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Advice on paint colors

by Shalice Noel
Dover white and Iron Ore

We went with “Dover White”

When building a new house, it is exciting to be able to pick the exterior colors.  But the pressure is on.  We will guide you through our exterior paint and finish selections. 

First things first, drive around your area.  Take note of what appeals to you.  Snap a picture of inspirational homes you see while driving or walking the neighborhoods.  We recommend seeing these paint colors in person verses online images.  Daylight and shadows can make a huge difference in paint colors only visible in person. Also, if the house is north or south facing can affect the color. When investigating paint colors, make a spreadsheet of everything that would need a color.  See below for a template.

Home Color Inspiration
  Window TrimWindow SashDoorsSidingGarageGutters / Downspouts
House AddressColor      
House AddressColor      
House AddressColor      
House AddressColor      

As you record what you see in detail, keep in mind the rule of three.  Aesthetically, the exterior should only have 2 – 3 colors.  The white farmhouse has dominated Georgia neighborhoods, so we decided to veer towards a creamier pallet.  We were also inspired on a modern take on the white and black look.  You’ll see what I mean by the photos.

With the rule of 3 colors or less, decide which are your favorite combinations.  Also consider the undertones of each color.  We also chose antique copper, exterior light fixtures, and the Dover White and Iron Ore is the perfect colors to compliment. Here is a list of our paint selections:

Our Home Selections
  Window TrimWindow SashDoorsSidingGarageGutters / Downspouts
House AddressColorDover WhiteDover WhiteIron OreDover WhiteDover WhiteDover White

As for interiors, we went with Snowbound for the trim and Pure White for the walls. More on the interior later!

Read more about our move to Georgia HERE.

Read more about the realities of a semi custom build and our house selections HERE.

What do you think? Are you bold enough to go with a black and white combination?

Looking for a new home is a stressful ordeal, but also can be fun and opportunity to express your creativity.  We have bought and sold many homes in the last 10 years.   This will be the first time we’ve done a semi-custom new build.

Tips on finding a new build?

We looked daily for on-line listings.  The most important factor is always location.  We wanted a couple acres, no HOA and low property taxes.  We then filtered our home searches to these categories.  You will need to research property taxes in your state to know best rates.  As artists, we didn’t want an HOA as well as the extra cost that come with it.

When looking for new-builds, you can use the search engine filter to show you all new-builds on the market.  In my opinion, these homes are often over-looked by the public.  Therefore, a benefit to new builds will be less competition and rarely paying over asking.

Look for homes that show pictures of the home fully framed or recently sheet rocked.  Most likely, the builder will have the home finished in a few months.  Here is why the timing is super important.  You want in before the builder chooses finishes.  We went under contract with our home right before the builder was about to select finish and finalize the cabinetry.  We were ecstatic to be able to provide our personal design touches to the home.

We customized the kitchen with a range cubby, tile selections, counters, laundry room layout, school room loft details and were able to choose all lighting.  We wanted all the design creativity without the long wait.

Since you chose the home based only on framing and drawings, it is a bit risky not knowing what it will look like when finished.  You must be able to take that risk and trust your vision.  You are also picking the house you like without knowing much about the builder.  It’s kind of like a blind date.  Before you fall in love with the home, research who the builder is.  Look for references and reviews.  Our builder lived nearby the new home, so we trusted him and his craftsmanship.

You are now having to learn to work with the builder as a team. 

Here are some tips that we learned.  Ask the builder what they had in mind first.  Then go from there if you want to upgrade or adjust.  You don’t want to change anything drastic and the builder most likely won’t agree to it.  Some changes we made were adding arches to doorways in the main living space, adding a built-in school desk for the kids and having hanging gas lanterns instead of wall sconces.  NOTE: any big changes you must make to the house (within reason) should be added to the contract before you finalize the offer. Ours was the range cubby, but I wish I asked for a stairway off the back patio. This is key.  Communication with the builder is very important and keep a record of all decisions and receipts. Any upgrades we had like lighting, we paid for and kept receipts of.

As we write, we have 1 month left of our semi-custom build. Some of the pro’s of this experience have been just that, a good experience! We love seeing a quick turnaround, like the arches we asked for, put in that same week. Some con’s have been the fact that we feel like we’re flying blind, not knowing what to expect and when. Like I said earlier, it’s a risk, but if you don’t jump, you can’t fly. We’re super excited to share more blog posts of REAL experiences that social media glosses over or fails to divulge the details. Want a paint color, we will share it, want a tile source, we will share it. What else would you like to see? Please share your thoughts and comments below. Thanks for sharing this journey with us.

Here’s a sneak peek of our faucet, lighting and tile we chose:

Lighting we chose

The Jacqueline chandelier is on sale!

Faucets we chose

Tile we chose

White hexagon tile

Foyer Black and white tile

Boys bathroom hexagon floor tile

Boys subway tile for the wall

Girls bathroom shower floor marble hexagon

Girls bathroom white hexagon floor

Master bathroom floor tile in running board

Master bathroom shower floor

Laundry room tile

Similar vegan shorts // Shopshalicenoel tee // 327 New Balance sneakers tts //

Want to see more?

Let me know in the comments

As you’ve seen on my social media, we are going through a housing transition in our family, again.  I want to share our experiences in the housing market.  Buying and selling.  How to work with realtors and how to make a final housing decision

We decided to strategically sell our last home for a number of reasons.  A major one was, Reid had a job offer back in California.  We also seem to sell after every kitchen renovation.  We do this because we feel our home has the most value while the newly remodeled kitchen is fresher.  For some reason, we deny ourselves the beauty of living in a new kitchen.  As designers, we love a new project.  We also felt the timing of our sale would be ideal late summer.

We listed our house in August and priced it competitively.  It seemed like the house was on the market for a while and we were extremely discouraged knowing all the work we had poured into it.  We did one price drop and finally got some better offers.  Ironically, many of the people interested in the house were from California.  We finally went under contract, but did not have another house for us to purchase at the time.  This was panic time.

Buying and selling is unavoidably stressful, so do not do it as often as we do.  We felt that we could not buy a home until ours closed, just in case something fell through in the contract.  At this time, we were planning on moving back to California and house buying is difficult and contingencies are not ideal for a buyer’s offer.  Therefore, we had our hands tied until our home closed. 

Once we closed, we made a house hunting trip to California, with the entire family.  The kids were grieving their friends in Georgia and I had a gut feeling of hesitation.  My gut is usually what we go with.  In summary, we could not find a desirable house in California for the right price, size or condition.  It was gut wrenching.  One house that Reid loved and would have made for great content had a squatter living in it.  Could you imagine?  The kids revolted and my gut finally said, that’s it.   We decided to pivot back to Georgia and Reid would work remote.

Fortunately, we were able to stay with family and neighbors for a couple weeks and then Florida, while we searched.  We focused our house hunt within a 20 minutes radius of our church.

What have we learned about making a final decision on a home purchase?  Here are five tips we’ve experienced.

1)     Location is always everything.

2)    Know the value of the home and don’t get emotional.  (Study the recently sold listings to get a sense of fair values.  We will go back to old listings that we put offers on or were interested in to learn that the homes sold for exactly what we thought.  The realtor will try and get you to pay the most you are willing to pay to secure the deal in their best interest, but you need to be confident that you are the market and you know what you are willing to pay for.  Remember, you are the ones making the payments, not the realtors.)

3)    As designers, it’s easy to think of ways you can change a home, but consider cost of labor and materials.

4)    You will not find everything you are looking for, so don’t expect it.

5)    Date the rate, but marry the house.  We were overly concerned about changing interest rates until someone shared this with us:  We felt rushed buying a certain home, knowing the interest rates would rise the next day.  This was a bad mistake because we didn’t really love the home or the value we were getting.  Therefore, remember this saying:  Date the interest rate, but marry the house.  Interest rates throughout financial history have gone up and down, typically in a 3 to 7 years cycle.

While looking for homes, we were always disappointed in something about the house.  We ended up finding a listing that was at the framing stage and ready for the new owners to select finishes and we jumped on it. More on our new home later and our experience with new construction.  This is all new to us, so stay tuned!

Xo

Shalice

How to hang mini wreaths

by Shalice Noel

Mini wreaths from Trader Joes Similar here and here // Commando hooks // Gas lanterns // Cardigan in small // Modal Tee (in XS) // Joggers //

I like to keep holiday decorating cheap and simple to avoid distraction from the real meaning of Christmas. Wreaths are a great way to add Christmas character to your home but can be expensive. I chose these small scale candle wreaths from Trader Joes and they fit perfectly on our french doors. The wreaths were $9.99 and were able to buy one for each door for a great balance to our front porch. We used 3M command hooks to stick to the door. The wreaths don’t weigh much, so any size hooks should do. The hooks hold up to 3 pounds. I want to avoid permanently damaging our wood doors, so the hooks are a great find. Some people have complained the hooks don’t stick in humid climates, but so far so good for us in Florida.

I also plan to place dwarf evergreen trees in our planters and add some exterior string lights. The front porch decorating budget was $100. See what you can come up with this season and show me!

Chairs // Pressure Washer 2000PSI // Dyson Vacuum //

OWNING VACATION RENTAL PROPERTIES IS NOT ALL HOLIDAY

After renting out properties in Chicago, Lake Arrowhead, and now Florida, Reid and I have seen it all. Well, maybe not everything, but pretty close. We’ve had new chairs ruined by renters making holes in the seats, oven knobs shirred off, and another oven broken for 2 months. You never know what will happen next. We have compiled some highs, and not-so-glamorous realities below.

Like many of you, one of our financial goals is to have residual income in a variety of investment types.  Think barstool.  Each leg is a different means of income.  Vacation rental properties are one leg, but lots of stress. Is it worth it? Keep reading.

TIP: Properties require maintenance, visit your rental once a month to check-in.  As an investment property, you can stay on the property 14 days out of the year for holiday.  However, we recommend you visit the property at least once a month for maintenance and check-in.  It is work, not a vacation.  We use a local property manager for support, but we still find it necessary to keep things looking clean and maintained ourselves.  Management varies by percentages and involvement. Ours doesn’t cover landscaping. We pull weeds, scrub walls, change light bulbs, power wash the exterior and caulk sinks/showers.  Sweat equity is always worth it. I secretly love weeding, especially when there’s not a million mosquitos biting my legs.

TIP: Do things that require professionals during the off-season. The complication to your vacation rental is you have a small window of time between bookings to schedule big maintenance items, so plan-ahead.  We replaced our crawl space insulation with spray foam.  This isn’t a fun expense, but over time it will keep utility costs down.

TIP: Interior design is pivotal to your vacation property brand, but keep durability in mind when making a purchase.  We noticed after only six months of guest, the upholstery is already looking worn.  Keep knick-knacks and breakables to a minimum in the house.  To decorate, we used antique books around the house.  Books add warmth, are cheap, non-breakable and easy to replace.  The basic rule is, don’t get too attached. Your rental will likely experience lots of wear and tear and plan to budget to replace furniture at least once a year. Despite the losses, broke items, highs and lows, is it worth it? We say yes.

TIP: Bring your gently used furniture from your primary house into your rental. You don’t wanna buy new for a rental that gets A LOT of wear and tear. We recently brought our ottoman and rugs to our rental to freshen up the interior and take out the rugs that have seen better days. We’ll enjoy new rugs in our home while our rental gets a glow up.

How about you, have you taken the rental plunge? Share your tips below! Or email me shalice@shalicenoel.com

NSALE Home finds

by Shalice Noel

Sheets // Honey Art Print // Wall Art // Black Box // Indoor garden // Duvet Cover //

This is our new sectional from Kathy Kuo Home

Exact one HERE


We have a new addition to our home.  A new sectional.  With seven people in our home we are often fighting for seats, so a new sectional was a part of our peace treaty.  When picking out a sectional, keep size and scale in mind.  We’ve discussed this before when we purchased our Pasadena house sectional.  See article here.

For our current home, the space is not large.  In Georgia, they call it a Keeping Room.  A sectional is a big investment, so study the specs carefully.  To make sure the dimensions work for your space, a helpful tip someone gave me is to use blue masking tape on the floor to match the sectional dimensions. It’s a great way to visualize how the sectional will look before it’s delivered. Genius!

In terms of style, I like a modern look with sharp corners and rectangular geometry.  I prefer couches that sit off the floor as if it was floating.  I also like cushions that are fastened down to keep the kids from having pillow fights.

The color is beige and coordinates with our fireplace stone work and mantle.  I LOVE how this room turned out. A perfect marriage of modern and traditional. What do you think?

I’m not one to air my dirty laundry, but here are five reasons to switch to a “clean” laundry detergent. 

We recently made the full-time switch to a non-toxic laundry detergent after my son was experiencing daily itchiness.  (Non-toxic in the sense of normal conditions of use). Add this laundry detergent to your monthly subscribe and save now, for the most bang for your buck.  One bottle is about 32 loads of laundry.

1)    Big-box laundry detergents typically have overwhelming fragrances that make me gag.  This laundry detergent has a soft jasmine fragrance and keeps your clothes smelling fresh.

2)    My son’s skin sensitivities have not been an issue since we switched.

3)    The detergent is so “clean” it is greywater safe, meaning…if you have a greywater system in your house you can use the used wash machine water to water your garden.

4)    A “little” detergent goes a long way.  Less than a capful.  We do one load of laundry a day and go through one bottle a month.  Perfect for the monthly subscription that saves you 15% off.  That way, I save a trip to the store and buy more impulsive snacks we don’t need.

5)    We even got Reid’s mom to make the switch.  She always bought whatever was on sale at the grocery store, but now she’s tried it and loves the value and quality.

Use code SHALICE for new customers – $10 off!

Stay tuned for an amazing giveaway with Calinicoastal!

Also, see our kitchen in a magazine! Way to go!! Read all about it in this link

PENDANTS FROM CALINICOASTAL // NEOLITH COUNTERTOPS in calcutta luxe // SINK with accessories // FAUCET // ANTIQUE MIRROR TILE

Images by Jill Blue Photography

DIY custom framed art

by Shalice Noel

I was getting tired of the inflated shipping and delays, but wanted some killer framed art for the kitchen.

The last time we were in FL, Reid took some beautiful pictures in Alys Beach. Can you tell that’s our happy place? More of our FL house and 10 things to do in Destin HERE.

Ok, so how did you create this custom look, you ask, for roughly $80 each? Notably, it is nearly half of what I would spend otherwise. Keep reading.

1.First, I ordered 2 8×10 images that Reid took, in matte on Walmart.com and had them shipped.

2. Next I ordered a 24×24 frame from Amazon. Unfortunately, I noticed its not available right now, so I linked similar

3. I needed a 24×24″ matte with a 8×10 opening so I found one on Etsy, you can customize your opening. I chose 8×10. $30 each wasn’t bad! I love a rectangle within a square.

I love the look and this was a super fun project, though I hurt my hands a little doing it.

What do you think?

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