Whelp, our marketing folks think it would be a good idea for me to write a blog about designing and building.  Me, “Say what?”

Here’s my disclaimer:  I write like I talk, and use . . . to connect my run on sentences. I’m good at ending sentences with prepositions and don’t catch my typos… if it doesn’t have a red line under it, it will likely be

My poor English teacher mother… she’s already wondering how in the world the baking/sewing/gardening and other various domestic genetics skipped right over me, and now we have to add grammar to the list (thank you little red line for underlining grammER).

House #1

The front of Becca and Blair's first house.

And so the story goes… Blair and I bought our first house in 2006. We were just dating at the time but I must have known he was “the one” wanting to be financially linked to him like that.

It was over on the Outer Banks in Southern Shores, on Duck Woods Drive to be exact, a sweet little street bordered by a canal on one side and a golf course on the other. The house was as cute as the street but also way dated.

So we remodeled it with all of the trendy products circa 2006. After all, this is pre my HGTV obsession so we were really winging it here.


We replaced the blue marbleized grandma-esque formica with swanky absolute black granite. Then we installed one of those faux tin backsplashes figuring that gluing on two foot sheets of “tin” was way more on our skill level than tiling.

They actually still sell the tin sheets and though I wouldn’t use them for a backsplash, I
think they could be neat in other applications…powder room ceiling perhaps?  And if you’re thinking about absolute black granite, well…don’t.  It shows every crumb and each little fingerprint which just threw this girl’s OCD into a

Now leathered absolute black counters, that’s a different story, I’m totally on board for that.


We painted the exterior colors that to this day are one of my favorite color combinations.  Benjamin Moore Nantucket Gray
siding (looks more olive than gray), BM Navajo White trim (the go-to off white) and a BM Sundried Tomato
front door, for good luck of course.

How’d I pick the perfect color combo on the first house I had ever painted you might ask?

I saw it on an older house, made Blair pull over, and up the porch steps I went to knock on their door… luckily they were flattered, not weirded out, and happily gave up the info.

The inside white walls were painted an aqua color that looked greenish or blueish or grayish depending on the time of day, I forget the name of the color so it probably wasn’t that great. The good colors are forever etched into my memory.

The bedrooms were a light gray fail that ended up looking lavender in the evenings. Those paint swatches can be so deceiving…not a hint lavender in that little square. Wasn’t exactly masculine enough for Blair but he knew where the paint brush was if it really bothered him enough.

Then we swapped out all of the light fixtures with pendants that had a lovely frosted golden hue…I mean, we really thought we were something.  It’s funny how you can be so pleased with yourself, but look back a decade later and wonder ‘what the heck was I thinking?’  We also boxed out the columns on the porch and added trim to the front for a classic look that will never go out of style.

Shortly after we moved in, we changed jobs leaving our comfort zone 3 hours behind. We packed up and moved “inland” (as Blair said even though we’re still surrounded by water) to Minnesott Beach to open Arlington Place. 13 years later and… we’re still here, by choice. Now there are 4 of us, Evie 8 and Keegan 6…well 5 if you count our eldest Gus, our furry blonde baby.

The whole building-selections-furnishing thing evolved over the years and has become one of our favorite parts of the job. Blair likes the nuts and bolts of it all and I love, love, love selections.  We will break ground on the 19th house we designed this summer.  We’ve learned what to do right by figuring out what not to do, sometimes the hard way.

I hope to post every month or so about different phases of the building process…what works, the budget busters, the rookie mistakes, and (my favorite) bang-for-your-buck ideas. Building can be totally stressful or so much fun.

I vote for fun.

Arlington Place blog author Becca Lang. Story by Becca Lang

Hey there, I'm Becca... my husband Blair and I were thrown into the deep end of the development game in 2007. I have overlapping passions of real estate and design, he has overlapping passions for building and fishing. Between the two of us, we gotcha covered on all fronts! Each build is unique with it's own successes to be celebrated and lessons to be learned, and that's what I hope to share with you in the 'Sink or Trim' series.