yesterday we dragged the kids through four parade of homes houses in three surburbs in three hours. it was ... good. they were troopers for the most part, given that their dad and i were talking to each other, to the builder representatives, etc., and they were left to either sit in some nook/"kid's room"/couch and play gameboys or explore under strictest warnings of "be good and touch nothing."
we specifically targeted two of the houses because they were built by two of the builders we are seriously considering. we've seen a couple of houses from builder A, including one plan that we really liked, and wanted to see what they had to offer in a parade home. we've only seen a model from builder B, but were impressed with the flexibility they seemed to offer, and we particularly love one of their floor plans more than the one we liked at builder A.
if you can follow that, awesome. proceed.
we also visited two others that were in the same general area, to see what other builders have to offer.
we were not impressed. we'll stick to our first two choices.
the builder A house we went through was nice ... HUGE ... way more space than we would want or need. we didn't see any sort of difference, though, between that house and the others we've seen by them, which concern me about how much it would cost to opt into our own design aesthetic and not go with their standard. plus, we had already been through the parade home from builder B earlier in the afternoon and we seriously LOVED that house. like, were it in the 'burb we want to live in, we'd probably just buy it and call it a day.
as we pulled up, my first thought was, "ooh ... cover that thing with gray shakes and you have the hamptons!"
see that front room with the window box? side-entry single-car garage. love that. it's a three-car garage house, which marc wants, but the garage is set back and doesn't take over the whole front of the house, like i want. perfect.
what really got me was walking into the front door. we found ourselves in the most adorable foyer, with a leaded glass window, no less. given how much i loved the charm and history of our first house, this foyer and window sucked me in.
then we walked through the foyer and saw the kitchen ... and that was it. i wanted to live there.
i've told marc that if we get to make our perfect kitchen, i want clean lines, recessed panel cabinets enameled white, subway tile, contemporary lighting. but if i can't have that, i want black or espresso cabinets.
well, hello, espresso cabinets. i love you.
the kitchen looks right into the dining/great room areas which were also lovely.
the only thing i wasn't totally digging were the niche shelves by the fireplace, or the tv niche above the fireplace. a) there will be no tv in my great room, especially right above the fireplace, and b) i really want built-in book shelves flanking the fireplace that stop at the same height as the mantle. i want to bring in a little of that arts & crafts/mission styling our first house had and i loved so much.
through the kitchen was the mudroom. and by "room" i mean it was bigger than henry's first bedroom. crazy.
(doors lead to the garage, straight ahead, and one of the closets. there is an identical corner closet/pantry on the left of the photo, where the other door is.)
a set of stairs is located between the mudroom and the back office/5th bedroom. this bedroom is attached to a 3/4 bath, and i would totally take over the space and use it as a studio.
as i was looking at the kitchen again, marc headed up the stairs, and i heard, "michele! you've got to see this!" i started up the stairs and found a bonus room over the garage, set between the first and second floors. here was the perfect space for tv watching/wii playing. at least until the basement was finished, at which point this space would be a perfect kids' computer/homework/hang out nook.
we continued up the stairs to find a guest room/scrappy room with another 3/4 bath ...
two kids' rooms adjoined by a jack-and-jill bath (no pix of the rooms ... not sure why ...)
and the master.
sigh. the master.
like the rest of the house, ironically, it's already in the colors we have in our room and bathroom at home, so there was an immediate "oh, i recognize this"ness to it.
we were completely smitten and ready to say that this house is it until we came home and compared this floor plan to the original one from this builder that we liked. and after about an hour of studying and talking, i think we're still sold on the other plan. and, after this, i think we're sold on this builder, as well.
(if anyone cares, i'll post the floor plan later this week. i can use your input as we build our list of pros/cons/what would we change/etc.)
there are two custom builders i want to check out next weekend. one i've met with and they had the perfect answers to all my questions and concerns about working with a developer/builder, but marc raised some questions of his own about going totally custom that are also valid points. my heart is telling me we already know which way we're going to go.
and even though the kids definitely didn't have their best day ever, they were good. and today i'll cut 'em some slack and we'll hang out an enjoy the last day of our weekend. they can wii and lego their brains out, and i'll contemplate what i've seen and learned ... while i wash dishes.