Client Project: Kasey’s Kitchen

Welcome everyone!

I know I’m clearly not the best at keeping our blog up to date. I’m balancing being a wife, mama to my 3 kids, working a healthcare job, running a business, and building our personal house while living in a rental. We are BUSY. But that’s okay; we tend to flourish when busy. Nonetheless, blogging seems to take a back seat even though I do enjoy it.

However, I figured this was the best way to share all the photos of our most recent client project. I’ll separate the blog posts to talk about certain areas of the home. Today’s blog will be about the kitchen and dining areas.

When we were hired for this project, the clients were tired. They had already hired and then fired/lost two other contractors. They were ready to have a team behind them that would do what they said they would do, and do it WELL. Our first portion of the job was to bring everything up to code and fix problems that weren’t necessarily “pretty” to look at, but definitely important. Once all of that was done we were able to move to the more fun part of this project.

Upon our very first consult/discussion with this client, I knew that I would have a blast designing and working for them. They loved pattern, color, and personality. They wanted their house to be original and timeless. And that’s exactly what they got. We broke out of the mold of all the current trends and created a home that’s uniquely them and will last for decades.

Their old kitchen area was pretty small, so we decided to take over the old dining space to make the kitchen huge. We custom designed an island to be big enough to serve as an eating area for their whole family, thus removing the need for the dining room. This kitchen has more storage than she will ever need. And who doesn’t love tons of storage??

I mixed the metals we used in this space, because, well, I love the visual interest that it adds to a room. I think tastefully mixing metals helps a space feel professionally designed and not “builder grade”. Our primary metal was brushed gold, but the shelf brackets are matte black and the cabinet handles are an antique gold (which feels like a gold and black combo).

Another really important element of good interior design is making a space feel cohesive. We achieved this by repeating colors, metals, and patterns throughout the home. You’ll see later on that our bathroom floor tile is black and white, which is a repeat of the white backsplash and black brackets used in the kitchen. The hall bathroom has a emerald green vanity which clearly compliments our kitchen island. Little details like this make the design choices feel intentional.

This island, oh this island…I love it so much! We drew this beauty while standing next to our client and discussing what she wanted. It turned out so perfect I could have cried when I saw it in its place. I can imagine that it will have a long and happy life being the center of all the entertainment in this home.

I love that this fireplace is now one of the superstars of this kitchen area. There’s something about a fireplace being in a non-traditional space that makes it stand out even more and say, “Look at me!”. I also love that the brick is still raw and untouched. It adds so much character to the room!

You see those shelves next to the fireplace? Nathan built those in what would have been unused space above the HVAC return. If you have extra space that doesn’t have a use, find something to do with it! We used this space to make these built-in shelves and they add so much extra detail and character that wasn’t here before.

Do you have any questions about this kitchen? Or about the services we offer? Please send me a message or leave a comment and I’ll be happy to answer for you!

We aren’t always hired to design and construct. Sometimes it’s just one or the other. But it’s so fun to be hired for the whole project! I get to design and Nathan and our team gets to make it come to life! I do think we make a great team. I mean, who wouldn’t want to work hand in hand with their super handsome hubby. 😉

Thanks for reading! I’ll post a blog and pics of the bathrooms soon!

Megan

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Our Building Journey: Part 1

I’ve been thinking a lot about starting to blog again. It’s been on my heart to document this journey because I know that one day I’ll wish I did. This is not a glamorous story. Parts of it will represent some of the most difficult times of our marriage and parts will show some of the highest mountaintops too. This story isn’t finished yet, and honestly I don’t know when it will be. We’ve grown more in the past 7 months than we wanted to (just being honest). As the story unfolds over the next several posts you’ll understand why.

The next several blog posts will go into details that I’ve debated on not sharing, but I’ve decided to. Because it’s our story and good or bad, it’s true and I want to look back one day when I’m old and remember every little detail. So I’ll back way up and start at the beginning.

In February of 2018 we started tossing around the idea of selling our home and moving. We didn’t know exactly where we wanted to move to or what we wanted to do but we wanted change.

I’ll never forget the cold, rainy Sunday that I was scrolling through Zillow and stumbled upon a fixer upper on the lake. The house was well within our budget and it inspired me. I couldn’t stop imagining what we could do with it. We decided to drive by and take a look.

We talked about that house for a couple weeks but eventually decided that we didn’t want to live on the water while we had three little kids at home. But that was it… it was at this point that we just couldn’t imagine staying in our home. We had imagined our lives unfolding someplace else and started to become unattached to the home we were currently living in.

We also knew that the housing market was the best it had been in a long time so we wanted to take advantage of that situation and sell while the market was still so hot. So we started getting the place ready to sell.

We still weren’t for sure what we wanted to do or where we wanted to go. We talked about buying a fixer upper and updating it. We talked about downsizing and learning to live “smaller”. Somehow that sounded exciting to me. Haha. But we ultimately decided to build our forever home.

The next decision to be made was to decide where we wanted to build. We talked about building on my parent’s property, but decided that doing that would pretty much prevent us from ever moving if we wanted to (because they wouldn’t want us to move and sell and thus have strangers as neighbors on their property). We drove through so many neighborhoods and looked at “non-neighborhood” locations too.

I grew up on lots of land with no neighbors in sight and Nathan grew up in a neighborhood with homes very close together. We agreed that there were benefits to both. We continued our search with hopes that we could find a location that would be a happy medium.

We eventually found the perfect spot that we still consider the dreamiest place on earth. It’s a 3.5 acre plot of land with some woods, a gorgeous creek and breathtaking views. It has privacy, but it’s still in a neighborhood where everyone else has a good amount of land too. The beautiful homes are spread out on rolling hills with lots of white picket fencing and horses. When we saw it we knew it was home. We quickly offered on the land and purchased it.

The day we closed on our land!

Here’s our cute little camera man, Maverick

We thought that selling our home would be easy, considering we renovate and sell homes for a living, but we were dead wrong. Cleaning, decluttering, and fixing little things that never bothered us (but that had to be done to sell it) was super hard…in an emotional sense. We had brought all three of our babies home to that house. I was way more attached to it than I ever imagined I would be. But, we cleaned and cleaned and sold and donated tons of stuff. So much stuff that it actually started to feel empty by the time pictures were taken.

Our house sold immediately after listing it for a full $15,000 more than we were asking. We clearly felt that God was opening doors for us and leading in this major decision. Even though I was emotional through this entire process, we felt at peace about it all.

These are some photos from our listing.

It was the weirdest thing, though. I clearly remember on the second day of showings that we had to be gone pretty much all day because there were showings back to back throughout the day. We had a late showing that was supposed to end at 9:00pm. We had been visiting my parents and returned home around 9:15pm. When we got to our house the potential buyers were still there looking at our house with their agent. I could see them standing in MY living room with the lights on while we drove by with babies in the car that were tired and ready to go to bed. I remember being mad. Because even though I wanted to move, it was still really hard to turn that home over to another family. It was like part of me wanted to tell them to take a hike and the other part wanted to scream “buy my house”. I know that sounds so crazy.

The day we signed the contract I felt fairly numb. Like I signed it and knew that we were doing what we decided we wanted to do. I knew we would be building our dream home. I knew it was time. I knew all these things, but I still had to keep my heart out of it and just use my head to make this “business transaction” like we’d done so many times before. We’ve bought and sold a lot of houses, but this was home…my home. Our home. That home saw our last days with just me and Nathan before we became parents. It saw me become a mother to the most adorable set of twins and try to figure out how to be just what they needed. It saw us add a third baby to our wild crew. That home was our haven for 5 years and we had made it beautiful. It was hard. The entire month of packing and moving I just had to not think about it and press forward.

I know some of you reading this are thinking “good grief, if you didn’t want to move that bad then you should’ve just stayed.” And that’s true, but we DID want to move and build. But what can I say, I’m just a wife and mama that was emotional during that time. It was weird.

Anyways…

I’ll pick up right here in the next blog post and talk about our search to find a temporary living situation and the actual move from our home into our rental. It’s a doozy. Stay tuned for more!

Thanks for reading!

XOXO,

Megan

“Can’t Stay for Long”

I know I haven’t blogged much, or actually any at all, for the past 6 months or so. I don’t know why. It’s not that I haven’t had anything to talk about. We’ve flipped a couple more houses, sold our personal home and moved into a rental, and are in the middle of building our “forever home”. Our contracting and design business has grown leaps and bounds this calendar year. We’ve traveled and made plenty of fun memories and I’ve documented it all in my diary…seriously. I’ve had a diary since 2001 and it holds hundreds to maybe over a thousand entries documenting all of my life including all of the important stuff and lots of the small stuff too.

I guess I just haven’t felt “inspired” to blog on a more public platform. But today as we were sitting on the beach with our kiddos something nearly knocked the breath right out of me and I knew I needed to write about it.

We take a fall beach trip every year. It’s actually our favorite time to go. It’s not hot and not crowded. You get the beach basically all to yourself. It’s warm enough to play and enjoy the beach without sweat pouring down your face or having to worry too much about sunscreen and umbrellas.

We arrived last night and got out to the actual beach this afternoon. We brought our chairs out to the sand and were letting the boys run and play. They were hunting for treasures with their metal detectors. I was sitting talking to my parents and brother while Nathan was hunting for treasures with our boys.

Every time they found a cool treasure or shell they would bring it to me while beaming with pride and say, “Look what I found just for you Mama”. Of course my mama heart loves hearing those words from them. I save all the treasures, always. (I’ve been known to save old leaves and weeds until they’ve literally disintegrated.)

And then it happened. Maverick ran up to me with a new found treasure and handed it to me. Before he ran off I asked for a kiss and he happily leaned in and gave me a little kiss on the lips. As he started to head back to treasure hunting he said, “Can’t stay for long!” and then he ran off to meet back up with his Daddy.

It hit me like a ton of bricks. I just sat there and thought that he’d never said a truer statement. He doesn’t get to stay for long…none of my babies do. Nathan and I were just talking about this the other day. We get 18 years, at best, with them before they head into the world on their own. I used to think that was a long time. It felt like forever. But now I realize that it’s far too short. My oldest babies start kindergarten next year and I can hardly stand the thought of it. It seriously seems like we were sitting in the NICU with them yesterday. Time is a thief and has a way of making the difficult moments dissolve into years and then suddenly you’re left with nothing but memories.

I try to enjoy all the moments. The good ones but also the really trying ones too because I know that they only get to be with me for a short while. I know that one day they will leave and they will each have a wife and a family of their own. That’s hard to think about right now. They still tell me that they want to marry me when they grow up, and I’m always happy to tell them that I’d love to! I’m thrilled to be the most important woman in their life right now, but it won’t be that way forever.

So for now, I’ll keep making memories and savoring every moment that I’m privileged to be with them because I know that they “can’t stay for long” and it makes everything else seem less important.

Kitchen Renovation Reveal

Hi friends,

Today I’m going to share the transformation of the kitchen and dining room of flip #5. Ya know, now that I’m thinking about it, I need to get a better way to name these houses. By habit we always call them by the name of the road they’re on, but I never share that on social media to protect the privacy of the buyers…so I need to get a better naming system going. Lol. Anyways…I’m disappointed to say that I do not have actual before pictures of this space. We were waiting on our electrician to update the breaker panel in the house and therefore we didn’t have power for the first couple weeks that we owned it. I was waiting on power so I could turn on lights for decent before pictures…but then our painter got started and before I realized it, he had already painted primer on the kitchen cabinets before I got to take my pictures. So…just imagine the dark brown cabinets with me…

The pictures that I’ll share below are after a few weeks of renovation. We had already had demo day, taken down a large wall dividing the dining room and living room, and gotten primer on all the walls and cabinetry.

Our execution of this space included painting the walls (Sherwin Williams Repose Gray), ceiling, and kitchen cabinets (uppers in Sherwin Williams Alabaster and lowers in Sherwin Williams Peppercorn). We installed new granite countertops (granite name is Luna Pearl) and a tile backsplash with large, white subway tiles.

For flooring I chose a large, rectangle gray tile and had our crew lay it all in a diagonal pattern to make the space feel even more custom. In my opinion, attention to little details like this matter big time. Would most “flippers” have done this? Absolutely not! The tile took twice as long to lay (hence twice as much labor costs) and used much more tile because of all the extra waste created by laying it this way. But do I think it was it worth it? Absolutely! We want to be different, and if that means spending more money to produce a product that is different…and maybe even better, then sign us up! 🙌🏼

We replaced all the old light fixtures with new ones (including moving the location of several existing lights, and adding the pendant lights above the breakfast bar and sink). We installed all new, custom ordered windows and built a new mantle for above the fireplace. After much debate in my mind, I decided to keep the original brick fireplace and not paint or whitewash it because of all the charming original character. I loved the raw, natural feeling it added to the room!

I feel like this space turned out so perfect. In my little design oriented mind, I felt like this space nailed the “slightly industrial, downtown open loft feel” to a tee.

And now for the after pictures!

And there it is, friends! What do you think of this one??

Also, stay tuned for another update soon…because…we’ve already gotten another house! Here’s a sneak peek of it.

Isn’t she cute?? I’m super excited about all the potential in this one! It’s a 3 bedroom 1.5 bathroom house on a 1 acre lot! I’ve been planning and designing all week. The theme in my mind for this one is “quaint cottage”. The renovation will start next week and we are hoping to have it done by the first week in May. I already can’t wait!! This stuff gives me life! I LOVE it!

As always, thanks for reading!

XOXO,

Megan

Master Bathroom

Today’s post is going to talk about the master bathroom in flip house #5! Let me first start by sharing a really neat story that goes along with this house.

About 6 weeks ago Emily and Tyler contacted us and asked if we had any properties we were working on that happened to be in a very specific school district. And it just so happened that we did. They came and looked at it (in its very unfinished, construction-zone state) and fell in love with our vision for the place! They quickly got their home under contract and asked to buy ours well before it was even finished. It was super fun for us to be able to finish this home with specific homeowners in mind and they were able to personalize the home a bit to fit their needs even better! We were SO thrilled to be able to be a part of such a super exciting day yesterday…they purchased their new home and we sold our 5th project! We hope they love their new home for many many years! Cheers to them! 🥂❤️😊

Back to the master bathroom…

This bathroom was teeny tiny. It previously only housed a toilet and a sink, but no shower or bathtub. Although the vanity had recently been replaced, the rest of the space was still very outdated. The master also had a small bi-fold closet, with very little storage. We took over part of another bedroom to give us space to expand the bathroom and closet and this change allowed us to give this bedroom a much nicer master ensuite.

Here are the before pictures of the master bedroom and bathroom:

For this space, we first tore it all out and reframed for our new, expanded bathroom and closet. We more than doubled the size, probably tripled the size actually. Then we had room for a walk in closet and shower. I chose to use a wood grain tile floor in a white color with gray grout. The color on the walls we used is called Sherwin Williams Waterscape. We hung open shelves above the toilet, tiled above the shower, and added a fun mirror and light fixture to finish sprucing up this adorable bathroom! Oh, and let me not forget to add that we did a sliding “barn” door into the bathroom.

Having a sense of cohesiveness throughout a home reflects good design. Spaces need to feel unique, but the same, if that makes sense. I’ll break that down for you and explain how I did that in the two bathrooms in this house. We used the same paint color on the walls. The open shelving was stained in the same color, but we used different brackets to hang them. The tile floor is the same style, but in a different color with a different grout color too. The finish of the mirror in the master matches the finish of the vanity in the hall bath. I mixed metals in this bathroom and loved the way it turned out. In the hall bath I only used oil rubbed bronze fixtures, but in the master I tastefully mixed oil rubbed bronze with brushed stainless steel to give it a little different feel. All of the similarities mixed with the differences achieved the goal of cohesiveness and uniqueness.

Enough talking…😬

Now for the after pictures!!

I’m seriously in love with the final product! What do you think about it?? Thanks for reading!

XOXO,

Megan

Hall Bathroom Reveal

Well here we are, wrapping up the 5th Hartman Homes home. This one turned out to be extra special. (More on that later…) We’ve gotten faster with each project, and even though this was another major renovation, it’s only taken us 3 months from start to finish. We’ve executed some design ideas in this house that we haven’t done before…remember my blog post in January about always having fresh ideas…and this bathroom contains one of those design ideas. The more we renovate and the more I design, the more I love it. I view these homes as a blank canvas that allow me to spread my wings, try ideas, and breathe new life back into neglected houses.

Before I continue with before and after pictures of the hall bathroom, I’ll give some more details into some things I alluded to in my last post. This January (2 months ago) Nathan quit his former job of 13 years as a BMW technician to work full time on growing Hartman Homes. This change came with much, much prayer and 3 years of growing our business on the side. When we started, that was the goal all along. We had always said that when the business had a certain amount of money we would transition to doing it full-time, but it was hard to quit working at a stable job to pursue a dream…so we didn’t for awhile. We kept trying to do it all, and it was just really hard to balance owning a very active, time demanding business and also having Nathan at another job 5 days a week. But after much more prayer and begging God to close doors if it wasn’t His will, we stepped out in faith and here we are 2 months into self employment. And it has been the BEST THING ever. God is SO good and has continued to bless us, and we are so undeserving.

Before quitting his job in January, Nathan had already been studying for several months to take his general contractor’s licensing exam. He was accepted to sit for his exam in February and scheduled it for the same month. He passed the exam with flying colors and I couldn’t have been more proud!

Self employment is a good fit for him/us. We’ve joked…well kinda because it’s partially true… that we’ve been busier since becoming self employed than we were before, but hey, that’s a good thing so I can’t complain. We are both very driven and self motivated people so we have to schedule time for play and not work…🤣.

So what’s on the horizon for us now? We’re not really for sure. We’re searching for another property to renovate and flip, tossing around the idea of renovating a property to make a vacation rental (that’s been one of my dreams for a long time), and we’re seriously considering building some new houses on some land that we bought several months ago. Which of those things comes first, I have no idea…that’s up to God and where He leads us.

So back to the hall bathroom before and after reveal. As always, I’ll start with before pictures…

These pictures are dark because we didn’t have any electricity on at the house when I took them, so sorry about that. But as you can see, the bathroom was functional, yet very tired and outdated. Nothing about it said, “I’m a relaxing, little retreat” and that’s what I want my bathrooms to say. Since the layout was straight forward and functional, we were able to keep that the same and just update all of the contents.

I chose a brown wood grain tile with a white grout for the floors and it looks awesome! We turned an old, refurbished dresser (that was the design idea we had never done before) into a gorgeous vanity with vessel sink and unique faucet. I decided to do bead board on the bottom portion of the walls just to add a little character, and above the bead board we used the paint color Sherwin Williams Waterscape. We added some recessed lighting to the ceiling, and I used adorable sconces to flank the sides of the mirror. And finally, the open shelves we installed above the new toilet added the final touch to this adorable hall bathroom!

The final product makes me smile so big!

And there you have it, the complete transformation of this cute, little bathroom! I just love it all…the color on the walls, the vanity, the sconces, the bead board, the sink…ughhh it’s just too cute!

As always, thanks for reading!!

XOXO,

Megan

Fresh

I’ve been thinking about this upcoming new year and I get butterflies in my stomach. Literally. There are big things that are about to happen in our lives and business and it gives me all the feels. I decided to come up with a theme word for 2018 and I think I’ve decided on “fresh”.

I love to decorate with live plants in our own home. I think something about the fact that they’re living just brings a breath of fresh air. They must be cared for and tended to. If that doesn’t happen, they won’t flourish. But if they’re taken care of they will thrive and make the space feel fresh and alive. I want us to embrace that same feeling of freshness in our life and business this year.

This little plant on our mantle helped inspire our word for 2018.

This next year will be full of that.

For starters, this year might bring a fresh new endeavor. The very first new home construction that Hartman Homes has ever done is on the horizon for 2018. I mentioned in an earlier blog post that we purchased some land a couple months ago. We’ve been toying several different ideas around in our minds and right now the idea of subdividing that land and building homes on it is winning. I guess that would end up being a mini “Hartman Homes” neighborhood.

My second thought with “fresh” is with design. I’ve found that when you design multiple kitchens, bathrooms, exteriors, etc for a living it’s easy to find a comfortable spot in design and stick to it. But I also get tired and bored of “trends” really quickly. For instance, I’ve been getting tired of the farmhouse craze that has taken over the world. This year, I’m challenging myself to continuously think outside the box and have fresh ideas when designing new spaces. Our drive is to do quality work that is “different” enough to set us apart from others.

And lastly, fresh beginnings are on the way. I don’t want to say too much too soon, but a big change is about to happen in our business and we couldn’t be more excited and nervous all at the same time. When we started working this business three years ago we had a specific goal in mind. That goal was to have freedom. We wanted freedom with our time so we could enjoy this life together and with our children. We didn’t want to miss a minute. We wanted financial freedom so we would be able to bless others and exercise our spiritual gifts of giving. We also wanted freedom to dream and be able to pursue those dreams. I’ve been thinking about sharing a bit more of our beginning story on here and maybe someday I will.

During the really difficult, exhausting, overworked times we’ve maintained the mindset to “live like no one else, so that one day you can live like no one else”. Does that make sense? Basically, don’t get comfortable. Pray harder and dream bigger. Pursue those dreams that God placed in your heart tirelessly. Be the driving force to accomplish those dreams.

So going into 2018, “fresh” is going to be the word that we claim as we embark on this new year full of fresh things. Thanks for reading and I pray you all have a blessed new year!

XOXO,

Megan