Monday, July 28, 2014

We have a hole! (and a new puppy...)

The last week has been kind of crazy. My sister flew in from California on the 19th and we picked up our new puppy, Bear, on the 20th. Since then life has been busy! I've been spending a lot of time with my sister, and I've been on potty training duty. I was able to take off three days from work so I camped out at my parents house for the past 5 days which made things easier.

Since I only see my sister once a year, and she won't see our house until a year after it's done, I wanted to take her to see our homesite. We decided the family would head down there on Wednesday and coincidentally my boyfriend got the call that they started excavating the property that day! We got there and we had a hole for our house! They definitely hadn't finished digging at that point so it was more like a shallow hole in the shape of our house haha! Our PM, Mr. Roof, said we should have a foundation poured by Friday. I'm not sure if he meant Friday as in July 25th or this upcoming Friday.. But regardless, I've never been so happy to see a hole in the ground! We ran into another guy while we were there and he was really friendly. I think he's the second man in command around there. He humored my mom and let her walk around the development, even though there was construction going on everywhere, and even let us into the model home (which isn't quite finished yet). The model has white cabinets, and I LOVED them so once again I'm so happy I picked white cabinets!
Our Lot all excavated and ready to go!

I also ended up buying a couch! In my last post I mentioned that we were getting a red couch from family friends. We're still going to take that couch, but I think we'll put it in the dining/living room instead. My boyfriend has designated that room the place for our Christmas tree so the red couch will compliment that nicely! haha!

I ended up getting this couch from the Habitat for Humanity Re-store (I know.. that's all I talk about anymore! I have a problem!). The one I go to the most is the Wilmington, DE store and they recently partnered up with the La-Z-Boy warehouse in Newark, DE. Every Tuesday they will be going down to the warehouse, and La-Z-Boy is donating furniture that either has a few things wrong with it (a small rip, scratch, stain, etc) that would prevent them from selling it new for full price or was just order incorrectly or by mistake. Every piece I have seen from there so far looks perfect .. I can't even find what may/may not be wrong with them. We ended up getting this sectional for $1000. Right now it's on sale for about $2300 and retails for around $2700 so it was a great deal and its exactly what I wanted! I wanted a tan sectional with deep comfy cushions and that's exactly what I got! So excited!

Here's La-Z-Boy's picture on their website ..
I've been officially banned by my family from going to this store for awhile. Everyone in my family agreed the couch was a great deal but now I have no money so I can't go back! haha! Oh well. I love my couch and I have plenty of other stuff to keep me occupied! Once we have money again I'll definitely go back and look for a recliner chair. They had two leather recliners there that were so nice! They were being sold for $400 and $500 and they retail anywhere from $700-$1000 so not a bad deal! I don't know if I could stomache buying a chair for $500 though.
I also did a few more DIY projects. I seriously love Chalk Paint. I painted some Mason Jars to use as containers in the bathroom for cotton balls, q-tips, and my make-up brushes. I LOVE how they turned out. So cute. I also painted this old media chest I had in my room growing up. I forgot to take a before picture but it was all black. It will be perfect to put a TV on in our bedroom though especially since there are blues and greys in our quilt.
Mason Jars - Using them for cotton balls, q-tips, and make-up brushes in the bathroom

Media cabinet - Used to be all black
Here are some pictures of my puppy Bear (and Loki), because he's too cute not to share!
Loki and Bear - We had a photo-shoot, because I'm obsessed with them both, and they run my life

Bear snoozing away - Loki loves this sleeping position too

Bear in the car on the way home! He's so freakin' cute!

Hope everything is going smoothly with everyone else!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Okay .. I really need to stop shopping!

I can't stop! It's like a sickness! haha I just can't stop shopping. If I see a deal on something we could use for the house I just get it! lol! I need to be saving money, buuut that's not going too well.....

Anyways, I thought I would share what I have been spending my money on and some other things that will be in our home while we wait to break ground on our home!

So the first thing I'll share is the couch we are getting. We're saving some money by not buying a couch right away. Currently, all we have are these black leather theater recliner chairs. If it were up to my boyfriend that is all we would have/need for the rest of our lives .. obviously, that's not really an option, so a family friend is giving us their couch and a matching chair. The only part I'm a little scared of is that it's red ... I probably never would have picked out a red couch, because I tend to go with neutrals since I change my mind all the time, but free is free. Plus, I'm starting to like the idea of one big pop of color. I'm just not sure my interior decorating skills are up for that challenge, BUT I am going to try, and I think I'm starting to get a vision!

I want to see if we can maybe purchase a small love seat in a neutral color like a soft tan/linen color too. I think this would soften the boldness of the red couch. I probably won't put the matching chair in the same room either. I also know I need to incorporate little bits of red here and there in the rooms so that the couch doesn't look completely out of place, so I started to look around for some throw pillows I could work with. I then found these beauties!! The pillows from Homes Goods are reversable (Red side & White/Grey/Blue slide — Blue Stripes side & Teal diamond side)
White Pillow- TJ Maxx / Others- Home Goods
I think the white pillow will pull in the trim and cabinets, the pillow with the red colors will pull the couch into the space, and the blues go with the bits of blue in the the other pillows. I'm considering using blues in the space somewhere else too (maybe in the curtains?) because I love blues and blue-greys). Hopefully, I'll be able to pull everything I want together in the end. I like the idea of contrasting patterns and colors, but I just don't want them to compete TOO much and end up looking clashy (or like the American flag ...).
I also got another wonderful piece of furniture at the Habitat for Humanity re-store (I have a problem .. I'm obsessed with that store). It's an old Ethan Allen piece. It was a little bit pricier than I would typically spend ($150), but I love the shape and it's really well made. Plus, I looked up prices of Ethan Allen pieces on their website and all of their buffet tables were priced at $600 minimum!! This piece is pretty scratched up so I'm going to have to do something to make it work. I think I may sand the top and restain it. The scratches on this piece are pretty deap so sanding down the entire thing sounds like a nightmare so I may paint some of it instead of sanding, staining, and sealing the entire piece. I'll figure it out, but I'm pretty excited about it, because I love the piece overall.
Ethan Allen buffet table
In other news .. we still haven't heard back from our PM so I kind of don't think we'll break ground this week :( .. In brighter news we pick our puppy up this Sunday! We also got his fancy shmancy new dog tag delivered! I love it, AND my sister is coming home from California this week! Pretty pumped! I haven't seen her in almost a year so I can't wait!
I hope everyone else's homes, lives, and shopping ventures are going well too!


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Pre-Construction Meeting ... FINALLY

Warning: This is a long post! The list of questions looks a bit excessive but I thought it may be helpful information for future home builders!

We finally had our pre-construction meeting yesterday! After we got delayed for a month it felt like it would never come! It was pretty good. We kind of knew what to expect just from reading a ton of blogs about the experience.

First thing we did when we got there was drive around the development. When we first bought our lot there was only a line of twin houses built a few years ago by another builder (Ryan Homes bought the rest of the land from them), but there were NO Ryan Homes houses yet. Last time we were there, about a month ago, the model had most of its siding and then there were a few foundations poured, but that's about it. Yesterday, there were like 5 houses! They aren't all done but they are all at least framed. They put these homes up so quick, it's crazy!

Then we went inside and met our project manager for the first time. His last name is Roof .. Really? How do you not become a home builder with the last name Roof? Anyways .. he seems like a nice guy, and most importantly, he seems like he really takes pride in his job. He also has a sense of humor which is very much appreciated by us! I don't know how to talk to people who don't have a sense of humor! He's also a dog person like we are so he understands our concerns about putting a fence up ASAP.

Here are some things we discussed:
  • We started off with basic introductions and then we went over our options. He confirmed we're getting the Palermo, Elevation E, all siding, and then confirmed all of our options. We just had to let him know if we were good to go. Everything was correct so we signed and then moved on. I'm hoping we didn't miss anything!
  • He talked about when/how he will update us. He'll start off by calling us every Friday (maybe Monday if he doesn't have time on Friday) and let us know what was accomplished that week and what to expect the upcoming week. He personally prefers talking on the phone because he said its more personal, and he wants to get to know us a little bit. After the first few weeks he's fine with contacting us strictly through email if we prefer that.
  • We had a whole conversation on when we are allowed to visit. He said he only wants us to go inside the house when he is there too, because it can be dangerous ... buuuut his work hours are basically my work hours so I may have to break those rules a little bit .. maybe. I honestly think they say that to avoid liability if you do get hurt and because they would rather you not snoop around and tell them what's wrong all the time. He explained that he normally notices something that is wrong early on but it doesn't mean it will get fixed straight away (but it WILL get fixed because he doesn't tolerate sloppy work).
  • Timelines: He should be able to break ground this week sometime. He is just waiting for the approval to get started. He said once he gets the approval he normally starts the building process that day. He'll call us the day they break ground or the day after. From that point it should only take about 100-110 days until close which would put us closing around the last week in October.
  • Questions - We compiled a list of questions and sent them to him ahead of time in case he needed to do some research. He had them all printed out and ready to go so we just went down the list one by one. I'll post the list at the end of this post.
  1. We're getting sod in the front AND back yard
  2. We are now getting a double vanity in the secondary bath too! (they allowed a last minute change)
  3. The door to our office is one of the doors with windows (not a solid door like we all thought)
  4. Deck (trex materials) is brown with white railings. Stairs will be center facing the back yard.Our PM also described our deck as a HUGE deck! Love it!
  5. We have plenty of room from the side of our house to our property line to add a double gate to our fence.
  6. Our egress window is basically just a big walkout window (will not include a well/won't be covered) because our property is sloped enough that it could almost be considered a walk out. This will bring in a lot of natural light into our basement! 

Here is a list of our questions and their answers - this is a list we compiled from looking at MANY blogs

  • What is the best way to reach you?
    • Phone and email
  • Can we visit the site whenever want?
    • We need to visit when he is there
  • How many inspections are there?
    • About 12-13 inspections - This includes the big three (Foundation, Pre-drywall, and Final inspection) as well as the many inspections our county requires (he said he failed inspections once because he provided someone with 12 shrubs vs the required 13)
  • What do we have to do if we want our own inspector?
    • Just let him know that we have one coming around - he didn't seem to mind us wanting our own inspector
  • Will you provide us with weekly updates? How?
    • Yes - By phone at first and then in whatever way we want (email, phone, text, etc)
  • Are you going on vacation at all during our build?
    • Yes - He's not sure when but he will give us a heads up and give us a contact while he is gone
  • Driveway - Width/Length — Can we make it wider?
    • Width is 18 ft and length is about 31 ft. We can make it wider on our own. He recommended we do this through the same person they use since they lay our garage in two phases (Put in driveway and then let it settle for a few months and then come back to put on top coat). He said by using the same guy we'll avoid getting charged extra for a top coat on the addition.
  • Lawn - Sodded/Seeded?
    • Sodded in the Front AND back yard
  • Outside Lighting - What's included? Where?
    • Two lights on either side of garage, two recessed lights on porch, one light by sliding glass door from morning room
  • Hose bibs - How many? Where? Can we choose the location?
    • Two are included — One on either side of the house (1 towards the back on the garage side and the other towards the front of the opposite side) — No, we cannot choose where these go
  • Outlets? How many? Where?
    • This is done by code - There has to be an outlet every 6 feet
  • Landscaping - What's included? Can we choose? Can we opt out?
    • We get a very beginner package of some shrubs and mulch in the front yard. We cannot choose and we cannot opt out.
  • House positition on lot - Direction of home
    • Southwest
  • Yard size
    • Front Yard - about 31 ft to curb and about 80 ft wide
    • Back yard - About 50 ft deep and 90 ft wide
  • Distance from neighbors
    • About 20 ft
  • Distance from side of house to property line (need to know because we want a gate for our fence)
    • 10 ft
  • Fencing - Can we have a privacy fence
    • Yes - We had this confirmed by our Sales Rep
  • Will there be sidewalks? Will you be putting them in or is that up to the community?
    • Yes - PM will put in sidewalk in front of our house but the rest of the community sidewalks are up to the community
  • Deck - Can we see the plans for the deck? What are the colors of our deck? Can we pick stair location on the deck?
    • Yes - We looked at a rough sketch of deck dimensions. It will go around the fireplace bump out. It will be brown with white rails. We were allowed to pick the stair location - We chose the center going out to our backyard
  • Is the garage sheet-rocked?
    • Yes (but not insulated)
  • In there a rough-in for the garage door opener?
    • Yes
  • How many outlets in garage?
    • One on the wall / One on the ceiling
  • Is garage at a pitch (so water will easily flow away from the house)
    • Yes
  • Extra support in high traffic areas?
    • Yes & No - This is taken into consideration when engineers design house but they do not put extra support on top of that
  • Where is the Attic access?
    • In laundry room
  • Can you not install the quarter round so we can install it when we put in our laminate flooring after closing
    • No - The only reason is because they would not pass inspection if they did not install quarter round
  • Flooring Breaks- Where are they? (We were only concerned about where our Great Room carpet started)
    • Lines up with hallway (matched PDF) 
  • Location of egress window - Can we move it so it is not under our deck/in the way of where we want to put our wet bar rough-in
    • Yes! - We moved it to the side of our morning room compared to being in the middle of the morning room. He also confirmed that our egress window will just be a walk out window because of how our property is sloped (it's almost a walk-out lot but not quite)
  • Are windows standard sized?
    • No - We can measure once drywall is up
  • What color paint is being used for the house?
    • Two-toned paint - an off-white color
  • If you have extra paint can you leave it so we can do touch-ups where we see fit?
    • They won't leave cans but the paint manufacturer can send a free touch up kit with the paint used
  • Size of spot for fridge
    • 30" wide x 6 ft tall - This is an estimate! If the fridge we see is very close to those measurements then we should wait to buy it (ex. 28in-30in wide) but if it's a decent amount smaller than 30" we should be good.
  • Will cabinets be flush with fridge or other cabinets? Can we make it flush with fridge?
    • They will be flush with other cabinets - No we cannot bump them out
  • Backsplash - Can we forego the 4 inch backsplash extended from the counter?
    • No - This would have needed to be a custom request (not sure why ... ) but its easy to take off (it's glued to the wall).
  • Do you provide fire extinguishers?
    • No
  • How many smoke detectors? Where?
    • Smoke detectors in each bedroom, each hallway, and one in the basement. There is also a CO2 detector upstairs by the master bedroom
  • Can we choose placement of recessed lights in the packages we bought?
    • No - Only time we can choose locations is if you choose to buy extra recessed lights
  • Is the door to the office a solid door or a door with windows like we saw in the model
    • To everyone's surprise its the window door! Yay!!
  • Single bowl vanity in the secondary bath - How big is this vanity? We were under the impression that it was a large vanity but just had one bowl.
    • Single bowl vanity is only a 30" vanity. We talked about this and showed them our PDF that showed a solid line for the vanity (only showed a dotted line for the bowl and said "optional bowl"). Because of the confusion they let us change this option last minute so we're now getting a double bowl vanity in the secondary bath too!
  • Are we getting two exhaust fans in our master bath?
    • Yes
  • Is there a water softener included? Can we get one? Do we need one?
    • No, no, and no
  • Water heater blanket included? 
    • No - he said we don't need an external one though because the water heaters they use are very energy efficient
  • Sump pump?
    • We have one and it's located in the same room as the hot water heater

Monday, July 7, 2014

Living on a Budget Successfully

This weekend I was on a mission. A mission to be productive! I bought (or already had) a bunch of old furniture that I was determined to refinish and bring back to life, but I had to find a place to do this.

Currently, we live in an apartment, and by apartment, I mean we live in cracker jack box. It is TINY. This is a bachelor pad for two dudes and a dog turned into an apartment with two dudes, a girlfriend, and two dogs (soon to be three). The kitchen is so small cooking a decent meal in it should be part of the cirque du soleil show, because it's basically impossible. Anyways, this lack of space gives me nowhere to do my craft projects, so my parents home has become my storage unit/craft area. They have a large house with a large basement, and my dad has pretty much everything you could ever need for refinishing furniture, and my mom has the craft supply closet stocked. This was my destination this weekend so I left the dog with the boyfriend and headed up to my parents house, and got productive!

First, here is the mirror and end table I blogged about last week, so here are some before and after pictures of those.
Mirror ($50) - Painted in Duck Egg Annie Sloan chalk paint (a little lighter in person and gold specs showing through)
 End Table ($10) - French Linen/Old White/Duck Egg Annie Sloan chalk paint

Now, here are some other things I found on Saturday morning (Habitat for Humanity re-stores). This end table was about $40 so I almost didn't buy it, but I really like it and it's still cheaper than buying one new! It was this ugly yellowish brown color when I got it.

End Table ($40) - French Linen/Old White 
This is a mirror I found on Saturday - It was only $15! It looks like it was a door of something and it's really old and REALLY heavy. I love it. It's one of those things that looks worthless at first glance, but when you really look you realize it has so much character! I'm just going to leave it as-is. I'm going to put it in our bedroom for a full length mirror! The price was unbeatable... I think my dorm room mirror from Target with the plastic frame that always broke was around the same price haha!
Mirror ($15)
Metal Trash Can (Home Depot - $25) - Painted in Chalkboard spray paint (I'll decorate it with chalk once we move in) - using as a cute/cheap dog food container
And here is an updated picture of our future puppy (just because puppies are adorable)! He's 6 weeks old! Can't wait to meet this handsome boy! We pick him up on July 20th. We're naming him Bear.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

From Trash to Treasures (and other awesome purchases)

So while we await our pre-construction meeting, we have been making some future home purchases, and by we, I mean I have been making home purchases.

Two I am most excited about are my purchases from the Habitat to Humanity Re-store. My total bill was $60 for a really big old mirror and a side table. They definitely need some work, but the table is sturdy and well made and has a good shape, and the mirror is really big and detailed!
Here is the mirror - It was $50 - It sounds expensive but it is really big and well made! After looking at mirrors online I know I couldn't get anything this size/quality even close to that price. I scrubbed it a ton (it looks like it accumulated dirt for about 1,000 years), but I really like the size and the detail. I'm debating if I want to paint it or not. I'd either do something antiquey with chalk paint or paint it a bold color like bright blue or black. The gold is growing on me though .. decisions ..

Here is the side table. It looks really old which I kind of love. I'm have some ideas for this baby. Definitely will be painting it. I may sand and restain the top and then paint the rest of it white or an antique gray.
We also bought some other stuff as well. I bought a rug for the foyer, a big clock for over the fireplace, a shower curtain for the hall bath, new dog bowls, and we bought two ceiling fans (we took a fellow blogger's idea (Marissa Gordon - Rome of our Own) of picking up ceiling fans gradually until the house is built, so thanks Marissa!!). We also got our new floors!!! Yayyyy! I mentioned earlier in this blog that we got standard vinyl flooring in our foyer, mudroom, kitchen, and morning room with Ryan Homes, but we plan on replacing this immediately with different floors. We did this because Ryan's flooring upgrades were just too overpriced for what we would want. We ended up purchasing a really pretty laminate. I know there are a lot of people with strong feelings against laminate but honestly, it is beautiful and textured and looks like wood, plus it is scratch resistant. Hardwood floors would have been much more expensive (about 3x) and would have been destroyed with two large dogs and future children, so laminate just makes sense!
Rug for our foyer - Love it! Simple yet unique - On sale from West Elm ($79 for 3'x5')

Clock for over the Mantel - (Fun Fact - the 4 roman numeral looks wrong but in history both IIII and IV were used interchangeably in ancient Rome, and IIII is common to use on clocks instead of IV) - Wayfair for $58 (30" clock)
Shower Curtain for hall bath - Got this from Anthropologie on sale - Love it! I think it will go well with our grey ceramic floors too!
 Fan for Great Room - It's a dark black/brown color in person. We wanted a fan with lights because otherwise the Great Room is really dark (our friend has a Ryan Home and he just has a couple table lamps and it's still so dark!). Got this guy from Home Depot.

This is our fan for our bedroom. We didn't really think we needed a light on this one. This is a bigger fan and was more expensive, but my boyfriend LOVES fans and has to have on a million while he's sleeping. We basically sleep in a wind tunnel. Also from Home Depot.
 We got these bowls from Etsy. They're handmade by two artists (I think they're a couple). The guy makes the bowls by hand on a pottery wheel and the woman decorates them by hand, glazes them, and fires them. We're getting one in grey and turquoise blue that says Loki and the second in grey and bright green that says Bear. They're a little pricey but they're adorable and I love supporting artists like this. Here's a link to their website if you're interested. They also make mugs and cookie jars and stuff like that too. (Just FYI - They take a while to make personalized items since they have a good amount of orders to fill and they're all handmade).
Here are our floors! They're darker in real life (the pictures makes them look about 2-3 shades lighter than in person). Love them! So excited we got them and have them ready to put down right away! Obsessed!

I also finished my painting of Loki for our Mudroom. I may work on it some more because I'm not 100% happy with it (I'm pretty new to painting - Pencil drawing is my thing and I'm used to my work looking a lot more realistic), but overall, I think it's cute.
That's pretty much it. I also got a metal trash can that I'm going to spray paint and use as a dog food container. I may tackle that this weekend. Hope everyone has a great holiday!