Want to test your marriage? Build a house together.

Continuing on this journey of moving on, we are moving through the process of building our new house.  The choices of neighborhood and house plan design seemed like easy choices at this point.  And it was not!   The harder part is when you come to choices and budget.  I used to love watching TV shows on this.  It is not as fun when it’s your money.

We selected a one story mediterranean style house and a builder (Toll Brothers).  Some of the simplier choices were how many rooms and a bathroom upgrade.   Even a kitchen upgrade to include a massive island counter.  The more difficult parts have included how to design the living room with furniture and a fire place.   In this plan we have a 12 foot 4 inch wall with the fireplace in the middle on one side of the room.  A wall of windows on the back side, a blank wall opposite facing the fireplace and the kitchen looking into this room.  I am not a fan of placing the TV above the fireplace because of the height.  And I don’t want opposite walls with competing focal points.  (you can’t set your couch in front of one or the other and I don’t want to turn my head).  I found a really cool design on the internet that I hope works.  The builder is going to let us know if they can move the fireplace so that it is not center, if so, I can place my TV next to it like this…(here is the design and here is an example of what you get in the house).  The extended stacked stone is an upgrade, I love it!

fireplacetv.PNG

Another issue will be the fact that we are going to have maybe 9 inches of depth.  We are going to have 5.1 surround sound so we need to figure out a small form factor subwoofer.

fireplace

I am not doing the extended fireplace hearth into the room.  The fireplace will just go to the floor (it’s gas).

Next is the vanity in the master bath.  So here is a picture of the bathroom as it comes. There is no vanity for doing make up.  Who came up with this plan?  Obviously not a female!  So I am adding a vanity niche (like the photo beneath it).  We are removing the linen closet and putting in the vanity niche.  I have no idea how this is going to turn out aesthetic wise, but functionally it will be better.  Usually people that try to do their own thing fail miserably, especially when they don’t have the education on design, porportion, etc.  However the two things I mentioned, how to set the furniture in the living room and a place to get ready for me are super important.

bathroom

niche bath

Another challenge will be how to re-purpose a room that is currently considered the breakfast room.  With a massive island that will have bar stools and a separate dining room, I don’t need a third area for eating.  Yet there is one.  This room, called the breakfast room opens up to a small patio outside.  I am going to try and use the room as some kind of lounge.  Whether it be for coffee or a small sitting area, I’m not sure.  I’m hoping to get a designer involved to help make this space purposeful.  With the two of us, there is no need for a breakfast room, dining room and the sit in bar area.

This has been super stressful, yet you would think it would be fun. Building will start in late September and completion will be in April.  To add to the stress, we are selling our current house.  I hope to have it on the market by end of August.  The plan here is to move into a short term lease…somewhere until our new house is ready and my son graduates high school.

Want to test your marriage? Build a house together.

Christmas spirit mood

Finally we are getting some cooler weather.  And the days are definitely darker.  This is exactly the type of inspiration to get into the holiday spirit.  Little by little the decorations are coming out.  I struggle with liking the same decorations every year, but once they are up I love the atmosphere.  Especially at night or in the early morning when you look at the soft glow.  It’s cold outside and raining.  We’ve enjoyed a fire in the fireplace twice this season.  With it usually so warm in south Texas, when it gets into the 40s, it’s cold inside. I have fought not to put on the heat and so far haven’t had too.

christmasfireplace

Another big mood setter is Christmas baking, every year I bake something to give away.  This year I wanted to try making Christmas tree brownies.  I always give myself an opportunity to try in case it doesn’t work out, that way adjustments can be made before the final product is gifted.  So this recipe called for an 8×8 pan, when I made the brownies they came out way too thick.  So I cut them in half and will use half the batter next time.  I guess I could use a bigger pan, but the brownies at 1/2 the size are perfect! My nana always made brownies, blondies, toll house cookies and rum balls for Christmas ! I really loved that ! Miss her ! I aspire to be like her , active, friendly , helpful, fun ! She was a beautiful person !

christmas-tree-brownies

I made chili too.  Texas is FAMOUS for chili.  Tonight couldn’t be a better night for it.  I have adjusted my recipe over the years and this is the one my family really likes.  The most important ingredient is the meat.  The grocery stores will provide chili meat which is usually chuck 80% lean and it looks like 1/4 inch thick tubes.  Here is our recipe for 4 people:

1 lb of chili meat

1/4 green pepper (diced)

1/4 onion (diced)

1 clove garlic

1/2 can of 14 oz pinto beans

1/2 can of 14 oz kidney beans

1/2 can of 28 oz crushed tomatoes

seasoning (1 tablespoon of cumin, 1-2 tablespoons Gebhardt chili powder)

Directions: Brown beef and add to a crock pot.  Then add diced peppers and onions, garlic, drain beans and add crushed tomatoes to the pot and put it on low to warm for 1-2 hours.  It may seem wasteful to leave the rest of the can.  If we liked leftovers, we would add more meat and use all of the contents of the cans.  Otherwise, we can just use the beans and tomatoes for something else.  We top it with shredded cheese and serve it with frito corn chips (just the regular kind) I guess I would name it low key chili.   It’s not really spicy and it doesn’t give anyone indigestion.

The rest of this evening needs to be spent next to a roaring fire with a Christmas movie. Just need the football game to finish 😉

Christmas spirit mood