Designing a Custom Home – Part 14 – Remodeling Already?

So you build a brand new house, move in, and not too long after something happens. As you get to know your new home, you start thinking “I wish we’d done this,” or “I wish that wasn’t that way,” or “How did we forget to . . .?” But at any rate, you want to change something.

Maybe this makes you feel guilty. After all, you just invested a huge chunk of time, energy, and money into building a home. Is it reasonable to think you ought to change something so soon? The answer is maybe.

First of all, let go of the guilt. Whether you made a mistake in design, forgot something, or just want something different, that’s ok. It’s your house and you’re the one who has to live there. As our contractor told us all along, anything can be changed – it just costs money.

Second, give it some time. Don’t rush into making any changes you aren’t absolutely certain about. After living with a feature you aren’t entirely happy with for a while, you may come to discover that it’s not as important as you first thought, and you can live with it. Especially for bigger changes like blowing out walls or building additions, you’ll want to make sure that you’re up for those changes, both with the budget and the investment of time in tearing up your new house. (For the record, Robert and I aren’t considering anything structural like this.)

Last, make sure your changes are in the budget. It’s always less expensive to do something the first time than it is to retrofit, so consider if you really want to spend the money to make the change. If you do, and it won’t cause financial hardship for your family, go for it.

So what changes are we making?

Well, this winter has been a letdown so far as we were expecting a couple more polar vortexes, but we’ve discovered that our garage is a little colder than we’d like. We learned that most homes have some heat leakage from the house into the garage which keeps it a little more temperate, but our house is so energy efficient that that isn’t happening. So we’re going to add some blown in insulation right above the garage ceiling. It’s a relatively inexpensive addition that we think is worth the cost.

For all the times we were in the house during construction, and even after we moved, it wasn’t until a couple of months later when I finally got around to decorating our built in bookshelves that I noticed something. There, see? Look over the left bookshelf. There’s no can light there. I don’t have to live with that for months to know that it will drive me crazy not being symmetrical. Plus, it’s a little dark in that corner at night. I can’t believe that we didn’t realize there wasn’t a light there before we finished construction!

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And since we’re going to have a can light added by the bookshelf, I want to have a second can light added in our eat-in kitchen area. This one was our choice. We talked with the electrician about having a light there, and with the fixture over the table and the one over the beverage counter, we decided we didn’t need one on the opposite side of the room. We were wrong. Fortunately, these, too, are relatively inexpensive changes to make.

How about you guys? Have you made changes after you built or remodeled a home?

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New Year, New Plans

I usually write a post recapping the year that just passed, and talk about our plans for the upcoming year. Usually it doesn’t take me almost three weeks to get that done, but I’ll claim special circumstances this time.

2014 seems like it came and went in the blink of an eye. I spent the first quarter handling all the paperwork that came with wrapping up my dad’s affairs after he passed. We sold our house a year ago and had to deal with repairs and closing the sale. We said goodbye to our beloved Wally cat. We built a home from the ground up in a little over six months. We moved on from the church I’d attended for almost 30 years to a new church home that we love. We moved for the second time in two years. We spent a wonderful 10 days in Maui. I attended a few fiber festivals and taught. I purchased a circular sock machine that I still am not super comfortable in using. I didn’t knit or spin nearly as much as I’d wanted to.

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2014 was my first full year of not having any parents. I’m not sure that makes me any more of an adult than I already am, but it seems like it may have caused a shifting in priorities. The past decade or so I feel like I’ve defined myself by the role I played in helping to care for my parents in their declining years. Now that role is no longer mine, so it’s time for a change, and I have the opportunity to focus on my own life.

So look out, 2015. Here’s what’s in store for us. This is the year to finally lose the weight and get healthy. I’m fortunate that my blood work is close to normal in most areas (cholesterol is a little high), but with my family history the deck is stacked against me unless I take action. That means I’m watching what I eat and getting acquainted with my elliptical again. For now, I’ve joined Weight Watchers to see how that works for me.

Now that we’re country folk, Robert and I are taking one more step toward becoming self-sufficient. We’re plotting and planning out the gardens, and at some point we’ll have chickens. I’m looking forward to those farm-fresh eggs and home-grown tomatoes.

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I want to continue learning. To that end, I have a goal to read more. First, I’m utilizing YouVersion’s daily Bible plan to read the Bible through in a year, this time chronologically. Next, I’m accessing the DuoLingo app daily working on learning Spanish again. I’ve long forgotten what I learned in my two years in junior high school. After that I plan to revisit German, Italian, and finally French. Last, I’m planning on spending more time with my Kindle. I became a bit of a literary snob because a lot of recent publications are, well, just plain bad. They need editors who actually understand grammar, and the authors need imaginations. However, this past year I found BookBub, which sends me a daily email of free or extremely low priced eBooks (it works for Kindle, Nook, and Google). I gave a few of the free books a shot, and to my surprise, found a series that I really enjoyed – so much so that I purchased the remaining books that weren’t free. I’ve also downloaded some non-fiction that I might not otherwise have been familiar with or considered reading, like several biographies of historical figures. But don’t get me wrong – I still have a folder on my Kindle entitled “Bad Books.” I don’t want to experience those a second time.

There are, of course, relationship goals as well. I’m fortunate to have found my soul mate – well, rather he found me and I got beat over the head by everyone in my life telling me he was the one for me (and they were absolutely right) – and we plan to spend more time together working in the gardens, learning to cook, and continue to travel. My sister and I have finally found that it’s more important than anything to spend time with each other (mom would be so proud). And I’m blessed to have wonderful friends that I get to spend time with on a weekly basis, not to mention live next door to two of them (hi, Steve and Ginger!). My gorgeous niece has found her soul mate, and I’m looking forward to a wedding this summer.

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Lastly, I still need to make time for being a fiber artist. My knit list for 2015 is only one page – a far cry from previous years. I’ve got some amazing fiber to spin, and then knit from it as well. I want to improve my sewing skills and maybe finally finish that t-shirt quilt I started years ago. And with the start of our yarn dyeing business, Show Me Yarn, I want to play with color. I am completely floored that in a mere 10 years I’ve gone from not knowing anything about the fiber arts or textiles, to becoming a teacher, and someone who can quite literally create clothing starting from a sheep. I can process fiber, spin it, dye it, and knit it. How cool is that? And then, of course, there’s that sock machine. I’ll be taking some classes on it this spring.

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With building the house, I tried to blog more last year to document everything that was going on. When I started the blog years ago, I intended for it primarily to be a knitting and travelogue of sorts. But regardless of any changes, the name still fits. Eastburn Adventures is just that – my adventures in life. So I hope you’ll look forward to my chatting about a variety of topics this year, and if you’ve got any requests, let me know in the comments.

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Filed under Diversions, Dream Home, Family, Home, Home Life, Knitting, Life, Travel

Designing a Custom Home – Part 13 – Unpacking and Getting Settled

We moved almost two months ago.  We are still not unpacked.

The garage looks like this . . .

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The sunroom looks like this (at least we did get a tree decorated for Christmas) . . .

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The bathrooms aren’t too bad (the grasscloth wallpaper that’s supposed to be above the tub is still on the punch list) . . .

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The family room is actually in pretty good shape (the dogs like their beds although they don’t always pick up their toys) . . .

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My point is, even though we spent the greater part of a year designing our home, and then another seven months building it, this house is a stranger to us.  We need to get to know it, to learn its idiosyncrasies, and to figure out how it will best function for us.  This is why there are no pictures on the walls yet and anything on a shelf or in a cabinet is subject to be moved.  Just because it made sense unpacking a box to put silverware in “that” drawer, doesn’t mean that’s where it will live forever.  Nothing is permanent yet, and that’s what stresses me out a bit.  I’d love for everything to be in its place, but I don’t know where that place is yet.  But it will happen eventually, and all will be well.

My advice is to take your time getting settled in.  If you’re like me, you want everything done yesterday, and that’s just not realistic and will likely frustrate the living daylights out of your spouse (not that I’m speaking from experience, LOL).  Listen to the voice of reason (aka your spouse), and do a little bit at a time.  Take time to rest and enjoy your new home.  Sit on the couch and think about which picture will look best above the fireplace.  Go to sleep at night and dream about which drawer you open for tea towels.  Taking your time and getting things right the first time will save you time, money, and energy in the long run.

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Twelve Years

Earlier this month, Robert and I celebrated our 12th anniversary.  Where has the time gone?  We both agreed that there are times that it just seems like yesterday that we said, “I do,” and other times it feels like we’ve always been in each others life.  Every day, though, I’m grateful that I found my best friend, my soul mate, the love of my life.

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We celebrated by going to Branson, Missouri for the weekend.  We had dinner at The Keeter Center on Saturday night, and brunch there the next day.  We were extremely impressed with the quality of food and service, and the young students who are working for their education at College of the Ozarks.  They were all decked out for Christmas, too, with this enormous Christmas tree in the lobby.

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After our amazing meals, we were surprised with an anniversary cupcake to share.

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We’re looking forward to what year 13 has in store!

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One Year . . .

Veterans CemeteryOne year ago today, my dad died. There are days I still can’t believe it. Every day on the way to work, we pass the assisted living facility where he spent most of 2013, and my car automatically wants to turn into the parking lot.  I miss him every single day.

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