How to choose a floor plan for your home

how to choose a floor plan for your home

Choosing a floor plan is obviously a crucial decision. My advice for this topic: really think about your lifestyle and how you want to live in your new home. One of my biggest pet peeves in any home is wasted space (formal living room with plastic seat covers, anyone?). It also helps to consider how long you plan to be in this home and what your lifestyle will be like over those years. Case in point: we’re considering this the “teen years” home. We have at least 10 more years of kids in the house, and we really want our kids and their friends to feel comfortable hanging out in our home during the high school years. We wanted lots of open space, but a defined kid hang-out area and an area the adults could use for relaxing, entertaining, and watching tv at the same time.

choosing a floor plan

We ended up using an existing Pepper Viner floor plan, which saved us thousands of dollars that we would have had to pay an architect to design a home from scratch. Pepper Viner had built this home as a model a few years ago, so we were lucky enough to have been able to walk through it in real life, which was a huge benefit in getting a feel for the layout. Unfortunately that’s not always possible, but you can always spend some time touring model homes to get a feel for the size of rooms and layouts you like so that when you’re viewing floor plans, you have an idea of what you’re looking at.

The floor plan we chose has a large open living/dining space, which we will use as the kid area and for extra dining space when we entertain – but our approach to this space will be casual, not formal. Formal spaces just aren’t necessary for the way we live and entertain in our family. The kitchen is open to the family room, and I love being able to cook and work in the kitchen and still be with my family. There are doors from all of these living spaces onto the back patio, which is perfect for Arizona since we spend a lot of time outside.

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We did want to make a few changes to the plan, so we went to the architect who designed the original plan to make those modifications. We added a walk-in pantry – it’s more spacious than the cabinetry that had been designated as pantry space in the original plan. Again, this is an example of thinking about how you like to function in a home. In my case, I like deep, open shelves where I can see everything all at once. I not only store a lot of food (I like to stock up at Costco) but I also store big appliances like my crock pot and blender and large serving dishes in my pantry. We like to entertain and I like to make it easy on myself. To eek out the space for the pantry, we had to lose some cabinet space, but it was worth it to me. Another change we made was eliminating a small door and window along the back of the open living/dining area, and instead installing a large 18-foot sliding door. This required some engineering on that load-bearing wall, so again, we need the expertise of the architect to map that out. In making that change, we realized one of the patio columns would be right smack in the middle of the view from the door, so we had him reconfigure the column placement as well.

Overall, choose a floorplan that suits the way your family lives instead of trying to force yourselves to function in a space that doesn’t make sense. Consider whether you entertain, host houseguests, how much storage you need, and how much maintenance you're willing to deal with. Once you have that basic layout in place, that’s when you can have some fun choosing finishes and touches to really make it your own. More on that soon!

Choosing finishes: the bathroom edition {how to choose plumbing fixtures}

photo credit: BHG

With building a house comes SO MANY decisions. One of the big debates I had was deciding on the finish for the plumbing fixtures (faucets, shower heads, etc.). Part of the struggle was that I wanted to carry that finish throughout the house — towel bars, door handles, hardware, etc. — so it wasn’t going in just one place. During my debate, I posted this photo (--->) on Facebook and Instagram, and I had to laugh, because I don’t think I’ve ever gotten such a response on anything I’ve ever posted before. People are PASSIONATE about their plumbing fixtures.

Here are some inspiration images I found as I trolled Pinterest and Houzz for hours on end while I debated:

We’ll have white cabinets, and I wanted something classic that I won’t hate in a few years. The trick, I suppose, is that it’s hard to know now what you’ll hate then. The majority of responses to my informal survey were in favor of brushed nickel or oil rubbed bronze. I like them both. I had thought about the beautiful champagne bronze finish — sort of the matte gold that is so popular right now — but vetoed that because it’s pretty pricey, especially when using it on everything, and I wasn't completely sure I would continue to love it for years to come.

The winner? Brushed nickel. Several of my friends who have oil-rubbed bronze warned me that the finish wears off, so that decided it for me. Added bonus? Brushed nickel doesn’t show water spots and fingerprints as much as shinier finishes, and with two kids, every little bit helps. And since it’s been around for a while, there are tons of options for brushed nickel — different styles, price points, etc. In a future post, I'll write up a list of links to tons of places where you can comparison shop for fixtures.

We ended up choosing Kohler faucets and are buying them through Ferguson Kitchen & Bath, the vendor used by Tucson Plumbing, who is doing all of the plumbing in our house. Chad has been working with Tucson Plumbing and Ferguson for years through his job with Pepper Viner Homes. We’re so glad we were able to source our choices through a local vendor, and we love that Kohler has a lifetime guarantee on all of their items. Once everything is installed I'll post some pictures!

So to sum it up, here are the factors to consider when choosing your finishes:

  • Style (Does the finish go with your color scheme and cabinetry? Do you like the styles that are available in that finish?)

  • Cost (Some specialized finishes are really pricey — take that into consideration when you're deciding where you want to spend your money!)

  • Durability/Quality (Does it make sense for your lifestyle? Is it easy to clean? Will the finish hold up if it's somewhere where it will get a lot of use? Is there a guarantee on your selections?)

  • Availability (Are there plenty of style options available in your price range?)

Which finish do you like best? Any strong opinions out there?

Want to read all of our homebuilding posts? Find them here!

Color for warm weather months {decorating the living room}

coral ombre throw and floral pillows for summer

I'm a big fan of light, bright neutral palettes for home decor, and I have an official fear of color  -partly because I'm afraid I'll get tired of it. The up side to having a neutral backdrop is that I can work in little pops of color that can be easily changed out, so I jumped in and did just that this summer. I'm loving these bright patterned pillows and coral ombre throw that I picked up from Marshall's for this summer, and I can tuck them away when fall comes and I'm ready for warm earth tones. 

Patterned Wallpaper Accent Wall in the Office {removable wallpaper from Target}

I've been working on an office makeover for way too long – it's one of those projects that I got started and then kept putting on the back burner. My office is also the guest room, which always presents decorating dilemmas, but more about that in another post. 

Today I wanted to talk about the one small project that we did that made a huge difference in the way this room looks. We put up some patterned wallpaper - Devine Color Diamond Wallpaper in Twig from Target - just on the window wall. I love the mod pattern and the soft grayish taupe color scheme, which looks great with the brushed gold accessories and curtain rod on that wall. The wallpaper has a sticky back and is supposed to be removable and repositionable – perfect for commitment phobes like me who have always shied away from wallpaper because of what a task it is to take it down when you tire of it.

Chad found that it was a little tricky to work with, which resulted in one visible seam and a few bumpy areas – this would totally drive a pickier person crazy, but I was able to disguise the imperfections with the wall art and bookshelves that are placed in front of the wall. The result? A big difference that took less than one afternoon to accomplish, and that can easily be undone when needed. What do you think?

removable wallpaper - Devine Diamond in Twig by Target

removable wallpaper - Devine Diamond in Twig by Target

Has anyone else tried this removable wallpaper at Target? Check out their other great patterns and colors!

Website Design Projects

Squarespace website design has become a popular service in my Etsy shop and with some of my local clients. I've worked with some great people so far this year, in a variety of different industries. Check out fabulous photographer Alisha Sims' new boudoir photography site, Fearlessly Feminine, and Sunset Interiors Furniture & Design. I love working with these business owners on this platform - I'm able to design the site for them, and Squarespace is user friendly enough for them to continue to add content later. More projects are in progress - I can't wait to share them!

fearlessly feminine website design

Decorating with gold

Are you on the gold bandwagon? All of a sudden it's everywhere, from parties to design to home decor. I'm glad for a change from pewter and iron - loving a little sparkle in the house. I'm working on some fun graphic design projects that are incorporating some metallic touches too - stay tuned!

gold home decor accessories

a boy's room makeover

Although it didn't seem that long ago that we did a little sprucing in Luke's room, the time had come for a major overhaul. This overhaul was needed mostly because Luke hates to get rid of anything, and it was becoming increasingly difficult to get any semblance of order with all of his STUFF. Added to that was the dire need for new paint on the walls and a better system for organizing his belongings.....and perhaps most importantly, a place to display his prized Lego creations. We also had a very, very low budget for the whole makeover.

We started by emptying the room of everything except for the furniture, and that was no small task. Chad then began the process of painting the room a pale, clean gray (Behr Silver Drop) and I did some thorough cleaning. We shipped the kids off to the grandparents' for an overnight, and then we set to work organizing. We spread out all of Luke's belongings out and categorized them – stuffed animals, cards (Pokemon, Bakugan, Ninjago, etc.), Legos, action figures, cars, books, the list goes on.... We made a pile of items to donate and brainstormed about how to organize the other items.

For the stuffed animals that were too sentimental to give away, I purchased two large canvas bins from HomeGoods, and we placed those, full of stuffed animals and too-young but special toys, into the display nook above his closet.

For the rocks and seashells that he just. could. not. part. with., I bought large acrylic canisters (also from HomeGoods) so that they'd be on display, neat, and new arrivals to these cherished collections would have a home. Luke was pretty excited about these, and we also added a couple for special Lego parts.

We added new hardware to the furniture that we painted navy blue a few years ago

Chad designed and built shelves for Lego and toy displays, and we painted them a slightly darker shade of gray.

We added a few new accessories – a lamp and shade purchased on clearance at Target, coverlets from IKEA, and accent pillows from HomeGoods.

We reassembled the room and were finally finished! It is so nice, bright, and clean  – I no longer cringe when I go in there. Here's hoping it lasts!