After some discussion, we decided to have the builder hang all of our ceiling fans for us, so they would be ready to go and wobble-free on move-in day. We chose these Craftmade brush nickel ceiling fans with mahogany-toned blades:
We chose bell-shaped frosted light kits for all of the fans except for the family room. The family room ceiling was high enough that a light kit would not contribute sufficient light to the room. We also added a fan control switch for the family room ceiling fan, so we could control the fan speed without climbing up on a ladder.
There were limited selections of light fixtures in the showroom, but we found that we liked the standard options just fine. We chose these Capital Lighting Barclay chandeliers in Creekstone for the foyer and dining room that we had seen in the spec homes:
We chose these Capital Lighting ceiling fixtures, also in Creekstone, for the hallways:
We also selected these pewter fixtures for the bathrooms:
It turned out one of these fixtures did not look the way we thought it would, which we’ll cover in a future post.
Now that we have completed the kitchen selections, it’s time to move on to the bathrooms. For the cabinets, we chose the Cordovan finish, which has almost mahogany tones to it and provides a nice contrast with the countertops. We stayed with the standard white cultured marble countertops, though we considered upgrading them to a more beige-y marble or granite.
We were excited to have many beautiful choices of ceramic tile for the master bathroom floor and shower, including detail tiles that would have been an upgrade. We decided to go with Bone, one of the standard options, with the recommended Pearl grout:
For the bathroom hardware, we chose Moen Eva brush nickel faucets and towel bars, which we had seen when we toured one of the spec homes in the neighborhood. We appreciate the clean, contemporary look.
As a bonus, the open-ended toilet paper holders make changing the roll a breeze.
At first we thought we were going to go for a large recessed shower niche (or two) in the master shower, but we decided on a tile-covered corner shelf instead:
This shelf will hold a lot of bottles, including liter bottles of shampoo.
We upgraded to a brush nickel shower rod for the upstairs bathroom, so that everything would match. We also upgraded to a 34” (taller) vanity in the upstairs bath and taller toilets in all bathrooms. The toilets in the spec homes were unusually short, and we figure children in our household can stand on stools to brush their teeth at the vanity, like Eric and I did when we were growing up.
The more observant of you may notice that we do not have a tub in the master bath. This was one of the decisions that we made when deciding to go with this floor plan. Adding a master tub would have made our bedroom smaller for the floor plan we chose, and this was one of the major points of deliberation when deciding between the two floor plans. The other floor plan had plenty of space for a large bedroom and awesome master bathtub with separate (though smaller) shower. There was an option to expand the master bedroom and have the larger bathroom with our floor plan, but this was out of our price range. We preferred to spend more on the common areas of the house, such as the kitchen.
What options or upgrades would you like to see in your bathrooms? What rooms of the house are most important to you? We’d love to hear from you!
So previously we talked about our kitchen floor plan design and selections, and now it’s time to put in the appliances. Believe it or not, we spent a fair bit of time on this step. Our builder had a good number of options at the selections showroom, but nothing really stood out that much to me. They carried GE appliances and had a product guide available. Unfortunately, there was just not enough time to go over all the options for the appliances while in the showroom, so we went home with the knowledge that we could put in any GE products we wanted.
So we went home and looked online at the GE website. We went to the store and looked. We went on Amazon.com and looked. Time ticked by and we knew we had to nail it down and submit our requests to the builder for a price quote for our appliances. There were so many options and we had to start narrowing down our choices.
Stove and oven: There were several ways we could go with the stove and oven. We could choose a typical range like what he had in our first home, a slide-in range, or a cooktop with an in-wall oven. The typical range I knew from past experiences is a magnet for sauces, crumbs, and just about anything to fall down the side. This makes it a real pain to clean. So we made a list of potential slide-in ranges and cooktop/wall oven sets.
Refrigerator: We had always had a side-by-side fridge, but we saw something a little different that we liked while shopping in stores and online. We discovered French door refrigerators with the freezer drawer on the bottom. We liked that the fridge opened up nice and wide and drawer seemed like an interesting idea. We added a few of each of these styles to our list of possible choices.
Microwave: We knew we wanted a microwave that would mount over top of the stove, but we really hadn’t given it a whole lot of thought. A microwave is a microwave, right? Well we were wrong on that one. When we started looking we saw scores of your typical microwaves and a microwave that had a convection oven, toaster oven, and a microwave all in one. The interface looked like it could be a little confusing but the idea was intriguing. So we added some regular microwaves and I convinced Meredith to add the GE Advantium super-duper all in one microwave.
Dishwasher: So normally I would make a joke about that being my job but I’ll save you the agony. Dishwasher really is just a dishwasher. Some are a little quieter and a few extra settings, but not much of a difference to us. We added the model up from the standard builder’s selection, since it was supposed to be quieter.
So this gave us a few options for each of the above categories. We printed off the specification sheets for each item and made several different packages. We analyzed and debated all the different options and narrowed it down to a few of the different packages. These packages were e-mailed to the design consultant so she could price each package. Then we had a bit of a debate and made our selection.
At this point we had decided that seeing as we were already going all-out on the kitchen, there was no point in skimping on the appliances. So the assembly of my dream kitchen continued with selecting a nice flat cooktop and an in-wall oven, a French door refrigerator, GE Advantium microwave, and the dishwasher that was just a step up from the basic.
Here are the actual models we purchased (with links):
The selection of this style of cooktop and stove gives a really clean, customized and finished look. The main reasons for choosing these items were the stainless steel finish and the ease of keeping things clean. The cooktop has four elements for cooking, with one that has a quick boil feature and another that is a double element. The Advantium has some really nice features like speed cooking and convection oven cooking in combination with the microwave elements. We used to have a toaster oven around for cooking small things when we didn’t want to heat up the whole oven, but with this baby, we no longer need it. With special settings for Bagel Bites and cheesesticks, it’s hard to beat for a junk food fix. Here’s what our setup looks like:
The refrigerator had a unique look that we really liked. The LED lights on the inside are nice and bright and the French door style opens up nice and wide for easy access. The fact that some of the shelves fold back or up to create taller shelves makes plenty of space for storing soda bottles and other tall items. The drawer-style freezer makes it easy to reach our meats that we put in freezer bags and we don’t feel as much like things will sit in the back that we will forget about.
What kitchen appliances would you put in your dream home? Feel free to leave a comment.
We had already selected the countertops, sinks and fixtures, and tile backsplash for the kitchen. Next came the cabinet options. Our cabinets were made by Quality Cabinets and are composed of maple with doors in the Classic II style. We’re including lots of in-progress photos so you can see the components up close. We chose the Café finish for the kitchen, a nice warm brown color.
We chose these brush nickel knobs for the cabinets:
We chose knobs rather than handles, because they only require drilling one hole into each cabinet door and can be easily replaced.
We also added crown molding to the tops of the kitchen cabinets for a polished look.
The next challenge was selecting which types of cabinets to put in which locations. We carefully studied our kitchen floor plan and our options sheets to examine all of the possibilities. After touring the model and spec homes, we knew that we wanted an angle wall cabinet with glass doors, a wide drawer stack, and a cabinet pantry.
Our angle wall cabinet adds a focal point to the kitchen and provides a place to showcase favorite or fancy glassware:
We use a lot of spices in our cooking, so we decided that a spice drawer was a must. We originally envisioned the spice rack on the island. However, when the plans were drafted, they found that we would lose space on the island if we placed it there. So we placed it directly to the right of the oven instead, which is just as convenient.
We put a 30” drawer stack next to the spice rack. The deep drawers are awesome for storing pots and pans, while the wide top drawer is great for storing utensils.
A 12” drawer stack was added to the left side of the island for storing sandwich bags, plastic wrap, and such:
Eric had designed the kitchen to include a 36” pantry cabinet with four roll-out shelves. We absolutely love this pantry! It holds so much food and supplies, and the wooden roll-outs are so much nicer than the white wire shelves we had in our first house. Regular cabinets at the top provide additional storage.
Our rental house had roll-out trash cans, and we loved having the trash can accessible, yet out of sight. It’s also one way to keep medium to large dogs out of the trash without hiding it in the closet. We decided to include roll-out trash cans in our kitchen.
There are limited options for what do to with the corners of the kitchen cabinets underneath the counters. Our rental house had a unique setup in the corner, and we suggested this idea to the cabinet makers for our kitchen.
We liked the way the interior shelves rolled completely out of the way to make room for the roll-outs. This idea was vetoed by our cabinet makers, who basically told us that it was too custom for them. We were left with the conventional options: a lazy susan or a reach-back cabinet (just a regular cabinet, so you literally have to reach back to access stuff). We had 2 corners, so we chose a reach-back cabinet for the one and a wooden lazy susan for the other.
The remainder of the cabinet space was filled in with regular cabinets. Eric was a bit concerned about how little regular cabinet space was left after we chose all of our specialized cabinets, but I reassured him that we would have plenty of space.
What types of cabinets would you put in your dream kitchen? We’d love to hear from you!
I’ve always admired Stonewall Kitchen’s goodies at Williams-Sonoma and gourmet food stores, so I was excited when I found out that Rue La La was discounting them for a recent limited-time-only sale.
The first set that caught my eye was the Grille Master Collection, which includes a selection of sauces and rubs. I was pleased with the size of the bottles and jars when they arrived—plenty available for multiple uses. The first one we tried was the Maple Chipotle Grille sauce. We sautéed steak, peppers, and onions with it to create sort of an upscale sloppy joe. We loved its sweet-tangy-smoky flavor. We look forward to trying the Roasted Peach Whiskey and Garlic Teriyaki sauces as well as the beef, chicken, and seafood/veggie rubs. The set included a Stonewall Kitchen Grilling cookbook, a silicone brush, and a kitchen towel.
We were surprised to find out that the cookbook was an autographed copy!
I also ordered the Party Time Set, which included drink mixers, cheese ball mixes, and crackers. The collection included mixers for mojitos, margaritas, pomegranate cosmos, and a wild blueberry mixer that can be used for martinis and other drinks. There are recipes on each bottle, including some non-alcoholic spritzers. Our CSA is supposed to be harvesting mint soon, so it’ll be mojito time at our house! The cheese ball mixes in Key Lime and Blueberry flavors use cream cheese to make a unique snack. I plan to try the blueberry cheese ball mix with bagels and the Key Lime mix with crackers or chips. This whole set will come in very handy for entertaining guests.
Do you like to experiment with gourmet sauces and rubs? Do you have a go-to treat for entertaining guests? Feel free to share your favorites with us!