The One About the Tree HousE: Lights! (Camera! Action!)

Decisions, decisions, decisions!

Doesn't it sound exciting to make decisions regarding every detail of your home? I will admit, I bought into this idea when we decided to build (vs remodel). The thought of picking out all the light fixtures, all the flooring, all the cabinets, all the wall colors, all the everything, sounded super fun and like a dream come true! And don't get me wrong, there have been (fleeting) moments of fun throughout this "picking process," but it also has been one of the most overwhelming tasks that both Luke and I have ever taken on.

This week, we spent nearly 3 hours with our architect walking through the house and identifying where light switches, outlets and light fixtures should go. This is important because the electricians are coming this week, and they will need to know the plan. It is amazing how you can think and rethink where a switch should be placed, and what lights should be tied to that switch. Do we want it on the right side of the wall or the left? Do we want to control this light or that light? Where will we need outlets? Should we have recessed lighting here or flush-mount lighting there? When you purchase a home that is already built, you kind of just get used to where switches are or you change your furniture layout to correspond with the outlets. With this opportunity, we can say exactly where we want things to go, which is awesome, but who are we going to blame when we hate the layout once we move in? Ourselves. We blame ourselves.

So, the pressure to get it right, and on the first try, is pretty heavy. We don't want to screw it up. We don't want to have to rip something out and start over, even though that happens frequently in projects like this. My motto has become, "Everything is figure-outable. Everything is fixable." I tell myself this when I feel overwhelmed by all the choices to be made. Or, as I texted Luke today, "No one is dying. It's going to be OK." It is imperative that you keep things in perspective. While it might feel like the end of the world if we buy the wrong toilet, it truly is not the end of the world if we buy the wrong toilet.

All that to say that yes, we are still moving right along. The HVAC and plumbing people have been working (and the basement looks like a tornado swept through it with all of the broken up concrete from placing pipes and vents and all kinds of other things). They should be finished soon. The electricians are coming this week. After that, we will be ready for insulation and dry wall.

We made some lighting decisions this week at our new "favorite" store, Menards. I know it's not a glamorous, prestigious design hub, but we have found a few gems in that store and have taken advantage of their 11% rebates when possible. By purchasing the bulk of our building materials (from the framing to the siding to the decking to the, yes, toilets) during rebate weeks, we have been able to earn 11% of our purchase price back in the form of store credit. We have then used that store credit to purchase more materials. We are hopeful that we have saved some money this way.

A couple of my favorite purchases from this week include:

These wall lights.

These master bathroom vanity lights (2 sets).

This is the light I would like for my office. Luke didn't want to buy it yet (because I think he thinks it is ugly), but it will be mine. It will. We aren't calling it the "Mom Room" for nothing.

We are also repurposing a couple of industrial work lights from one of my dad's work warehouses. These are heavy-duty, porcelain coated lights that we will have rewired to be used in this bar/pass-thru area from the kitchen to the great room. We are going to use two of them in this space. We love the idea of taking something old and giving it new life...not to mention, this was another money-saving move for us. These lights were free!

Other exciting updates include our front door being installed (color yet to be determined), the concrete porch and steps for the front entry being poured (LOVE the way it turned out), and the back deck is being built. We are going with a natural-colored composite decking material that will hopefully hold up well over time without the need to replace buckled or warped deck boards. This deck will serve a nice place to enjoy morning coffee, evening wine, or just a great back entry to the great room. There will be a metal railing, and the steps will lead down to the existing concrete patio that we were able to keep from the original house.

Front door and porch steps

Back deck in progress

Luke and his dad have been working hard on the design for the front porch roof. We have gone back and forth on the size, style, and shape of this space, but I think this design is definitely a winner. It's so awesome having Luke's dad lend his architect hands to us for this project. We will definitely keep his designs along with many other artifacts from this project so we can remember all the phases and progress.

We are officially just about 6 months into this whole process. Considering 6 months ago, there was an existing 75 year old house on the property that has since been torn down and this has taken its place, I think we have come a long way in a relatively short amount of time. In another 6 months, I pray we are all moved in and enjoying this house that we have poured our hearts and souls into from the very beginning.

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