plan covered (closets and kegerators) we can move on to other really important things like, hidden doors and dumb waiters!

I half-seriously requested a dumbwaiter.
Mainly because I think they are cool, but also because my Dad might need to send up some of his delicious chicken marsala or my Mom might need to send up a huge rhino beetle or something to scare the bajeezees out of me and Bailey. Retired people do crazy things.

Anyway, I thought it was a big deal to ask for one, but my amazing builder just included it in the plan like it was another toilet or something. I wasn't going to argue.

Also, dumbwaiters totally bring back memories of watching Webster and eating chicken noodle soup.

I just hope that when our budget explodes that I won't have to let go of my dumbwaiter dreams!

We also shrunk our closet since I am easily overwhelmed with choices in the morning...

It's a much more reasonable size and it won't encourage me to shop til I drop.
Not that I won't, but I certainly don't need another excuse!

I also wanted saloon-like doors opening up to the toilet room.
The kind that squeek and swing back and forth.
Just kidding.

We actually asked for french doors. Possibly mirrored on the fronts, like these:

I fell a little silly having doors close off the toilet room because I know that they will remain open 98% of the time because my husband and I will be too lazy to shut them. 
So, if they are suddenly closed some night that I come home alone I WILL, 100% guaranteed, think there is a serial killer inside my toilet room.

Unlike most women, I will not run and grab a high heel shoe and barge through the doors thinking I am going to scare off an expert killer. I will, however, open my secret jar of fire ants and my box of poisonous snakes and let them loose under the doors.

Maybe I will have a fancy plaque made with an inscription to warn the hubs and the prospective killers.
I figure by the time the expert killer reads the inscription on the plaque, it will be too late. 
Who needs security systems anyway??

Now that we almost have the first floor plan finalized and the closets all situated, I can finally share some of my plans for each room and how I plan on making our new home feel like an old home, filled with character. 

Stay tuned! 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Don't Forget The Closets! Or Should You??

I totally forgot about putting a closet in the entry!

The home plan that we are basing our plan on doesn't have a front entry closet and I didn't even notice until recently.


No closet to put some coats or shoes or even store the vacuum.
How did the planner miss that?? 
Are entry closets SO last year??

If they are, that might not be a trend that you want to follow.
We remedied our no hallway closet situation by cutting into the master closet, which is waaaaay too big.
The real plan now has one right by the front door.

Wait.....What girl says her closet is too big? 

The closet I have now, plus the closet my husband uses, is not even half the size of this one. I do not plan on increasing my wardrobe by 100% either. Excess isn't cool and I figure if I have the cash to buy that many new clothes, then i have the cash to put some clothes on a person that doesn't have any. 

Having more selections than 10 to 15 outfits just makes it more difficult for me to get dressed in the morning. IT also sucks the life right out of me and that isn't a good way to start my day. 

Have you ever noticed how some famous people seem to always be wearing the same outfit???

It's most likely because much of their day involves decision making and they don't want to waste an ounce of their decision making power on their own clothing. I get that. 

Here is a list of those most noteable for always dressing in the same way:

Steve Jobs
Carrie Donovan
Michael Kors
Grace Coddington
President Obama
Tom Wolf
Johnny Cash
Albert Einstein
Simon Cowell
Karl Lagerfeld

I figure if Carrie Donovan, Michael Kors, and Karl Lagerfeld can get away with always wearing the same things, then I can too.

Besides the fact that fewer selections means getting ready faster, it can also be crucial to creating your own brand. 

“Consistency of all kinds is what builds brands,” Schawbel says. “People who wear the same thing, have a catch phrase or two, and associate with the same people are more memorable than those who don’t. It says this is who I am and this is what I enjoy. I think it’s a rather positive thing that helps people identify with them and allows them to just be themselves.”
-Dan Schwabel

So when I am feeling too lazy to get dressed in something different I will just call it "brand building" and move along with the rest of my day.

Don't get me wrong..I do daydream about a fabulous closet! Just not a HUGE one!

A smaller version of Dallas Shaw's closet would be spectacular!!

or this closet by mlh design....

You know I am attracted to the black and white Deco look!

And this one with what appears to be a Caitlin Wilson Floral drives me CRAZY!!

Don't be surprsed when you hear about me living in my closet for a week while I make it look like this. 
Just slip some pizza under the door and I'll be fine.

So, when building your dream house, keep your eyes peeled for necessary closets and those that maybe aren't so necessary. 

I know that real estate experts will tell you that huge closets are a plus, but are huge closets really a plus to your everyday happiness? Not mine.

I have a feeling that my future teenage daughter is going to strongly disagree!

Next up is how to walk through a plan to see if it works for how you actually live.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Choosing The Right Plan.....

...It's not the easiest thing to do.

It's hard to tell how a floor plan will actually fit your lifestyle based on the little images that you have to start with. If you do not have a set of builder's plans or the priveledge of starting from scratch with an architect, then you are basically on your own to find a plan that you can work with.

There are only 98,450,934,709,376,921 to choose from!

This is NOT our floor plan, but this is a perfect example of a home plan with several features that would help narrow your options. This specific plan would require a rather wide lot that is also fairly deep. Most lots, at least those that are not out in the country somehwere, tend to be either too narrow or not deep enough.

So, the first thing you need to know when looking at plans is what your lot dimensions are.

It's actually a good thing to be restricted by lot dimensions when there are so many options.

This is the first home plan that I fell in love with.
From Architectural

Of course it was much too wide. By about 20 feet and you can't exactly shave off 20 feet without cutting out the kitchen or some other room which is intended to make living in a home less like camping.

I don't like camping.
So this plan got cut.

My hope is to make the real house plan look like this one.

I will keep you posted on how I go about achieving this look with this general plan:

We do not start our real plans until June 25th and knowing me and how often I change my mind, we won't be finished with the plans until 2016. 

The second thing to narrow your home plan search is usually the square footage.

We have a square footage requirement to meet in our subdivision, and that led to a larger home plan than I would have usually been drawn to.
I am a smaller house kind of girl. They are easier to decorate and maintain.

For those of you that will come over to our new house and ultimately find it to be a little messy, I will just blame it on my retired parents who are very likely to come upstairs, make huge messes in the kitchen, throw laundry everywhere, and then go back downstairs to play video games and make snap chats like a bunch of lazy teenagers!

Floor plans are tricky though.
You might start browsing and find yourself looking at 5,000 square feet and not even realize it.
Then, after you fall in love with a plan you're like, "hmmm......I wonder how many square feet this is...doesn't look like too much....5,589!?! Pfff... I'm not cleaning no 5,589 square feet!"

thoughtful pause

"ohhhh.....I guess the real owners of this 5,589 square foot house don't really have to worry about cleaning"

That isn't us and I'm pretty sure I max out on cleaning right around 1500 square feet.
That means the rest is up to our five year old.

The third thing that will help narrow your home plan search will usually be the placement of the garage.

Are you front facing or side facing garage people?

We are side facing people because no one needs to drive down the street and see the contents of our garage. We work on stuff and it gets real in our garage. We don't mess around, but we don't need everyone to see that.

Let's face it, garage doors in general are just not that pretty. They can be cute and all, but in general, the front of the house is usually cuter and I don't like the garage trying to steal attention. 90% of the time it's just not worthy.

Plus, we needed room for an extra 2 car garage for my parents. Home plans that can accomdate that are NOT easy to find!

They keep their garage nice. I mean, they keep their garage nicer than we keep our house, so theirs can be in the back facing the street. We will also pretend that their garage is our garage when people ask and blame the messy garage on my parents. That's what they get for agreeing to live with us.

The last thing that might help narrow your plan search is the location of the kitchen and whether or not it is open to the areas that you wish.

I wanted a kitchen that is big and open to the breakfast area and the great room.
Like in one straight shot.

Like this:

In a straight line.

Straight lines are hard to find!

There are all kinds of L shaped kitchens that have a breakfast area that lead into the great room and then turn the corner to the dining room. BUT it's hard to find them all in a row.

I will post the real plans as they are made and describe why I chose certain things and how they work for us.

Next up I will talk about important, functional aspects of your home that you might forget to include in your home plan.
No joke.
Forgetting things like closets and important rooms like bathrooms really happens people!
I don't want it to happen to you!