Well, we’ve been building a house! Some days I still can’t believe we are finally doing it, we have dreamt about this day. Ideas, designs, visions…where we would build and what it would look like.
After falling in love with an area one summer a few years ago, the dream began – new vision boards created and here we are. We bought 10 acres nestled in a town along Georgian Bay. It’s very ‘us’, a lot of outdoor space, beautiful forests, but also close to the waterfront with amazing beaches. Some great gems of cafés, farms with organic produce and great people.
We broke ground in August, it’s all been happening super fast and we feel so grateful to be building a house!
I’ve been wanting to share more of the build with you guys but things just kept getting so overwhelming for us, life happened. We’ve moved 5 times since May, can you believe that? This summer and fall has truly shown me how adaptable our family is; but we are all craving some consistency and eager to get into our new house. Emotionally, this summer was difficult for us – as I’m sure it was for yours and many others. I kept a lot of our life to myself because of this, not wanting to complain on social media or here on the blog when so many people around the world are going through tough times as well. Let’s just say that after we move into the new house, I don’t want to move for at least another few years…unless it’s to a tropical beach somewhere. Ya feel me?
It’s fun to look back at how we got here, the hard work and time that went into making this next chapter a reality. How our life has changed from flipping our first house while pregnant with Ella to building something from scratch years later. Sometimes when writing these blog posts I wonder if you have been along for the ride over the years and remember some of our first home renovations. Or if you are new to our journey? Either way, you are welcome and we are thankful you are here.
We’ve renovated 3 houses over the last 8.5 years. Hard work, sleepless nights, the help of our family and friends, commitment, investment, the support of amazing brands and great trades. All of this made our next adventure possible!
The design of this home is something we’ve pictured and manifested for years, they are drawings we’ve chatted about over late nights, inspirations from our travels, private Pinterest boards we’ve compiled. I’ve pictured this house for so long and I’m filled with a mix of both eagerness and excitement and fear, mostly excitement I assure you.
Craig and I worked on our drawings on weekends, stayed up late, argued and bickered over silly details, changed things and changed them back. I honestly never thought trying to do your own drawings would be so stressful. Silly of me? Perhaps. We doodled some drawings and dimensions on paper and luckily with Craig’s experience in a program called autoCAD, we created our floor plans and he even put in shapes of furniture to scale to help me visualize it even more. But as much as we knew and had already decided on, there were areas in the floor plan that we simply couldn’t wrap our heads around or agree on for that matter. In between having a house up for sale, travelling, homeschooling and both of our jobs it was beginning to take the fun out of it. So, we reached out to our friend Madison of Madison Taylor Design for some help.
Construction drawings were needed so that we could get started on the build so it was important that we find the right people to help us complete our vision on paper and that it was done properly. We were seriously struggling in 2 key areas of the home and couldn’t wrap our heads around how to make them work. One area was the mudroom/laundry and powder room layout as they are all together in the same area of the home and the next spot was the master ensuite and his & her closets. We went over and over these spaces so many times and it was becoming such a headache!
Madison and her team sorted it out for us so seamlessly and quickly too, while keeping our budget in mind which is also super important when building. They looked over our private pinterest boards, listened to our vision and finessed our plans without changing what we had originally created. I was so nervous to hire out our construction drawings, to hand over what we’ve done and have someone critique it or alter it. We already knew what we wanted and had spent so much time on drawings. This build is all about a feeling, it’s intimate and we had been so intentional with the layout and how each space would function. Things like a dining nook with floor to ceiling windows I’ve always wanted, a homeschool room, arches in specific areas, big windows and more features I’ve dreamt of having in our home. I was scared that our vision would be changed but collaborative work can be so magical and Madison’s team is full of so many creative and talented people that worked together so make sure our spaces were functional and fluid according to our visions.
It was so refreshing to know that we could mould our work together and that only made what we created better. And relieved so much stress too! The team finessed our drawings and filled the layout with furniture to scale even beyond what we had started, down to every dining chair and even incorporated all of the items I said I was bringing into our home from our last one and new items I wanted. I’m really happy with how they laid out our mudroom, laundry and powder room as well as how functional the his and her closet and ensuite will be in the master bedroom. I can’t wait for you guys to see it!
So, not only did we hire Madison and her team to help us finish our construction drawings, we also decided to hire them to design our exterior. It was a super easy breezy and fun experience too. Again, we had custom, private Pinterest boards set up that clearly outlined all of the wants we had for our exterior to very fine details like the arched front doors I wanted, garage doors, arches galore actually and the “vibe” I guess you could say. We knew we wanted white siding, black and wood accents and statement windows. Craig has wanted to do black windows for a while and we knew this project would include them. The team came back with our drawings for the exterior and I literally squealed in excitement!
It was EXACTLY as I had pictured, we thought it was especially sweet that they included a porch swing as that is so us and it was a must have for me on the front porch. Their team even did a cool window feature on the exterior where our stairs will be inside that blew us away, they surprised us with it as that wasn’t in our plans and I am so glad they did. We joke that our house exterior is such a blend of us and Madison’s style as the design is very true to both of our brands, a great mix of traditional and modern.
Madison Taylor offers an Integrated Design package. This practice brings together multiple disciplines to complete a single project. With architectural technologists, interior designers, landscape architects, decorators and stylists, a furniture team and a full construction team under one roof, Madison Taylor provides ease and comfort to the residential home planning process. And while we didn’t leverage the full integrated design package, I think it’s really cool that they offer all of that in one place – to really let you focus on other things, saving you time and being involved at the level you want to be. Some people might want to step back and let the design team handle things and move into a fully designed home while others might want to really be a part of the entire process. I like that I am recommending a company that can offer their clients these options. To find out more about this firm, www.madisontaylordesign.com.
There is a great video on their website that you will see, it really showcases what they are all about!
You might be wondering what stage we are at right now, as you can see from the photos in the blog – the house is framed and we are thankful to be moving ahead on time. Windows are being installed later this week, thank goodness because here in Ontario – the weather is ah changin’! Building a house is a trip guys, a lot more moving parts than I imagined and Craig has been managing it on top of his full time engineering job and being the best dad – I’m super proud of him. Projects like these can really test your patience, and a marriage. He’s worked hard on all of our projects, doing so much of the work himself on nights and evenings while making time for family fun – he is the most dedicated and committed father I know. He even doesn’t give us too hard of a time when we are at the build site distracting him, and getting in the way and always makes time to give the kiddos a ride in the big cool machines!
We can’t wait to take you along on this journey and share the progress of our build along the way. We will try to cover design details, budget and construction tips with of course, some DIY. We truly hope you love what we are doing as much as we do!
Below I am sharing some of my top inspiration photos for our build, let us know what you think in the comment section below!
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