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TOP FIVE MUST HAVES IN OUR NEW BUILD FLOOR PLAN #theODLhouse

First, I have to take a moment to thank you all for the very kind and supportive messages, texts, DMs and comments about our home building journey. If you aren’t in on the news, we announced via Instagram that we are building our own slice of heaven, right here in Gilbert, Arizona. It’s been such a unique experience already and riding this wave with you guys by my side is kind of the only way I know how to do things!

There are many of you in the middle of a home build as well, and it seems even more of you are thinking about it, or starting to gather information to try and make it happen for yourselves! I am honored to be the one to hopefully provide insight and education into this experience, in hopes that you may take something useful from it!

I’ll be sharing the entire process from start to finish, in real time, here on the BLG and our social channels, but in these first few months, while we’re moving from foundation to framing, I’ll be covering much of the pre-work or what our firm calls the Planning + Architecture Phase of our internal Design Process. In addition to all the design work that make these plans a standing structure, our Builders have been as big of an asset to this project as the land itself, and certainly are the ones to thank! I’ll get to tell you more about how we decided on Craft Homes as our Build partners, why we selected them and many more details surrounding how to make that difficult but oh so important decision!  

Back to our Top FIVE -- Since the second we found out this could be a possibility, my Designer brain has made this very difficult! LOL -- It is true, the switch from Designer to Client is NEXT LEVEL for almost all of us, I would be willing to bet! We are unlike any other breed and when asked to design anything, anything at all, on a moment's notice, I can make a 100% confident decision without hesitation… but… when said decision is not for a client and it’s for, ME, I am a toddler. I am pretty sure I am already driving my team bat shit crazy but they keep showing up at #LCOHQ, meeting me in our Design Studio with big smiles and insisting on dropping anything and everything the second I need positive reassurance or to be kept on this planet with my latest absolutely crazy design idea! So far they have been the best sounding board on the planet and while they keep telling me to block design time for us as a team so we can just DESIGN IT, get it on paper and get it off into our Builder’s hands, I may end up doing this whole thing on my own, like the early days… undecided on that one… I want to enjoy every single moment… every decision and and every single piece of hardware. My girls want to be involved and have been every step of the way, even at just 6 and 9, and while Vince isn’t super opinionated on the design side of things, he wants to be included too… we’ll see….

About a year ago, right after we found our lot, one of the first conversations and lists Vince and I made was our WISH LIST… the wishlist is a great place to start because it's probably the first place you get things out of your brain and down on paper! It should truly be looked at as an aspirational list where you park every single thing you’ve always wanted in your dream home.... Something to note: if your build truly is your “dream home”... If the home you are building is a means to the next step, an investment property or is really anything other than your dream home, said wishlist is not relevant... The wish list may change to a sensible list that you can use to navigate creating a floor plan that performs for function and resale value, as you have established this is not your dream home, and may be a stop along the way. In our case, this place is absolutely our dream home, and we went HAM on the wish list…. LOL

Our wish list had a Golf Simulator Room (omg), an outdoor bathtub (totally necessary if you ask me) and a pizza oven in our kitchen. As a national Design Firm, we design this kind of crazy all the time for our clients, and it is one of the things that makes our jobs so fun and entertaining but, as soon as we got everything we were hoping for on paper, it became very clear that many of these things would stay “parked” as I said, on the wish list -- At least in our home… the exercise was laughable at best but very informative. It allowed us to come back down to earth and talk about every single thing we put on the list to narrow that wish list down to a real list that was possible and create our top MUST HAVES. Then from there, I started drawing.

More on the actual physical creation of the floor plan and how that all came together in a future post but all three of those crazy wishes were cut and while my outdoor bathtub would have gotten some serious use, we ended up with a really practical and beautiful list, some of which I’m sharing below:

1- TWO DISHWASHERS

#76thBuIld
Build design + INTERIORS: THELIFESTYLEDCO™
BUILDER: E&S BUILDERS + MODERN SPLENDOR HOMES
PHOTOGRAPHY: TAYLOR COLE

AN ABSOLUTE DREAM COME TRUE. I will work until I am old and gray if I can have two dishwashers... This is one that people either totally see the value of right out the gate, or they think we are crazy when we bring it up during our design meetings... yes, I can see how it seems excessive but on the regular we run our dishwasher at least once a day... when we entertain, having two would be a total game changer for clean up, and as long as ya' girl is still the one heading up the cleaning crew, I think it's a hard YES! We even contemplated adding another in the Butler Pantry/Bar close by but that really felt excessive and frankly, there isn't a ton of space in there and nothing is going to beat out the need for a dedicated rosé only refrigerator -- not even a dishwasher!

2- OUTDOOR LIVING

LANDSCAPE DESIGN: YARDZEN

This was a huge one for us, and part of the reason why we fell so in love with our lot… we ended up very very lucky in finding an acre in our current zip code and almost within our same “corner” now… and with all that space, we are truly able to create the Outdoor Living plan we’ve always wanted. My favorite movie of all time is Father of the Bride and if one of our girls gets married back there, or even one of our close friends, my heart will literally explode… more on my favorite movies and how some of them have actually been inspiration for this home later but, I’ve been working with Yardzen on the landscape plans for both our front and backyards and they were able to bring the potentials of the space alive! In addition to the pool and lots of grass, we wanted two distinct spaces for entertaining… one closest to the house for easy breakfasts and coffee outdoors, and one for bigger events where we host family gatherings or work functions with our team. We also really enjoy a spring breeze with a crisp glass of rose and a fireplace moment to set it all off!

Working with Yardzen was so incredibly easy and one of the things I was the most impressed with was how quickly and completely they were able to nail my exterior design style. Organic Desert Living™ can be adapted and interpreted and I am still actually in disbelief how spot on they were! You can work with them all digitally for yards and “jobs” of any size for a really affordable design fee. They work together with you throughout the process to gather feedback and execute changes, then once complete, they email you full plans for you to pass along to your Landscaper or Contractor. Their process is fluid and inviting! I can’t say enough good things about Yardzen, and I can’t wait to show and tell all of the details about our future Outdoor Living spaces!

3- SMALL HOME GYM

PHOTO: @KRISTENFORGIONE ON INSTAGRAM

We can thank quarantine for this one! Neither of us ever considered ourselves people who would be successful working out at home… I’ve always been a group fitness person/studio classes and Vince has always gone to a gym. Quarantine changed all that for many people, us included! About one month in, we turned our Family Den into a Wellness Room in our current home and now it really may be the most used room in the house! We bought a treadmill, some free weights and bands and got our YouTube workouts ON -- Vince has definitely been affected most by it, in the most positive of ways so in the new place, this was high on our priority list!

4- OPEN CLOSET 

Designers + Construction: KYAL AND KARA
PHOTOGRAPHY: GRACE PICOT

Designers: Arent&Pyke
 PHOTOGRAPHER: PABLO VEIGA
STYLIST: MEREDITH CLARK

I feel a little odd with this one because most of the females I know want a closet as big as a bedroom, or BIGGER! Although I own a lifestyle boutique and clothes (lots of them too) are part of my life in so many ways, I am a minimalist at heart. The clothes go out as fast as they come in so the storing of clothes and space was not the most important to me… the openness and light of the closet was though! While I was gathering inspo and looking at floor plans from all over the world, I paid close attention to those coming out of Australia! The Aussies do it better I tell you! There is something I love about their way of life, AND THEIR CLOSETS! I’m excited to get into further detail on the plans for this but I think you’ll be surprised with how things ended up! 

5- SMALL LAUNDRY ROOM

Build design + INTERIORS: THELIFESTYLEDCO™
BUILDER: E&S BUILDERS + MODERN SPLENDOR HOMES
PHOTOGRAPHY: NICK SORENSEN

As odd as I felt about number 4, number 5 is a head scratcher! In almost 9 years in this industry we have NEVER, ever, designed a home with an intentionally small laundry room -- EVER! Until mine! Laundry Rooms are make or break for some people, and they can also carry major square footage. Through all of this, we never wanted a “huge” house… we wanted an intentionally planned custom home that performed with us and for us, as our lives morph over the coming years. The Laundry Room was a big one for us, but in an unconventional way. Truthfully, I don’t do the laundry! Vince does -- one of his many amazing qualities! I cook and he does laundry. It’s kind of our “thing”... He’s a big guy so he needs some space to move but neither one of us really wanted the Laundry Room of all rooms to be the place we spend time or spend money! Sure it needs to be aesthetically pleasing and needs to be functional but as of this moment, it’s one of the smallest rooms in the whole house, and will definitely need to have every single square inch designed properly to achieve everything we need.

Am I crazy? What do you think? Did any of these take you by surprise like they took me?! -- lolllllz… I’m still kinda bummed about the outdoor bathtub but I think I’ll be ok, wink wink!

Talk to us in the comments, or DM me anytime, @kristenforgione!

xo, Kristen Forgione

Owner, Creative Director + Principal Designer

7 comments

  • DonnaSep 18, 2021

    Love 2 W&D, and 2 dishwashers. Critical add for me is full ice maker in bar area, along w a dishwasher. It’s a + if you entertain and want to have quick cleanup.

  • Pamela MountjoySep 14, 2021

    I’m SO EXCITED to go on this home build journey with you! I can’t agree more about an open closet, I want to do that in my home. Have the primary bathroom and closet be one large room. I think it’s more practical. I’m obsessed with Australian design, they do it way better for sure!

  • Jennifer WahlSep 13, 2021

    Very interesting. Going to try Yardzen for our front yard. We still have builders bare bones landscaping in front!

  • MaylaMay 31, 2021

    Hi!!!
    What an exciting time for you and your family!! I’m sure most everyone here can say the same.. THANK YOU for taking all of us on your journey and for always being so forthcoming with all your design secrets!!!
    I absolutely love your list.. practical for sure. Best one in my opinion is #5. My babe does laundry and I do the rest ..I love this balance since laundry is my least fav. Currently our laundry room is small and in all of our homes prior it was small just enough for necessities of a laundry room.
    Sooooo to hear one of my favorite designers put this on her must have list is true validation for my crazy thought of not expanding the laundry room in our home remodel of our 1960 home we just purchased. WoooHooo!
    Again, congratulations and I can’t wait to watch and listen in on your dream home build journey
    xo
    Mayla

  • RachelMay 30, 2021

    I’m with you on the laundry room size, I’m often baffled when I see huge rooms dedicated to laundry. A home gym holds value for us too! I can’t claim to appreciate the golf simulation space, but I love the pizza oven idea and outdoor tub. I imagine you’ll get some of the same relaxation and pampering from your jacuzzi. Looking forward to following your journey!

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