Let's start with the front exterior. A few days before we left the new front doors were installed and the landscaping began. We chose the basic package for landscaping because I have ideas that would mean tearing up anything the landscapers are putting in now. The basic design I was sent looked good enough to live with for a year or two. They started with the beds and even though the plants are small I was impressed.
Then they put in the grass and I noticed a huge oops.
The huge manhole in the grass is a big eyesore. I knew it was there and we had talked about incorporating it into a flowerbed before we even started building, but I had forgotten about it because it blended right into the dirt for months. It's no big deal though. We've already talked to the builder about getting an additional flowerbed added there.
I can't tell you how excited I was to see my new front doors installed. It's one of my favorite things about the house.
This floor plan did not come with an option for double doors, but I asked if it was possible to have them before we signed the contract. It was debatable if they would fit and I was so excited to find out we could just squeeze them in. I was warned the entire entryway would be taken up by the doors. Who cares?! They are amazing and it works so well for this plan because the hallway tends to be really dark. I was able to add privacy glass to the doors since they are custom made, too. We're still in the suburbs and don't want everyone walking by to be able to see inside the house.
The backyard is pretty basic with just grass and a few shrubs. We'll be getting a pool so I'm not concerned with the landscaping until it's in. I'm just happy we have no rear neighbors and other houses aren't an arm's length away. My husband is really concerned about the slope on the side of the house. We were told it wasn't severe enough for a retaining wall, but the builder did add extra dirt for us to decrease the slope. I really can't bring myself to worry about a slope on the side of the house. It's funny that my husband is more worried about the yard than the actual house. Men!
This is what's important to me in the backyard.
The minute it cools off this fall I will be sitting here with a glass of wine in front of the fire. It's a gas fireplace with a switch so I don't have to worry about lighting it. I have always had my husband light the firepits in our current house. That flame jumping out at me always freaked me out. There's an outlet above the mantel for a TV, too. It's going to be like having an extra living room. Come on, fall!
Here's the view inside of the front doors and newly stained stairs.
The floors have also been stained the same color as the stairs, but are covered to prevent scratches. I love everything about this picture except for the lighting. It's not terrible by any means, but I really can't wait to put in my own lighting. I was impressed by the finish options offered compared to what builders around here were putting in just a few years ago, but the lighting packages weren't that great. At least it's easy to change! Well, the entryway and living room lighting is going to cost quite a bit since I will have hire someone with scaffolding to change them.
We had a bit of an issue with the kitchen backsplash before we left and thankfully it has been resolved. I knew when I chose white subway tile with gray grout at the design center the installers would have to be very skilled. Every tile has to be laid perfectly since the darker grout highlights crooked tiles. I was assured by the design consultant the installers could handle it and I went against my better judgment and chose the gray grout. Argh!
At first glance I was excited and then I noticed the huge grout lines. Then, I noticed the crooked tiles. I had asked for thin grout lines in advance since I've installed my own tile and know there are different options. The bathroom tiles had thin grout lines like I had asked for, but something went wrong in the kitchen. I was later told I would have had to pay extra for thin grout lines and it should have been specified on the final option list. The design consultant had told me to just inform the builder, which I did. No one remembers me asking for them so the moral of the story is to write down everything you want no matter how small the request. Honestly, I could have lived with the larger than normal grout lines. The crooked tiles were just a deal breaker. If you stood to the side they almost looked like they were in a wave pattern. I was told they could fix them without replacing the entire backsplash. I knew there was just no way, but I was willing to let them try as long as it didn't delay our closing date.
I have to admit I was annoyed at the tile people. I installed my subway tile backsplash with tan grout and it's not crooked. I'm not even close to being a professional tile installer either. And, the grout line sizes are just not normal here. I can fit the entire width of my finger in the grout. It's almost as if a brick layer did this. I'm just baffled and did not trust these people to give it a second try. I told the builder if it had to be replaced to use white grout next time because it won't show the imperfections like gray grout. I was nervous that if they messed up a second time that it would affect our closing date.
And, of course they had to replace it! I knew there was no way it could be fixed. Thankfully, they remember me telling them to use the white grout because on close inspection these tiles aren't perfect either. It's not noticeable so I'm not going to worry about it. The grout lines are smaller, too. I would have preferred the gray grout, but it really isn't that big of a deal. It won't look quite so white in here once the accessories are in and you can see the contrast of the wood floor. There are also two outlets above the island for pendants that will add a little oomph. I've got it narrowed down to two options that I show you soon.
Side view. The doorway leads to the laundry room, garage and pantry. Unfortunately, the doors all bang into each other since it's such a small space. I had asked for pocket doors, but was told it would be considered a structural change. I have a couple of ideas to fix it though.
Here is a bit of the stained wood floor with the gray island. I love the way the colors look together.
It's all about touch-ups now that we're in the final stretch. I noticed the walls looked like they got touched up, also. The wall color looks closer to the color I had chosen now. It's an almost white griege. We only get to choose one color for the walls and the ceilings are also painted the same instead of white. I chose the color I wanted in the rooms with tall ceilings. I figure everything else can eventually be painted much easier and cheaper.
Another issue we have to address is the late afternoon sun. The backyard faces west and even with the covered porch we still get a ton of sun through these windows. I would like to keep the sun from hitting the house instead of using shades because it also makes the covered porch unusable in the late afternoons. I've considered outdoor drapes, plants and even outdoor shutters on the porch. I think we're just going to have to wait until we move in and see how long the sun floods that porch before we make any expensive decisions. At least we can keep these windows bare for now since there are no rear neighbors!
It's not the most interesting of pictures, but here are some of the laundry room and pantry. These are some hard working areas in our home with three kids so I have to make them functional. I'm excited to have cabinets again above the washer and dryer. I really missed having them in my current house.
I know some people would like having a clothes rod, but I don't fold or hang up clothes in the laundry room. I prefer to do that in the bedrooms where the hangers are. I do need a mudroom for backpacks, sweatshirts and hats. I think this would make the perfect mudroom wall. I haven't decided if I'm going to keep the shoes in here or the garage yet. The boys can't seem to put their shoes in the cubbies and the last thing I want to is have a room full of dirty shoes. And, how gross would it be if I dropped clean clothes on that floor? I'm leaning towards the garage just thinking about it.
The pantry isn't huge, but it's still over twice the size what I have now. The shelves are shallow and I prefer it that way since we have so many things that get lost in deep pantry shelves. There's also another set of shelves on the right. The original plan had no shelves on the main wall in front of you, just on the sides. I had asked for shelves in the middle and I think I will be able to fit so much more in here now.
There are so many more rooms to show you, but my husband keeps staring me down and sighing the longer I'm on the computer instead of packing up the house for the move. I'll update you soon!