A (Not So Update) Home Build Update + 10 Features of Our Custom Build I’m Excited About

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Soo…our contract says our house will be finished in two months. Seeing as we haven’t even officially started yet, I’m going to take a wild guess and say that’s not going to happen.

I know building a custom home is a privilege and is supposed to be an exciting (albeit stressful) time, so don’t take me as too much of a complainer. Though I’ll admit, I’m having a little bit of a pity party.

I mentally added a few extra months to that potential end-of-October move-in date and tried my best to understand that delays and building are a package deal, but I wasn’t emotionally and mentally prepared for basically starting a home when it should be completed!

(Yes, we did break ground but the 6ish month countdown doesn’t really start until framing begins. Plus, because we broke ground so long ago, the edges of the walls have started to cave in, and now we have to get the excavator back out there.)

You may be wondering, “Why so many delays?” Well, it seems as if we’ve had everything. The excavating company took 5 weeks longer than expected to get started, the engineer had a family situation and wasn’t able to start working on our foundation plan right away, extra steps needed to be taken with our foundation to make sure it’s secure on our sloped lot, and a bill didn’t get paid so someone couldn’t get started working. (Whoops- that last one was on us, but we had no idea people were waiting on us to pay something. As soon as we found out we paid it ASAP!)

If someone were to ask me if I recommend building a home, I’d say, “Don’t build a home because you think it will be fun. Build a home because you think that’s the best option for you.”

The style of the home we want on the land we want is what’s kept us going. The dream of trees, peace, and space for our boys to roam is even stronger now as we live in the middle of everything. So we’ll keep pressing on.

Of course, everyone’s situation is different. For us, the waiting period is exacerbated because we’re waiting in a rental we’re struggling to like, so every day is just a daily reminder of our situation. (And despite that, yes, we’re still glad we sold our house when we did.)

Related: The First House We’ve Ever Rented- Here’s Our Rental Tour

So, all that to say is that nothing is really in your control, besides your reaction. We are working on having good attitudes (I feel like I’m talking to my 4-year-old ha) throughout this process and of course, contentment.

I’m trying to just accept the situation as it is and keep the ins and outs of building in the back of my mind, all the while focusing on the good and the things to be excited about.

Because when (and if) this house is ever completed, there will be plenty of things to be excited about! And that brings me to the actual point of this post-thanks for hanging in there with me!

10 Features of Our Custom Build I’m Excited About

Okay, so fair warning, none of these features are all that crazy. I’m not into things like the double island life or the small door in the pantry for groceries. If you read any of my fashion posts, then you know I like things pretty simple.

The features I’m excited about may not be all that groundbreaking to you, but from how I grew up and especially compared to what I have now, I know I will feel like a queen!

1. 2 Acres of Wooded Land

Okay, so this isn’t exactly a feature of the house as much as it is the location, but it’s truly one of the biggest reasons we are building!

Titus and I feel happiest with serene views and we’re total nature people. Some people are surprised to know this about me- apparently, I come across as a diva? HOW DARE you think that about me! 😉

And for our boys, we love that they can grow up exploring, getting dirty, hiking, finding tree frogs, camping out in their backyard, having bonfires, and all those fun adventurous things.

I daydream about waking up and enjoying a cup of coffee staring out the window looking over trees without cars whizzing by or neighbors breathing down our necks. Ah, that’s my idea of total bliss.

2. Walk-in Closet

So obviously this is going to rank pretty high on my list! Besides a short stint renting a home with a WIC, we’ve never had one before. In fact, our closets have been so small that I had to split my clothes up between 2-3 bedrooms.

Getting dressed meant walking all over the house, not to mention frequently losing clothes and accessories because I didn’t know what room I left them in. Having a walk-in closet means everything is in ONE place and I spend way less time and mental energy traipsing throughout the house. We’ll start off with the basic wire shelving, but later we’ll upgrade to a beautiful built-in closet system!

3. Walk-in Pantry

Speaking of walk-in rooms, I’ve surprised myself by actually being excited about a walk-in pantry! I’ll admit- I used to think that these were unnecessary and it was a sign that people bought too much food. And then I had kids. 2 boys to be exact. From oatmeal to rice cakes, they eat me out of house and home!

What I’m most excited about is that our pantry is designed to be more than just food storage. We’ll have a beverage station, microwave, extra counter space, and a place to keep extra dishes and appliances so they’re not cluttering up the kitchen.

No, it’s not big enough to be a butler’s pantry and the area isn’t huge, but we’re going to maximize every inch of it and I’m really excited to design this area.

4. Soaker Tub

Some people just aren’t bath people. I, without a doubt, am most definitely a bath person. In fact, soaking in a bath was part of my nightly routine that I did almost every night for years. I say “was”, because now in our rental, it’s not really an option.

The shower/bath combo is so shallow that while I was taking a shower, my 1-year-old leaned over and fell right in haha. (He was okay-just stunned and wet.)

Plus, I’d feel a little icky about taking a bath when I don’t know what else has happened in it. But I guess that’s the same logic that applies to hotels…?

Anyway.

We have our bathtub designed to be in front of a window overlooking the wooded backyard. I miss taking baths so much, but nightly soaks will be in my future again!

5. Vaulted Ceiling

I’ve only ever owned homes with standard 8-foot ceilings but once being in homes where the ceilings are taller, well, the difference can’t be ignored.

Everything feels bigger, open, and brighter. In our living room, we’ll have a vaulted ceiling that I think will be awesome to look at and have- with beams that we’ll add later. Ceilings on the main level will be 9 feet and basement ceilings will be 10 feet. It’s going to feel like there’s so much breathing room!

6. Everything is New

Can we just make “new” a feature of the house? Because after owning and fixing up 2 outdated homes while living in them, I’m most excited that everything is going to be new.

We’ve moved into homes only to have the dishwasher break down shortly after or to have the washing machine start leaking 2 months in. So from appliances to floors, I’m just excited that everything will be unused. And the best part is, we won’t have to do any of the work ourselves!

7. The Chance To Pick Out All the Finishes and Decor From Scratch

Though we did a fine job updating our other homes, they never truly felt like me. I’ve learned a lot and now feel confident and excited to design and decorate our build.

My “process” before was to pick out the nicest thing at Amazon or the local hardware store (usually during a project). I never really sat down and came up with a plan, created mood boards, or sourced products from different stores.

For this home, I’ve had the time (almost too much time) to think through the design, dimensions, and decor. My mood boards have really helped me pull everything together and I’m not just shopping at one store to put together the final look.

So the feature that I’m excited about is that the home will feel well-put together and look beautiful.

8. Our Basement

It’s very common to have basements here in the midwest. In fact, I’ve only ever lived in houses with basements so though the basement itself isn’t a new feature, I’m excited about what we’re going to do with it.

For us, we spend a lot of time in the basement. That’s our hang-out family room, a place for guests and home offices, a playroom, and a general cozy area where we can kick back and relax. In the basement is where we do our “Family Fun Fridays” and where my 4-year-old snuggles up on the couch with blankets because he “just wants to be cozy”.

What I love is that it’s not going to feel like a dungeon basement. It will be a walk-out, with plenty of natural light and tall ceilings. We’ll have a wood-burning fireplace with two large windows flanking each side. Perfect for those cold winter nights where all you want to do is snuggle up on the couch in front of a roaring fire, watching the snow fall gently on the trees. And then when we want to top off our hot drinks, we can simply just head to our basement kitchenette instead of trekking upstairs.

I’ve also put a lot of thought into the flooring and furniture to make it kid-friendly and beautiful. The plan was not to finish the basement originally, but I’ve gotten so excited about it that I’m determined to make it work within the budget because I want us to start enjoying it now, not 5 years from now!

9. Gas Fireplace With Built-Ins

Every living room needs a focal point and I’m excited that ours will be a beautiful gas fireplace with built-ins. I’m already envisioning how I’m going to decorate the built-ins, but I’m most excited for the cabinets to hide away kid toys (mom life).

We’re going for a stucco look this time around, so I think it will be fun to try something completely different than what we’ve had before. Plus, a gas fireplace upstairs for ease and a wood-burning one in the basement sounds like the perfect balance to me!

10. Our European Exterior

Unless you follow me on Instagram, then you probably haven’t seen the updated exterior! And no, I’m not going to reveal it now because it deserves its own post. 😉

Long story short: I never felt like the exterior captured what I was envisioning and I tried to accept it because anything more elaborate would just add time and money. Well, when we broke ground I started having a huge freakout moment because it dawned on me that I was spending all this money and effort to build something I didn’t actually like.

So I found an amazing design company through Instagram that was able to keep the same layout and foundation and just redo the front in a matter of a few weeks. It ended up not being a big deal build-wise because we had so many other delays and it was the perfect time to make the switch. Well, “perfect” would have been having my epiphany 8 months ago, Titus says, but who can really control their epiphanies? 😉

We’re also going to stray from the normal driveway and do a U-shape (no idea how much it costs yet- but I’m going to make it work), as well as add other details that will make it shine. I’ll share more details in the exterior post, but I’m excited to get that European look I’ve dreamed about for years– and maybe even a decade.

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So many things didn’t make the list! It was hard to just pick 10 features, but that’s a good problem to have. Titus is most excited about his workshop, a wall of windows in our dining room, being surrounded by trees, the basement bar area, our gas fireplace, and of course, everything being new.

‘Till my next update. In the meantime, catch up on what I’ve posted so far:

We’re Building a Home!

Home Build | First Peek at Our Home Plans

What I Bought for Our Home Build | Lighting

Life Update: Rental Living & Breaking Ground!

Carolyn Arentson
Carolyn is the founder and creator behind My Chic Obsession. When she's not dreaming up new content, you can find her watching a funny tv show with her husband, raising her two boys, or planning her next trip to Paris.