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Oh Joy! Builds A House: Vintage-Inspired Powder Room!

Oh Joy! Builds A House: Vintage-Inspired Powder Room!

Guys, it's very possible that I love bathrooms SO much because I'm about to show you a peek at another bathroom design that I am working on for my house with Cleo and her team at Project M+. I'm in the midst of toilets, sinks, and tiles a plenty, as we have finalized ALL of our bathroom designs before our main living spaces because all of those installed items (tiles, toilets, sinks, faucets, etc.) need to be ordered so much further in advance than furniture pieces. Here's a look at this vintage-inspired powder room...

Oh Joy! Builds A House: Vintage-Inspired Powder Room! / Inspiration

We were inspired by vintage eras (60's mod and art nouveau) for this as well as European modern touches. I love seeking inspiration not just from homes but from others spaces like restaurants, hotels, and retail shops. Here are a couple from Senato Hotel in Milan (left) and a hair salon, Salon Delphine Courteille, in Paris (right, designed by Chloé Negre).

Oh Joy! Builds A House: Vintage-Inspired Powder Room! / Vintage Gem Powder Room

We've been calling this powder room "a little jewel box with some vintage-inspired touches". Wallpaper is key for me, as we plan to use it throughout the house. But there are places where you want to go classic with it, and some places where you can really go bold. Since this bathroom is small and simple in structure, it allowed us the opportunity to go bold with the wallpaper to set the tone of the room. Here's a look at some of the materials we're using...

1. Wallpaper option by Calico (see the others below), 2. Brass toilet lever from Wayfair, 3. Brass inlay cement tile floor by Tabarka Studio,  4. countertop from Caesarstone, 5. Brass pull for the vanity by Emtek. Plus a toilet and sink from Wayfair, Brass plumbing fixtures by Newport Brass from Ferguson, arched mirror from Rejuvanation, and sconce by Cedar & Moss all shown below.

Oh Joy! Builds A House: Vintage-Inspired Powder Room! / Wallpaper Study 1

Oh Joy! Builds A House: Vintage-Inspired Powder Room! / Wallpaper Study 2 Oh Joy! Builds A House: Vintage-Inspired Powder Room! / Wallpaper Study 3

In looking at wallpapers that could make a statement but really make this jewel box bathroom come to life, here are a few options I love. Which one is YOUR favorite?

Wallpaper option 1 by Calico, Wallpaper option 2 by Taylor Sterling for Lulu & Georgia, Wallpaper option 3 by Anewall.

Check out my post over at Architectural Digest's Clever for my tips on things to consider when adding wallpaper to a bathroom.

{Photos by Lily Glass. Construction by Boswell Construction, Architecture, Interiors, and interior renderings by Project M+, all other layouts by Joy Cho.} 

Oh Joy! Builds A House: Involving Your Kids in the Process!

Oh Joy! Builds A House: Involving Your Kids in the Process!

It's so crazy to think that I was pregnant with my 4-year-old when we first bought land and started this crazy idea of building a house. And now, by the time we move in later this year, my kids will be almost 5 and 8 years old. Since they are big enough to understand, we have been trying to involve them in the process as much as possible. Partly, because it's such a unique situation to get to see your family's home come to life and partly, because we want them to understand how much work is involved from SO many people so they can understand and appreciate it. Here are some of the things we've done to involve them in the home build process....

Oh Joy! Builds A House: Involving Your Kids in the Process!

1. Get kids excited about construction! Construction isn't an activity that kids are interacting with often, so get them excited about the idea of building something from scratch. This could involve a book (like this one by the Property Brothers), a small builder's kit to play with, or simply by getting them their very own hard hats to wear on-site.

Oh Joy! Builds A House: Involving Your Kids in the Process!

Oh Joy! Builds A House: Involving Your Kids in the Process!

2. Help them make their mark! I have seen parents have their kids write notes or messages to put into the ground before it gets filled. Or, write into an area of wet cement with their name and date before it dries. For us, we had our kids come while the framing was starting and let them draw with sharpies all over one section of beams. The beams were covered soon after this, but we know that it's the corner of the house where you enter our kitchen, so the kids will always remember that their drawings are embedding inside the walls at that very spot!

Oh Joy! Builds A House: Involving Your Kids in the Process!

Oh Joy! Builds A House: Involving Your Kids in the Process!

3. Have them visit the site regularly. If you're renovating or building, there will be times that it's simply unsafe for kids to be on site. But, when it is safe for them, it's great to have them come regularly to see the process unfold. Day to day and week to week, the state of your construction can change so fast, and they'll love seeing it transform and get closer and closer to what they know as an actual, real house! There were times when the ground was literally JUST dirt for several months and my kids had a hard time understanding that the house would eventually have actual floors. So, it's been great to see the home unfold through their eyes, too!

Oh Joy! Builds A House: Involving Your Kids in the Process!

4. Let them give input into the design of their rooms. If you're building or renovating, this is the one time that you could actually build in some fun details into a child's space. Some make cool secrets doors that connect kids' rooms to one another or fun ladders that lead to a special built-in platform bed. While we're not doing any custom built-in details like that, I have been showing my girls various swatches of tiles, wallpaper, and paint colors for their bathroom and bedroom to get their feedback on what they like or don't like.

Giving kids the information to better understand a pretty intense construction project not only allows them to learn from it, feel involved, but also creates such amazing memories for them to look back on knowing they played a small part in creating their family's home.

{Photos by Lily Glass. Big Bud Press green jumpsuit, Hey Gang jumpsuit, Hey Gang overalls.}

Oh Joy! Builds a House: The Kid's Bathroom!

Oh Joy! Builds a House: The Kid's Bathroom!

Ah! Are you as excited as I am? Over the next several months, I'll be starting to share peeks into the design process for the interiors of our house with you as we get towards having a finished house by the fall! I thought it would be fun to start with the kids' bathroom. There's something about a kids' bathroom that feels SO fun! My girls will have a shared bathroom (that's me in it above) that connects from their bedrooms, so it really can be a special bathroom just for them. 

Oh Joy! Builds a House: The Kid's Bathroom! / Inspiration

I was thinking about how vividly I remember the details of the wallpaper in my childhood bedroom or the paint color in the bathroom of my parents' house, and how I wanted those tiny and fun details to be part of my kids' memories in the future, too. I was inspired by these two bathrooms by India Mahdavi (top photo) and via Rebecca Judd Loves (bottom photo).

For the interiors, I'm working with my team at Project M+ who also designed the architecture of our home. It's been so great to work collaboratively on the design with them so that both the structural design and the interiors feels cohesive and fresh. In these inspiration images, the all-pink tiles feels fun and vintage-inspired, but also fresh and modern at the same time. With brass accents planned in the rest of our home, I switched up the fixtures here with rose gold...

Oh Joy! Builds a House: The Kid's Bathroom!

Here's a look at some of the materials we're using!

1. Rose gold plumbing fixtures throughout from Ferguson and lighting by Lamps Plus, 2. countertop from Caesarstone, 3. Wing It paint by Clare, 4. Lucite and rose gold hardware for the vanity from Schaub and Company, 5. a light oak vanity by Reform, 6. Fireclay glass tiles in Rosy Finch and Carolina Wren, and 7. terrazzo floor by Concrete Collaborative, plus a toilet and tub from Wayfair.

Oh Joy! Builds a House: The Kid's Bathroom! / Tile Studies 1, 2, and 3

Tile has been one of my favorite things to play with and pick out as we finalize finishes and just to see how different a room can feel with all the different shapes, colors, or orientations of the tile. Here are a few different versions we played around with for this room! Which one do YOU like best?

I can't wait to reveal how the room comes together when it's all done later this year! Check out my post over at Architectural Digest's Clever for my tips on things to consider when designing a kids' bathroom.

{Photos by Lily Glass. Construction by Boswell Construction, Architecture and renderings by Project M+, all other layouts by Joy Cho.} 

tile love...

Oh Joy Favorite Tiles

As I work on finishes for our house, I've been immersed in the world of tile lately, and there are SO many good options. And, since I don't like keeping things to myself, I had to share a few of my favorites with you...

1. Tabarka Kavim, 2. Oh Joy for Clé pinwheel tile, 3. Fireclay Ogee, 4. Tabarka Kavim, 5. Juju Fruit Salad, 6. Fireclay Runway.

wallpaper love...

Oh Joy! Loves Wallpaper

As I work on the interiors of my home, I've been having a great time exploring new wallpaper collections and dreaming of new spaces. I had to share a few of my favorites with you in case you're searching to spruce up a room yourself!

1. Eleanor Bowmer pink leopard, 2. Anewall citrus, 3. Calico ursa, 4. Juju Papers bomba, 5. Drop it Modern bosom. 6. Urban Outfitters pink current.

Oh Joy! Builds A House: The Interior Layout of our Home!

Oh Joy! Builds A House: The Interior Layout of our Home!

When we last left off with the design process, I shared the exterior design and architecture of our home with you! While the house was being designed, we had weekly meetings with our architect to review each step and the design plans as they evolved and needed tweaks. I remember being SO pregnant at the time with my second baby (this is back in 2014 when we designed the house!), and there was so much to consider. We were designing and building for our future life with two kids (a life I wasn't living in YET), so it's wild to see this house now coming to life with our two kids now being 4 years older since it was originally designed by our architects at Project M+. Here's a look at how the layout of the house was designed to consider form, function, and our family's needs....

Oh Joy! Builds A House: The Interior Layout of our Home!

As a refresher, the overall shape of the house is like a "U" on the bottom with a long rectangle on the top. It was designed to give flow and movement between the inside and outside and really make the house feel one with the outdoors. When you look at a house to buy, layout is something you notice but you don't have a ton of say over. The layout of an existing home may be important in your decision to buy a house, but often you work with what exists. So in thinking about layout for our home build, we had to retrain our brains to think about how we wanted rooms to flow with one another because we actually had the ability to decide...!

The First Floor: When we were thinking about how the rooms were positioned, we started with the bottom floor. This is the heart of the home where we will spend most of our awake hours and where we will entertain with friends and family. With the U shape, the two largest rooms and biggest areas for entertaining were at the ends of the "U". They both surround the outdoor area so it made sense for us to focus those larger areas on the living room and the kitchen. We did away with the idea of a formal living room and more casual living room because we wanted to take advantage of the outdoor space, and we didn't really feel the need to have two living rooms like some homes have.

Also, while I would normally want the kitchen and living room to be side by side and spill into one another, the unique shape of the bottom floor makes it such that you can see the living room from the kitchen and vice versa through the large glass doors in the courtyard. Since we'll have an outdoor dining area, we're making our kitchen island a spot for quicker meals inside and the more official dining room in the back of the house by the kitchen.

The Second Floor: The second floor is all about the spaces we retreat to for relaxation and rest. Similar to how traditional two-story homes are laid out, all of the bedrooms are upstairs. With the desire to mix indoor and out, the master bedroom has a balcony and the girls' rooms share a balcony. It's a 4-bedroom home. And while we designed it so each of our girl's has their own room, they LOVE sharing a room currently in our apartment, so we'll keep them together until they are ready for their own spaces. The second kid's room will serve as their playroom until then.

When it comes to the master bedroom, we didn't need a huge bedroom. Sometimes I walk into homes, and the master bedroom is the size of a whole apartment! For us, it was more important to have double sinks in our bathroom and a bigger closest. I am finally getting a walk-in closet! If you follow me on Instagram stories and have seen my TINY closest, you know part is extra thrilling for me :P

Finally, our 4th bedroom will serve as an office/guest room. We don't have quite enough space in this house to have a separate stand-alone guest room, so this felt like a great way to double up on potential use of the last room. If you have any questions about any of this, please leave a comment below!

Check out my post over at Architectural Digest's Clever for tips on what to consider when deciding the layout of your house during a custom build or major home renovation. Plus, I'll start sharing my design inspiration for each room with you in upcoming posts! 

{Photos by Lily Glass. Architecture renderings by Project M+

Oh Joy! Builds a House: A Construction Update!

Oh Joy! Builds A House / Construction Update

What a year it has been! In my spare time, I've been overseeing the construction of our new house...which is equal parts scary and equal parts exciting! We're now more than halfway done with most of the work so far being structural. Every single detail is checked and permitted to make sure the home is safe, stable, and earthquake proof. However, we've just started framing the house. This is the phase where it's really starting to look like a house! So here's a fun video today to share a construction update with you!

I'm so glad we installed the time lapse cameras as it's so crazy and cool to watch this long process over the course of just a few seconds. And, once the house is completely done, we'll have incredible footage what it once for our forever memories.

Oh Joy! Builds A House / Construction Update

Oh Joy! Builds A House / Construction Update

Now that the site is a little more safe for our kids to visit, it's been SO fun bringing them regularly so they can see all the work involved in building a home from scratch. In 2019, we'll be ramping up our posts more often and beginning to share my interiors process and plans with you as we get closer and closer to finishing the house. 

Oh Joy! Builds A House / Construction Update

Check out my post over at Architectural Digest's Clever to read a more detailed breakdown of all the phases shown in the above video. In the new year, we'll start diving into the interiors process and design!

{Photos by Lily Glass, video by Jenner Brown. Brinno timelapse cameras from Timelapse Cameras.} 

How to Stay Married (and Keep Your Sanity) While Building a House!

Oh Joy / How to Stay Married While Building a House!

When people find out that we're building a house, they always joke, "So, how's your marriage going?" Oftentimes, people say that when you do a large renovation or home project together, it takes a real toll on your relationship. Honestly, the process of building a house has made me the most stressed than I have probably ever been in my entire adult life...yet my marriage has never been better. I know, how annoying that I can say that, right? In contrast to how giant projects like these can be hard on a relationship, I think it's actually this process that has made my husband, Bob, and I communicate even more than we normally do and work through things because we HAVE TO for the sake of meeting deadlines. The urgency to communicate about our future kitchen's layout or where our outlets need to go has also led to more communication between us in general. So, today I am sharing our tips for How to Stay Married (and Keep Your Sanity) While Building a House (or during a major home project)...

1. Decide jointly upfront what's most important to you. Are you most concerned with form and style, function, budget, timeline? At some point, any one (or all) of those things will be called into question by you or someone who is part of the construction process with you. That's when you need to be firm and united on what can budge on or what can't.

2. Assign who will interact with vendors. You will make everyone's life easier (yours, your contractor, your architect, the bank, and everyone involved) if you designate one point person for each of them. If both you and your partner have the ability and time to be very active in the project, you can assign different teams to each one of you. But for us, it made sense for me to be the primary contact for everyone because I'm just better at quickly communicating, I have a more flexible work schedule, and because I spend more time in front of a computer than my husband does.

3. Put one person in charge of most of the decision-making. With a home build, there are a million decisions to make...from large ones like deciding the general layout of your house to tiny ones like what color knobs your kitchen drawers will have. Both of us were heavily involved in the overall look and functionality of our house. We had weekly meetings with our architects while in the initial design phase. But now that we're in the construction phase which has a lot of smaller changes and decisions that need to be made weekly, we jointly decided that I would be in charge of those. I will make the decision about most things, and if there is something I know my husband will have a strong opinion on, I'll wait for him to weigh in before answering.

4. Have regularly scheduled meetings about the project. Our architect team had weekly meetings with us during the phase when we were actively designing our house. Now, that we are in construction phase, we have a weekly meeting with both our contractor and architects to review progress and on-going updates. Those standing weekly meetings get built into our schedule and we try to work everything else around them. The meetings have helped SO much in keeping us up to date. And if one of us can't make it due to work conflict, then the other one still goes to represent us both. If your construction team does not have these regular meetings planned for you, get into a habit of doing that yourself, either weekly or every two weeks so you are both caught up on where everything is and there are no surprises. 

5. Be okay with compromise. I love bell-shaped brass lights that unfortunately make an annoying noise every time they get touched, but Bob HATES them because he somehow finds a way to bump into them no matter where they are. So as I am looking at light for our bedroom, I knew I had to consider both functional and beautiful options that we could both agree on. And although I imagined our yard filled with wildly colorful flowers, Bob also is allergic to pollen so we are designing our landscaping with low pollen or no pollen plants that would keep him from sneezing every day.

Check out my post on Architectural Digest's Clever where I'm asking tips from other married couples who have built a house together, too! And, next month, I'll be back with a construction update!

Have a great weekend!

Oh Joy! Builds A House: The Design and Architecture of our Home!

Oh Joy! Builds A House: The Design and Architecture of our Home!

I'm so excited to finally start sharing the design process with you on our house! Let's start at the very beginning...and now queue the Sound of Music ;). Before I can show you every room we are designing and get into all that juicy interiors stuff, let's dive into the design of the physical structure of the house. This is the part of the process which you don't have to think about when buying a house because it's already there. But in our case, we're building from scratch and have the ability to customize and design our house based on my family's needs. It's been a long (but very fun!) process...

Oh Joy! Builds A House: The Design and Architecture of our Home!

Previously, I shared how I found an Architect and Contractor for our house. So, now let's go back 4 years in time when we first began the process with our architects, Project M+.

Here's what we knew we wanted and some inspiration images we pinned for them:
- 4 bedrooms plus 3-4 bathrooms
- At least 3000 square feet. We didn't need a HUGE house but wanted more space than our current 1500 square feet that we've lived in for the past 8 years. We wanted a size that was reasonable for our land but also not too small that we would eventually outgrow.
- A flat outdoor yard so our kids could play and we could entertain
- We did not need both a formal and non-formal dining room since we wanted an outdoor dining area, too.
- We also did not need a formal and non-formal living room as we didn't have endless space to be able to build and we're completely happy with just one main living room area.
- We wanted the flow to feel very indoor/outdoor with large doors and windows. We love mid-century and Danish modern styles so we wanted those as inspiration while still feeling warm and cozy

Here were a few of my inspiration images from our Pinterest Board:

Oh Joy! Builds A House: The Design and Architecture of our Home!

(Sources, left to right, top to bottom: Contemporist, Studio Ko, Ventanas, Blueprint Effect.)

Based on those images plus the information we provided our architect, here's a look at the evolution of the design process for the home's design...

Oh Joy! Builds A House: The Design and Architecture of our Home!

1. Looking at the levels of the house and how it fits into the hillside. The first step was for Project M+ to explore multi-levels and play with modern shapes to create a continuous space that would be built into the hillside. This is where they were also considering our hillside view from inside out and where you find refuge and cozy areas as well. While we were open to three floors because it felt unique, we didn't like how the levels felt too boxy with and didn't connect as fluidly to one another. We also preferred two levels vs. three after seeing this first rendering.

Oh Joy! Builds A House: The Design and Architecture of our Home!

2. Revising the general flow. Next, here was a two-story approach still working off modern lines but connecting them a bit more by having one large rectangle sitting on top of two smaller squares. We liked the large windows and the flow from inside to outside but wanted a mix of glass, wood, and some warmer materials.

Oh Joy! Builds A House: The Design and Architecture of our Home!

3. A 3-D Model! Then, the house became more finalized as a two-story house that had a bit of a U shape from the top. Real-life materials were added in for reference and Project M+ even made us a small version for ants (ha!) so that we could begin to visualize it in 3D. From there, we made some more tweaks but were overall happy with the layout and structure of the house.

Oh Joy! Builds A House: The Design and Architecture of our Home!

4. Renderings. Then, we got more detailed renderings to help visualize the scale, materials, and how each part looks in relation to one another. After this step, technical plans were finalized and we were ready to go into the permit process (which took TWO YEARS after that)! A few things have changed from here, but this gives you a good idea of where we're headed.

The design process from start to finish took less than a year. We could have finished sooner than that, but I had a baby mid-way through the process, so we took our time. Then, the permits took about two years, and then we went and found a contractor. Hence, why I have to go back in time to tell you all of this, but it's SO, SO fun to take this trip back and still be very happy with where we are headed.

Check out my post over at Architectural Digest's Clever for my tips on what to consider when beginning to design your home! And, if you have any questions or other parts you'd love to learn about in this process, please leave a comment below!

{Unless noted, all photos by Lily Glass. Architecture, renderings and models by Project M+

Oh Joy! Builds a House: Construction Loans!

Explaining Construction Loans / Oh Joy!

This might be the most exciting day of your life because I am holding a TON of piggy banks about to talk about LOANS! But seriously, I am VERY excited to discuss this topic with you because there are lots of misconceptions about how anyone can afford to build a house. The answer is...most people do it with loans! I was completely overwhelmed by this process when I started, but I have since learned SO much and want to share that with you...

Here's what most people think about paying for a huge home project (a custom build or major renovation):

A. You need all cash to build a house. (NOT TRUE. I don't have cash just lying around, and here I am doing this crazy project!)
B. You need to have saved up a lot of money. (SORT OF TRUE. You do need to have some savings to be able to qualify and provide a down payment to close a loan. The amount of the down payment will vary, but could be up to 20-25% of your loan amount. However, things like owned land can be used as equity towards this down payment.)
C. You can use a credit card to pay for a home renovation. (NOT A GOOD IDEA. Credit card interest rates are much higher than a loan and unless you are using a credit card to help your overall credit, get points on your credit card, and then pay off each month in full, then don't do it.)

Mortgages vs. Construction Loans
You may already be familiar with mortgages if you've ever bought a home or are in the market for a home. A mortgage is a loan you can get to buy an existing house that you pay back over time (10, 15, 30 years, etc.). The amount of the mortgage you are given is based on your financial credit, cash flow, income, and the value of the home you want to buy. Construction loans are similar but also different. If you do Google search for "Construction Loans", you will get a ton of information about it. All of that information can be overwhelming and confusing, so I wanted to explain how they work from my experience over the last couple years.

Essentially, Construction Loans can be used to build a house from scratch or to do major renovations on an existing house.

Explaining Construction Loans / Oh Joy!

Here's how a Construction Loan works:

1. In order to qualify for a Construction Loan, you need to first be approved for a Mortgage. The Construction Loan that you could get will eventually turn into a Mortgage when your renovation work or your new home is finished. So if you don't already have a mortgage, a bank needs to work backwards and first approve you for the Mortgage that you will eventually be paying off over time. This process is the same as applying for a Mortage, except that even if you are approved for the mortgage, it's not guaranteed you will be approved for a construction loan. You still need to go through additional steps to qualify.

2. A bank will usually lend you 70-80% of the value of your finished home. So, hypothetically (with made-up numbers here), if your finished home will be valued at $100,000, the bank can approve you for $70-80K in a construction loan. In some cases, that amount could completely cover the cost to build or renovate your home. But, let's say your work will cost $85K and the bank can only lend you $80K, you will need to come up with the difference of $5K to get approved for the Construction Loan (in additional to standard financial paperwork). Now, if you already own a home with a mortgage and looking for a Construction Loan for major renovations, your current mortgage will get factored into how much a bank can lend you for construction.

3. In a Construction Loan, the bank pays the contractor — not you. So, let's say you do in fact get this hypothetical $80K from the bank to cover the cost of your construction. Once the work starts, your contractor would request draws from the bank regularly (usually monthly) by providing a record of what work was done and what funds are being requested to be paid for. The contractor sends a "draw request" to you, you sign off on it, and then the bank pays that amount to the contractor. Sometimes the bank will send someone out to your project to make sure that work has, in fact, been completed before paying that amount. This process happens monthly until the project is completed. This is when a qualified and organized contractor comes into play because their ability to stay on schedule and complete the work that they are asking to be paid for will be reviewed by the bank regularly in order to get each phase of the project paid for.

4. Once building is complete, home construction loans are either converted to permanent mortgages or paid in full. Depending on your type of construction loan, you have either decided you will pay off the cost of your construction by the time the project is done. Otherwise, the money that you borrowed from the bank to pay the contractors now turns into a mortgage which you will pay off over time just like any other mortgage.

Now, keep in mind, I am not a bank nor am I a finance person. This explantation is a "101 of Construction Loans" and how I would explain it to a friend or family member asking me about it. But, if you have any other questions...please feel free to ask in the comments below and I will do my best to answer!

You can see more over at my post on Architectural Digest's Clever to see the details on what a Construction Loan can cover.

{Photos by Lily Glass. Styling by Wilmarose Orlanes, styling assistance by Jess Hong.