First Look: HGTV Smart Home 2015

Y’ALL! (I can say that in all caps because…) the HGTV Smart Home is located in Austin, TX this year!

Have any of y’all been to Austin? Elsewhere in Texas? My friend, Shay, lives in Austin and I went out to visit her one year. It was a pretty cool place. I was out there in the springtime and the bluebonnets were in bloom and just gorgeous!

So, HGTV has given us a sneak peak of the construction process and I thought I’d share a few photos with y’all to get your opinions and share a few of my own. First, can we just talk about the front facade!?! What the heck is with the side entry front door? I HATE it. I love a beautiful front entryway and when the front door is hidden from view it makes visitors confused. This is especially the case when the house has a side yard like this one where the living room opens out onto the side of the house and not the back of the house. Anyway, I do love the different sidings used and the casement windows with black frames.

See what I mean about that hidden front door!?! This picture above shows just how awkward it is. Ugh. Also, I do not understand the one-car-garage idea. I mean, this is 2014 people. Everyone could use a little more garage space even if it is for our secret hording lifestyles. Even if the garage has to be tandem because the lot is not large enough, just do it! This is my same complaint with the HGTV Dream Home for this year.

So, from the picture above you can see the temporary front door there on the left that opens into the dining area and living room to the back right of this picture. We can see what looks like a niche for a flat-screen TV and some sliders to the side patio.

Here’s a floor plan to help you get your bearings:

There is a tiny back porch that I’m guessing is screened-in but I wonder what could really fit out there. The only thing I really need to be in a screened-in porch would be a dining area and that space doesn’t look very large. Below is a picture coming from the other direction with the entry at the far right, living room on the left and front of this photo and the kitchen space in the far back of this photo.

Behind the kitchen are the stairs leading to the second floor, guest bedroom and bathroom, as well as the garage space but first, let’s look at this kitchen space.

This looks to be the makings for a kitchen sink area and it has me wondering where the dishwasher is located. I see that the two areas to the right and left look like closets so I’m at a loss for what the plan could be. Maybe a bar sink? This picture below is the stair hallway and I have to say I just LOVE that they made a niche under the stairs. There’s often a lot of wasted space in the interior walls that could be better utilized and I like it when people get creative.

Also, they’re using the spray foam insulation on this house which contributes to its “smart” value.

Upstairs is a nice large loft area that I’m sure will become a play space that they’re currently labeling the “den”. Nearly to the top of the stairs you hang a left to enter the master bedroom space. The picture below shows the upstairs from the opposite direction (love the skylights).

Here is the upstairs floor plan to help you understand the layout:

There is a closet at the top of the stairs and the master space seems quite large and very nice. The only concern I have is that the other upstairs bathroom only has an entrance within the guest bedroom and this means when folks are upstairs in the den they will have to walk through the bedroom to get to the bathroom. I’m not a fan of that at all. If you’re going to have a door into the bedroom, fine, but at least have another off the hallway.

Above is a shot looking into the master bedroom above the garage and I love that they placed windows up high to let in light while still allowing for privacy. Below is a shot looking into the guest bedroom down the hall.

So, what do you think so far? I think they’re making fairly good use of a small space. Personally, I don’t feel the need for an additional formal living and dining space. I like the idea that the kitchen, living room, and dining room are all open to one another. As I said above, the one-car-garage puzzles me and I don’t care for the side entry front door but other than that I’m excited to see the finished product.

Let me know your thoughts and I’ll be back once the home is further along with more details!


2015 HGTV Dream Home

Are y’all in it to win it!?!

The 2015 HGTV Dream Home is on Martha’s Vineyard and it is built in the traditional Cape Cod style. Take a look at the floorplan:

I love the great room concept but I can’t help but think about just how impractical this home is. First, only a small one car garage. Second, the guest bedroom and kid’s bedroom both have these patios that face the driveway and really serve no purpose. The back patio (and back yard for that matter) are super tiny when what you really want is a ton of usable outdoor space. In addition, seeing as this is a vacation home, I’m not sure why in the heck they would build such large master closets. Who is bringing that much stuff with them on vacation!?! And the master bathroom, while gorgeous, is at ground level and has too many windows. Don’t get me wrong, I love windows, but I also know that I tend to be naked in my bathroom and windows at ground level will then have to be covered up 99% of the time and that just seems pointless to me. I think that they should have made a much smaller closet and used the dressing room and master closet space for the bathroom and had another bedroom or office in the front of the house. This is a vacation home, after all. Maybe I’m just super picky. I mean, I would certainly be happy to win this home, but I could never make it my permanent home. It just doesn’t flow well and has poor use of space. What are your thoughts? Despite the weird floorplan I think the home is aesthetically pleasing.

Here are some of my favorite photos (courtesy of HGTV):




Northeast Florida Living

Hi friends! Please join me over on my sister-site, Northeast Florida Living, as I profile the new HGTV Smart Home 2013 located in Paradise Key, Jacksonville Beach, Florida. Over there you will find virtual tour information as well as updates regarding their in-person tours beginning April 12th. In addition, I will be making a personal visit to highlight some of my favorite aspects of the new Smart Home. Don’t forget, you can enter daily for the chance to win from April 11 through May 31, 2013.

HGTV Smart Home 2013

Y’all… the Smart Home (previously known as the green home) for this year is practically in my backyard! How cool is that?! This year they’re building the Smart Home in a community called Paradise Key. They’ve taken the concept of green home and expanded it. Not only will the home be ec0-friendly but it will be incredibly high-tech. The community is located in the beaches community that surrounds Jacksonville, Florida. The selection of this community no doubt included the fact that the lots are the largest in the area as well as the fact that there are very few lots still available in the beaches area. The Jacksonville beaches are my home and my happy place. See what HGTV had to say about the community here.

One of the things I love most about this year’s home is the open layout and shingle-style design. I love that this area has more of the northern style than Mediterranean style that surrounds so many communities in Florida. I absolutely am not a fan of Spanish-style architecture. In this community the homes are close to the street with the garage set back into the property. This builds a sense of community. Most of the homes in the beach community have a wide front porch with a long skinny driveway down the side of the property. Seeing as the average lot size is around 45 x 75 you have to work with what you’re given. Here is a sketch of the home as seen from the street:

Here is the first floor plan:

And here is the second floor plan:

I love that they were able to pack in so much and it’s still around 2400 square feet. The two pictures show the layout on the horizontal but you have to reorient yourself to picture it coming straight on. The front porch will be at a slight angle to the road and the long driveway down the left side of the home will take you to the garage at the back of the property. The pool will boarder the right side of the property leaving a small backyard. Seeing as the beach is just a short walk away you really don’t need much of a yard.

One of the things that I absolutely LOVE is that there is no formal living or dining room. To me, those things are superfluous. We practically live in our kitchen seeing as Craig is a former chef so the ability to entertain while he cooks is of utmost importance to us. I like the master bedroom on the main level but away from the entertaining areas. I like the mudroom and the outdoor shower. I also like the extended space above the garage that could eventually be completed for a home office or workshop.

What are your thoughts? When it comes available to enter will you be in it to win it? Is this not your style? Maybe you need more acreage. Maybe you need more formal areas. Maybe you’re looking for additional bedrooms. Whatever your thoughts… I’d love to hear them. 🙂

HGTV Dream Home 2013

Okay y’all… who’s entering to win the HGTV Dream Home? This year the home is located in Kiawah, South Carolina. For those that are not familiar, HGTV builds a dream home each year stocked with architectural details that will make you swoon.

They use the home to show off new building techniques and demonstrate fabulous interior design options that you can duplicate in your own home. In addition to it being a show house, they have a drawing you can enter once a day to win the home and other prizes. I’m sharing with you some beautiful pictures by world-class photographer Eric Perry so you may have a chance to fall in love with this home like I have.

Take a look at the front porch, don’t you just want to walk up and make yourself at home?

Who wouldn’t want to come home to this every day? The home is built on “stilts” which allows for a garage and storage and playroom beneath. In addition to the space saving benefits the home becomes much more “hurricane proof” with the ability for storm surge to flow underneath while the main house remains high and dry.

Come through the front door and you’re greeted by a lovely foyer with staircase heading to the upstairs bedrooms and a fabulous powder room for guests. Straight down the hallway and you have the open-space kitchen, dining room, and great room overlooking the back yard marsh with the master bedroom on the main floor. Some of my favorite details are the stripes and sconces in the powder room…

The staircase treads and that beautiful wood and white railing…

The amazing shower in the master bedroom…

The open floor-plan of the great room and loft balcony above…

And the outside railing capped in teak that matches the interior.

The outside decking is made of garapa wood which is incredibly weather resistant and well suited to the south. Here is a picture of the outside lap pool that is built into the second story and overlooks the marsh.

On the other side of the outside deck is a private space by the master bedroom.

Another amazing detail inside the home is the overhead beams…

Here you can see down the hallway upstairs through the loft and notice the beams above.

So, tell me, are you entering to win? What are your favorite parts of the dream home? Maybe it’s not even your style. Maybe you aren’t into southern lowcountry design. If you are interested be sure to read over the rules. You have through February 15th to enter to win. I’ve set a reminder on my calendar to enter every day, that’s how much I want to win this home!

The grand prize includes: