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Software techie and professional seamstress.

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Thursday, August 24, 2017

This is fun

and scary! But mostly fun.

My mortgage loan is "gold certified" (whatever that means), I've finalized all the options. Now we wait for permits. I've been told we should break ground in 2-3 weeks now.
Today I received a few things I ordered from the UK.
Pulls for the kitchen
 I fell in love with these bin pulls as soon as I saw them. I bought enough to put on all the cabinet doors and drawers. They are darker than they appear in this image, but I still they are going to look great.
Railway signs
Since my first visit to Europe, I've wanted a "toilet" sign. Not just because it's cool, but it is practical. How many times have you had to give directions to your bathroom to guests. This takes all the guesswork out of it.
I also got the Laundry sign since a) I'll have a laundry room and b) it looks cool.
I had to get this sign for so many reasons. The main is that I, like most people, detest anyone coming to my door trying to sell something, especially religion. The funny thing is, I used to be one of those people. I was a kid and didn't have a choice, but still--we knocked on doors, spreading "the word" in an effort to save all those poor people who hadn't figured out that we had all the answers. I'm cured of that now...

I love the wording of this sign. I just hope anyone who thinks about knocking on my door to sell me something understands it. And sods off. ;)

Being the over zealous person that I am, I already have projects plan for after I move in. The first set will be installing a water softener, ceiling fans and cabinet pulls. Next up will probably be painting.
I've already got swatches. At some point I'll add board and batten and crown molding, and hopefully some cool craftsman-style borders.

and that is just the beginning...

Have a fantastic day!


Monday, August 21, 2017

Pretty sure it's too late to change my mind...

This morning I made the final selections and sign and initialed a few dozen papers. It's exciting and scary and emboldening.
I changed my mind about 200 times, fretting over colors and finishes and appliances. I've worked up a spreadsheet and my Pinterest account has seen more activity in the past 3 weeks than all the years I've had it. I can't imagine how overwhelming this is for someone who's never owned a house and knows nothing about home building.
One of things I love about having a new house built is that I'm able to add electrical outlets and light fixtures where ever I like. Especially good for the rooms I'm using for my studio.

Decisions I made:
Hardwood floors (technically engineered hardwood floors). I know tile is more durable and vinyl planking is easy to care for and replace damaged sections, but I like the look and feel of real wood.
Ideally, I'd have a Craftsman-style house, and that's the feeling I hope to exude in my new home.

Stainless steel appliances: I went back and forth on this, but ultimately it was the double-oven range that's only offered in stainless that made the choice for me. I would have preferred gas, but none of the new communities around here are running gas, and if they did, the added cost would have priced me out.

Range hood instead of a microwave/hood combo: I was all set to get the lovely, feature-filled microwave that would sit over the range. I like the one in my apartment, but then the hood isn't vented outside, so it's pretty useless. I got all excited about one that has a steam feature. Then I thought to myself "would I really steam anything in the microwave?" As it is, I only use it to heat things up and melt butter for crepe batter. Then I realized that a high-CFM vent would be far better for me. I can cook more 'smelly' things inside and not worry about the entire place smelling of it.

As much as I've like living in this complex, I'm looking forward to moving to my own place. Other than putting up shelves and ceiling fans, there won't be anything I'll have to do right away. I can take my time painting rooms and settling in. I'm excited about having a garden again, and already thinking about what vegetables to start with. First thing, though, will be to plant some trees. There isn't a single one in the entire subdivision since is was an agricultural field (there's still corn growing in the next one over)

Saturday, August 12, 2017


No one has asked me this yet, but I figure someone might be wondering why I chose to buy a newly built house over one I could buy much cheaper and renovate. I thought about, it since my ex and I did that twice and then built our own place here in Texas, with our own hands and the help of two fantastic guys from Guatemala, Oscar and Eddy.

Here's the list of features that won me over:
whole-house blown-in insulation and the option to upgrade ceiling insulation to R42
Double-glazed, UV tinted windows
9' ceilings throughout
Externally vented exhaust fan in kitchen
HVAC equipment located at side front of house, away from all living spaces
option to add outlets during build process(I'll add counter-height outlets in the den and secondary bedrooms)
covered patio (as in, under the roofline) I've really enjoyed the covered patio here at the apartment, and more importantly, so has Gabby.

On a more practical level, I'm much older now and though doing work on a house myself would be good exercise, I've decided I'm better off letting professionals build my house and I'll focus on building my technicals skills and expanding my sewing business again. I'll focus on custom bridal and alterations and teaching. I should have plenty of space for a couple of students in the new house, and a much better office space.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

and Then Things Got Even More Interesting...

My friend, Leslie, likes to say, "If you want something done, ask Juliette to do it."

The Bloke starting seriously encouraging me to buy house a few weeks ago. Just over a week ago, I decided to go for it. I started looking online, got an idea of what I could qualify for, and made an appointment with his realtor to look at "pre-owned" houses on Sunday. I completed a pre-qualification with her mortgage broker.
I'd already mentally rennovated a dozen houses by Saturday morning, but noticed that anything in my range that looked decent only lasted a few days before going into contract.
So Saturday morning I headed out to look at some new communities. Four, to be exact. What I realized was that the things that were really important would be difficult and costly, if not impossible, in an existing house (mind you, these are all build in the 70's and 80's).
I came home exhausted, checked in with The Bloke and went to take a nap. I didn't sleep. I had a foreboding sense of impending loss, that if I didn't move immediately, I'd miss out on this opportunity.
I asked The Bloke if he'd think me crazy for heading back and putting a deposit on a place. He said I should jump at the opportunity.

Soooo, less than 10 days after deciding to buy a house, I bought one.

Now, before you tell me I'm an idiot or that I'm rash and reckless, my ex-husband and I owned three primary homes (one built with our own hands and the help of two great guys from Guatemala, the other two we did massive rennovations on), two vacation homes and two investment properties with a partner. I know a few things about houses and building, and I have personally done framing, drywall and texturing, tiling and light electrical. I know how to use power tools. I also know how much work it all is, and that I'd be better off advancing my technicals skills and rebuilding my sewing business while professionals build me a house.

I get to focus on the fun stuff--flooring, finishes, paint colors (which I will do myself) and avoid the all too familar mess of living in a construction zone.
If you're interested in that sort of thing, here's my Pinterest board:

and here's my list so far of upgrades by catgory:

"I can't believe I have to pay extra for this since it doesn't really seem optional":


"I could live without this if I didn't live in Texas":
Plumbing for water softener
Wiring for ceiling fans
Ceiling insulation upgrade to R42

"It's Gabby's house, too":
Sliding glass door (to accommodate pet door)
Extend Covered Patio, add ceiling fan (okay, this is at least as much for me, but Gabby does love to sit on the patio)

"If I going through all this, the place should reflect my fantastic style and taste":
Hardwood floors in all "non-wet" areas
Marginal lite windows
Painted shaker-style cabinets
Upgraded tub with tile surround
Craftsman style front door
Bullnose finished corners

"This would be a major pain to do myself":
Plumbing for Utility sink in garage
Garage door opener
exterior outlet

So this is how a house can start at 'the low 200,000's!!! and end up in the high 400,000's. Just kidding--it's not THAT bad, but sheesh, this stuff adds up FAST.

More to come--I've got six months to obsess about this stuff.
What the hell am I doing?