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Oh Joy! Builds A House: Choosing an Architect and Contractor

How to Choose an Architect and Contractor / Oh Joy!

After finding land, our next step in building our forever home was to find an architect and contractor to make this dream come to life. The process in which this happens can vary depending on what type of home you're building. There are some developers and builders you can hire to design and build a custom home with both parts built into their process. In these cases, they may have specific types of land to build on or have a set style they build and design to. But you know by now, our land is on a hill and not the easiest to build on, so we chose each partner (Architect and Contractor) separately based on who was the best fit for our project.

Here's a video that shows at a glance of the process and how we went about it! We found an architect first and fully designed our house before finding a contractor that could execute it. Because the reality is...you can't get an estimate for the cost of construction until you have a design to show. And, both are crucial to my next post about getting construction loans for a home build. And, you can't get a construction loan until you know how much it's going to cost to build your home and you don't know how much it will cost until you have a design in place. There are so many interconnected parts to this process that heavily rely on one another.  

How to Choose an Architect and Contractor / Oh Joy!

The Architects. Cleo and McShane of Project M+ had recently finished building their own house around the time we were contemplating this crazy project. We had mutual friends in common so we chatted with them about their process. The next thing you know, we got to see their own home first hand which is a prime example from their own portfolio. Their style and aesthetic matched what we were looking for, and after a few phone calls to various past clients, we decided to hire them to design our home. They were really the first partners of ours for this project when we first found the land four years ago as we spent a good chunk of the first year with them designing and prepping for permits. We have had many in-person meetings as you do in the early stages of any design process. But once major designs are in place, we now communicate a lot by phone and email. In upcoming posts, we'll dive deeper into our actual home design and that whole process!
 
If you are looking for an architect and don't have any personal referrals, ask around as much as possible on Facebook, Instagram, and any social media channel you use. Chances are that friends, acquaintances, or even strangers who follow you or you may follow have similar tastes so those suggestions are a great start! You can also check out sites, like Houzz, where many architects feature their work!
 
How to Choose an Architect and Contractor / Oh Joy!

The Contractors. When it came to finding a contractor, I asked every architect I knew for a referral. Architects are a great place to start because they have to work with contractors on every job to make their designs come to life. Because both my husband and I work very busy full-time jobs, we needed a contractor who was very organized and had great communication skills. This is where Boswell Construction came in. While they were higher in price than another contractor we almost went with, their communication and organization skills are incredible so we felt they were worth the value they would bring to our project. We have weekly meetings on site (which is crucial for us on staying informed with our entire team), they respond to emails and texts quickly, and really make the process as seamless as possible for us. Most of your interaction with a contractor will happen after construction begins. Some people are very involved with their sub-contractors and want to be able to choose each sub-contractor for the job. We chose to let our contractor handle most of that. We do get to chose between some subs if there are varying price options, but for the most part, we do not interact with the sub-contractors.
 
In this process of choosing both an Architect and Contractor, you'll likely meet and interview several of each. After you decide who you're going with, I always like to close the conversation with those you have not chosen. While you don't necessarily owe them a "We've chosen someone else" email, I think it's good feedback for everyone to know why they didn't get chosen for a job. Whether it's due to their fees, you wanted a smaller or bigger company to work with, their style wasn't quite right, etc. That helps to inform them for their own knowledge and everyone can move on being in clear communication with one another of where you stand.
 
Check out my post over at Architectural Digest's Clever, for the specific criteria I suggest looking for in both an Architect and Contractor!

If you have any other questions about this process or anything else you want to see in my upcoming posts on this project, please leave a comment here so I can make sure to reply and cover it!
 
{Photos by Lily Glass, video by Jenner Brown}

Our final edition of Oh Joy Band-Aid Bandages!

Oh Joy! Band-Aids / Collector Edition

I'm excited to announce our fourth (and very last!) collection of Oh Joy! BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandages is here! You guys have been SO amazing in your support and love for them over the last three years, so we're excited to bring you one last collection available exclusively at Target!

Oh Joy! Band-Aids / Collector Edition

We’ve partnered with BAND-AID® Brand again for a fourth year to design bandages that help cover up minor cuts and scrapes but make the healing process way more fun. We have all new designs and the same square-shaped bandages for elbows and knees as well as standard shapes for fingers and everything else. 

Oh Joy! Band-Aids / Collector Edition

The handy First Aid Kit can be used to keep at home, in the car, at the office or in your purse so that you are always prepared to #SavetheDay. The new BAND-AID® Brand Adhesive Bandages by Oh Joy! will be available only at select Target stores and Target.com for $2.79 beginning TODAY

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P.S. The First Aid Kit by Oh Joy! is free with the purchase of three qualifying items (such as BAND-AID®Brand SKIN-FLEX™ Adhesive Bandages, NEOSPORIN® + Pain, Itch, Scar, BAND-AID® Brand of First Aid Products All-in-One Adhesive Gauze Pad and Tapes, and Extra Strength BENADRYL® Itch Stopping Cream.)

{Photos by Lily Glass. Styling by Wilmarose Orlanes, styling assistance and crafting by Jess Hong.}

back only for a limited time only...

NEW Limited-Edition Oh Joy! for Freshly Picked / Shop now!

Guess what's back, back, back and better than ever?! We've been blown away by your love for our Oh Joy! for Freshly Picked collection. So today, we've got something extra special and SUPER limited-edition up our sleeves. We're bringing back two of our sold-out designs, Moon Bounce and vintage (circa 2015) best-seller Pin the Petal, in the Mini Sole style! The Mini Sole shoes are meant for little ones who are learning to walk, skip, hop, and play, so they have a rubber sole to help grip during those first steps. 

NEW Limited-Edition Oh Joy! for Freshly Picked / Shop now!

Who remembers our Pin the Petal design from 2015?! These sold out SUPER fast when we first launched them and they were re-printed a handful of times and kept selling out. So we're super excited to bring them back for this run with the hard soles. 

NEW Limited-Edition Oh Joy! for Freshly Picked / Shop now!

Our Moon Bounce design was the first to sell out with our most recent collection. So if you missed your chance the first time OR if you want them with a rubber sole, too, shop now in bigger sizes before they're gone again! 

NEW Limited-Edition Oh Joy! for Freshly Picked / Shop now!

You can buy them all now online for a limited time only at Freshly Picked

{Photos by Lily Glass. Styling by Wilmarose Orlanes, styling assistance by Jess Hong.

things i learned through my life coach that might help you, too...

 

Things I Learned Through My Life Coach That Might Help You, Too!

A couple weeks ago, I talked in detail about why I got a Life Coach. Today, I wanted to share some nuggets of information from some of the notes I've taken from conversations we've had or books I've read that could help you, too, in some way. These are pulled from various moments over the last several months. But I love that on their own (without the context of why we discussed them), they still make so much sense....

1. Any type of growth takes time and faith and practice. Growth hurts just like when you're exercising, and you get sore from using new muscles. Sometimes it's uncomfortable to grow and change and become the real you. 

2. Even though growth can hurt, you shouldn't stop it from happening. If you were to try and help a butterfly transform, you might do more damage then good. It needs to transform on its own to become what it can truly be.

3. Sometimes, if you prevent an experience from happening to someone else (because you are worried you'll hurt their feelings or they may react poorly), you’re holding them back from learning a lesson on their own to experience those emotions. They needs those lessons for their own personal growth.

4. Making an agreement with someone is much stronger than an placing an expectation upon them. This holds true for partners in marriage, employees, co-workers, etc. Others love to keep agreements that they can co-author with you. Then if something you're hoping for isn't realistic for the other person, you’ll find out in advance why something won’t occur the way you want it to.

5. The owner mindset is taking whatever life gives me and welcoming it in. Owning it and deciding what I want to learn and create from it.

The victim mindset sees circumstance as all powerful. And often those circumstances look negative and emotionally overwhelming.

The truth is we human beings have an endless, innate capacity for optimism and creativity already built-in that we can choose to tap into anytime we want.

6. We have to remember that the goal of life is not to be busy, it is to be successful. Often, it is when we let go of our busyness that vision returns, inspiration appears, and a new level of true success is possible.

7. Success is about being original and being collaborative. Success is about connecting with others and finding your team. Even the most original thinkers need to have backing and support for their visions and ideas.

{Photo by Lily Glass.}

Oh Joy! for Lorena Canals Rugs are here!

Oh Joy! for Lorena Canals Rug / Shop now!

Today is an extra special day because our Oh Joy! for Lorena Canals rugs are here! I am so excited because if you know me, you know how much I love rugs to help to define spaces within the home and offer a softness underfoot that makes any space instantly more cozy. I have been a long-time fan of Lorena Canals’ rugs for their softness, quality…and the best part…they are machine-washable! When you have kids, pets, or just life happening in your home, it’s so important to have pieces that you can easily keep clean.

Oh Joy! for Lorena Canals Rug / Shop now!

In our collection with Lorena Canals, we designed the rugs with the joy, whimsy, and delight of everyday in mind to create the “HAPPY" Rug Collection. It's full of color and verve and using whimsical details like stripes, clouds, flowers and confetti in six designs to add a bright, cheerful accent to any home. Each one is 4'7" x 6'7" and they're all made with 100% natural cotton. Come see them all...

Oh Joy! for Lorena Canals Rug / Shop now!

Happy Hills — The hills are alive with technicolor goodness with our Happy Hills rug. Whether in an entry way, dining room, or play room, this multi-colored rug will fill any space with a rainbow that’s sure to delight. 

Oh Joy! for Lorena Canals Rug / Shop now!

Oh Joy! for Lorena Canals Rug / Shop now!

Happy Day — Our Happy Day rug offers the hope and joy of a new day with its playful cloud and rainbow-inspired design in neutral grey and white.

Oh Joy! for Lorena Canals Rug / Shop now!

Happy Lanes — If only every road was this colorful! Our Happy Lanes rug makes a clean, yet fun, statement with varying stripes. It’s perfect for a bedroom, living room, and any space that needs a small dose of color! 

Oh Joy! for Lorena Canals Rug / Shop now!

Oh Joy! for Lorena Canals Rug / Shop now!

Happy Daisies — Delight in a bed of daisies underfoot with our Happy Daisies rug. Place this rug by a crib or by a bed, and it’s sure to make you smile every single day. 

Oh Joy! for Lorena Canals Rug / Shop now!

Happy Prism — Both simple and fun, our Happy Prism rug is inspired by beautiful prismatic rays of light. Add it to an office, play room, or any area that needs some inspiration! 

Oh Joy! for Lorena Canals Rug / Shop now!

Happy Party — Celebrate every day with our Happy Party rug. Whether in a play room or kids’ room, dance parties are sure to commence right here! 

Oh Joy! for Lorena Canals Rug / Shop now!

We hope you love them as much as we do! You can shop them all now in the Oh Joy shop!

{Photos by Lily Glass. Styling by Julia Wester and Wilmarose Orlanes, styling assistance by Jess Hong.

happy friday + why i got a life coach...

why i have a life coach... / via Oh Joy!

At the end of last year, I started questioning myself and my work and felt lost. Those feeling and events led me to working with a life coach which I wanted to share a bit more about with you today. I've talked a few times on Instagram Stories about working with one and originally planned to post all the things I've learned from working with mine. But I realized that so many of you have questions about it in general...Why did I get one? How do you find one? What's the difference between a life coach and a therapist? So today, I'm focusing first on all your questions about it...

READ MORE

The Oh Joy Office: Final Reveal!

The Oh Joy Office: Final Reveal!

We spent most of the last year renovating our new Oh Joy office one space at a time. It takes a while for it to all happen, but it's been so fun and rewarding to see the space finally come together. I've loved sharing each reveal with YOU (see our beautifully organized craft room, dream kitchen, and my executive office reveal!), and I am so excited to show you the main office space today!

The Oh Joy Office: Final Reveal!

I wanted this space to feel very Oh Joy! but also have a lot of white space to stay crisp and fresh and to allow space for inspiration and ideas to grow daily. I worked with my friend Sarah Sherman Samuel who helped us to create a functional, yet beautiful and whimsical office space. The use of color is key to making all of the rooms at the Oh Joy! office feel cohesive. We used pops of pastels, white, gold, and sprinkles of bright accent color throughout. Come check it out... 

READ MORE

Oh Joy! for Freshly Picked soft shoes are here!

NEW: Oh Joy! for Freshly Picked soft shoe collection

I am SO, SO, SO excited that we’ve joined together with Freshly Picked for a second time to bring you perfectly whimsical soft shoes for your baby’s adventures! We launched our first collection three years ago with two prints, and this time around, we're bringing you FOUR new designs: Garden Stroll, Space Walk, Party Hop, and Moon Bounce. Take a look!

NEW: Oh Joy! for Freshly Picked soft shoe collection

Garden Stroll is a colorful floral print that dances with delight and has gold metallic soles! It's available in the Mary Jane silhouette which has sweet scalloped details and cute cut-outs perfect for summer picnics and playdates.

NEW: Oh Joy! for Freshly Picked soft shoe collection

Space Walk is packed with stars and mini planets in blue, green, yellow, orange and white on a black leather background with chrome metallic soles. This print is available in the Moccasin silhouette, perfect for your littlest space walker.

NEW: Oh Joy! for Freshly Picked soft shoe collection

Party Hop is a super fun, multi-colored design with confetti pieces sprinkled about. They are truly a party in a shoe and perfect for a birthday or any everyday celebration! My favorite part? The Mary Jane soles are the prettiest metallic rose gold! 

NEW: Oh Joy! for Freshly Picked soft shoe collection

Finally, Moon Bounce is available in the Moccasin silhouette! It's a great gender-neutral option with solar system drawings on a white leather background and steel metallic soles for a little extra shine. 

You can buy them all now online for a limited time only at Freshly Picked

{Photos by Lily Glass. Styling by Wilmarose Orlanes, styling assistance and crafting by Jess Hong.

Introducing: Oh Joy! For Alice & Ames

Oh Joy! for Alice & Ames

Kid's clothing has been a long-time request from you all, so I am super excited to partner with Alice & Ames to bring you really fun, playful outfits for summer. As a long-time fan of their dresses for my girls, I love that the pieces are super wearable and washable for everyday use, yet are still perfect for special occasions. Here's a look at our collection...

Oh Joy! for Alice & Ames

Oh Joy! for Alice & Ames

Oh Joy! for Alice & Ames

The Ballet Dress — These ballet dresses are SUPER easy to wear for a day of play and make for the BEST twirling dress. They range from sizes 2T to 10, and you can get them in either Oh Joy! print — Fizzy Bubbles or Dancing Daisies.

Oh Joy! for Alice & Ames

Oh Joy! for Alice & Ames

Oh Joy! for Alice & Ames

The Sunsuit — How cute are these sunsuits?! I love the criss-cross straps in the back and ruffle detailing on the sides. They're perfect for keeping cool on those hot summer days and range in size from 3 months to 4T. They also come in both Dancing Daisies and Fizzing Bubbles, two patterns that are different yet complement each other just like sisters.

The Oh Joy! for Alice & Ames collection is available right now. We'll have limited stock so go grab them while you can!

{Photos by Lily Glass. Styling by Lucia Tran. Special thanks to our models: Arianna, Cami, Boston, Gianna, Zealand!}

BIG NEWS! We're building a house!

BIG NEWS: Oh Joy! Builds A House!

I can't believe this is actually happening, but I am excited to FINALLY tell you that...we are building a HOUSE! Are we crazy for doing this? Yes! Is this process going to give me 267 ulcers and a head of grey hair? Probably. Is it going to be the project of a lifetime? Heck, yes! Here's how it all began...

We have been living in the same rental since we moved to Los Angeles 8 years ago (before kids, before my husband started his current job, before Oh Joy grew to being more than just me). We only had a few days to find an apartment when we decided to move to LA in 2010 and rented the top floor of a little duplex (with a great little balcony and view of the city) thinking we would eventually move into a real house with a backyard once we had kids. But Bob and I were both building our careers, and we had a really great deal on our rental so we took the time to save money for a house. We had no real rush to buy anything and no desire take on all the responsibilities that come with home ownership. Our place felt just fine with one child. However, once we got pregnant with Coco in 2014, we felt ready to make the leap and do what grown-ups think they should do...buy a house with more space for their growing family.

Four years ago, I wrote this post how we were looking to buy our first house in Los Angeles and how not easy the process was. Los Angeles isn't a cheap place to live, and the prices of homes here are pretty insane. We spent a good year looking while I was pregnant with Coco as that balcony with a great view didn't seem as amazing anymore when all I wanted was a backyard for my kids to run around and play in. As I had mentioned in that blog post, our first house offer got outbid by someone who had ALL CASH (how do you compete with that?). Then, we decided to up our budget a little bit and found another house we liked even more...thinking, "THIS is why that other house didn't work out. We were meant to get this one!" We put an offer on that 2nd house, only to get outbid WAAAAY over our budget. We started looking at fixer uppers that would be in a comfortable budget, but then we'd still need to spend a ton of money on renovations after the fact to make them livable. Feeling deflated, we kept looking and realized to get the moderate-sized house with a flat yard in the neighborhoods we wanted, we would need to increase our budget more than we could afford. No one wants to be house poor, so we were ready to stop the hunt and keep saving so that we could come back with a bigger down payment in another year or two.

THEN, during one of our drives around the neighborhood looking for open houses, we ran into a friend who had just finished building their house. They invited us in to see it, and we were floored. The value of their house when finished was double what it cost them to build it. The thoughts running through our minds as we talked to them were...

"Yes, of course this house is amazing because it's brand new and custom-designed."

"It's always been my dream to build a house!"

"We could never afford to do that now."

"Wait, what? It costs you HALF the price to build a house in Los Angeles then to buy one?"

Our friends, Cleo and McShane from Project M+, who happened to have also designed their own home, set the path for convincing us that if we had the patience, we should build a house instead of buying one. At the same time, a childhood friend of mine, Melissa, had just moved to Los Angeles. She was an architect as well and told me how she was about to begin designing and building her own family's house, too. And I was like..."Wait, what is happening here? How are these people who are still building their careers, like us, able to do this?" Yes, they were both architects and knew what they were doing. But, it turns out that in Los Angeles (unlike most of the country), the real estate prices here are so ridiculously high that it actually cheaper to build a house from scratch then to buy one. Who knew? Now, that does NOT mean it's quicker to build a house because if that was the case, this post would have been posted a lot sooner than today.

So, that was 2014...how it took until now for me to tell you this story and announce that we are actually doing this is....to be continued. We started construction on the house about six months ago, and it will take another year or so until it's done. I'm excited to share details about this ENTIRE process from start to finish and share snippets with you in real time as we go. I'm also so excited that we will be partnering with Architectural Digest's Clever to tell the story on their channels as well over the next year to completion. We'll be providing additional tips and takeaways over there so you'll get a lot of great information. I have learned so much, and it's really so fascinating (both the fun and not-so-fun parts about it). Here's a little peek!

If there is anything in particular you want me to share, please (please!) leave a comment below. Do you want to see photographed posts or video posts? Do you want to see things in a Pinterest board, Instagram, Instagram Stories...all of it? Do tell! This project has been my second job for the last couple years, and I can't wait to tell you everything I've learned. 

BIG NEWS: Oh Joy! Builds A House!

Stay tuned for Part 2 where I will talk about how we found land to build on, and how went about buying it!

{Photos by Lily Glass and video by Jenner Brown