Holy moly, this is hard!

Who would have thought that building our dream house would be so hard to do? We’ve spent the last few months scouring affordable plans that we’d be able to build within our budget. We finally put four plans into a “we agree” board on Pinterest. Then we printed them all out and had a family vote by ranking each plan 0-4. The plan with most points would win. There was a tie.

So we threw out the two plans that didn’t get enough voting love and re-voted. There was a winner! I give you Wildmere Cottage. It’s a 3 bedroom, 3.5 bath and the boys will have huge rooms upstairs, by themselves!

Of course, we’ll need to change up the plans slightly. We want to make the kitchen and living room a bit bigger. It’ll be a perfect sized living space for us. So we talked with the designer and the two builders we still hadn’t decided between yet. The designer would make the changes for an extra fee but couldn’t adjust to Washington code, as needed. One builder said they’d be able to modify the CAD files and would do engineering, etc as needed with the plans. Another wanted to recreate the CAD files from scratch – this turned out to be the cheapest option, actually.

We thought about it all for a while. A lot of thinking. It’s very intimidating to buy a house plan that you’ve never seen built. We only had the floor plans to imagine how things would look. So Jim did some Google sleuthing and came across the website of a contractor who had built this exact plan before. There was only a picture of the front side, so he emailed them asking if they had any other pictures of the project…and they send us these!!! So many thanks to Onslow Bay Homes. If you’re looking to build in the NC area, check them out!

Here’s the front of the house. That front porch definitely needs a swing! More to come on how we’re going to change up these plans to make it even better!!!


This view is an angled front…I think this is how we’re going to position the house towards the street. Maybe not quite as angled, but we’ll see. The master bedroom is on the lower level on the right side. The upstairs dormer on the left will be Matthew’s room and the one on the right is the office/loft/sewing room.


Here’s a side view – this is the side of the house that will change dramatically. The three center windows will turn into french doors with the dining room on the other side. The two windows on the right are where the living room is – this will pop out 4 feet to make the living room even more roomy. And to the left of the dining room is the kitchen – this will also pop out four feet making the kitchen AWESOME! By extending out the side, we’ll add an overhang roof line so that the house looks a bit more balanced from the front view. We’ll also make a little grilling area/patio right off of the dining room.


On the original plans, there’s a screened in porch that they didn’t build here. It kind of just juts out the back and is connected by the mud room (that’s what sits out from the house in this picture). Depending on the land, we may or may not keep the porch. Ideally I want it weather proofed as opposed to just screened in. Because, well, rain.

And here’s the kitchen space! By expanding it out 4 more feet to the left, we’ll be able to have a huge island and probably more windows. And we’re hoping to be able to have a good sized pantry on the right side and possibly more windows on the left side.



And the view from the front all the way to the back of the house. I want to remove all of those extra walls to make it more open. I’m hoping we can make the ceiling flat all the way down as well.


And here’s the living room…remember we’ll be adding 4 more feet! In between the two windows on the right is the perfect spot for a fireplace too.


We made decisions! Go us!

So, with these pictures as complete proof that we picked an awesome plan, we had no other choice than to buy the plans! We also chose to go with the builder that would modify the CAD files. It’s a small, family-owned business, just nice guys. I think we made a good choice. And they post things on Facebook! They just finished building a 2-car garage with apartment above (something else we’ll need to build) and have a bunch of pictures. So…check it out…fall in love…that’s where you’ll be staying when you visit!

Road Trip Round 3!

This time with a dog! We’ll be heading up again 4th of July week to meet with our builders, walk the land, talk plans, and be on our way to getting everything submitted for permits! So stay tuned for more to come on the road trip and how Shadow lasts 12 hours in the car!


We’re done building! See the finished house.


    1. Oh you’ll LOVE the house. We tweaked some things on it…We moved the laundry to the mudroom and made the laundry area a huge walk in shower. We also added 4 feet to the living room and kitchen. The living room definitely needed that extra space and I love the bigger kitchen but not everyone needs a bigger kitchen. And we removed a lot of the extra closets upstairs including the big utility area making for a better sized loft. Otherwise it would have been way too small. Additional mods that I wish we had made…adding another window somehow to the upstairs back bedroom as well as a window in the powder room. Both are on the darker side. Also, we ran into an issue with not having enough space in the roofline for insulation to meet code here. So we ended up having to drop our ceilings 3 inches. Not the end of the world but they are no longer 10 ft ceilings. Good luck!

      1. Awesome! Could you by chance email me pictures of yours? We love the “four gables” home but the laundry room is in an awful spot and there is no mud room. Im worried if picking a house plan is so hard what is the rest going to be like!!! Thanks again!

        1. Hahaha! Your worries are legit! Imagine redoing one room and all of the decisions that go into it…now times that by 10 rooms and then some! I’ll email you some pics. We’re almost done.

          1. Could you add me on the email too? We are thinking of building the Wildmere Cottage, but we seem to have the same concerns as you! We’d love to see what you modified!

          2. What pics would you like to see? We’ve finally moved in so I’m working on a post with final pictures.

      2. Hey Laura! Do you have anymore photos of this finished out? It’s very similar to the plan we’re looking at!

  1. We’ve narrowed down our search TO Wildmere Cottage or the very similar Ingalls 9772. I’d love to see finished pictures.

  2. We as well are looking to build this house, and love all the photos you’ve posted. So very helpful with visualizing the space. My question is, did you have Southern Living do the customizations to the plan, or did you work with an Architect? I’ve not heard good stories of people’s experience with SL.

    1. We too are in the process of building the Wildmere and we did have the modifications done by SL. We should have used and architect in Virginia because we had to have it all redone anyway. Many things were not done correctly in the modified final planscompleted by SL. So our recommendation is find an architect where you live if you plan to modify it.

  3. Thank you for sharing about this house plan and your build! Y’all did a great job! We *might* be deciding on Wildmere Cottage (with modifications). Your posts are so helpful as I try to visualize our forever home!

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