Building a Dream House: Home at Last!

Hi! I’m Melissa. I write about food, family, and farm life at Lulu the Baker. My family and I are about to fulfill one of those good, old-fashioned life-long dreams: we’re building our Dream House.

Well, it’s finally happening–we are moving into the Dream House this weekend! We started this project 15 months ago, and it’s a little surreal to have it finally wrapping up. It has always seemed so far away, and now move-in day is actually here! My last post was way back in August, when they had just finished painting, putting up trim, and installing the front stairs. As you can imagine, the last 2 months have brought about a million big changes!

Instead of just giving you a run-down of what’s happened since my last post, I thought it would be fun to give you a mini house tour! The master bathroom is one of my favorite rooms in the house, so we’ll start there. When you’re building a house, unless you have an exact picture to give your contractor, you’re basically just crossing your fingers that everything you pick out looks good together. This is one of the rooms where all of the details ended up looking amazing together! We went with 2? white hex tile on the floors, and long subway tile wainscoting behind the claw foot bathtub and vanities. These vanities are something special. I fell in love with some really expensive vanities in a magazine, and we used custom cabinetry and ikea sinks to get look-alikes at a fraction of the cost. A true dream house success story! For the shower, we went with the same long subway tile on the walls and ceiling, with a really gorgeous glass mosaic strip at eye level and on the face of the shower bench. All together, the bathroom looks really serene and relaxing, which is just perfect for a master bathroom!

The dining room and living room are on either side of the entry way. The dining room has the same gorgeous hardwood flooring as the entry way, while the living room has grey carpet. We opted for carpet in the living room to help keep dust bunnies at a minimum, and because the piano is going in there. Carpet seems like a better choice to help keep the piano from getting too loud and echoey. Both rooms have a beautiful sliding barn door, one of the dream house details we’ve been most excited about! After getting kind of outrageous bids from a few door companies, we finally found a company that makes stunning barn doors and hardware, and can ship them already assembled, for a price that was within our budget. They look really amazing on the walls! We also have some gorgeous glass wall sconces flanking the front windows in each room. We bought them in April 2013–over 18 months ago!–and it is so exciting to see them installed after such a long wait. We still have a few light fixtures that need to be installed this week, then the living room and dining room will be ready to go!

The family room has some really beautiful details in it, which is wonderful since that’s one of the rooms we’ll be spending the most time in. We weren’t sure at all which direction to go in with the fireplace until the very last minute. It was one of those times when we made a decision because we were out of time, not because we had fallen in love with anything yet. We decided to go with floor-to-ceiling stone with a stained wood mantel. Luckily, we love how it turned out–after a few hiccups. The day they were installing the stone on the fireplace, I got an early-morning phone call from my husband asking if we wanted a strip of decorative stone trimming the fireplace doors. I couldn’t even picture what that would look like, and the stone guys didn’t have a picture to show us, but they said they do it all the time and it looks great, so we told them to go ahead. When I walked into the house that afternoon, I spotted that decorative trim right away and hated it. But it was literally set in stone, so I just resigned myself to disliking my fireplace! Last week, when the people came to install the doors on the fireplace, they discovered that the strip of decorative trim prevented the doors from being installed correctly, so off it came! Such a happy mistake! I love how the fireplace looks without the trim. And the mantel matches the exposed beams that criss-cross the ceiling, and tie everything together beautifully. The whole room looks cozy and inviting, and perfect for snuggling on the couch to watch movies together.

My favorite room in the house is, of course, the kitchen!! There’s still a lot of last-minute work going on in the kitchen to get it ready for move-in day this weekend, but even without everything completely finished, it looks amazing. The kitchen is a veritable tile wonderland. The floors are 12×24? dark porcelain tile that looks like slate, and the backsplash, which goes all the way to the ceiling, is white subway tile. The floors have grout that is lighter than the dark tile, and the walls have grout that is darker than the light tile, so all of the tile work really pops and looks fantastic. We went with all stainless steel appliances except for the apron front farmhouse sink in the corner. The main counters are a lovely, lightly speckled grey granite. We wanted something a little rougher than the super sleek, highly polished finish that granite usually has, so we opted for a really beautiful antiqued finish and chiseled edges. I was worried that the counters would look too choppy and rough, but they’re stunning! And one of my favorite details is the butcher block on the island. When I was growing up, my parents renovated their kitchen and put a beautiful wood butcher block top on the island. And I’ve loved the look ever since. We wanted a really thick butcher block without the cost of a huge, 4?-thick slab of wood, so our cabinet maker put a 4? edge on a standard butcher block slab. It looks wonderful, and I can’t wait to roll out a batch of cookies or biscuits on it! We still need all of the appliances to go in over the next few days, and they’ll be installing brackets and reclaimed barn wood shelves on either side of the sink. A few pendant lights need to go in too, and then the kitchen will be ready for us!

There are still a couple of things that will have to happen after we move in; that’s how this Dream House thing works. There are always snags and surprises! When we took the medicine cabinets out of the boxes last week to install them–medicine cabinets that have been sitting in our garage for 18 months–we discovered that they’re the wrong kind. We immediately ordered replacements, but they’re on back order until December, of course. So the master bathroom will be sans mirrors and medicine cabinets for another month. We’re also going to be without a fridge in the kitchen for at least a week because those are on back order too. Luckily, we have an extra fridge that we can stick in the garage to tide us over.

Building this house truly has been a dream! I’m so grateful to have been able to share this experience with all of you, the highs and lows and bumps and all! Thanks for reading along and sharing in our enthusiasm! xoxo