Tuesday, August 6, 2013

building a new home, studio, concrete jungle & what not to do

Happy face?  Yeah.
We're standing in
our new driveway!
Alright.  The down and dirty to building a home.  Something I never want to do in my life.  Yep. I said that.  If you're not at all interested in building a home, don't read this, I'm certain I ramble through the whole post and it's long...

I thought the process would be fun.  I thought it would be seamless.  It's been neither of those for me.  Call me anxious, but I'm kind of the 'get me to the end of it, already' kind of gal and I hate the in-between stages. I suppose I have heavy expectations of others (maybe a personal fault?) since I put so many on myself, and when those expectations aren't met, I'm disappointed.  Like frowney-face and sad pouting, kind of disappointed. 

Enough foreshadowing? 

Overall, we love the new home.  It should be finished in about 3 weeks, we have a final walkthrough on the 14th of August.  Husband and I had a pretty darn specific punch list when we were house-hunting... like every other time we've house hunted, we needed to compromise:

No, Husband, you can't have a 4 car garage for under 1mill.
No, Wifey, you can't have a master closet the size of a bedroom with custom built-ins.
No, Bells, you can't have 3 play rooms.
No, Atticus, you can't have engineered hardwoods, your nails are like daggers of terror on your giant paws.

We're difficult.  I honestly felt terrible for our realtor, but she stood with us through every single one of the 20+ already built homes we toured in the North Raleigh area.  She is a rock star folks, and I am happy to pass her name to anyone interested (in the interest of privacy, I won't post it here). We saw happy homes, sad homes, homes that sat on busy streets, homes that could have potential with some tlc, and homes that we were 88% sure had a murder committed inside at some point in time.  In the end, nothing worked for us.  We gave it a good go, though, that I can tell you for certain.  We tried not to waste time- if we pulled into the driveway and knew the house wasn't going to work, we moved onto the next one.  Every time, our realtor was one step in front of us scheduling the next showing.  I am seriously impressed with her skills, yo.

We came to NC with baggage.  We have 4 cars (for 2 drivers... don't get me started), we have 3 huge letterpress machines that weigh enough to sink a tanker, we have a great dane who loves to prance around outside, and a family we want to grow (at some point, don't get all excited Mom). 

One of our last stops was at a new construction development right smack next to one of the nicest areas of our target location and a brand new elementary school just opened down the street.  Awesome.  Bells is take care of!  When we walked into the show-home, we were bowled over with the details of the house.  Sure, there were things we wanted to change immediately: we hate the contractor beige used in every house on the planet, the engineered hardwoods had to go ASAP, kinda wish we had a 3rd car garage at the very least, and ohbytheway, can we pretty please have a huge back deck?  Yes?  Sold. 

graded lot
We took a look through their 6 offered floor plans and selected one that was nearly identical to the home we had in Georgia.  We entertain a lot (an understatement), it's who we are, and we needed a relatively open floor plan with traditional elements included like formal dining room, walls (because total open concepts are weird to me), and upgradable features like adding a bedroom if we wanted (we did), premium hardwoods, better carpets, etc.  All of which, we got. 

brick foundation
Untitled We made every upgrade possible to increase the square footage and resale value of the home like extending our kitchen nook by 4 feet- which doesn't sound like much, but adding 4x6ft to the house adds up!  We upgraded carpets & pads for cozy living, site-finished hardwoods throughout the entire downstairs, added a full bath and made a weird loft at the top of the second story into an actual bedroom (with closet).  It's all in the name of resale.  A 5bedroom, 3full-bath house looks better than 4bedroom 2.5bath house, right?  Yeah, I thought so too.  We also extended the back deck to cover nearly the whole back of the house, added a 3rd garage, and asked for a crap ton of concrete to extend our driveway so Husband can easily play basketball on a full size court-- kidding.  Kind of.  We didn't do any upgrades that could easily be done after we built- like have the builder paint walls a more socially acceptable color, change out faucets, lighting, etc.  We just had them do all the really hard stuff.  Stuff that we would have a hard time doing later, or that would cost us way more to do after the fact. 

Untitled So you see, building a home means you still have sh*t to do.  We have to paint all our interior walls any color but that ridiculous contractor-beige, we need to upgrade our door levers to knobs for Bells' safety, qualified electrician for the presses, we need to rip out the horrible boxwoods the builder is required to plant(gag)... so... much...more. 

Enough about our whole dwelling: what does the studio look like?

Well, it started out as a 'utility garage.'  An 18x11ft 'addition' to the 2car garage already being built with literally nothing inside.  I added a large window, 4,244 outlets (reality: 5, but it felt like a lot more when I was paying for them...), service door to access the outside without actually going through the large driveway-garage-door, and higher height.  All in the name of comfort for when I'm out there printing for 8hrs a day.  Right now, the 3rd car garage is open to the 2car garage, so we'll be building a quick wall to separate the two and protect the presses from Husband's car fetish.

I have grand plans, folks.  Full wall chalkboard to help with order-organization, large movable tables to help with storage and workspace issues, ac/heat to make it less like a prison & more like a place I want to be in.  It's going to be a work in progress for quite some time, but I'll share some design inspiration with you soon. 

Next step: closing and moving in!  Stay tuned!


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