07 September 2015

Three Tips For Building A New Home

As most of you know my husband, and I are preparing for retirement within the next few years, and we have several goals on our list before we do.
First was to sell our home in the suburbs and move - but not too far, because of our family. 
Second was to move where we had some open spaces and countryside.
After a couple of years of searching around the Dallas area we found the quaint town of Rockwall Texas.

Rockwall  has some lovely open spaces, although with the rate of growth in the Dallas Fort Worth Metro area, I am sure that these open spaces will dwindle. 
However we did find two acres of land that has plenty of Oak Trees, and backs up to a creek and Nature Preserve. 
We have deer, coyote and bobcats that roam about so hopefully we have insulated ourselves from progress as best as we could.

We sold our home in Southlake Texas in May, and have been living in an apartment since then, while our one story French Country Farmhouse style home is being built. 
Before we began this project we did extensive research and then of course we are also gaining so much knowledge along the way. 
There are three valuable tips that I wanted to pass along for those who are considering building or even remodeling.

Tip One.  The Budget

1-You must do your home work and create a budget.
2-Plan ahead for "splurges." and set extra dollars aside. Things always come up during the building process.  Extra lighting, a gorgeous chandelier may catch your eye along the way, gourmet kitchen, French doors, large outdoor living.
3-Stick to your budget and don't act on a whim-you will be happy that you did.

Tip Two. The Architect

1-Choose an architect that “gets,” your vision and listens. 
2- Your architect is a facilitator hired by you, to make your ideas a reality. 
3- Your architect should return your phone calls, and emails in a timely matter.
4- Guide you in the direction of your vision, not become argumentative. 

We were forced to let our first architect go as he always had excuses as to why he could never get our preliminary plans to us.

Tip Three. The Builder

1-Choose a builder that builds your style of home 90 percent of the time. 
 For example if you adore Farmhouse style, pick a builder that builds predominantly that style of home. 
2- Make certain you visit where he or she builds and walk through as many of their homes as you can. Pay attention to details, cabinetry, floors, sinks, design.  Ask questions.
3-Bid your home plans out-to at least three builders.
4- After selecting your builder get a set contract in stone for the total amount that the house will cost from start to finish.
 We didn't want any surprises at the end and you won't want them either.

Our home was just a House Of Sticks about three weeks ago, here it is now with Estate Grey shingles and inside heating and air have been installed.
Electricians are busily wiring our home, while we are busily choosing lighting, which is enjoyable and exhausting all at the same time.

Of course, living in Texas, everyone needs to have a few cows and a Texas Longhorn as their neighbor.  Is it just me, or do these bovines like the camera...wink...smile...

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Jemma's home is a quiet spot nestled among the trees. You might find me writing, reading, or puttering in my Greenhouse, tweaking a recipe, crafting a wreath or loving on my grands. Always living with a grateful heart.


  1. WOW!!! It is really coming along!!!! Super, super, super....

    1. Yes Tessa! These contractors are moving very fast now and with stable hot weather, there doesn't seem to be any upcoming delays!

  2. So excited to watch the progress! Great tips, too.

    1. Merry, thank you for joining us in this home building journey!

  3. I am enjoying seeing the progress on your new home. I can already tell it's going to be beautiful. Having built several houses myself, the tips you gave were spot on...very good advice. Those cows sure do look like they are checking you out....Have a great day...

  4. Wow, your house is making so much progress. You are so right about the items you listed. You have to have a plan and budget. Selecting the right craftsman is also very important. You must be thrilled. Having 2 acres around you is wonderful. Enjoy the process! xo

  5. Wow, it actually looks like a house and not just upright sticks! It is coming along really fast...and is beautiful. When does the count-down to move in day begin?
    Have a great week, Jemma.

  6. Wow, it is really looking good! Sounds like you are in awesome location too. My sister's place finally sold and they have given their builder the go ahead. They also will be apartment living for 5-6 months. It is exciting! I know you will enjoy your new home when it is finally done. Have a happy new week!

  7. So exciting for you!! We built our last house in Oklahoma and loved it! Our builder was wonderful so we really enjoyed the process. It was so neat when it was all finished and everything was as we had wished. I know you are going to love your new house. :)

  8. It is really coming along. When do you think it will be ready to move in. It looks lovely! Have a great labor day!

  9. How exciting...it looks like a house now! Those cows are adorable!

  10. I love Rockwall!! Your new home is going to be so gorgeous!! And you are so spot on with these tips. I cannot imagine building a home...buying new construction was nightmare enough! Hugs!!

  11. So glad to see your new home taking shape so quickly. Building a house is a lot of work - so many decisions to be made.

  12. Jemma, your house is coming along nicely. It has a charming look to it. And I love your neighbors, the cows. I live right next to a country road, and often see my cow neighbors as well. There's nothing quite like it. I'm so excited for you, and I am enjoying seeing all the steps in building along the way.

    love, ~Sheri

  13. Jemma, it looks amazing! I can't wait to see your beautiful home when it's finished. Your location sounds perfect too. It's my husband's dream to live in a more rural area, unfortunately my children live here and my grand babies, so I'm not all that eager to relocate! You have found the best of both worlds.

  14. Darling friend! HELLO! How did I miss this post yesterday? I had my laptop with me all day long...but this is a lovely greeting early this morning before I set out to work. I am so happy to see your gorgeous French country home standing proudly in its place, ready for MORE! It must be wonderful to see her set up, ready to be adorned with stone and all the pretty things that will complete her!

    To have nature as such as your backdrop, that is STUNNING! And I can't wait to see what you have in store for landscaping and interior décor!

    Off I go now to work, but I will keep the memory of our encounters on IG and on blogging in my heart as we go through the year, together!

  15. Hi Jemma, Great post and wonderful progress on your Country French Home. The setting is lovely and I know it will be amazing when complete. To have the wide open spaces around you is perfect. You are having an exciting time with the picking and choosing for the decor details. Have fun and enjoy every minute. Thanks for sharing your journey and the great pics. Love the style!!
    Have a blessed week. cm

  16. Thanks for these tips Jemma. I can't see me having my own house built, but you never know. Your house is coming along beautifully. It's when you see the final finishes (shingles on the roof!!) that you see it all coming together. I love your new neighbours ... especially that longhorn! I had black & white Holsteins as neighbours when I lived in the country. And bobcats?! Cool ... but I understand they are quite secretive and shy, so you'll have to have a camera ready just in case you see one unexpectedly. Exciting times for you!! Enjoy your week,

  17. Wow so much progress since the last update ( the sticks ) !!! :)

  18. It seems to have gone up so quickly! I'm sure it hasn't to you though. It certainly is gorgeous where you're going to live :)

    Those tips are great, Jemma :)


  19. You are spot on with your advice Jemma! It's so important to find a builder who has experience building the kind of home you envision. A home is way too important to be put to chance.

    It looks like lots of progress has taken place, and it looks beautiful (but I knew it would).

    Those cows certainly do look like they love the camera! Hams! (Or should I say beef?). ;)

  20. Jemma,
    Everything is coming together nicely! I do believe this is one of the smoothest new constructions I have ever heard about! I can't wait until we start seeing your posts about decorating the inside. I feel excited for you! Beautiful land too! What a nice retirement home you will have very soon! Just in time for the holidays.....xo

  21. Oh sweet lady...things are moving right along for you here with your house building. So exciting to be able to watch it go up with you. I bet you wish we could all help PAY for it too huh? LOL! I love your tips and I think that anyone that has ever built a home could give some "DON'T DO" tips too. LOL! I am proud for you and thank you for sharing this journey in your life with us. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  22. It's amazing how quickly it is coming along, Jemma. You will be in there before you know it. xo Laura

  23. Excellent tips! We've been visiting a neighborhood for the area builders annual Parade of Homes for several years, and from the first year we attended we were drawn to the style and design of one builder. We met with him for the first time last fall, and from there began the site/building plans. Our construction progress is about at the same stage of yours. Following along as your home is built! We're also moving to a rural area where we'll enjoy wildlife (planning to install some game cameras on the property); and there is nearby ranch property with cows. :)

  24. Wonderful tips Jemma! I agree, if your architect or builder doesn't call or text you back, it's time to get another. Your home is coming along nicely. It is going to be so lovely. We thought we would stay in this home till the end, but having second thoughts. Would like to be out away and not have neighbors so close. Plus the older I get the bigger it seems. lol! We'll stay here for a few more years I'm sure, but we'll see. Hubby is thinking of retiring next year. Thanks for sharing with SYC.


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