Jun 9, 2011

~ house story

When we were looking to build a home about 15 years ago, I had some photos of some favorite houses, but basically I had no idea where to begin. I had no interest in starting from scratch and designing a custom home... too many choices and decisions. If we could find a basic plan for a home, we felt that we could customize it enough to suit our needs and make it our own. 
My sister-in-law (also obsessed with houses) said she had the perfect house in mind. She had seen an advertisement in a Veranda or Southern Accents, possibly both, and she got out her stack of saved magazines and started searching. Jack Arnold is one of America's leading architects of French Country style, and this was an advertisement for one of his homes. My sister-in-law rocks.
Too easy, right? We ordered the Jack Arnold portfolio with 30 floor plans of homes, and although we loved several, the photo pictured above is the one we chose to build. I can't imagine this to be a common thing... To find my dream home by way of a casual conversation with a relative and a quick flip through some magazines for a remembered advertisement! 
Our original plan was to build a larger model of this house on a lot we owned. (The house has several floor plan options with different square footage) But we waited to see if a piece of property in a neighborhood we preferred would become available, even though it would mean building a smaller version of the house. We waited for a year, and the preferred lot was ours. We made minor changes to the floor plan and the exterior materials... not always willingly. Living in Omaha, the exterior stone that was available to choose from at that time didn't have the look we were going for, so we used a hand-made brick my husband chose.
Here's what ours looks like today...
The biggest differences are the added shutters at the large dining room window, the brick exterior, and the landscaping. With the trees, it's hard to see some of the similarities, but you can get an idea. We used an old front door that I'm really not in love with today. It's fine, but I wish I had double doors. 
I really wanted the stone and considered painting the brick to get a similar look... wouldn't that be so pretty? My husband and I didn't argue about much during the building process, but this he would not budge on... no painting the brick. Fine, the brick is beautiful and painting is always an option for the future... (although not according to my husband)
While we were in the planning stages, another sister-in-law drove us by the same house in Atlanta just after it was built. It was an even smaller version. Here's what it looked like... love the double doors... why didn't I notice them then??
We moved into our home during the Summer of 1999, so this is our twelfth year. Recently, I was dropping off my son in a neighborhood I don't drive through very often, and found this house.
(Of course, I whipped out my camera, hung out the window, and snapped away... he's used to it.)
Beautiful! They used the stone! The dining room window is on the opposite side (which was an option in the Jack Arnold plan) and there are some other structural differences, but I can definitely see some similarities... I'm not sure if this is a Jack Arnold home, but it sure looks like it. 
A Gift Wrapped Life, an outstanding blog and a favorite of mine, posted this photo of her home during the holiday season... I just noticed it the other day under "you might also like..." 
Obvious differences in building materials, but looks similar, doesn't it? Again, I have no idea if it's a Jack Arnold home... I kind of doubt it considering this home is in Canada... but I wonder where the inspiration came from? 
I imagine there are hundreds of home plans that resemble the Jack Arnold home we fell in love with. It's remarkable to me how different the homes look based on the materials used and the different landscapes, and the front doors!
These are the front doors I wish I had...
I found them on 1st Dibs a few years ago. I'd hang a wreath on each side during the holidays - so, so charming! 
Getting a new (old) front door is definitely on my list... It will have to be a single as opposed to double doors (I don't think there's room) but I can guarantee you it will be french and it will be charming!

Anyone who has built a home is familiar with the endless choices that need to be made. It can be overwhelming! I'm sure I would make some different choices if I were to start building this home tomorrow, but I can say that I truly enjoyed the process and have no major regrets. One thing's for certain, choosing the home to build could not have been easier! 

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A Gift Wrapped Life said...

After 25 yr. of building homes as an interior designer, I would have to say that Jack Arnold homes are my absolute favorite. Yes, our home is a Jack Arnold design and we made some modifications to our area (added a basement level and one foot to the main floor height) but I would build any of his plans in a heartbeat. If we build again, it would be another of his plans. I simply think they are the most comfortable of floor plans too. We just finished screening our Magnifique veranda and it has added another whole dimension to his wonderful layouts. So happy when I hear of others who love the talent of Jack Arnold. XO

The French Tangerine said...

I knew it! Thanks so much for commenting Sande! Ours is a Magnifique as well... should have mentioned that in the post! We worked with Trey Arnold, Jack's son when making modifications... so easy to work with and great ideas!

Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) said...

Your home is just beautiful! I love the roof line and all the dormer windows. It looks so cozy and inviting...a place you could really feel comfortable and call home. What a great design!

Lynn said...

I actually really like your door!

KAT said...

like it all...so charming

Splendid Sass said...

Love your blog! I too want a new (old) front door!
Your home is beautiful!
Thanks for stopping by.

dovecote Decor said...

Thank you for following my blog. Your house is beautiful. My house is similar, and you can see a slide show of my interiors on my website. Its Http://dovecotedecor.com. I'm looking for old wrought iron gates, as my wooden gates are rotting.

designchic said...

What a gorgeous home and the detail is amazing. Love your brick driveway, and the old doors...fabulous!!

laurabeth1976 said...

I love the look of this building. The stone exterior is great. I'm building my own house, and I definitely want something like it. However, I'm still doing my research and considering my options, using McGraw Hill's Sweets Directory of construction products. They have a lot of important information that can help you make an informed decision. I have been using them for years because they have made so many of my home improvement projects easier. I definitely recommend taking a look.

Acquired Objects said...

Your home is lovely and I think the brick makes it stand out. I'm with you, nice double doors. I need a new/old front door but everything I find is to expensive. I can't even afford myself!

Carolyn@SweetChaos said...

Your house is beautiful! I think your front door is quite charming, but I understand your desire for an old door. My home is a Williamsburg Colonial style, so a French door wouldn't work. However, I'd love to find something more interesting than what I currently have.

Just found your blog! Looking forward to following along with you. Would love it if you would stop by and visit me :)

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I have the plans for the magnifique which I purchased from Jack Arnold. I have followed him for more than 18 years. They have a facebook page. Lovely photos are posted. Love you home. I never got to build my "Dream Home Magnifique". I agree you should change the front door. I also love painted brick. But my husband does not the same as yours. His designer wife Susan Arnold loves "Country French" has a web site. One of his very good friends is "Charles Faudree". He has published many successful books included his most recent one "Details". Thank you for the "eye candy". Love your blog.

marylee said...

I'm new to your blog and have simply fallen love with all your posts~ I ran across this one and loved it. I have a stone house that was built in the 40's. It is in need of lots of TLC~ we moved in 4 yrs ago and are still doing upgrades. I would love to get my house and yard to look like this some day.. but for now I can just dream that my house looked like this! thanks for sharing!

Ruth Rosenblum said...

This is way late to your post, but I like your home the best! Wonderful choices and brick never ever goes out of style. Landscape perfection.

Teresa said...

We are looking to build a Jack Arnold house also...and the plan we have chosen is Magnifique...this very home. Would love to see what you did to the inside...you have any post on your interior?
Thanks for sharing your home...my husband has a hard time visualizing things without a picture.

Wendy Cromie said...

My husband and I are building our "forever" home as we ready to retire early later this year. I love these pictures! I've been an avid Pinterester since we decided to build and the other day I told my husband I wonder who Jack Arnold is, his name pops up constantly when I'm online. NOW I know! Thank you! I too am a fan of his style and didn't know it until I began pinning exteriors. We are building a custom but began with a plan and have been tweaking it. We now have our floor plan and just this week-end began the brick and stone decisions, going with a 42 in. door, wanted double doors but didn't have the space. I'm going with a stained door 2/3 of it paned windows, ready for an awesome wreath for every occasion! I love your home and your passion for it!