Home » building a house » My Favorite Things: A Novel (Written from Prison)

My Favorite Things: A Novel (Written from Prison)

My sincere apologies for my extended absence. I know you’ve been on the edge of your seat wondering where the crazy couch lady is hiding. Did she fall into a box full of silver serving pieces from 1995 and was unable to climb out? Did she fall off of the ladder while putting crystal goblets (also unseen since 1995) into the shiny glassfront cabinets? Did she murder her husband for stubbornly insisting upon maintaining the pool all by himself and now she sits in a lonely jail cell awaiting trial because for crying out loud we trust our 6 & 12 year old cars to those who know how to maintain cars so why wouldn’t we pay an expert to take care of something that costs more than both of our cars put together?
Slightly exaggerated. But close.
We’re finally starting to feel somewhat settled. Most of the boxes are unpacked, the dust is settling (and settling and settling – upon every known surface), and it’s feeling like home. As opposed to a very large building full of boxes and trash.
We still love it. We’re still amazed at this dream come true. Still humbled. Still incredibly thankful.
I know it’s time to move on to more important topics of conversation, but as a grand send-off to the house building process, I present to you My Favorite Things.
Kitchen faucet & sink
Deeeeep and wide! Deeeeep and wide! My kitchen sink is so deep and wide! So cool. It’s made from granite (Silestone, to be exact), so it doesn’t stain or scratch, and it withstands heat like nobody’s business. Gretchen had this exact sink in one of her homes – she loved it, and I loved it, and now I own it. (Or, more specifically, the bank owns it and is generously letting us use it for the next 30 years.) Our builder puts these sinks in all of his homes, but before we swooped in and enlightened him, he has used the model with the drain in the middle. Gretchen’s was on the side, which in my opinion and hers, works so much better. I can stack dirty dishes on one side and rinse them on the other, and the drain remains unobstructed. The sink is ever-so-slightly slanted so that all the gunk runs down to the drain.
The faucet? It’s just pretty. It makes me happy.
Which leads us to…
Instant hot water
Holy guacamole. How did I ever live without this? In every other house we’ve lived in, when we wanted hot water, we turned on the faucet, walked away, balanced our checkbook, ate a snack, filed our taxes…then came back for the hot water. This house? Turn on the hot water, count to 3 ½, and BAM! Blazing hot water. Beautiful.
Trash pull-out in the kitchen island
Crumbs and scraps and whatever else wipe directly into the trash can. Who knew my trash can could make me so happy?
Full extension drawers & shelves
This is probably at the top of my list. Check this out:
All of our drawers and many of our shelves pull out all the way. Add in some non-skid, grippy, squishy shelf liner, and you will never again lose anything to the far dark recesses of your drawers or cabinets.
Tub sprayer
Every bit as functional and luxurious as I imagined. It would be even more so if we owned a dog. Which we do not. Hopefully ever.

View from the bathtub

I may never come out.

Feels like a retreat center. Or a spa. A vacation, at the least. When the pool fountain is running and the ceiling fan is on, I can sit in one of these cozy chairs, close my eyes, and not even think about my laundry. I think my pulse rate drops about 15 beats.
Our team from church sat out here last week for Bible study/discussion/goofing around, and it was (ahem) heavenly. I foresee many, many hours spent right here. Cozy, relaxing, comfortable, welcoming, safe – the epitome of everything we want our home to be.
Front porch
Ditto from the patio with more pollen. I think I need to get cushions for the rockers – they’re a little hard. But still amazing.
Home audio
This was one of those things that our builder adds to all of his homes, and it sounded like a nifty idea, so we gave the OK and didn’t think much about it. It’s turned out to be one of the COOLEST MOST ROCKIN’ AWESOME IDEAS EV-AH! 
I’ve always enjoyed having music on in our home. My parents always played music during dinner. I always took my cassette player into the bathroom so I could belt out Journey’s Open Arms at the top of my lungs while I showered. My college roommates and I “studied” (and I use that word in its loosest possible definition) to Michael W. Smith’s Christmas album (the first one, which is waaaaay better than all the others). I have memories of baby Meghan pulling herself up on the coffee table and rocking from side to side to The Lion King or Beth Nielsen Chapman or Mozart or Ragtime or Jars of Clay or whichever CD I decided to stick in my 1986 Panasonic stereo that day. 
I love music.
So now, I can plug in my iPod in the family room, walk to my bathroom, press a button, and pretend I’m Celine Dion while I wash off in my walk-in shower. No cassette player necessary.
We have speakers in our bedroom & bathroom, the front porch, the back patio, the gameroom, and my craft room, plus the family room. And not only will it play music, but we can turn on the TV audio or the radio if we so choose. I listened to American Idol while I unpacked my craft room a few weeks ago. AND (get this) if I want to listen to my iPod in the bathroom and Michael wants to sit out on the back porch and listen to the Rangers game on TV, WE CAN DO THAT. AT THE SAME TIME! Technology, thy name is bliss.
And this? 
My love, it is time to say farewell. You have served me faithfully since the 8th grade. Thank you. And good-bye.
Costco pantry
Angelic chorus, if you please. This was the first place I unpacked, and it made me so happy. Since discovering Costco a few years ago, I’m a little bit of a stockpiler nut, and I love having a place for it all. I really love being able to see what I have so I don’t end up with 57 packages of paper plates and no toilet paper.
Obviously, we’re in no danger of that at the moment.
Laundry room
I was in the middle of writing this post yesterday when I left the utility sink running and flooded our back hallway. Which, I promise, will be the topic for my next post.
So. The laundry room.
I love the counter space because I can pull clothes out of the dryer and sort them into the kids’ baskets – which they then take upstairs, fold, and put away. I love the rod because I can hang up our tshirts and pants and remove the need for the loathsome ironing board.
And, after yesterday, I love the floor drain under the washing machine. Though I’m kinda wishing it was in the middle of the room instead of under the washing machine.  But whatever.
Mud room
It works! It actually works! The kids come in the back door from the garage, put their shoes in the baskets and backpacks in their lockers – which keeps them from dumping everything in the middle of some random corner of the house where they can’t find it the next morning and then ask me where it is.
Except, of course, for a certain absent-minded 6 year old, who still leaves his backpack and shoes on the floor. 
But at least they’re on the floor in front of his locker and not in some random corner.

I do love having doors on the lockers. We debated whether or not to add them, and we’re both really glad that we did. I don’t need to look at all the mess inside. It would just make me cranky. My friend, Gracie, decided not to add doors to her mudroom lockers, and every time she walks in she says, “This does not look like the Pottery Barn catalog!”
Yellow Box flip-flops
No, this is not actually part of the house. But with all those dark hardwood floors that are dust and footprint magnets, I have reinforced the no-shoes-inside rule (second only to the QUIT TOUCHING THE WALLS! rule) with the fervor of a Russian dictator. But bare feet can cause great havoc on a girl’s lower back and knees. So I have designated “inside shoes.” I change into these when I walk in the door, and change back to my “outside shoes” when I leave.
I’ve had friends who have sworn by these adorable pedi-accessories, but I’ve never owned a pair myself. SWEET MERCY! They are so comfy. I think I need about 78 more pairs.
So there ya have it: a mere handful of my favorite things about our dream house. You get the idea. I hope I’ve given you some fun ideas if you ever build or remodel or just like looking at stuff like this.
Now I need to go yell at the warden so I can make my phone call and get out of this jail cell and back to my lovely home.
UPDATE: More of my favorite things here. Lots of ideas for covering up the clutter: mixer stand, master bathroom, fireproof cabinets, and more!

28 thoughts on “My Favorite Things: A Novel (Written from Prison)

  1. I realize I’m stumbling on this a couple years late, but your house is beautiful! My fiance and I have talked about building our own house down the road…this is great inspiration–I especially love the mud room and the laundry room. 🙂

  2. We’re about to start our house building adventure in August. Absolutely love you kitchen cabinets & countertop & the master bath. Would appreciate more info on these.

    • Thanks! The kitchen cabinets are Knotty Alder and the master bath counters are dark emperador marble. We’ve been very happy with them both! The Knotty Alder will save you some money, too.

      Best wishes for your home building adventure!

  3. I’ve had a picture of your kitchen sink pinned on Pinterest for forever! Well we are finally about to build our dream house and I would love to know any details you have on it. Brand, cost, color dimensions? Thanks! Your home is beautiful!

    • Thank you! We ordered it through a local supplier our builder uses (same place we selected all our faucets, sinks, toilets, etc.) It is Silestone granite – start your research with that. It is approximately 16 x 30 x 9. I LOVE my sink, and I would definitely recommend the drain on the side.The faucet is oil rubbed bronze.

      Good luck with your home building!

    • The house was wired by the same company that did the wiring for the alarm, then we had a home audio company come out and install the receiver (which we bought separately). The receiver controls the audio for the family room (TV/DVD), but we can also plug in the iPod to the receiver or turn on the radio and listen in any of the other rooms. That’s about as technical as I get! I’m sure there’s a wide range of prices and options – ours is pretty basic. Hope that helps!

    • Thanks! A custom cabinet builder created all of our cabinets, including the lockers. Our designer (who worked for the builder) drew up the sketches and gave them to the cabinetmaker.

  4. do you have trouble with your kitchen sink drying out and changing colors? I have a black granite sink and it looks terrible if I don’t oil it regularly. Also, what kind of flip-flops do you have on?

    • No, I haven’t at all. Hmmm. I wonder if yours is a different kind of granite? My flip flops are Yellow Box. They are my most favorite in the whole wide world. 🙂

  5. Pingback: My favorite things – Part Deaux | from the corner of my couch

  6. Thank you! I read this months ago and pinned it. Now that we are updating our house I found this really helpful. I hope you get out of jail soon!!

  7. ” It would be even more so if we owned a dog. Which we do not. Hopefully ever.” WOW…no animal lover in that house

  8. Can you please tell me the stain color on your cabinets? I love your house!!! We just started the building process 🙂

    • Congrats on building a house! I’m not 100% sure on this, but I don’t think we picked a specific color. I’m pretty sure our designer gave us 3 options (light, medium, or dark), and we went with the medium. I know that was the case with the floors; unfortunately we did not get a master list with the names all of our selections (I wish we would have requested this and would recommend doing that!). So sorry I’m not able to give you more specifics!

  9. Hey! I LOVE your lockers! Can you tell me the width of one locker? We are drawing up our house plans; I keep telling everyone we HAVE to have the doors on the lockers because heaven forbid that my house not look like Pottery Barn! HA!

    • Thanks! Measuring from the inside, the lockers are 19″ wide and 11″ deep. The top section (top to shelf) is 27″ and the bottom section (shelf to bottom) is 27″. Hope that helps!

    • Hi Christy! I love our home audio. Our house is over 4 years old now, so I’m sure the options and technology have skyrocketed since we built, but I can tell you a little bit about ours. The home audio people wired our home during the framing stages, and we have a central receiver in the family room. We put speakers on the front porch, back porch, family room, master bedroom, master bath, my office, and the playroom. In hindsight, we should have also put a speaker out by the pool. We mostly use the iPod or radio, but we’ve also turned on TV audio to listen to a game outside. It’s possible to have different speakers playing different audio at the same time.

      Blessings on your home building process! 🙂

  10. This is my favorite part of building a house — customizing things and finding unique solutions to problems! I absolutely love the idea of a garbage can at the end of your island so you can wipe all the crumbs into the garbage and your spice racks! We have been looking at house plans for months, in preparation to build a house, and we can’t really agree on a kitchen design. I showed my husband some pictures of yours, and we both liked what we saw! Do you happen to have a basic blueprint you could share? (We are not talking complete detailed blue print with measurements, but more a layout of your beautiful home!) 🙂 Thanks!

    • Thanks! I love our kitchen, and the trash can in the island has worked so well. My best friend has her sink on her island, so she can wipe crumbs & food directly into the sink, but we are on septic and can’t put food down the drain (theoretically), so the trash can works better for us.

      I do have a pdf file of our house plans. Email me at ftcomc@gmail.com and I can send them to you.

      Best wishes for building your house! 🙂

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