At Long Last, an Update!

Did you think the house building had come to a halt? I know, I know, it’s been far too long since my last post. And it’s quite ridiculous as well considering all that has been done since my last post!

Here is what you saw…


And here is what the exterior looks like now…

abberley lane modified exterior

The siding went up. This took forever! Like three weeks which seemed like a long, long time.

exterior siding

 But it was finally finished and in just a few days, it was painted…

image_3 2

And my favorite part of the exterior? My “haint blue” porch ceiling! If you aren’t familiar, historically they painted the porch ceilings in the lowcountry blue to keep away insects and ghosts.

haint blue ceiling

So that is where we are with the exterior. So let me show you a few of the interior. Since I haven’t shown you any photos of the inside yet, I’ve created collages of the progression since framing.

The front entry and staircase (view from family room)…

stairs progress

The family room…

fireplace progress

The back wall of the kitchen….


Other photos of the kitchen (P.S. I LOVE my kitchen cabinets!)…

image_2 2


And finally, our master bath shower. The cabinets are in as well, but I don’t have a photo yet…

master shower

So that is about where we are today. They have primed all the walls for painting and I’m hoping that will be done this week. We are getting close and I’m getting very anxious. We are being told three weeks until move in. My fingers are crossed, but I’m still a bit skeptical.

Everything looks amazing so far! I can’t wait to see it finished!

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It’s Looking Like a House!

I know, I’ve been slacking again on posting. However, a lot has happened since I last posted when I showed you the beginnings of the framing of the house {read here}.

baxter river district custom house framing

Very shortly after this picture from my last post, the framing was complete. It was crazy how fast it went and it was so fun to drive by every day and see the changes and progress.

Within a few days after the completion of framing, we had a roof!

baxter river district custom house framing

And a couple days later, we had windows!

baxter river district custom house build

Here is the back view of the house.

baxter river district custom house build baxter river district custom house build

It’s starting to look like a house, huh?
Well, all that exciting stuff is over (for now). For the past week and a half it’s been plumbing and HVAC. Not that it isn’t great progress, it’s just not as much fun to watch! But we have our plumbing and HVAC systems in (I’ll spare you the details and pics of that!) and electrical starts tomorrow. Once all that is done, the drywall will start going in and it will really start looking like a house inside!

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Foundation and Framing

Has it really been almost a month since I last posted about our house? Sorry about that! It’s been a pretty busy month! You’re going to be shocked by what I have to show you.

When I left off they had just poured the footings (see previous post here). The foundation came next and we were thrilled that we finally got to see something coming up from the ground!

brick foundation

I absolutely LOVE our brick choice. It’s the first one my eyes were drawn to when we walked into the brick. It’s Statesville Tumbled Oversized Walnut Creek Brick.

brick foundation statesville oversized tumbled walnut creek

I love even more this beautiful brickwork!

brick foundation statesville oversized tumbled walnut creek

This is the foundation for our front porch. Isn’t it gorgeous?!
While the foundation was being finished, we got this delivery.


Who knew a shipment of wood would be so exciting?!
They quickly laid the floor.

brick foundation statesville oversized tumbled walnut creek brick

This was the first time we got to “walk” our house! Finally! After looking at it on paper for over six months, we were actually walking on it!

framing custom house

Then this…

framing custom house river district baxter

It was one of the happiest days of my life! It might sound silly, but my dream house was coming to life.

framing custom house river district baxter

 And it went up fast!

framing custom house river district baxter

At this point we were able to walk through the house and actually see the framing of the rooms downstairs. It was wonderful to finally get a real-life view of the house we had worked on creating for so many months.

The back…

framing custom house river district baxter

The roof…

framing custom house river district baxter

framing custom house river district baxter

framing custom house river district baxter

The porch…

framing custom house river district baxter

And this is where we are today. They put some makeshift stairs in so we were finally able to go see the upstairs today as well. It’s unbelievable! It puts a smile on my face just thinking about it!

framing custom house river district baxterI do have some pictures of the inside and I’ll post those soon. Stay tuned…

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A Last Minute Decision

 So last week I shared with you the progress of the land preparations that were done for the new house. {If you missed it, you can read about it here.}

prepping land for building custom house

Although it was exciting to see things changing, even if it was just dirt being pushed around, we were ready for more! So we were very excited the day the surveyor came out to plot the house. That is, until we saw where the house was plotted!

plotting house baxter river district

You can’t tell very well from the photo, but the house took up pretty much the entire width of the lot. And, because it was so wide, the only way it would fit was to move it really far back (our lot is skinnier in front, wider towards back) leaving us no back yard.

plotting house baxter river distrcit

It also left us very little side yard on either side.


I was completely devastated. We all knew the house was wide, but no one had anticipated we would have to plot it so far back on the lot. We also didn’t expect it to take up the entire span of the lot.

There was only one logical thing to do to solve this problem and it was not something I was very happy about. In order to get our back yard, we would have to switch our side load garage to a front load. So right there, on the spot, I had to make a decision. I wasn’t happy about it, but it didn’t seem we had much of a choice, so we said go for it. So our plans have changed from this…

custom house abberley lane modification

to this…

custom house abberley lane modification

I REALLY didn’t like this idea at first. I didn’t want the garage to be the first thing people saw when they looked at our house. I didn’t want it to be a distraction from our huge, beautiful front porch. However, I realized that our garage does not sit in line with the front of the house, it’s a good bit back, so attention will not be drawn to it too much. It’s  grown on me and I”m ok with it now. It’s moved our house up a lot and given us much more of a back yard. It’s all good.

So then we were ready for the footings to be dug and poured. Ready and waiting. We waited because of sleet and ice (Remember, we are in SC and that doesn’t happen EVER!) and we waited longer because mother nature decided that after a summer and fall of drought, it was finally time for it to rain.
But we finally had a couple days of beautiful sunny weather and have our footings!

digging footings river district baxterfooting digfootings dig

It was cool to finally see the footings because it really gave us an idea of exactly where the house would sit on the land and also we could get a better idea of the size.

footings poured river district baxter footings poured river district baxter footings poured river district baxter

We were so thankful that this part was complete because we knew that now they could really get started on the building! Not only was it exciting to finally see the footings complete, but I found this on the lot too.

oversized brick foundation

The bricks for our foundation!oversized bricks

Until next time…

playing on the lot river district baxter

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Yes, I realize it’s been a month since I posted “I’m back!” after a long, much-needed break. Sorry about that!

After finally breaking ground on our dream house at the beginning of January {read about it here}, we were so excited to watch the trees being cleared, the dirt being moved and anything else that reminded us that we were finally doing this!
land lot river district baxter

land lot river district baxterclearing trees from lot

clearing lot baxter river district

By the way, this will be our view from our front porch…gorgeous!
view from lot baxter river district

So things were moving along but then we ran into a couple delays that have slowed the progress of the house.

We hit rock…
Not just rock, boulders. Lots of them. These were all removed from our lot and this is about one third of them.

rocks boulders on lot

After removing those rocks there were a couple in the ground they had to break.

cutting rock

These guys were being difficult! So difficult a special machine had to be brought in!

cutting rock

But Mr. Mike (Our builder. Yep, that’s him running that machine up there) got through them and the grading of the land could finally move forward.

grading land baxter river district build house

Next we had the big hill. I am not sure where all the dirt came from, but the boys loved it!

climbing dirt pile

They climbed it…

dirt hill

slid down it…

sliding down dirt hill

and thought they were on top of the world!
fun on the dirt hill

It was fun while it lasted, but then the hill was bulldozed away.

grading the land baxter river district build house

The boys weren’t too happy about that!

dirt digging machines

So the land was prepped and we were ready to for the surveyor to stake the perimeter of the house. That was until the surveyor came and staked the house. I’ll tell you all about that next time!

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I’m Back with Great News!

I realize I’ve been gone for quite a while. Much longer than I anticipated! But a lot has been happening over the past couple months and things have been pretty busy around here.

First, we sold our sold our house in just four days and then we had only thirty days to pack up and move out. Needless to say, we spend those thirty days packing morning, noon and night! It was a whirlwind, but we were very thankful to have sold and closed so quickly because that meant we could get started on our new house!

land baxter river district

If you are a follower, you probably remember that back in May we were beyond excited to have purchased land to build a new home. Our dream home.

We thought we already had the perfect plan. It was one of Southern Living’s most popular “Idea House” plans, the Abberley Lane. I had torn that house out of Southern Living Magazine years before. I loved it! But I never in a million years thought I’d have the opportunity to build it!

southern living abberley lane floorplan

I absolutely love the look of this house. It reminds me of a lowcountry plantation home. Hubby and I met in Charleston, and we used to love to walk around downtown and look at the gorgeous homes and architecture of the historic city. This one caught my eye immediately when I saw it because it reminds me of one of those homes.

Although it was the perfect plan, there were a “few” things we wanted to change. I know I have shown you these before, but it’s been a while so I thought I’d briefly refresh.

We wanted to extend the porch so that it wrapped around both sides of the house. This meant moving the garage to the back.

abberley lane floor plan modification

We wanted the kitchen and family room to be more open to each other.

abberley lane floor plan modification

We wanted to eliminate the two story family room to allow for more square footage upstairs.

abberley lane floor plan modification

We also didn’t need the formal living space in the front of the house so we borrowed the front entry and stairway from another Southern Living plan, Wentworth Heights (shown below). It allowed that extra room to be hidden behind the stairs. Perfect for my messy craft room!

abberley lane floor plan modification

 A “few” modifications became many changes and many drafts, but we finally had the perfect plan. Thank God for our architect who was so patient and accommodating! (KC Home Designs).

She is currently working on the most recent (and final set), but this is pretty close. We only made a few changes after picking out appliances and choosing bathroom cabinets.

Custom home abberley lane modification

Custom home abberley lane modification

After the plans were complete, it was time to choose a builder. We decided on Olde South Homes, a very impressive husband and wife team. We are thrilled that they will be building our dream home and have been very impressed with everything so far!

After weeks of waiting to close at the bank and a couple more weeks of waiting on permits, etc, we have finally broken ground!

breaking ground river districtbreaking ground river district

breaking ground river district

I’m sure these pictures aren’t too exciting for y’all, but for us it was HUGE! So we are finally, after months of patiently (and not so patiently) waiting, building our house! Stay tuned, I plan on posting about the house often!

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Building a House: Plans are DONE!

Have you started to think that maybe all that “we are building a house” stuff was a fabrication? I know, it’s been a while since I’ve posted an update on the status of our new house. If you remember, my dream house, a plan I had torn out of Southern Living years ago, was this one, the Abberley Lane.southern living abberley lane floorplan

Our front elevation was being based off of this one and we thought the inside floor plan worked, for the most part. Back at the beginning of August in this post, I shared with you some of the changes we were making to the original. Well, what I thought was a few changes ended up being a lot of changes! That is what has taken so long!

BUT, I’m happy to announce that {for the most part} we are finished! We still have a few doors and windows to add/move around and a few details to work on, but we have a floor plan and we have an elevation! So here is the original…

abberley lane southern living house plan

And here is ours…

custom KC home design scissors spatulas

custom kc home design scissors spatulas

I’m in love! It’s perfect! If you remember from the August update the main change we wanted to make to the elevation of the house was to move the garage around to the back {rather than sticking out front} so that we could extend the porch all the way around the front of the house. We now have a HUGE front porch!

Ok, now for the inside! I can’t really compare it to the original because we pretty much changed everything! With the exception of the dining room, hearth room and back stairs, nothing else is the same!

custom kc home design floor plan scissors spatulas

{closer look}

lower level custom kc home designs floor plan scissor spatulas


{closer look}

upper level custom kc home designs floor plan scissor spatulas

We took photos from magazines, floor plans from different houses, our own ideas, etc. and our fabulous architect, Kattie of KC Home Designs, did it!

Right now we are in the process of choosing our builder. I’ll give you an update soon!

Building a House: CreatingThe Perfect Plan

Who knew picking out a custom floor plan for a home would be so difficult?!

Actually, we thought we had it all figured out. As I shared with you in my first post, We Are Building A House, I thought we had it all figure out! My heart was set on the Abberley Lane Idea House from Southern Living. I’ve had this plan picked out FOREVER! It was my dream home! The inside was perfect and the outside was almost perfect.

Ok, so the only things I initially wanted to modify on the inside were:
Modification #1: The flow of the kitchen and family room.

In our current house, the kitchen is completely open to the breakfast room and family room. There are no walls, no barriers. I love it and it is one of the most complimented areas of our house. It’s perfect for entertaining, which we love to do! As much as I love it, this won’t work…

So that was our first “fix” that we thought would be easy. Open up the flow from the kitchen to the family room.

Modification #2: Move the garage and add porch space. We didn’t care for the location of the garage. We decided to move it around the the rear side of the house which allowed us to extend the front porch all the way around the front.

 John did this drawing modification and at this point we weren’t sure exactly where the garage would go and we were thinking about possibly doing a detached garage. So the garage is missing in this drawing. But you can see the extended porch.

downstairs abberley lane southern living

Modification #3: The layout of the upstairs. We knew exactly what we wanted upstairs. Two bedrooms with a Jack-and-Jill bathroom for the boys, another bedroom with a bathroom accessed from the hallway and a playroom with french door access. We also really wanted to have the space over the garage as an unfinished space that could be finished later on if we need it {which I’m sure we will}.

abberley lane modified upper level

So we had to try to figure out how to put the playroom elsewhere in the second story. We didn’t really care much about the second story being open to the family room. I personally wanted it open in the front of the house rather than in the rear. This really helped us in being able to add the extra room without using space above the garage. This drawing was a modification was also done by my hubby so it was not structurally or logically correct.

upstairs abberley lane southern living

Ok, so there were our problems. Seemed like an easy fix, right?
Or so we thought. This is where we handed it over to the professional. Once it came time to put it on paper, I started questioning myself. Freaking out! Why? Because this means it’s final. It’s not just someone else’s drawing. It’s not someone else’s home. It’s what is going to be our home! I want it to be perfect!

Fortunately we are lucky enough to have a friend doing the drawings for us. Our neighbor, Kattie is an architect. After being a stay-at-home-mom for almost five years, she has just start her own business, KC Home Designs. One of her first new projects, designing and drawing our house.
Over the past couple weeks she has taken the original floor plan and modified it based on our needs and wants. Let me note that she has been very patient listening to all my needs and wants! So here was the first draft, very rough, but just enough detail to show a basic layout. She opened up the space between the family room and kitchen and we decided to move the master suite to the other side of the house. A pantry and butler’s pantry were also added between the kitchen and dining room.

modified abberley lane floorplan

She also changed the location of the stairs because I wanted them up front rather than in the center of the house. This change caused a few problems with the layout of the upstairs.

A second draft with the addition of a mudroom/drop zone off the rear entry. Also a modified master suite. A basic layout of the upstairs was also started.

modified abberley lane floorplan

At this point we were at about 4.000 square feet which is a good bit larger than what we are going for. Ideally we’d like to keep it between 3,500 and 3,800. So we needed to look into removing some area. I really had NO need for the formal living space up front. I already have my craft room/office going in the other downstairs bedroom so this front sitting room was completely unnecessary. I went back to searching floor plans and found another Southern Living plan, The Wentworth Heights, that had a good front layout.

I really liked the placement of the stairs in this plan. I thought it was unique that it went up around the front door. This also created a wall which allowed us to move my craft room to what was the front sitting room but it will be closed off from the entry of the house. {This is a must because my craft room is an untidy disaster most of the time!}

Ok, so with those changes we kind of had to rearrange a lot of the layout. The master suite was changed (again) and since the other bedroom (my craft room) was moved from the left side to the rights side of the house, it left more room for our mudroom, laundry and powder room. The problem is that it all had to be reconfigured now.
So Kattie sent this one over and asked me to decide where I wanted the secondary entrance (on the side of house or rear off the porch) and mudroom. The upstairs was laid out but not finished in this drawing.

Whew! It’s a good bit different from the original, huh? But I was really starting to love it! Funny, I thought I loved the original so much! But it was finally all coming together just like we wanted!
I looked at a few more house plans to get some ideas for that secondary entry area and sent Kattie a few more ideas. Bless her for being so patient with me!
So here is the latest. Both downstairs and upstairs. This plan has the secondary entry at the side of the garage and I’m not completely sold on this. I think I would rather it be around the back, from the porch area. Plus I’m not crazy about the kitchen space taken away from the kitchen. There will also be a door entering from the garage. So that will be changed (again). God bless Kattie!

But the upstairs looks great! We have all the rooms arranged the way we want them!

So I think we are well on our way to completing the house plan! Hopefully after we meet with Kattie this weekend we can get that kitchen, mudroom, entrance figured out.

Now to find a builder! We have talked to a few so far and have been very impressed. Our top two, New Old Homes and Olde South Homes. Here we go again! Decisions, decisions! I’ll keep you posted!

We’re Building a House Step 1: Find a Floor Plan

Last week I shared my most recent news with you that we just purchased land to build a house. Not just any house, but our very own custom home!! Although I know this is going to be a slow process, it’s also going to be a very exciting one! And, get ready, I plan on sharing every bit of it with you!

If you follow me on Pinterest you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been Pinning house plans like crazy! It’s so much fun! It’s like a dream that is about to come true!
However, no matter how many floor plans I think I like, there is always one that I go back to time after time. It’s one that I tore out of Southern Living Magazine YEARS ago.
You see, before Pinterest came along, I saved (and still have to this day) hard copies of my favorite ideas.  Recipes, floor plans, decorating ideas, party ideas, holidays, ect, they were all torn out of magazines, separated into categories and filed into binders.
One of those ripped pages was this. . .

Abberley Lane was Southern Living’s 2002 Idea House. I was just 23 years old when I tore this page out of the magazine! Ten years later (man, did I just admit my age?), I am still in love!
Wanna see the inside?

Okay, so there are a couple of modifications I want to make to this plan, both inside and out, but it’s still my favorite. I love it!
Yet I still find myself looking at others and thinking, “Oh, I like this. Double porches would be fabulous!”



“Or maybe just one really large porch?”




YIKES! I’ve come to realize, that while this is going to be a fun process, it’s also going to be a very difficult one!
I cannot wait to start this process and I cannot wait to share with you every step along the way! I’m also going to be asking for your input and opinion along the way, so be prepared! I want any and all advice and/or feedback you have to give. Dish it out people! We  are going to have so much fun!
If you want to see more of my house plans, check out my Pinterest board “In my dreams.”