Friday, August 30, 2019

Home Sweet Home Tour {Building Tips}

Happy Friday!  So excited about the long weekend ahead of us!  Today is the second post of my Home Sweet Home Tour.  Last week I shared the before and afters of our big home project. It's crazy to look back and see what we started with. You can see that post HERE.

Before I get down to sharing the actual rooms and individual parts of our home, I had several people reach out to me asking for tips or suggestions for the building process.  There are SO many decision that you have to make when you are doing a home renovation or when building a home.  I've put together some of the things that helped us along the way. It is a ton of information, but hoping it will be helpful to one of you!

Spend time touring model homes for design and layout ideas.
When we were in the planning process of designing the house we drove all over town to find new neighborhoods with model homes.  We would always snap pictures of neat design ideas or things we liked so we could try to incorporate some of those into our home. We also were known to find paint cans in unfinished areas so that we could find out the paint colors that were used in some houses.

Create a wish-list and decide your must haves and the things you would be OK without.
I had a list of must haves and the Mr. did, too.  For me it was a mudroom, a playroom on the first floor, and a wrap around porch.  The Mr. was dead set on a certain garage set up to meet our needs so we designed the house around those things.

I got my wrap-around porch and the Mr. got the giant garage he wanted. 
There were a lot of other design items that I had wanted, but ended up not being able to do for one reason or another, but I was OK with that because I got the things on my must-have list.

Use Pinterest as your designer.
One tip that I feel like made a big difference for me in picking out things like tile, kitchen cabinets, and all of those little details was using Pinterest. I created boards for every room in our house like Kitchen, bathroom, living room, etc. and would just pin anything that caught my eye. Anything I liked or that I thought looked pretty I would pin. Then I went back and looked at trends that I found.  For example, I had pinned a lot of kitchens with white cabinets, wooden counter tops for the island and a farmhouse sink.  So when I went to pick out those types of things I knew what I liked and it helped me feel confident in making my selections.

I knew I wanted a darker island and white/cream cabinets. 
Still happy with my choices today! 
And I LOVE having a farm sink. 
Print pictures and copy the ideas you like. 
If you have exact pictures and examples of what you like it makes it easier for other people to see your vision when. When we were picking out tile for a back splash and in our master bathroom, I literally printed out pictures and showed them to the woman helping us so that we could try to replicate and copy what we saw in the photos. I also had a lot of unique trim detail that I wanted in different parts of the house, so having photos to show the carpenters made me feel confident they would understand and deliver exactly what I wanted.

Dining room trim work in progress. 
Dining room trim work completed! 
Decide what needs to be done now and what can wait. 
The money will run out at some point.  You can do your best to plan accordingly, but there will be things that come up and cost more than you originally expected.  We decided to wait on some things like finishing the basement, adding a trellis over the garage, having barn doors on the office, and some bigger landscaping projects.  Instead we decided to finish the things like beams in the office and stuff that was easier to complete at the time of building and did some of the other things later.

Spend money where it matters. 
Unless you win the lottery, chances are you are going to be sticking to a budget. If you really have to stick to that budget, I would suggest spending the money where it matters.  Lighting and custom details are a perfect example.  We choose to spend more on some key lighting fixtures that we loved and wanted to make a statement with in prominent places like the kitchen, dining room, entry, etc. (where people would actually see them).

I was dead set on this light fixture over our kitchen table.
Then we just did basic light fixtures in places like closets, kids bathrooms, etc. We did the same thing with trim and molding.  We have 10 inch baseboards, large crown molding, and some other custom trim work downstairs, but upstairs we did more of a basic baseboard and left crown molding out of our kids bedrooms.

I wanted our entry to have a cool ceiling! 
Be patient.  
There isn't much to this one except to know that these things take time and there WILL be setbacks.  I went by our house every single day it was being built and sometimes nothing had been done from one day to the  next.  That drove me insane!!!!  I just wanted my house to be finished, but these things take time and for the most part, there was a reason something hadn't been done that day...even if I couldn't understand it at the time.

The kids loved seeing what had been done each day...and didn't mind nearly as much as I did if nothing had happened. 
Decide what really matters to you. 
We've all heard the saying pick your battles. Well this can be applied to building a home, too.  The Mr. really wanted a big driveway so that there was lots of space for people to park and for him to be able to back in our boat. I didn't want to have a parking lot in front of my house.  It was something he wasn't going to budge on so I just let it go.  And now I am so thankful for that big space because my kids ride bikes and play out there and area able to use all the space!  When they were putting in the granite for our bathrooms they messed up.  They put the granite I'd picked for the kids bathrooms in the master and the granite for the master in the kids' bathrooms.  I was upset at first, but decided in the end it didn't really matter. They would have redone it, but they offered us a HUGE discount for their mistake so it was worth it for me to just be OK with it. 5 years later, I haven't thought about that granite until writing this post.  The wrong mantles were installed on our stone fireplaces and I HATED them. Totally not what I had picked and I was not willing to live with them. It really mattered for me to have them redone so they ended up being replaced.

So happy I put my foot down and got the mantle I really wanted. 
If you are renovating, try to save and repurpose what you can. 
Because we had an entire house to start with we were able to salvage a lot of things and repurpose them in the new house.  Some of the old kitchen cabinets were used in our master closet, my blog room and in our laundry room.

Kitchen cabinets in the original house
Old kitchen cabinets now repurposed in my blog/craft room. 
We kept the brick fire place and just painted it.  We kept the existing deck and just added on to it for our screened porch and connected to it for the wrap around porch. The build-ins that were in the original office the Mr. disassembled and saved the wood from. We turned those into shelves in my son's room and in our mudroom off the garage.

Built-in shelves in the original house. 
Repurposed shelves now in my son's room. 
Brick fireplace in original house. 
Painted brick fireplace in our keeping room. 
Be willing to get you hands dirty. 
I'm thankful that the Mr. is a handy guy and liked to be a part of what was going on.  He was constantly doing something at the house.  He did all sort of little things like hanging mirror and towel rods in all the bathrooms and painting some rooms a different color than the basic color we picked for the entire house and any other little things we could do to move things along.  We could have paid someone to do that, but he was willing to and it helped the budget in the long run.
Picnic for the kids while the Mr. was getting something done in the kitchen during building process. 
Personalize the house for your families needs. 
I feel like if you know you are going to be in a house for a while, it is good to make it your own.  Some people like to worry about resale and what other people will think of it, but we knew this would be our family's home for at least 15 years so I wanted to make it work for us. We did things like 5 built-in cubbies in our for each of us!

Love having this drop-zone for all of our stuff! 
We also added a dog bath area because we knew we would be getting another big dog within a year of moving in our house. I wanted a huge playroom on the first floor off the kitchen. Some people saw it and thought it was crazy, but I loved it there and knew the kids loved being on the same floor as me. We opted not to put a bathtub in our master bath and instead did a large shower. I hate taking baths and the Mr. never did, so it just made sense for us. Whatever you want, do it!  It's your house and you should make it work for your family!

Next week I promise that we I will start sharing room by room.  I think up first will be the front porch and foyer/entry or I may do something totally different!  Tell me what you want to see!

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Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Watermelon Coconut Cocktail Recipe

Everywhere where I turn right now people are frolicking in jeans, sweaters, and sharing countdowns for the return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte. Oh my. People it's still 95 degrees out!

 With 110% humidity.

I'm sweating just thinking about walking from my front door to my car. Doing so in a sweater? Better go ahead and call in EMS for a case of heat stroke. 

So I'm going against the Fall grain and embracing the fact that it will be summer here for like 197 more days. Occasionally it might dip down into the low 80's to where I can break out my favorite jeans, but for the most part I am just continuing my southern heat survival action plan. 

The plan includes hydrating. Often. 

Hydration with a little side of rum. 

Because something has to numb you from all that humidity. 

One of my favorite drinks to make in the warm weather months is this Watermelon Coconut Cocktail

And all jokes aside, watermelon and coconut are super hydrators! And this cocktail has a lot of bottoms up!

Sharing all the details of the Watermelon Coconut Cocktail recipe on Savvy Sassy Moms so you too keep yourself cool and hydrated the rest of the Summer. 

Cheers friends! 

Do you have a favorite Summer cocktail? We're always looking for more ways to stay hydrated to share with us! 

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Friday, August 23, 2019

Home Sweet Home Tour {The Building Process}

I love getting a peek inside other people's homes and figured I couldn't be alone.  Whether it be home tours on blogs, walking through model homes, or even just looking around when I visit someone else's home, I love it all.  I decided to start a little home tour series on the blog to share all about our home sweet home.  Each week I plan to share a different room or part of the house with all of you!  

First things first though, I thought I needed to start at the beginning.  Those of you that have been around here and reading our blog for a while might know the story behind how our house came to be, but a lot of you are new or just don't know so I thought I would share some history.  About six years ago my husband and I sold the house we called home.  It was an emotional move for me because it was the house my 3 kids were babies in and the one we had so many wonderful memories in.  However, we wanted a better long-term school solution for our family so we bought a house in a nearby area that was in a top-notch school district.  We bought the house for it's amazing location and the beautiful lot that it sits on, not for the actual house itself. 

The Mr. had an amazing vision and I'm so happy I trusted him because I'll be honest, the first time we pulled up and I saw the house I was a hard NO. 

The house itself was a 3 bedroom ranch that was built in 1966 and the original owner still lived there when we purchased it.  It was outdated, almost everything was original, and it felt like living in a forest.  

The house was totally surrounded by much so that you couldn't even see it from the street! This picture shows the house looking down from the driveway.  What house you say?  Exactly!  You couldn't see it at all!!!  

Before we closed we spent months working with an architect to draft the house plans that the Mr. had drawn.  Our original plan was to add a garage, a second story and just renovate. 

Like all house projects, they just seem to morph and grow and unexpected twists happen.  One thing led to another and for various reasons this remodel turned into more of a rebuild. At one point we pulled in the driveway and all we saw was the brick fireplace that I had wanted to salvage.  Needless to say, I was stressed out, worried we had made the right decision, and wondering when in the world we would be in our house.  

We thought it would take about 5 months and it ended up being 10 months. We lived with my amazing in-laws during the process and I visited the house pretty much everyday after school with the kids. It became a playground of sorts for them, but they loved getting to see our house go up before their very eyes!  

There is so much that goes into building a home or doing a major renovation, but in the end it was worth it. We knew this would be our forever house and the one our kids will grow up and make most of their childhood memories in so I kept reminding myself of that during the process. 

We've now been in our house for just over 5 years and are still SO happy with our decision.   I know all of the stress, heart-ache and sacrifices we dealt with during the building was worth it in the end!  

Next week I'll be sharing my tips/suggestions if you are building a home or doing a renovation/remodel project. I hope you'll stick around each week to see more!  

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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Tips to Make Your House Feel Like a Home

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of CORT Furniture Outlet for IZEA Worldwide. All opinions are 100% mine.

I think one of the biggest compliments someone can give you about your house is that it feels like a home.  Making your house feel inviting to friends and family and having the cozy and comfortable lived-in feel is what makes a house a home.  It will become a place that not only you want to come home to, but it will also be welcoming to your friends and family.

I used to always want to be on the go, but now I am such a homebody!  I think a big part of that is because I really do love our home! Today I’m sharing 6 tips to make your house feel like a home.

    1    Keep it clean and stay organized.  This one is a biggie for me.  I start to feel so anxious when there is clutter everywhere, but feel so calm when my house is neat and tidy.  Stay organized with mail and school work, declutter, and put things away!  I always stress this with my kids.  Everything has a place and just putting things back where they belong will go a long way to making your house feel neat and tidy. 

   2    Add soft textiles like rugs, pillows, and throw blankets - both indoors and in your outdoor living spaces.  One of my favorite things to do to make a house feel like a home is to use pillows! 

I switch them out for each season and use them everywhere…beds, sofas, benches, chairs, and even big floor pillows.  Rugs are also a super easy way to make a space feel more put together and complete. 

Even if you have carpeted rooms, put rugs on top of the carpet to define the space and add some dimension to a room. 

    3    Mix and match your furniture.  This could mean blending old and new, finding individual pieces you love, or even doing a little DIY project to paint or update current furniture you already own. 

Your furniture doesn't have to come as a set and it looks much more interesting to mix and match colors and styles.

If you are searching for new furniture a great place to check out is CORT Furniture Outlet.

We found so many amazing pieces and loved all that they had to offer. They sell both new and previously leased furniture that has been used in model homes, on movie sets, by home stagers and in corporate apartments for a fraction of its original retail price.

    4    Personalize your home. Filling your home with things that are meaningful and memorable to you will not only make you smile every time you look at them, but it will also make your home unique and add character.  Anything from favorite books, photographs of family members, items from your travels, or just something that holds special meaning to you and your family. 

   5    Add plants - artificial and real!  I don’t have much of a green thumb, but love using artificial greenery or fresh blooms in just about every room of my house.  There is something incredibly calming about nature, so having a bit of it indoors can really have a calming effect on your home. 

I love any type of artificial greenery in interesting containers like ceramic pottery or mason jars. I also always joke that a bouquet of grocery store flowers is all I need to make my house feel like a home! 

    6    Light it up.  Adding interesting light fixtures, lamps on side tables or even just lighting some candles can really soften a space and brighten up a room and do wonders to make it feel more cozy! 

How do you make your house feel like a home?  Be sure to check out the CORT Blog for other home decorating tips!
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