Monday, August 27, 2012

Our Appliances!

Our initial thought on appliances was that they would be a rip-off if ordered through the builder and that we would be much better off to get them on our own. We never really even requested prices on them through the builder, because we were so convinced it wouldn't be the best deal. Low and behold, we were wrong. On the day we signed off on all of our Design Studio selections the topic somehow came up and we're glad it did, because it turned out that we were able to get some great deals!

We ended up ordering our refrigerator, washer and dryer through the builder after reading reviews and doing some price comparing online. As it turns out, the refrigerator was about $100 more than the BEST deal online for the same model, making it cheaper since we won't have to pay shipping/delivery/installation/tax. The washer was cheaper through the builder than anywhere else online and the dryer was right about the same cost as the cheapest one we found online, but again, both would end up saving us money because we won't pay all of those extra costs through the builder. The best part is, that on top of all that, we had a coupon good for $500 off your total appliances cost, which brought each of them well below the best online prices. Yay! Not to mention, ordering through the builder takes away S O  M U C H  H A S S L E and the risks of scuffing the floors/walls while installing. We're pretty stoked!
Here's our beautiful stainless steel refrigerator by Whirlpool:

The rest of our kitchen appliances (which all came free from the builder) are also stainless, so this is a good match. Also, the ice maker command panel is digital touch screen, which is pretty cool!
Here is our washer and our dryer, which I'm VERY excited about! They are Whirlpool Duets and the color is called Cranberry. :)  They are incredibly energy efficient and reportedly use 80% less water than a traditional washer and dryer. Also, they're supposedly noiseless. One review said they wouldn't wake a baby sleeping in the same room. Who needs a nursery when you have a laundry room, right?
I planned the laundry room around having a red washer and dryer, so these will be perfect! Our laundry room cabinets are "Java" (so dark of a brown that they're practically black) and our tile in that room is ivory with a gray vein.
Here are the kitchen appliances that we already knew we had coming (they come standard with every Executive Collection house in Hasentree).
Our KitchenAid stainless steel dishwasher:
Our KitchenAid stainless steel double wall oven:

Who knew appliances could be so much fun?!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Front Doors & Wreaths!

It's no secret that I LOVE to make wreaths. I've made COUNTLESS Christmas wreaths (I have one that matches each of my Christmas trees), Spring, Mardi Gras and Halloween wreaths for my own doors and wreaths for several friends and relatives at their request or as gifts. I don't know why, but it's just something I've had a lot of fun doing over the years. Here is a sampling of some of my best work:

Since we signed our purchase agreement in April however, I've been hesitant to embark on any new wreath making adventures, since I didn't know if we would have two front doors or one. As I alluded to in an earlier post, we had a lot of door drama with the house. The standard front door (singular) is fine, but it seemed like the overwhelming majority of our neighbors had opted for the very expensive mahogany door upgrade. In addition to being expensive, the mahogany doors are reportedly a nightmare to maintain, as they require bi-annual upkeep by a professional. Lastly, and most important to us, the standard door only comes in a single door set-up (i.e. it isn't available in double doors).

For those reasons, we didn't really want to go down the mahogany route, but we really, REALLY wanted double doors, which as far as we understood, were only available in the mahogany. I wanted them because I had invested lots of time + money into making two of each wreath for the past four years (our house in Texas had double doors). Ross wanted them because he didn't want to have to disassemble and then re-assemble all of our bulky furniture to get it into the house on move-in day. Both of these reasons are kinda dumb, but long story short: the double doors were a double must-have.

The great news came on Design Studio signing day (aka the last day to make the door decision without a change fee) when our fabulous design consultant Yosra informed us that Toll had just picked up an additional line of doors (Masonite)! Yay! She showed us the catalog, and although I'm not obsessed with them or anything, they look better than the standard door and, most importantly, ARE DOUBLE DOORS! As is the case with all upgrades through Toll, they came at a cost, but the price was about half of what we would have paid for the mahogany doors (which aren't much prettier in my opinion than the Masonite doors). Here's a (terrible iPhone) photo of our doors, the only difference is that ours will be stained much darker:

This is a close replica of the standard door (free):

This is one of the upgraded mahogany doors we didn't get ($4,500):

Last but not least, now that we've made the dreaded door decision, I can commence wreath making! Since my mom and I were both in need of good fall wreaths, I went up to their lake house last weekend to make it happen! I needed pine cones, but my parents' house is on 10 very wooded acres in the country - so that wasn't a problem. Mom and I gathered the pine cones, then we painted and glittered them, then I attached each one to the wreaths! It took the entire day but it was so nice to get back into my crafting element AND to be able to do it with my mom! Here are some pictures of the process and the final product!


Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Barbie Dream House's Crawlspace is DONE!

Much to our surprise and sheer excitement, our house started going UP this week! This marks the first step in the vertical construction of the house. :)  We were surprised they started it so quickly, since they just finished the foundation on Friday and Toll always seems to take a break between steps (which is annoying). Also, it was raining cats and dogs all weekend and on Monday, so we figured it would need to dry up a little bit before they could start building upwards. However it happened that we got our crawlspace this week, we'll take it! Here are some pictures of the progress, including the FINISHED crawlspace as of Friday! We should start framing and base flooring next week or the week after! Yay!

Our Crawlspace as of Tuesday Night:

Our Crawlspace as of Wednesday:

Our Crawlspace as of Friday - COMPLETE:


Thursday, August 23, 2012

A New Blogger's Favorite Blogs!

Although relatively new to the blogging scene, I have a few blogs that I can tell are the real deal. Here's a list of my most beloved blogs, covering topics as diverse as weight loss to baking, and lawyering to home decorating:
This woman recently built and decorated one of the most gorgeous homes I've ever seen. Although I don't know her, I can tell from her blog that our design taste has a lot of overlap (read: we're both OBSESSED with blue & white china!).
One of my funniest friends(/possibly my funniest friend) has a blog about weightloss, life and whatever else traffics his crazy mind. Not only is it hilarious, I think it's really refreshing to hear a male's perspective on weight/fitness/nutrition. Also, he has an extensive writing background, so you don't have to dodge annoying typo's or grammar mishaps like you do in some blogs.
I love this highly satirical law blog ALWAYS (I got hooked on it in law school), but this post is especially relevant to my life/hilarious, as it examines the things women have to give up to work in the law.
This is my friend Shannon's FABULOUS food blog! Great writing, amazing pictures + delicious looking food. Yum!
This is my sister-in-law's lifestyle blog, which centers mostly around fashion and make-up. She's a very fashionable gal, so her advice is certainly worth taking (particularly in the upscale make-up arena, which I trust her on empirically).
I found this gem by clicking on a pin on pinterest - and I'm glad I did! In my opinion, this home DIY blog could practically double as a female empowerment blog. From carpentry to mechanics, this woman has DIY'd her entire house, power tools in hand. Ross, who is already super handy, even reads her blog for home DIY construction help!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Our FINAL Kitchen Selections and Drawings!

As I alluded to in my last post about our new foundation, this week was also exciting because we were able to finalize and sign off on ALL of our interior selections. This major contract included every piece of granite, every cabinet, every light fixture, every paint color, every tile, every carpet and hardwood and even our plumbing fixtures. Needless to say, it was a painstaking process and a somewhat tense situation reviewing the bulky contract for errors. Luckily for us we had a very meticulous and intelligent design consultant, so everything was recorded exactly how we wanted it, but still, it's a little overwhelming.

Tenseness behind us, it's time to reveal our kitchen... or at least our kitchen samples! There's no way we can change these now (without paying a $500 change fee) so we can say with the utmost confidence that this is EXACTLY what our kitchen in our first home will look like! Am I making too big a deal of this? Probably, but you've got to remember we're first-timers (AND that we're living in a tiny, awful little apartment in the interim).

The piece on the far right is a sample of our granite edge profile, aka the cut of our granite around the edges. This is an upgraded cut called "waterfall." Our granite type is different, but this is a good representation of the way it will be cut.

Most of our kitchen samples! Left to right: island cabinet ( Yorktowne Springhill Square Maple Full Overlay in java), perimeter kitchen cabinet (same as island, just in antique white), backsplash tile (I forgot what it's called but it was a big upgrade that we used our coupon on and it's BEAUTIFUL!), our granite (Colonial Gold) and our accent tile (I also forgot what it's called, but it's beautiful too... and Ross picked it out!).

We'll have a drawer just like this. It's 36 inches wide! Not sure what the width is meant to be used for but I'm sure we'll find something!

Our spice rack cabinet. This upgrade came at a small cost but Ross really wanted it. :)

These are what our pots and pans drawers will look like. They were also a small upgrade but they're really cool - they're designed specifically to hold your pots and pans.

Our exact oven hood! I'm in LOVE! This was a splurge but we got it at a great price thanks to a coupon and our creative and cooperative design consultant!

Our lazy susan. This wasn't an upgrade; it came standard.

Here's the real magic! Our cabinet, our backsplash, our accent tile and our granite together!!! Ross picked out this accent tile and I think it's going to be one of the prettiest things in our house! It would have been super expensive because it's the highest level accent tile upgrade BUT we freed up a lot of our tile coupon and tile budget when we opted out of the major master bath tile upgrades. Isn't it gorg?

The entire combo again (use your imagination to cut out the other granite our granite is sitting on - lol).

Our kitchen sink in oil rubbed bronze by Kohler, also an upgrade, but we had to have the "ORB" in the kitchen. lol.

A big slab of our granite - Colonial Gold.

A close up of our backsplash tile. This was also a major upgrade, but we were able to use our tile coupon on it. It's very porous and super textured. There are good pictures of it installed above (taken at the studio in one of the model kitchens). LOVE it!

A side view of our super fancy backsplash tile. You can really see how textured and dynamic it is here.

A drawing of our kitchen after we expanded the island but before we added the glass cabinets to the end of it. We're so excited!!!


Our FINAL Master Bathroom Selections!

I already told you barbies about how we finalized our kitchen today, but we also finalized our master bathroom! Just as is the case with the kitchen, it would basically take an act of Congress to change things now, so we can say assuredly that this is what our master bathroom will look like!

We had originally decided to upgrade the master bath tile in a major way, but had been second guessing it because the cost had steadily gotten out of hand. We probably would have gone ahead with it, but today when our Design Consultant pointed out that the tiles we had originally picked wouldn't work with each other due to different thicknesses, we took it as a sign to scrap the idea. That being said, we decided to go with a much more affordable tile combo in the same colors as the original, but not as big or high quality. This saved us several thousand dollars AND freed up some of our tile coupon (an incentive from the builder we received at signing) that we were able to put towards a much better tile in the kitchen and a decorative accent tile in the master bath.

We also received a builder's coupon for free a obscured glass upgrade on the master shower. We would have been fine with the standard clear shower glass, but hey, if it's free, why not? We decided to go with the "rain" pattern, which is depicted below.

Left to Right: our cabinet doors (Thermofoil Brighton Square in Antique White), our granite (golden fiore), our tile, which will be in a checkerboard pattern (Sandalo Serene White and Castillian Grey, 12 x 12), our accent tile (Brixton Bone in a swirl pattern) and our shower door glass (Rain). Our Design Consultant said she thought it looked very calming and serene. I think it looks spa-like! I love it!

Our faucets will look like this. The rest of the house is in oil rubbed bronze, but we kept our master bath chrome because of the grey tile.


Thanks for looking, barbs!
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