Let’s Take It Outside

There are a few outdoor showhouse spaces that we haven’t shown at all in this entire yearlong process. Each of the seven showhouses were encouraged to include some fun outdoor spaces as well as indoor ones, so aside from the stuff you can see from the curb, there’s also a back porch and a back patio complete with a stone fireplace. The cool thing about these outdoor spaces is that they’re the places that we got to put our heads together with the builder and the architect the most – and they ended up being some of our favorites.

The craziest thing is that our house won 1st place (i.e. the “Gold Award”) for both Curb Appeal and Outdoor Living. With this being our first time doing a showhouse, we honestly weren’t sure we’d win anything at all, so getting those two along with the silver for Creative Home surprised and thrilled us to say the least.

We’ve talked a lot about the front porch already, since it has been one of the defining features of our home. Namely the exposed wood (stained with Sikkens in their “Cedar” color) paired with the navy siding (which is Newburg Green by Benjamin Moore) and the crisp white trim (which is Steam by Ben Moore). But it’s looking even more polished now that the landscaper worked his magic, and we got our big limestone pathway laid. In addition to the aggregate driveway and front pathway, we wanted to create some charming access from the street, so after sharing a few inspiration photos with the landscaper and the builder, they cut big 2 x 4′ slabs from the same material as the porch’s stone column caps, and laid the sod around them.

One interesting tidbit about the landscaping was that John the Builder and Chris the Landscaper had to submit their plans to the developer of this community, who actually nixed a bunch of larger plantings (we love more mature looking bushes and trees, but I guess for the show they wanted everything to have more of an open look).

The front porch is nice and spacious, with a large 14 x 11′ area to the left of the door, which is where we created the main seating area with a sofa, ottoman, chair, and a few side tables (some of those aren’t pictured in the shot below but if you look at the picture above you can get a better idea).

The other side is around 11 x 12′, which means there was room for a porch swing, a swivel chair, and another red side table (that’s hidden behind the chair in the photo below).

Most of the outdoor furniture is the Wyatt collection from Arhaus, including the sofa, the ottoman, and the swivel chair on the other side, which they kindly donated for the show (we’re sending them back afterwards). They’re all super comfortable, and the best part is that Arhaus agreed to give away an identical set of outdoor furniture to one of you for this week’s giveaway.

Most of the smaller accessories were stuff that we bought at Lowe’s (like the red metal garden stools and the medallion pillows) or Target (like the bolsters). They brought in some nice color, while the dark 12 x 24″ porcelain tiles that were donated by The Tile Shop grounded the porch.

The sun prevented me from getting good pictures of the other chair on that side, so forgive this photo from an earlier day (note the lack of sod next door). It’s a swiveling egg chair and side table from Green Front Furniture. Since Sherry is genetically one-quarter egg chair, she had to have it.

Here’s another shot from that same day, which is the best one I seem to have of the light fixture we bought from Restoration Hardware. The angles of the light are nice with the peaked wood ceiling, and the fans are from Hunter (they’re the same ones we installed in our own sunroom).

The porch swing on the other side was a purchase from, but we had to spray paint the gold chain black to make it blend better with the rest of the porch. I won’t admit to how many times we took breaks just to swing out here. Clara was that bench’s biggest fan.

The chair nearby is part of the same Arhaus collection, and it swiveled like the egg chair on the other side of the porch, which made the arrangement feel more flexible (someone sitting there could swivel towards the porch swing or towards the seating area on the other side).

The rest of the porch was filled out with random potted ferns (we bought the pots & ferns at Lowe’s), just to add some greenery.

We also had the carpenter build window boxes to liven up the trio of windows on the right side of the house (that’s actually the garage, but it has side access).

On the front porch we also went for dark bronze rain chains instead of traditional gutters, since we can probably all agree that downspouts aren’t the most charming architectural detail out there. These decorative chains help guide the water from the gutter down a drain to the ground and look pretty darn cute doing it.

If you walk around the side of the garage, we continued those limestone slabs so they lead to the patio area behind the house.

The stamped concrete patio is almost literally “hugged” by the outdoor fireplace. Most of the design credit for this area goes to the builder and his team. We gave input on the type of stone and a few details, but John and his guys built it seemingly overnight while we were tending to a few other spaces. Then we walked out back and said “yeah, we could get used to this.”

We kept the “styling” pretty light out here, since we were running out of time and wanted the focus to be on the fireplace anyway. There’s an outdoor dining area on the back porch (which we’ll get to in a minute), so we didn’t think another table made sense down here, so we landed on a casual seating arrangement. The woven outdoor lounge chairs, pillows, and planters are all things that we bought from Lowe’s.

Behind you as you face the fireplace are two staircases, one that leads up to the mudroom (which includes some closed, covered storage underneath it for yard equipment, etc) and the other that leads up to the back porch.

The back porch has the same exposed wood look on the ceiling as the front porch, but instead of tile this space has a Trex floor. The french doors lead into the living room/kitchen area, so this was a natural spot for an outdoor dining area.

The dining table and chairs were from Green Front Furniture, the indoor/outdoor rug is from Dash & Albert, and the runner & sodas are from World Market. All of the other styling accessories are HomeGoods (like the planter, the lantern on the table, etc).

So that concludes the outdoor tour. We’ve still got a few bedrooms, bathrooms, and miscellaneous spots like the laundry room and the mudroom to share along with a video walk-through of the whole house, so we hope to have all of that sourced and shared in the next week or two.

Psst- Homearama is almost over! All seven showhomes are available to tour for the last time this Thursday through Sunday. Tickets & more info is available here, and for more background on our involvement and how it benefits Habitat for Humanity, click here and here.



House Crashing: The Whole Show

For the last few weeks you guys have been requesting a House Crashing post with photos of the other six Homearama homes in the show, so we slipped through and snapped a bunch of pictures of each house, just like we did for this Homearama House Crash from 2012 (that’s your warning that this post is extremely image-heavy). Everyone who has attended the show so far seems to have different favorites, which is definitely part of the fun (there’s a “people’s choice” award that everyone who passes through can vote for, and each of the seven boxes have a ton of papers in them).

All of the houses in the show sit on a cul-de-sac and are numbered, so we’ll do the most logical thing and start with House #1, which was built and designed by LeGault Homes.

Perhaps the most luxuriously decorated home of the show, it has some of the coolest cabinetry we’ve seen in a while. Their kitchen included double islands – one with a standard sink, and one with a prep sink that could be used for housing ice/drinks at a party. Note the coordinating dark, mirrored cabinets through the doorway into the mudroom.

The living room also had a double-sided fireplace with a seating area behind it.

Upstairs there were sliding barn doors that fooled me into thinking they had lots of metal trim (only when I touched them did I realize that gray “steel” is just painted wood).

Here’s the master bedroom, which had awesome light streaming in – along with a lot of upscale, light colored furnishings.

One frequent trend that we saw in other houses was a master closet that was accessed by walking through the master bathroom – and this home boasted one of the most upgraded ones we’ve seen. In addition to being spacious and full of nice cabinetry, it even had its own drink station / coffee bar complete with a mini fridge.

Speaking of beverages, this is the only home in the show with a basement – and they used some of that space to create a wine cellar. The stacked shelving on the far end is made from pallets and provides even more bottle storage.

Now let’s skip over House #2 (that’s ours) and go straight to #3, which is built by Southern Traditions and designed by Elaine Reeder. They’ve got a really pretty stone accented exterior (with some tin awnings along with a few white rain chains) that we’ve been admiring from afar for a while, so it was nice to finally get to peek inside.

This house has a lot of interesting mixes of materials, like in this little passage between the foyer and the living room that combines a rustic wood ceiling with a stone wall water feature.

The main area of the home is nice and open, with a two story living room that carries the rustic wood look into the coffered ceiling above.

They also went bold in the half bathroom downstairs with this graphic bird wallpaper over the wainscoting. There’s even a little local touch with the Richmond RVA hand towel.

And the master bathroom included something we’d never seen before: a sunken tub.

Upstairs they turned the playroom into a sleepover room with two pairs of built-in bunkbeds. The builder’s carpenter built them from scratch (including the hidden drawers in the steps) and they certainly got our wheels turning more than your ordinary bonus room does.

House #4 is built and designed by Ray A. Williams Custom Homes, and it brought some nice dark exterior trim to the show (which is something we’ve admired on a few homes in our own neighborhood).

Their kitchen was one of those where you flip the lights on and it’s like the clouds part for a moment and you hear a chorus of angels singing. And of course Sherry was loving the silver monkeys on the far right.

There were also great details like the metal straps on the hood and the mesh on some of the glass cabinet doors.

This home probably had the most modern bathroom of them all, complete with small mosaic accent tile and sleek glass shower doors.

One of the architectural themes of this house were the decorative ceilings throughout, like this paneled one in one of the bedrooms.

Next door is House #5, which is built by Harring Construction and designed by Diana Ragsdale. She decorated one of our favorites from last year – and we love the look she pulled off this year too.

One of the highlights was the master suite, which had this awesome vaulted ceiling and stunning gold chandelier.

The gold details continued into the master bath fixtures as well. How awesome is a bathroom that can fit such a giant wooden wardrobe?

The mudroom had great built-ins too, with a nice rustic touch by using old grain sacks as the bench fabric and reclaimed wood across the back.

That reclaimed wood, which was found at Diana’s friend’s North Carolina barn, continued upstairs where it accented the back wall of a desk area that was carved out of an otherwise empty hallway space (as well as on the back of that built-in bookcase).

Speaking of bookshelves, in the nearby boys room there’s one that acts as a secret doorway…

… which leads to a tucked away TV/video game room. My 16-year-old self would’ve flipped for something like this. Although I probably would’ve just practiced my marching band music in there. #nerd

Next door is House #6, which was built by Falcone Custom Homes and designed by Catherine Stanley. It’s one of the largest in the show and it boasts some of the grandest features (it’s known as “the one with the pool” to almost everyone who worked on Homearama).

The kitchen sports a separate fridge and freezer and a 100-bottle wine rack, not to mention a pretty expansive ceiling beam detail.

And the master bathroom is unlike anything we’ve ever seen. The bath/shower area alone is 600 square feet and has an infinity tub, rain showerhead, and body spray jets all around. I had to snap one of my infamous “John for scale” shots just to illustrate how big it really was.

And here’s the pool, which we shared briefly during construction. The outdoor area has lots of other fun features like this combo water/fire feature in the foreground (I couldn’t figure out how to turn the fire on, so you’ll have to use your imagination).

Rounding out the cul-de-sac is House #7, built by LifeStyle Builders and designed by Priscilla George. We spotted a few similar choices between this one and ours – like both choosing a blue exterior paint color – even though ours was deeper and theirs was lighter and mixed with more stone and dark trim along the roofline.

This home also sports a navy kitchen island, but the leg details and glass fronted end cabinet add a nice twist. They also went for some accent tile over the stove and a stainless range hood with chrome lights over the island.

And they also did a built-in banquette, although it was L-shaped and had chairs on the other two sides. We especially loved the cheerful teal backs of the bookshelves.

In the master bathroom, they also had a dual shower area – but they created two distinct zones (one side featured a tradition and rain-shower head, while the other had a bench and handheld shower).

Upstairs they went bold in a bonus room by going all black with the trim and built-ins, which would make for some cozy TV watching for sure.

And each of the bedrooms had an interesting theme/style. I was especially drawn to this one with the cool old flag against the grasscloth wallpaper. I think I may be developing a thing for flags, much like my existing map and bike tendencies…

So 30+ pictures later, I’ll wrap this up. There’s plenty more to see in person if you can make it out, but at least you’ve hopefully gotten a flavor for the other homes. And while I’m sure there are plenty of source questions out there (“what’s this paint color?” “where’d that furniture come from?”) we sadly don’t know a lot off the top of our heads and most of the Homearama crew is occupied this weekend with the show itself. So feel free to ask away, but please be patient if the answers don’t come right away (we’re hoping Justin drops in with info within a few days for you).

Psst- Homearama is now open! All seven showhomes are available to tour every Thursday – Sunday this weekend and next. Tickets & more info is available here. And for more background on our involvement and how it benefits Habitat for Humanity, click here and here.