Archive for the ‘decorating ideas’ Category

Updated Photos

August 24, 2008

Okay, I decided that it was time to deal with the massive time commitment involved and just upload our photos using dial-up.  We’ve been in the house almost a year now, so I figured it was about time to get some completed house photos up!  I have many more than this, but these pictures represent all of the waiting I can take in one day.

Here is the front exterior of the house:

Exterior Photo

Exterior Photo

And here is the rear exterior of the house:

Here is part of our backyard, with our bird feeder!

Here is one angle of our library:

And our built-in shelves full of books (and I still have several boxes of books in the closet – so much for shelf space for everything!)

Here is the guest bedroom (the lighting makes the walls look yellowish, but they’re not actually that shade):

Here is the great room:

And from the great room, looking into the dining room:

Here is the kitchen, looking into the dining room:

And the opposite wall of the kitchen:

And, last but not least of this lot, two photos of the upstairs bathroom.  Here is the tub & one of the two vanities:

And here is one wall of the walk-in shower.  It has two heads, but only one side has the body jets:


Let there be lights!

June 10, 2007

Our house now has lights, fans, cabinet boxes, and a garage door. We go to New York for the weekend, and look what happens!

Our builder, Woody Dortch of Classic Structures, Inc., is now on vacation visiting his son at the Air Force base in Texas, so things have slowed up until he returns from his visit this week.

I actually got a sneak preview of the house before my husband did, since he had to work all this week. One of the benefits (maybe?) of being a teacher is that we get laid off each June. Sure, we get a nice, long unpaid leave of absence, but in what other profession do you hear society grousing that they get the privilege of being laid off so frequently? Ah, the joys of an unsteady income! Seriously, though, I do enjoy the summers, but that is only due to the fact that I am fortunate enough to have a spouse who does, indeed, have a constant paycheck.

To get back to my point, though, when I was out at the house by myself, I encountered a fox in distress. (S)he was painfully thin, rheumy-eyed, and was staggering around alongside the road. At first, I thought the fox was just hunting something, since its head was down, and it appeared to be giving all its attention to the ground:

When I got out of the car to take pictures, though, I realized that it was either hurt or sick. My first thought was to try to bring it to the vet, so I got out the towel I carry for just this purpose in the car. My legendary towel has also been used to wrap up the likes of a possum with a head injury I found in Charlotte, so I was hoping to put it to use on that day. However, as I approached the fox, the possibility that it could have rabies came through my mind. Could I guarantee that, even through the thick towel, the fox would not be able to bite me? No, I could not. (I often have such conversations with myself on a lonely summer’s day). Having approached the fox, I then began to back away, but he’d caught the interesting smell of my towel. He walked toward me, sniffing the towel. I held very still while he gave it a sniff, visions of attack squirrels dancing through my head, but the fox lost interest and walked away. Berating myself for my cowardice, I nonetheless decided to retreat and live another day rabies-free.

And now, enough digressions – I will get right to the good stuff. Here is the exterior of our house, avec garage door:

And now, for your viewing enjoyment, I will proceed to attach photos of our lighting choices. First is the kitchen, a good place to begin, since the majority of our lives revolves around food. Here is a photo of the cabinet boxes for our kitchen island:

And here is the fluorescent light in the kitchen:

Here is a photo of our kitchen pendants and the matching dining room chandelier in the background. These are all from Home Depot:

One of my favorite parts of the house is our big back porch, that will be screened in:

We got the same fan and lighting fixtures for our guest bedroom and for the library. First, the guest bedroom:

And the library:

We purchased the same vanity fixture for the downstairs bath and the upstairs bath:

Here are the sconces for our master bedroom:

And here is the fan for the master bedroom. This is the Hampton Bay Covington model fan from Home Depot; it was very energy efficient, and we thought it would go well with the furniture for this room.

Next steps: the cleaners will continue clearing out our lot; Woody’s assistant will finish up our library shelves; the electrician will install the great room fan and foyer chandelier; finally, we will get temporary electric, so that the HVAC system can be installed and the house can begin acclimatizing for the bamboo floors.

Drywall is done!

April 29, 2007

Our drywall is finished, and we are ready for painting. It’s amazing what a difference it makes, to have the walls all up and finished. It really looks like a house, and I think it’s a lovely house. I’m very excited that we’re going to get to live in this beautiful creation.

Here is a photo of our great room wall, all drywalled up:

And here is a better photo of our finished door with matching transom window:

In our upstairs shower, the tub surround upstairs, and the downstairs bath, the builders used Durock:

This picture is of our downstairs bath, with octagonal window visible.

When we came to visit our house on Saturday, the drywall was all up, but had not had the spray sealant put on it. However, when we came back on Sunday morning, it had been sprayed, so the texture was visible. This was the sign that the drywallers were completely done and we are now ready for paint!

The reason we came by on Sunday as well as Saturday was to drop our paint choices into the Doc box. I thought we did this rather cleverly, though I’m sure millions of other people have done the same thing! We had an earlier draft of the floorplans, not showing the ICF walls, but that would be suitable to use for this purpose. We color coded every wall, showing which colors we wanted, so that there would be no possibility of error. Can you tell I’m a teacher? I anticipate confusion arising, and try my best to prevent it. We stapled the sheet with our various color choices, including manufacturer, color name, and color number, to the front of our color-coded floorplans.

We wanted our trayed ceiling in the master bedroom to have a ring of the iceberg blue wall paint around the tray area, so that is what’s color coded at the top of this page. And, of course, as part of the green building process, we are using low/no VOC paints.

Our builder, Woody Dortch of Classic Structures, Inc., has been hard at work continuing to install the James Hardie Board siding onto our house:

The first floor is almost done, and, on one side of the house, he’s finished the siding entirely. Huzzah!

Woody said something which really struck me this week, and I thought I’d mention it, since it’s indicative of the type of builder he is. I was telling him that we’d heard horror stories from other people who had new construction homes, about what a difficult and traumatic process it was. Woody said, “When you’re building a house, you have to expect that problems will come up. It’s how you handle it that makes it a good or bad building experience.” I thought that was remarkable, since it was exactly TRUE.

For example, Woody spoke with the propane guy, who said that the ugly propane vent on the front of the house could be moved, but that he (propane guy) was not going to move it (jerk). So Woody told us that he would move the vent himself, and was going to pay to replace the entire sheet of metal for the roof, so that we don’t have an ugly patch job. His pride in the finished product, as well as his dedication to us as his customers are truly remarkable. As a teacher, I generally have a low opinion of people’s integrity, but Woody’s honesty & integrity are striking!

Finally, we resolved the issue of our overly expensive floors. Woody found another vendor for us, who is going to give us just what we want: brown tiles for the kitchen & master bath, black & white subway tiles for the downstairs bath, frieze carpet for the master bedroom, and bamboo flooring for everywhere else, for very close to our budget. Here is a photo of the exact bamboo flooring we’re using: Columbia Flooring’s Ivory Bamboo.

Next steps: the interior will be painted; Woody will continue installing the Hardie Board siding; our garage door will go up; the flooring will go in; our cabinets will be installed.

We’re wired!

March 11, 2007

The electrician, plumber, and HVAC contractors have all been busy at work on our home this past week. The results look like this:

And this

And this

(The above is a photo of the tub for the master bath, the Aquamarine model by Izzi Baths).

While they’ve been busy wiring, we’ve been busy shopping. As confirmed apartment dwellers, we have no real furniture. A futon with the arm chewed up by our dog, sure, we’ve got that. But not real house furniture.

We looked at several places, like Ethan Allen, Badcock, Broyhill, Wood You, and American Signature Furniture. Our favorite at first was Ethan Allen, before we realized that, even though we would be paying through the nose for their furniture, they 1. use particleboard in some pieces’ construction and 2. exhibit all the signs of fine, Chinese craftsmanship. The floor models had big mistakes, like lopsided doors that had misaligned hardware and armoire doors that scratched up the bottom of the armoire every time you closed them! For those prices, we were underwhelmed by the low level of quality. My husband read several reviews that corresponded the decline in quality with the exportation of pieces to China to be built. Yummy…

Badcock sketched us out, and Broyhill was far, far too large, heavy, and ornate for us. We were very excited, though to find Wood You and American Signature. Both those places only sold furniture made of actual, solid wood. American Signature’s pieces were still assembled in either China or Vietnam (some one, some the other), but they seemed to be of better quality.

We really liked their Plantation Cove line; it fit with our beachy theme. We purchased a sofa (the Sonja) in celery green. The cushions are so, so soft, and have a 5 year warranty. We purchased the additional Scotch Gard protection, as this will definitely pay us back in protection from doggie paws.

We also bought, for the living room, a cocktail table. We got the rectangular dining table and 6 chairs for our dining room (all in white). For the master bedroom, we got the king bed, Simmons Napa Super Pillowtop mattress, two end tables, a tall chest of drawers, and an armoire. The master bedroom furniture is all in black, and we plan on having a black/teal/white color combination in this room.

The nice thing about American Signature Furniture is that you can put down only a 10% deposit, and that will lock in the price for you. They will hold the furniture indefinitely, at no charge, for people like us who do not have the house completed yet.

We also liked the Wood You mission style, and are thinking that we will get some combination of this type of furniture for our guest bedroom. This is unfinished wood furniture, so we would have to paint or stain it ourselves, but the prices were very reasonable and the quality seemed to be pretty good, with all-wood construction.

Parade of Homes

February 27, 2007

For anyone building a house, I would strongly suggest attending as many Parade of Homes events as possible. These are useful in many, many ways. At a Parade of Homes, you can walk through houses and see what types of floorplans you like best. You can make notes of room sizes that feel comfortable to you. You can look at features that you like; we realized how much we enjoy the 2 story great room by touring other houses.

Once your house is being constructed, the Parade of Homes serves a different purpose. When we were in Charlotte, we used the Charlotte Parade of Homes there to help with house design. Now that we are here and have our house designed & partially built, we’re using the Lake Sumter Parade of Homes for interior decor ideas.

By touring houses, we realized yet again why we went with a custom builder, rather than one of those larger on-your-lot builders that would have made us choose from a series of floor plans. We only tour the more expensive houses ($600,000+), because these are the houses with the features we’re interested in. It seems that, with the larger national builders, houses come in 2 styles. Either you have a HUGE house with lovely features that is, just by virtue of its massive size, out of our price range. Or else you have a medium sized house that’s in our price range but that is missing those details that we value, like granite or quartz counterops, crown moulding, hardwood floors and hardwood stairs, etc. There doesn’t seem to be a happy medium, so, for ideas’ sake, we only tour the pricier houses with the features that we like.

We really liked the color scheme of this kitchen, with its light wood, dark countertop, and neutral-colored tile:

We thought this bathroom was neat; the color scheme is similar to what we would like for ours, and the idea of having the shower behind the bath was intriguing.  It’s now what we’re doing with our house, but it’s a good idea for future houses!

Here is the same bath from a different angle:

I also like that you can set up drinks or candles alongside the tub.

We didn’t like this exact look, but were interested in how they used molding on their walls to make the walls more distinctive:

The Parade of Homes is also about finding out what you DON’T like, and this house made us realize that we didn’t like what we’d planned for our entertainment center.  The drywall just looked too chunky:

This was an interesting looking house in Howey in the Hills; I’d driven by it a few times as it was going up, and it piqued my curiousity.  The asking price is $1.6 million, but I would be surprised if it sold quickly.  It’s a neat house but has insuperable location problems:

It is a very, very Disney house; the builder worked for Disney for many years, and it definitely shows in his construction and decoration style.  Here is the door knocker; I thought it was interesting, though not at all suited to our beachy house.

Here is another fun photo; I liked this door – very European, and the peephole area reminded me of the Wizard of Oz.

This theatre isn’t anything we’re interested in doing, but it was fun looking:

And here are several pictures of children’s rooms that were really over the top, Disney-themed: Nemo, Pirates, and Princesses, as well as a Raggedy Ann-themed room:

The Parade of Homes is a great experience, from which you can gain a wealth of ideas for new home construction & interior design.  I would highly recommend using it as a resource and taking the opportunity to tour as many houses as possible in a low- or no-sales pressure atmosphere.