I wish I could tell you that we are building the home of our DREAMS, but alas, we do have a budget! haha
One of my reasons for starting this blog is take you along on the journey of our new home. Showing you how you can make the most of any situation; whether that’s a completely custom built home, a builder grade home likes ours, or loving on your current one. This blog will be lessons we learned along the way, choices we made, and how to stay on budget. Sprinkled in with some other things I feel passionate about. I know that not everyone can make a custom built home with an unlimited budget; but that doesn’t mean it can’t have a designer look on a more affordable scale.
Minor disclaimer: these are entirely first world problems here. Even though I say this “isn’t my dream home”; we feel ENTIRELY blessed and overwhelmed by God’s goodness in this situation. We never thought we would be in this position right now, and we only are because of His provisions. What I mean is that I am a huge dreamer. I set big goals and I reach for the stars. One day we will be blessed enough to build the home of our exact dreams! We’re just not there yet and that is perfectly okay. We are more than grateful to be where we are for this season.
So when we started to look for our new home, what did our MUST have list look like? We’ve lived in two apartments and two homes now for a total of 10+ years so we have a decent idea of what we need. So this is what is looked like…
Some people will say we’re CRAZY, but to be in a neighborhood was a must on our list! When we moved out into the country it was on a long winding main road. As a family with small children, and people who like the outdoors, it became clear that not having the ability to safely walk or ride bikes near our home was a deal breaker. When you add Covid-19 to the mix, and a country that is shut down, you feel like you’re trapped on your own personal island! I have never felt more stifled in my life. So our next home is in a neighborhood where we can easily get outside as well as enjoy the amenities of the neighborhood. We’re currently already loving this ability in our temporary apartment!
Open Floor Plan with Large Kitchen Island
When choosing our floor plan for the new build, or when looking at homes on realtor.com, the first thing I look at is the kitchen. How is the layout and would that work for us? I love a good kitchen island! We had an open floor plan and a small kitchen island at our old home and it was SO useful! I could prep meals and easily see the kids playing in the family room. Kid you not, our current apartment has a bar height seating area that completely blocks my view. When I am in the kitchen cooking or cleaning, I’m too short to see the kids or anyone who is in the living room! I am so looking forward to our new kitchen with ample workspace, an island with extra seating, and an open floor plan to keep a watchful eye on the kids or hang out with our guests!
Garage and Bonus Room
Another BIG must have was a garage and a bonus room. When we moved out to our home in the country we actually downsized; losing a garage and a basement! Ben so missed having a defined space for tools, storage, and yard equipment. I always told him when we move, we will be sure to get that garage back for ya! Our old home also had a large bonus room that we loved! It was a great space for the kids to play, for all their toys to stay, and to hang out in. During the Covid-19 shut down, it became where we could workout too. We’re looking forward to having that flex space again!
Lastly, a fireplace was a MUST on our list! Or at least a big wall where we could add an electric one! In fact, before we decided to move (see my last blog for the reason why we decided to sell so quickly!) we had future plans for adding a fireplace to our family room. A fireplace just adds such a cozy element to a living room and I wanted the ability to decorate the mantel. You know, great art or a mirror above and a place to hang stockings for Christmas! So when we had the ability to add a fireplace to our new home, we quickly did!
Those where by far on the TOP of our list, but here are some honorable mentions that we also took into consideration.
- School District
- County + City tax rates
- Travel time to work (30min or less)
- Distance to the In-laws (They help so much with our children!)
- Brick Exterior
- Neighborhood amenities (We’re excited to use the pool!)
What are your home must haves? What have you sacrificed or gone without? It’s always so interesting to hear what’s most important for each family. Leave a comment below and let me know!