This past week was a short one with Thanksgiving being in there and yet they still managed to make some pretty dramatic changes.

We’ve now got shutters on the exterior of the house.

Exterior with Shutters

They started installing the hood. It’s still missing the top molding.

Kitchen Hood

They’ve also been installing the hardwood floor. The upstairs is mostly finished and they were working  the downstairs when we visited.

Wood Floor

Hardwood Flooring

They’ve been working on preparing the master shower for tile for a while and now they’ve actually started laying the tile.

Master Bath Tile

Master Shower Floor Tile

While we were there, we also noticed they added some additional trim to the chair rail to make it more substantial looking.

Chair Rail

Finally, one little snag with the lights. I hate the look of amber glass so when we choose lights we specifically looked for white glass, however the fans that were installed had amber glass. We told Tommy and he’s working to fix it.

Fan with Amber Glass


I use to work on a weather satellite and I joke that it gave me some pull with the weather. In fact when Roderick and I were first dating we liked doing outdoor activities. Often it would threaten rain but by the time our date rolled around it was beautiful out. Unfortunately it looks like my pull is waning. Tommy’s been trying to do the final grading for almost a month now and it’s just been too muddy.

They are more than making up for the lack of exterior activity with interior progress. Behold a tour of the highlights.

All of the tile floors were laid but still need to be grouted. I can’t remember if I mentioned it but another nice little thing that we’re doing is using an epoxy grout which is easier to clean. They are also laying it so as to minimize the amount of grout. I love the look of tile but hate hate HATE cleaning it. It cost about $200 more per room but if it performs like I expect, it will be well worth the cost.

Monkey Bathroom Tile

Laundry Room Tile

Fish Bathroom Tile

They’ve started installing the bathroom hardware too.

Downstairs Bathroom Tile and Hardware

They’ve installed most of the lighting and it looks fantastic. The day I visited was cold and dreary but the house was so warm and inviting (even unfinished) because of the bright lights. I’m an admitted lightaholic. The brighter the better! I think we’ve got 60 watt bulbs in all of them. The huge chandelier in the foyer hasn’t been installed yet and I just can’t wait to see what it will look like.

Dining Room Light

Diningroom Transoms

They’ve also installed the fireplace mantle, a beautiful piece of solid maple. They are going to route it in place and then stain it to match the kitchen cabinets.

Great Room Fan and Fireplace Mantle

Kitchen Lights

Kitchen Hardware

And the piece de resistance the stairs! I love love LOVE LOVE the metal rails! They are beautiful, they are sturdy, and best of all they didn’t cost us anything extra. Have I mentioned that we love our builder?


Stair Sconces

Stair Close-up

They were installing the cabinets today. The granite will be installed later next week. So exciting!


Monkey Bathroom (Kid's Bathroom)


Fish Bathroom (Also for the kids)

I think the master sinks are going to be a little tight with two people. We’ll both have plenty of room to use the sinks but I’ll have to move if Roderick wants to open his drawers. It’s what it has to be to fit in the bathroom so meh.


Master Bath Cabinets

Presenting the kitchen! You’d think that adding cabinets would make the kitchen feel smaller but instead it makes it feel huge! We have so many cabinets, if we ever acquire enough stuff to fill all these cabinets, please force me to have a yard sale. We are not stuff people. Of course I said that for our current house too and our cabinets are currently filled to over flowing with baby bottles/plates/bowls/sippy cups so who knows. They were still in the process of installing these and the hood hasn’t even been started yet. I can’t wait to see the finished product.


Left Kitchen Wall


Front Kitchen Wall

Back Kitchen Wall


Kitchen Island

Our fireplace, which turned out spectacular!  They did a great job laying the stone so that the cable box doesn’t stick out. The still need to add the mantle and seal/paint the soapstone.



Tommy gave us a lot of nice unexpected touches like the extra wide trim on the doors. If I haven’t mentioned it recently, we really love him and highly recommend him to anyone who is thinking of building a house.




Master Shower

This is nice, but I’m wondering if an oil-rubbed bronze front door handle might have looked nicer. I wonder if it’s too late to switch this out.


Front Door Hardware

This is just some of the many many kitchen cabinets. This is the back wall. The lower part will be a desk and the refrigerators (yes plural … we plan to have a large family) will be to the right.



Aaaaand, now I’m finally caught up! They are just moving so fast that I’m probably already behind again.

We’ve been busy finalizing the kitchen layout and selections. We still need to choose a refrigerator (or two depending on the price) and cabinet knobs but everything else is finalized. It’s going to be absolutely beautiful when it’s done. The kitchen has stiff competition with the great room for my favorite room in the house but I think it’s winning.

If you remember, the floor is going to be:

Solid Oak Flooring

Solid Oak Flooring

The granite counter top is going to be:

Kitchen and Master Bath Granite

Kitchen and Master Bath Granite

Last Friday we met with Charles from Better Living (who was very helpful by the way) to review and finalize the floor plan. While we were there we reviewed our prior selections. We chose the Mid-Continent Maple Villa cabinets. Initially we chose the Sundance finish with a chocolate glaze. After looking at the cabinets with and without the chocolate glaze we decided to not get the glaze. While the glaze was beautiful on the lighter colored wood, it made the darker stain just look dirty. I’m glad we re-looked at it because we saved ourselves a boatload of money by not getting the glaze. Some pictures:

Mid-Continent Maple Villa in Sundance Finish

Mid-Continent Maple Villa in Sundance Finish

Larger sample of the Villa style with the Sundance finish

Larger sample of the Villa style with the Sundance finish

While we were there, we made some tweaks to the layout. Charles suggested staggering the height and depth of some of the corner cabinets to give it some added interest which we thought was a great idea. The height/depth will look similar to this:

Example of variable cabinet heights

Example of variable cabinet heights

We moved some cabinets around, added in some lazy susans and a really nifty recycling center. Here is the layout:

Kitchen Layout

Kitchen Layout

Some drawings to help you visualize:

Back Wall

Back Wall

Side Wall

Side Wall

Side Corner

Side Corner

Front Wall

Front Wall



We also chose the kitchen faucet:

Kohler Forte Kitchen Faucet with Pullout Sprayer

Kohler Forte Kitchen Faucet with Pullout Sprayer

We chose these appliances:

GE Dishwasher

GE Dishwasher

GE Microwave

GE Microwave

GE Electric Range

GE Electric Range

Kenmoore Wall Oven

Kenmoore Wall Oven

Not really kitchen related but we also choose our washer and dryer. These are the appliances I am most excited about. I hate (with a burning passion) our current washer dryer. The washer is OK but the dryer does a HORRIBLE job. We usually have to run everything at least twice to get it dry. Hate!

GE Washer

GE Washer

GE Dryer

GE Dryer

The only thing left to choose is the fridge and the drawer pulls. I REALLY love the look of these knobs:

My Pretty

My Pretty

BUT … Charles made the excellent point that these are going to be very hard to clean. Now I’m not sure what to do. I really love the look and have been dreaming of these knobs since before I even met my husband … but on the other hand … I really hate cleaning. Hmmmm. Your thoughts?

This morning we met with Tommy to go over the site plan … and the ENTIRE rest of the day we spent picking out stuff. I think my brain is picked over! Should I get a 6 eggs or half a dozen? …. uhhhh … I don’t know, I can’t decide! :p

So far here is what we got. Have an opinion, we’d love to hear it.

First we picked out the exterior brick. I wanted a lighter color but R wanted a darker color. It was more important to him than to me so here it is with a exterior color similar to what we’re going for.


Next we picked out cabinets. They are all made by Mid-Continent and have all the bells and whistles. Dove tail drawers, soft closures, solid maple wood doors, plywood exteriors. Very spiffy.

For all of the Kid’s Bathrooms we chose the Princeton style, Maple doors in the wheatfield finish.


They are going to have standard brushed nickle handles.


The top is going to be a beautiful black marble that has a hint of blue in it. It’s called Verde Butterfly.



For both the Master Bathroom and the Kitchen we chose the Villa style, Maple Doors in the sundance finish with a chocolate glaze.


We want drawer pulls similar to this but the builder doesn’t carry them by default so I have some deal hunting to do.We chose a beautiful dark granite that has some gold flecks in it for the top. I really do think this is the most beautiful granite I’ve ever seen. I really hope it looks as good in large quantities as it does in the sample.


Here it is all put together. Both the cabinets and the flooring are a little bit lighter in person than they are in this picture.

IMG_4427For the wood flooring, we chose factory-finished oak in a warm natural color. This sample board has the 2 3/4 strip but we are getting the wider 3″ strips. This is very similar (if not the same exact thing) as what we have installed in our current house. Here’s a close up:


After that it was on to choosing tile and grout. Choosing the tile wasn’t that difficult but choosing the grout sure was. Who knew there were so many colors of grout to choose from. I think there were about 20 different colors of white. I’m still not sure we choose correctly. All the flooring tile is 12 x 12 and going to be laid on the diagonal.

For the laundry room we choose Riccetti Vitruvius Atrium which is a ceramic tile that looks like tumbled marble. Tumbled marble is beautiful but because of the tumbling it is weak and breaks easily so it’s not so good for flooring. VA dirt is red clay so we chose a red-tinged tile to try to hide some of that. I think we choose Antique White as the grout.


For the kids bathrooms we choose this tile with Latte grout … I think. Something neutral that will hopefully hide dirt well.


Here is the kids bathroom put together. The wood is what the cabinets will look like.


We didn’t really see anything we liked for the Master Bathroom so we headed up to Floors R Us or For the Floors or something like that. Whatever it was, we picked up a few more sample boards.

After that it was up to Luck Stone to meet our friend Patrick. The center section of the house is going to be dry stack ledge stone. Owens Corning makes a cultured stone that we wanted to use but Tommy only had a sample board of the grayer version of the stone. We couldn’t decide between the Chardonnay or the Cedar (or maybe even the Caramel) from the online pictures. Luck Stone has a larger sample of the Chardonnay which turned out to have a lot more red in it than the picture online showed.

IMG_4447So Patrick is going to order sample boards of the Cedar and Caramel for us to look at. If you are thinking of going with Luck Stone, shoot me off an email and I’ll give you Patrick’s contact info. He’s really good.

After that we hit Kirklands. We are looking for a furniture type sink for the downstairs bathroom but didn’t see anything we really liked. The bathroom is right off the playroom and is the only downstairs bathroom so I foresee it getting used often. We didn’t see anything that we thought would hold up to that kind of abuse. If you know of any place to get sturdy furniture type vanities let me know.

After that we headed back to the selection room to go over the master bathroom tiles. We found some absolutely beautiful tumbled marble tiles. They are so beautiful, R is going to have a really hard pulling me out of the shower in the morning.

The flooring, this is the same style as we’re using in the laundry room but a lighter shade:


The main tile for the shower and the bathtub. The shower is going to have 4 x 4 tile and the bathtub surround is going to have 6 x 6 tile.


The tile used for the shower floor and part of the detail:IMG_4456

The whole sample board. The railing tile is going to be used around the tub. The accent piece is on the side.IMG_4459 I worked up a couple of photoshopped images of what the shower will look like with the trip but I can’t decide. Which option do you like better?

Option 1:                                                         Option 2:

Triangle Trim                                               Barrel Trim


RailCenter <– Option 3: Rail Trim

We initially picked out option 1, but I’m leaning more towards options 2 or 3.

And last but not least because there are still a bunch of things we need to choose … we chose bathroom fixtures.

All sink faucets will be:


The whirlpool tub faucet will be:


We picked shower fixtures also but ended up not taking a picture of them.

This is one option for the kitchen sink faucet but we’re not loving it. I’m going to see what else I can find.


One big thing on our to do list is pick the exterior color, but we need to wait on the stone to do that. We’re leaning towards one of these colors with white windows and trim. The front door will be a beautiful mahogany door with a dark walnut finish. The shutters will be black and I think all the exterior french doors will be white … we’re still deciding that last one.


Light Beige

IMG_4466Dark Beige (We’re more leaning towards this one)

Whew! I was exhausted picking all that out and now I’m exhausted writing all that up. Please let us know what you think, we probably won’t listen to you … but then again we just might. 🙂

We met with the builder today to go look at the lot and see his showroom. There’s been a lot of rain recently and the driveway was pretty bad, but once we got up there it was as beautiful as I remembered it being. R and Tommy walked the lot while I fed P.

After that we went to their show room to start picking out stuff and I started feeling very inadequate. I have no sense of design at all! We know we want stacked stone on the outside but as to the exact color we’re not sure. Which means we’re not sure about the exterior color, which means we don’t know if we should go with white or tan windows … Tommy is going to email us some of the exteriors that he’s done before and we’re going to start driving around neighborhoods looking at houses. I’m not too worried but it was definitely a wake up call.

The only thing we’ve decided on for sure is that we want brushed nickle finishes upstairs and oil rubbed bronze finishes downstairs. We’ve picked out the faucets for the kids bathrooms.

Here are some pictures:

What do you think? We like lots of information so if you have any suggestions or comments let us know but don’t be offended if we don’t take your advice … it just means that we think you’re a gaudy, unstylish, tacky, tasteless person and we don’t like you. :p