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Update On The New Casa Vilora HQ and Great Prairie Homestead.

I know, I know. It has been months since our last update, but with good reason.

It has been quite busy between the new office and new home build and client projects, and our marketing activities, including blogging have taken a backseat for now.

A lot has happened since our last updates back in April, which you can find HERE and HERE, but there is still so much more to be done. There has been some very exciting moments as we watch the progress and the buildings take shape. But there has also been some very disheartening challenges, mostly stemming from misplaced trust in others, that I am not even sure I am ready to talk about yet. We even had a break-in a few weeks ago where my framer's tools were stolen from his trailer. Maybe I will elaborate on all of that in a book one day :-)

In this blog post, I just want to focus on the great things that have happened - there are many, and I still have to pinch myself about how blessed I am to have come this far in my business and my life in general. It's thanks to all the amazing clients who have entrusted me with their homes and their dreams since 2007! We have been at this for almost 19 years thanks to your loyalty and support! Thank you!

Soon we will have a beautiful home office where we can invite our clients to start their journeys toward a beautiful home with us. So very exciting!

This is what the office looks like now.....

View of the front of the Casa Vilora HQ on June 30th 2023. Excuse all the construction debris.

The last time you saw an official update, the office building was a skeleton. If you follow along on Instagram stories, you may have seen more updates along the way.

The day the garage door went in was a really exciting day, because the building looked really finished on the outside. But of course, so much more to go inside.

Currently we have all mechanicals completed, borate treatment done, and awaiting inspection. Insulation and sheetrock going in the next few days.

From this point, I imagine that we will go fairly quickly, and we are going to be moved in by mid to late September. That will make almost a full year since we moved from our last location on Highway Blvd and crashing in my home, and a full year since I bought the property in Sealy. It's been quite the adjustment and challenge, running a design business from home, but we are still pumping out some amazing projects.

We lost about 4 weeks waiting for a few trades and inspections, plus rain delays, but we are now back on track.

Here's what the house looks like now....

Front side of house. Awaiting the new window to come that arrived broken. All siding done except for around the window, and ready for brick

Ready for brick

The last time you saw an official update, we were just demo-ing the old 1940's house. It's come a very long way since!

Of course once demo was complete we had to complete dirt work, pour the concrete foundation, framing, windows and doors, roof and house-wrap to dry it all in. That sounds like an easy peasy checklist, but between the rainy weather and other challenges, there were a lot of delays.

Even after putting in a construction road, the mud was very hard to work around when we got heavy rains, so the entire job-site would be shut down for days at a time... good times!

My team kept on track despite weather delays, and we are still pretty much on schedule.

As the builder and project manager on both projects - this being my first major ground up build where I am in full control, I decided early on to not put the extra pressure of meeting a self-imposed deadline for completion on myself. I decided to take the time I need to get things done right, and that was a gift that I am so happy I gave myself.

I find that well-meaning friends and followers often ask how things are going, and I also decided early on to not let that put any pressure on me as well. In the end, it will be well worth the slightly longer timeframe I am giving this project.

As I mentioned above, I am expecting the office to be complete in September. The house I am expecting to complete in November. If things end up being earlier, it will be a nice little icing on the cake.

Currently, we have have siding pretty much complete and plumbing & electrical rough-ins done on the house.

HVAC is up next, then insulation and sheetrock.

Brick and stone on the exterior should be coming up pretty soon as well. I finally decided on white brick for the exterior. General Shale Paris Landing.

General Shale Paris Landing

I wasn't quite sure if I wanted to go with white, because it is such a trend now; especially on the modern farmhouses made popular by Joanna Gaines, but I was very much after the English Cottage look, and it seems to be a great option for that look instead of stucco or stone, which would have been my first choice if the budget was unlimited.

I love looking at photos of The Cotswold cottages to keep me inspired, and happy just to capture the feeling of it, and create my own interpretation of it.

Image Via Wix Gallery

I am planning to have my brick mason do a messy smear technique to give it a more aged look. I love that the brick is not solid white, but has some of the natural brick color peeking through.

Believe it or not, I have not finalized the stone for the chimney yet. Hoping whatever I end up choosing will be available right away. Yikes!

I do know that I want the shape of the stone to be fieldstone. It just fits the cottage style I am after.

Here is one I am contemplating - Briar Ridge Cobble.

I really wanted it to have some gray/blackish tones, but not be overpowering. The thing that is holding me back from pulling the trigger is the texture. But it may be just perfect with the smooth siding.

Here's the brick again so you can see what they would look like together. I think it's a win. A white (and black) house without it screaming a white (and black) house. Everything is still pretty warm and cottage-like.

For the roof, I ended up going for something a bit more budget-friendly, though it was quite a bit higher priced than a normal architectural shingle roof. I went with GAF Slateline Antique Slate.

GAF Slateline Antique Slate

Although it ended up being a shingle roof, it does have a nice visual texture and appearance of slate.

The siding will be painted in off-white, but I have not decided on the color yet.

The color scheme for the exterior will end up being warm whites with softer black as the accents - roof, garage door, windows, trim and light fixtures. I will accent with natural cedar wood tones on the pergola that will be added later onto the side of the house facing the street.

Here is a drone shot of one side of the property. It's pretty blurry, as I screenshot it from a video, but you get the idea.

What's Next?

We keep building....

But I have now turned my attention to things like the finer details inside, including furnishings, and this is when my marketing efforts will start back up in a real way.

One major order of business is to start the planning of the landscaping and "food forest" I am dying to start. It is one of the main reasons I decided to live the homestead life. I am in the process of interviewing landscape designers at the moment. Wish me luck!

One of the recent additions to the project scope is to create a courtyard on the back of the house - adding low curved brick walls to enclose a stone patio area with an arbor style gate. The initial plan called for a concrete patio, but I had to remove it to save on the crazy cost of concrete. I am so happy that I did now, because I much prefer doing natural stone pavers with grass in between. I will also be planting a row of fast-growing trees like arborvitae along the back of the house to keep out some of the street noise, and for a little privacy - though my closest neighbor is a great distance away.

I have already purchased my raised garden beds and even a greenhouse, so you know I am ready to get this started!

Another big thing I am leaning into in a big way is setting up a rainwater harvesting system. I have began my research on it, and it is a bit pricier than I thought, but it will be well worth it in the end.

This is where I will leave it for this update. I will try to be a bit more consistent with updating you on the progress, so stay tuned for more.

Planning your own new build or renovation? Let's talk.

Wishing You Beauty and Inspiration!



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Sealy TX 77474



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