Home Builders Guide 5

Things You Should Know ~ From one Home Builders Widow to the Next
If you decide to self-contract your home, be prepared to not have a husband for six months. After taking care of a newborn and toddler all day, it was a breath of fresh air when Mark walked in the door. Not only to have help with kiddos, bed-time and clean-up but to have much needed adult conversation. I’d say not having him around for these little things was the hardest. The only thing that got me through it was realizing we’d soon be cozied by the fire together as a family in our OWN HOUSE. Here’s a few photos doing just that.

Christmaschristmas treeOver the past few months I’ve explained what’s involved in the home building process, but here’s a few things to get you mentally prepared:

While building your house it’s good to keep re-sale in mind. Chances are this isn’t your forever home and when it comes time to sell ~ will the buyer like the same things you do? We thought we’d sell in a few years and build all over again, but we’ve fallen in love with our home and don’t want to go anywhere anytime soon.

Constant Updates
If you live close to your property your husband will want constant updates. Ok maybe not constant, but sometimes it will feel that way. We lived next door so Mark would want me to go outside and see what was going on. Take a video of the process. Is the electrician working right now? Have the HVAC guys finished for the day? Can you bring them something to drink? It would be nice if you baked some cookies for the guys. The building inspector is coming, can you put out the permits? etc…. Totally fine, except he always seemed to ask when it was raining, I had my jam jams on still or just sat down.

Brownie Points
Go over and clean the house, sweep or vacuum. Your husband will love you even more. Bring workers refreshments, something cold to drink on a hot day…lunch on Saturdays. Treat them nice and they will want to do a good job for you.

Learn the Lingo
I thought I’d put together a list of construction terms, until I realized there were hundreds upon hundreds. So I decided to scratch that thought and just copy this link. Ladies ~ have a read. Your husbands will think you’re brilliant. http://www.homebuildingmanual.com/Glossary.htm

Complete before Move-In
Mark and I had so many people tell us to make sure everything was finished before we moved in. We wanted to be in before Christmas so we didn’t listen. I can definitely see why people say that, but so far it hasn’t been so bad. We still have closets to finish, doors to install, the kitchen backsplash, fireplace tile, pantry and laundry room shelving… but hey it will get done soon. We are both not ones to leave projects unfinished or procrastinate so I’m not worried. If this isn’t the case for you then yes, get it done before you move in.

Comment with questions and for those who have gone through the process ~ What’s some advice that I’ve missed?


Home Builders Guide 4

By now your exterior finishes are coming along. You’ll have garage doors, as well as an exterior front door and garage man door. If you chose stone or brick it will be installed towards the end of construction, before landscaping. The front porch and patio will be completed and drive-way installed. Don’t forget about exterior light fixtures. All of these components play a big part in the over-all look of your house so take the time to choose your products.

fireplace built in shelvingInterior Finishes
Think everything from interior doors, window sills, moldings, baseboards, stair balusters, stair railings, mantels, door handles…etc… For us this was the busiest because Mark did most of the finishes himself. Quick pause for a hubby brag ~ Mark is seriously amazing. He was the contractor/builder for our home, while working his full time job. His handiwork is phenomenal and not once did he show he was stressed. I admire him, love him beyond measure and feel like the luckiest girl in the world to be his wife. Ok bragging over. 🙂

Cabinet Installation
We had custom cabinets installed in our kitchen and living room. It’s important to be very specific with what you want. Show pictures, have face-to-face meetings and really go over every detail of the mock-up. Think about what type of material you want your cabinets made of. Do you want self closing doors? What kind of door hardware do you want? What do you want your faucet to look like? Where are you going to put your microwave, mixer, blender, coffee maker..etc?

Bathroom Vanities – We found buying our own vanities were more cost effective than having custom built ins made. Ours were purchased from Costco online and Restoration Hardware.

Countertop Installation – Do your research when choosing countertops. Quartz, marble, granite, laminate or cement are the main choices. We chose quartz because of the look and durability we were after.

custom kitchenPlumbing
Sink, toilet and faucet installation comes next. We purchased our own faucets for the entire house from Amazon and Buyers Market. Honestly it took a lot of searching, mostly because I was very particular about what I wanted. It’s not as easy as just choosing one, be sure the faucets in your bathroom will look good with your flooring, vanity, mirrors and bathroom fixtures. You can pay anywhere from $30 to $1,500 on fixtures, so they’re something you want to shop around for.

Mechanical Trims
Registers and final HVAC equipment is completed. The outlets and switches are put in and the electrical panel is finished off. Having our light fixtures installed was definitely one of my favorite steps. I had the best time shopping for our lighting and am so happy with what we ended up choosing.

After we moved in we got major snow and ever since it’s been way too cold to do outside landscaping. Our Spring project will include lawn, sprinklers, paving stones, gardens…etc.

shiplap prepFinishing Touches
I know I said lighting was my favorite, but all the finishing touches are so fun to see. Appliances are one of the last things to go in, however you’ll want to pick them out well in advance. Mirrors are hung, shower doors installed and final clean-up takes place. Just when you think you’ve vacuumed and cleaned the entire house top to bottoms you have to do it all over again and again and again. The dust from construction keeps settling and it takes a number of times to get the house clean. This is also when you go through the entire house and see if any trades need to come in to do any fixes/touch ups.

Final Walk-through
In order to get your occupancy permit you’ll have a final inspection for the bank. CHEERS ~ You can move in!


Home Builders Guide 3

So we’ve been in our house for a month now and couldn’t be happier. It’s everything we dreamed of and we feel more at home here than we’ve ever felt anywhere else. After moving, we just wanted to relax and enjoy the holidays. I spent a few weeks setting up our house, drinking eggnog lattes by the fireplace, playing with the girls and catching up with Mark. It was truly amazing and ended up being my favorite Christmas yet. After taking a break from writing I’m back at it and can’t wait to share pictures of our home, but first things first. I promised to write about our home building process, so here you go.

This is where you’ll see the most visible progress. The framers get to work and bam you have a house… now you’re thinking, 6 months until move-in? Yeah right, this is amazing, looks like we’ll be in faster than we think. NOPE you’re wrong you won’t be. Sorry to crush your dreams, but you’re timeline has not drastically been altered, you’ve got a long ways to go sister.


We bought our windows from Westeck Windows and Mark installed them himself. Black windows are surprisingly much more expensive, so it was one of our splurges. So glad we did because they turned out amazing.

You’ll need to choose what color shingles you want, we went with black BP shingles. Mark took siding samples home so we could see the colors against our house. This made the decision so much easier. We ended up using pre-painted James Hardie cement boarding.

Plumbing, Electrical, HVAC
The plumber will run pipes through your house. If you have a built-in bathtub, now is the time for installation so be sure you have the design chosen.

You’ll need to know where you want your light fixtures. Go through your house before your electrician comes, this way you know exactly what you want and don’t need to make any rash decisions. Figure out what way your doors are going to open, so you know where you want your light switches. How many pendants would you like over your island? Do you want lighting in your kitchen cabinets? Where do you want sconces in the bathrooms? Beside the mirrors or above? Do you care where your outlets go?

HVAC stands for heating, ventilation and air-conditioning. You’ll need to choose a fireplace and furnace early in the process. Your installer will tell you where heat registers usually go, but you’ll want to give the final decision. Envision where you’ll be putting furniture. You obviously don’t want a register underneath your bed, so take the time to decide.


handy hubbyInsulation & Drywall
Insulation is the pink fluffy stuff that goes in the walls to keep your homes temperature regulated. I loved when it was time for drywall, it felt like our house was really starting to come together once we had white walls.

Just a heads up ~ your exterior finishes can be done at any point now.

Priming and Painting Walls
Time to hit the paint store and figure out exactly what color you want each room painted. Keep in mind you also need to choose your ceiling color. Our painter charged us an extra $50 per additional color. Whatever you do, sample your paint! I repeat, sample your paint! We had our paint picked out for weeks. I had seen a picture of it and went to get the little swatch to make sure I liked it and I thought I did. The day before we were about to order paint for the entire house I tested it to be sure and thank goodness, because I absolutely hated it. Ended up heading back to the paint store and finding what I was actually after. Paint looks completely different on swatches and totally different in a picture. The lighting in your home plays a huge role. Also, did you know Benjamin Moore has over 100 shades of white? You’ll want to do your research on this one.

Flooring/Tile Floor/Carpet
Flooring is a big purchase and there are so many different options. We went with carpet upstairs, laminate on the main floor, ceramic tile in the powder room and grouted vinyl tile in the kids bathroom, master bathroom and mudroom. You finally decide what type of flooring you’re going with in a space and then you have to decide what grade and style. This is definitely something you want to choose early in the home building process, even before you start if you can. That way you don’t have to make any last minute decisions, especially since it’s such a big expense and plays a huge role in the over all look of your home.

To be continued…I promise it won’t take as long this time!



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