House Story

We prefer a home with character, rather than the typical modern suburban home.  We like details seen in homes from the 1920s, such as thick, but simple, molding, hexagon floor tiles, and inset cabinet doors.  Most of our peers prefer the normal current construction style, and probably don't understand why we like to be different!

Our last house was a spec home and we were the first owners.  Everything was fresh and new.  But it wasn't us.  From the vinyl floors and the traditional cherry cabinets in the kitchen, to the standard trim and doors, to the spa tub that we never used, we just didn't feel at home.  But since there was technically nothing wrong with the house, it didn't make sense to invest money in renovations.

Once we decided it was time to move, we looked at several houses for sale but just couldn't find anything in the area of town we wanted to live that had the character we longed for.  But we did find a spacious fully-wooded lot in a great location, and decided to buy it and build a house to our own specifications.

The babbling brook on our lot


We hired an architect to design a house that had an English cottage flair.  The floor plans were fairly simple, but the house was large in square footage and ended up being too expensive for us to build.  Soon after that, we fell in love with the 2006 Cottage Living Idea House, which was a Craftsman bungalow style.

2006 Cottage Living Idea House

It had a little less square footage than our first design, but the design was so incredibly detailed that it was waaaaaaay over budget.  I was crushed.  By that time, we were sold on the Craftsman style, but we needed to find something that had reasonable square footage plus the right amount of detail and character without going overboard (and over budget).  I spent hours upon hours scouring online house plans, and even drawing up many of my own.  We have a fairly large lot, but the buildable portion was narrow (because of a dropoff toward the creek), which limited our floor plans because it could only be about two rooms wide plus the garage.  We finally found a house plan called the Highland Cottage that had the basic style and dimensions that we were looking for.

Highland Cottage
We worked with an architect to use the general  house dimensions but lay out the floor plan to meet our needs and wants.  We were nervous to have our builder estimate a third set of plans, but were pleased when we found out we had finally had a design that we could afford!


The Mr. and I enjoyed the construction process and even created a blog called "New Old Craftsman" to track the process.  If construction details are your thing, check it out here.  Luckily I was only working part-time during construction, so I had time to go out to the site on a regular basis. 

Literally every single surface of the house, both interior and exterior, was chosen custom by us (mostly me).  If you've never built a fully custom home, you would never know all the minute details that have to be chosen by somebody -- down to the location of every light switch and what each switch operates.  Because we were building a home with features of Craftsman houses from the 1920s, we had unique decisions to make that most homeowners would not have to fiddle with, like rafter tails and porch columns on the outside and medicine cabinets on the inside.

I spent many hours poring over internet photos, books about Craftsman design, and driving around town to the older neighborhoods that had houses of the same style, trying to narrow down every decision.  It was tiring and frustrating at times, but totally worth it.  At many points in the process, I wished I had a designer to help me, because I have a hard time making decisions, but somehow I muddled through.  And we're totally stoked about the finished product!

Front view including garage

View of the front of our house

Front door and porch view

Porch columns and railing

The handmade doorbell I purchased at a local art fair from an artisan


The mailbox, which was crafted to match the front porch columns.
I found the handmade number tiles at a local art fair.

As Nate Berkus would say, we are very "house proud."



12 comments:

  1. This is exactly the kind of home we want! We're also exactly the same way about our homes, always buying older homes and we love them! Glad I found your blog!

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    1. We also fell in love with the 2006 idea house and purchased the plans only to learn that the construction cost was beyond our budget. We ended up hiring a talented designer that was able to rework structural costs while leaving the interior and exterior detail in place and now the construction cost is much much less. What a wild ride!
      I love your house!

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    2. Jim - Do you have photos? I would love to see what it looks like! You can email me at imbusyprocrastinating(at)gmail.com.

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  2. Your home looks amazing. And it has tons of character.

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  3. I just stumbled on your blog by searching 2006 Cottage Living Idea House. I was happy to see that you still found a Craftsman style house that met your needs and budget. There's nothing like that style. We were actually crazy enough to build the idea house, but the budget sure was a killer. We are DIYers...so we are actually living in the house with no trim and an unfinished staircase, etc. I love the photos you've posted so far...your kitchen is just beautiful. I'll be watching for updates!!

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  4. You are quite the woman to have went through all of that. I don't think I could have ever done all of that on my own. So, Congrats to you!!! You should be very proud of your house.....it is gorgeous!!! Penny

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  5. love this home. we just brought a home too that was bulit in 1970. love it

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  6. I went to look at your floor plan and it won't let me view. Your home is beautiful.

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    1. Thanks for the compliment! I didn't post all the floor plans -- just a jpg of the exterior elevations. Were you thinking if you clicked on that photo, you could scroll through them all?

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    2. Ah, I just realized you must be talking about the floor plans link on our New Old Craftsman blog. Sorry about that! My husband set that one up and I don't know why the link isn't working. I'll have to look into it, and will have to check around to figure out where we have those electronic files saved!

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    3. Thanks so much! We are looking to build again and I am loving the bungalows! :) Would love to see this floor plan.

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  7. It's so gorgeous -- and your lot is stunning! You've got your own oasis out there!

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