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Building a Dream House: A Million Decisions

Hi! I’m Melissa. I write about food, family, and farm life at Lulu the Baker. My family and I are about to fulfill one of those good, old-fashioned life-long dreams: we’re building our Dream House.

In the past month of building at the Dream House, we’ve gone from big, huge changes like adding porches and roof lines to almost imperceptible steps forward like deciding which windows should open and which should be fixed. It’s an…interesting…change. We’ve been used to walls going up and slabs being poured and cranes placing beams, and it’s a little unsettling to drive by and have it look…exactly the same from the outside as it did the last time! But it’s comforting to go inside and see that things have indeed progressed.

The month started off with huge changes–changes that made the house look like a real house. All of the porches–front and back–were installed along with the lovely square pillars we chose last year. We also made a trip up to Portland to buy 1500 square feet of douglas fir beadboard that will go on porch ceilings eventually. On that same trip, we forced ourselves to choose kitchen counters. It’s something that had been on our mind for a long, long time, but we’d been putting off making a commitment. And we got to a point where other decisions (paint color and stone veneer, to name a few) were being held up because we couldn’t decide on what to put on the kitchen counters. So we went to the big warehouse and chose some really beautiful granite, and we’re really excited about it! It’s called Nordic White, and it’s a lovely light grey with subtle black speckling.

Along with finishing the porches, the workers got the roof “dried-in”, which means that all of the wood is up and they’ve put the roofing felt on, but the actual shingles haven’t been installed yet. It also means that the house will stay dry now, even if we have an occasional rainy day here or there. The upstairs and main floor dried out within a day of having the roof dried-in, but the basement took a bit longer. After several weeks of rain, we had a good 2 inches of water in some areas, and part of having a water-tight basement means that water has a hard time getting out. Our wonderful contractor actually swept the water out with a big push-broom one weekend, then set fans all over the basement to dry it out. And we now have a dry house!

We chose so many things this month! A fireplace for the family room, bathtubs, toilets, sinks, and fixtures for the bathrooms, interior and exterior doors, door knobs, and windows. We figured out where to put all of the electrical outlets, planned out light switches and light locations and wiring and whatnot. And we unsuccessfully looked at stone for the fireplace and outside of the house–twice. There are some decisions that cannot be rushed!

My father-in-law is a college math teacher/electrician, and he’s doing all of our electrical work for us. He’s spent the past few weeks wiring the entire upstairs and the garage, setting switch boxes and installing can lights all over the place. I think we have most of the lights figured out, and lots of them are already purchased, but he sent us home with a shortlist of fixtures we still need to decide on, like something for the breakfast nook and a few lights for the laundry room stairwell. Every decision, even where to place an outlet, feels important and weighty, and there are a million of them. I hope we get to the end of the decision-making phase soon and can just enjoy watching everything come together!

So, what’s on the Dream House horizon for the next month? Plumbing and electrical fixtures get installed, insulation and drywall go up, and we’re hoping the walls will be taped, textured, and painted, which is huge! I’ve worried that the house will be too dark inside, something that bugs me endlessly about our current house, but our contractor has assured me that when the walls are painted, everything will be lighter. The exterior light fixtures that we already have will hopefully be installed, along with the beadboard on the porches, and we’ll have to scramble to find a few light fixtures that we haven’t quite been able to nail down yet. It’s hard to believe that we’re so close to the end, and the Dream is almost a reality!

One Response to “ Building a Dream House: A Million Decisions ”

  1. You should also consider where and how the guttering system is going to be setup. Often people design homes without maintenance tasks in mind. I’ve seen veranda gutters over hang the house gutters which made it almost impossible to clean the gutters. Created a big problem for the owners when water damage started to occur.

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