Hello Everyone and welcome to the May 2022 edition of The Nap Times! If you are receiving this and do not want a monthly newsletter from me, simply unsubscribe at the bottom. I totally get wanting to simplify and declutter your inbox and will not take it personally.
This newsletter topic is all about our recent build: how we chose a contractor, a few things I wish I had thought through better, a few mistakes I made, and a decision I am in the process of making! Then, we will end the way we always do with current things I have read/listened to/watched.
Stay tuned to the end for a special discount code (exclusive to The Nap Times subscribers) on a program I am re-launching tomorrow. You also get early access! 🤫 🤗
CHOOSING A CONTRACTOR
There are so many ways to go about this and I feel like the process can be very overwhelming. There are three things I want to say:
First off, if possible, get a recommendation from a friend, I would start there. Even if you're new to an area, try your neighborhood Facebook group or preschool email list. It is easier than starting on the internet. Plus, your friend can give you a much better picture of how working with said contractor really went. My brother, Will, had not used our contractor personally, but had friends who used him and only had good things to say. So, I got his number and called.
Second (and this is what mattered most to me): the first meeting matters. When I contacted our contractor he called me back. When he said he would meet me, he did. He told me he would get me a quote within a week, and he did. Also, he was nice. Before our project ever started, I knew he was reliable and timely. He responded to text messages and questions within a day. Even when there were delays with materials (something he couldn't control), he would communicate those things to us quickly and with a game plan (what he could control). And I know I have already said it, but he was nice. Do not underestimate how much having a contractor that is nice and respectful matters. You are going to be talking with this person A LOT.
Last, if the first meeting does go well, make sure you know who will be your point of contact on the contractor's team. At the first meeting for the last house project we did (closing in our laundry room a few years back) the man I met with for the initial meeting was awesome. He was knowledgeable and had great people skills. Unfortunately, I didn't realize I would not see him again after that first meeting. When the project began, there was a completely different person as the project manager. He wasn't very kind and rarely called me back. I had no idea that the man I met with was the head of a much larger team. All that to say, ask who you will be working with. Try and get a meeting with that person if you can.
FYI - our contractor was Frankie Rogers of Rogers Custom Builders. This is not a sponsored email; he has no idea I am writing it! But if you are looking to do an addition/renovation in the Charleston area, I cannot recommend him enough.
A FEW THINGS I WISH I HAD KNOWN/THOUGHT THROUGH BEFORE WE STARTED
Order items besides windows and doors early. Windows, doors, and many appliances are hard to get right now. But so many other things I knew I wanted were backordered as well! The bathroom vanity I loved had a six month wait. The desks I loved had a four month wait. We had our house plans for months before we started building and I wish I had started researching things I wanted then, when the wait time would have been fine.
When thinking for items like cabinets, be sure to think for the house as a whole, not just a single room. I say this because we ordered our bathroom vanity from cabinets.com (had a great experience!), and I wish I also would have ordered drawers for our closets from there. I was thinking of the house room by room, and not as a whole. For example, if you are ordering cabinets for a kitchen, you can easily add cabinets for a bathroom.
Stacked tile shows more imperfections than brick-laid tile. Sadly, I don't think I would have ever learned this had we not gone for the stacked tile look. Stacked tile means the tiles are, well, stacked. In perfect lines one on top of the other. Brick-laid is your classic subway tile look, or like the bricks on a house. I love how the stacked tile looks, but if even one tile is slightly tilted or out of line it shows drastically more than brick-laid tile would. Brick laid tile hides way more imperfections because the tiles are offset from one another.
The moment you can do paint samples, DO THEM! Things started to pick up and we needed our paint choices pronto. Once your drywall is in place, you can start painting some samples, giving yourself extra time to decide. I waited until Frankie told me he needed my paint colors to decide my paint colors. I do not suggest this.
If possible, try to order fragile items locally. Sadly, we have had 4 mirrors delivered shattered. I know there are certain things you might need to order, but if you can ship to store or purchase locally, I highly suggest it.
Above is a small picture of the stacked tile. As you can see, it gets a little off here. It is not the end of the world, but there are many places where this is the case. With a brick-laid tile, tiny imperfections like this would be hidden.
SOME OF THE BEST THINGS WE DID
Being in a rental close by was definitely the way to go! I could pop over almost daily, and I did. This allowed us to grab anything we needed from the house, drop in to answer any questions, and also catch a few mistakes that were being made. Here's the biggest thing I noticed: if I made myself available for questions, people asked me questions! I would simply drop in and say, “is there anything you need from me?” and nine times out of ten, the painter/plumber/carpenter/electrician/etc. would say, “Actually, yes. How did you want ______ done?” Even if you have no reason to go by your renovation, just go by and see if they need you to answer anything. This will save you so much headache in having to have something redone.
Hiring a designer was the best money I could have spent. If you are going to spend tons of money for things you have to buy anyways, by all means have someone that knows what they are doing help you! I asked my friend Jennigray if I could hire her to help me. She has moved twice and I have loved the way she styles her houses. I knew she understood my style and desires and would be a good fit. I think what people are afraid of with a designer is the extra cost, and yes, there is an extra cost involved. However, they are often good at having you spend money on what matters most to you as well as finding deals on items or a less expensive similar item. Plus, there are so many things you will have to purchase and choose: lighting, paint color, trim color, bathroom tile, closet layout. Have someone with confidence and skill help you. Without Jennigray this would have been miserable for me. I would have hated it! She made it so fun, helped me find confidence in things I loved, and steered me in the right direction to make rooms cohesive. Also, you are paying a designer for their time. It's time you don't have to spend scouring the internet for the perfect pendant light (my personal version of hell).
Use the notes app on your phone for a running list of things to tell/ask your contractor. I had a running checklist on my phone and anytime anything came to mind related to the house, I would write it down. Each time Nate and I met with Frankie, I would go through the list. If something was resolved, it got checked off. If the matter wasn't yet solved, it stayed unchecked. I now have a note on my phone called “punch list” that contains all the final things we need to do. Anytime I see something, it gets added to the list. Having this all on my phone meant I could add to it anytime and never leave it behind.
Use a Home Reno Binder. You all know my love for a Home Binder! I made a special binder specifically for the addition. In it, I kept wall paper samples, room dimensions, receipts for items purchased, inspiration photos I ripped out of magazines, etc. Having this all in one place meant I could take the binder with me when I went shopping for a specific item or to the paint store. Having each room's dimension written down took out the guesswork when ordering a rug, etc.
This is a screenshot of my current list for Frankie
AND FINALLY, A POLL!
Below is a photo of our bedroom. All along, I had planned on doing plantation shutters. I love shutters! I even had a sample made (Zack from Budget Blinds is helping me and he's awesome!) to make sure the shutter color matches the trim (it does). However, in the waiting process, Nate and I have come to love the view in here. We definitely want some sort of privacy, but now I am not sure if shutters are the way to go. Maybe we should do a curtain instead so each morning we can open it and get the full view. What do you think? I am putting a poll below! (I don't think I want to do blinds; it's between shutters and curtains for me.)
*I am going to use this section to only share things I read/watched I would suggest to another person. I definitely read/listened to/watched some duds!
I am currently reading I Guess I Haven't Learned That Yet by Shauna Niequist. Shauna is my favorite author (If you have never read Bread and Wine, I beg you, read it this summer!) and this is her newest book.
I have now listened to the three part audiobook compilation of Steal Like an Artist, Show Your Work!, and Keep Going (all by Austin Kleon) TWICE! All three are super short (you can listen to all of them combined in about six hours), and I will buy these three books to read again and underline. If you are a creative in any field (which really, we all are) I would read or listen to these.
And yes, I am still HEAVY on the Wordle train and it is one of the highlights of my day! I love how it causes me to use my brain early in the morning.
I have decided to take a deep dive into 1990's Meg Ryan movies and so far it is giving me life! Started with You've Got Mail (currently on Netflix) and Nate and I watched Top Gun last night (did you know she's in that one?!). With everything happening in the world, 1990's Meg Ryan is what I need.
The kids and I are still watching The Great British Baking Show! It is honestly one of the most enjoyable things in my life right now. And that's not to say my life isn't enjoyable…it's that British Baking is SO ENJOYABLE. If your world feels heavy, I highly suggest this show. *We started in Season 5 (which I know isn't ideal but that is what Netflix offers). After this season I am going to go in search of seasons 1-4. From what I have learned, I can only watch seasons 1-2 on PBS/PBS.com
THE HOME RESET IS BACK JUNE 1!
Because you have been such a loyal subscriber to the newsletter, I really want to say THANK YOU by giving you a discount on the Home Reset as it re-launches tomorrow! I am also giving you early access, so you can purchase it TODAY!
Today through June 30, you will have access to the program with $10 OFF!
That means you will get the entire Home Reset, with 14 episodes for the original price of $50 instead of the $60 everyone else will pay.
DISCOUNT CODE: THENAPTIMES
Enter this code at checkout for your discount.
WHAT IS THE HOME RESET?
In this audio course, Ioutline what I actually do to refresh our home a few times a year. The entire course contains 14 audio files, which take you through 12 areas. Each audio file comes with a PDF checklist.
Kitchen Part 1: Fridge/Freezer
Kitchen Part 2: Pantry and Cabinets
Bathrooms (this includes medicine cabinets and linens)
Bedrooms and Closets
Final Pep Talk
I believe wholeheartedly that this course will change the way your home functions. Are you ready to try it out for yourself? Click the link below to get started, and don't forget to enter the coupon code "thenaptimes" at checkout!