Mood Board Monday: Main Bathroom

“Cozy, comforting, connected”. That’s how I envision my dream bathroom. We have lived in our share of homes and visited our share of bathrooms, and the ones I fall in love with are the ones where I feel like I can truly breathe and relax ( of course also the ones with a large soaking tub). Personally, I don’t like a ton of bright whites or cold marble tones, not in my bathroom. I understand the draw to white bathrooms, I really do. They can feel clean and happy. But for me, I need my bathroom to be a true reflection of nature, with wood tones, warm stone, and earthy elements; so if that is you too, welcome.

I am inspired by dramatic metals paired with wood graining. Something about a sauna enclosed with wood makes my heart happy, and I wanted to incorporate that feeling into our home.

Our bathroom is composed of several “sections”: vanities, wet room, and toilet closet (in addition to my personal vanity that is not included in these design boards). There are several directions this space could head, depending on how the room feels once we have reached that stage in construction.

But for now, let us explore the possibilities, together.

As always, you can see more updates on my Instagram: @theroostingplace

Vanity

I was hesitant about the window between the vanities at first, but it has grown on me as this will allow for natural light to filter in through our shade, reducing the need to turn on the overhead lighting. I love how wood planking and beams will draw the eye upwards and give a natural feel to the space. It then comes down to design elements.

I am breaking up these designs into Option 1: light flooring, and Option 2: dark flooring. I am attracted to both ideas, but it will ultimately depend on the space.

Option 1: Light Flooring

Option 2: Dark Flooring

As you can see, each option can be turned in different directions, all being beautiful in their own unique way.

Wet Room

“A wet room is a fully water-tight bathroom with no separate shower tray. The “walk-in” shower area is usually level with the surrounding floor but with a slight slope to the drain which is fitted directly into the floor…a wet room typically contains a shower and a tub.”

Our wetroom will be equipped with a steam shower, two shower heads, and a soaking bathtub. The back wall behind the tub will be an antique tile and accented by a chandelier (most likely a candle holder to avoid any electricity risks of a steam room, and honestly the idea of a candle-lit soak makes me giddy).

The design of this space also depends on our flooring choice, as we will incorporate the same tile into the wetroom.

I personally love both looks alongside the brass details.

Toilet Closet

Just your average toilet closet, but make it fancy. I’ve included boards that showcase both flooring options.

I am extremely excited to work on bringing this relaxing space to life, and can only hope that this is a space of true relaxation for decades to come.

What’s your favorite: dark or light flooring?

Talk soon and God Bless.

xx, Lanna

p.s. (If you see something you like and would like more information on any items/elements in these boards, you can purchase my link sheets below:

These link sheets are complete with active links to all elements and design suggestions in the images above for you to peruse and buy at your own pace! Happy Shopping!


Mood Board Monday: Main Bedroom Edition

When it comes to design, I am a visual person. I thrive off of being physically in a space, taking in the potential based on how the room –feels– and where it wants to head. I know, that may sound crazy-it’s just a room, right? Well, I see it differently, your home is so much more than just a collection of rooms. It’s a feeling.

To see more of our home as it comes to like, follow along on my Instagram: @theroostingplace

Of course, life does not always allow us to physically be in the space we are creating. Prime example: our new home build. Because of delays and shortages, I am needing to design and choose elements for our home way before we even step foot on a solid foundation. This is where my love for the internet and its resources comes in. While I’ve utilized Canva for virtually designing client spaces, I didn’t really understand its potential for my own home designs until recently. I kept thinking I needed a physical space. But on the contrary, by creating design boards for each space in our home, I am more excited than ever to bring the visions to life.

That being said, I am excited to embark on the new endeavor of sharing my design boards for each space in our new build with you all! Our home is being furnished completely from scratch, give or take a few pieces that will be moved out of storage. You see, in our last home, I was still learning how to create my own style, and then how to meld a style into the space we were in. We also had a ton of hand-me-down items that I didn’t personally choose (which was great given it was our first home).

Several of the furniture pieces are now in the Little House, and will stay here when we move out. So now we get to start completely over!

Main Bedroom:

Mood: Cozy contemporary with vintage feeling pieces, texture, and warm tones to combat beautiful modern build features. I want my bedroom to make me feel cozy and safe, surrounded by soft texture, pretty light, and natural comfort. We will be implementing several of these elements throughout our entire home, but most importantly the bedroom.

Back to design boards: the possibilities are endless, and taking screenshots and compiling all the goods in one place really helps bring the vision of a space to life-all without having to commit to a piece to see how it all will look together! I never consider these concrete, more fluid suggestions to spark creativity and help set realistic cost expectations.

To purchase a downloadable link sheet with all the items displayed above: please click below:

Another reason we are starting over is the size of our new house. We don’t call it Big House lightly-its huge. And none of our old furniture would “fit”. So we sold most of it and are starting fresh! This is super fun, and a little nerve-wracking sheerly because of what things cost-but that is why we budget, plan, and buy throughout the months leading up to move-in day! I’m super excited to be able to share this sneak-peak into our home with you all, and to be able to share links to some crazy cool finds!

I also virtually design for you! If you are interested in a virtual styling consultation, please reach out here or send me a DM on my Instagram: @theroostingplace. This process is super fun and convenient for those who want to start transforming your home but don’t know where to start-on your own time and budget. I will create boards like above for you based on your style, and send link sheets for you to order off of at your pace! Those I’ve worked with so far have loved the flexibility of this kind of option, and I look forward to chatting with you about your dream home.

Talk soon,

Lanna


I Painted My White Windows Black!

When we renovated this little house, I knew I wanted black windows. However, when we were ordering our windows, black ones were back-ordered by several months, so we installed the white windows and put it on my “list” to paint them black later. It has been over a year since we moved into this little home, and I finally made the time to paint my windows black using Rustoleum Semi-Gloss Black Enamel Spray paint and Scotch 33+ Pro Electrical Tape for the grids.

I am in love and cannot believe it took me this long to make this change. The black windows now burst off the walls and beautifully frame out the views of the outdoors. My heart sings when I look at them. I highly recommend this simple, and quick DIY if you are wanting a change.

Tips and Tricks:

  • Taping/tarping off will take more time than the actual painting does, but it is so important. I highly recommend using Frog Tape Multisurface painter’s tape to get the best edges. In my opinion, it is worth the extra couple of dollars per roll to have a crisp edge.
  • Clean your windows well with a de-greasing cleaner. I did not fully clean my windows and the paint did not stick as smoothly in some areas. It is not noticeable from far away, but it is “bumpy” in some spots.
  • If you do not want to see any original white window mullions (mine are in-between the glass) double your tape lines (make the mullions appear thicker).
  • Fully allow your windows to dry, then open them to spray the lip that is covered when closed to get full coverage. While this hack is amazing, you will not be able to get into every nook and cranny-If you want completely black windows, I’d budget to buy new ones.

Electrical tape is water and heat-proof: this trick will hold up over time and you can also use this on exterior sides of windows, which I plan on doing at a later time and will give more details once I do.

Spray Paint: Rustoleum Semi-Gloss Black Enamel

Electrical Tape: Scotch 33+

Curtain Rod Rings

Pleating Hooks

Curtains: Ikea Ritva

Hemming Tape: I will be the first to admit do not have sewing skills, so instead I use hemming tape to shorten all my curtains to float above the ground. I also cannot believe it took me a year to finally get my excess curtain material off the floor!

Kitchen Cabinet Color: Herb Bouquet By Benjamin Moore

Talk Soon.

xx, Lanna


Big House Inspiration Boards: Exterior

It is time to finally talk about the design elements of “Big House” and what inspired our choices. I am going to try to give some credit where credit is due, but I cannot always find the sources of inspiration, and to those to whom these photos belong, I apologize.

To find more updates regarding our home build, find me on Instagram: @theroostingplace

You can also find more inspiration on my Pinterest Boards

The exterior of a home is the first impression. This is the first space the eye sees when entering a home for the first time, and I wanted to be left in awe every time I drove up to our home. I love crisp lines of modern black windows and sleek white exterior tones. I love the warmth old world stone and how that earthy material connects us to the past while we create our future. This mixture of metal and stone could not be complete without wood elements, so naturally, we are incorporating lovely wooden headers and beams.

I hope to reflect the feeling of warmth and comfort when guests enter our home, and I hope that for now, that feeling radiates to you as well through the photos that inspired us.

Mock-Ups: by Harper Design Projects


We Received Permits!

After ten months of back and forth with the city, we finally received our permits to build the big house! And now that we are off the crazy rollercoaster, I can finally take time and unpack what exactly was happening during the last 10 months.

The past months have been so emotionally and mentally draining-I would be lying if I said it was easy. I won’t be saying what city we live in for security purposes, but our experience with the planning and development department was extremely frustrating. Below, I want to outline a rough timeline of our permit process, so that anyone reading this can be aware of our permitting journey, and can mentally prepare if they are considering building within city limits.

I will disclaim: our property is a rare find (5 acres with a pond inside the city limits of DFW), so since there are not a lot of properties that are like ours, there were several bumps with everyone figuring out the best way to navigate our situation, some we foresaw, others being complete curveballs due to lack of communication on the city’s (and hired professional’s) part.

You can follow along with the journey on Instagram: @theroostingplace

Because this is a recount of events over the last 10 months, I cannot even begin to replicate the rollercoaster of emotions that were felt. There was anger, there was a glimmer of hope at progress, then heartbreak when we had to yet again add/change something else. I had lost the ability to be excited when we heard good news, becasue I felt like there was something bad that would follow. It seemed that every one of Harley and I’s phone converstations started with “do you want the good news or bad news first?”.

But we made it.

December 2020- First contact with the City Planning Department

We first contacted the city planning department in regard to requirements for permits. We were informed that because the proposed site location for the house was more than 600 feet from the main road/existing public fire hydrant, we were required to install a private fire hydrant on our property. In this correspondence, we were told we needed a pre-approved utility contractor to execute a 3-way contract and provide construction plans prior to permit release.

Okie no problem-o.

What we didn’t receive was a list of required documents to submit, so we started gathering all the obvious: architect sets and floor plans, window schedules, engineered foundation…etc.

January 2021- “Proper Procedure”

We were attempting to go through “proper procedure” to locate previously approved fire hydrant permits that the previous owners had applied for. This pretty much meant filling out forms and jumping those hoops for “public knowledge” documents that are in the city archives. We were hoping by using the same previously approved plans that would speed up our process. Newsflash to us, we don’t get access to those documents. *eye roll and one month wasted by going in circles*

Throughout this time we were also getting estimates from our sub-contractors to put together a budget to turn into our lender for funding. No official submissions just yet.

February 2021- “It’s on the website”

After reaching out to the city for a list of required documents (again), we were told all the information we needed was “on the website” in regards to what needed to be submitted. So we look online and try to compile all the paperwork and sets that we could find was required online. This included our architect plans and engineered basement plans, along with a couple other documents. The website was pretty vague on what to submit, as we could not find a specific list. But we did our best here.

During this time we started experiencing problems securing our loan due to changes implemented during COVID-19. So we were tracking down documents to secure that process. (Building loan into a traditional mortgage once building is complete).

March 2021- “I gave you a list!”

We submit our first rounds of permit sets through an online portal mid March and paid the first rounds of fees (half of the total) that were required to get the permit process started ($3,261.62)

Our loan was approved-we had funding!

We were informed we had submitted incorrectly and with inadequate paperwork/plans. They would not even begin to review anything until we completed the “Residential Submittal Requirements” that was attached in an email but should have been accessed online prior to submittal…this document was not found on the website. This was the first time we received a checklist for the process. So we began completing that paperwork/ contacting subcontractors who could provide the missing pieces.

What was required to submit: Site plan (check), Floor plan (check), exterior elevations, door and window schedule (check), wall/wind bracing method, energy compliance, engineered fondation (check), water utility application, park/roadway impact fee paid, and an SWPPP.

We had a difficult time clarifying some missing pieces and getting correct links to paperwork the city required.

April 2021-Finding the right people

We were still trying to receive the paperwork required to resubmit. We had to hire an engineer to show wall/wind bracing, contact our lumber company for a set of framing plans, and contact an energy code inspector to fill out our energy code compliance, all of which takes time. We also learned after doing our own research that we only needed to fill out parts of certain paperwork because this is a residential build and under a certain square footage. (It would have saved time had the city planners told us this, but they didn’t.)

The frustrating part about permits is that you cannot control how fast people work, and there are usually more people/projects ahead of you that have to be addressed first; so despite us reaching out quickly, things take time. That’s pretty normal and is expected during things like this.

May 2021-Time ticks by

We submitted again the first of the month, and received our correction report within 4 days. I will commend them in saying our corrections came back within 5 business days each time, which was nice.

What wasn’t nice was that our first correction report was 7 pages long. Some comments were easily fixable, like a window accidentally being missed on the energy form, or that one set of plans was missing a seal stamp. We were also told that our basement needed an egress, so we submitted to our architect to revise the plans.

What we weren’t expecting was how many comments were involving our lack of fire hydrant plans-which we knew we didn’t submit yet, we were still tracking down a subcontractor to do all the paperwork. We became a little overwhelmed at the extent and even vague statements that were included. This was a whole other can of worms to dissect.

This was also when we contacted/hired a civil engineer to work on elevations, grading, and other issues addressed in our sets. We chose to go with the civil engineer that had worked with the previous owners for their project, because we assumed she was familiar with our property and would be able to expedite the process a little bit-we were very wrong. I try not to speak poorly of others, but as an honest review regarding her business methods: she was extremely unprofessional, rude, and unhelpful throughout the process….it seemed like she had just as big of a power trip as the city, and we hired her.

Hindsight is the best sight…but we signed a contract with her and got stuck…

She did get the job done in the end, and I’m sure she’s a loveley person deep down, but we did not work well together. I do not think she is used to working with people who have an idea how to read codes or do their own research regarding building when it comes to dropping major amounts of their budget…more on that later.

June 2021-Just move the house, dangit.

Civil engineer advised we move the house site back to avoid our flood drainage easement. Harley scheduled a meeting with her to discuss how much we needed to move the house-we really did not want to move it too much because the line-of-view would change by moving it back. We ended up agreeing (in email) to move it back to the advised location. Our civil then gets confused regarding our driveway design and hypothetical pool drawing on the architecht conceptual plans, so Harley calls her to clarify and tells her to move the house to her suggested location to be further from the flood plain.

Here’s where things get begin to get a little messy: She then proceeds to advise us on our fire coding, but because we read the codes we understood that because we were putting in a sprinkler system inside our home, we would not be required to build a fire lane. She was telling us that we would need sprinklers($10k), a fire lane (24′ wide of 6″ concrete) all the way from the main road back to our house (a 600′ driveway…imagine the $$$) AND install a fire hydrant ($45k job btw). We informed her that we read the codes differently…so she starts to fight with us…like a child throwing a fit, and just tells us repeatedly we are wrong and that we won’t be able to build without all three. This all could have gone more smoothly had she been willing to explain, or suggested a solution, but upon being questioned she immediately went into “defense” mode, and it was difficult to work with her from this moment forward. Oh-she did tell us to contact the fire marshall, but in a tone that was going to be a “I’ll let him tell you you’re wrong”…

She also sends us “new sets” but they did not have the revised house location. When we confronted her about it she tries to lie and say that Harley told her to keep it at the old location…when we have emails that clearly state otherwise. And her sets still show a full concrete fire lane even though we asked her to remove it. So we told her we did not want the concrete fire lane included because if that was “approved” then we were forced to add it-and we didn’t need one. At this time we also asked her to leave off fire hydrant plumbing because we had not confirmed the code requirements with the Fire Marshall yet.

In her response, in all red underlining, (this is a professionally licensed individual) I quote:

“I have a reputation for providing acceptable designs.  You are asking a lot to ask me to change my reputation.  I do not subscribe to the reputation of someone who tries to see “how much they can get away with.” I have invested so much time in your project that I will continue down this path with you for this submittal.  However, you are trying to get me to take short cuts that are not in your best interest.  At some point, you will decide the time is also of some value and the multiple reviews will start costing enough time that you will be willing to construct this as required.  However, we can both spend a little time at the beginning if you recognize what you are doing.”

Yes…we hired this lady…and she just told us we were cutting corners, all because we wanted to check the code requirements with someone who knew it. (Civil had even admitted to not fully understanding the codes.)

An added note: When she says she “spent so much time”…she went on vacation for two out of the three weeks that we had been in contact with her…

I set up a meeting with the Fire Marshall to clarify what was required for our property to be within code.

July 2021- Invite the Fire Marshall over for drinks!

We schedule our meeting with the Fire Marshall after the 4th of July. He had hands down been the most helpful city official for us during this process. During our meeting he tells us that because we are having a sprinkler system, we only need to add a fire hydrant within a 600′ radius of our house-no fire lane required. *Everyone breathes with me: this man just saved us $200k worth of concrete we didn’t have in our budget*. Harley now has his personal cell and you better bet he is invited to our housewarming party when this thing is all over.

We get written statements from the Fire Marshall stating what was discussed in our meeting and send to the civil engineer so that she can give us our sets for submittal. Get this: SHE STILL REFUSES TO SEND US A STAMPED, OFFICIAL SET and tells us “I don’t think it’s going to fly but try this”.

But we submit again with requested corrections. And get another correction report. Shocker… we work to correct any comments made…some of which were duplicated due to lack of official stamps…when we sent the report to the civil engineer, she made the comment that “we must have forgotten to include all the pages”. So clearly she doesn’t like to admit she’s in the wrong.

We are also trying to get our fire hydrant contract from our sub-contractor during this time.

August 2021- Fire hydrant from h***

We had to switch companies regarding our fire hydrant…we got ghosted. At this point, there were no more comments regarding our build, just a few left on the fire hydrant and the civil sets. Since we were still having issues with the civil sets anyways, we did ask the house to be moved back once more- I knew this was not going to be taken well by the civil, but she works for us and we were extremely nice about it. (She didn’t like it of course but complied).

Because our foundation crew had availability in their schedule, we ask our project manager at the city if there was a way we could get a partial permit to start digging the basement. The city then responds and states that they will not issue any permits until the fire hydrant is INSTALLED and functional…may I remind you this is not what was stated to us 6 months back. You bet your booty we called the Fire Marshall. He then called the city for us and told them that all he required was a working contract with a finish date and we could receive permits. THIS MAN IS AN ANGEL.

We submit our plans again with corrections. And receive comments regarding our civil sets…we inform our civil engineer to fix the issues.

September 2021-Oops, must have missed it.”

The civil engineer calls an engineer at the city who is making comments. She is then told that our cover sheet (which is our conceptual architect drawing) does not match the civil plan therefore the engineer WOULDN’T EVEN LOOK AT THE CIVIL SETS. Y’all. In 4 months this woman hadn’t even looked at our plans! But never told us all we needed to do was draw a big “X” on those sets and state that during our build we were using the civil sets…

So I draw a giant “X” on the conceptual drawings and resubmit…hoping that’s all. What else do they want?

Despite the small movement forward, we are still having issues getting a hold of city engineers regarding questions about our 3-party fire hydrant, which we are trying to submit. We were told that this was all we had left to receive permits…

Until the biggest curveball of all: on September 30th, we were told that our civil engineer was not “aware there was a basement” and the city “must have also missed it” because we couldn’t build our house as planned with the basement, due to a code that stated that areas in a special flood zone can’t have an elevation below a certain point. The issue with that statement: we aren’t building in a flood zone.

We set up a meeting with city engineers, our hired civil engineer (I wish she didn’t have to be there), building officials, the city project manager, and our basement expert to discuss this outrageous claim. Why hadn’t this been mentioned before? Why was it being mentioned at all, it doesn’t apply? There was no way the city engineers “missed” a basement design plan with multiple engineered documents…unless they haven’t been doing their job this whole time?

October 2021-Emotionally drained

This meeting was a crapshoot. We walked out feeling belittled and infuriated by engineers who assumed we had no idea what we were talking about, even though we are well versed in the city’s codes and the FEMA policies regarding flood plains. This engineer even had the audacity to throw his degree around…the room was split between the people who were haughty and power-struck, and those who realized there had been a huge mistake and the city was liable. Their excuse: “oh, the computer system must have not transferred our comments over”. It took me visibly having tears in my eyes (I tried so hard to hold them back but I was so angry they leaked out of me) for them to change their tone and realize we were coming from a place of confusion and absolute devastation.

In the end, we were left with nothing but brokenness. They told us they had to talk to some other department that oversaw the flood plain committee…sounds like they should have been in our meeting too. So we went into the weekend and waited.

One week later we received the email: “based on the grading plan, Floodplain Dept. can approve this layout…[as long as] a floodproof door is installed and approved in basement egress.”

PRAISE. THE. LORD.

We submit all the required fire hydrant contracts.

On October 18th, 2021 we recieved our permits.

Because this has been a recount of events over the last 10 months, I cannot even begin to replicate the rollercoaster of emotions that were felt. There was anger, then there was a glimmer of hope at progress, then heartbreak when we had to yet again add/change something else. I had lost the ability to be excited when we heard the good news because I felt like there was something bad that would follow. It seemed that every one of my and Harley’s phone conversations started with “do you want the good news or bad news first?”. But by the grace of God we made it. We get to build our home. I truly believe that God has big plans for us through this house because I can see His hand in every step of the way, guiding us through. He made us wait and now lumber prices are down. Crews are available to work. We are able to see the blessings in the waiting, and though this past year was tough, we are stronger in our faith and in our marriage because of it.

Talk soon.

xx, Lanna


Vanity Refresh

This post contains affiliate links.

Taking a break from our garden series to highlight one of my favorite little corners (currently) of our little home which sits in our guest bedroom with the Murphy Bed we built several months ago. This room screams functionality. We only have 2 bedrooms in this 750 sq ft temporary home of ours, so this second room has become a second closet, a place for storage, occasionally guests, and now a place I can go to get ready for the day.

I don’t know about you, but I am not particularly fond of getting ready in the mornings. I spend a lot of my days covered in sawdust, sweat, or dirt (most the time a combination of all three), so sometimes even brushing my hair out feels like a pointless task, let alone fixing it.

I’ve actually been meaning to turn the drab little corner of this spare room into a vanity for a couple of months now, but it wasn’t a priority because I kept telling myself “we’ll be in the big house soon, I won’t bother”. Plus we’ve been pouring our hearts into our garden projects, so it fell on the back burner. But when Frame It Easy came to me wanting to partner up on a project, I knew it was a sign that this corner didn’t need to wait any longer, and that it was time to create a space that I would enjoy sitting down in.

As always, you can get much quicker updates and reveals on my Instagram: @theroostingplace

Frame it Easy is exactly what it sounds like: custom framing made extremely easy! They have a great selection of frames to choose from as well as customizable mattes and glass finishes, and you can upload your art/photos directly on their site where they print out high-quality framed images shipped right to your door!

((P.S.) Head to www.frameiteasy.com/lanna for a 10% discount on all orders on your custom frames!)

This project was actually extremely simple, and took very little time or effort to facelift-but the results are stunning.

Here you can find links to the products I used in this space:

Zemple Desk

Paint: SW Insightful Rose

Sherwin Williams Insightful Rose

Ashford in Satin Black

Artwork purchased off etsy

Granby in Gold

Artwork Purchased off Etsy

Ashford in White

Personal photograph by Kate Elizabeth Photography

Desk

To paint the desk, I used Sherwin Williams Emerald paint after sanding with a light sandpaper. I am planning on adding a piece of glass over the top of the vanity desk, but if you are not going to do this and anticipate heavy use (or kids) I would prime with B-I-N Primer prior to painting for best results.

Gallery Wall

To hang my gallery wall, I use painters tape and “trace” the oultine of my frame, as well as add a piece to mark where the hanger sits. I then stick the “tape frame” on the wall and am able to move them around. The tape may fight you a little bit, so you can also use paper to trace out your frame sizes and play with placement on the wall.

Windows

Honestly, the windows make. this. space. glow. To tranform boring white windows, all you need is some black spray paint, and electrical tape. Clean your windows really well, then tape off all the glass and spray paint your windows. Once they have dried, use the electrical tape to make a paned grid, or to go over existing grids! It that easy. Electrical tape is black on both sides, so rest assured that these look great on the outside as well (if it is a front facing window, be sure to paint the frame of the exterior window as well. (You can also go over the white existing panes on the exterior since electrical tape is waterproof as well!)

And just like that, my drab little corner is like Cinderella ready to go to a ball. I can just hear the birds chirping now. I’ve got some additional tweaking and clean up to do still, but wow. What a transformation!

That’s all for me today! Talk soon.

xx, Lanna


Building Update: June 15, 2021

Even though I am a bit behind in disecting this on here, I want to always remain open and honest about our whole building process, and be able to shine a light on the “secrets” of building a custom home. If you would like to know more about the specs of our build, click here. If there isn’t a link yet, I’ll have it up soon! So here we go:

About two months ago, we were extremely excited to announce on our Instagram that we had submitted our building plans for permitting. This had been the second time we have submitted so we felt confident that we would be breaking ground very soon. .Unfortunately, this was not the case.

In case I haven’t mentioned it here before, we are within the city limits of Arlington, TX. We have learned that building codes are extremely strict, and I hate to say that we have hit red tape over and over again when dealing with the city. Problem one has been lack of communication from the city planners. I have a feeling that COVID has played a huge part in this problem, as I believe pre-pandemic you would schedule a in-person meeting with a city planner and disect your project requirements in person. Even though we have been in “contact” with the city since early November, we are constantly redirected to the website when asking direct and specific questions. . However, our inability to meet with anyone caused problems when we first submitted our plans in January, since the website was not specific about the submittal requirements for our specific lot.

It then took us 3 more months to gather all the required documents the city asked us to include in the permit application which I have listed below for those who are curious. While we had included a majority of the required documents, the missing ones had to be completed by several different parties, forcing us into a “hurry up and wait” game that continues to this day.

  • Site Plan
  • Floor Plan
  • Exterior Elevations
  • Door and Window Schedule
  • Wall/Wind Bracing Method
  • Energy Compliance
  • Engineered Fondation
  • Water Utilities Application
  • Park and Roadway Impact Fee
  • SWPPP

Fast forward to April 28th, and we were finally back in Permit Review. This time I thought we had checked all the boxes and crossed all our T’s. Our walls were engineered to withstand wind, our foundation and basement had been engineered perfectly, and we had all the other paperwork filled out. We combined all the files into one PDF file as requested, and submitted them into the online portal. We waited. For 5 days we checked back in routinely to watch the status of each requirement change from “pending” to “complete”. Until one day, everything stopped updating and we got an email from the lady who was coordinating our plan reviews.

She informed us our plans needed corrections. Seven pages of corrections…yes, you read that right…7 pages.

Some we saw coming, however originally we were told that we could apply for those portions later. Now they were telling us we needed everything upfront before they wou;d approve the project at all. So what was in these correction requirements?

  • Full extent of driveway shown and material indicated from public street
  • Missing an engineer stamp on our framing plans
  • Missing engineer letter for foundation plans (this was included…)
  • Energy Compliance review missed one back window specs
  • Manufacture information wanted on the polymer waterproofing for the basement
  • Need egress from the basement
  • Private fire hydrant plans needed and required to meet codes that include fire lane specifications OR sprinkler system plans
    • This actually was 3/7 pages outlining fire hydrant requirements and codes…I’m not going into all that…
  • Floorplan lay in a hypotheical easment that isn’t even approved offiically yet
  • Missing Grading Plan with drainage flow plan
  • Elevation certificate prior to inspection
  • Fire Marshall needs to approve fire hydrant plans
  • 3 way contract provided for said fire hydrant required at permit application date.

Okie. So, that is the gist of our 7 page correction report that the lovely city of Arlington threw in our laps. Many of these issues could have been avoided had we been informed correctly of the actual application document requirements, so honeslty reading through the comments was extremely frustrating. As far as that fire hyrdant issue….so the story is that since the house will lay more than 150′ from the main road, we are required to install a private fire hydrant OR install sprinklers in the house. We originally were going to intall a fire hydrant, but then realized that the city is going to require 4″ ,12-foot-wide concrete as a fire lane all the way back to the house. Thats easily 400′ to the other side of the pond, and that amount of concrete definetly is not in the budget.

So, where are we now? We have opted to install a concealed sprinkler system instead of a hydrant since we are under the impression that this option does not require the “fire lane” of a driveway. We have made all the changes and are only waiting for a civil engineer to get us our plans back with drainage and required elevations. Again, it is a hurry up and wait game. We are hoping to be able to resubmit soon and break ground before the summer is over.

I do want to point out that while the past couple of months have been annoying, there have been some disguised blessings through all this, one of the biggest ones being that we are thankful to not have started digging our basement with all the rain that Texas has had recently. I don’t even want to think about how long all the water would have taken to dry out.

That’s all for now, but I hope to have another update soon.

Talk soon,

xx, Lanna


From Shack to Home: Build Me Up, Buttercup Baby

Last I talked about our demo process of Little House- the first step to turning this shack into our temporary home until our “Big House” is built. It took us several months during the heat of Texas summer to flip this shack into what we know now, and are still doing work on it to make it feel like home. We aim to turn it into a guest house/AirBnB once we move into the Big House, so the aim of this whole process is to make it homey for now, and for later.

You can find all our current projects on my Instagram: @theroostingplace

If you haven’t read my previous demo post, check it out here!

Little House Gets New Walls

Where we left off: we removed the front half of the house! Once we demo’d the front half, it was time for a group of framers to come in and reframe the front and add a new roof. This was another one of those moments where we knew that it was time to call in the pros-there are certain jobs I just don’t trust ourselves to complete and the roof seems pretty important. It was also July and extremely hot, no thank you.

Because our goal was to sell our old house in Houston and be able to move into this house by September, we also chose to hire out placement of the exterior siding and the roofing so the job could get done quickly and correctly. We probably could have done these, but as I mentioned earlier it was July turning into August in Texas, and I chose a black standing seam metal roof for the house….those poor men did an excellent job (I did tell them I was sorry for my color choice and the timing, but love how it looks so their hard work was worth it!) We chose to paint the exterior Alabaster by Sherwin Williams, which in the evening will pull yellow-you have been warned!

Now this little building is looking more like a house! Next we move onto interior. Harley and his dad ran all the A/C ductwork, as well as the electrical. We used the existing electrical box and A/C unit, just replaced/reconfigured wiring and ducting.

Blessing the House

Once all our interior walls were built, before we installed insulation and sheetrock went in, I asked our friends and family to send us a Bible verse or quote that was special to them. We then wrote all these on the studs throughout our home, and prayed over the house. This was a very special moment to us both, as we plan to spend the rest of our lives on this property, and wanted to ask a blessing over all who entered these doors. I plan to repeat this event with family and friends in attendance once the Big House framing is complete. I have a digital guide in the works that will be available for purchase that will provide an extensive list of verses we used, organized room by room! It will be coming soon!

Let’s Add Some Flesh to Those Bones!

We were then ready to insulate and sheetrock (yep, hired out the sheetrock because it’s heavy and we were pressed for time).

Once sheet rock was in and textured (I originally did not want texture, and will not be using any in the Big House), we could officially paint, and install floor. Tip: to make it easier to choose a paint color, paint your samples on foam boards! This way you can move them from wall to wall or room to room to compare lighting ! Colors look different in different lighting so be sure to place your testers in all areas at different times of day to best gauge your preference. We also set up a paint tent outside which we used to spray our baseboards, which made it much easier than having to paint them post install.

The interior paint color I chose for walls, trim, and ceiling is Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore, but we color matched at Sherwin Willaims using their Duration paint line in a matte finish. (Many people prefer satin in order too easily clean, but I haven’t found a major issue cleaning my matte finished walls).

For me, this is the perfect shade of white for interiors. I don’t find that it pulls too yellow or too blue, and looks beautiful with our black contrasting doors.

That’s where I will end for now. Next, we will talk about intalling flooring, and outline the vision for our precious kitchen!

Talk soon,

xx, Lanna


From Shack to Home: Breaking Down to Build Up

Little House Demo

When we first bought this property only 4 buildings existed: 2 barns, a tool shed and a “shack”. The latter is our enduring name for what we now call Little House and home until our main build is done on the back half. This structure originally consisted of: a 750sq ft slab; a raised closet-sized “bathroom” (the ground caved in as you stepped into the “room” with a toilet and standing shower only); kitchen area with cabinets on cinderblocks and no placement for fridge or stovetop; a bedroom which barely fit a queen mattress, and an add-on enclosed porch with sagging retrofit air condition ducting. Complete with a magnetic-locking front door which only opened with a remote control.

The story behind this structure (as we only know from hear-say) is that the man who owned the property prior to the previous owners (this property has swapped hands about 4 times in the past 15 years) loved guns. Like a lot. And this building was used as his gun making hideaway-hence the heavy duty metal door…because metal doors fix everything and this building was clearly secure. But who knows what else this has been used for, it’s all pretty questionable at this point.

The building had some serious flooding issues because the laminate floor was covered in dirt and water stains, and you could see the watermarks covering the walls. The ceiling in the front half added on sloped down to about 6 ft tall, which matched the height of the “carport”. There was a smell that told us critters used the walls as their home. It just felt gross, and the 50 shades of brown didn’t help. The only plus is the massive windows that overlook our creek (those are staying).

So we decided it was best to start from scratch and gutted EVERYTHING. We took down all the interior walls, removed the current cabinets from their cinderblocks, took out light fixtures, and evacuated the bathroom plumbing in order to create a fresh, clean slate. We then hired plumbers to correctly install our plumbing into the concrete slab. (A valuable insight to have when DIYing: know when to call in the experts!)

Once the interior was gutted, it was time to build our new walls. Below you can see the original floorplan compared to the final designs. We removed the original interior walls and replaced them with new interior walls to create the new bathroom, two bedrooms, a laundry closet, and 2 storage closets.

In order to build the new interior walls, the ceiling had to be raised via car jacks because the ceiling rafters had begun to cave inwards. (I thought the whole house was going to collapse when my husband and father in law were doing this!) Then the three of us built up the new walls that would frame the bathroom.

Once the new interior walls were built and supporting the roof, we were able to demolish the front half of the house so that new exterior walls could be put up by our framers. These new walls would make the ceiling a consistent 8ft throughout the whole house.

Now that all the major demo is complete, we can now start the rebuilding process. Check back to see more!

Talk soon,

xx, Lanna


Pool Talk: Our Pool Design Decisions

When we last talked about pools, we were talking about the basic design factors to take into consideration when designing a pool. The previous blog touched on basic pool sizes and costs, and listed factors that can drive that cost up or down (size, depth, shape, features…etc). If you haven’t read that, you can find it here.

Today, I want to hone in on the specifics of our personal pool design choices. This is strictly our opinion on certain features and does not rule that our decisions are best. Remember, when building ANYTHING, it is always about what works for YOU. What someone else has may look great, but if what you are designing isn’t tailored to your taste, space, and budget, you will never truly love it.

I aim to update this post as our pool designs become a reality, but for the time being, I have included our pool renderings designed by Pullium Pools to help visualize the direction we are wanting to head.

Pool Basics

Shape: Geometrical

We chose a geometrical, rectangular shape of our pool for a couple of reasons: I. this matches our house style best and II. this shape fits our overall yard most ideally. To be honest, I have never really been drawn to curvy pools and we are designing a modern transitional farmhouse that has clean, sharp, lines; white exterior; wood accents; and a black roof. For us, a curvy, rock-edged pool did not match the vision. Designing a rectangle pool also was vital if we wanted a pool cover.

Size: 34′ long X 15′ wide

This size was determined after measuring out how the pool would fit into our yard space. We have a “jutted” patio and wanted the pool shape to flow naturally with the lines of the house.

Depth:

At the deepest points, the pool will be 7′ deep, and slope up to a 3′ large shallow end. Orignially, we wanted to include a deep “diving” end and a large shallow “game play” area, but having both did not fit into our budget. After questioning and envisioning ourselves in the space, we decided that a “cannonball” zone was the best fit for our budget. As much as I would love to be able to have a diving pool, they are not cheap. This is because the total cost of a pool is calculated based on the perimeter. When adding in a diving end, there has to be a certain slope out of that diving end, so the deeper the pool, the longer the pool thus increasing the cost.

Becuase we chose to omit the diving area, we opened up our budget to enable us to include other features we considered a higher priority.

Spa/Hot tub:

  • Outside pool
  • 6″ raised square/rectangle
  • 8 person comfortable capacity

Don’t worry-yes, there is a spa/hot tub! This design actually ended up giving us more trouble than the depth dilemma.

Originally, I wanted a flush entrance to the spa (I didn’t want to climb on top of stones to get into my spa). So we tried several design locations inside the pool perimeter but ultimately decided to place the spa slightly raised (6″) to the outside of the spa. Why? Pool cover. I’ll talk a little more about this in a couple sections down but the pool cover RULED our design choices. If we had the spa inside the pool, we would have had to roll it back to get to the spa when it was covered. This also was a factor if our spa (placed to the side) was flush- the pool cover wouldn’t be able to seal off the pool correctly.

Another reason we opted to raise the hot tub (barely, 6″ people) was to avoid cold water spillover into the hot water area. (Our designer told us we could have just put our least favorite couple on that side, which made me LOL, but we tend to like majority of the people we invite over). To compromise the raised spa (which will have a spillover) with the pool being flush and able to be covered, we have to include a “stepping stone” area or something similar to give our water a place to go. (See reference pic).

Fun Stuff: Features

Tanning Ledge: YEP

This was one of my top priorities when it came to the pool design. If you haven’t heard of one, these are extremely shallow areas/ledges (less than a foot deep) that usually have “bubble” fountains. These are PERFECT for babies and dogs to splash around and play in, and I love the idea of having low tanning chairs and sitting in the water reading my favorite book under an umbrella. Our tanning ledge will cover the end of the short end of pool adjacent to the spa, 15 feet long. This is perfect to space 4 chairs easily in the water.

Grotto: NAH

We chose not to include a grotto. Personally, I consider them a little too loud and every single one I have been under has some form of bug as a primary inhabitant. They also tend to build up some ick and are hard to clean. For us, this wasn’t something we wanted.

Fire: YOU BET

While we don’t have exact locations for this yet, fire bowls/fire pits are a must for our entertaining space. We love the ambiance a fire gives off, and both had this at the top of our “wants” list.

Pool Cover: Automatic

Adding in a pool cover will eat away any budget, but an auto pool cover adds a considerable amount. As I mentioned before, having this feature kinda ruled our design choices. This was a priority for several reasons the top ones being: we have tons of trees around the house, and we are open to adopting or fostering in the future. When taking in a child in the system, agencies are extremely strict regarding pool safety. You either have a pool cover on at all times when not in use, or you put up a pool fence.

I don’t want the eyesore of a pool fence, and we did not want to have to deal with the hassle of taking the cover on and off ourselves/ paying to hire someone to do this so an automatic cover was our best choice. These are most managable price wise when they are installed in a rectangular pool, and like I mentioned before, installing stepping stones to make up for the height difference in the spa/pool.

Slide/Diving Board: NAH

We chose not to include either of these as built in options. For us, we don’t have a diving end, and slides are wonderful for children until they grow out of them. We will probably compensate for this later by buying an inflatable/temporary slide that can be set up and taken down when not in use.

Pool House: MAYBE

This was another last-minute addition to our plans that altered our budget, which is still under debate depending on how our loan plays out at the end. Our options are either to put the pool equipment behind the master bedroom, in a pool house, or make a faux wall of sorts to hide the equiptment. As of right now, we are leaning towards a cheap fencing of sorts to hide the equiptment, and build a pool house sometime in the future.

So yes, that is the majority of our pool choices as of this moment. I hope to add in better photos once our rendering is complete. I highly recommend working with a designer at a reputable pool company. Their job is to help you nail down what will work best for you and your space (we spent almost 2 hours doing this, and we thought we had most of it figured out beforehand!) Don’t rush the process, and remember you are allowed to change your mind! This is your investment, and you are the one that has to live with the design, not anyone else! Do what works for you.

Talk soon

xx, Lanna