We’ll be living on this cute street soon!
My childhood dream is coming true. We’re building a house!
As a kid, my favorite pastime was drafting house floor plans. I was happiest with a pad of graph paper and a pencil in my hand. I designed hundreds of “dream homes.” Everyone, including me for a long time, thought I’d become an architect. But that wasn’t the path for me. However, wanting to build a home from the ground up has always been a dream of mine.
Now, for our fourth home, we’re finally doing it. Two of our first three homes were new construction, but they were ready-to-move-in spec homes, so we were not able to choose any of the finishes…not even the paint color.
This time will be different. We get to choose everything and build a house designed just for us. Some might call it a dream house. My husband doesn’t believe in having one dream house or forever house, which I mostly agree with because our dreams change with the season of life we’re in. But for right now, we are building our dream house for this stage in our life.
Wait, what happened to your old house? In case you need to catch up, we sold our house in Minnesota in June of 2018. (I can’t believe it’s almost been a year already.) In August 2018, we moved to Texas, a long time dream of ours. We live in Frisco, TX now—Money magazines top US city to live in for 2018.
Where We’re Building Our New Home
It turns out, we love our current Frisco neighborhood (where we rent an apartment) so much, that we’re building our home just a stone’s throw away in the same development. My husband jokes that we could get a few wheelbarrows to move all our stuff to the new house.
Our neighborhood is a unique multi-generational community with a senior living facility, apartment complexes, townhomes, and single-family homes. It’s located minutes from the heart of Frisco—old downtown Main Street and the newer Frisco Square area. We’re only five minutes away from anything we could want—great coffee shops, restaurants, shopping, a year-round farmers market, parks, and trails.
When we fell in love with the neighborhood and our kids’ new schools, it was a no-brainer to look for homes in our community. But we couldn’t immediately find a house that was right for us.
You might remember, when we sold our house and left Minnesota we wanted to downsize.
Our old home was 4300 sq ft. We moved into an apartment that’s over 60% smaller, about 1760 sq ft. Except for not having a home office and the dining room area being too small, the apartment has been a good size for us. So, we decided to look for a new home that was under 2500 sq ft.
Finding a smaller home in our area was a struggle. In our zip code, the average home size is 4,000+ sq ft. That means half the available homes are larger than that! Most of the houses on the market in our size range were in Active Senior 55+ communities. Ha!
When we couldn’t find a smaller home, we decided to look into building one. Luckily, we were already in the perfect neighborhood. As a multi-generational community, the builders in our neighborhood offer a wider range of home sizes to appeal to different buyers. The single-family homes in our community start as small as 1800 sq ft. They also offer several single-story plans—another plus for us, as we’ve always wanted a one-level home.
The plan we ultimately selected is just under 2500 sq ft. As we told our realtor, the exact size didn’t matter as much to us as having the right layout and number of rooms, specifically three bedrooms and an office. We did NOT want any extra spaces, like additional bedrooms, game rooms, media rooms, lofts…another challenge to overcome in the Texas real estate market. As our realtor reminded us, “everything’s bigger in Texas.” But we wanted to buck that trend. We’ve had the house with a rarely used guest room, a formal dining room we never ate in, an empty loft, and a large basement. In our new home, we want an efficient space that we use to its fullest.
Our builder said our floor plan is one of the most popular in the community…especially with retirees! Haha! What can I say, we’re wise for our age. We’re probably the only people NOT in retirement buying a single-story, small (by Dallas standards) home. And we don’t care in the least. All the better if we love the home and want to stay in it, we won’t have to downsize later.
Our New Home Elevation
At this point, I bet your dying to see the house. But first, I have to tell you the other unique thing about the house we’re building.
It’s a mid-century modern inspired style! Another dream come true.
If you’ve ever driven around a Dallas suburb, then you know how unusual it is to find a modern home. Dallas suburbs have an architecture style all to themselves. Most houses are clad in brick and stone like these ones featured on McMansion Hell. The turrets (yes, like a castle) are a real trend here people.
Our neighborhood is very different. The homes are colorful, unique, and most of the brick ones are painted. The architectural styles include Colonial Revival, Modern Farmhouse, English Tudor, French, and Craftsmen.
Can you see why I fell in love with this neighborhood? It has personality and I appreciate the architecture inspired by real historic home styles. (I’m 99.9% positive there are no turrets in our community.)
The builder we chose, Cambridge Homes, recently started offering mid-century inspired elevations and that sealed the deal for us. They said it’s their most requested home style, which isn’t that surprising since our city is growing by about 10,000 people per year… mostly coming from out of state, many from California.
Here’s an illustration of the elevation we’re building:
Here’s another home under construction with the same elevation we chose:
As I’m writing this, our builder only has six lots left in the neighborhood. Although our floor plan is popular in the neighborhood, only one other person has chosen the modern elevation. There are a few other modern elevations for other plans under construction. We love that there will be only a handful of modern elevations in this community, which means our home will be unique and will someday be a selling feature.
Our New Home Floorplan
As I said, our floor plan is all on one level. Before I show you the floor plan, you need to know a few things about our neighborhood:
- All the homes are rear-entry—the garage is at the back of the house with access via an alley.
- Our home is a “patio home”—instead of a backyard, we have a narrow side yard that runs the length of our lot, which is a nice set up with the rear-entry garage. It also means our lot and yard-size is smaller, which we prefer because we’ll have less yard work to do. (No one wants to mow a huge yard in 100 degrees July weather!)
- Most of the windows are on one side of the house—as a patio home with a side yard, all of our clear windows are on the front and one side of the house. The back is mostly the garage, and no windows are facing the alley. The other side of our home cannot have clear windows per our Home Owners Association. We only have one glass block window on that side in the laundry room. Likewise, the wall of our neighbors home adjacent to our side yard has no windows on it. This setup gives everyone a completely private yard and private home.
- We have skylights—to compensate for not having windows on one side of the house, the builder offers skylights in the kitchen. They’re centered above the kitchen island. With skylights instead of a window, we have a wall of uninterrupted cabinets in our kitchen…tons of storage!
This is our floor plan:
I have so much more I want to tell you about the build process. We are currently two months into the 7-9 month process. We just signed off on all of our design choices and upgrades, which I’m excited to share with you. They should be breaking ground on our house in May, and we expect to move in this fall.
From here on out, I will be posting frequent updates on the blog, Instagram, (@schoolofdecorating), Facebook (@schoolofdecor), and YouTube (follow me in all the places 😉). I want to take you through the whole process chronologically and share our experience, decisions, struggles, and ultimately reveal our new home. I hope you’ll follow along.