Heights House Build: 20 Week Update

Checking in at the 20 week milestone, sharing what’s coming next and new DIY projects underway at the Riverside Retreat! Watch it all in today’s vlog episode:

Click on the photos below to see the progression since breaking ground in September:

Onto the first big update… we have FLOORS!

I posted video & photo in my Instagram during the installation a couple weeks ago, and you guys went nuts over them… more than anything else I’ve posted in a long time. I can see why…

These are the Villa Barcelona engineered French oak wood planks from Lowe’s, in the color Terassa. They are a newer product so no reviews yet and I ordered them sight unseen—luckily, the risk paid off!

They come in varying lengths of 5″ and 7″ planks, and the tone ranges from a light natural oak to a light-medium oak with cool brown undertones.

A wire brushed and sawmark texture gives them an aged reclaimed look, which is enhanced by the matte finish. It seems like these will be very durable, easy to clean and any dents/scratches will blend right in with the natural texture. These are our “forever floors” in this house and we couldn’t be happier!

I’ll wait until we’ve lived with them for a while to post my review, but so far this is one of the best decisions we’ve made for this new build. Huge relief!

Another fun update is the new flagstone on our turret:

It was a bit of a struggle trying to explain my vision to the installer (space the stones out farther! More mortar!) and getting the right mortar color was a bit of an ordeal, BUT all things considered, I don’t think it turned out too bad.

It was fun to watch the technique. Like icing a cake!

Then came the exterior window trim. I’ll admit, I was more nervous about this than anything.

I had chosen the shape and texture of the mold, but couldn’t visualize exactly how it would look. Especially the shape of the arches on the front and back windows—there was some miscommunication and I was worried it’d be a disaster.

Fortunately, I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I pulled up the next day and loved what I saw.

Yep… I can live with this.

The window trim will be painted a natural stone color (medium warm gray—still deciding on color) and I think I’ll fill in the eyebrow area above the windows with black to give the illusion of arched windows. We’ll be testing that out this weekend!

As for the rest of the exterior—today we’re headed to the nursery to work through our landscaping plans. We’ve been drawing up ideas to fill our 10,000sf lot…

Tell me in the comments: would you be interested in learning more about our landscaping plans? This is the first time we’ve ever done anything like this, so we’re trying to learn as much as we can, and I’d be happy to share our process for anyone who is curious.

After our plans are in place, we can begin irrigation, hardscaping, and laying sod. We also need to have concrete steps poured in the front, along with sidewalks and a driveway in the back.

Let’s head back inside… our kitchen cabinets are arriving today!!

I’ll keep you posted on that (check my Instagram stories for live updates) as they are installed later this week.

Our custom 7′ doors are also ready to be installed…

Along with all of the door trim and baseboards.

And remember that antique door I scored from a local salvage shop almost a year ago?

Hello, laundry room door! We’ll have to modify it a bit to make it work, but what a stunner.

On Monday, the first delivery for the master bathroom arrived…

Soon I’ll share all the details about our plans for this room so I won’t give anything else away now… but hello DREAM TILE.

While we’re on the topic of fun pretty things, I placed the first orders for lighting! Starting with the foyer… this was a tough decision that I went back and forth on.

I posted a poll in my IG stories, and there was a pretty clear winner

I was leaning towards this one too, and I ended up getting the polished nickel version because it’s $177 less (what?!) so I’ll just spray paint it black and no one will know the difference.

I also found this really cool lantern for above the front door…

It fits perfectly with the old European castle feel, don’t you think?

Also, I can no longer make decisions without the help of Photoshop. Thank you, Adobe.

Another big decision that I’ve been mulling over for months is the living room chandelier. This will be one of the first things you see when you walk in, and it’s the largest and grandest room in the house, so it needed something special.

I was so close to pulling the trigger on this wagon wheel style chandelier

But the price was a bit steep considering we have to buy a ton of fixtures to fill this entire house, and I’ve been seeing this style a lot lately so I thought I’d go for something a little less common.

And then I found the one

Sleek lines, simple and elegant, oversized for a large room and super affordable for the size. It actually comes in a smaller size and I debated on which one to get. Photoshop saves the day, once again.

Here’s the large 53.5″ size:

And the smaller 40×40″: 

I always err on the side of larger, so it was a pretty easy choice! Once all of the furniture is in place, I think it’ll work out nicely.

Next up, the master bedroom chandelier

This one caught my eye months ago, and it’s SUCH a bargain I couldn’t pass it up. I love the wagon wheel style and the gold finish is lovely. It just arrived yesterday!

My last lighting purchase was three of these brass picture lights:

The plan is to install them here on the main wall behind the dining table (the sconce boxes have already been installed):

In my search for these lights, I realized how insanely expensive picture lights are! I don’t really understand it—maybe because they’re not super common? I ran across several (cheap looking) LED/plug-in/battery operated or frame-mounted types that didn’t fit the bill, and I was very close to splurging on these

But couldn’t bring myself to spend almost $900 for 3 lights. The ones I chose have good ratings online, so I’m hoping for the best.

Of course there’s still many more light fixtures to purchase, but I don’t want to make any impulse buys so I’m in no rush. We can install the rest later on our own time!

I was going to talk about trim paint colors next but realized there’s enough there to save for its own post. And because paint colors are such a popular topic, I didn’t want it to get buried and lost at the bottom of another post, so stay tuned to see what we chose and if I was able to find the perfect greige!

Signing off with loads more projects coming your way soon…

54 thoughts on “Heights House Build: 20 Week Update

  1. Love that you mixed the flooring widths instead of just doing one width, we did that in our house too and I love the look!

  2. So very beautiful! Love the floors and the chandelier choices, the moulding on the outside windows is spot on! I can’t wait to see the finished project! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Yes to landscaping! We have a huge yard and I have no clue what to do with it!

    AND! Everything looks great! Can’t wait to see the outside elements at the Riverside Retreat, plus more progress at the Height’s House.

  4. Yes to landscaping also. I am really interested in costs of drainage and pre planting prep. We are in a different climate, your old stomping grounds, but I am looking forward to overall design of the garden also. Very interesting info on picture lighting. I hadn’t thought about that for our new build and was leaning more toward adjustable ceiling lighting for the artwork. I really like your idea and am going to do a search now for some midcentury modern style picture lighting. I learn so much from you two. Thanks guys. Oh, and the floors are beautiful!

  5. Hi Jenna, we are not too far ahead of you in our remodel and so it’s awesome watching your process. I had to laugh about explaining how to mortar and some miscommunication. I had all that here too. Also, picture frame lights are def expensive we added one tonour kitchen above our floating shelves. I couldn’t understand the price tags myself. Can’t wait to see your home together more.

    1. Thanks Deb! At this point it’s a miracle if *anything* goes exactly as pictured… I guess that’s what happens when you’re a perfectionist 🙂

  6. WOW ! Beautiful selections! So exciting to come to your blog and see updates. The floors etc are gorgeous . Love the light fixtures you have chosen. You have a very unique style and it’s lovely !! Yes please to landscape details.

  7. So much progress! What a great post! I love the way the front stones turned out. Sometimes it’s painful to manage people and even have them start over when you just want it to be done already, but so worth it. I hear you on the photoshop prep. I’m a graphic designer and can’t do any home project without first seeing my options! I’m loving the idea of painting the “eyebrows” black on the windows to create the illusion of arches. Genius!! Once the landscaping is in, I think it will truly fool the eye. The floors have really really good texture. All those trim colors look amazing and I can’t wait to see what you ultimately chose. I am interested in all aspects of landscape design so that would be a great read for me. Sidenote: We signed up for “chip drop” and have been getting free truckloads of mulch dropped off on our 3 acres. It’s the most cost efficient landscaping ever, but we do have to rent a bobcat to spread it out when we get multiple dumps at once.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Kristen! I’ve never heard of chip drop but that sounds amazing! We’ll be needing a ton of mulch to fill the property so I’ll look into that.

  8. I would love to hear about the landscaping. Everything is looking so good already, it’s going to be amazing with the landscaping.

  9. Yes, please post on landscaping. My husband and I built our dream home, but two years later and we’re still struggling with landscaping.

  10. Such a beautiful home. I love every single choice you have made. I cannot wait to see the finished product!!!

  11. Another “yes” vote on landscaping posts. Also, if you’d be interested, I’d love a post on how to mock up design choices in Photoshop (AND keep them to scale.)

    Thanks a million! LOVE your house and can’t wait for more.

  12. I would love to see your landscaping designs. How timely, I have been looking at flooring and absolute love your wood floor choice. I will be at Lowe’s this weekend. I am so enjoying this project, you are so talented and inspiring.

  13. In the video, at 3:42, you show a list of things to do, and then the month is located across from them. Could you explain your process?

    1. It’s not very structured 🙂 We just keep a spreadsheet of all of the projects that need to be done, and try to schedule/plan them out by month. It’s constantly changing though since things always pop up, but it’s nice to be able to keep track so we have a realistic picture of our timeline.

  14. My advice on any landscaping plans is to consider the type of person you are. Are you “ love to work in my yard every weekend” type person or are you “ I’d rather be enjoying my yard rather than maintaining it.” Let that answer guide your choices. I am the latter so I always look for low maintenance hardy plants. I also replaced our mulch with lava and river rocks(I have a large cul-de-sac lot and every year we would have to spread at least 8 yards of mulch and that got to be a big pain. There are also sustainable materials/mulch substitutes available. Just something to consider.

    1. We are definitely low-maintenance people but willing to put some effort into this in order to get the plants we want! We’re going to talk to a couple landscapers to see what they recommend. Thanks for the tips!

  15. If you haven’t already rented the jack hammer, we had good luck breaking up a concrete pad (although smaller than yours!) with a pry bar and sledge hammer. Use the pry bar to get under the concrete and lift part of it off the ground, once it isn’t all in contact with the ground anymore, it’s a lot easier to get it to break up. The long handled sledge hammer is a lot easier to get some force on it than the short handled ones, in my experience. But our concrete pad also already had some cracks in it, so it was easier to lever up pieces with the prybar than yours might be. I’m eager to see how it turns out! And yes to the landscaping, I love garden stuff !

    1. Thanks Jennifer! We tried that, and were able to break up part of the concrete, but the rest is a slab at least 6″ thick with a metal grid underneath to hold it in. Unfortunately there’s no possible way to break that up by hand… someone REALLY wanted this slab to stay there forever! :/

  16. Yes to landscaping! The floors are gorgeous just the right tone for any decor. Can you tell me more about them? For example, underpayment, ease of installing, how will they hold up to moisture, traffic, etc. Can’t wait to see it all come together, you two make a great team!!

    1. No underlayment needed with these (we glued straight onto the concrete) and we did not install them ourselves. They seem very durable from our limited time with them (they are covered up now), scratch resistant and they will hide imperfections since they have so much texture and color variation. I will share a review on Lowe’s once after live with them for a while!

  17. I love everything!! This is going to be the most beautiful house! It wouldn’t have occurred to me to use engineered hardwood, but I love the type you chose and it looks really lovely in the house. I can’t wait to see what you’re scheming with that black bathroom tile.

    And in case the other comments weren’t clear enough… please share all things landscaping!

  18. Yes, I would be interested in your landscape design. And I LOVE… LOVE… LOVE your floors! WOW!

  19. It’s looking so good! I’m anxiously awaiting your flooring review to see if that will be a good option for a home we’re buying. I’d love to hear about landscaping too and am curious about irrigation— I would have thought Florida got plenty of rain? It’s a pretty foreign climate for me so extra curious to hear all about it!

  20. I’d love to watch the landscaping develop!
    I do hope you’re going to have semicircular front stairs to echo the interior stairs. That would be so cool.

  21. Love LOVE the living room light!!! and the floors. We went with wire brushed hickory about 10 years ago and haven’t regretted one day! You’ll love the texture and the way these floors wear.. or don’t wear, or at least don’t show wear. Love the color as well, doesn’t show dirt!! Before you finalize your landscaping take a trip to Kerby’s Nursery in Brandon and take a look at some Florida natives. And be aware of the state list of invasives, but still sold i.e. Mexican Petunias, very invasive and will take over your yard. You don’t have to go all native. but a few will bring lots of birds and butterflies! Love the way your home is coming along!!

  22. Definite yes on landscaping posts (hard, soft, all of it).
    Your updates never disappoint, thanks for sharing these lovely views of both projects!

  23. I love your floors! I thought you said in a prior post that you couldn’t use hardwood in Florida due to the humidity. I love in San Antonio and it is humid here, too. Just wondering how they will do here. We live in a home built in 1953 with single pane steel casement windows like your current home dnd it gets very humid in here.

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