Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Visiting Our Future Home's Construction Site, Planning Our Home Design, and PICTURES!!!

Our new building
I am insanely grateful and happy about the fact that we bought a home that is being built, and will be moving to a place that is much larger than our current home. That said, there is a certain amount of stress involved, because everything is up in the air, and we have no idea about so many things and how life there will be.

Originally when we signed on the apartment last June, the company promised us that it would be ready within 2 years from that date, but since we were one of the later ones to buy in that project, the estimated date that it would be built was much earlier. While that is absolutely amazing, and I'm glad that it likely won't be another 14 months until we'll be able to move in, it does pose a problem not knowing exactly when we will be able to move.
Our current rental contract is up in July, and I have no idea what we'll do about when it is finished. If I knew for a fact that the place would be ready in August or September, we could consider a short term rental or even move in with relatives and put things in storage for that short period of time. But since the timing is so up in the air- maybe we can move in in July, but maybe only October or November...
Last time we moved in the middle of our lease we tried to find people to take over our apartment but had lots of issues doing so (too long to get into now), so we ended up paying double rent for 4 months until our lease was up, which ended up killing our budget and putting us into debt, which was horrible. We don't want a repeat of that, so signing a new year long contract in July would be really scary, but we're trying to figure out what to do. We have to speak to the landlord, but we are going to see about working a clause into our contract that would allow us to leave in the middle, maybe if we give him two month notice, or maybe if we agree to pay more each month. We'll have to see. (Any suggestions how to word a contract in a way that a landlord would be interested in it as well?) 

But one thing for sure that we decided- the biggest issue with our house now is that the floor is terribly broken, both ugly and dangerous and for years the landlord said he'd fix it but he didn't. There is no way that we can find someone to take over our apartment with our floor as terrible as it is. I don't want to sign a new contract until he fixes the floor. And if he doesn't fix it? Well, no one else will move in anyhow. And once he does, I am a little bit less stressed about signing a new contract because it won't be as hard to find new people for this place.

On another note...

As the building has been coming along, I've been paying periodic visits to the construction site, also to make sure that things are exactly as we specified in the architectural plans, and also to make final decisions in person. 
Yesterday I visited the construction site and it really almost feels like a home now- of course, minus all the furniture and finishings... But it is so exciting! The builder said that he thinks everything in the house will be finished being built within the month! After that, there are infrastructure things and roads and sidewalks, then all the official paperwork. 

While I was there, I took pictures, lots of them (scroll down if you're impatient for them), and measured some things, because not everything is as clear to see on the architectural plans, and the size of the place affects what we'll be doing now.

Mike and I decided that we need a new bed- our current furniture set up is driving me mad, so we'll be building a bed to our exact specifications. In order to do that. though, I had to see how much space actually was available in our future bedroom. Our bedroom will be much smaller than our current bedroom is, however I think it will feel more spacious.

Right now our bedroom not only is where our bed is, but because the kids' bedroom is tiny, all their clothes get stored in our bedroom in addition to our own. Out of season clothing, maternity clothes, and hand me downs are also all stored in our bedroom. Our dryer is there too, since there is no room in our bathroom to put a dryer, just the washing machine. And of course, all my work stuff and crafting things, as well, are kept in our bedroom. (Sewing machine and equipment, camp stoves and portable kitchen tools for my foraging cooking classes, soap making equipment and curing soaps, etc.) Mike's building tools are there too- circle saw, drill, electric screw driver, jig saw, planer, tool boxes, the works... Coats, backpacks, suitcases. Linens. If you can imagine how cluttered our bedroom probably is from that description... it's worse than that, especially since it is all open shelving. Which is why I never share pictures of it. Because if there is a room in my house that I hate how it looks, it is that one.
As much as I would like to get rid of clutter and things I don't need, and as much as I do that on a regular basis, the fact of the matter is that we don't have any closets, no storage facilities, and we have 6 people worth of things that need to go somewhere, and there isn't room in the kids' room for them and I would rather this mess be in our bedroom than in the living room/dining room.

In our new home, in addition to having nearly twice the amount of space we currently have (925 square feet instead of our current 484 square feet) we will have lots more built in storage space. Underneath our stairs and above our stairs will be storage space, and we have some outside storage space as well. Out of season clothing and hand me downs will be stored there. Under the stairs we will also be storing all the building tools, backpacks, and suitcases. Or some of that can also be a stored on a high shelf above the stairs.

For now we'll be having all the kids share a room so their clothes and toys and personal items will be in their bedroom. In each bedroom there will have large doored closets to store each person's clothes there, freeing up much of the room in our room.
Which leaves the last room.
I intend to make that room be both a guest room and an office, with a trundle bed and work desk for all my business paperwork and computer, in addition to shelving units to store all my work equipment.

The kitchen is also something I'm trying to figure out. Right now my kitchen is on the smaller end so we added a book shelf and store things above the upper cabinets, fridge and stove. It's got a very cluttered look to it which I want to change in the new place.
The problem is I'm not sure if there actually will be enough storage space in the kitchen. We currently have a 'pantry'/stockpile in the hallway which we will be moving under the stairs.
Then in terms of actual kitchen space, the new kitchen has twice as much counter space as our current one as well as twice as much cabinet space under the counters. The upper cabinets though are a problem. The kitchen space covers two walls but there are upper cabinets only on one of them and ordering more from the kitchen place is insanely expensive.
Basically we have a choice. We can take a gamble and hope that all our numerous kitchen things fit in the kitchen coming with our apartment. And there is that chance because, as I said, there is twice as much under the counter kitchen space, and right now 3 out of the 7 under the counter doors we have aren't even usable, so being able to have 14 may possibly fit enough to include everything we currently have under as well as what is above our cabinets and fridge, as well as much of what is currently in our freestanding shelf in the kitchen... but that's a gamble. It may fit, but it may not.

At first it was a bigger stress because we thought we'd have to make the decision now if we'd be adding more upper cabinets to the kitchen, since we thought we'd have to buy it from the overpriced kitchen place that is supplying the rest of the kitchen to the apartment, in order to ensure a uniform look. I had heard about the possibility of buying kitchen cabinets second hand and in very good quality from some local sites that sell those types of things, but I worried that maybe we won't be able to find ones that match the kitchen that we ordered.
My mother suggested an even better alternative. We can order kitchen cabinets second hand, and if they aren't the right color, my step brother in law is a carpenter, and he can easily and cheaply replace the doors to make them match the rest of the kitchen. So that probably is what we're going to do. The main question now is if we should have that added from the start when we move in, an extra expense then, or if we should wait to see if we need it badly enough, and only then add one...

After going to check out the bedroom, measuring where the door will end when it opens to the opposite wall, I discovered that we have more than enough space to put our bed and still have room to decorate it, but I wanted to know exactly how much room I had to work with, and once I had those measurements, I looked around Pinterest and came up with this bedroom decor idea.

In general, the look I'm going for is... the opposite of what my room currently is. Haha.

But in all honestly, I want non cluttered, clean looking, relaxing environment. Calming and peaceful. I was looking at pictures of romantic vacation getaway places locally and was dreaming of going away on such a getaway, but to be honest, can't afford the price tag. However, as I was looking through the pictures, I was trying to figure out what the common elements were in them that made them romantic, and would like to recreate that feel in my own bedroom, and this idea for my bedroom is in large part inspired by that. Light relaxing colors, flowy curtains, maybe (not shown) a homemade canopy for the bed. To save money and space, I think I will be doing a painted headboard like shown here, as well as a grey and white trefoil rug. Instead of buying an expensive doored closet, I think I will be doing an open closet with curtains, like shown here, using these drawers we already have and are where I sit with my computer now, as I will be having an actual desk, either homemade or store bought, but not a dresser, for my computer in my own office.

I obviously haven't finalized how I'll have my bedroom will look (I'm still collecting ideas on my pinterest board), but for now the important thing was making the decision that the bed would have no head-board, only a painted one, and no foot-board, which means therefore that we can start building our bed already because I absolutely hate our current one, and we don't have to be living in the new place to have a bed we love.

And now, the pictures of the house in progress:

 Here's a frontal view of the house, most of the building anyhow. Ours is the bottom two floors in the rightmost part of the part of the building you can see. To the right in front is a raised parking lot. It's actually kind of weird how they have it over there.

Here are the stairs up to our front entrance- at the left. At the right of the building is this weird alley-like area that leads to the other house entrances, between the houses and the parking lot. As I said, its a really weird set up.

This is the current view from the front door. They're currently laying out the tile for the front walkway.

To the left you can see part of the front yard, where we'll be attempting to grow some vegetables.

To the right, more of the front yard, and the stairs leading up to the second floor, where our tenant's entrance will be, as well as the two families owning upper floor apartments. There isn't exactly a large amount of space on this side to plant things, but we'll see what we can do. Under the stairs is an area we can use for storage- my current plans are to put the bikes and gardening tools there, as well as our folding table and things of that sort.

This is our bedroom- its actually the first time I've even been in it, since its where they've been storing all their construction materials!

Here is the master bathroom, with a small shower, toilet, and sink- not installed yet.

Here is a partial view of the master bedroom from the master bathroom.

I was wondering if it would be possible to put our shoe box/couch at the entrance but I saw that there is no room for it, so I have to decide what we want near the front door, so its not just empty space. Maybe there's something we can do with this area, small as it may be.

But as you see, not much space to work with there as the entrance to the master bedroom is already there.

This room will have a bathtub and a sink.

And this room, a toilet and a small sink.

This room will be the living room/dining room/kitchen.

And another view of the same room, taken from the back yard. Kitchen will be along the far wall and the wall to the right, much of the way but not all of the way.

This is the other side of the room, the niche where we'll be putting in our bookshelves. Dining room table will go across the bookshelves as well. And a couch under this window, I think, as well as partially blocking the large sliding glass doors outside, and maybe an armchair type thing directly across from this. Or maybe yet another couch. Or switched around. Either way, this will be the living room section, and I'm wondering if maybe we should put a rug across it to make it feel sort of like a different room.

This is a view of the yard from the living room. The currently cemented area will be tiled in grey tiles, and the dirt will be a play area for the kids, and filled with wild edibles, and maybe also a thornless cactus plant. I would love a hammock there!

Here's a view of the same yard from the upstairs window.

Here's what will be a tiled porch off the yard. Windows into it from the kids' bedroom and the living room.

Here's a view of the kids' room.

Another view of their room.

This area under the stairs will be for storage, and where I stood to take the picture will be for our washing machine/dryer. I want to put shelves for food here, pantry stuff.

This is the shorter part under the stairs, where I want to store out of season clothing, hand me downs, etc...

Here's our last room, what I want to be my office/guest room. It's also my first time in the room- you can see why!

Here's the stairs going to the second floor, which originally I thought to use for storage, but, to be honest, it's so narrow that I don't really see how it'll be possible. I do think maybe we can do some hanging shelves on the landing in the middle, and then use the upper part of the stairs as a complete storage area by making a shelf that leans on the stairs, kind of like a table, but with two legs leaning on the lower stairs, and the flat part of the table leaning on the upper stairs, and then storing things above it and below it.

This will be the living room/dining room/kitchen for the rental apartment. The front door will open to the right of the window.

Same room, viewed from the other side.

One of the bedrooms in the rental.

 One of the bathrooms in the rental. This will be where there is a tub, washing machine, dryer, sink, toilet.

 Here's a view of the master bedroom, along with its view.

The master bedroom's bathroom with a shower, toilet, sink.

 Another view of the master bedroom.

And the breathtaking view.

The third bedroom in the rental.

And... that's it! I'm really excited about this and how it is coming along, and those floor tiles? I'm in love!!

I once saw a house of seniors that had a lift installed from thyssenkrupp home solutions, but this home of ours is just with stairs, no lift.

Anyone here building a house at the moment? How is it coming along?
Have you ever been in a similar situation, where you knew you were moving out but didn't know when, and had to sign a new contract? What did you do? How did that work for you? Any suggestions would help, as my husband is meeting with our landlord soon, and we need to negotiate what is going on the contract.
What would you suggest we do for our kitchen? Add another upper cabinet now, or take a wait and see approach?


  1. Yay! How exciting, and stressful. Praying the housing issue will not be an issue at all. Tammy Romberg

  2. We briefly considered what's called a 'month to month lease' in our area. Basically, our rent would increase by 35%, but we would only be committed for one month at a time. Either party (us, or the landlord) could end the lease with 30 days notice.

    We crunched the numbers and since we don't anticipate moving within 3 months, it made more sense to sign a 12 month lease. Under our lease terms we can still leave at any time during the year with 30 days notice, but we will owe 1 full month as penalty if we leave early.

  3. It looks beautiful. And so much more space!

    The contract situation is exactly what we have now. We need to go home, not sure when, depends on my doctors. And the lease is up in June. Luckily we've been very good tenants and my husband fixed a lot of things on the property without any payment. So our landlady -- who is a wonderful human being -- is renting to us month by month until we know what's going on. It also helped that she's had some really bad tenants so she'd like to keep us as long as possible. Not sure that helps in your case though. Good luck!

  4. Thank you! We have been great tenants and have been easy for him, taking care of pretty much everything on our own, not complaining, etc... He doesn't want us to go. At the same time, in our area its easiest to find tenants in the summer, thats when people tend to move, so he wants all leases to end in the summer, thats why he doesn't want to do month to month.
    We have ikea here, our couch is from ikea--that shoe rack looks like it will work for our space, but we have so many shoes that it wont store nearly enough, but maybe that would be good for the entrance and other shoes in bedrooms?

  5. I want a bed something like these:
    Good luck with everything!

  6. Just one ahh, two suggestions. Make use of the suitcases for storage of something, perhaps out of season clothes. And remember that your landlord is just another person. It is not like negotiation with a Corporation or anything. Simply tell them what is going on. Any decent human will congratulate you on your new house and welcome you to the home owners "club". Good luck!


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