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The Fifth House - Construction

Hello! In my last post I talked about my design vision and some of the inspiration for the house we were building in Holland, Michigan. Today I am going to talk about the dream vision and the end reality. We broke ground on this house in the end of February 2019. In March 2019 John was approached by a company with a potential job offer that he was very interested in. The job was in Portland, Maine. By May, John had accepted the job. We were well on our way in the building process. Yes, this means there is a sixth house coming and no, it is not in Portland (both stories for another time).

Here is a little time line for you:

February 20 - land cleared. Yahoo, I'm so excited!

March 1 - foundation poured. Yay, one step closer!

March 15 - "Kerry, I got a crazy phone call today"

April 24 - framing well underway, new job negotiations well underway

May 22 - "Kerry, I start next month in Maine"

June 26 -windows in

July 21 - I had just returned from a house hunting trip in Maine and stopped to check in on this house

When we started, we were building a house that we expected to live in for at least fifteen years so the plans were designed to make it a house that we would love for all of those years. The house was an individualized overbuild for a flip house in the area. The foundation was poured though and we had already ordered our doors, windows, appliances and cabinetry before we knew we were moving. We needed to start looking at the finishes and elements that hadn't been completed yet to see where we could save money. Our hope was that when we sold the house we would not lose all of our equity and then some.

For the exterior, we decided to use metal only on the porch and breezeway roofs. We decided to use vinyl siding for the house and wood for the trim only. Just about (if not) every house in the developed sections of the neighborhood had vinyl siding and trim so as much as I wanted the wood siding, it was a sensible place to save money and still fit in with the neighborhood. The real kicker for me was using vinyl shake siding on the garage, to mimic the look of age worn cedar, on the front facade only. We used white vinyl on the rest of the garage to match the house - a real blow to my vision. We also dropped the cupola on the garage (I still have the brass weathervane in my basement because I cannot bear to get rid of it yet) and no pool.

Here are some in-progress shots of the exterior:

For the inside, here is a list of some of the compromises we made to save money and/or to make the house have more of a mass appeal for buyers:

  1. We used engineered hardwood floors instead of the pine floors we wanted

  2. We carpeted all of the bedrooms with remnant carpet upstairs and only used wood in the upstairs hallway

  3. We did not tile the entryway

  4. We used a gas insert fireplace in the great room and did not put a fireplace in the basement

  5. We used patterned tile instead of herringbone brick or tile in the mudroom

  6. We did not panel the walls in the stairwell

  7. We used white, less expensive backsplash tile in the kitchen

  8. We did not panel the mudroom

  9. We did not add subtle paneling as I wanted to in most rooms

  10. We did not install tile showers in the en-suite bedroom bath, nor the basement bathroom

  11. We did not use the tiles we had chosen for the master and opted for less expensive, more "mass appeal" tile

  12. We did not put an office in the master bedroom and left it as one big room

  13. We did not put a tile floor in the laundry room, we used linoleum instead

  14. We did not have a custom barn door made to close off the stairs in the basement

  15. We sourced the least expensive light fixtures and mirrors we could find that still had some "wow" factor

Here are some in process pictures of the interior of the house:

The Stairs

The Great Room/Kitchen

The Library

The Mudroom - I was so excited for this Dutch door!

The Upstairs Hall Bath

The Basement Bath

In the next few posts I will go through the finished product.

This house feels like a dream almost, building a house you are not going to live in while looking for a new house is definitely a bit unreal. Nonetheless, seeing your dream on a piece of graph paper come to life is amazing!

Thank you again for following along,





Hi, I’m Kerry, a true lover of all things home design.  Thank you for stopping by to check in on the journey.  Please feel free to reach out to me, I love to talk design!

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