Sunday, December 9, 2007

Inspiration vs. reality: master wardrobe

Mr. Big desperately wanted to order cabinets from a manufacturer from his home town. On the other hand, I desperately wanted to order cabinets from our designer. At the end of the day, there was a compromise...we split the order between the two manufacturers.

The final cabinets have arrived and they are b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l. Our master wardrobe completely blew me away. First we have the inspiration image and then the real deal:

The handles went on after these photos and they make the wardrobe even better. We're chomping at the bit to get our clothes set up in there...soon come!

Friday, December 7, 2007

The big weekend has arrived

More details to come soon (we're late for our holiday party...). Fun, fun, fun!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Front yard taking shape

A few weeks ago we arrived at the house to find all sorts of trenches in the front yard.

Things are looking up as the trenches have been replaced with the perimeter of the driveway and the entry posts. There's still more to go, but hey, it's progress.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Adding a bit of color

When it came to choosing paint colors, we decided to keep it simple. The entire house was to start out with either white (White Dove by Benjamin Moore) or khaki (Tapestry Beige by Benjamin Moore). Most of the house will start out white until we live in it for a while. But there were just a few spots where the khaki color was turning a bit bland.

For example, one of the downstairs rooms just didn't look as refreshing as I had always imagined it.

The silver sage from Restoration Hardware was always in the back of my mind, but it was turned just a hint too mint green. I ended up with an option that was a lot darker. It's a blue/gray combo...and I love it. The room now has a nice cool feel to it.

Similarly, we had started with the taupe color in the guest bathroom downstairs. It looked very nice, but lacked a bit of pizazz that I was looking least for when we are moving in.

We ended up one shade lighter than the above room and it certainly makes the tiles stand out. The countertop will be a gray/brown concrete. Once coupled with the mirror and sconces, this color should catch the attention of our guests.

The not surprising part about all of this is that I have already changed my mind on these colors within two weeks of them being on the wall. Great. What am I going to be like in the first year living in the house? I suppose I'm fortunate that paint is one of the most economic ways to decorate...and let's hope that my current pace slows down. :)

Inspiration vs Reality: Front door

A while back, we solicited feedback from our friends and family on which front door we should choose. We've tried to keep it "hush, hush" and the day has come to unveil the new door. They still have a bit more framing to finish it off, but you get the picture.

Once again, it is fun to look at the original inspiration versus the final product. Before doing so, it's again worth noting that I almost fell off my chair when I found out the cost of the door from the inspiration image. A front door costs how much? Ultimately, our door cost 50% less from another manufacturer with a little less detail.

We've obviously got the finishing details yet to come, but we are really happy with the choice. And thanks to all of our family that gave input. It pretty much gets us to the same 50% of the price. Interestingly enough, our family tended to vote the same way. We felt that this was a sign and ultimately followed their lead. Thanks again to everyone who helped us out!

Inspriation vs Reality: Stone wall

The single largest inspiration image in our planning process has been this one with the large stone wall. We loved how it used the space and created a focal point in the great room.

We originally picked a stone in a similar color palette and anxiously awaited it's arrival. Unfortunately, we were ultimately told that it was not available any longer. We had to make a last minute decision and ended up choosing a darker stone. For ages the new stone sat on site and I worried (and worried and worried) that it was going to be way too dark. Well, it has now been installed.

The bottom of the wall will be completed once our audio-visual equipment is installed. In the meantime, Mr. Big is officially excited yet again....he loves the darker wall (to be honest, it is a bit more masculine than the lighter option). And the best of all (for me anyway) is that I completely concur with him. It is nice to have another significant fixture in the house other than the kitchen that is a bit darker.

In hindsight, I realize that it would likely be attractive whether in light or dark stone, so all of my worrying was for not. It's really nice to have a unique feature in the house. So as for the inspiration image, I'm really pleased that it was put to use.

Backyard taking shape

We spent a long time in 2003 designing a beautiful dock for our future home site. Unfortunately, Hurricane Ivan decided to toy with our plans. Mr. Big discussed many different building methods to ensure that a new dock would not find a similar fate.

At the same time, we have been patiently waiting for the pool to begin. The revised plans by our architect seemed to be taunting it and they will come (guests that is...). We were just so excited to see what it was all going to look like together.

We're still not there, but the dock and pool have been started. As with each other step in building, it has been exciting seeing the footprint develop.

Oh my goodness, it's HUGE! (Yes, that is Mr. Big standing out there in the distance) Given it has a lap lane, we expected it to be bigger than usual, but I never imagined anything this large. It's been quite a surprise. They should be shooting the pool this week and the dock wood is ready to be put down imminently. We're keeping our fingers crossed that we'll be swimming for the holidays. Perhaps the nice guy in the big red suit can help out...

Inspiration vs Reality: Railings

A few months ago when we found the perfect handrails, we inquired with the manufacturers...only to find that they would cost us more than our combined annual salaries when we first left school. Yes, I'll confirm that...combined. There was no way that we would be proceeding at that rate.

We met with a local metal worker and asked him if he could come up with anything close for a fraction of the price. It wasn't looking good for a while, but he ultimately came through for us. He was able to meet our budget and we liked the design so much that we used it for both our interior and exterior railings.

The first image was the design inspiration and those following are the actual railings.

The inspiration

The railing overlooking the great room

The stairway (keeping everyone a bit in suspense)

It's special that these were made locally. I've seen the metal worker twice at lunch since their installation and he is clearly excited by his work. We concur completely!