Living Down to Earth and Our Appliance Selection

My boys and I are the type of people that stay home on holidays and hit popular vacation spots off season just to avoid the crowd. Since Sunday was gloomy and rainy we found our opportunity to tour these Massey Street of Hope houses with a little less foot traffic to compete with (link).

Look how pretty this street is – and no people!
Local builders show off their fancy stuff in these houses. They are beautiful as ever!
Marc and I were looking through some children’s bedrooms in one home and Marc turns to me and said something like – if you are a child and grow up in a house like this does that skew your expectations in life?
I’m not sure what to think about that but I do know that there are some luxuries available that are completely unnecessary.  Like, I don’t need to control my oven from my phone. I don’t need the temperature of my shower water digitally displayed and a little bell to let me know when the water has reached my perfect setting. Heaven forbid I get in the shower and have to re-adjust the tap.
I completely appreciate advanced technology and innovative ideas but I am a pretty realistic person. I grew up in a humble home in a small town. My mom made dinner every night and we sat down as a family to eat, went to church on Sundays, saw my grandparents every week. We lived pretty simple, loved each other (minus a few sibling rivalries) and still do. I feel lucky to be close to my family, even though we live far away.
We didn’t have or need luxuries, in fact, when my dad brought home a brand new rectangle trampoline some of my friends would say “Wow, are you rich”?
Not even close!
Maybe growing up watching Little House on the Prairie instead of Housewives of Orange County kept us in check.
I never felt like I didn’t have everything I needed. My parents bought us clothes and shoes at the beginning of the school year, maybe at Christmas and I had a Spring birthday so I got a little wardrobe refresh for the warmer season.
Am I the same way with my own kids? No! I probably should be disciplined about making them save money for things they want.  I could make them work a little harder and sacrifice more – goodness, I don’t even take them to church.
At least I can say that I live far, far different from the Housewives of Orange County. I still even find myself wanting to live more like Laura Ingalls.
After moving around in the last several years and especially in the last year we have lived in different places that weren’t quite our style or particular taste. A couple of things come to mind that annoyed me to live with like super crappy carpet, leaky faucets, noisy furnaces and a tiny kitchen with a stove that seems to burn everything.
I am not complaining.
While we viewed all the luxurious features available to build into a new house, I could feel myself stopping for a reality check.
I am a pretty down to earth girl, hence my blog name. I am not super hard to please and I can be resourceful.
I don’t need to upgrade what already comes with my house, do I? No, we chose this builder because the standard features that are built with the homes are already super nice.
…..After all I like really old stuff. I up cycle furniture and sometimes clothes, reuse home decor year after year and I shop at The Goodwill for heaven’s sake.
With that in mind, I went to my appliance appointment this week without any pressure to get the fancy features on my oven or the fastest washing dishwasher in the world or even the name brands I recognize as “up-scale”.
I have some preferences in the way I like to use my kitchen so I made a mental note of what I would ideally want and what I would be willing to sacrifice to stay within our budget.
My priorities were:
Wall Oven, Gas Cook Top and a quiet Dishwasher.
I knew my allowance wouldn’t include a refrigerator and we have the option to buy that later. We have our old fridge but the door opens the wrong way for my kitchen layout. It’s also 13 years old.
So here are our appliance selections that fit our priorities, style and budget:

We went with some pretty basic stainless steel, mostly Whirlpool.

— Four Burner Gas Cook Top – (I burn food easily with electric and I considered a five gas burner cook top but that took me over my budget)

— Dishwasher – (my concern was the noise so I upgraded to a stainless interior for added insulation)

— Wall Ovens – (having the oven at a higher level makes seeing and reaching what I am baking easier)

— Blower Insert – (so I can do a wood hood over the cook top)

— Refrigerator – (this Kitchen Aide has a flat front, not curved, and I like the look. I don’t mind that the door handles will look a bit different than the other appliances)

— Microwave?  – (Nope – I am putting a generic one hidden inside the pantry)

Picking appliances isn’t very exciting for you to read about that’s why I am including pictures of the homes we toured over the weekend.

I noticed a lot of dark trimmed windows and dark doors, inside and out.

I love the contrast!

Lots of light walls.

One thing that I am so happy we did choose to upgrade is a raised hearth at the fireplace. Even my cute husband said “good call on the fireplace hearth”.

Ours won’t be brick or stone, that is too committal for me, but it will be raised with trim and a wood mantel.

I do wish we were getting a real fireplace with a chimney in the family room but a gas fireplace is included and I have to be selective about where our money goes. We can burn real wood in the backyard fire bowl.

Our lot has been cleared and leveled and construction will begin very soon.

Next choices are plumbing and lighting.


On a different note…

Can I just say that I am so happy that Halloween is over. OMG! That one is my least favorite holiday of all time.

Now, cheers to being more thankful, celebrating the birth of my sweet boys and Christmas. Yay!

Until next time.



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What a thoughtful post. We built our home about 10 years ago, and it was both a blessing and a curse to pick out everything for it (so many decisions!) I love what we ended up with – it's nice but not super fancy. Not long after we built it, we visited a parade of homes in Tucson with homes costing $1-10 million (also a fundraiser for a charity). It was an enjoyable tour, but my husband and I both agreed that we liked our far more humble home better. Especially as I get older, I don't want to be… Read more »


WOW Holly you have a lot of excitement going on here. It sounds amazing. I know your choices will all be amazing.

Christine Vandormolen

Hi Holly, always fun to go snoop in those model homes. Thanks for sharing and I know your new home will be the bomb!


What a wonderful, wonderful post. I knew you were a girl after my own heart. We have remodeled rehabbed 15 houses and built one new from scratch. This last one was my 'dream home' and my splurge was the kitchen appliances. It was so worth it to me and I have loved them the whole time we lived here. Now we have sold our house and will be moving in Spring. I don't even know where we are going yet—but it will be okay–and because I have lived in this wonderful house for 12 sweet years I know that I… Read more »

Holly @ Down to Earth Style

The Massey Street of Hope is a fund raiser for the Massey Cancer Center in Richmond Virginia. Every year local builders do sort of a parade of homes thing. All the proceeds from events that go on there through the week go to the cancer center. It's way fun. It costs $10 per person to tour all the homes and some nights they have bands, parties and well – a lot of fun for the community to come together and give a little. Also, local companies do a lot of marketing.Basically – Parade of homes. The streets are blocked off… Read more »

Cindy Richter

Pretty neighborhood. Guess they just had a \”neighbor night out\” with the chairs in the street? Love all the pictures. I've already pinned a few. Love those unique chairs on the upstairs landing. So happy for you to be able to pick things and build. Jealous actually! Best wishes.

Carol Bartlett

So much to take in this morning…love all the photos. Just wondering about the second photo…why are there chairs set up on the road in front of the houses?

Brenda Pruitt

I am loving your \”chatty\” posts, Holly! I feel like I get to know one better through reading about their life. I like white appliances, never have figured out the craze for stainless steel. I've been in a morgue (as a reporter), so stainless steel always reminds me of the morgue.Brenda