I met our Architect, Stephen Fuller, at the house last week to go over cornice and other trim options and I jokingly told him that he was my “phone a friend” for the house. With a project the size of this one, I have my mom that is my go-to “phone a friend” when something goes wrong and I am ready to cry, I have my designer, Teresa Hamilton, that is my “phone a friend” for any interior choices and then I have Stephen Fuller, our Architect, that is my main “phone a friend” for anything to do with what the RIGHT thing to do for the house-  because I know he will give us his honest opinion without me asking him to be honest with me.  I appreciate that.

If you are not familiar with Stephen Fuller(he calls himself Steve but I have to stop myself from calling him the full ‘Stephen Fuller’ each time we speak and so I just use Stephen- I don’t call my brother Matt either.  He’s Matthew…I digress…

If you are not familiar with his work, I would describe it as simply classic and tasteful, done with a respect for the past.  I am a fan of an older, classic look and I think Stephen is the perfect fit for us and this project.

From his newly updated site – – “We must respond to modern lifestyles while respecting and celebrating all that is great about the past.” That’s exactly what we hope to accomplish with our home- it should be one that can function in a modern, purposeful manner but still stay true to where it began.

I liked him when we first met.  He soon made fun of our circumstances, living in that house the way it was and he was very easy to get along with.  He wants things done a certain way and throughout this process, he has provided guidance and foresight to make sure that we do not make any mistakes that affect the overall vision of the completed home.

When we met Stephen, we had called him to come to the house because we were unsure about knocking it down or if we could work with what we had and he didn’t hesitate with telling us that he thought we should work with it and that has brought us to where we are today. I think it is pretty cool to get to rebuild something that was just fine to begin with but if you had the chance to rebuild your house the way it should have been built to support today’s modern lifestyle- that’s what we are doing.

After chatting with Stephen, he goes to work on the preliminary design drawings and I think they are awesome to view.  It was like Christmas morning to open this up and look at what our house could become.  Below are just a few images of where we began before we get to formal plans and such-

Stephen Fuller Original- Preliminary Design Document

The drawings were simply awesome to look at and they make you really start to see where you will be at the end.  From here, formal plans are created, he helped organize bids and meetings with prospective builders and ultimately helped us end up with the right builder for the project, which is key.  He understands the building process and he guided us through the initial steps of how to get started with this.  I just love the design drawings though.  They are done by a true artist.  It’s amazing how talented some people are in this world.

Stephen’s been with us through the entire build to make sure it is all done to plan and we 100% recommend him and his services to anyone that has any building project they are looking into at some point whether it be new construction, a renovation or rebuild like ours!  If you check out his website- – you can see all the different types of projects he has been involved on and there are many to behold.


Friday Update

Friday Update

Picking Paint

Where to begin.  Well, we have to paint it at some point and I am googling everything to do with “Exterior Paint” combinations under the sun.  There are so many shades of white I quit counting and I do not have a degree in design so I do not understand undertones so there you go.

We thought a shade of white would look classic with the shake roof.  I really don’t want black shutters though.  No red door either.  That is just too traditional.  So, I have branched out and tried to find other color combinations besides a body color of white and see if I(we) like them.  Here are some of the ones I found late night googling-

Option 1-







The colors are pretty, they look sophisticated to me and they are clean-looking.  I like this look.

Option 2-








Pretty, I think…kind of a beige with a dark brown shutter and crisp trim.  Love the green landscape with it.  This looks like our house but I wonder if it is too yellow…hmmmm.  I have the magazine advertisement from Behr with this picture and it looks better in person that online.

But then I go back to this-









I just love white. I could sure tear up that pretty grass driveway with my Suburban though!  Wouldn’t stand a chance!

I’ve called in for reinforcements already.  I have a consult next Wednesday with a paint specialist.  Then I can have someone else to blame if it doesn’t turn out okay!

Outside Update

No big update…just took a photo of the front tonight.  Siding is going up!


Tile has been the hardest thing for me to get through.  The choices are unlimited and it is difficult to find a starting point.  

Our foyer in the rental house has become my staging/selection area. It gives me the best light and it is not in the way of the kids.  This is what I have selected- I say “I” because David has had nothing to do with any of this.  It’s really for the best because it is too difficult to have to run everything by him.  I just pick what I like and he says it looks great. I’m not even sure if he has really looked at any of it.


I like the 12×24 bricks for the kids’ bathroom floors and Avery, Audrey and Hudson will have just that- Hudson is going with a gray for his bath, Avery has a “marble” tile and Audrey has a really pretty linen pattern beige tile for hers.  All of them will have Botticino honed marble subway tile and trim.  It’s neutral, mostly white and clean looking. I wanted to choose something that will not look dated in 5 years. I do not plan on re-doing kids’ baths anytime soon!

For Addi, she has a bath that was fitted into the roofline over our bathroom and it is a tight space- perfect for her frame!  I want her to have the hexagon marble tiles for her floor- I love that vintage look and the extra grout that goes with that will give her more traction in her bath which is also good for her little frame!  It looks great too. She will have a simple white porcelain subway tile to go with it.

I think I am using Corian in Audrey and Addi’s baths- I found a “white” I really like and for Avery it will either be that or this cool Silestone gray- it is the square laying on her floor tile.  I really like the look with the white and I just want to make sure I can live with it for a long time and it won’t be too trendy.

Hudson is getting an awesome silver veined limestone countertop that I got at a warehouse sale- it is awesome and it was a great deal. Thanks to my designer, Teresa for that find!

The basement is still up in the air- I am leaning towards a honed travertine tile for there since it will get a lot of in and out from the backyard and eventual pool- seems like the most intelligent choice for down there.  

I didn’t include the master bath in the picture but our floors and counters are a limestone and the shower and backsplash are a glass mosaic tile- I absolutely love it and cannot wait to see it in the house.

So, I guess we ended up with a little of everything- the wood floors are “character grade” which looks old, the tile has a neutral palette with a modern style and hopefully all of it will feel like home.  

We’re getting there. I actually heard the word “home” come out of my mouth the other day when referring to ‘yellow house’. It caught me off guard but hopefully that is a sign for what is to come and it will feel like home very soon and will actually BE our home very soon!

April 13, 2012

We’ve quit calling it a renovation.  That is a severe understatement.  We are rebuilding the home.  It’s a rebuild.  I think we have created a new genre of construction with this project.  It’s not a renovation, it’s not completely new construction, it’s a rebuild.  Many people have asked me why we didn’t just knock it down and start anew.  Well, you have to consider your lot and place in a neighborhood.  The worst thing we could do financially is out build our lot.  Don’t get me wrong, this is a big project but when you start with a blank page with new construction, you go large.  It can keep going and going because there are no limits.  We were forced to stay within the foundation for the majority of the house and like Tim Gunn says, “Make it work!”.  This lot in this neighborhood didn’t need a castle sitting on it between 2 modest homes so we went with the rebuild.  We will likely still out build our lot, especially if you ask David, but the home will not look abnormal, it will blend and it will be unassuming, all qualities that make us comfortable.

April 13, 2012

This was the back on April 13, 2012.

April 27, 2012

April 27, 2012

Before the addition.

Back progression

April 27, 2012

As the addition goes on

May 18, 2012

May 18, 2012

Addition is on!

Front updated view-

May 18, 2012

Front view with addition complete.

The rear is still missing the courtyard and from what we understand that will be added towards the end of the project so the rear view is not complete at this point.  The plumbing is going in and the electrical begins Monday!

Garage addition-


We rebuilt and added the garage

The last 2 weeks have been like what I imagine watching paint dry will be like expect there is no paint.  There are no walls for that matter.  We’ve managed to get the addition foundation walls poured and set and we now have a dirt pile 10 feet tall in the backyard.  It was delivered to fill in under the soon-to-be back courtyard if they ever start framing that is.

Right now, it is so slow.  Waiting for cement to dry is like watching paint dry.  Waiting for the inspectors is like waiting for your turn to check out at Target with a kid screaming in the cart.  Lots and lots of waiting and in the mean time, I am frozen waiting on what to do next. I haven’t made that many decisions yet and I feel like I am going to be steamrolled eventually and not prepared. I’ve had some weird dreams.  Nothing with naked people but dreams that make you wake up thinking you forgot something.

We need a landscape plan. Don’t really want to pay a company and we would rather look for an individual to help but that doesn’t seem easy to find right now either.  We have like 6 weeks before school is out and after that, I will likely be dragging 4 kids with me to any appointment and I can already feel the “That’s fine, whatever”, boiling up in my throat when it comes to what all needs to be selected.