Monday, September 29, 2014

A New, But Old House....

Are you an "old house" kinda person?
I totally am.
I just don't like "old house" problems. Like, old plumbing and old electrical wires with old insulation that crumbles when you touch it. NOT fun OR safe for DIYer's like us.
When I was in my 20's and we looked at old houses and my Dad would be all "Now, Kellie, those old houses are hard to work on...they give you too many problems and they are all expensive problems" And I would be all "OHHHHH Dad. You just don't want to do're old and you want to watch football all day. We're young. We don't watch football...we can totally deal with an old house...gah!"

Aren't I the sweetest??
I'm kinda glad that we didn't buy an old house when we were in our 20's.
We surely didn't know then what we know now.
We have dealt with a few renovations since then...

....some pretty scary ones too!
If we were to buy an old house today, after a few years of remodels and renovations, we MIGHT be ok.

BUT once you go through an old house renovation with a client or two and you experience through them what it's like, you aren't exactly super excited to jump into a similar situation.
Like once you experience pregnancy and child can't really un-experience it.
If you're like me, you experience that and you're like, "oh. hell. no.
I am NOT doing THAT again!"
And that, my dear readers, is why we are not buying an old house.
At least not until I suddenly become a more patient person like my husband.
Since that could very well be NEVER, we are going to build a new house that has an old house "feel".

How do I plan on making a new house feel old?

Here is my plan;
First, I will fill the new house with as much old, musty, and crusty furniture as possible to begin the "smell old" phase.

Then, I will have the floors and stairs installed so that they creak and that will take care of the "sound old" phase.

Lastly, I will install cracked and banged up trim with 900 coats of white paint on it so as to complete the "look old" phase.

I kid. I wouldn't do all that to a new house!! Sillies.

I do kinda want creaky stairs though.

I will achieve the "old house" look by using similar materials and finishes that were used a hundred years ago...I am currently a bit obsessed with that classic 1900's look.

Like pedestal sinks...

....those legs though!

and cool, hexagon tile designs....

....I WILL learn how to do this!
and claw foot tubs.....


 And classic architectural elements...

like BIG, tall, door headers!

I want really tall ones, like obnoxious, and "what was she thinking" kind of tall.

This past weekend we went on a Historical Homes tour and I saw my fair share of 'what were they thinking" tall headers. so I know i am not that crazy for wanting them to be so tall.

If our budget was just a tad bigger we would have transoms above each door...

 Who doesn't love transoms?
Like dumb waiters and laundry shoots, I have no idea why we stopped putting these into homes.
I'm thoroughly confused by this.

Another classic element is wooden floors.
Some of the homes we toured even had glorious floors like these...

I can't get enough of wood flooring and honestly when I tour historical homes that have carpet everywhere, usually placed right on top of hardwood floors, I get a little irritated. I know.... to each their own, but I only allow 'each their own' when they don't own freaking historical homes! Is that so unreasonable??

I digress.

Another way to get that old house feel is to use interesting moldings and details like they did in the Victorian days. I for one, am completely addicted to ceiling tiles and medallions. You don't have to be rich to have them either. You can pick up a medallion for as little as $10.

I wish that more people were that interested in such detail and were willing to invest in it.

I mean, who looks up at something like that and is like, "nah. I would rather see some drywall up there."

No one. 
At least no one I can be friends with.

This simple and elegant ceiling medallion cost $20....

no big deal to buy or install and it makes a big difference.

So, my latest home building tip, whether you like old homes or more modern homes,  if you can't afford the details to make your new home interesting on the inside, maybe consider building a smaller home. A smaller home could allow for more "wow" in the budget for the interior. I know that sounds snobby, and I guess you can always plan to do stuff later, but if you think about it, if you aren't trying to wow yourself on the inside of your new home, where you typically spend a great deal of YOUR time, then WHO are you building this huge house for? The neighbors, your co-workers, your mortgage company?? 

I have seen my fair share of GINORMOUS houses in 'rich' neighborhoods that were so boring that they nearly put me to sleep. I leave wondering if they forgot the fact that they live INSIDE their house, not outside. So, for the love of Nancy, if you're gonna build a mansion, do SOMETHING with the interior that is interesting! I don't care if you smear hot pink lipstick all over your walls and throw glitter everywhere...just do owe it to yourself and the creepy people that are going to drive by at night just to snoop. 

I may or may not be one of those creepy people. :-/

I shall leave you with this quote:

“Dream your dreams with open eyes and make them come 


– T.E. Lawrence, British soldier and author (1888-1935)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

If I Can't Dig, I Can Dream....

....And that might not be so good...

The original plan was to break ground on our house this year.
I was hoping to start digging before my birthday in November so that I could spend my birthday stomping around in the mud and pouring champagne in my face. 
Not really, but it would have been a fantastic gift for myself and my future neighbors.

Thanks to all the drama with the builder, the fact that we STILL DO NOT have access to our home plans, and the tiny, practically irrelevant, fact that the ground freezes towards the end of November, none of the above mud stomping and champagne drinking will be happening anytime soon.

That means I have about 6 extra months to ponder, obsess, and plan.
NOT good.

For several reasons.

1. I will have more time to conjure up really expensive ideas.
Exhibit A:

How much do you think it will cost to collect enough silver spoons and sparkly crystals to make a huge spoondelier??

2. I will expect my husband to make these ideas a reality in his spare time. I mean, since we have all this extra time and all...why not?? 

First on his list is turning an old dresser into something like this:

OR this....

image via Courtney Blanton Interiors

Should be pretty easy...right?? 

3. I have NEVER been without my own home/canvas to work on since I started this fabulous career of mine, so I can only imagine the sort of internal combustion that will occur if I do not have a canvas of my own that is in the 3-d form. 
I am very thankful to have several canvases around town via my fabulous clients, but I am currently without a **client that loves pink as much as I do. 
**If you love the color pink you should probably call me cuz you might get a screaming deal!

p.s. My daughter's future bathroom is my current obsession....the above dresser turned bathroom vanity is for her bathroom, which will have a modern look with that "old time" feel.

It all started with this little hand towel.....

How CUTE is that??? $6 at an antique mall!! Score!

I'm thinking her bathroom will have floors like this:

From what builders are telling me these days, tiles like these are a "pain in the ass" type of tile.
I'm like, "Quit your whining! The kick-ass tilers from the 1920's weren't complaining and  
these "pain-in-the-ass-tiles" were EVERY-FREAKING-WHERE!"

Apparently the days of linoleum and 18" by 18" tiles spoiled everyone.

4. Speaking of being spoiled, living with my parents for an extra 6 months is likely to encourage my inner 16 year old to emerge. Over the past 3.5 months I have nearly lost the ability to do laundry and cook a proper meal for my family. What will another 12 months do??

Let's not forget:

5.  I am already losing my mind and we've just started this whole thing.

I mean, I just yelled at a hypothetical tile guy.

Looks like it's gonna be a long road my friends. 

I hope you'll stick with me as I overreact to the sometimes completely hypothetical bumps on this non-essential, clearly self inflicted, "stop all your spoiled pants whining", journey called, "building your own home".

Monday, September 15, 2014

I Don't Want To Be a REAL Adult!!

I think people would agree that my whimsical sense of style reflects the fact that I just don't EVER want life to get REAL on me........wise people say stuff like, "that is when you learn the most"....I say stuff like, "I already know everything so leave me alone or I'll tell my Mom on you"

I have TECHNICALLY been an adult for almost 15 years, but I have never really felt like a real adult.

Well, up until a couple weeks ago.

This whole "build a house" thing kinda blew up in our faces :-/

We sold and moved out of our house and then moved in with my parents thinking that we were close to finalizing our home plans and breaking ground.

NOT the case.

The ENTIRE month of August we THOUGHT we had a builder and we actually DIDN'T.

Kind of hard to build a house when your builder is MIA.

It took about 4 weeks to figure out what in the world was going on.

Then, life got REAL and I had to be an adult about it. Gross.

We realized we were homeless, and builder-less, and didn't have access to the plans that we had paid for and had nearly finished!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My first reaction was to cry and be all "I just want to go HOMMMMME!"
BUT I couldn't just go home because I sold my home.
I contemplated moving back in with the new owner.
The woman who bought our home is nice and all, and obviously has great taste, but I don't think she wants me to move in with her at this point in our relationship.

Anyway, my next feeling was anger/rage.
BUT then I realized that I didn't know the whole story and getting pissed at someone and threatening to ruin their life BEFORE you know the whole story can make you look like a senseless, self centered fool, and that isn't my style. Well, most of the time it isn't. I typically reserve that side of myself for my husband. Mostly so that he feels like he won the lottery every time he comes home to me.

I eventually resolved to put on my big-girl panties and call my attorney so that we could figure out what in the freaking world had happened.

I will save you all from the entire, very long story, and just say that LIFE HAPPENS.
Even though it sucks to be on the receiving end of someone else's life happening to them, it is still wise to remain calm and collected while your attorney sorts everything out.
It is also wise to invest in a few barrels of wine and a new pair of shoes.

We are in the midst of finding a new builder and getting our hands on our plans.

So, that is how far along we have come in the building process since it all began LAST APRIL!

BUT let's look at the POSITIVES:

1. We weren't in the middle of building our house. Better to lose a builder early on than at any other point.
2.  I am suddenly more educated on the whole legal end of the process.
3. We are much more aware of the fact that the ground freezes in the winter, which is coming upon us faster than I can restock the wine barrels!!!
4. All the stress has me back at the gym!!
5. I didn't hurt anyone OR land in jail as my husband feared.
6. I wanted to build a house for the experience and knowledge and to be able to share it all with you.... I will leave you with another very important home building tip.....HIRE AN ATTORNEY.

It's just a good idea to have an attorney review EVERYTHING that you sign. Not because there are builders everywhere trying to screw people, but because bad things and life just happen.
Building a house involves LOTS of steps and LOTS of people.
Something is likely to get sticky with at least one of those steps or one of those people.

We are all hoping that this is the extent of my REAL adulthood experience.

I'm gonna go put on my tutu and eat ice cream for breakfast now.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Give Me the Acrylic Wash Stand and No One Gets Hurt!

When I figure out what I want and something isn't easily attainable, I become dangerous.

These acrylic wash stand legs have me on the prowl....

You can configure ANYTHING you want at Palmer Industries,

This is VERY DANGEROUS information to give a girl like me.

I have already located a dealer and prepared my husband that he will have to sell both of his kidneys and 500 quarts of plasma.

After almost having to buy me a puppy today, he is pretty ok with this arrangement.

Waterworks has a pretty reasonable model....

By reasonable, I mean that I didn't almost choke.

It's just so pretty!

I do love how you can customize what you want from Palmer Industries.
That means you could add a metal or glass shelf to the bottom for storage. 

Then, I would use a pretty boxes for at least a little bit of storage.

Like these...

...just big enough for emergency products.

Honestly, if it came down to it, I would totally screw the storage option if I couldn't afford it and just go for the pretty legs. 

Love makes you do stupid things.

Do these washstands make you want to sell your kidneys?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Bye Bye House.....

.........i can't even believe how fast 5 years went by...

I LOVED watching The Mindy Project and drinking wine in my corner...

This wall became think I almost painted over it five minutes after I finished it....

Bailey's big girl bed was built just in time for her 3 year old birthday party.

This was the first room that I decorated and I never got around to putting up window treatments!

Our bedroom was last...

Two pics made it into Good Housekeeping!

AND there is more excitement with a new publication coming in November!!
I would have never guessed that when the photo shoot was happening that I wouldn't even live in the house once it published. How quickly things can change!

It will be bittersweet, but awesome.

Now we just have to wait until November and in the meantime...


Monday, September 1, 2014

TOO MANY decisions.... the most common complaint about the home building process.

I get it.

That's why I'm just not going to make decisions that are not 100% necessary.

Like paint colors.

WHO made up the rule that you absolutely MUST pick all your paint colors when it's time to have the painter come in?????

I know it's easier for the painter to paint and probably less expensive when your stuff isn't in the space, but it's absolutely the DUMBEST time to pick paint colors.



Think about in the world are you supposed to pick the perfect colors BEFORE you even live somewhere?? 
BEFORE you even have the important pieces of furniture in place??
 and BEFORE you have spent ONE single day in your home?!? 
How can you even see a true color before you have experienced the lighting?
Before you even know how the light changes throughout the day??
The idea that you will pick perfect paint colors based on tiny swatches and a piece of a carpet sample is absurd. 

The rule SHOULD be that the painters come in when YOU are ready for them to come in.
Not when it is the easiest and least expensive.

it's YOUR money. YOU decide when to spend it on painting.
Whatever the cost of painting after the fact is, it's still way better than the cost of re-painting after you already paid. No one likes paying for things twice. No one likes an all beige or gray house either.

Plus, living with primer is not the worst thing in the world. 

Another stupid thing to pick right away is lighting.

I see too many homes with these...

NO Ceiling boobies!!!

I have seen my fair share of homes that are in the range of $500,000 up to at least a million, and seen booby lights everywhere. The only thing that irritates me more is when stupid parents let their kids go to school with lice.

Please DO NOT build a $500k home and have these lights installed because the builder said he can get you a pack of 2 for $22. I will make fun of you and I might not wait until you leave the room.

I would rather see this.....

or at least a start towards the fabulous things to come...

I especially dislike "builder packs" of assorted lighting.

I understand that the selection of every little material gets overwhelming and when it comes to the final piece...the cherry on top....the scrumptious dessert saved for last....people give up.

That is the DUMBEST time to give up. 

This is where most people, trusting their builder's advice, will overpay for some seriously mass produced ugly. Don't do it!

I know that I will ABSOLUTELY NOT be able to afford the type of lighting that I will want in the new house right away. I will also not be able to find the perfect lighting because I never find the perfect things when I am actually looking for them.

So, my plan is to invest in some ceiling medallions......they can cost as little as $10 or $ then plop a bulb in the center. Done.

These range from $45 to $80.....

....and they are the perfect foundation for the pendant or chandelier that I can't afford or find.

Lighting makes a huge statement and can be the most fun part of decorating your home, so don't skimp or rush your decision. Put in a bulb and call it a day.

And at the very least, if you're gonna put in a booby light, at least make it look like a real booby.