Last week, in preparation for our design selection appointment, we were invited to a Design Center open house. There, we met our assigned interior designer and received a folder with a list of prices for everything that is upgradable above any standard option. The design center is heaven for any designer with rooms decorated beautifully in different styles to give their visitors an idea of the finished product. The space also held library-style display walls with an impressive variety of flooring, knobs, faucets, and anything else you can think of for a home. Everything was labeled with levels of quality and price which made it very easy for us to gauge how much upgrades would potentially run. Based on how much we qualified for our mortgage, we were able to estimate how much to spend for upgrades above the price of the home.
Yesterday, we returned to the design center for the highly anticipated scheduled three-hour appointment. The day had finally arrived, and we were obviously ecstatic. Our interior designer set expectations for the day as we gathered at a large working table. Our designer entered everything in her computer starting with the floors going down the list from room to room. We had decided on a fine wood floor for the whole first floor and inquired how much it would cost to add it to the second-floor hallways and master bedroom. We felt the wood floor pricing was higher from what we had seen at some of the big box stores, but acknowledged the pricing included installation and that this higher-quality wood would not be readily available.
The focus was then moved to the kitchen, selecting the colors and styles for the countertops, cabinets, door handles, drawer knobs, faucet, sink, appliances, and even under cabinet lighting. At times it was difficult to decide from so many options and styles available. For example, there were a few quartz countertop options we really liked, since none of the standard options appealed to us. Thinking of resale value, we agreed with a lighter color cabinet and a stunning natural quartz that complemented the wood floors and the cabinetry perfectly. Upgrades were also made from the standard appliances to stainless steel.
Three hours flew by the time we had selected everything for the bathrooms, public areas and even the low voltage system for the whole house. What was really interesting is that we were able to create a central system in which all communication (wi-fi, internet, cable, etc.) were housed, allowing us not having to see any wires, modems, or routers sitting around the house.
Looking back at the day, it was incredibly rewarding with very little disagreements. Was it exhausting? Yes, definitely! The amount of decisions that needed to be made were overwhelming at times. Coming in with an open mind to the possibilities was a good way to think about this day. It made a world of difference. Our interior designer was incredibly helpful answering all our questions and showing us options when we couldn’t make up our minds. Above it all, it was exciting to select the choices for our house interiors and can slowly see it becoming a home in our minds.
By the end of the appointment, our designer gave us a 43-page document with all the upgrades with their cost, listing every item one by one. We went home and reviewed the document carefully to ensure everything aligned with what we had selected and the amount we had set aside for upgrades. We also took lots of pictures of each item by room, which was extremely helpful since there were so many items to review. Luckily, we were close to our target figure, but were unsure on a few items, therefore the time between the first and second appointment allowed us the time to think of this more thoughtfully. Everyone has a vision of what a home should look like, with the best of the best. When one is presented with the reality, how much things cost, it is a little perplexing. It adds up quickly too. Thankfully we were given a credit toward the upgrades which was used up pretty quickly.
At a second design appointment this week, we finalized the selection process by deciding what we wanted to change, remove, or add to the list. With this builder, we are required to provide a 30% deposit from the total cost of all upgrades after we have signed the upgrade contract.
What’s next? We should be breaking ground in about a week and closing around September 24 (trusting there are no hurricanes). We’ll be sharing more of the event when the moment arrives!