The House That Brent Built: August Update

I’m sure you’re not surprised to hear that our house build hasn’t always been a walk in the park. But I hardly even realized quite how frustrated we got this month until I had a chance to sit and reflect. While we’ve made so much progress this month, we’ve also been overwhelmed with the number of decisions flying at us and combined with some unwanted budget adjustments and a setback or two, it’s safe to say that WE ARE IN THE THICK OF IT.

First, the progress! This past month:

  • The sprinkler system went in—yes, sprinkler system. Most homes don’t have them but the treehouse does because of how tall it is
  • We ordered our tile and hardware
  • Windows went in
  • We chose our lighting layout and the fixtures are on their way
  • Drywall is dropped off and insulation is going in soon
  • Exterior siding is going up and we get to paint next!


Insulation in the truck in front of the house

Guys on the pump jack working

Exterior with house wrap and windows

Top floor windows waiting to be installed

We’ve fallen a bit behind. It’s the busy season for builders and contractors and we’ve definitely experienced that as well. Drywall is only now going in and the exterior was supposed to be painted TODAY, but that isn’t happening. Some delays make sense and others don’t and overall I will say that we walked in expecting this so we felt prepared.

The toughest part of the month was having to do some major realignments on our budget. We got our original bid from the builder and it was too high for us. We asked for a readjustment and most of that was taken out of our budget for finishes. But when we head into the showrooms, the designers very candidly tell us that unless we want the barest subway tile, it’s going to cost us more. I think in part we could have been a little more realistic about our original budget and what we would eventually want. It’s one thing to give yourself x amount for tile, when you haven’t gone into a showroom and seen all of the amazing tile there is to choose from. The other part comes from miscommunications with the contractors or having to adjust for unforeseen circumstances. It’s all to be expected but we’ve had to be a bit hardass with our team and ourselves this month and it’s definitely not been the most fun we’ve had on this project.

If I were to do it all over again, or you’re reading this and you’re about to, I would advise a few things:
1. Plan for digressions in your plan and have proactive discussions around what rooms and items you are and are not willing to compromise on. We’re going over on the kitchen counters because we decided it’s essential, but we’re also getting more carpet put in than expected because of the cost of hardwood.
2. Be prepared for a million choices at every turn and find yourself providers who can ground and guide you towards the right ones. For example, we’ve been able to stay within our budget for cabinetry all thanks to the amazing salesperson at General Builders Supply who was able to find us the right manufacturer and material to actualize our dream of flat slab cabinets (GBS, you are wonderful!)
3. Be prepared for A LOT of communication. With your partner, with your contractors, your designers, your service providers and salespeople. All in a loop for months on end. It’s a lot of coordination and we’ve all been schooled in communication through this process.

Lighting comes next, and I’m sure we’ll go through all of this again!

This house build has become a full-time job, especially for Brent, but despite the overwhelm I can feel the bubble of excitement rising in my chest at the thought of moving in less than two months. There is so much to do in our current house before we make that transition and it’s given me a lot of pause for thought, going through the process I help others go through every day—especially my sellers.

We need to pare down our stuff and start packing. I have a ton to get rid of now that Camila is 6 months old. And most importantly, we have to get our kitchen remodeled before, or right after, we move out. It’s hard to even process.

Even though we are well and truly in the thick of it, I just keep reminding myself how fast this next month and a half will fly. Before we know it, we’ll be heading up to the 4th-floor balcony to watch the first sunset from our completely finished home that we built ourselves. Nothing tops that.

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