Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Four Years Seems Long Enough...

You guys... I'm blogging.  Like, BLOGGING blogging... not just posting about a fundraiser or day planners.  I just looked. It has been nearly FOUR YEARS since I last posted an actual, REAL THOUGHTS blog post. As most of you know, Instagram ate blogs. And four years ago I was fine with that. Sometimes formatting a blog is frustrating, and editing is annoying, and coming up with content is debilitating. But then Instagram went and ruined itself. They got rid of the chronological post order, started inserting ads every three posts, and killed the amazing community that I LOVED. There are many times these days where I suddenly see a post from someone that I haven't seen in months, and I'm like "Oh my gosh! There's @barnowlprimitives... how have I not seen a single one of her posts in 6 months??? Did she stop posting? Nope! There's her beautiful feed... all filled up with images Instagram has been keeping from me. Jerks."

Last month we bought a new house. It's a tract home in a brand new community just down the road from our current town, but we bought it early enough in the process that the foundation wasn't even laid. So the next 6 or 7 months while we wait and watch it being built, I will be choosing tile and countertops and flooring and paint colors and window treatments and having an absolute blast with it all. A friend of mine suggested that I start a new IG account to track our progress and share all things #houseoflaughter (which is what I have named our new home because I feel like every home should have a name and our new street name means laughter and I love it). I loved that idea because it also gave me the opportunity to start a fresh account. With fresh faces to follow. I have limited my followings on that account to all things home design and I love logging in each day to get inspired.

One of the new accounts I am following is @chrislovesjulia. I'm not sure how I found them, but they are DIYers that are in the middle of their first professional remodel on their master bathroom, and I am really enjoying watching the process. And Julia blogs (here). And I have been reading her posts. Which got me to thinking... do people still read blog posts??? Because I love writing. I miss it. And now that I post much more sporadically on IG, fewer and fewer people see my posts and I miss the interaction. Hmmm... maybe I should blog again???

So here I am. Back at it just three years and nine months after my last real blog post. Maybe no one will read this, and that doesn't bother me. The writing is cathartic and I like having a journal of big life events, and moving into our first new home and what we think will be a long term home is a big life event that should be documented.

I guess I should start from the beginning of the story.

Two years ago a new community opened up very close to our current one. We fell in love with it. It is nestled in the hills and surrounded by protected land, which means that certain parts will NEVER be built on, and views will stay views. It is literally 3 miles from our current home, but it feels like you're out in the countryside with the hills and the cows and the beautiful, old oak trees that the developer left in place as part of the community. We knew we wanted to move out there. We have never purchased a NEW home, and that was something that I have always wanted to do. Ever since I was a little girl I LOVED model home shopping, and I have just always loved the idea of being original owners and moving onto the street at the same time as all of our neighbors. So we started looking at models and choosing floor plans and picking out lots. But then, just as we were about to pull the trigger... something stopped us. It just didn't feel right. And in the end we decided that staying in our current home and remodeling and increasing our mortgage payments by only A LITTLE BIT was a better idea than doubling our mortgage payment on a house that wasn't quite THE ONE.

If you've followed me for a while you know how that story goes... we took our current home to the studs and lived through a three month reno that turned into six months. It was grueling, but fun, and I LOVED my finished product so much. It made the house that we had lived in for 5 years at that time finally feel like a home.

A few months after we finally finished that reno, and a month after we had opened our new business and I was DROWNING in the demands of my life, my friend Jen and I went to look at some new models that had opened up in this community. And the second I walked into the plan 3 of that neighborhood it felt like home.  I LOVED IT. It was a dream house. But as I said, we had JUST finished our reno and I was so overwhelmed by our new business, and we were in the middle of Choose Joy planning and talking about moving the 2018 conference out of state, and needless to say... moving was NOT an option.

Then at the beginning of this year we sold the business. Insert GIANT sigh of relief here. And my Choose Joy team grew and became this AMAZING group of ladies that just get stuff done, including moving our conference to a new state in a new month with ease. All of a sudden, my life felt less insane.

And then a few things started happening in our current home that had us itching to leave again. So I took Nathan to those models that I had fallen in love with... and he fell in love too. We started talking and thinking and dreaming and (of course) spread-sheeting and praying. There were only a couple of phases left to be released and we decided there was only one lot that we wanted. We snuck onto the construction zone one Sunday afternoon and walked the lot and prayed over it and asked the Lord to open the doors if this was meant to be our home. Beau spit on it. Apparently that was his way of claiming it. And before we knew it... we got the call that the lot was ours for the taking!

The purchase agreement included one caveat.. we had to have our current home in escrow within 30 days, and sold within 75.  Basically, my life got flipped turned upside down (are you singing the Fresh Prince theme song now too???). In the last month I have: packed up and purged half my house, packed my family up to temporarily move into a friend's vacant condo so that we didn't have to live in the house while it was on the market, gone to Atlanta to finalize some details for Choose Joy, sold our home after just a few days on the market for well over our asking price, gone through inspections and appraisals and repairs on our current home, started the design process for our new home because we already hit two upgrade deadlines, sent my son off to Haiti for a missions trip, and been on an extended family vacation to Hawaii. Oh and rented an apartment for us to live in for the next six months while our house is being built. A 1200 square foot apartment for the 5 of us and our large dog. We're on an adventure people!

In less than two weeks we will move out of our home of seven years. The home that we brought both of our daughters home to, but one that has never really felt like where we were supposed to be.

So now... I PACK. I am trying to force myself to stop pinning inspiration pics for the new home and focus on getting us packed and moved, but that's not nearly as fun. It's proving a challenge. And the only reason I have had time to write this (rather lengthy... sorry) blog post is that I am sitting in a tire shop waiting for them to get the nail out of my tire. I'm sure this won't be the last time I will have to do this in the next six months... hazards of visiting a construction zone often.

If you made it to the end of this post, I feel like I should reward you with some pics. But now I am remembering why I stopped blogging... posting pics on blogs is a pain. But okay... I'll do it. These are the builder's pics of the model for our floor plan.

The Exterior Elevation. Only this is not our color scheme. Our stucco will be off-white, the front door and shutters will be a dark grey/blue, and the brick will be a little darker.

The Dining Room. We are going to put built-in cabinetry on that right wall with a wine fridge, a pellet ice-maker, and some storage for my serving dishes. We are also going to put a brick arch leading into this room from the hallway.

The Kitchen. There will be an exposed hood above the stove top and we are eliminating the cabinets with the glass doors and replacing them with open shelving. We are also adding another layer of cabinets above the uppers, so that the cabinets go to the ceiling. I'm still debating whether I am going to do the island in the darker color... at the moment I am leaning towards all white, and they will be shaker with matte black hardware. I am also leaning towards the built-in fridge (not shown here).

The Master. I LOVE the slider to the backyard. We are going to do the wall behind the bed in brick, because I love my brick wall that we installed in our current home. And then I am planning a very white, very romantic, very luxury hotel-room feeling room decor.

The Master Bath. This is one of the things I am the most excited about. Our current master bathroom is TINY and I hate it.

The Loft. This will be our teen hangout space. We are planning a comfy couch, a foosball table, some pinball, and a mini-fridge in the built-in.  

The back of the house. The wall of windows at the back of the loggia is bi-fold doors that will allow us to completely open that wall between the living room and outdoor dining area. The slider on the right is our master bedroom.

The loggia. Has anyone ever heard that term before or is it just a CA thing??? Because it's a new term here even. We had to look it up two years ago when it started appearing on all the builder's floor plans.

Those Hills. That will be the view from our lot. That is one of the things that I am the most excited about. Our current home is surrounded by houses that look into our yard. The privacy in this new yard will be AMAZING.

So there it is. I blogged. And now you're all caught up. I can't promise that the blogging will continue, but this felt good. I miss the tapping of keys.

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