Tuesday, February 13, 2018

dreamy things

Decisions are coming and going before I can even process them well. So I'm going to go ahead and nail down some virtues of a dreamy home. (Except that our version of a dreamy home is, of course, a mortgage-free home.)

We are narrowing down the main area flooring options, with a few favorites from local vendors Meeks, Vermillion and Mouery's Flooring.

In dream world, our floors would look like this (wide-plank white oak, essentially):

From Pinterest, the birthplace of all ridiculous dreams.

And my mudroom, bathroom and laundry room floors would look like this: 






And the kitchen would look like a combo of these. Basically, fat light countertops, textured backsplashes, light cabinets and some open shelving. (I could look at backsplashes and light fixtures for days, people. DAYS.):









I'd also like some concrete countertops, beautifully tiled master showers and one of these garage doors that opens up a whole wall of our house. A girl can dream, right?



And there you have it. My materialistic dreams. I'll be back on another day to discuss reality. :o)


Saturday, February 10, 2018

our dream home

People have asked if we are building our "forever home" or if we are building "our dream home."

Short answer: No, not really.

Obviously, we are planning ahead when designing aspects of this home so that it will work for us in the future. We are leaving the basement unfinished so it can be a gymnasium for our kids until they need more actual living space. (Also, kids ruin nearly everything, so there's no need to finish the basement and then be anal about how it's being used when we aren't down there. "This is why we can't have nice things," is an oft-quoted mantra around here for good reason.)

Obviously, we would like to live in this home for a while.

But obviously, we realize that God is in control and could have us change our plans at any point.

That said, we are NOT building our "dream home." We are building a home we can live in and that we find mostly attractive, but because we want to steward resources well and plan ahead for when we will have bigger bellies to fill and more activities for which we have to pay (and college for four kids---OMGoodness), we aren't putting absolutely dreamy features all over this house. Maybe we will include a few elements we love, but this home will not be the whole shebang of awesomeness.

We are Dave Ramsey fans, so this process of building a home has been a smidge difficult to navigate with his ideal of paying cash for everything in mind. With a home, the ideal of paying cash is obviously not going to work, but with regard to some non-necessary features we find ourselves thinking, "Do we really want to pay for this extra feature for 15-30 years, thus making us pay triple the actual cost?" No, no we don't. (And of course, Dave has shared some wisdom regarding navigating the home-building process while sticking to a budget.)

Which is another reason we chose not to finish the basement right now. Our plan is to finish it with cash as we live here, but we will see how that goes. We'd love to finish a room and a bathroom sooner rather than later so we can house some college students down there. (And also so we can send our dirty kids in from the outside to use the basement bathroom instead of upstairs. That idea will hopefully help us keep the nice new things nice and new!)

So, while it's not our absolute "dream home"--harshly evidenced this week in the vinyl siding options from which we are choosing and the likely absence of large hexagon tiles from my laundry room--it's a solid roof over our heads and we are grateful for it. I like pretty things, so I hope to be able to make it pretty. However, we have specific desires for our home and how it will be used, and being dreamy isn't among the top 10 in that list of desirables.

And to us, the only "dream home" is a home without a mortgage payment. THAT would be dreamy. 

Friday, February 9, 2018

a roof over our heads

We are moving right along with the home building process. We have a roof over the top of the house, which was completed in about two days, and our well company completed our well on Monday. They had a bit of a snafu when the large drilling truck didn't quite cut the corner wide enough getting out of our driveway and ended up in the ditch for quite some time. Oops. I felt bad, but they handled it like champs. (A&B Well and pump service in Rogersville is the bomb, guys. They serviced our well at the old house and absolutely went above and beyond.)

So here we are, mulling over new decisions. For example, I met with the cabinet maker a few weeks ago, and I should have been a bit more prepared with cabinet ideas. I just had no idea about some of the things I should even consider.

Cabinet guy: "Would you like (insert some awesome cabinet feature)?"

Me: "Of course, if it will fit in the budget."

Cabinet guy: "Ok, would you like (insert next awesome cabinet feature)."

Me: "Sure. I love that."

Cabinet guy: "What about (insert next awesome cabinet feature)?"

Me: "Just bag it all up. I want it all."

Cabinet guy,  a few weeks later: "Here's the estimate for the cabinet work."

Me: "GULP. We will need to make some minor adjustments."


So I guess what I'm saying here is that decisions are hard.


Friday, January 12, 2018

status update

Well, we've come through a few weeks of family sickness and super cold temps, so I've been trying to wait patiently and lie low to get through to warmer times. (Truth be told, I still have a sick child leaning on my shoulder as I type.) Sadly, see no warm temps in the near future.

The framers haven't gotten much done with the frigid temps and the holidays, but the house is coming along. Maybe the delay has been good, because we struggled for a solid week over whether or not to go with black or white windows. I didn't see that big of a struggle with decisions coming regarding windows, but I guess the tough decisions start early.


I mentioned the struggle on my Instagram, and several of my friends had some great insight on the topic of windows. (If you are building a house, ask around and check around. Find someone whose style you admire and follow them, ask them, even copy them. It's a compliment!) Basically, due to limited options in colors in the builder-grade windows for which we were planning, the black window option was quoted at about twice the cost we had anticipated. Fortunately, our builder--Pirtle Homes--worked with our local building supply company--Meeks Lumber--to find an option that would work well for us. They found a different brand of windows, still just as good or possibly even better than the originally quoted option, which helped us trim about $5,000 from the price of black windows. We chose to leave the windows in the basement with unprimed interior frames, which saved us some money, as well. Those will be pine on the inside, and I can finish them however I'd like after we get moved in. (I like a good home improvement project anyway. Before having kids, I used to paint walls of our home every time Brad went out of town.)

So, now that windows have been chosen we have moved on to soffits, facia, and roofing materials. We went with a "gray" roof color ("Estate Gray"), and soffits and facia are still TBD. I'm thinking they should be white or the same color as our painted brick will be (which I anticipate will be something like "Repose Gray").

The day after we chose to "splurge" on black windows we found out that the lumber for our house cost $5,000 more than originally anticipated, so that caused a minor panic attack for me (the planner, the person who likes to know where every dollar will go and who has worked out our budget up one side and down the other just to know all the variations that could come about in building this house). It's hard to determine lumber costs when building a house, particularly since lumber costs change quite a bit in an of themselves and because it's hard to determine how much lumber will really need to be used. Therefore, I know these things happen in building a house and I'm sure it will happen again. But I did spend a few more hours awake in bed working out a new budget in my mind to satisfy my need to plan.

I'm already looking at hardwood floors and tile, as well as countertop options, mostly because I think those options are fun to plan. Exteriors are pretty and awesome, but I'd much rather work on the inside of a home.

I love the floors below. Natural, great variations, wide planks. Yum.

I love this top one, with some gray mixed it. I think black windows with this would be spectacular. It's from Vermillion Flooring in SGF, but Mouery's has something similar. Now I just need these options to hit in my price point. :o)

From the Springfield HBA Dream Home.


House planning isn't the only thing we have going on around here (but it's all I'm writing about today). We've also been working on Lotz goals for 2018, planning some new things we'd like to do in the new house, and doing the Whole 30 (I mean, I am cheating some with chocolate and coffee creamer, but Brad is rocking it strong-style). One of my goals was to blog more consistently in 2018, so I'm basically already failing at that. Boo. Check ya later.

Friday, December 8, 2017

perspective

The leaning pole in this pic is holding electric wire over our new driveway.

It's a weird thing to take a picture of, but I took it to serve as a reminder. I traveled to Zimbabwe and Tijuana in 2017, and both were bold reminders of the blessings we experience here, and thus the need to be mindful of how we are stewarding what we've been given. 

Zimbabwe, where the people are beautifully joyful and full of energy themselves, often experiences blackouts due to unreliable electricity. People don't spend their evenings glazey-eyed over instagram photos or Facebook rants, nor do they spend their time worrying about their electricity; they spend their time with other people, and some of the most amazing citizens of Zimbabwe help others in amazing ways

And in Tijuana, just five miles away from prosperity and reliable systems (electricity, internet, water, road systems), people are hauling water buckets up 15 flights of stairs up the side of a cliff so they can wash a pot and a pan and then themselves. And they are helping elderly women with canes hobble down washed out roads atop mountains. They are sweeping dirt floors and wishing for access to good healthcare. 

And they are celebrating weddings with songs sung over sound systems powered by poles that are barely standing up straight, poles like the one in the picture below. One of our friends told us of a wedding he visited while in TJ. He was trying to remain inconspicuous, standing behind the crowd and leaning on a pole, only to find that the pole began to lean and fall down, pulling wires from above him and then pulling the wires connecting the wedding sound system to power. He was leaning on a wonky electric pole. He and a passerby scrambled to pile more rocks around the pole to steady it and allow the wedding to continue. I'm not even sure many people noticed the incident, to be honest. With poles set using a bit of dirt and rocks, loss of power seems inevitable. 

Lastly, in DRC, where Clementine is from, where we lost two children we had hoped to adopt, and where 31 of 51 children in one orphanage in one community died due to dysentery, caused by unclean drinking water. Unclean water. Clean water is such a gift, and I take for granted every day. 

So the pole here is a reminder to be thankful for what we have, including even the often annoying systems, rules and governments that regulate things like electricity and where we can place a well and how close driveways can be to one another. Sometimes those systems and rules seem ridiculous (and they can be very ridiculous!), but overall we must be thankful for them, because they enable us to have reliable systems in place. 

But the pole is also a reminder that while it is fun to dream and scheme about building an amazing house, we want to be sure our budget allows room to give to others, in whatever way God may ask us to give in the future. We need a bit of wiggle room (very tricky on a pastor's budget anyway, even trickier when trying to build a house for 6+), which means we need to make sure we don't go crazy with additions and upgrades in order to stay within our budget. It would be very easy for me to get carried away and upgrade all sorts of items (flooring, and countertops, and tile, oh my!), but I can't let the thrills of all of the pretty things get in the way of the joy that comes with giving. 

(So if it ever looks like I'm going crazy and upgrading everything over here, remind me of this electric pole.)