I am back! Yes, I left because I may have mentioned that I am a wee bit superstitious. We have been in a scary/fun/scaryfun stage of this process, and I have an irrational fear that if I wrote about it, and put it out there for the universe to laugh at me and teach me a lesson, the universe would do it. The universe will mess with someone who writes something on the internet like that.
Always start with the positive. This morning we signed a construction contract with our builder and wrote that check that makes my stomach queasy, but in a good way (let's hope).
The fun part... We have been busy making all the detail selections you could imagine. We visited the tile store and picked out tiles... which we had to reselect when we realized that some of our selections (stone made from volcanic ash anyone?) would mean we would have to choose which child to send to college. And while I love my children equally, I did say goodbye to the soft-volcanoey-amazingness but it hurt a little because I am a total sucker for tile.
We went to pick out light fixtures which is always overwhelming for me because lighting? It is a mood maker. And I don't mean in THAT kind of way (although that too) but it can make you feel good, bad, lazy, energetic, whatever, with the flick of a switch or the tap of a dimmer. It is not easy to get that right, especially when you haven't seen a physical space. My biggest issue with our current house is the lack of "soft" light, whether it be reflected light or dimmer-controlled. This probably sounds nuts to some people, but after the first priority of creating a functional and warm space for our family, the second priority to me in design is making a welcoming environment for entertaining. Yes, both Andrew and I look at homes and think, how would you throw a party here? Priorities! Lighting is something I stress about before parties (Janet is clapping right now because she feeds this insanity :))
The Scary Part...And then the day came when we got the list from the builder, The Price List. Also known as dream-crusher day. Ok, not quite, but it is the day I start to hyperventilate on because I know we have to make cuts and concessions in the name of not eating mustard sandwiches forever. Andrew and I tend to have opposite reactions to this kind of thing, he was thinking the number would be worse, I thought it would be better, and the spreadsheet frenzy of budgeting and cutting began. We went back and forth with the builder for a week, pricing and cutting and substituting and finally agreed on a number somewhere between what I hoped it would be and what The Price List was.
I am curious... When it comes to buying a home, what do you tend to do? Do you stretch the budget to get what you want or do you stay in budget to avoid the financial crunch? I guess it's all a question of your tolerance and the length of term for the investment, but I think we ended up somewhere in the middle. There will be some projects for us after to add things we would like but are cost prohibitive right now. I think that generally the bones of the house are close to what we envisioned.
Tomorrow we close on the lot, and word on the street is that we are hoping permits go through by the end of September. Plans are already in engineering, so the countdown begins to construction. May the City of Houston be ever in our favor.