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A LUXURY DESIGN + LIFESTYLE BLOG BY VERONICA SOLOMON

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Update On Great Prairie Homestead. Here's To New Beginnings

Updated: Jul 1

2023 has started off with a bang for us here at Casa Vilora. We are wrapping up several projects from last year, and we are blessed to be booked up with several new and wonderful projects. I plan to get better at sharing the progress of these projects on Instagram.


One of the biggest things going on in our world, is the erection of the new Casa Vilora Interiors office building on Great Prairie Homestead. We are dubbing it #CasaViloraHQ2.0



New Steel Building - Casa Vilora HQ 2.0

If you've followed this adventure for a while, you will know about the big pivot, and why we are calling this building 2.0.


The building footprint is 2400 sf, and with the interior buildout, we will end up with about 4500sf of space.





After a lot of rain delay, and our crew taking a couple of weeks off to observe the holiday season, we finally got started last week.


We are praying to be moved in by April/May at the latest.



A View Of The Property. The Office Building, Though A Steel Building, Will Not Look Overly Commercial Since My Residence Is Also On The Property. Building Will Be White Metal With Black Wainscoting And Black Roof



We also did a bit of pivot on the house.


You may recall the old 1940's house and the really rough shape it was in. A part of me wanted to keep it, but we eventually decided to go ahead and demolish the house and build new. The reality was that the house had no real architectural significance, and the cost to upgrade it would have far outweighed the cost to just start over - so we did.


Because of the pipelines on the property, we still have to build the new house on the same footprint as the old with an addition. So the plans did not change. Changing plans would cost more time and money.


The plan is pretty much everything I wanted. I did not want to have a lot of extra areas that I didn't use regularly. Been there, done that. I did want the areas I do use to be generous in size, and they definitely are.





I'd say that the only thing I would have added if we had designed it as a new house from the beginning is a courtyard. I love courtyards!


Here it is partially demo'ed.

Great Prairie Homestead

It is now completely demo'ed and ready for the next step.


Video Update





I am GC-ing this myself, and I have to be honest with you - I am learning so many new things.


I have been involved with a lot of new builds as an interior designer, but typically I am not managing everything from land acquisition, land prep, design, build, budget, bids, permits, manage every aspect of the build. I am usually involved with just the design aspect and working with the builder and architect.





The fact that it is my own project (Not just one - but two projects) adds a whole other layer. It will be an interesting journey for sure, and I am really excited about it.


After this is all said and done, I plan to put together a comprehensive checklist of the entire design/build process and share with my community.


You've seen the plan before of where we are headed with this, but we did some minor tweaks to the elevations, to zone in just a bit more on the English cottage style I love.

Great Prairie Homestead - Elevation 1

I honestly still have not finalized exterior materials, but that palette is coming soon.


I think the decision is made to go with brick and siding for sure, versus brick and stucco. I love white painted brick with almost messy mortars. I also found this color that I love. The blue/gray antique look will add some depth to the brick, so it will look like it's always been there.



Image Via Old Texas Brick

You can see that once it is applied the gray tones are vastly minimized by the mortar.


Image Via Old Texas Brick

Here also is a true white. I think it would be really beautiful.



Image Via Old Texas Brick

I like the shape of the mid-century white as well. The linear shape of the brick is something you don't see very often.

Image Via Old Texas Brick



I am still exploring options, so nothing is final at this point.



The roofing material I was dreaming of using - a synthetic cedar shake material, came in quite a bit higher than the budget would allow. I mean HIGH! Hahaha


This is it....


Gorgeous... right?


A bit disappointed, but pressing on.


Image Via Brava Roofing

The plan is to choose a beautiful high performance shingle like this instead.

Image Via Malarkey Roofing

The window styles I went with are similar to the ones below. Black vinyl outside and white on the inside. The windows could have broken the bank with all the amazing options available, but I wanted to keep it simple.





I like the multi-pane at the top half and more open glass at the bottom half. This will help give the house the simple cottage look I am after.



Image Via Wix Photo Gallery

Chip and Joanna Gaines for the win! Hahaha I decided to go with their plank siding collection with James Hardie.


The textures and colors are so good!

Image Via James Hardie


I am most excited about the front door design. You can see it on this elevation of the side of the house, which is technically the front. Haha. You don't see these doors everyday. In fact, it will have to be custom made for me. It is totally worth the investment.


I think every house should have double-doors access from exterior to interior, which is typically the front door. But I really, really wanted this door. I instead added three double doors from other areas of the house.





Take it from me as a designer, you want double doors somewhere on your house if you are doing new construction. One of the biggest disappointments I have heard from other designers is having their client waiting for months for a piece of furniture, only to find out that it won't fit through the front door!



Great Prairie Homestead - Exterior Elevation 2

My building designer Annilee brought the cat-slide roofline to this elevation as well, and I just love it! Such a simple feature, but really says custom.


The design is not a total departure from a Texas home, yet you can see some of the English cottage influences that I love so much!





I have only recently started working on the interior finishes. I told myself that I wasn't going crazy with materials, but who am I kidding? Haha.


The good news is that I will be bringing a lot of my existing furnishings. Some I will leave in the current house for the kids.


Here is the master bathroom.



Master Bathroom Finishes

I promise that I do bathrooms in other colors and not just black and white, haha, but for me, I love the sleekness and classical feel of black and white for a master bathroom. And I am a sucker for marble - so marble it is!





These are not set in stone just yet, so this could all change. But totally the direction I am headed in for my master bathroom.


Without giving away too much at this point, here's one more concept board in progress. This one is of the laundry room.



Great Prairie Homestead - Laundry Room Concept

I am still trying to inspire myself to do laundry more regularly. Haha




As beautiful as this one was, it didn't change a thing about my dislike for doing laundry. Hahaha. Quite honestly, I don't think anything will help. Hahaha




Image Via Wix Photo Gallery

Of course, not to lose sight of what started this all - buying land and growing some of my own food, and raising some chickens.





I have already dug out the main garden area; about 2100sf space and laid down cardboard to kill the grass. I brought in mulch to begin to amend the soil to be able to plant in the Spring. And I will have some wood chips dropped off soon by James Meadow Tree Service. I just had them take out a few trees for me as well.


I already purchased some raised beds that I will assemble and install as soon as possible. Right now, there's way too much going on to bring them in, but I cannot wait to get my raised beds started.




I have also planted about 50 trees I got for free already, and I have about 10 coming soon that I bought online. I am hoping the ones I already planted survive the recent freeze and the heavy rains we've had.





I am starting seeds and smaller tropical fruit trees in my current back yard - fruit trees from my childhood growing up in Jamaica, that I was able to buy online. I hope those survive too.



Image Via Wix Photo Gallery


My carpenter, who is also living the homestead lifestyle promised to give me a couple of chickens to get me started as soon as I am ready.


I have been reading and watching youtube videos on raising chickens for eggs and meat. I couldn't believe how much information there is out there about the Homestead life in general. There is a whole community out there. Amazing!





I remember when my carpenter told me a few years ago that he was moving out to the country. I think I laughed at him and asked him why anyone would move out of the suburbs into nowhereland. Hahaha. I remember that he couldn't quite put it into words, but I could just see the happiness on his face. Now look at me. It is the same thing for me. I just know this is it, but I can't really put it into words.


Hopefully I will be all moved in by summer 2023. I am so ready!


Want help achieving your ideal home? Whether it is a homestead in the country or a penthouse in the city, we would love to help!




Wishing You Beauty And Inspiration!


Veronica




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