Friday, December 9, 2022

Windows, Doors and Roof

Every new step in the home building process is exciting! When you see progress it makes you happy. Windows, Doors and a Roof - The house is really starting to feel real now. Like with every single part of this house we ran into a snag which made for more work. But what I'm learning in this process is that everything can be fixed. Nothing is impossible to correct.


Our Windows were a difficult thing to choose for us. I was really wanting black and of course, turns out black is way more expensive. We shopped around a lot to see if we could get a good price on decent windows. We ended up going with Builders First Choice in Apex. They were really great in helping us decide on a good window that wouldn't break the bank. These are MI (Homes) Windows. To save money we actually ended up with 3 different window styles. 

Front windows have the single pane line at the top - these were all the most expensive windows. The side windows are black with no panes - second most expensive. And in the back we actually did white windows. Reasons - Our house is painted white so it blends, our house backs up to no one and no road so its mostly hidden and it saves us like $5000. That sold me. Oh also our windows are black on the outside and white on the inside so there is no difference inside. Honestly no one has noticed a bit. It all kind of flows and works. If the back of our house was visible to the public I wouldn't have done that. But for us it worked. You save your pennies anyway you can.

Mahogany door is from Southern Door & Trim, Inc.

Window & Door Installation

Next came the fun part of installing windows and then our beautiful front door. Guess what, half the windows were framed the wrong size and our door was framed 1" too small to fit our door. Y'all, this was probably my most major meltdown in the whole thing. I was livid. At first you don't even know what to do. Your framers tell you they will fix it but of course are too busy to get over anytime soon. But something we would say that has been the best investment is our Structural Engineer. We have had to call and email him a bunch during this process and he always has awesome suggestions for how to solve these problems. A good structural engineer is crucial and we are so thankful for ours. 

Justin is amazing and spent weeks reframing all of the windows and the door to get our windows in correctly. He is an excellent carpenter and his imprint and craftsmanship is all over this house. What a glorious day when all of that was finished and complete.

We used our old front door as our new side door! I love we have little pieces of our old house here.


We also got our new roof done as well! Roofers came and did the singles like elves in the middle of the night. We just went out there and it was done one day. We did charcoal architectural shingles. We also opted for a metal porch roof in black and Justin actually installed this. I absolutely love it.

Look at those beautiful windows and front door! A sight to behold. It's coming along!

Thursday, September 22, 2022

House Progress - The Trades

If you are like me, you might be asking yourself...what are the trades? Everyone kept using this term at me over and over like I knew what that meant. This happens to me a lot these days. I don't know the steps to building house...but I'm learning.

The trades involves your HVAC, Plumbing and Electrical. After you are framed you are ready for the trades. All trades need to get "roughed in" first and pass inspection before you can move on.  This is where we are currently in the process.

As I speak, the electrician is finishing his part. HVAC is completed, gas line is in and the Plumbing should be done in a few days. We may even be able to have our inspection next week. Although I'm not holding my breath because usually it's longer than what I think.

I have to say, all of our guys have been amazing. They have done an excellent job, been there when they said they would and didn't leave giant messes. All are highly skilled at their trades and I've been really thankful and impressed with their quality of work. You need these things to be done right and I'm so glad we had some good people sent our way.

A lot of people have asked where we found them from since we are the GC's of the build. We found everyone through recommendations (which is the best way to find someone). We will have plenty of recommendations when we are done.  The plumber is actually my Uncle and he's the best. We've actually had other builders come in and complement his work already. Peace of mind in these sorts of things goes a really long way.

I didn't think I would enjoy this part of the house building process so much, but I really have. It's been so fun watching these guys skillfully install their part of the house. I feel like they are creatives, not one house is the same so every part has to be planned and thought through before it's put in. It's fun to see all of the hidden parts of the house come together that no one will ever see or think about - but yet benefit so much from. These aren't the parts of a house that people talk about over dinner parties like their pretty light or countertop they found. No one really talks about the expensive wiring for the electrical, the intricate duct work or the masterful plumbing system that allows life to function well. But it's there - doing its job like it should for us everyday. You wouldn't have a house without it.

The framing of our House, Our Summer Progress

Much has transpired over the summer so it's a good time for an update. Our house is really coming along now! It's been a lot of waiting, a lot of frustration, a lot of excitement and every other emotion scrambled in there. One thing I've learned from this experience is if you think you know how something is going to go...just don't think that. It's going to be a different way. This is what happened when we got ready to frame the house. 

Taking down every piece of this house - starting with the roof

Just about done with demo!

Originally we were doing what we could to save some exterior walls, maybe even the subfloor of our old house. But as we took layer by layer down it was evident this just wasn't going to work. There was too much damage and the work arounds for keeping some things were too complicated. So every single piece of our house came down - everything but our foundation. Even the entire subfloor needing redoing. It took a ton of work, long hot Saturdays in the summer and lots of help. Boy, are we so thankful for each and every person who has helped us along the way. In the end, we are very happy about it. Everything is new and right. We don't have to worry about anything rotting or being extremely off causing a major issue down the road. I think our intentions were good with wanting to keep some of it, just not doable in the long run.

Our beautiful trusses

For the framing (in case anyone is wondering) - this is how it worked for us. First, we found a company that could design our trusses based off our house plan. We needed an engineer for that. They designed and built every truss for us and were excellent. We were so excited the day they were delivered! This process was straightforward and I liked it. I like it when things just go exactly like you plan.

Next, we had all of the rest of our lumber delivered and about a week after that the framing crew came out and started on the subfloor. (This was a different company than who designed the trusses). After this you get an inspection. Of course we had issues that had to be fixed. I don't know if we have had one inspection go off without a hitch yet. But, it gets fixed and you move on. 

After that - the framing crew had our house built in about 8 days. We loved going over everyday and seeing the progress, getting to know them and watching a dream we have had for years come to life. There were a lot of tears that week - good ones. It's really something to finally see your house being built. This means a lot to us, we are both pretty sentimental people. At this point we had felt like we have been waiting for this moment for a long time. Everything has taken longer than expected (the nature of these types of projects for sure). But when you are in the middle of have to remind yourself its worth it.

We love this little slice of property in downtown. Its our home. Home is a sacred place and something we are longing for. It's made me reflect a lot on the desire for home and where that comes from. Ultimately, we desire for our heavenly home. A place of forever rest and comfort...of peace. I can't wait for that day. Until then, this is a mere tiny reflection and reminder of that ultimate place. Something to remind me that Jesus is making a spot for me with Him for all eternity. I want to use this earthly home as a way to honor and glorify Him while we are passing through here.

So 8 days and your house is standing right in front of you! I absolutely love it. It's exactly what I envisioned going into this process. Then we blinked and the roofers came out and put our roof on. We are installing the metal roof on the front porch ourselves and I'll share that update this week. Some things you wait forever for and then some happen so quickly you don't even get a chance to see it happening.

Next on the agenda is to get all of the trades in (hvac, electrical and plumbing). After those are done we have a mega inspection...we are actually really close to this part so I need to do another update soon!

Until then! We are taking each step carefully and counting our blessings. 

Monday, May 16, 2022

Foundation Repairs, Demo & Permits

When you rebuild a house something is always happening. Whether it's inspections, picking out and ordering doors, setting up times with subcontractors, digging trenches or removing landscaping...your days are full.  Right now if we have an hour to do something, we are over at the house doing it. 

Quick recap because some were confused - we are taking our house down to the foundation, with the exception of saving some exterior walls and rebuilding it adding a second story and new floor plan. Also, we are really involved-  Justin is the General Contractor. So everything essentially falls on us. So, its a lot and we are very hands on...but also fun and exciting.  Some days I cry, some days I laugh and cheer. No matter what, every day is good because we are one step closer.

So its been a quick minute since I posted anything - so where are we in this journey? A lot has transpired...

Demo&Asbestos Removal

Before we could get official and have our permits submitted and approved we had to have the house inspected for any asbestos and have it removed. We knew that a part of our exterior was asbestos siding but we were unsure about the inside. We found a great company to come and do a really thorough inspection (they checked every little thing)...we did find that under two sections of old flooring there was some asbestos. I was a little bummed because I was hoping we wouldn't have to pay for that removal but also I'm glad to have it removed and be safe. This is super common in older homes and totally not an issue as long as its not disturbed. But, it had to come out and be removed properly. We had another company (Remtech) come out and do all of the removal for us. They were quick and did a super job. We passed our air test and were good to go. Yay! Things we learned, asbestos is still used today in building materials (in smaller quantities). Our asbestos was in the newer section of our house after it was supposed to have been banned from using. You just never know and if you have an older home you should definitely not skip this step.

After the siding came off we needed to protect the house with a wrap, we used Tyvek bc we found enough at Lowe's.

Once we had all of the asbestos was out we got to work on demo. Everything is coming out. The only part we are saving is the foundation and some exterior walls. We are still working on the complete demo of the house but are getting close. Framing starts in 2 weeks and by then we have to be finished and that includes the roof removal...more on that to come!

Foundation Repairs 

One other piece we needed repairing before we could apply for permits was our foundation issues. We needed an all clear from an Architectural Engineer before moving forward. We discovered way back in the beginning that we had some sagging on the front and back corners of the house that needed reinforcements and the recommendation was to have helical piers installed. We needed 7 total. Seemed simple enough but this process ended up being one of those difficult moments because the situation became worse than first thought. 

These are helical piers and you add more length by 7' sections as you drill down.

Turns out, our soil is very soft that our house sits on (which apparently is uncommon for this area). There is no way to know this until you start drilling down. So what we thought was going to be a short helical pier fix turned into a major helical pier fix. The cost was wayyy more than estimated. Originally we were aiming for 21' piers and we ended up with 42' piers. Pretty much, we are tethered to the earth's core now. After that shock I decided it was best for us to have a strong and stable foundation. But boy, those are not fun surprises. It's all done now and we have moved on but if you ever need foundation repairs I would just expect it to be worse than you think it will be. No one will ever see those piers, but I know they are there and I will cherish them always.

Permits & Exterior Work

Finally it was time to apply for permits! Something we have been anticipating a long time. We heard a lot of horror stories about this process so we were a little unsure of what to expect. It's a ton of paperwork and all props go to Justin for being extremely thorough. When he went to turn them in they ended up throwing a bunch of our documents out because we overdid it, haha. Better to be over prepared! Still, somehow they misplaced a document and we had to resubmit something but it was a fairly easy and painless process. We have enjoyed all of our interactions with the town. Everyone has been helpful and kind and quick. Getting our permits approved was the biggest sigh of relief. We have the green light now to go -and it feels great. 

Porch Piers

First job to get going on was the exterior work done before framing. We have a little additional section of foundation going in, old porches coming out and piers for the new porches going in. Each step has to be inspected before you can proceed. I had no idea how many inspections take place when building a house. Not that it's a bad thing, you want things to be safe. I guess I was just naive to that fact. We are getting pretty close to this part being complete. 

Brick work has started, this was our first thing going back on the house so it was exciting to see. We had a bit of a miscommunication about the mortar color and it's actually not what I was picturing at all. But, it is what it is now. Actually, it's growing on me. The craftsmanship of the brick work is beautiful and they are doing an excellent job. I'm learning I need to be really clear when communicating design choices. Still, I think it looks awesome and I can't wait to see it all come together eventually. 

Tree Removal

To add a second story we had some really large branches hanging over the house that needed removing. We have some really amazing friends who volunteered to come out and get them down for us. It turned into a whole neighborhood event. I love our friends and neighbors. Y'all, this was nerve wracking for me. But the branches got down safely and correctly. I am forever grateful to the people who helped us with that and so glad that part is done. 


And finally, probably the most annoying part to date - our electrician. Ok, so to get the roof off of the house we need to have the electrical removed. We live in an older downtown area that still has the electrical connected from the pole to the roof. To do this, you need an electrician to set up a temporary pole/power box off of your house. Then, it has to be inspected by the town and then the town utilities will come out and reroute the power to the temp pole. (When we are done the new line will be buried so we won't have this issue in the future). Well, turns out our electrician didn't agree with the way the town wanted things done. Arguments happened and our electrician quit, came out and removed his temp pole and all. This was fun. Thankfully, the company doing the brick work has connections and found us a person who could do a temporary pole for us quickly so we could move forward. We are on a major time crunch because of our framing starting soon. Still not sure who our electrician for the whole project will be yet. We have some recommended names and are trying to find someone. Its something we don't need immediately but also something we need to get taken care of. 

Coming Up

Our temporary power was inspected and passed this morning! Yay, it's amazing when someone just does it right the first time. We had our dumpster delivered. This made me giggle because we asked them to please put it on the farthest right of the driveway and it's sitting in the middle of our yard. The rest of the siding will be coming off, the electrical and plumbing will all be pulled out and the roof is coming off. All of this should be done by May 25th - that is the day all of our lumber and our beautiful trusses and floor joists arrive and framing begins! I can't even believe it. 

Silas removing our other landscaping!

Whew, that was a lot. If you read all of these words you are next level devoted. We are so grateful for the support, help and encouragement during this whole process. It's been quite the ride already! Sometimes it all seems surreal that it is happening. I know a lot of people are curious about what is happening at the house and I do post on instagram quite frequently in my stories. I will keep blogging about it here but it may just take a little longer since we are all hands on deck right now!  I can't wait to have a big open house when it's all done. We love having people in our home. So much to look forward to!

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Our House Plans and Design

Months ago we began researching on whether or not our dream for a complete house rebuild was even an option. We started by talking to several people we know in construction and getting some feedback on options. One particular friend of ours was determined to make this whole thing happen and helped to really support and push us in the right direction. His guidance and encouragement really is what sparked us to jump all in. We are so grateful for that help.  With his guidance we found an amazing team to work with in the pre-planning stage.


At first we weren't sure which direction to go. Do we save part of the house? Can we? What kind of condition is our foundation in? (Our house was built in 1961). Should we just bulldoze it all down and start from complete scratch? We needed major help. 

Our first goal was to determine what we were working with as far as our foundation goes. We found an amazing Structural Engineer who came over to do an assessment and help us know our options. Like most older homes, we had some foundation issues but thankfully nothing that was not fixable and also something we could add a second story to. After talking with him we decided our best course of action was to move forward with trying to save our foundation and anything else that made sense. This would save us on total cost which is a top priority for us. Additionally, we really like the idea of using part of our old house for the new.

Next up was meeting our architect (part of the structural team) and letting him know our hopes and dreams. Honestly, I think we were both kind of surprised at this point that all of this was actually moving forward but after living somewhere for 11 years you know what you would like. 

Dreams - a second story, a front porch and a screen porch on the back (we love being outside), open floor plan downstairs with more space to entertain, a downstairs owners suite, fireplace, laundry room, upstairs loft area, a bedroom and bathroom just for Silas, an office for Justin and spare room for guests.  Oh- and a pantry! We have never had one. Our current house square footage is right under 1000 square feet. Its small but worked for us for a long time. We learned how to use every square inch well and hosted many many parties, meetings and all sorts of gatherings there. 

We thought a lot about adding extra square footage to the footprint on the main level - something doable. But honestly we just didn't see the need for it. We've lived in a small space for so long - this was going to feel huge for us. We have a small section of foundation being added at the front of the house but that was it. And with the right design - your space can really work well for you.

Literally blown away the first time I saw this!

I was honestly skeptical of what could actually be accomplished and what I had kind of pictured in my head ended up being nothing what was presented to us - and I'm so glad because they gave us something even better. We are absolutely in love with our floor plans.  Somehow they turned that little house into a beautiful thoughtful space with every single item on our wishlist. They also captured our exterior exactly the way we wanted, even though I don't think we even said what we exactly wanted, lol. I'm pretty sure I said- I like old houses and big porches. That was the only thing I gave him.

I absolutely loved the design process of this project. Our engineer and architect were amazing, listened well and delivered a beautiful product. I cannot wait to see this come together in real life. 

Once we settled on our final plans it was time to get a loan and get to work on figuring out the best way to repair our foundation. It feels like we have been in the planing stage forever but we want to get this part right. It's important our plans are done well, our foundation is correct and all of our permitting is in order. So in the meantime, I dream of our new home that's waiting to be built. 

More on the process of becoming our own General Contractors next! Some of you have already reached out and said this was something you are considering. This was a hard decision but one we are happy about! I'l try and give some info on how that works here in NC, so stay tuned! 

So much of this has been surreal. We have always been thankful for the little home God provided for us 11 years ago. To have a safe and cozy place for us to learn how to be hospitable and use what we were given well. We pray this new space will be the same. We want our home to be a place always where people feel welcomed and loved. A place for laughter and tears and for God's word to be shared and enjoyed. Good meals and gatherings, celebrations and prayer. Expectant for what comes next.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

A New Begining

I started this blog 11 years ago. Silas had just been born and my life felt so different. We had bought a house that needed a lot of TLC and I was looking for a creative outlet while I adjusted to being a stay at home mom.  So this space was created as a way for me to document our new little journey as a family of 3. 

Fast forward and here I sit with another turn of seasons. We are currently in a temporary home, we started a new church a year ago, I opened a shop selling my handmade jewelry and goods and Silas is about to be a middle schooler. Sometimes I feel like I have blinked and other days it seems like the days have crept along. Life is so amazing that way.

Since we are embarking on a major home renovation I felt like this was a really great moment to open this space back up and document this crazy journey of rebuilding a house. Honestly, If I'm the only one who looks at this blog anymore I'm good with that. I want to remember this season and celebrate the good things that are currently taking place. It's a very full year for us and at times overwhelming. There are so many decisions being made daily, things are moving more slowly than expected and we are learning so much about what it takes to get through a major remodel together.

I'll be sharing more specific things about our home remodel soon. Honestly, it's hard to even know where to start. I'll begin by saying this project is not typical. It's been a slow plan, one step at a time thing for us. We have had some great, more educated people help us with the pre-planning phase. We had an amazing lender who worked through the best financing for our budget. And, we have had so many talented people in the construction world come alongside of us to get this house built. We are seriously humbled by the support and help offered our way, even in the early stages. 

Most people will think we are crazy. But I think we are used to that by now. I feel like we haven't always gone by the book in life. We love an adventure and this feels like a big one. So without any more intro: Here is a little overview of where we are right now with our house plans-

Our little old house (which we truly love so much) was really in need of some major repairs. We prayed and talked through the best approach for handling the situation. What we came to, was realizing that this was a great moment for us to go all in. We could spend a lot of money patching and repairing. Or we could just take it down to the foundation and build something that would be a good place for our family to grow in for the years to come. This is our home and we love our neighborhood - and let's face it...where are we going to find anything we can afford right now in the Triangle area?  So we began the search for someone who could design something that fits our needs, wants and budget. And wow, were we blown away at the creativity and beautiful plans they came up with!

Our architect and structural Engineer really worked with us to give us a house that used the footprint we already had really well. Everything we asked for they managed to make happen. I would strongly recommend them to anyone in the area looking at home renovations or new builds.

When we settled on the final designs we got all approved for our loan, moved out and began the demo work.

After talking with several General Contractors we came to the conclusion that we were going to do this ourselves. Justin is the GC for our house project. Crazy, we know. But also, not for us. It puts a lot of the decisions in our hands and gives us total freedom on how to do the work.  We can use our own subcontractors and choose which parts of the project to do ourselves to save money. It's taking a little bit longer to go this route but for us it's worth it. How cool is it going to be when we move in and know we did this ourselves? 

The plan for our house is to take it pretty much down to the foundation (save a few exterior walls) and build it back up. We are keeping the exact footprint - with a small extra foundation being added to the front and also adding a second floor. All of the current electric, plumbing and hvac are being removed and completely redone and the current floorpan is completely refigured. Where you see the eat in kitchen area below...that will be our laundry/mud room.  Silas' bedroom and our living room is now our Primary bedroom suite and the kitchen is being moved to where our old bedroom, laundry and spare room was. It's completely different and brand new.

So many people ask us what our timeline is....y'all I wish I had an answer. Right now we are trying to do it as quickly as we can. We have to wait for subcontractor availability, things like windows are taking a long time to get. It's all dependent on so many factors. But...we do know it will be done and it will be amazing.

We took those first few pics of us in our house right before we moved out. Literally we had boxes all over the place the other side of the camera. We saved that little space to grab our last moments together in our home. There are so many memories we will cherish. And it's also weird bc our house is still going to be our house - just different? So, it's bittersweet but exciting and all the feelings.

Below is the most current picture of the house. It's almost gutted. Justin does this in his spare time, weekends, nights, etc. In a couple of weeks we have an abatement company coming to remove our lovely asbestos we discovered and then it's go time. Foundation repairs, foundation extension, roof's going to get crazy.

Because starting a new home Reno isn't enough I also had the opportunity to start a new business and open up my own little shop in Cary. This was also a crazy whirlwind of events but it truly has been a blessing for us so far. Remodeled has evolved and become something so sweet for me. Now, it's taking on a new adventure as making a brand for itself. 

Sources (Affiliate Links): Gold Sconce Lights
Table is from Hobby Lobby

My space is in the Painted Tree Boutiques in Crossroads. You can find lots of unique handmade jewelry, tees and hats designed by me and hopefully even more fun things soon.  The whole store is a beautiful way to support local small businesses. I'm so thankful for the support already given. It was kind of scary to do something new and put myself out there. It's one thing to sell on Etsy or at a weekend event..but this is more permanent. It was a major commitment and honestly a dream come true for me. I'm so glad I took the leap and went for it. When I was a kid one of my favorite things to "play" was store. I would completely redo one of the rooms in our house into my own store and make my parents come and buy things from me - haha. Am I the only one?

Something I have noticed - just from taking the time to sit and think through our current life station and write a few things down is how much more appreciative and thankful I am. It's so important to take the time to pause and be thankful. We can so easily get caught up in the daily decisions, current news events or disappointments of the day. It's so essential to stop and see what God is doing around you. If you are feeling overwhelmed I encourage you to take some time and write a few things down. To pray over the specific situations bringing you anxiety and to share your story with others. God is in the details of our life, let's not forget that.

PS- As I am opening this blog back up I have been updating some of the pages here. Our House Tour page is updated with how our house looked right before we left and what we had completed in each space. It's funny now because it's all gone - but I wanted to remember it how it was and how sweet those spaces were for us. As always, thanks fo much for taking the time to stop by and spend a moment with me. I am truly grateful!