In the last post, I talked about us finding the lot we liked a lot – both general location (proximity to things) and in privacy and scenery.
Today, let’s talk about the house itself. (Below is a picture of our actual house which we chose colors and all for, though the pic is from before the fence went up.)
The builder was a small builder who had previously done remodels and more recently full builds. We researched the heck out of him.
He just had a few floor plans available. Our last home was really too large for just the two of us at 3855 square feet. We had rooms that we never entered. So, we for sure wanted to go smaller this time.
For that reason, we were interested in his 2455 (appraiser says 2502 when he measured) square ft plan. It is a plan with 4 bedrooms, 3 full baths, and a 3 car garage. No separate office, game room, or media room like our last home. The layout is a pretty good layout for us, overall.
So, we ventured out to see some finished homes in that plan. There was one in a dark cabinet/ tan scheme and one in a white/gray scheme. We knew we’d want to go light and bright this time, so I’ll focus on the photos of the white and gray scheme mostly.
If you have ever purchased a new home before or during construction, you know very well that each tiny change means more money. So, you have to really weigh out what you want to change while keeping it in your budget.
I’ll walk you through what we changed!
Here is the kitchen from the home we saw. (THIS IS NOT OUR HOME.) Note that this home is flipped from the home we built.
I wish it was a much bigger kitchen like we’ve been used to. That is one of the main drawbacks of this home. But, to be honest, once we moved in (we got rid of quite a few things before moving) all of our stuff fit fine, though there is no extra room in the kitchen.
What did we change from their standard offerings? We had to decide what we were willing to spend extra for, it all adds up fast. So use your dollars wisely!
We added wainscoting around the front of that island so it looks like cabinetry. This was instead of the standard drywall island front. Such a change will make the room look much more finished and rich. It was worth the extra cost.
We also added taller crown molding on the cabinets. This always helps. It’s hard to see here, but their standard crown molding is quite short. It makes the cabinets feel nicer. A small cost, but big value.
We changed the countertops. Here they are marble. Marble is very pretty but it is not functional in a kitchen, in my opinion. It etches and is porous (stains). We got a similar look and color by using quartzite instead. It is a natural stone and much more functional in a kitchen. We used quartzite for all counters in the house.
We changed the backsplash from the basketweave tile to a subway tile in the pumice color (gray). This was just a personal choice. I love subway tile. It’s classic and has such clean lines.
We added pendant lights over the larger part of the angled island.
Here is the pantry. Much much smaller than our last home, but still decent sized.
There was also the choice to add a bank of cabinets that stretched into the breakfast room (see below).
Though the storage would have been great, we did not opt for that choice because it throws off the breakfast room. Suddenly the table can’t fit centered in the space, on the window. That would bug the heck out of me.
Of course, we also changed out all lighting to lights that we liked much more. We bought our own lighting outside of the contract.
And who would I be if I didn’t do a mockup of what I thought the kitchen area could become?!
These are not the exact pieces we decided on in the end, but this was my initial mockup just to help us visualize it with the wainscoting and some furniture.
The next shot is of the family room. It’s a good size space allowing for plenty of furniture, more than in our last family room. That’s my husband, probably trying to help me take pics.
We did change the flooring, though ours is similar to what you see here. This is just an ice gray which looked fine in person but was very cold. We liked the overall color scheme but wanted something a tad more warm. So, we opted for a wood look tile in plank size that brought in more warmth, yet was still gray like weathered wood would be.
And, as I change my camera focus to outside… the view. The peaceful view. This is why we loved this area and these lots.
Below is a view from the kitchen area to the front door. We changed out lighting and the actual front door. We chose a stained fiberglass door that looks like wood. In the hot desert, wood dries out fast, so fiberglass is the way to go.
Next we have the Jack and Jill bath, located between two bedrooms. Same as in the rest of the house, we changed out countertops, lighting and flooring.
You know what’s funny, I think my mom thought that these photos were in black and white at first. Nope, it’s just a gray color scheme.
Then there is the master bath. Small rooms are so hard to photograph. So this is part of the space.
Again, for our home, we did different flooring, countertops, as well as tile around the tub and in the shower. Below is the shower.
Another pic. This time you can see a few planks of the floor tile that we chose for our home laid on the floor of this home. It was a wonderful way to see it in the lighting of the home. Always check colors this way before committing. Colors WILL look different in different lighting, with different surround colors and so on. You want to see things in your own home (or one just like it) before committing to them, if at all possible.
Here is one more quick view of a few planks of the floor tile that we chose for our home laid on the floor of this home. This time in the kitchen.
Back to the master bath for a minute. Below is a picture of the master shower in the home we viewed.
The tile reaches to the ceiling which is a nice touch since the ceiling is probably 10 feet tall in the shower area. I really like having the shower in a separate room with a door this time so that it can adequately heat up the room (much better for shaving). In the vacation rental that we were staying in prior to moving into our new home, the master bath was so huge with the shower in the main area. I could not get warm enough to shave (ladies know this pain), so I literally showered in the bathroom down the hall each time, instead. I’m so happy to be able to shower in my own bathroom again!
We also opted out of the shower seat. This sounds crazy, but it can be a water catcher and molder if not perfectly installed. With my allergies, we felt it was better to just avoid that and to instead have more floor space in the shower. In the shower, we went with larger scale subway tile in our home. No glass tile at all.
In the image above you can see the tile for our home laid in the bottom of the shower.
Here is the dining room. Just to reiterate, this is not our house. This is a home much like ours by the same builder, with the same floor plan. It is a home we viewed before deciding if to purchase ours.
Same changes – lighting and flooring.
And, here is the laundry room. Lots of good storage.
Though I love the storage, I prefer a laundry room like at our last house where you don’t walk through it from the garage. But, so far, I am liking this one fine. Again, same changes in here.
In addition to the things shown here, we opted for larger exterior garage lights, more closet shelves, can lights in the family room, blinds, no arches (just squared off entries to spaces) and a block fence. And, we got to choose exterior colors and roof tile color. So lots of changes, yet a very similar look.
If I had an unlimited budget, I would change a few other things as well. I’d get taller doors throughout since the ceilings are tall, I’d add a door on the master bathroom, I might do more expensive flooring that is similar, and I would probably consider turning the dining room into an office.
I showed you the exterior of our home at the top. Here is the exterior of the home we viewed so you can see some of the changes there.
And, ours again.
Our home started construction in January and finished at the end of May. Looking forward to showing you pics of our actual home (though remember, we sold almost all furniture in our estate sale so it will be a while before we have much in the way of furniture), and pics of the vacation rental we stayed in for the past year.
Hope you enjoyed these pics. Really it’s a very simple house (though as luck would have it more expensive than our last) and is much smaller than our last, which we like. We are very happy with it so far.
What changes would you make in your home if you could?