Since the late 90s/early 2000s (or whenever the hell Google was created), this has been my motto for everything.
How to lose 10 (or 30) pounds in a month (week) . . . the recipe for corn dip that I have made 550 times (but who needs a cookbook or a memory for that matter these days) . . . symptoms of any “sickness” I (or my family members/friends) currently have to determine what incurable disease we are suffering from. You get the drift.
And in the past two years it has, of course, been my go-to for anything house-related. For the record, I am not one of those millennials who takes this shit for granted. No, no, no. I have been to real libraries and done the whole card catalog thing. And we even had an Encyclopedia Britannica set at the house. But as progress would have it, the magical internet came about (hey, AOL) and shortly thereafter, all we needed was the search engine God sent through Larry Page and Sergey Brin (go ahead, Google ’em) to move heaven and earth. Amen.
But, uh, back to the lecture at hand. Perfection is expected and I’m feelin’ that demand. Gah . . . I have a problem. (Those of you who are not gangster rap fans will have no clue what I’m talking about here–just disregard) Moving right along.
Starbucks drive-thru for a venti PSL. Translation: large Pumpkin Spice Latte, for all you non-Starbucks goers. Extra hot, extra shot, with a straw (I know! Eye roll.) for the basic September Monday morning win.
So, after we closed on the old house (Thomas swears his man cave is what sold it, as the buyer was a single guy in his 20s – whatever), we decided to move into a rental (yes, move to move again – FML) and start the building process of what we hoped would be our “forever home.”
Thomas’s grandpa (Paw-Paw) developed a neighborhood back in the 90s, and as kids, Thomas and his brother Patrick worked out there quite a bit on weekends and in the summers (Patrick says he worked while Thomas hid and drank everyone’s water supply, but Thomas says this is completely untrue).
We have driven through that neighborhood so many times over the years, and Thomas always talked about how cool it would be to live there. As for me, I live in reality and didn’t dare dream we could ever build there. Plus, it had a reputation for flooding. So I would say “sure, honey” as we passed the sandbar entrance in the back of the neighborhood for the hundredth time.
Well, his dream became a reality when Paw-Paw and Maw-Maw (yep, welcome to the south) gifted us the five-acre wooded lot they owned in the part of the neighborhood that backs up to the creek.
Honestly, this was one of the best things that could have happened in our lives at that time. We had been battling a rough (enter the most intense adjective for rough here) infertility diagnosis (will elaborate on that topic later) and desperately needed something positive to focus on. It was like the black clouds parted and the sun peeked through the day Thomas received the warranty deed. Best day. Best gift. We will be forever grateful and still have to pinch ourselves daily. Is this for real? It is. And for once, it is good thing!
We now had a lot, and that was half the battle (or so we wrongfully assumed.) We needed a house plan, and never in my life did I imagine there were so many plans available online. No really, it is insane. We must have spent five weeks straight scouring the Internet for the perfect plan. I was torn between Acadian and cottage-style – two completely different looks. Acadian, of course, because Mom basically stuck a post-it on my forehead growing up that brick is the way to go . . . “no muss, no fuss.”
Well, I haven’t seen a cottage yet made entirely of brick, but I have always adored the style. And because I listen to my mother always, I went with cottage-style! And hardy plank siding. When the power washer has to come out once a quarter (or month), she will be saying “I told ya so” and laughing hysterically, like she always does when she ends up being right. Which is 99.5% of the time (shhh…don’t tell her I said that). The foundation or chain-wall as we call it in South MS is brick. That’s gotta count for something right??
Okay, so house plans. Enter Google, Google Images, Pinterest, and Houzz. Side Note: If you are building a house, thinking about building a house, feel that you may build a house in the future, or if you are merely remodeling the house you currently live in- download the Houzz App now; it will change your life.
They always say you should go into as many houses as possible before you build. Well, I had a pretty good head start in that department. I lived in lots of different houses growing up, most of which we rented due to military status. I started getting a feel for what I liked or didn’t like about floorplans and their overall functionality (or lack there of) at a young age. It was pretty interesting comparing homes in different regions of the US, too. That being said, I’m not really sure why the basement concept isn’t really a thing in Mississippi, like it is in Virgina and beyond… I’m a big fan of basements, especially walk-out ones. Guess I should Google that. Anywho-when my dad was stationed in South Carolina for the second time, my parents bought a brick fixer-upper built in the 1950s complete with pea green shag carpet (that covered some beautiful wood floors my dad later refinished). It had “good bones” as they say. It was a work in progress, but it made me appreciate the beauty of the process before Joanna Gaines made it popular.
Thomas grew up in an amazing old Victorian home on Back Bay Biloxi that was sadly taken in Katrina (literally all that was left was a slab). It started as a fixer-upper endeavor for his mom (Mrs. Tanya) and her family, then became her hobby, and later reached her dream home status . . . until the storm wiped it away in 2005.
She has rebuilt since (a beautiful home, but nothing will ever compare) and also took on another fixer-upper challenge (a dilapidated historic home in need of some major TLC) which is now her real estate office in downtown Biloxi.
Point is, Thomas and I both have a love and appreciation for old/vintage architecture and wanted to somehow tie an old/classic (yet comfortable) feel into our new home. You are probably wondering why we didn’t take on our own fixer-upper from the get-go. It actually was a short-lived thought at one time. But let’s just say that neither of us are gifted in the handy-(wo)man department, so our goal was to get the character without the “Mr(s). Fix-It” requirement. This is way easier said than done but I am always up for a challenge.
There was a house we loved in an older neighborhood on the coast and decided 100% that we wanted to go with that look as far as our facade (if you are building, I highly recommend doing this). Get in the car, turn on some jams, roll down the windows, and drive around! If you get really brave (not me, due to aforementioned social anxiety – see About Claire – but if you are social creatures like Thomas or my mother), you knock on the door of said house and ask to go inside.
The hardest part about finding a “ready-made” plan was getting the look we wanted to morph with the plan we already had in our mind (which took ideas from over 20 plans and jammed them all into one story and 2500 square feet.) We didn’t need a big house, and we were on a limited budget. The more plans we looked at, the more overwhelming it got. But keep in mind, this is supposed to be our “forever home” so we could not just settle.
You got a headache yet? I do.
At any rate, we liked the split floor plan, we needed a man cave, we wanted porches, definitely high ceilings throughout, we needed an office that could be closed off in case a work-at-home opportunity ever arose, no formal living room, but a ginormous open great room to house my beloved sectional steal (see Post 1), no formal dining room, no bathtub in the master (hello, resale rule breaker, bring it), a monster master closet, and a big utility room that could double as a craft room that connected to the master bedroom/bathroom somehow . . .Nope, not picky at all.
I need Tylenol. Amazing how telling a story about a past event can make you feel the stress all over again.
After hours, upon days, upon weeks of searching (torture), our perfect house plan sadly did not exist. Google would not suffice for the first time in my tried and true history with it, and we were left with just “I. Don’t. Know.”
We would have to resort to a custom plan. I know, fancy right? Fancy = expensive. And the thought of spending such a big chunk of our budget on a fancy plan was cringe-worthy for me. But luckily we have friends in “high places” around these parts due to Thomas’s born and raised hometown status, not to mention (again) my stellar bargain-finding skills . . .
Click here to purchase the fun little “idk…google it” graphic (instant download and print at home) pictured in my cover photo by AlwaysRooneyPrints on Etsy. This is my favorite addition to my home office thus far!