Now that the Notchwood house has had some closure on the blog (and IRL), it is time to move on and show you what had been taking up so much of our time last year and was (at least somewhat) the reason for me being away from the blog for so long.
We moved into our “new nest”, as I’ve been calling it, in November 2016 and construction took about 5 1/2 months to complete. But before anyone dug a hole or built a wall, we had to have a plan. It took us nearly a month of going back and forth with our builder before we settled on our final product.
What we started with was actually a plan of the builder’s model home. It was called The Station House (which you can find here). And to be honest the first time I walked through it, I didn’t love it. It certainly wasn’t love at first sight. I mean, it was a beautiful home and I thought the builder had made nice design choices for finishes (flooring, backsplash etc.) and structural elements (like countertops and cabinets etc.) but, the plan just seemed to me like there was a lot of wasted space.
The angle of the kitchen/upstairs hallway leaves some large empty corners that are unused space behind a bunch of drywall. And one large space that I knew we could reclaim was the two-storey great room. I’m too practical to give up all that usable living space on the second floor! And one of the major must-haves for our new home was that the house needed four bedrooms and the original plan only had three.
But what I did like, and husbandman specifically pointed this about the model as well, is that the design isn’t one you see every day. It certainly isn’t your traditional centre-hall plan. And it’s not the more modern take on that which foregoes a formal living room and has a large open kitchen and great room along the back of the house. The Station House Plan was interesting – the angles made it interesting. And as far as new-builds go that was a huge selling point for me.
In our city, there’s still quite a bit of new-home construction going on (though my friend/realtor would probably tell you it has slowed down in recent years). But what we found when we went in search of a builder was pretty much the same house. Sure, there were quirks and unique elements of each house, but they were mostly built from the same mould.
So the uniqueness of The Station House one was enough to convince me that it was a workable starting point for our dream home. Here’s what we came up with.
On the main floor we didn’t depart from the overall design too much, with one major exception. We flipped the orientation of the kitchen in the middle of the house and pointed the open part of the kitchen towards the long room in the plan. This allowed us to have one large family/great room, and steal some space from the room on the other side for the kitchen and family room. The former two-storey great room became our dining room (with a room above it).
That so-called simple change, did mean we had to do some re-arranging of a few other spaces, like moving the powder room to the front of the house, which required widening the house ever so slightly. We also gained a butler’s pantry with this “move”. And in our final plan we also extended the kitchen length a little to gain a bit more counter and cabinet space on both sides of the kitchen.
The second floor we changed pretty dramatically. We went through about 4 versions of our 2nd storey before we decided it was just right. We kept the angled hallway, but since we gained lots of space by closing off the Great Room of the original plan, we had more room to work with. There were 2 main guiding principles that we were working towards as we created the changes upstairs. The first was that I was hoping to give the boys a shared “Jack and Jill” (or Jack and Jack in this case) bathroom. And, secondly, since we had selected our lot and it had a pretty nice view (from the rear of the house) I wanted to save those views for the rooms that would get the most use, ie: one of the three main bedrooms. In the end, the Master Bedroom and Ensuite got the “suite” views, and that was an okay plan with us!
I think I’ll put together a full post about how we came up with the plan and the reasons we made (or had to make) some choices, so that if you’re building or planning to build (or even renovating) you’ll learn from some of our experiences.
I’ll be working on putting together a house tour (or maybe room by room depending on what I can muster) but I hope these photos and the plans give you a little sneak peek of what our new nest looks like.
We haven’t done much decorating or designing yet as we get settled in to the new house and figure out just how we’re living in and using the spaces. And this summer we’ve taken our projects outside. If you follow me on instagram you’ll know that the past few weeks have been all about #projectpatio, so I’m hoping to share the backyard transformation with you soon too! We’ve been working on the design and details since March, so it’s been amazing to see it all transform in a matter of weeks!
Can’t wait to show you!