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When you move to a new home– be it apartment, condo, house, or whatever — do you start thinking about how you’re going to make that space the best space for you inside and out? Maybe you can picture exactly where your couch should go or a new wall color that would really make things feel more “you?” We talk about a space or a building having “potential” and I think what we really mean by that is that we are able to see the vision. The vision that makes that place a home but it might take trying the couch on a different wall or updating light fixtures or maybe some new landscape outside. And sometimes, it’s hard to even know where to start or you have to make a few attempts to get it right.

Our first home was a fixer-upper that needed so, so much updating. Some folks told us when they first saw it they thought my husband and I were crazy for buying it, but we had a vision. It took a few years to make that vision a reality, but once it all came together I think it was hard for people to believe how far we had come. We’re back in that position, with a house that maybe is a little bit of an easier pill to swallow, but it’s still a long way from where we envision it ending up. I’ve been working on the new house plans with an architect and our general contractor (and our kitchen guy, and a structural engineer, and anyone who will listen…) so we have some big changes in the works on the interior but we also are thinking about the exterior. Here’s the street view of our house currently:
currentHouseThe paint is new because it was painted before we bought it, but it was obviously a crappy rush job. The roof is about six years old but it appears that they chose the cheapest shingles possible so it doesn’t look to hot already. The trim is lacking a bit between the roof/side of the house and though the front of our house is stucco, the whole rest of the house is wood siding so it’s not exactly consistent. Not to mention there’s a few cable, phone and other wire lines running to odd places on the exterior. So from far away, not that bad, but up close she’s a little rough. Which means we talk about our vision in the long term: What paint color? What type of roof? How would it fit into our neighborhood? Front and garage doors? And then I use Photoshop to give a rough makeover. Our house has a few Spanish style homes so this was my first idea since we love Spanish style:

SpanishStyleBut when we talked to our contractor he reminded us that tile roofs (besides being more expensive to install) actually affect your foundation because it’s much heavier than a standard roof plus you can’t walk on it to do things like clean gutters unless you know specifically where to step and it can be more dangerous to walk on in general because it can be more slippery. That effectively talked us out of that idea. Not to mention in the above image that I envisioned the vinyl window trim not being white but that’s not very realistic. Basically this one wasn’t going to happen so it was nixed.

Once our dreams of a Spanish home were nixed, we decided we needed to embrace more of our home’s original features. I don’t know what exactly you call a California split level home, but where we’re leaning is still bringing in some of the Spanish influence with the color, maybe adding a pergola over the garage to add architectural interest, having a darker roof since we are leaning toward a light, warm color, and maybe a door that’s a pop of color but still within the Spanish exterior colors. Still new garage doors but maybe in white so they match the vinyl window frames.

CaliforniaHouseThe vision of your home should continue to change otherwise you may end up with orange shag carpet and avocado appliances that were “on trend” when you got them but not so anymore (I’m looking at you chevron trend… ). But you have to have a starting point.

Tell me, how do you refine the vision for your home? Do you use any online tools to edit your home or an example home to choose paint colors? Or maybe just look to magazines or websites for inspiration until it clicks? I need advice, so let me have it!