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A LUXURY DESIGN + LIFESTYLE BLOG BY VERONICA SOLOMON

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Update On Great Prairie Homestead

Updated: Jul 1

I was just having a heart to heart conversation with my daughter Courtney recently. I was looking back to several years ago when I first launched Casa Vilora Interiors and how I was still so unsure of what my real God-honoring purpose was. I remember praying that God would lead me to the right education, resources, trade partners, vendors, mentors, and ultimately great clients. I remember praying for my business to thrive.


Fast forward to today, and we are knee deep in several large scale projects - installing 6 of them in November before heading to Florida to see my mom and some of my siblings. Yes, you heard that right - 6 installations in three weeks!!


More than thriving - blessed beyond measure!





What may seem like chaos, busy-ness and overwhelm to some, is answered prayers for me, and so I humble myself and remain grateful for it all. I know what it's like to be a designer not designing. I felt that back in 2008 as I struggled to gain some momentum for my new business in a bad economy. Therefore, I honor every single client who picks up the phone or hops on my website to reach out to me - big project or not, because without my amazing clients and team, there is no business.


Some of my vendor partners will undoubtedly say I am a bit intense, but I have to be to advocate for my clients and keep the promises I made to them.


When I look at what we are accomplishing right now - the fruits of our hard work, I stand in awe.


If you read the saga of Casa Vilora HQ 1.0, you are probably on the edge of your seat waiting for updates on Casa Vilora HQ 2.0. I will share more about that in the coming weeks.


After a bit of rain delay, we are getting ready to pour the foundation soon.



Foundation Work At CVI HQ 2.0

Due to the type of soil, we had to do a ton of dirt work before starting the foundation, and of course we got quite a bit of rain recently that slowed things down a bit.


This is the footprint for the 40x60 steel building on my 1.8 acre homestead in Sealy. The 1940's house is on the other side of the property, and we are still working on the plans for the renovation of that space.





There is a lot of work that has already happened on the property.


We built a fence around the entire 1.8 acres. That was definitely a shock to my bank account. Hahaha, but it was so well worth it.



The Beginnings Of The First Vegetable Bed


The Beginnings Of The First Vegetable Bed

We had to move the driveway, and that in itself was a bit of a challenge to overcome, partially due to the pipelines on the property. Although, the pipelines has not presented any real hurdles for us. The company has been a joy to deal with so far. They are so respectful of the fact that it is my property.


The driveway is a bit off-centered from the gate, due to where we had to place the culvert in relation to where the pipeline is.



New Driveway And Front Fence Going In At Great Prairie Homestead

My ditch was holding too much water due to the neighboring land's culvert being clogged, so my guys had to do a bit of ditch work as well. Good times! Hahaha



Great Prairie Homestead - Removing The Old Driveway And Culvert And Resolving Drainage Issue In The Ditch



I was super anxious to get started with some of my gardens - one of the key reasons I bought the property, so I had my guys remove some of the grass, and we will be bringing in good dirt and wood chips to start amending the soil.





I lucked out and found an organization that is giving me 50 free trees, so there will be a lot of tree planting happening before I leave for vacation. Some of the trees will be wax myrtles and buttonbush that like wet feet, so I will plant them near the ditch, which will still hold some water. Landscaping usually comes last, but I can't say no to free trees.


My building Designer Annilee Waterman has been hard at work bringing our combined ideas to life for the house renovation. You may already be familiar with the design direction - a bit of English Cottage with a whole lot of Texas Homestead.



Great Prairie Homestead Elevation

I am so in love with the catslide roofline on this elevation and the high pitch of the roof overall. I am so happy we were able to incorporate the catslide. I have asked Annilee to see if we can incorporate it on the front of the house as well, but not sure yet if that will be too much. Waiting to get some visuals from her on that. She has been so amazing and patient with me as I try verbalize what's going on in my head.



Existing House

Just a reminder of what the house looks like now.


I know I have said it before about the house I live in now, but I have no plans to move from this one (I mean it this time. Hahaha), so it was all about my lifestyle and the things I love. Resale value did not once enter my mind - my kids can worry about that after I am gone.


You will see from the floor plan that the layout is not super conventional, but it has every single thing I have ever dreamed that I want in my forever house. My version of luxury, as I like to say, and true to our philosophy that everyone has their version of luxury, and we accomplish that for our clients in every project we touch.





The house itself is kinda quirky - which I love. The front of the house is really the side of the house, so the entry is on the west side of the house.




You can see from this plan what we are adding.


You walk into a small entry hall and right into my library. If you know me, you know that I own about 1200 books (mostly design, art and architecture), and counting. I needed a whole room for them; front and center to be enjoyed everyday. Not to be tucked away in the office.


The kitchen is huge, and I love it! One of the main reasons I am moving is to grow my own food and raise a few low maintenance animals. This means there will be a lot of food prep and preservation going on, so I wanted a big kitchen to spread out in. Lots of pantry space and refrigerator space for food storage.


Just a small dining room, because I really don't formally dine. Most meals will happen at the kitchen island.





I do plan to entertain a bit more, so the nice size of the dining room will come in handy.


I have always wanted a sunken room (not the groovy ones from the 70's. Hahaha). This house already had a large sunken room that will now be the great room. I think that is where I will spend time watching TV. Annilee was able to carve out a window seat and bookshelves for me. Features I LOVE in a house.


You will notice that there is really only two bedrooms. That was super intentional. Great excuse in case my kids get any idea that they are allowed to stay more than one night at my house hahaha. Just kidding! Kinda. There is a big loft area upstairs that will likely serve as a bedroom in a pinch, but one extra bedroom is all I needed in this house.


The office does have access to a hall bathroom, but without windows, it can't legally be a bedroom. We did add some skylights to make sure it does get some natural light. With the CVI HQ across the property, I am not sure how much time I will spend in there, so it may be the only room that won't get used a lot.





The master suite is very spacious, and Annilee totally surprised me with this beautiful closet with an island. I didn't ask her for that, but I love that she incorporated that. A closet system is a must.


And the piece-de-resistance for me, is a sunroom off the bedroom. That's where you will find me every morning for my prayer time.


I definitely had to have a large laundry room and Annilee delivered. Maybe I will start doing laundry more often. Maybe..... Hahahaha



Rendering - Great Prairie Homestead

I really didn't need a 3 car garage, but it was the best way to get that loft on the second level which I really wanted for future grandkids. I am sure I will put it to good use with gardening equipment. A barn may not be necessary after all.



Rendering - Great Prairie Homestead

The materials have not yet been finalized for the exterior, but as I began putting numbers together, I realize that I will have to let go of the idea of doing full stucco. Annilee was able to create a look that is true to the style I was going for by using brick and siding - much more affordable.





Here on the site plan you can see how the house sits on the property and the office building nearby. Plenty of room left for my fruit orchard, pond, vegetable gardens and chicken coup and chicken run.


Bird's Eye View - Great Prairie Homestead. How the house sits on the property, and roughly where the office building is located

More elevation views by Annilee




Here you can see the skylights for the office, and we will be adding solar panels later. One of things I am also really looking forward to doing is rain water harvesting, so we will be adding some gutters and downspouts with rain barrels on the back of the house. We will also harvest rain water from the office building roof.


Great Prairie Homestead - Here you get a good look at the sunroom.




Where are we now with everything?


I am acting as GC on this project, so I am in the process of acquiring initial bids, while the plans are with engineering for structural and MEP. After getting numbers back, I will begin working on interior finishes. Then we may need to tweak plans a bit after numbers come back, then permitting, then hopefully we will be starting this in early January.


Renovating a house is definitely a marathon.





If you are a current trade parter reading this or you'd like to become one of our valued partners, and would like to be involved in this project, reach out at veronica@veronicasolomon.com I will be including a lot of media and marketing around this project, and I would love to incorporate some new and unique products, and I will be naming names :-)


So what do you think about the plans so far? What would you change? Leave me a comment. I would love to know.


Wishing You Beauty And Inspiration!


Veronica




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