30 days to close

Just about.  The house is coming along.  May of last year we chose to build a house, setting in motion a year long project.  Most of the time it doesn’t take that long to build a house.  We delayed the builder as long as they could go.  We put our house on the market in September, sold in a few days and moved into an apartment.  We dealt with the Design Center and choices with the builder, very confusing as to who does what with Toll Brothers.  We took advantage of a national sales event which gave us credits to use during the building process .  Most of the credits were used towards the extended kitchen island, exterior covered patio, and master bathroom.   For the most part we stuck to our budget.

The results are that we are happy with the exterior.  Adding corbels was extra for the elevation we chose, once painted dark,  they should pop.  My husband made a good choice with the double door entry.  And I’m happy with the changes we made to extend the kitchen island, move the fire place so that it isn’t centered on the wall, have a large covered patio and what the builder considers a luxury bath which gave us a short hallway to our bedroom off the living room.


And I like the vanity nook too (we converted the linen closet to a vanity nook for $700 bucks).  This idea solves the problem of a place to put on make up.  The nook idea worked.  All of the linens can be stored in the cabinets.  We are liking the floor plan!


Not sure we are loving the the cabinet and interior wall paint selection.  The builder grade paint has very little pigment.  Hopefully with neutral you can’t go wrong? My husband thinks it looks like we couldn’t make a decision between warm tones and grey tones.  I wish the builder would have had a little more options in customizing the kitchen cabinets.  They are a little plain.


The fireplace stone is from Eldorado stone and the color is castaway.  At the last minute, I went for a warmer tone on the stone choice.   We won’t get the exact living room setup as my idea picture I had posted a while back, however it will be close enough.  To get the firebox off the ground and narrow is really expensive for some reason.  And I though it was expensive enough just to make the change we have.  The fireplace is not wood burning , it’s just gas, so there is no need for a hearth which sticks out too much in this space.  For now we are leaving out the mantel as well.

The wood floors are to go in this week.  I still can’t believe we are this close.  For four months we have been living in the apartment.  I can’t see us living in the house, however I am looking forward to it.  It will be a major change in routine. Everything will be different.

So much to do before then.  I submitted all of the paperwork they requested for closing which was a lot.   Who doesn’t have things they don’t want to do?  Who knows how long we will be in the new house.  I remember when we moved into our previous house, I had hopes that my kids would go to school there and that we would stay in the house for their entire school years.  We were really fortunate to achieve that.  I wonder what it would be like to know ahead of time how it will work out?  We still went through hell with my daughter and had to change schools, for the most part it worked out.

Who knows what life will bring in this new location.  The best advise is to not be tethered to anything.  God provides what you need and you need to go with it.  I really wish I would have fully understood this earlier.  Still, so happy we were able to achieve our life in one place for a long period of time.  That is done and can’t be taken away.


30 days to close

Meetings Meetings and More Meetings

Building with Toll Brothers has been an interesting experience.  You need to schedule meetings to discuss anything related to the building project.  Those meetings are in person and it takes 45 minutes one way to get there.  The builder further designates some choices that you do directly through Toll Brothers and other choices go through the design center.  The design center is available for other builders as well and it is the place where you choose flooring, cabinets, appliances, and fixtures.  Keeping up with the upgrades between the design center and from the builder directly is rough.  It helps to put together your own spreadsheet.

You have three one hour appointments with the design center.  And with the builder, many more pre-construction meetings.  With the builder so far we have had:

  • Contract meeting
  • Plan meeting
  • Electrical meeting (for designating where plugs and lighting will go)
  • Selections meeting (entry door, garage door, exterior paint choice, roof type as well as glass selections for the door and windows)
  • Audio Visual meeting for designating where the TV/network/sound system outlets go.

We had to put down a deposit of about 5% of the house value then with upgrades after the selections meeting, they asked for more.  I really wish they would have an agenda for building to follow along.  It has been a surprise during the process of when and what the content of the meetings are.   We selected the lot in March and chose to delay building for an April closing.  It supposedly takes 8-10 months for the actual construction which is currently scheduled to commence in October.

One of the most difficult choices was the exterior paint selection.  The house is mediterranean style with a stucco exterior.  As we sat for the majority of the selections meeting appointment with 8×10 swatches of stucco I was completely discouraged.  For some it is impossible to choose colors from a small swatch.   Add to it the fact that this is a choice for outdoor paint and we are looking at it indoors.  Also, the builder didn’t have the roof choice (there are only two composite roof choices) to view with the color scheme. We had driven around looking at others and even took a few pictures, but to match it exactly is impossible unless you have access to look up the actual selections.  After choosing a charcoal roof with some taupe and white accent we finished the meeting and were told to go look at some houses in the neighborhood with the charcoal roof.  From a distance it looks like a roof with just tarp paper.  I quickly realized it was a bad decision. My husband rounded the corner and all of the sudden we found exactly what I had in mind.  It has the dark roof with the variation of medium to light with contrast that I had imagined!  This was another Toll Brothers house so the exact selections can be pulled.


I will say my husband wanted the charcoal roof with the house color grey with white trim. This is part of the negotiation process with your spouse!  I’m happy we could agree with this color scheme.



Meetings Meetings and More Meetings

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!


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.


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.


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.