Thursday, January 26, 2012

Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda

Just a warning: this is gonna be a long one!  Get cozy and grab your glasses (or your husbands glasses if you can't locate your own, Donna and Mary...)!
I never played with Barbie dolls as a kid.  Decorating and rearranging furniture in Barbie's dream house was more my speed.  My cousins would get mad at me when I'd stay with them and rearrange the furniture in THEIR doll houses. 
I never became an interior designer.  Even though, it's what I always had a passion got in the way!  I couldn't wait to have my own space to decorate, that's why when we built the house, I was in hog heaven.  I'd been waiting on this my whole life!  Never did I realize how hard and stressful it is.  
Not only are all the financial decisions very hard to make, you're asked to make decisions about every single detail of a home from the foundation to the tip of the roof.  
I had ideas on what kind of granite I wanted well before the house plans arrived, but what kind of shingles I wanted on the roof?  Well, I'll have to think about that!!  
Enter my obsession with blogs.  I found quite a few that I still follow to this day.  Some were d.i.y. blogs, others featured gorgeous interiors of which I saved gazillions of pictures for inspiration to hand to the builder.  So many times, instead of knowing the name of something, I'd hand him a picture I'd printed from the internet telling him, "make it look just like this..." 
Overall, I'm more than pleased with our home.  It makes my heart skip a beat when I drive up the driveway everyday and see what WE built together.  I feel so blessed that I live there and that our little boy is fortunate enough to have room to spread out and that we have enough room to expand our family when we're ready to.  Hopefully, this won't be our last house we build (don't freak out Chad, not NOW!), but later in life, when we get closer to the age when it's harder to get up the stairs, it might be time to do it again. 
I learned so much doing this, I'd love to do it again!  If only Pinterest were around about 4 years ago....I'd be SET!! 

Anyway, here's a little taste of what I feel like we got coulda done, shoulda done, and woulda done if there were more time and money, and well.....more blogs and pinterest boards to follow!!! 

The Mistakes and Regrets: 
What can I say?
I was hell bent on a dark hardwood.
I wanted a high contrast look and Chad was very interested in white
cabinetry, so we compromised.
He got his white cabinets, I got my espresso floors.
Ok, so they look pretty good, I'll give you that, but drop one crumb,
one piece of lint, one grain of sand or salt........YUCK!
I could sweep the floors 4-5 times a day and still have a mess before I go to bed. 
If I were to choose again, I would choose something much lighter, with a more 
defined grain. 
Oh well....
The tile!  
Are you asking what tile??,,,,,,,Exactly!
Oh the tile regret I have for NOT doing a backsplash in the kitchen!
Everything I wanted was out of our price range at the time and 
I should have settled for timeless white subway tile and called it a day. 
I was so indecisive at the time and couldn't choose!  
We ended up just saying, oh well, we can always do it later. 
Now we have a kid.  
Shoulda added some pretty windowpane moulding up the staircase....
I should have used the dormers to our benefit.  
This is something that can easily be fixed later.  
We have three dormers on the top floor.  One in B's room, one in the 
upstairs lounge area, and one in the bathroom (the toilet sits in that one) 
In the future, I think I'll have someone build a window seat in the dormer in the lounge area
with an added light fixture to make it a 'reading nook' 
I'd love to do away with the extra storage mini doors (which
I never should have added, it makes me think we have elves living with us)
and turn one into a built-in bookshelf.  Maybe even turn the
mini door into a bookshelf on hinges with hidden storage space behind it.

Here's a little something we changed and I'm not sure I'm glad we did.
The nook with the bamboo chairs was originally a wall of built-ins.
Thanks to pinterest and design blogs and all the gorgeous built-in
bookshelves I come across everyday, I sort of wish we would have kept them.
No fear though, I have accent wall plans for this little nook......and the foyer!

What we may have actually gotten right: 
I bought every single mirror and bathroom hardware piece
(hand towel rings, hooks, toilet paper holders) at
places like Marhsalls, Ross, TJ Maxx and Target.
(Lowes and Home Depot can get pretty pricey)
The oval mirror in the half bath was around $19 at Marshall's and I
saw a very similar one at Home Depot for over $100
Yay me! 
My MIL had some higher cabinets with dividers built in like this in her house 
and I always thought it was the smartest idea ever. 
I copied her and dang, I'm glad I did!  The built-in dividers are fantastic for 
cookie sheets, platters, serveware, placemats and cutting boards.
This bar area wasn't in our house plans. 
It was originally a double door pantry. 
The laundry room is right off the kitchen with extra storage (cleaning closet, etc) 
so we decided to have pantry shelves built in place of the storage to hold our pantry items and 
use the 'pantry space' as a bar/beverage center. 
We like to entertain and this area has been fantastic for parties, showers, and get togethers. 
Not only did we create extra counterspace, but it creates extra fridge space and more space for 
drink ware, not to mention, it's right beside the dining room. 
Speaking of bars, this one wasn't in the plans either. 
Originally, the bar was on the opposite side of the kitchen, jutting out from the wall 
where the desk began.
My husband loves to watch t.v. when he eats dinner and the way the plans were set up, that 
wouldn't work out as well. 
In the original plans, the opening to the living room was much smaller. 
I had our architect push the left wall back further and add the angled bar so Chad could 
get his t.v. fix while he ate dinner. 
However, this made the space in the breakfast nook much smaller 
(too small for a table and chairs), 
which is why it became sort of like a 'keeping room' 
We still had seating with the bar stools anyway, so it all works out for us perfectly.

Whew!  There are actually plenty of other things I would change or do differently, but in all reality, none of it bothers me. If it were perfect, I would have nothing to gripe about, no future projects to undertake and how much fun would that be?  
The thing I like most about the house is the fact that we handpicked everything in it. 
No help from a designer.  I feel more a part of it knowing that I chose it all.....which makes it even more special to me.  
Ok, I'm finally done.  Well, I'll never really be done....but I'm done with this post. 

Happy Thursday! 


  1. Hi Katie,
    I happened on your blog through Pinterest and I'm really enjoying your posts. Your house is gorgeous! I can totally relate to your coulda, shoulda, woulda's. We built our home four years ago and I chose white tile for our powder room! Crazy making! Oh well, gathering ideas to hopefully redo it. That's what Pinterest is for. :) Amy

  2. I think it looks amazing...but I hear ya girl. There are always more things!

  3. I have really enjoyed reading about your new house. I found your blog via 6th Street Design School. Several years ago we built the same house as you, with the exception ours did not have a lower floor, thus a garage on the side. Unfortunatley my husbands work forced us to a new state, away from the house I so loved. Seeing your version of the house has been a pure delight. I first looked at your house saying, I wish I had done that.... so I really enjoyed your last entry on what you would have changed about the house.

    1. Thanks Teresa. That's so fantastic you had the same layout. Out of luck, our builder stumbled across our exact house, in a neighborhood not far from us that was near completion, only days after we began framing. It was the most wonderful thing to be able to actually walk through a completed version of our house plan and see what they changed. I would love to see what you did differently! Believe, me there's more I would have changed...but plenty of things that I'm glad we did.

  4. What a fun post! We built our house a couple years ago and I have a running list like this in my head... maybe I'll have to "borrow" your idea and get them down on record.