Elkee Stewart



B & B

buildingElkee StewartComment

This is where my white board and batten obsession started. The second I locked eyes on this beauty in Daybreak Utah I was smitten!  I knew this is what I wanted for our home exterior and from there I chose a house plan.  


After the first meeting with our builder I learned that this wasn't going to be the cheapest exterior siding option.  It was initially double the money of vinyl siding and was going to take some major persuading to get the hubby on board. Its not hard to see why this siding is totally worth the cost and look!

What Is Board And Batten Siding?

Board and batten siding is a series of alternating vertical or horizontal boards. The wider boards are typically around 10” wide, while the smaller boards, or battens, are closer to two inches wide. Unlike other siding designs, board and batten allows for natural expansion and contraction, which you must account for when referring to any exterior material. 

Why Board and Batten Siding ?

Board and batten siding provides a bunch of benefits few other siding options offer. This growing siding design gives a unique and eye-catching design to any country cottage, barn, guesthouse and rustic  home. Once you decide on board and batten or batten board siding, you have a few choices for materials, including real wood, engineered wood, cement board, and vinyl. Each material has its pros and cons. 

-Fiber cement costs less than wood

-Doesn’t attract pests

-Moisture and rot resistant. Resists water absorption to help protect against mold, swelling and cracking

In case of a fire, you want to know that walls of your house will protect you while your family seeks safety. Fire feasts on wood, and it melts vinyl almost instantly. But James Hardie siding will not ignite when exposed to a direct flame, nor will it contribute fuel to a fire.

-James Hardie is the only siding company that engineers siding and trim products for specific climates, ensuring that you get the best performance for your region

-Baked-on ColorPlus® Technology has greater resistance to fading, chipping and cracking, meaning less maintenance

- WARRANTIES. All James Hardie siding products come with a 30-year, non-prorated warranty and trim products come with a 15-year, non-prorated warranty.

Can I get a heck ya!  No siding that will melt in the sun or fade!  I'm in!

Cement Board Siding

Cement board siding, hardie board, or fiber cement siding as it’s also called, is a mixture of cement and cellulose fibers. It’s made by combining sand, water, cement and cellulose to form strong boards or shingles. A coating is baked on for a colorful finish. Fiber cement siding is available in vertical, horizontal and shingle designs. 

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James Hardie Board

Lifetime Exterior Siding


buildingElkee StewartComment

Choose design details that express you and your homes personality.


Set a budget. Choose what you love and what speaks to your heart and soul.



Neutrals are best known to have no color. These include beige, ivory, taupe, black, gray, and white. Choosing these neutrals for your main finishes like flooring, wall paint, cabinets, and counter tops will allow you to add color with your furniture and décor. Changing your décor is more affordable then changing out your flooring in the years to come.

Going into the flooring store can be straight up overwhelming. Before going do some research and look online at ideas you like. Make an idea book and try to choose things like shape, material, and color before hand. Take the book with you. When arriving at the store talk budget first.  Have them show you items in your budget. This can eliminate hours of the process.


Get samples and lay them out together. Play around with different textures like wood, basket weave or a fun shape.  



Take your top 3 favorite in each category. Start putting them together. Consider color and what looks best. Take pictures so you can get a different perspective. Start eliminating, although most will eliminate themselves.


You cant go wrong with neutrals! Enjoy the process. Have fun.




buildingElkee StewartComment

When building a house you are faced with a crap ton of choices! And trying to decide on upgrades can be overwhelming. I did a lot of research because the last thing I wanted was to have any regret or I wish's. Needless to say after all the time and  research I was only left with a longer list of wanted upgrades. Most to which we ended up scratching.  I finally realized it only  comes down to these few things that can simplify the process.


BUDGET BUDGET  BUDGET! In most cases you will meet with your Builder and go over budgets for your new build early on. When it comes to the interior it is completely up to you and the choices you make if you go over, under, or stay right on budget.  If there are upgrades you know you want early on make sure to add them into your budget.  Know ahead if you have extra or saved  money to go toward upgrades.  Can you afford it?

FAMILIA!  What are your families realistic wants and needs? How big is your family? Will your family benefit from this?  Will this make life easier?  Is it important?  Do you have animals?

LIFESTYLE IS EVERYTHING!  Are you an active family?  What areas of the house do you use most? Do you spend a lot of time outdoors?  Do you cook often? Are you planning to resale in the future?


I have always been a firm believer in this.  It's natural to want things, but having them and being able to afford them are two different things.  Remember this when thinking of what upgrades you want to add. Everybody has different preferences and certain things they like and don't like. That is what makes you special and unique.  Make your own must have  list and be one step closer to making your home yours.

Here is the rundown on our must have upgrades!

BOARD & BATTON SIDING- Top of my list! We knew from the get go that this would be our home exterior so it was added to our budget first thing.  Fist pump to LIFETIME siding! 

BLACK WINDOWS- Another top of my list! Double the money, but so worth it!

RAISED CEILINGS- Although we did lower most ceilings we raised the entry, living room and master.

CAN LIGHTS- Add can lights wherever you can! We added over 50. We also chose a modern square style.

USB OUTLETS- We added these to all the bedrooms for phones and laptops.

TILE SHOWERS- We wanted to design custom showers. Bonus- it adds value to your home.


COVERED PATIO- We spend a lot of time outdoors!

LARGE CLOSET WITH WINDOW-  Being able to get fresh air and natural light in a master closet is a dream!

OUTLET IN PANTRY- My pantry is where I'll keep my toaster, Microwave etc.

FUTURE HOT TUB OUTLET-  We plan on having a hot tub in the future so we put in a 220 outlet in the  future location.

CENTRAL VAC- My must have! Easy wall access plus cleaner air and reduced allergies!

BRACES FOR FUTURE CIELING FANS- We had our framer build braces for future ceiling fans.  I am not generally a fan of the look of ceiling fans. We put them in the Living room, Master bedroom, and upstairs boys room. And put braces in the others for future.

TALL CIELING CABINETS-  I don’t think I have ever heard someone say that they had too much storage space in their kitchen.  Why not have the cabinets go all the way to the ceiling!  And quite honestly I never know what to put on top of cabinets and they seem to just collect dust.  

UNDERLIGHT FOR CABINETS- I loved the idea of this for our upper cabinets in the kitchen.  

TRASH DRAWER- Keeps the garbage out of sight!

MUDROOM- With our active family we end up having shoes, coats, back packs, basketballs, cheer bags, dance bags dropped at the door.  The mudroom will be the catch all!

DRINKING FOUNTAIN- The boys drink from the faucet, Drives me nuts! we added a drinking fountain to the mudroom right below the stairs to the boys room.

LED LIGHTING- Long life time.  LED bulbs and diodes have an outstanding operational life time expectation of sometimes up to 100.000 hours.

OUTDOOR GAS LINE- We added it to our pack patio for a BBQ.

DOUBLE OVENS- Baking cookies will be a breeze!

STOVE TOP- Luke's pick!

POT FILLER- We do a lot of cooking.

FARMHOUSE SINK- My pick! Who doesn't love a big sink.








buildingElkee StewartComment
(n) the feeling you get when you
sit in front of a fireplace and
enjoy its warmth.


that warms my soul

modern + clean + rustic + neutral


Photos via Pinterest

Fast fact. Me and Luke....not so good with the house warming.  If our kids survival depended on us keeping them alive by adding wood to the stove every couple of hours during our cold winters  here in Utah. Slim. Real Slim.  There are many things I love about a fire, the warmth, sound, smell and cozy feel.  But I just cant do the upkeep and mess.  Because we have had gas fireplaces and wood burning stoves in the past and not loved either we knew we wanted something different. We decided to go with a modern electric stone flame.  Because it's sole purpose is for looks and not heating this was the perfect choice for us.  This ended up saving us around a thousand dollars that we had in the budget. HUGE BONUS!  It will be inset lower and flush with the wall.  My goal is to make this wall grand and keep it the vocal point.  One of the many reasons why i loved this plan was the entry on each side.  They will lead to the girls rooms and joined bathroom.  


I have yet to decide on the wall design, but here are a few of my design options.


For the love of TRUSSES

buildingElkee StewartComment


Ladies and Gents... we have trusses!

(Wasatch Truss)


We also have wind, snow, and a few broken trusses.  The wait continues......



They tell me this isn't an everyday regular roof?

Who knew......


Luke was stoked to help over the weekend.  I must say he looks pretty good up there!



We have enjoyed getting to know our framers and we are so thankful for friends who have helped out with this giant puzzle!


Back view


buildingElkee StewartComment
Home wasn’t built in a day.
— Jane Sherwood Ace



They were right when they said framing was fast! I love seeing progress. Slowly, but surely.

  • Lots of framing this week

  • Utilities tied in

  • Getting ready for more concrete

It's been a cold and windy week.  Despite the weather our framers rocked this week!  Cutting it short this week due to waiting on wood and possible rain/snow over the weekend. We also got news that our trusses won't be here until the middle of December!  But i'm feeling lucky that we ordered when we did because they are 5 months out!  So the plan is to start working on the exterior after framing until trusses arrive.  

Here's to hoping for good weather!