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Follow Me

I decided I am going to switch gears a little bit and post on my old blog here, and keep it a little bit about Design/DIY/Inspiration, a little bit about our life/what were cooking/what were doing on the weekends, and a lot about our house progress.  I love blogging about the house but content is limited right now and I am feeling inspired in other areas as well.  As my best friend so delicately put it: “There aren’t enough pictures!” with just the house to blog about.  She’s right, pictures are the funnest part…:)  So come on over if you want to follow along!

P.S. If you only want to follow along with the house building process, there is a tab at the top just for that.


Timing is everything.


If i have learned one thing from my 20s, and the 20s associated rat race, it is that timing is EVERYTHING.  That and that God is great, beer (and wine) is good, and people are crazy!  This makes it seem as though everything you need to learn in your 20s can be learned by listening to country music…

Anyhow, back to timing… Timing has saved our butts so so many times.  Protected us from ourselves. Kept us from making huge mistakes.  Caused us to make some mistakes that turned out to not be mistakes at all.  If we had gotten everything that we thought we wanted when we wanted it, I don’t even know where we’d be right now.  We probably would have lost a house or worse.  My husband would probably still be trapped in a sales job he hated. I might’ve not gotten the experience I needed in a bigger city and would have had a really hard time getting my first break in my small town.  I had this revelation yesterday that this opportunity to build a house is way more than I ever even hoped for.  Six months ago I wanted to so desperately to buy a 2 bedroom house built in 1889 that was basically falling down for 75k more than they were asking for it!  Thank God timing had my  back on that one.

The take home here is that I am so thankful that things worked out the way they did and that the timing all came together for us to build this house.  My mom and Brian and Sean and I were just talking about how the market has already changed so much in just 6 months that we didn’t think we’d have been able to do this if we were starting to look for lots today. Weird right?

Did I mention my mom & step-dad (to be referred to as Brian from  here on out) started building?!?  They did.  I am going to post about their lot and progress ASAP.

Falling in love all over again.

Were getting so close guys!  So close.  I am hopeful that by the end of the month there will have been some work done on the lot.  At the very least, hopefully the forest of weeds will be gone.  We close on our loan in a couple days & the city is working on our final plan check revisions. Eeeeeeeee!!!!

Now that the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end is near, I am getting excited all over again about the things that made us fall in love with our little lot in the first place:

The opportunity to have a nice back deck with a little view of the downtown area where we can entertain and watch the sun go down with a glass of wine in the evenings!

outdoor entertaining

The proximity to the farmers market one block away and the cute market basket possibilities that go along with said proximity:)

bike basketHaving a safe place for our kitties to roam a little outside and bask in the sunlight of the big windows we have planned inside.  I could spend an hour just daydreaming about our kitties sitting on the ledge of the dutch doors staring outside….its gonna be so presh!

catPretty darn excited to have a couple cozy rooms to offer to our friends and family who come to visit in place of the couch and/or motorhome accommodations we currently have to offer.  Pretty sure said friends/family are with me on this one!

guest bedroom

The biggest and best thing about the lot is how close it is to my family.  We are basically down the street from my mom and stepdad (who are also building a house!!!) and even closer to my dad’s house.  My best friend is about a mile away…walk to met in the middle for coffee distance perfection.  For those of you who aren’t friends and family and are reading this, two years ago my husband and I moved from a couple hours away back to my hometown.  We love it here and we’ve always known we wanted to end up in this little pocket of the world.  It’s so magical, I cant even explain it. Sadly, we are now a couple hours away from the other half of the people that we love.  This grates on my heart but this is also where the guestrooms come in.

Broadcasting Live




Tonight we had our very first dinner at our lot!  We’re currently sitting where our deck would be and taking in the sights and sounds and dreaming of what it will be like with a house taking up a good portion of the lot in place of all these crazy weeds.



Sean and I decided that we needed a visual reminder that we are indeed building a house, so last night we made some margaritas and put a big ‘ol inspiration board together. We look right at it when we lay in bed and it was so nice to wake up this morning and see it all there in front of me what we are waiting patiently(ish) for. I think this is just what we needed to get through the last push before we break ground….which might actually be in the next couple of weeks. Hallelujah!

On Setbacks

lot 2

Before I get to the nitty gritty of the setbacks we’ve experienced in another blog post…I first wanted to admit/get it out there that the reality of building a house and the “idea” of building a house are two different things.  I realize we are two lucky mo’ fo’s. I really do.  I also realize that its such a huge blessing to be able to pick everything out ourselves.  Huge!  Who gets these opportunities?  We do? We do.  Crazy! But you kinda metaphorically sell your soul to the devil for those things at the same time in the following pretty major ways:

1) T.I.M.E. precious time.  For most people who build and live in a rental or their previous home during the process, this may not so much apply.  But for us, who are living with relatives in a teeny tiny (and getting increasingly smaller each day) room, time is a big issue.  Waiting for a house to be built requires patience that I was lacking previous to this process. I can’t stop imagining our lives in the house and I just want to get there to that end goal so badly.  There are days where I probably say to Sean 5 times in 5 minutes, “I cant wait for our house to be built.”

2) For every “high” of building (seeing your plans & renderings, getting your permits approved, closing on your loan), there have typically been several associated “setbacks” (plans need to be redrawn over and over, city doesn’t approve your plans, loan after loan wasn’t what it seemed).

3) Picking out all of the aforementioned little details isn’t as fun when you have a dark cloud of budget overruns looming over you.  I was under the impression that if we ran over our budget it would be because of getting caught up on having to have something.  I was hopeful that we would avoid this and stick to the budget but whats an $1,000 splurge on a farm sink in the grand scheme of things.  I thought maybe we would fudge our budget a couple grand in the end on a couple fun splurges.  Maybe end up with some money for furniture (which was originally in the budget.  many, many budgets ago.)  This is simply not the case.  We have basically blown our budget up.  And not on farm sinks or expensive tile or landscaping like I had hoped.  But on sewage & power lines, soils reports, crazy seemingly unnecessary retaining walls, and permit fees.  BTW, this is the house building equivalent of having to use your birthday money to buy new tires.  Blows!

With all that off my chest, I am so grateful to have this opportunity.  And I know that once we break ground and get this road on the show, its going to get fun again.  But right now, there have been more lows than highs.  Silver lining? That it kinda doesn’t even matter.  Were not saving lives here, were building a house.  A house that we could easily just sell if things get too out of hand (I SO HOPE TO NOT THOUGH!).  I am also, thankfully, very able to worry for about 10 minutes and then set it aside and go on living my life.

The Ones That Got Away – Part 1

Remember when I said that there was a whole bunch of crazy involved in our house search?  Well, this house stands out above all the rest.  It was basically uninhabitable and we were going to have to gut the whole thing but it had some funny features worth sharing:

photo 1Feature A: Collage Carpet

photo 2Feature B: Wallpaper in the Shower!  How does that even work?

photo 3Feature C: Carpet in the Kitchen. Mmmm, yummy.

photo 4Feature D: Bathroom sink in the bedroom

I love looking through all my old house hunting pictures.  It totally validates all of the stress & waiting of building.

Oh, hey! Hi!

I’m Niki.  My husband is Sean. The two of us spent the Summer of 2012 working, winetasting, and looking for a house to buy…with no success (errr, actually we had success with the wine tasting but not with the house buying).  We started to get discouraged, questioned our plans, threw around alternatives to buying a house, kept looking, and tried to just enjoy the process.  *One of  these days I am going to post pictures of some of the houses we looked at.  That’ll be a fun post.  Oh my, were most houses ever strange. *

Anyhow, I’m rambling.  One day a cute little lot in the historic downtown “village” area popped up on the MLS.  It was interesting.  Our interest was piqued.  My step dad is just generally awesome at life and has built a bunch of houses of his own and some to sell.  He suggested maybe we just build and offered his help to us if we decided to go that route.  Long story short, we loved that option and less than a month later, the lot became ours.

sean and lot

That was October and the past few months and past few tens of  thousands of dollars have been spent on soils testing, topographic surveys, engineering, architectural reviews, permits, and other miscellaneous tasks.  Mostly boring stuff….EXCEPT…..the plans!  The planning process has been so much fun. It feels like such a luxury (and it is!) to be able to decide on the style, the flow, the usage of space, the amount of light, and the finishes of an entire house.  That is the fun stuff and  that is probably what I will be sharing the most of.  Lets face it, insulation and roofing materials aren’t exceedingly exciting.

On that note, this is what the ‘ol house is supposed to look like when she’s built:


Were calling her a “modern farmhouse” and we think she is going to be a BEAUT!

And this is us:


By our pool! HA! I wish.  We are actually living at my dad’s house with three cats.  My little sister (whose awesome) recently graduated college and moved home to study for the MCAT and apply for Med School.  So she’s also living at my dad’s house.  God bless by dad…its a packed house.  Needless to say as much as we love my sister and my dad, we are so ready to see this house finished and to move in and have a place of our own again.

Some other stuff about us (other than that we are cat-hoarding free-loaders):

we are 27 (me) and 30 (Sean)

we have never owned a home

we love love love anything and everything involving the outdoors

we live on the Central Coast of Cali

we love wine (and beer)

we have a load of awesome people in our lives who have been so supportive and stoked for us throughout this process so far

we are an accountant (me) and an EMT/Paramedic School Student/Aspiring Firefighter (Sean)

we met in ’03 & got married in ’08 and its been the funnest 10 years

we are kid-less but we do have 3 aforementioned awesome cats

Stay tuned!