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!

Square business card designs in the shop

When I designed my business card for my Chloe+Isabel boutique, I got some nice feedback from other merchandisers who liked the unique design. I love the square shape and pearlescent cardstock that I used for these, and I had fun working with the C+I color palette and style to create them.

Shortly after that I did some design work for a friend who is a consultant for Rodan+Fields and I started thinking that other direct sales people could probably use some design assistance as they work to establish their own brand and create marketing materials. I just added a new Etsy listing for custom square business cards for any direct sales business, and I hope to add some other options (postcards, rack cards, flyers, invitations, etc.) soon - in the meantime, email me if you'd like a quote on any of those materials!

chloe+isabel watercolor pearl square business card design

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

A baby shower in Tiffany blue with ribbons & bows

Tiffany blue and bows baby shower.jpg

I recently threw a shower to help prepare for the arrival of my newest niece, Penelope, due in March. Penny's mom's favorite color is Tiffany blue, and she loves bows - so since this is her first little girl, we combined those two ideas for the theme.

First, the invitation, which I recently added to my Etsy shop and previously mentioned here.

We planned a simple menu of various apps and a main course of baked ziti, meatballs, and a big tossed salad. For decor, we did simple centerpieces with a charger, glass bowl, alstromeria and baby's breath with ferns for a little greenery. With the help of my assistant (my seven-year-old daughter), I painted a fun scrolled board and letter "P" from Michael's for a cute monogram. We thought this would be pretty in the baby's room after the shower.

We also had a pretty dessert table, with a banner I designed to coordinate with the theme, a simple cake, and other coordinating sweets from the party store.

We added adorable party favors - scratch-off lottery tickets in a simple folded envelope made of aqua card stock, topped off with a "lucky penny": 

All in all, the shower was a success. It was pretty and casual and we were able to do it all on a reasonable budget - mission accomplished!

girl's room DIY update - new lavender paint and built-ins

lavender girl's room makeover with built in shelves and gold sconces image.jpg

I posted years ago when we updated Maggie's room from a toddler room with a crib to a room with a "big-girl bed" and a few adjustments to the decor. More recently, we did a bigger overhaul since the walls were due for repainting - and repainting leads to rearranging, which leads to the need for more storage....and on and on it goes. 

I loved the yellow walls in her room, but it seemed silly to keep the same color if we were going to go to all of the trouble to move everything and paint, and it had been six it was time for something new. She wasn't really ready for a "tween" room, and I"m not a big fan of theme decor, but her one request was lavender. So lavender it was. I did a lot of looking for a shade with a bit of muted earthiness to it - nothing too bubble-gum or neon. I also want the room to be light and bright, so I was worried about going with too dark of a shade. I'm pretty happy with the one we chose. 

I was inspired by this image, which I found via Pinterest and originally from this site

white built-in shelves with sconces from

I loved the open, white shelves and the gold sconces. Chad created a similar setup - the nice folks at Lowes even cut the shelves to size for us, saving him a few steps in the construction process. We still want to put cabinet doors on the lower shelves, and perhaps build a bridge over the bed like the inspiration photo.

I bought inexpensive sconces from Ikea, spray-painted them gold, and was happy with the result:

gold sconces with lavender walls girls room.jpg

To organize her accessories, we painted a pegboard the same lavender and added hooks - perfect for her many hats, belts, scarves, etc. 

I added a few other lavender accessories (some of them spray-painted with Krylon ColorMaster in Gum Drop), canvas wall art from Wayfair, and we were done - a fun, fresh made-over room on a very small budget!

refinished kids' art table

The makeovers continue.....Chad refinished the kids' art table, which they use all the time. They draw, paint, and craft there, and they love to sit there with their snacks when they watch a movie. We took it from a light maple, which really didn't match anything in the house, to a dark wood. Now it looks like it belongs here!

fourth of july cupcake toppers {free download}

Hi everyone! I hope you're all getting ready for a fun, relaxing weekend involving sunshine, food, family, and friends! To celebrate, I'm posting my first free download....some Fourth of July cupcake toppers! Cupcake toppers have been super popular in the shop lately, and you can also use them for favor tags, napkin rings, treat toppers, and plenty of other things! Just print and cut......and I'd love for you to leave a comment if you download them! click here to download: fourth of july cupcake toppers

Have a fantastic weekend! :)

busy busy {custom invitations • etsy shop}

Hello there, dusty old blog! I have had great intentions of posting some new stuff, but it has been a CRAZY few months. I have been so excited that my little Etsy shop has become really busy this spring. I have worked with some wonderful, fun, kind people, and I'm looking forward to featuring some of them here. Recently, a new customer contacted me. She hosts an annual girls' night party and wanted help with a custom invitation.

She decided to go with a "movie night" theme, and wanted something with a slightly retro look to it to go along with these popcorn buckets she found. Here's what we ended up with:

Movie night invitation2

I wish I could go! Sounds like a fun night. :)

Around that time, a soon-to-be high school graduate and her mom contacted me about the retro circles invitation I have in the shop. They liked the bright, fun colors and wanted to know if I could adapt it into a graduation party invitation, with a second side to include more photos and a bible verse. I was more than happy to put something together!

Custom graduation invitation bright colors

Such a pretty girl, and I love how the colors in the photos worked with the background!

So how has the spring been for you, blog world?


IMG_4602 I discovered digital scrapbooking a few years ago. I had never really gotten into "real" scrapbooking, but kept thinking that I would eventually get around to doing it - I love the books that some of my friends and family had created, and it's such a nice way to save memories for the kids. Then I stumbled across the digital version and discovered that that would work even better for me. I think it's a little faster, and I love that you can replicate books and layouts without starting from scratch.


How I did it:

I created a photo book for the first year of each of my kids' lives using Shutterfly and their vast selection of layouts and backgrounds, and they came out cute. But as I browsed sites like Shabby Princess and Designer Digitals, I started to find elements and fonts and layouts that I wanted to be able to use.

I found a few tutorials to get me started, and created a 2006 photo book in Photoshop Elements, capturing the highlights of the year, and uploaded it into blank layouts on Shutterfly. (A couple of "getting started" articles: here and here)

I've since tried Apple's photo book printing (for my 2007 book) and was pleased with the results there, as well — to be honest, I didn't see much difference between the two books, so I look for whoever is running a good deal!

This year, I used Adobe InDesign to create my own layouts. That's the software I use for a lot of my freelance work when I design newsletters and that kind of thing, and I was able to create layouts and drop pictures in pretty quickly. My own books tend to be heavy on photos and text, and less on the decorative stuff, but I've seen some people get really creative with layouts.

What I put in the books:

For my 2008 book, in addition to photos, I tried to include more stories about the kids that I'd written down over the course of the year. When I look back, I'm always glad that I took the time to write down these little moments. It's surprising how quickly we forget the specifics, and already I am amazed to remember things that happened a few months ago and see how much the kids have changed already!

I also included some pictures of the kids' artwork; I've talked about it before, and this is one way I've found that I can preserve the cute stuff they create without taking up quite so much space.


Slurp Your Blog:

For you bloggers, I've heard that blurb is a great way to capture your blog. You can slurp your blog (how funny is that?!) straight into a nice, bound hardcover or softcover book and preserve all of those images and memories.


Any other scrapbookers (digital or traditional) out there? I'd love to see some of the things you've created. If you don't scrapbook, how do you record your family's memories?

It's not my usual random decorating post, but I'm adding this to Kimba's DIY Day again. It counts, right? :)

Luke’s Pirate Party

Luke's fifth birthday party proved to be quite the event. He has only had relatively small parties up until this year, so for this one we let him invite a big group of friends for a pirate-themed party at a local pizza place. I had so much fun coming up with the invitations:

luke's bday invite draft

I was originally going to send actual paper invites, but time got tight so I ended up dropping the image into an evite. I found the images here and also used them to make iron-on transfers for Luke and Maggie's shirts:


and used them to make goody bag tags too.

I just recently came across this blog with some wonderful party ideas — wish I had found it before planning this party, but I've definitely bookmarked it for future ideas.