Building Home.


Well hello, old blog.

Wasn’t sure I’d ever come back here, but after sharing some exciting news on Instagram, a few people encouraged me to come back to this space and document the next adventure in our life. We’re building a home! The last time I posted here, we had just purchased our current home. That was just over two years ago and it’s time to be moving on again, for several reasons. Charlie’s 3 years old now and city life just doesn’t suit us like it did when he was a baby. Like many families who’ve figured it out before us, we long for the freedom of opening the back door and sending the kiddos out to play. Forest to explore, dirt to play in, the parts of childhood we remember loving.  Parker and I feel a deep disconnection from nature and the fact that Charlie will go on pretend nature walks by crawling around my houseplants, tells me he is too. #citykid


So back in August, when we were just starting to think about where we might find a better place to settle our family, Parker just tossed out the idea that we should move to Serenbe. I laughed. I dismissed it immediately. And then I stopped to actually consider it. Serenbe is “a progressive community connected to nature on the edge of Atlanta. A neighborhood full of fresh food, fresh air and focused on wellbeing. This community is set among acres of preserved forests and meadows with miles of nature trails that connect homes and restaurants with arts and businesses.” BUUUUT it’s OTP. For those not familiar, that’s outside the perimeter of I-285, or not really considered Atlanta. The suburbs basically. I have a strong bias for living ITP (inside the perimeter). But…the more I read, the more I started to think it could be kinda perfect.  It’s 40 minutes from where we live now, so not a hugely long distance, but long enough to make me nervous.  I’ll write a whole post about Serenbe and why we think it will be perfect for us, because a sentence or two here could never do it justice, but if you’re curious, you can go to their website or check out this piece the Today Show did on the community recently.

Over the next couple of months, I talked myself into and out of this decision many times, but after spending some quality time there over Labor Day weekend, we made up our minds. Serenbe would be our home. We bought a plot of land and are currently waiting to get our first round of drawings back from our architects.


Our lot is kind of tricky, it’s got a steep drop from the sidewalk (about 6′) and then a small, gradual downward slope towards the back. It would make the most sense to build up to street level and have an elevated deck out back, but the #1 most important, gotta-have-it-or-bust, aspect is a walkout backyard. We won’t budge on that. From the very beginning, before Serenbe even entered our consciousness, we had a specific vision of the line between indoor and outdoor living being blurred, and flowing in and out of doors effortlessly, being closer to nature, and literally, the earth. That whole swinging the doors open to let Charlie play out back while still being able to see him from inside thing.  It’s a non-negotiable. So, our architects (a husband and wife team that live in Serenbe and design a huge number of homes there) are waiting to get the topography report back before they can really start drawing real plans.


But what we’ve discussed, and I really like, is the idea of stairs descending from the sidewalk to a front door on ground level; opening the front door to a foyer, then stepping down one or two steps to the kitchen, and stepping down again one or two steps to the living room. Bedrooms upstairs, except for maybe one guest bedroom on the main level, along with a den or media room where the TV will live because we don’t want a TV in our main living space.  I can see it all so clearly in my mind, I wish I had even a tiny bit of drawing skills so I could share more than a confusing description. Ha.

I thought I might share some of my favorite inspiration pictures right now that are helping me land on the direction of the design and what we want the space to look and feel like. I’ve never built a house before, but it’s always been a dream of mine. No pressure right? ;)

This was one of the photos I showed our architects for what we want the style of the exterior to be – modern, Scandinavian, farmhouse.  Clean lines, minimal, crisp white with black metal roof.  It’s by architect Hugh Newell Jacobsen, and I have found his work to be a treasure trove of inspiration.  This home is a single story I believe, so it won’t translate exactly to what will work for us, but it just serves as inspiration for the overall look.


This photo, by Mindy Gayer Design, encompasses everything I want our home to look and feel like.  The vertical paneling, the bright white walls, the texture of the natural fibers, the lighter wood floors ( I actually would go even lighter than this), the simple, quiet art, and of course the hint of a kid friendly space by the mini table and chairs – even the black hardware on the doors speaks to what I’ve wanted.  This single photo could serve as inspiration for our entire home.

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These two kitchens have been on my mind a lot.  I love the warmth of wood cabinets that still manage to feel modern and unfussy.  I love the concrete counters of the top image, buuuuut I also love a clean white countertop. I know Cambria makes a concrete-looking quartz, and we are definitely going with quartz, so it’s totally an option. And the hood design in both of these is key – a simple drywalled box around the exhaust is all my heart could want in a vent fan.  So clean, so sparse; it’s perfect.  And the white, solid surface backspash is not what I thought I would always want because there is so much gorgeous tile out there right now…but my eyes love the whitespace; the clean simplicity of it. No lines competing for visual space; the eye just rests so effortlessly.  I could write a whole big post on just the direction of the kitchen. Maybe I will.


Not a dining room, not a dining table in a wide open space between kitchen and living room, but a dining nook.  A bumped out wall with windows all around and built in storage bench defines the space yet it remains open to the rest of the flow.  And of course, more vertical white planks.  Shiplap, as Joana Gaines would call it, but I don’t think it’s actually, technically shiplap. And I love these chairs, like, so much. Swoon.




A combination of these two fireplaces – simple white plaster with built in firewood storage (to store only kiln dried, bug free wood – don’t worry) and a simple, minimal mantle.

Overall, when I close my eyes and imagine our new home, I see white walls, tons of natural light, warm wood accents, natural fiber rugs and baskets, and big, healthy green plants.  We will see how this idea evolves over the next year that we’ll be in this process.  We have all white walls now and I love them, so I’m not worried about replicating the look in our new home, but I do wonder how closely I’ll be able to reign myself in when I love all sorts of pretty things.  :)


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