Thirteen years ago at nearly this exact time of year we were starting the process of buying a house. We had been in an apartment for four years and I had lived either in dorms or apartments for seven years before that. The idea of owning a home had always been a dream of mine and I was so thrilled that we were going to make it happen.
The funny thing is, we knew immediately we wanted to build a house. We just knew we wanted something brand new, even though I do love an old house. There was something so exciting about picking out each and every detail and personalizing it to how we wanted. And as much as I love old stuff, I loved that everything would be sparkly and new.
We soon decided on a builder and ended up with Beazer Homes. We were so thrilled with the process from start to finish (and still are 12 years later!), so I was honored when the folks at Beazer asked me to partner with them to share how we've updated our Beazer home over the years. You know this one involves before and after photos so I was totally on board. ;)
Our superintendent in charge of our build and our design studio contact were both so helpful during our build. When we couldn't decide on a kitchen cabinet finish they allowed us extra time and visits to figure everything out. When I couldn't decide on tile colors our rep pulled out our carpet and paint color and helped me find something that worked with both of them. During the build process our superintendent would make small tweaks along the way and was so accommodating the entire time. It was a little sad when we were done because we knew we wouldn't see all of those friendly faces again.
Even though we live in a suburban neighborhood, even years ago (before I started changing our home), I still felt like ours was unique. Beyond the fact that we had options that made our house different -- our office could have been a bedroom, our two-story living room could have had another bedroom above, we added a beautiful bay window in the kitchen for extra space and we could have opted for an additional bedroom instead of our open loft. All of the little choices we made created a home like no one else's.
I've always said I had good bones to build on and that was SO true when it came to our stair makeover. I remember when we were building and I saw the wood stairs -- I was so close to asking them to just leave them without carpet (because I knew they would have). I chickened out though!
For years I thought about the pretty wood stairs under this carpet:
And about six years ago I finally got the courage up to rip that carpet off the stairs. This was one of my best decisions ever! The pretty white risers and dark stained treads are so classic and make such a difference:
I added trim below the handrail and painted that wall black later on but the star of this show is the contrast of all that wood.
Another spot that had quality finishes to start was our kitchen. The cabinets were maple and solid wood:
The island didn't always look like contemporary art. ;) That was the marks from the glue I used to add trim over the years.
The finish wore like any would over the years and eventually I wanted a new look for the kitchen. I LOVED the design of the cabinets (I think they are timeless) so they got a makeover (well, the whole room did!):
Those quality wood cabinets, a good paint job and some patience on my part allowed for a beautiful, factory finish when I was done. I also used our old kitchen island and built on to it to create a much larger and custom one.
There are little details in our home that I've always loved. One is a half wall in our foyer that gives a little bit of definition between the foyer and living room:
I knew that was a great opportunity to add even more character so I built a bookcase along that half wall that finishes it off beautifully:
This is why I laugh about building a new house -- I love old homes and all of their character, but we chose a shiny new one and I'm always trying to make it feel older. And I'd do it again that way! That's part of the reason I blog, because it is most definitely possible to add character where there wasn't much before.
It doesn't always have to be a big build or project that adds personality to your home. I made a tufted headboard for our bedroom years ago but still felt like that wall needed something:
I grabbed some mdf from the hardware store and spent an evening adding it to the wall. I painted the trim and wall in a dark gray for a dramatic backdrop in our room for very little money:
The three biggest projects we've done in the house are finishing our basement, the kitchen makeover and a big one that involved taking down a wall between our family room and the office:
This was one of those "real life" photos that I snapped when we were contemplating this idea.
This is thing about building a house -- my biggest piece of advice? Do your research beforehand! Thank goodness you all have Pinterest, back in my day I tore pages out of magazines. ;) I loved the idea of a corner fireplace and the Beazer folks were all, let's do it! And then I lived with it and wasn't so thrilled with my decision.
Perhaps it is my odd need for symmetry, but it drove me crazy. One day a reader said, "Why don't you take down that wall?" and the skies opened up and birds sang.
That we did:
I got my beloved symmetry but we also got a larger family room that is twice as bright. (I have to mention that we have a ton of windows on our house -- another bonus about the Beazer options.) AND a beautiful new fireplace with a marble surround and tons of built in storage. This is the coziest room in our house and I think this change has to be the best change we've made to date.
We have never regretted going with Beazer to build our home. Our experience was top notch from the start in the model home to years later as I make this house more ours with every day. This is a well-built house with good bones and I just keep adding good stuff to it. :)
Be sure to tune into Instagram this Wednesday (the 21st) as I take over the Beazer Homes account and share more before and after photos of our home that I didn't include here. (You can follow me on IG as well and I'll remind you there.) Looking back at our beloved home is one of my favorite things!
Have you ever built a house or are you considering it? Did you enjoy it? Was it fun for you or super stressful? If you have questions about the process I'd love help however I can!
P.S. I've updated the "Our Home" tab at the top of the page with some new photos of the house and recent projects. Be sure to check it out if you are new around here! :)
I have been compensated by Beazer Homes to share this post about our home but all thoughts and experience are my own.