We are two months out from finishing our custom built home and I could not be more excited!! This was a totally new experience for us. Jamie and I renovated a townhouse, which he did most the work on. But when we came into this process, I truly had no idea how much work and detail goes into all the decision making of building a home. We have friends who have recently built and we asked them tons of questions before we started. But there is so much thought that goes into everything, that now looking back, I just had no clue.
Saying that, I have loved the experience so far. Jamie and I have the same taste in design and décor, which I’m grateful for. When we started this project, we both had our layout wish lists, and we were able to check all of them off with the help of our architect. Jamie and I both have our own unique strengths, but they are paired with a shared vision. Jamie was a plumber gas fitter back in the day. He is incredible at breaking down the project and managing the process. While my inspiration is all about the design and aesthetics of the space.
A few things I have learned along the way in this process:
Everything takes way longer than expected. From the design process to the waiting on the city for approval and of course the coldest winter we have had in British Columbia in years. We lost about 3-4 months. We bought the property in June 2016 and it’s scheduled to be completed end of September.
Pinterest becomes your best friend!! I can’t say enough about what a great tool Pinterest is when it comes to building a home. You can find so many resources and beautiful design ideas you can pull from. Another great resource for homeowners is houzz.com.
Hire an interior designer!! We are working with Stephaine Jean Design to help us bring our vision to life. When I saw her designs, I knew I wanted to work with her. I knew she understood the look and feel of the home we wanted to create. There are so many important details that can change the look and feel of your home! From the perfect paint colour to getting the right lighting fixtures, all these little details matter. That’s why it’s so helpful to have someone with the knowledge to assist in the process.
Get help picking paint colours. This process took me a while. For the exterior of our house, I knew I wanted a lighter grey but didn’t want it to look too blue, purple or brown. I bought samples from Benjamin Moore, then painted hardy boards and took them up to our lot. The sun exposure is so different from place to place it can transform a colour. We ended up going with Benjamin Moore, Storm AF-700 for the exterior and still picking the trim colour. One great point, Stephaine (our designer) suggested was to make sure your trim is close to the window colour if you are doing white windows. You don’t want the trim to be a warm white and the windows to be a cool white. Jamie and I love white interiors and when it came to picking the perfect colour, I found this tough! There are SO many white paint colours out there and they all have different undertones. You have to make sure the paint colour is well suited for the rooms exposure as it can look SO different once it’s up. Our living space is in the back of the house, which is north facing. I did a bunch of research on how northern exposure affects the colour of paint. There was so much to know! We ended up going with Benjamin Moore, Simply White OC-117 for everything in the interior.
All the upgrades add up fast!!! Early in the process, I had a girlfriend who is building as well say something that really stuck with me. She said, “every $1000 dollar upgrade adds up to a lot when there are 10, 20 or 30 of them”. I’ll admit it’s been really tough saying no to certain upgrades. I wish we had this perspective going into the project. This would have helped put our money where it would make the biggest difference with our budget what. Jamie and I had a set budget to start and have tried to be as cost effective as possible when it came to upgrades. For instance, one area is lighting! O how I love thee!!! I could have spent 10 times our lighting budget with all the amazing designs out there. I compromised by picking a few spots with designer pieces and were thrifty on the rest. I highly recommend Wayfair and Joss & Main for cost effective lighting options.
I feel like we are on the countdown to Christmas with just 8 weeks left till we finish! All the weeks coming up are exciting as everything for the interior we picked is now coming together!
Hopefully, my tips come in handy for those of you building a home!