In May of 2012, we began work with Tilson to build their San Bernard plan on our property outside of Austin, Texas. It is a 2331 sq ft plan, with 3 br / 2.5 ba and a bonus room. This was an 80% build, which meant they fully finished the exterior, and took the interior up to the texture on the drywall. We were responsible for finishing out the home ourselves, which included: utilities (well, electric, septic & gas), paint (we hired a local contractor, Martin DeLeon who I highly recommend), flooring (another contractor, stained concrete by Artistic Impressions who I also highly recommend), plumbing fixtures, tiling (we hired a friend to do this for us using tile purchased at Lowes), cabinetry, appliances, electrical fixtures, interior doors, trim, closet organizers, and landscaping (contracted to Debbie of Sagebrush Landscaping). It’s now May of 2014 and it’s finally to the point I can take “after photos”.
This is going to be a long, photo-heavy post! Let’s start off with our floorplan:
We edited the original floorplan to make a few key changes.
- We eliminated the half garage, and actually moved the doors around to face the front direction of the house, not the “courtyard”
- We reversed the entire plan, putting the garage on the right instead of the left
- We nixed the faux dormer on top of the house, one less window to clean and I don’t have to do it in the attic!
- I moved the sink and dishwasher away from the island and onto the bonus room wall of the kitchen. I don’t like piles of dirty dishes in the middle of the room. I also opted to use a slide-in range as opposed to a drop in cook top with wall ovens. I looooove my antique Magic Chef and do not regret it for a second!
- Instead of a full wall of rock (the rock is an upgrade from brick) on the fireplace, we stopped it halfway up and drywalled the rest. I liked the flexibility it left for television size (the rock would have boxed it in), and really enjoy the look of the weathered wood fence pickets I added as an accent wall above the rock. It makes a statement! We also opted to save the rock rather than take a credit and used it for the landscaping to make raised beds and a bench, as well as a “dry creek bed” for the washout areas of the yard.
- Added a tv to the master bathtub area. This is probably my favorite add-on. My husband is an electrician so he did the wiring for me, adding an outlet and cable line. We mounted a small 19″ tv and I use it almost every evening for a good soak in the tub!
Changes I wish we had made now that we’ve built the plan:
- nixed the door in the dining room and gone with another window. The doors in the living room are just a step away, and the dining door crowds the space for having limited function.
- Moved the shower head placement in the master bath to the back wall. It points toward the door and doesn’t use the space as well as it could.
- Added a light in the media cubby and increased the size of the opening and tubing. They installed a 1″ tube, which couldn’t even fit a power plug, let alone all the other cables. We had to just take it out and use a fish tape every time we add a component.
- Moved the thermostat from the kitchen wall to the hallway wall. I think this was a mistake, and it should have been installed on the opposite side of the drywall.
- More plugs in the master bathroom. Because you can never have enough outlets!
- Upgraded exterior lights. There was a bit of confusion as to the inclusion of lights, and in the end they just popped on the cheapest lights you find at Lowes, known as “jam jar” lights that run about $4 each. I wish we had upgraded to nicer options, so we didn’t need to replace them ourselves.
Now let’s get to the details!
- we chose Sandstone Flag Autumn blend for the stone and Texas Tan mortar, the stucco is Monterrey.
- Landscaping done by Sagebrush Landscaping.
- DIY brick patio
- Gutters installed by Starr Company with rain barrels from Lowes
- Painted in SW Rivulet
- built laundry platform with rolling drawers
- hand built rustic secretary
- installed 1×4 cedar trim and door frame
- added a freezer and our washer/dryer combo
Our utility room is normally the first room we walk into, entering from the garage. We found a great chandelier on super clearance, and we cut holes in blue mason jar lids and screwed them into the arms using the lids to make it more rustic but still a little glam. I made the Farm Fresh Eggs sign with some old fence pickets and hung them above the old nesting box which acts as a display. I keep my laundry soap in the secretary, which also houses our cat food and dryer lint I use to make fire-starters for camping. I found the old laundry soap sign above the freezer at an antiques store in Gruene.
- 1×4 cedar trim
- painted SW Teal Stencil
- salvaged flea market door
- hand built desk bases and pegboard wall
- DIY sliding door
This room is multi-functional and the most used room in the house. We keep an array of toys in the closet, which coupled with the play kitchen mean this is where we spend most of our time playing. The couch is a sleeper, and now that I finally hung some drapes (using old trophy tops as tie-backs) and a sliding door, it’s a guest room as well. The desk bases and pegboard mean it will also work as an office and homework area. We watch a lot of movies in here too. It’s probably my favorite room in the house, and the most unique!
- living, kitchen, hallway, dining and entry all painted SW Beach House
- 1×4 cedar trim
- DIY planked accent wall
- hand built console, bookcase and coffee table
Other than trim, the living room didn’t need much work at all. The stonework and mantle were included in Tilson’s work, so we just mounted the tv and ran the components to the hidden media cubby. I added the barnwood accent wall on a whim and we both fell in love with it. And yes, that’s a working jukebox! It’s such a fun addition to the room.
- Hand built kitchen cabinets (thanks to plans from Ana White!)
- Installed IKEA domsjo sink and custom base unit
- Custom stainless steel island top: built a base of plywood and 2×4′s to sit over the hand built cabinets and some turned legs from Lowes.
- Installed outlets in the island for appliances and the microwave
- Installed antique Magic Chef gas range (I had my local gas company come leak-check and adjust the orifices to LP and clean the pilot lights for about $75), we also replaced the oven glass for $50 by ordering a piece of ceramic glass online when the original glass shattered.
- Hand built range hood cover
- Installed open shelving with reclaimed oak and Container Store brackets
- Installed vintage screen pantry door and DIY transom window
This kitchen is my pride and joy. I partnered with Ana White to work on the cabinet plans, and built them with a little help from my husband from PureBond plywood. I absolutely adore them. We have a custom kitchen for a fraction of the cost, and they were so simple to build that I kept waiting to find out what the catch was. There wasn’t one. They’re still in fantastic shape and I expect them to be for years to come. We had a little trouble when the “recoating” on my antique cast iron farmhouse sink was chipping and peeling, so we replaced it with an IKEA model. The open shelving is made from some old reclaimed oak 1×12′s found in my dad’s barn. The recessed lighting was done by Tilson, but we installed these pendants from IKEA with edison-style bulbs. The metal barstools are Pier1 and the wall-mounted faucet is from Overstock.com.
- Custom extended leaf for the dining table
- 1×4 cedar trim
The dining room was by far the easiest room to finish up. Just a few trim boards, dining set, a light and voila! A finished room. I found the West Elm chandelier at our local Pottery Barn Outlet for $30 and snapped it up in a heartbeat! I hung it with a pendant kit from Lowes. My sister gave me her old table when I built her a new one, and I added in a custom leaf when we couldn’t find the original. The outdoor rug is from SAMS Club and the chairs are Target.
- painted SW Unique Gray (which reads very lavender, just FYI)
- 1×4 cedar trim
- Interior doors purchased from Lowes
- reclaimed solid oak entry door
- repurposed shutters from the flea market
- DIY floating nightstand
- Salvaged Junk Mirrors
Our Master Bedroom really had to grow on me. We only had a day to choose paint colors after a spur-of-the-moment decision to hire painters (we realized we would kill each other over painting 2300 square feet of house, which includes 20′ cathedral ceilings! Best home choice hands down) and we already had plans to be out of town so I chose them online. Bad move. We got really lucky with 90% of the house, but I wasn’t sure how I felt about this “unique gray”. It’s very lavender in real life. It’s still not my favorite, but I don’t hate it enough to consider painting it yet! The recessed lighting again was included, and we added the dreaded Southern ceiling fan that’s used basically every night. I found a set of old lockers to store the usual nightstand-type stuff, and set a tree stump by it for Jacob’s phone and such. For my side, I opted to create a long floating nightstand with some plumbing pipes and cedar leftover from construction. The Farmhouse Bed was our very first build together, and it still sits with the Rustic Bench we used as a guestbook for our wedding.
- Hand built vanity and medicine cabinets
- DIY “wood” bathtub surround
- Hand built closet doors
- 1×4 cedar trim
- Interior doors from Lowes
- Lights from Home Depot
- TV installation above bathtub
I love our master bathroom. It’s very roomy! We built the vanity from reclaimed barn wood and used talevera sinks we found in Mexico on our honeymoon. I built the medicine cabinet with mirrors as well, and we found these awesome hammered exterior lights at Home Depot for above the vanity. I built the closet doors with salvaged 1×4′s and some metal screening from Ace. The bathtub surround is made from wood-look cement siding, and the chandelier is another West Elm outlet find for $25. I just used a couple of screws and some fishing line to secure it just below the water-safe light Tilson installed. Jacob found the metal cabinet headed for the dump at work, and now it’s the perfect locking cabinet for all our medicines. Keeps those little hands at bay!
Bedroom 3, or The Nursery:
- painted SW Green Vibes
- DIY corrugated metal closet doors
- 1×4 cedar trim
- closet organizer
- interior door
I went with a farm theme for the nursery. This was another color I was iffy about, but once the room was decorated it was looking less “lime sherbet” and more pale green. I’ve since moved out the baby swing and play kitchen, but these are the pretty pictures as opposed to the diapers-strewn-everywhere scene I look at daily now that the baby is here.
- Hand built vanity
- ceramic tile from Lowes
- closet shelving
- Wall sconces from Lowes
- Hand-me-down wall hung framed mirror
- 1×4 cedar trim
- interior doors
- SW Green Vibes
I love this little bathroom, it’s the most-used in the house despite having a powder room as well. I built a single-sink double-sized vanity with a pop-out stool and shelf storage. We purchased a simple drop-in sink and faucet combo. I found some nice iron hooks at an antiques store in Dallas for towels. The mirror is still a placeholder, it was Jacob’s grandmother’s mirror. Eventually I plan to add a vanity stool, but the little lady has discovered that she can use stools and chairs to climb onto the vanity and get into mischief, so that will have to happen in a few years from now!
Bedroom 2, or Charlie’s Room:
- 1×4 cedar trim
- interior doors
- SW Midday
- floating gallery ledges
- chalkboard closet doors
Charlie’s room is such a fun room. She loves to play in here. Our plan for now is to trade out the single twin for a corner twin unit and let both girls share a room while they’re young. Once they get a little older and want privacy (or if it’s a total disaster!) we can just move Caroline back into the nursery room. For now, it’s just a cozy little girl’s room full of art and toys.
Well there you have it! Our completed San Bernard home. This isn’t a great example of a “Tilson Home”, because so much of the interior finishes were ours. If we were given the choice to do it again, I would definitely do it! I love the San Bernard plan. It’s got a great flow, a nice use of space, and the tweaks we made are perfect for our family. It means so much to look all around our home and see memories in different projects. The night we picked up pizza and installed all our cabinets. Trimming out the living room beam 20 feet in the air and praying the ladder would stay steady. Using drawers and doors I installed myself. Smiling every time I walk into the kitchen. It’s worth all the blood and sweat and tears. I am so excited that our kids will grow up in a home their parents put so much love into.