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Oh Joy! Builds a House: A Construction Update + The Things That Have Changed Along the Way…

Oh Joy! Builds a House: A Construction Update + The Things That Have Changed Along the Way...

Oh Joy! Builds a House: A Construction Update + The Things That Have Changed Along the Way...

I know I'm smiling in this photo, but the last several months have been partially the most fulfilling part of this house build process…and also partially the hardest so far. I often have a hard time letting myself publicly express my stress because I am so very grateful to be in this process of building a house. But, to be honest, it's WAYYYYY harder than I had anticipated, and I've shed many tears over the last several months. Here's a look at some of the things that have changed part way through…

Here's a little video update of how it currently looks inside! Then, see below for a breakdown of what's happening and what's changing…

Oh Joy! Builds a House: A Construction Update + The Things That Have Changed Along the Way...

Since my last Construction Update, we've finished framing, there's a roof on the house, and we now have walls! Here I am standing in our kitchen. We've finalized the kitchen design (which I'll share soon in coming months). We didn't have any major changes in this space. BUT we've had lots of random and unforeseen incidences like: rain delays (this year happens to be the 7th rainiest year in the history of Los Angeles! Of course!), thousands of pounds of materials arriving from a vendor to the wrong address, and large deliveries of supplies being left on the street only for someone in the construction crew to find randomly find them sitting on the street!

Oh Joy! Builds a House: A Construction Update + The Things That Have Changed Along the Way...

Last minute lighting. When the framing is up and the rooms start to look like rooms, it's easier to walk into a space and get a feel for it in real life vs. a flat drawing we've been viewing from above. We've made lots of small changes here and there during this part of the process. For example, our kids will have bunk beds when we first move in until they are ready to split up into their own rooms. Therefore, it made sense to wire lighting for each of the bunk beds (especially the higher one) since it's hard to get lighting up there otherwise. So, we mapped out already exactly where the beds will go and also where we'll add a small light by each of their beds.

Oh Joy! Builds a House: A Construction Update + The Things That Have Changed Along the Way...

Additional Skylight in the Hall. Because the house is built into a hill, all of the windows are on the front side of the house with no windows on the back side. Therefore, our architects designed light wells into a couple of the spaces to bring light in from above. We also decided to add a couple additional skylights into the hallway to bring more light into the backside of the house (seen here on the right side of the photo). This is the hallway on the 2nd floor of the house!

Oh Joy! Builds a House: A Construction Update + The Things That Have Changed Along the Way...

Additional Skylight in Our Closet. Our Master Closet may end up being my favorite room in the house. Having always lived in big cities (New York, then Philly, then Los Angeles), I have never had a regular-sized closet. So when planning our Master Bedroom, rather than having a giant bedroom, we opted for a smaller bedroom but a large closet. There had to be some give and take (since there is only so much square footage in the house), and I'm so happy to finally have a closet that is wider than 3 feet! We added in skylights in here part way through to give it some natural light as well.

Oh Joy! Builds a House: A Construction Update + The Things That Have Changed Along the Way...

No master bathtub. I'm peeking out from our master bathroom window above. About a month ago, we decided to completely change the layout of our bathroom. After it was framed and we saw how the layout was executing in real life, the bathtub was taking up so much of the space. And while a tub sounds like an awesome Calgon moment, we rarely take baths. We decided to remove the tub altogether and make a bigger shower. We basically had to rework the whole space around that and made the vanity and sink area wider, moved the toilet, and moved the shower, too! It's a pretty drastic change from the original design, but we really felt the changes were more practical for the way we live and our priorities for that room. Luckily, we made the change before it was too late, so the costs to adjust those few things were minimal.

Oh Joy! Builds a House: A Construction Update + The Things That Have Changed Along the Way...

No pool! I'm overlooking our yard right here. We had previously planned to put in a pool. But, as the process went along and more and more unexpected costs or increases in material costs went up, our budget for a pool eventually became $0.00. I had envisioned summers with our kids' friends over hanging poolside, but the reality is, we just could not justify the cost of it so we decided to (literally) pull the plug on a pool. The plus side is that our yard will now be a good size (for Los Angeles, anyway) without the pool, and I won't have to stress about small kids and pools (and the liability of it) which fed into all my worry-wort fears.

Oh Joy! Builds a House: A Construction Update + The Things That Have Changed Along the Way...

Increase costs! Yup, this is the biggest one and the one that has given me the most stress in this process. SO, many things have come up that have resulted in an increase in costs. Some things they involved small changes we decided to make based on our needs and functionality, but often it involved increase in materials costs or a change in code that we needed to meet.

My architects told me that after this process, I'll know so much that I'll be super equipped with all the knowledge to build our NEXT house! And, my response…."OH NO! There won't be any more houses…I'm staying here forever :P" As overwhelming as this process can be, I keep looking to the light at the end of the tunnel…a finished house for my family to live in forever!

If you have any questions for me about any of this, please let me know!

{Photos by Lily Glass, video by Jenner Brown. Construction by Boswell Construction, Architecture by Project M+}

14 comments

  1. Thank you for being realistic about baths! I see soooo many Hoke renos prioritizing huge amounts of space, plumbing and $$ for something very few people use day to day.

  2. Thanks Courtney!
    I think we put it in originally cause it always seems like something people do, but we were realizing how little we’d actually ever use it!!
    Joy

  3. The budget stress is real. Bravo for making difficult decisions. And you can always put a pool in later! Wait till drywall goes in- then it really comes to life.

  4. Thanks Audrey!
    And I don’t think we’ll ever put in a pool. The cost to do it now is actually cheaper than later. But it’s way too much either way! ;P
    Joy

  5. Oh thats good you skipped the pool, with little kids that is always a problem you can`t let them out alone. And with this paddling pools you can also have cool pool partie with the little kids. You can build a real pool some years later and have something looking forward too. What I learned when building our house is, not everything must be perfect from the first day you move in, there are many things you can build in later.
    Many greetings Kathrin

  6. I just love how relatable and humble you are when writing about building your home. It’s so refreshing especially from a blogger who I’m sure could get anything from partnerships. I so appreciate your posts Joy!

  7. Joy, I’ve loved following along during your home building process. It’s so good of you to share for everyone to learn with you. Buying a lot and building is something we’re considering but the unknown (yet seemingly unavoidable) costs are daunting. When the house is done, would you consider putting a % on the increases? Like we planned for X but spent Y% more? I look forward to your next post and hope you and your family are doing well!

  8. Hi Lindsey!
    Nice to see you here!
    So, I would say to buffer in at least 30% in increases. That may seem high but it’s better to err on the side of caution then to not be prepared for them. Because certain things might go down, but some things will go up. One thing I know is that nothing ever stays the same price unless you are working with a builder/development where there give you options. But if you are doing custom yourself (either reno or build) but def. building certain costs go up especially for a project that takes a long time.
    Joy

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