A House Update!

We're Almost Done!

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I'm Katelyn James Alsop, a photographer, educator and momma who believes any photographer can have a profitable AND purposeful business.


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We get asked the same two questions these days… when is the baby due and when is the house going to be done. The next question is “So you’re moving in BEFORE the baby comes right?!”. Thank goodness yes. Our move-in date has been pushed back from Thanksgiving, but we WILL be moved in before the baby comes! One of the first people we told about the baby was our builder, because we wanted him to know we had a hard deadline!!! We should be moving in after just a few more weeks if we don’t experience a major roadblock of some kind! We are SO excited!

I seriously want to take fold-up outdoor chairs and just go sit in our future living room some days. Almost every evening deer come out of the woods and into our future backyard. They are going to drive Bokeh Boy crazy, but we love them. It’s so peaceful out there and so different from where we used to live. We loved our old neighborhood, but our lot size was .2 acres. Our blinds were always closed and yet we had built a house full of windows. We had houses on every single side of us and while that home served a great purpose, this new house feels like a forever home! It’s crazy to think that we’re going to live there for a month or so and then bring our first baby home to this new place. It truly feels like we’re starting into a brand new season in more ways than one.

I feel more connected to this house than our other two already, because of the amount of hours, decisions and hard work that have gone into designing and building it. I know that it’s such a privilege to be able to build a home, and I don’t take that for granted one bit. This has been the largest project of our life so far and while some couples would struggle through this process, Michael and I do really enjoy building a house together. Michael has opinions that tone down my crazy ideas, but he also trusts me enough to take some risks. We’ve been told over and over again that “They say building a house is one of the top five stressors on a marriage!” and thankfully we haven’t experienced that. If anything, running out to check on the house everyday is a BREAK for us and it pulls us away from work.

Now, the last few final weeks of building a house means a lot of little tweaks, emails, texts and conversations with our builders and subcontractors. I wouldn’t be honest if I said it was always easy. Michael and I have made some mistakes in the process, a few things have been put off until the last minute and some things are still left to be done with just days to go. However, our builder and his team have never left us hanging. No matter how many emails and text I send, they always respond and start working to resolve our little issues and we’re very thankful for them. We’re also thankful that they don’t cut corners. We’ve had several instances where things weren’t right and there could have been an easy way out. Thankfully they always choose to really FIX what is wrong instead of covering it up. That may seem like common sense, but anyone who has had a poor building experience knows that covering up mess-ups is all too common in the home building world.

So where do we stand?! Here are some of our final decisions that we’ve made and our last projects that need to be done before we can close! :

– HARDWOODS : We got up this morning at 8am and signed off on the stain of the hardwood floors! So that’s exciting! They are 5” White Oak and we’re doing 50% Country White stain with three coats of oil based-satin poly. We’ve fretted over this for so long because honestly, wanting a “whitewashed”- natural look for hardwoods isn’t super common in Richmond, VA! We had to come up with our own recipe of a stain, and we’re so thankful we found a way to remove the amber/yellow/orange tones and keep it neutral. This was a risk but we’re glad our builders talked us out of vinyl planking because the job-finished hardwoods will last a lifetime AND our builder had already budgeted hardwood into our overall cost, so it didn’t change the bottom line. Thank goodness!

– RETAINING WALL : Who knew these things were so expensive!? Next time you drive by a shopping center with a two story retaining wall, you’re looking at a TON of money! Our little retaining wall is just on one section of the back side of the house. We built on a slope so that we could have a walk-out basement and this part of the lot can’t be graded out. So we picked the most affordable stone and we’re hoping it goes up soon! This is probably the LEAST exciting decision and money we’ve had to spend. 😃

– MASTER BATH SHOWER : Bathrooms require a lot of detail and we’re still waiting on our shower to be complete. It’s getting close though! Our master bathroom is a little abnormal. Everyone I tell this to I have to pull up images on Pinterest to prove to them that I haven’t lost my mind! After we shoot long wedding days, I think it would be nice to have a tub. Michael could care less about the tub, but I really wanted to find a way to make it work. So I photoshopped our bathroom and redesigned it a million times and I just couldn’t make it work. There was no way to fit a TUB and a SHOWER without eliminating our closet. And we all know you can’t eliminate a closet! So, I redesigned this space one more time and I put a free standing tub INSIDE of the shower. Yep. You step into our shower and there is going to be a tub on one side of it. It’s not as crazy as it sounds, I promise! I’m going to share pictures on our @AHOMEMADEFORHOSTING account once it’s all in place so check in there for updates! Trust me… it’s going to be cool and not crazy!

Besides those few things, we have some marks, dents, scratches and a fireplace to finish up, but then we’re getting really close to being ready to move forward!!! Here are some images from the last few months!

Also! To continually follow along on this journey, you can follow our @HOMEMADEFORHOSTING account in Instagram!

house-build-update_0024 Michael checking out leftover hardiplank!
house-build-update_0025 We have a sidewalk!
house-build-update_0026 house-build-update_0027 house-build-update_0028 There are now floating shelves on either side of the hood!house-build-update_0029 house-build-update_0030 To the right is the baby’s room! We just need carpet!house-build-update_0031house-build-update_0033 That brick will be painted white!house-build-update_0032house-build-update_0035 Our family’s dumpster diving in our front yard? Yep! Nothing strange about that!house-build-update_0034house-build-update_0037 That’s Minde on the floor… he can make dream projects come to life in a matter of hours… he’s amazing! He can also hang beams from a ceiling in record time. Ps. These beams are from our dear friends farm! We officially have a piece of one of our favorite places on the planet in our home! Yay Big Spring Farm! Ps. This is the bedroom… that tub just isn’t in the right room! house-build-update_0036 A glimpse at my office… that light though! I searched for MONTHS and finally found it!!!
house-build-update_0038 house-build-update_0039

View Our Most Recent House Updates:

The House Plans ,  A Construction Tour , We’ve Been Framed

Thanks for reading!

— Katelyn


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