Tuesday, June 24, 2014


This is where it gets fun, and real, and stressful - when you pick all of the finishes, and there are so many decisions to make!

If you are building in the Lake Village with Destination Homes you get to go to their design center and have all the finishes right there at your fingertips, which as a designer & home builder, is SO helpful. Unfortunately there is that little problem of a budget. And even though this is my "virtual dream house" we thought it would be good for this to also be realistic exercise and keep it within a mid-range budget for this home.

Let's start with the BASICS:


I am a little bit of a wood-floor snob. I like my materials to be real, and not manufactured, (just like my food). The flooring on the left, is solid oak wood floor. The option on the right is a beautiful walnut, but it's engineered, so it will only last about 20 years. Still, a great option, but I think I will go with the solid oak floor (and it was basically the same price). That way I don't have to worry about replacing it down the road, just refinishing it.

As for the carpet, I am really liking this diamond patterned carpet. I installed something similar recently in a client's home and it creates a classic graphic feel. With having small children, I liked the middle swatch on the far right. It's a nice warm gray and not too light for kids. And this was a medium-priced carpet which worked for my budget! yes!


This is my go-to white for interior walls. I love this color because it's not too bright, but not too creamy. I've painted it in countless client's homes, and it will also be going in my virtual dream house!


lighting options at the design center
If you know me and my work at all, you know I am particular about lighting. Unfortunately the options at Destination Homes are too limited for me, so what I would do in this case is have them put in the standard, no additional fee lighting for me to replace once we move in. Why have them install any lights at all? Because lighting gets backordered, decisions are hard to make, and it would be nice to have some light fixtures in the home just-in-case.

Now on to the KITCHEN:


snapshot of the shaker cabinet style in the design center kitchen

I am a classics girl, so of course I love the shaker style, but also love when there is a bead detail, so my favorite door style was the blue door style. I love the extra detail. I would need to pay a little extra for that detail, but it's not much, so that's what I'm going with. And I LOVE the off-white color of the cabinet door on the top row, next to the blue door (in the middle). It's reminds me of the color of bone. Timeless.

(and for the laundry room, I would do the cabinets in that blue color - I love it!)


options, options, options!
my picks
As you can see in this picture, I would pair my "bone colored" cabinets with a honed black granite countertop (just below the cabinet door). And in the laundry room I would pair my blue cabinets with carrara marble.


As you can see in the picture above, there are a LOT of options for cabinet hardware. I am personally a fan of the cup pulls for the drawers and simple round knobs for the doors. I am especially liking the satin brass cup pulls on the bottom right. And on the long drawers, pairing two cup pulls together on the same drawer is a must.

And now the BATHROOMS:


This was probably the hardest part for me. Mostly because the tile I like best, was all in the most expensive category. I realized that I needed to splurge on my tile and countertop budgets and skimp on my faucets. Once I settled on that upgrade, all tile was available to me. Now to decide what I actually want to put in the bathrooms.

For the upstairs kids baths, I like the classic 1" hexagon for the floor. For the showers, I really like the "H-Line" series of 3x6 tile. I've been using this line of subway in a few remodels lately, and I love the colors and how it looks more luxe than the standard Home Depot subway. Especially liking the light blue and gray colors.

In the master bath, I really wanted to use carrara marble and the only carrara option was for the countertop. I opted to do a gray slate-looking floor and white subway in the shower. The H-Line series has a really nice looking chair rail and I would do a wainscot look with the chair rail and white subway, just like I did in my bathroom in my current home.

my basement bathroom with chair-rail boxes combined with subway tile

least expensive


It pains me to have to settle on anything in my virtual home, but in my opinion the tile is much more important than the fixtures, and fixtures are easier to replace down the line if our budget will one day allow. So the top photo is what I will be putting in all my bathrooms. Not bad, not great, but the rest of the finishes will be so beautiful, you won't even notice!


And finally the cabinets for the bathrooms. I want the blue cabinets in one of the kids bath, pedestal sinks in the other bathroom, and in the master, I think I'm going to stick with the same cabinets that are in the kitchen.

My designer/remodeler tip for the finishes phase is to stress over the more permanent finishes of the home, which are 1) Wood Flooring 2) Cabinets and 3) Tile. All of the lighting, plumbing, and hardware are relatively easy to change. Don't sweat these decisions, but make sure you love the permanent finishes and will be happy for years and years with what you chose.

And next and for my final post, I will be decorating my beautiful new virtual dream house! I don't know which phase I love more, the finishes or the decorating. Do you prefer one over the other?

And remember to check out the other blog posts in this series!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


The Great Outdoors plan from Destination Homes
Building a home for the majority of people is stressful and not a particularly enjoyable experience. The idea of building a home would be a dream come true for me, but still really stressful. The nice part about building with a home builder like Destination Homes is that they streamline the decision making process by giving you good options, but not endless options.

When building a home, the first thing you need to decide is the structure/floor plan of the home. Destination Homes has 3 floor plans you can choose from in the Lake Village and I went through all three when I visited. Although they all had their strong points, I was particularly drawn to the "Great Outdoors" floor plan.

Reading floor plans isn't the easiest thing, so I wish I had pictures of the home to illustrate the layout, but of course I picked the one home that was under construction in the drywall phase - nothing to look at.

So let me tell you why I picked this floor plan and what to think about when you are building a home of your own.

There's really only 1 thing you need to know when building a home : KNOW HOW YOU LIVE

David Christensen Photography
One of the main reasons I chose this floor plan is because we love to entertain and host family parties so a big dining room and family room that are close together are important. We can have a lot of people over in this home.

Charm and character are important to me. We don't particularly love huge kitchens, I care more about a cute dining nook, a quirky ceiling (like the ceiling in the kitchen I chose - you can't see it in the floor plan but it slopes a bit and would be super cute with ship lap/beadboard on the ceiling), and a pantry. And we aren't really kitchen island sitters, so a big island also wasn't as important to me as the dining room.

Elle Decor
Because of my job as a mother/interior designer, having a home office is important. This floor plan has a beautiful office space with big windows and a nice view. Possibly my favorite room in the home. It's also open to the main living area so my kids won't be in a basement with a closed door looking at the computer - also very important given how dangerous the internet can be!

I am lazy and forgetful. I do not love the idea of running up and down stairs to grab my keys that I forgot in my room, or my cell phone, or whatever. A main floor master is a must.

Terris Lightfoot Construction
Because we will have 3 girls (yes, this is my announcement that I'm pregnant with my 3rd girl!) we need 3 bedrooms on the same floor for our kids. This layout has 3 bedrooms on the top floor, but only 1 bathroom! What?! 3 one-day teenage girls sharing a bathroom? I think not. So the alteration I would make to the floor plan is to add another bathroom on the top floor where it is labeled "open to below". I was so glad Destination Homes has that option. It would be a must for me.

House & Garden circa 1939
And last, but not least, I love the outdoor courtyard/porch. It's the perfect size to do something cute like this, and great for hosting outdoor parties. Because after we go kayaking we need to eat :)

And that's how I decided on a floor plan. And can I stress how important getting the floor plan and layout right is?!!! You can change paint colors and tile much more easily than where bedrooms are located and how big your kitchen is. Spend your money on a great floor plan. When I go into old homes to remodel them, it's amazing how much money we save when we don't have to gut the home to create a good layout. It is crucial. Just saying.

And remember to check in next Wednesday to see what finishes I chose for my well-laid out home :) And of course visit my friends' posts to see what they chose for their virtual dream homes!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


As you know, I help with a lot of residential investment properties that my investors restore to their glory once again. A lot of times these homes are inexpensive homes with not a lot of curb appeal, and my job feels like I'm simply polishing a turd (excuse the graphic description, but that's what it feels like)

Once in a while I get cute little homes like this little charmer. It is in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City, and I only helped with the exterior paint colors, but it turned out quite nicely and I thought I would share it to inspire you this summer to give your exterior a little paint face-lift.


I almost hated painting the exposed brick because I think it's charming having that showing, but there wasn't a good way to paint the home and be able to leave it.

We painted the body of the home Benjamin Moore White Dove (my favorite go-to white), and the trim Ben Moore Narragansett Green. The home was built in 1891, so I wanted to achieve an architectural feel that would fit the time period of the home. I think the green and creamy white colors achieved the right look. And just think what some planter boxes under the windows and shutters on the window to the left of the front door would do.

another before pic - notice the light green roof

But what really made this home pop, was coating the roof asphalt shingles with a black sealant to make the roof darker and give the home contrast. I mean, what would you do with that light mint roof shingle? It made finding a paint color for the exterior almost impossible - that's why the entire home at one time was painted white. Blah. This little trick has saved us on our exterior remodels! Re-roofing is expensive and when it's not necessary, this is the best solution for us. My little trick-of-the-trade - don't tell! :)

If you have an exterior face-lift, please share! I'm a sucker for an exterior face-lift.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Oquirrh Lake at the Lake Village in Daybreak, UT
For years I have envied people who live by a lake. How picturesque. How idyllic, to be able to go kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, or boating right out your back door?! And then I was invited by the people of Daybreak to come visit the Lake Village and take part in a fun blog series where we build a Virtual Dream Home in the Lake Village at Daybreak. And when I got in a kayak on the Oquirrh lake, I was sold. If I were to live in Daybreak, this would be the place to be!

I've always joked that Daybreak was a little too "Truman Show" for me - with the perfectly planned community, and new perfect homes on tree-lined streets. And while it definitely has that feel to it, it's a beautiful community. And you can't really fault someone for making a beautiful and family-friendly community, right?

One of the things I did to get to know the area and what the Lake Village had to offer, was go kayaking on the lake. It was really fun, and if I lived here, I know I would kayak with my family at least a few times in the summer, not to mention do some paddle-boarding. And my kids would love to simply hang out on the beach and throw rocks, dip their feet in, etc. The lake would definitely get used - it wouldn't just be scenery.

Riding around the neighborhood on our electric bikes
To help us get a feel of the neighborhood, we (me and 3 other design bloggers), rode electric bikes to the pool and to the downtown of Daybreak, SoDa Row (which has the best boutique, Nest, and even a Granato's deli). It was just as I expected, suburbia at its best. Very nice neighborhoods and nice people. And sidewalks everywhere! Oh how I wish I had sidewalks like these in my neighborhood so my kids never had to go on the street, EVER.

And by the way, these electric bikes were SO fun. I am sold on buying one of these. Perfect for pulling the kids on the trailer up steep hills, and just super fun. 

the community pool at Daybreak
Let's talk more about the family-friendliness of this community. The pool is fantastic, and not too crowded, which was much better than expected. And the parks. Oh the parks at Daybreak. They are everywhere! And they have a new park that was really fun, with a brook running along side it. (of course, right?!) And my favorite part is they have sun-shades that cover the slides so your children don't get third-degree burns trying to play on the equipment! (such a pet-peeve of mine when you go to a park and everything is way too hot to play on - we live in a desert!!)

That's right - I slid down that slide like no one's business
And to end my day, I went through the model homes to see what the actual homes at Daybreak had to offer. Honestly, I love the location, because I really like the Lake Village, and the homes are definitely an upgraded version of other homes in Daybreak, which of course was a plus, but they are builder homes. Nicely built and laid out, but I am such a custom-home designer, the "builder" home is not usually my favorite. And this is why I was so intrigued and excited about this "Virtual Dream House Series" because I would love to get my hands on one of the homes and make it as custom and unique as possible.

"The Grand Porch" by Destination Homes at the Lake Village
And that's just what I did, and I am really happy with what we came up with, so I can't wait to share. I was fortunate enough to be paired with Destination Homes, (who also built my sister-in-laws home), so I know I liked their work and designs, which made it the perfect fit.

This series is a 4-part series, which will post every Wednesday, so check back next week for more on the home I chose to "build" and how White + Gold Design does a home in Daybreak!

Kirsten Krason, Jennifer Stagg, Desiree Campbell, and I taking a break on the porch of one of the homes
And check out the other bloggers and their Daybreak Virtual Dream Homes! We had a really nice time together, and I was pleasantly surprised with how genuinely nice and smart, and of course talented these girls were. And they have much better blogs, so you will want to see their posts :)

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