Building a new home: stucco, shingles, and a pretty paint job

Hello friends!
It’s been a while since I shared about our home adventure.  And much has been happening….so much so that it feels like (another) full time job.  At least I get to do the fun part!—design, plan, pick things out, and then watch skilled crews do the work for us.  I  kinda love that.
It’s liberating for someone who loves a good DIY project.

If you’re just joining us here, the short version is that our family is building a custom home in the Austin, TX area.  We’re not physically building it ourselves (we’ve hired Lake Hills Custom Homes to do the hard part and we’re along for the decision-making ride).

Check out my 3 previous posts about the process:
We’re building a new home!
Groundbreaking Party
From foundation to frame

Here’s where we’re currently at: the outside is mostly done; the inside has a way to go.
And in my last post the house looked like this:

It had just been framed, and we thought it was the coolest thing we’d ever seen.

Well, apparently home building gets cooler and cooler as you go….because then they put up wooden walls all around the house and on the roof, and with every step it starts to feel more like a real home!

Construction is amazing.
And smells yummy like Home Depot.
In fact that’s what my kids often tell me, “Mom I want to eat Home Depot”
“It just smells so good”

And so do donuts.
I thought we’d enjoy those over eating wood.

And we thought they should be sampled in a guest bathroom built for two, with his and hers milk.

We’ve spent many Saturday mornings and after-school-pick-ups driving by the house to check out the progress. It’s so much fun.

Once the exterior walls and roof were covered with wood, then came the Tyvek wrap.  Tyvek is a lightweight and super strong fabric-like paper that protects the home from outside water and air.   And if you remember back to our swag bags from the Palm Springs trip?…they were made from the same material!  I had to buy them.

Yay Tyvek!

And yay for massive piles of debris in your front yard.  I’d invite you over for a marshmallow roast.  But that’s probably not wise.

Nor is wearing flip flops at a construction site, and walking on planks to the front door.
Living dangerously.

In my previous post some of you asked why the foundation was poured so tall.
Well the land we’re building on is sloped—which really drew us to it because it adds an interesting dimension to the property.  So the foundation had to be built up and poured to create a level surface.

These side and back view photos give you a better visual.  The garage door is at ground level and the Master Bedroom is 7 feet off the ground.

And Lucy and Owen are tiny specs in the Studio room doorway.

After Tyvek was wrapped, roof shingles were laid on most of the roof.  Some of the roof was finished after the stuccoing process since workers had to walk around on it with messy shoes.

And then came one of the most exciting days….scaffolding and stucco!

They placed white box-like forms around the windows and stuccoed right over them to create “frames”.

And they worked quickly to cover the house in gray concrete looking stuff.
So cool!…almost as cool as pouring concrete with the elephant snout into the foundation.

The stucco was done in two stages….first a raw/gritty finish (on the left below) and then a smooth sandpaper look (on the right).

And after a few days of drying I was left with a difficult request,
“we need your final exterior paint color selections”.

This process is fun but can feel creatively stressful.  It’s a merry-go-round of making selections, rethinking, second-guessing, reassuring, confirming, and then still wondering if you made the right decision.  I originally planned to go with a light-gray exterior.  But then after seeing the raw stucco color on the house, I really loved how the dark gray looked.

Cause I don’t have a thing for gray or anything.

So using my very novice Illustrator skills I did a mockup of the house to see what dark gray paint, with a charcoal roof, and white trim would look like.

(and what an orange or green door does to the house.  I think I’m digging the green)

aaaaand….I went with Sherwin Williams 7067, Cityscape color!

and everyone cheered.

And then we moved on to one of the final steps: Stone work.
Another fun process to watch.
And more workers to torment with my photo-taking.

These guys were great though. They didn’t mind me snapping pics.  And when I asked one of them if he could “just pause for a second and act like you’re doing stuff” he laughed and said, “I’m always doing stuff!”

Fair point.  They worked around the clock in 100 degree weather, one of them singing country music songs (slightly off-key) the whole time.  Home building is great.

And that brings us to this moment….a mostly finished exterior!

I painted the construction door in green to get a feel for look.  And I love it.

The trim around the widows and under the roof were painted with Sherwin Williams 7005, Pure White.  And the support beams were painted black.

It’s coming together!
And now begins the Interior fun.
We have plumbing, electrical,

and a big pile of sheetrock sitting in the great room.

Next update should have beautiful white walls!
Have a great day.

  1. Dana, I am SO excited for you!! Looks gorgeous–can’t wait to see what you’ll do inside. (Um, and as a total nerd, can’t wait to see a floor plan–I loooove me some floor plans.)

    • 2) barbara

      I LOVE floor plans too!

  2. 4) Whitney

    Hey our houses look alike. I did the gray/white exterior with a green door as well! Sherwin Williams. I get so many compliments. Good work 😉

  3. The house is beautiful! I think the extra high master bedroom is pretty cool! And the green door…because, seriously I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a pretty green on a front door before.

  4. 6) Genevieve

    Your house is gorgeous! I’m in love with the grey! 🙂

    I’m also in the process of building a house. It’s a fun thing to see grow. It took us 3 years to finally see something else than plans on paper. We tore down our previous house that, even though it still looked great, had too much repair to put in. At the moment, it looks like this ( )the exterior is almost done and they are currently painting the interior. Then, it will be the ceramic, cabinet, wood flooring and back splash. We should move in at the beginning of December 🙂

  5. 7) lexie

    I love bold color choices on homes-makes them unique and personal. It looks amazing! How exciting for you all. 🙂

  6. 8) Alex

    Hi Dana,

    it is so interesting to see you house beeing build because it’s so different from how we build houses here in Germany. Your house looks just great and I love your choise of color. Can’t wait to see the progress on the the interior. Thanx for sharing!

  7. ah! I love it. the gray is perfect and that green door, yes! I’m with Deborah, can’t wait to see the floor plans, I used to draw floor plans all the time when I was in elementary school. Sorry to say I didn’t turn into an architect. Isn’t construction great?!

  8. It’s fun following along your new house building. It’s lovely and I can’t wait to see what you do with the interiors. 😉

  9. 12) danielle m

    Love the colors!! What colors did you use?

  10. 13) Diane

    Oh Dana, I love it!! There was a dark grey house with white and black trim next to the house we stayed at in Laguna and I fell in love with the color! When we repaint our house that is definitely what I am going with. But your house is just absolutely stunning! I love the stones and the front door too! Can’t wait to see what else you do. Also, that sprinkle donut looks amazing!

  11. 14) Claudia

    oh my that looks so awesome!!! Thank you for sharing all the details with us. I am obsessed with looking at houses and floor plans too. I can’t wait to see the inside now. Love the dark gray you chose too it reminds me of a cool beach house 🙂

  12. It’s really interesting to see the progress! House building in the USA is very different from building in Belgium! We usually have brick houses, basements… that type of stuff.
    Your house looks gorgeous! I’d take it! 🙂

  13. It looks awesome! I love the boldness, and everything about it definitely has the “Dana” feel to it! I love mixing textures on the exterior like you did with the stone and stucco and wood beams. I am so excited for you guys to have a finished home!

  14. Looking good Dana. Also, I am excited to see the everything completed and moved in Home Tour post.

  15. 18) Chelsea

    I totally agree on the green door. The house is looking lovely and I want one of those sprinkle doughnuts.

  16. i love the gray you picked, and i love the green door. but, i really really love the asymmetrical balance of your home design. very unique and so cool!

  17. 20) Amanda

    Omg I love it!! If I was building a home I would choose those exact colors!!! Gray and white with a splash of color!! The free door looks fab!!! Eeeee I’m so excited for you and love living vicariously through your posts!!

  18. you are enormously rich and / or have 10 children, cause that house is massive! 🙂
    looks great!

  19. Oh those exterior house colors are so great! And I am totally digging that green door! Makes me want to paint our brick house :). I grew up with my dad building custom homes just like this so watching your process brings back fun memories!

  20. 23) Susan

    So exciting1 I’ve been waiting for an update and you didn’t disappoint, it was wonderful! Isn’t it amazing how quickly it went from foundation to skeleton to looking like your home? (probably doesn’t seem that fast to you, but to me…amazing!

  21. Dana- Be sure and have your kids draw or paint on the framing before the drywall goes up. We did that, and it makes me smile a little bit to know that my girls have (literally) made their mark on our home as it was being built. Such and exciting time for you guys…congrats!

  22. 25) Clare

    Look gorgeous! SO excited for you x

  23. I would love to see a floorplan or a link to one if you have it – – we’re planning building right now and are narrowing down floorplans – master on the main level is a must, and yours is so appealing…

  24. 27) Valerie Nelson

    Super fun!!! And I’m also LOVING the green door! 😉

  25. The house looks fabulous on the outside already 🙂 It looks HUGE!!! it must be super exciting 🙂

  26. This is so AMAZING and EXCITING. Thank you for sharing the progress. Can’t wait to see the end result

  27. 30) Cherri

    Dana- we just finished a massive 7 month remodel to our home. Funny, we went with Cityscape and a white trim too! You’ll love it! –

    • 31) Joanne m

      Hello, Planning to use the same exterior paint colors. What color did you use for white trim?

  28. FABULOUS colour choice – LOVING the green front door 😀 You must be soooo excited 🙂

  29. 33) Carrie

    The words “studio room” made my heart go pitter patter. Sigh.

  30. 34) Kelly Ooo

    This is like one of those big American houses us Aussies see in the movies. Love it!

  31. Its all so beautiful! I love that you painted the “door”. I really like that color… All the colors!

  32. 36) Kere

    Wow, gorgeous home so far!
    I know you are taking lots of pics…one of the best things my husband did was take pics of all the wires, pipes, vents etc. so when we went to hang a picture or something, we knew exactly where to and not to put a nail.
    (if you knew that, then disregard my unsolicited tidbit of info)

    It’s really coming together! How fun!
    Some ppl say they’d never do it again. I would 🙂


    • 37) Kere

      Oh, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the front door color!

  33. It looks AMAZING! How exciting! When we gutted our house and started over (we should have just built new – but thought ‘remodeling’ would be fun – HA) the details seemed so overwhelming at times. But the payoff comes when you see all the progress and can see the light at the end of the tunnel. And wow – your house is so gorgeous! Can’t wait to see updates in the future!

  34. 39) Kim P.

    LOVE the colors!! We are in the early stages of building a custom home as well. I am so stressed out about all the decisions that have to be made, but you make it look like so much fun! I can’t wait to see what your interior finishes look like. Thank you for sharing with us 🙂

  35. The house is gorgeous. I love playing around with house ideas. I have to confess one of my favorite things to do is play the game The Sims 3 because I love creating houses and playing with colors and patterns. 🙂 I have to also tell you that I literally laughed out loud at the part of your story where you told the guy to pause and act like he is doing something. Still makes me chuckle thinking about it. LOL! I can’t wait to see it finished. I am loving the photos you are sharing. So much fun to watch it grow into a house.

  36. 41) chrissy

    Looks beautiful. Looking forward to more pics.
    I miss HEBs and their TX shaped chips… but then again I miss TX.

  37. 42) Caroline

    Nice Dana – what a job! We did a very small reno to our house and it was enough I tell you. But I did like the builders’ singing in their off key kind of way…

  38. It looks amazing!! So excited for you guys- especially with a move-in before the holidays……right?!….. awesome!

  39. DANA! It’s so beautiful! I love that green door! you went right in choosing grey, and I love the rocks part!

  40. Looking good! Aren’t construction workers great? We’re friends with a custom home builder down in our area just south of you and talk about good folks to know! Plumber? Check. Electrician? Check. Carpenter? Check. Tile guy? See carpenter. Check. And they all know somebody who can get their hands on some awesome St Augustine for the lawn and dirt cheap prices. We just purchased a vacation place down in Port O’Connor, Texas and we’re going to put most of them to work when we remodel – and most for the cost of a place to stay for a weekend fishing trip. Now THAT’S a deal!

    Um…Custom window treatments anyone? Glory be girl – you’ve got your work cut out for you. Enjoy!

  41. Love your color choices. Takes me back to building both ours. As wonderful as it is, it’s also stressful! It’s a beautiful home.

  42. This post is so cool! Thanks for sharing a lot of pictures. I was amazed because in my country we build houses so differently.

  43. 49) Lisa

    Dana! I absolutely love your style! If we move back and build again, will you design our house? PS – love the grey!

  44. 50) Bec

    This is so interesting. I’m in Australia and here they build a brick house first and then cover in smooth concrete (similar to how they seem to have done yours) and then paint – we call it ‘rendered’. It’s very popular. The end effect looks the same from what I can see but such a different process!!

  45. 51) mrs d

    so much fun! it is really coming along. I am excited about the studio the most:) lol

  46. Beautiful, beautiful, Dana! It’s coming right along!

  47. It looks beautiful Dana! So happy to get an update. I just love the colors you chose. Especially that green door!

  48. 54) eirian alison

    Wow, Dana…this is spectacular! It’s so much fun to do the build from conception to execution….can’t wait to see the final outcome. Good luck! <3

  49. 55) Jenny Park

    Okay we must be design twins because my house is pretty close to identical to yours…haha. Dark grey craftsman style with white trim, dark roof and all…but I have darker stone and a bright yellow craftsman style door and I adore the pop of color so you will love your green! Congrats…building is fun (stressful because all the choices are yours and expensive to change if you re-decide…) but fun! We drove by our home daily when they were building it and now that we are moved it, it is hard to imagine we haven’t lived here all along. It is our home and has never been anyone else’s and it just feels right. Congrats and enjoy!

  50. 56) Denise

    My friend just told me about your blog and also “Cooking With Mr. C.” on Facebook.(also a blog) I’m glad for the two recommendations. I love when people share good blogs with each other. Denise

  51. 57) Kalli

    I keep checking in at your blog for the First Day dress, but I found this post so interesting. My husband and I live in So Cal and are talking about moving our family to Austin at the end of the school year (he’s a teacher). So not only do I love seeing your house, but I also read up a bit on your other post about the things you like about Texas. Very helpful! If we do move there I really hope to meet you in person!

  52. 58) Judy

    mmmm HEB donuts and choco milk. I do miss HEB, now that I live in CA. Safeway is not the same. Beautiful house, too. 😉 I can’t wait for the first day dress pattern and doll carrier!

  53. wow. a new home. and it looks great!
    my husband says that we will do that some day. i hope not. way to many decisions for a non-decisionmaker like me.

  54. Dana! I get goosebumps just seeing the progress on your house!!! I’m in love with it. Everything about it. I couldn’t be more excited for you guys. What an amazing adventure. And I ADORE that you asked the worker to pause and act like he was doing stuff. Totally made my day.

  55. 61) Patricia

    I love the green door too.

  56. WOW…WOW…WOW…the house looks amazing!!!! I can’t wait to see it in person:)
    May swing by in the next few weeks!! So exciting!!

    • 63) Dana

      Thanks Felicia! It’s really exciting to see what you created now in 3D. We love it! We’ve had many friends walk through the house with us and comment on how much storage and closets there are along with wonderful living space…so thank you for creating a really great layout with style and utility.
      Come by any time 🙂

  57. 64) Nora

    It is so interesting to see from a European point of view that the structure is made out of wood.

    But I love it!

  58. 65) Margie K

    I can’t wait to see your design studio once that is complete. I hope you have lots of great storage ideas and room for multiple workstations including a couple sergers and sewing machines!

  59. 66) kam

    its killing me! i have to come visit again when its all done!

  60. It´s huge! I am always impressed that it´s all wood…I live in a country where houses are made out of bricks!

  61. 68) capturing joy with kristen duke

    I must know where in Austin you’ll be–this is gorgeous! Wondering if you’ll stay in the area you are, or venturing out. Email me! RR Stake still?

  62. 69) Carol Hoag

    Love, love the house!! And the best part is No Garage doors showing on the front. Yay!!

  63. 70) Michaela

    Itś huuuge! We have got big house, but this is… giant.I´m from czech republic and we say….Too big for one ox ..(it means, that its too big for one person to tidy it up and clean…). Im looking forward to see it completed.

  64. What fun seeing it come together! Glad you are enjoying the process.

  65. 72) Jayme

    Hey there,
    I came across your blog while googling “stucco window trim” lol! The thing is, we are currently building a house too (in Sask., Canada!). I want white trim around the windows, and the plan originally was for tin or hardy board. Now the stucco guys said they can do nice white build outs around the windows.

    So, that leads me to the question: is your white window trim actually stucco as well?? I can’t tell from the picture what material it is, but it’s beautiful and exactly what I want! I don’t know whether to go with tin, hardy board or stucco.

    Thank you for letting me know! Beautiful home!!!

    • 73) Dana

      Hi! I’m glad this post about our house is helping you make decisions on your own. That makes me happy to hear 🙂
      Yes you are correct…the framing around the exterior windows is stucco. They placed some sort of white boxes around the windows and stuccoed right over them to create the window frames. It’s a real pretty look. But in all honesty, stucco would not have been my first choice and I would have preferred all wood siding on the house or even hardy board siding, in a horizontal or vertical pattern. But our neighborhood rules said we had to use all masonry…with stones and stucco. So that’s what we did.

      Hope that helps!

  66. Pretty interesting project. loved the architecture of the house. The stucco work seems to be perfect and the kids are enjoying enormously! Congratulations for your home sweet home.

  67. Hi dana, I’m expecting your next update on beautiful white walls. Images you posted are extremely good.

  68. 77) Melissa

    Hi Dana! I am in the stressful situation of picking an exterior color for our new custom home! eek! I remembered you used a dark gray so hurried over to see if you posted the color name and lo and behold, it is one of my top 2 choices! Cityscape or Attitude. With the little test areas we’ve painted, I’m having a hard time deciding if the Cityscape has a little purplish tint to it. Did it turn out as you expected? are you still happy with your choice? I am gray with white trim all the way, the whole inside of the house is 😉 so I really l love seeing your color choices as they are all something I would also choose 🙂 thank you!

    • 78) Melissa

      Ah! I just read your next post, “sheetrock, paint and a double-decker deck” and you said the Cityscape is bluish-gray. I’ll have to look at the Gauntlet Gray now… I made the mistake with the purplish blue I used in my office/craft room – BM Coventry Gray 🙁 I used BM Amherst Gray in our bedroom and BM Moonshine in the kitchen/living room and love them. Thanks again for posting your choices and reviews!

      • 79) Dana

        Hi! Sorry I’m just now reading this.
        You know, I really do love the Cityscape now….but it has a slightly blue-ish tinge to it, especially at certain times of the day.
        I would prob do Gauntlet Gray if I was going it over again. But I love them both.
        Hope that helps!

  69. 80) Eduardo Souza

    Hi Dana,

    Congratulations for the gorgeous house! Would you mind telling us what the name/type of the stone used?

    Thaks very much,

    Ed Souza

  70. 81) Lisa Thomas

    Can you tell me if you used the Sherwin Williams stucco paint on top of the 2nd stucco coat? Or did your contract add a pigment to the 3rd and final coat of stucco ?
    We have a 3 coat cement stucco house. we want to change the color. EVERYONE says not to paint it–it will close up pores and cause rot. They suggest a brand new coat of stucco (would be a 4th layer) that had a pigment powder mixed into the stucco cement. I am just curious what you did.

    • 82) Dana

      I really have no idea. Sorry!
      I just told them which color and they painted. I’m not sure how many coats.

  71. 84) Leslie

    Gorgeous colors. I’m in the process of painting my exterior gauntlet grey with pure white trim. I have two green colors on my front door and I’m trying to decide. I’m wondering if you know the name of your green?

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