Thursday, August 28, 2014

We Have Dates!

Pre-Drywall - September 5

We scheduled our pre-drywall meeting for next week! Things are moving so fast!

1:30 - Walk through with our PM & our Guardian Rep to look things over and pick final locations for all of our extra outlets and wiring

2:30 - Walk through with our home inspector (We opted to hire one on our own too)

2:45/3:00 - Go over what inspector saw with our PM

Any tips on things we should look for??

Settlement - October 22

Our PM let us know we are on schedule to settle on October 22! A little bit earlier than we thought it would be, although we had a feeling it would be that way since they've had incredible weather so far. This is a perfect moving time! Not too hot, not too cold. Also, it will be pretty easy for us to take time off from work around that time.

Two other quick updates:

Trex debacle - Our SR reached out to us today. She let us know they didn't forget about us and she's still waiting on an answer from her management team.

Update: They are building us a Trex deck. Still no word on what level of Trex they'll be using so hopefully it's not the cheapest possible deck they could get us. We were really surprised by this! We really thought they'd just give us some extra lighting! I would think that would have been cheaper, but I guess it's illegal to spout off brand names and then provide something different. Who knows. Not gonna lie .. I would have preferred some pendant lighting, but I guess it's nice that they're actually sticking to their word!

The ugly couch - I am still taking off fabric. The amount of staples in furniture is obscene. I'm having nightmares about removing staples! I'm almost done though. Once the ugly fabric is off we can use it as a pattern to cut the new fabric and start getting ready to make the couch beautiful!


Monday, August 25, 2014

We have a house! (Pictures Galore)

This past Friday we made our weekly drive to check things out and things are looking beautiful!!

The house is pretty much completely framed! On our way there our PM left us a voicemail letting us know they'd be finishing up framing over the weekend and this week they'll start the mechanical stuff (plumbing, heating, etc). Pretty exciting!!

It is SO nice to see our elevation in person. We couldn't even find pictures of our elevation (Palermo Elevation E), other than the computer generated images on Ryan Home's website. I LOVE it. We have a gorgeous second floor window on the front of the home, a nice big window over the garage, and longer windows in the front. I also love that we have three peaks. I think it gives the home a lot of visual interest. I really had to fight to convince my boyfriend to upgrade to this Elevation so I'm so glad it was worth it, and we both love it! It's a pretty sexy house, if I do say so myself!




Good view of the yard! (Silk fence is pretty accurate of how our yard will look)

We wen't inside and walked around which was so cool! It's awesome to really see where you're going to put your couch and where you'll be cooking dinner. We also realized that that HUGE window in the front is actually in a bedroom (not the master, unfortunately) so one of our future children will be VERY lucky. For now though, we have no idea what to do with the room. Maybe a guest room? Curtains for that window will be a bitch though ...

Standing in kitchen looking at part of great room and the office

Fireplace! Can't wait!

Looking into the kitchen and morning room

Looking from the morning room into the Dining room

Dining room - Loving these long windows! (Came with our elevation)


Looking down the hall into the Master

Fancy window in guest room - Would love to build a cushioned bench under that window for reading

Basement (under the morning room) with our Egress window (Love that it doesn't have to be cased in)

More Basement

We also found out the tree we'll probably be getting is a Weeping Cherry tree. I creeped and took a picture of our neighbors and showed my mom. She's crazy about gardening and plants so she identified it immediately. I googled pictures of them and they're really pretty! This is what it looks like now .. just a baby.

Other than that we bought a new ceiling fan for the great room ...
I also got a cheap black doormat (from Home Goods for like $9) and painted it! It turned out really cute! I love it!

Also, I'm living at my parents house for the next week. The girl who was dog sitting our puppy went back to school so my dad is going to watch Bear while I'm at work for the week. After work I'll just go there and take over. This has given me time to do some of the projects like that couch!

We started taking the fabric off yesterday! Yikes! It's pretty daunting! Soooo many staples that you have to take out! It's ridiculous how many staples are in this sucker! We got a large amount of the fabric off but still have a little more to go.

I have a little bit more accomplished now than the picture shows. It's taking forever!

Bear helped - AKA he used the couch as a cave and played while we worked

We also should hearing back from our SR about them compensating us for the deck mistake. She said she'd have an answer to us by today but haven't heard anything yet. We requested that they A) Use Trex materials like they said or B)compensate us for the price difference by throwing in recessed lighting above the fireplace and throwing in some pendant lighting rough-ins above the island. It was being reviewed by management over the last week. I'll be sure to update with their offer.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

10 Reasons I CANNOT Wait to Move!!

So I've been sitting at work all day thinking about our house and I'm SO excited! I'm pretty jealous of some of you who can easily drive by your house! We're only about 20 minutes from our house, but that's without traffic. We live in an area with A LOT of traffic around work hours, and I drive an hour to and from work as it is. Basically, if we wanted to go after work we'd have to go immediately after and then drive in traffic. If we waited for no traffic it would be dark by the time we got there :(

Here are my Top 10 reasons I'm excited to move (as of right now)

1. Officially starting my future with my boyfriend (alone)
Currently, we live with his brother. Right now it's fine because they lived together as roommates and then I just moved myself in, but now, it's putting a cramp in things. I CANNOT wait to live with just my boyfriend and not have to worry about anyone else.

2. We'll have room to breathe!
I've said it before, and I'll say it again; our apartment is SMALL. To call our house cluttered is an understatement. I have to be careful to not buy too much food because it is extremely likely we will not have any room for it at home. It drives me crazy!

3. Counter Space and Storage
I can't even explain in words how excited I am to have a big kitchen. Really. I can actually cook without using the stove as counter space? Sounds like a foreign concept, but a beautiful one. Storage is another foreign concept to me. We're forced to put some of our groceries on our already limited counter. Struggles.

4. Brand new stuff!!!
So over the summer our air conditioner broke twice. I'm pretty sure it's one of the oldest central air conditioners in existence. It's awful and loud and always breaking. In addition to that, two nights ago we woke up to the WORST smell. I have never woken up due to a smell before. My boyfriend originally thought it was the dogs .. There was no way this came from a living thing, and if you have dogs you know it's hard to beat the smells they produce sometimes, haha! Turns out it was our Fridge's motor burning up. It was vile.

5. A yard for our dogs!
I cannot wait to have a yard for our dogs to run around! I can tell that they feel cramped in our apartment and they just want to run around and play. It was fine while Loki was small but now that Loki's big and we have Bear, it's just too much. I'm glad we got Bear before moving (potty training is better in our crappy apartment than our brand new house), but the limited space is getting old fast!

6. Decorating
I love decorating and looking at pinterest for ideas. Even when I was younger I would say I couldn't wait until I had a house I could decorate and now that time is almost here! So excited!

7. Space to DIY
Right now I have to do all of my DIY projects at my parents because there isn't enough room to move in my apartment, let alone painting something in a dog free area. As many of you have seen, I really like putting things together and getting artsy. I'm currently working a entry level job where I just do the same thing over and over again. DIY, painting, drawing, and other art gets me through my days. I'm still trying to figure out a way I can make a living off of it ... hmmmmm

8. Entertaining
We always go over other people's houses for nights out. I don't mind going out but sometimes it would be nice for people to come to us (and not have to decide on a DD for the night), and right now we just don't have the room for that. It'll be awesome to have people come over, drink some wine, and they can even bring their dog so they can run around in our fenced in yard ... Sounds like paradise.

Our apartment is an apartment in the basement of our building. We have windows but it's still SOOO dark in there! I feel like a vampire. I need my Vitamin D people!

10. To have a Home!
I can't wait to have a place I can fully call home. I've been living like a nomad for the past 6 years. I haven't lived in one place longer than a year with moving around during college, traveling abroad, moving home, moving to an apartment, moving to another apartment, and then moving in with my boyfriend. I had a BLAST traveling around and changing things up but I'm so ready to have one place to call home. All of my belongings will be in one place, rather than being scattered at my parents house or lost during a move. I'll know which address I should list for things. I'll finally be able to have a hairdresser, dentist, and doctor close to where I live! I'm so ready and I'm so happy I can have a home with the man I love to start our lives together!

How about you guys? What are you most excited for?

Monday, August 18, 2014

House Bones!

We went by the house on Friday evening after work to see the progress and they have most of the first floor already framed! Pretty exciting! They said they'll be working on framing for the next week to week and a half.

It's funny how small it looks right now. I know it's not small, but I was looking at the area that is going to be our Great Room and I was thinking "Crap ... Am I going to be able to fit all of my furniture in here???" I guess we'll see!

We were going to talk to our PM again about the deck and the Trex situation on Friay, but when my bf called him he was at a company picnic and he could hear his little girls trying to get him to come play with them. You don't mess with a dad and his daughters so he just told him he'd talk to him on Monday. Hopefully, it gets resolved soon because I'm tired of talking about it and thinking about it.

Helpful information for those getting a GeoDeck with Ryan:
We called the actual decking company on Friday and it looks like they're a really small company. So small that an actual person answers the phone when you call. They were helpful and very nice. We were told that Ryan used their second highest Tier of decking material. We told them we were having a hard time finding enough information about them to compare them to their competitors. She explained that they don't spend much on marketing so they can keep their costs down and focus on quality and costomer service. The main difference with their decking is that it is hollow composite material. Their competitors products are basically lumper covered in composite material (this is how she desribed it). GeoDeck materials are hollow so it cuts costs and they don't have to use any type of woof filler that often causes problems (this is what caused problems for Trex in their lawsuit a few years ago). She admitted that Trex is a stronger deck than GeoDeck, but it's strong enough to easily hold people because it's built and designed to disperse weight so it's evenly distributed across the deck. However, if you were to drop a dumbell off of your roof on to a GeoDeck (or a tree fell on your deck) it would go right through, while a Trex deck would stay put. In the end, we're okay with their product. Oh, and she said their product NEVER fades unlike competitors. She attributed this to the fact that they are hollow and completely composite. Our problem now is that Ryan Homes thinks they can get away quoting a more expensive product than they're actually giving you.

Interest Rate News:
My boyfriend was sent the "Cost Analysis Worksheet" from our rep at NVR. Interest rates are at 3.75% right now! We can't lock in our rate until 2 months away from Settlement (I think) so I hope they continue to stay that low! That would be awesome!!

In other news, I bought a few things over the last few weeks for the home. I got curtains for our bedroom, the great room, and the morning room (HomeGoods - If you've never been to one, find one, and go). I also got the fabric for the couch I'm reupholstering. I went to an art show this weekend too and got this super cute metal frog for the garden. Kind of a frivolous purchase but he was so cute and pretty cheap ($25) so I couldn't resist! Plus, he's handmade by the artist I met there and one of a kind!

Bedroom Curtains - I'm adding blackout material to these too

My frog for the garden! Love it!

Oh, and remember that Ethan Allen piece I posted a few weeks ago? Well it was really badly scratched and I kept hearing about this natural way of fixing scratches with Vinegar and Oil (3/4 oil, 1/4 vinegar combo). I was pretty skeptical but figured I'd try it because I know it wouldn't damage the piece at all. It works INCREDIBLY well. It was seriously amazing! I used it on my mom's desk that used to be my grandfather's (really scratched up over the years) and the diffence is like night and day. So, if you like to re-do furniture like me, or have an old piece that's kinda scratched up, try this! All you do is rub it in (don't have to use a ton of it) and then let it soak into the wood. I let mine soak into the wood for about 6 hours and then rubbed off most of the excess (I put a ton on it at first) and then just let it sit for awhile. I used Apple Cider Vinegar and Olive Oil but you can use whatever you have on hand (Canola oil and regular white vinegar is cheapest). You see the effects immediately though. It's magic. I don't know how it works, but it does. I'll try and post before and after pictures next week. The pieces are at my parent's house so I'll take pics next weekend when I'm there trying to tackle that ugly couch.

And here are pictures of our beautiful first floor all framed up!




Left side - Foyer, Bathroom, Dining Room / Right - Kitchen/Morning Room & Great Room

Left - Great Room / Right - Office


Doors and windows! We're one of the only one's who have the little windows on the side of the door which I like! I need an easy way to look outside to make sure it's really the pizza guy at my door and not some creeper!
Side Note: When looking around we found some "Cerveza" cans on the ground. I'm really hoping they're waiting to drink a beer or two at the end of their day and I don't have a bunch of tipsy people working on our house! Kind of weird to find beer cans hanging around your house that's under construction. Thankfully we only saw 1 or 2 cans but still odd, and a little bit concerning. If you're gonna drink on the job at least get rid of the evidence! Rookies.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Preparing for the Extra Stuff

First, a tiny rant. I wrote earlier this week about how our PM was supposed to call us last week on Thursday because he was off on Friday, but he didn't. Then we just figured he'd call us Monday. No call. We haven't spoken to him since my boyfriend said something to him about the deck not being Trex, and how that's BS since we were told in writing it was Trex. Well he told us he'd look up some reviews for the decking they use because we can't find anything on it (GeoDeck is the brand), and so far we haven't heard from him at all. Almost 2 weeks now with no call. Kind of frustrating, but what are you gonna do? He has to call us at some point!

Anywayssss..... moving on to happier topics

We have finally realized how fast this process is moving now! We figured it's time to start picking out our washer and dryer and our fridge. We also know we need to figure out how we want to pack and move (a lot of our stuff is at my parent's house which is an hour away from our current apartment and the new house). I've looked up a ton of lists on moving tips so we're starting to get ready.

Most of it has been pretty easy. Our landlord was actually really chill about us leaving. They gave us no hassle and told us just to let them know, a couple weeks ahead of time, when we plan to leave. We were thinking they would force us to go on a month to month lease (our lease is up in September) until we move, but it doesn't seem like that's the case. I honestly think it's because my boyfriend has lived there for the past 5 years, so I feel like they're just happy he stayed that long.

Some things, however, have proven to be more difficult:

1. The space for our refridgerator
We were told during our preconstruction meeting that the space for our fridge is 30" wide. I didn't really think much of it .. until I started to look up fridges online. We really want a french door refridgerator with an ice/water dispenser on the door. Well, apparently, almost all of those are around 35" wide or more. I could only find one french door fridge with a water dispenser and it doesn't even dispense ice! I know this is a total "first world problem," but it's still frustrating. I took to the blog world and found a few Palermo people with the type of fridge we want that are around 35" wide so I kind of think our PM told us the wrong measurement. I hope so ...

Any Palermo builders out there know how wide the space for their fridge is????

2. Our kitchen table
I am supposed to build our kitchen table with my dad. Now that I have completely taken over their home with my furniture for the new house, there isn't enough room to get to my dad's table saws .. Whoops! I'm sure we'll figure something out, though. I would like to have it done ahead of time because a) Moving it on our moving truck would make our lives much easier than borrowing a pick-up truck from someone later to move it, b) call me crazy, but I feel like we will want/need a kitchen table and c) we already have so much stuff to do and build and paint when we move in that I know I will not feel like taking on another project in the heat of the move.

Other than that I bought curtains for the morning room, living room, and our bedroom. Now I just have to finish painting some of the furniture I'm re-doing, reupholster that couch, and some other crafty projects. We're getting SUPER excited now! I can't wait to go down to the house this weekend and see the progress!

BTW - Thanks to everyone who answered my painting question! We still have no idea what we want to do. I think we may just wait because I will be sooo pissed if I can't blend the paint and have to re-do the entire wall! haha!


Monday, August 11, 2014

A Pile of Wood

We went by the house this past weekend and right now it doesn't look much different than last time, but everything done was very important.

This past week they water proofed the foundation. Pretty boring to look at but very very important. They also filled in our porch and our basement floor with concrete. This also means we passed our first two county inspections on schedule! Woo!
The most exciting thing we saw at our homesite was the giant pile of wood! Wood = Framing. This is when it starts to get exciting and look like a house! So pumped!

We also creeped in some of our neighbors yards that are mostly done. We noticed that they give us a lot of trees (unless our neighbors paid for some hefty lanscaping package). It's awesome that we get some trees, but the placement of the trees? That's a different story. They're planted in a perfectly straight line, all about 4 ft apart. It just looks unnatural to me. I know some people like lanscaping like that, but for me, I like trees to look like they naturally popped up where they are, AKA I like when nature looks natural. Hopefully, he'll let us choose where to put our trees because if not, I'll just be digging them up and moving them right after we move in.

The model in our community will also be done next week. I'm pretty curious to see what it looks like all finished so that will be cool. The sod at the model home is already dying though .. this scares me. Sod scares me. I'll probably be researching "how to keep sod alive" for hours, like a crazy person, closer to closing. If anyone has dealt with sod and has any tips I would love to hear from you! No one I know has ever had sod. All we heard is that it has to be watered non-stop, but also not too much or it will die. lol!

Our PM told us earlier last week that he would be off on Friday so we didn't get a call from him last week. I'm guessing he should be calling today on updates/schedules. My boyfriend will also be making his argument for pendant lighting or their need to commit to using Trex decking since that is what we have in writing. I'm hoping they're willing to just throw in some pendant lighting (I highly doubt they would pick using/paying for Trex, a brand name, before they would throw in some lights), but who knows. Most companies would do it no problem for customer service reasons, but Ryan Homes? Not always that easy to convince. I don't really understand their resistance to this type of customer service. If they had just said "We quoted you the wrong brand, and we really appologize. Can we throw in some extra outlets or lights to make up for our mistake?" we would be much happier and much more likely to recommend them as a builder to people we know. I guess they do fine without that word of mouth marketing, so it's not that important to them. As someone who works in marketing I find this odd, but whatever.

Anyways, here are some updated pictures!


Basement & Pile of wood

Our Pile of Wood! AKA Our House's bones!


Quick question for everyone: Is anyone considering painting before their 10/12 month inspection? I know they recommend waiting a year until you paint because there will definitely be nail pops and repairs made to the wall over the first year. We were talking to family this weekend and they were just saying how much easier it is to paint before you have a bunch of stuff in the way and you're unpacked, so we were thinking maybe we should paint now and then just touch up the areas that are repaired? What are you guys planning to do?

Monday, August 4, 2014

Foundation & an Ugly Couch!

We swung by the house this past Saturday to see what the progress was. My boyfriend hadn't been there in weeks and I hadn't been there since we initially broke ground. We brought the dogs (which wasn't the brightest idea) and all of us sunk into the mud. My poor car is still muddy :(

As of Saturday they had the main foundation poured (basement walls). Apparently, today they will be water proofing the foundation, then there will be two county inspections, and then they'll pour our basement floor. There is some PVC pipes under the ground so I'm guessing the county wants to make sure those look okay before they seal them under concrete. According to our PM, our county has a LOT of inspections .. way more than average, which is definitely good for us, but I'm thinking it may make our process slightly longer than average since they always have to stop working while waiting for inspections.

Anyways, here are some pictures. I'm going to take a picture of the house each week from the same spots. I know Frank C is also planning on doing something like this with his home.



In other news, I bought an ugly couch this past weekend for $60. I know... what am I going to do with 3 couches? Don't worry! I got this all planned out! I love Ryan Homes furniture planner on their online interactive floor plan. I just measure out my furniture and place it where I want so now I know where everything is going to fit! I love it, because I know if they didn't have something like this, I would have drawn out an exact floor plan on graph paper, because I'm weird like that. This girl used to draw out house floor plans to map out the route for my sister and myself for Christmas morning. Wake-up, get mom and dad, go downstairs, stockings first, and then the Christmas tree! I really should have been an architect .. or maybe a pirate ..
I saw this couch at the Habitat store a few weeks ago and everyone talked me out of it. I fell in love with it right away but I knew it had to reupholstered. The shape is awesome, it's in good condition, buuut it's pretty darn ugly with the current old, stained, pink velvet upholstery. I have NEVER reupholstered anything and I'm not great on a sewing machine. People with common sense told me to just forget about it and maybe start with a chair at some point in the future. Well, I didn't listen (shocker), and I kept thinking about it and how much I would love a bright teal couch and this would be perfect sooooo I bought it.
Here it is, in all of it's ugly & stained glory...
This is what I hope to do with it (excuse the screenshot from my phone - this photo was not cooperating when I tried saving it so I just had to take a screenshot). I found this picture on pinterest.

I'm pretty excited to try this! I have never reupholstered so I'm hoping it's easier than it sounds. I've heard mixed things about it. Some say it's way easier than you would think while others say it was an awful and difficult process. We'll see, I guess! Now, I just have to get some fabric.
Quick note: We still haven't really done much about them telling us our deck was Trex but it's really not. Apparently the brand we are getting GeoDeck. We have had an AWFUL time finding stuff on this brand other than a few bad reviews and reports of lawsuits in the past. We can't find anything on price though. We want to gather as much information on it as possible so we can argue that it isn't worth as much as the Trex material deck we were originally told we were getting. Our PM kept arguing that it's a good product and the SR should never have told us they use Trex, blah blah blah. I understand that the SR mispoke but that's really not my problem. This is a business deal. If I did this with a customer or other company at my job do you think they'd be like "Oh, you mis-spoke?? No problem! Don't even worry about it! We'll take the cheaper product! I'm sure they're the same quality anyways!"? No, they wouldn't. I'll keep things updated on what ends up happening with that. I'm hoping they can at least put some pendant lighting rough-ins for us. I mean, how much would that even cost them really?? A couple hundred bucks?

Friday, August 1, 2014

Ohh Ryan Homes .. Why don't you double check things before you say them??

So yesterday, my boyfriend got an email from our SR with some "corrections" to things she has told us in the past. As many of you know, we have had this happen to us before with Ryan Homes. They told us one thing and then they were like whoops, we were wrong. The biggest one was when they told us our house would fit on our first choice lot but then, last minute, they discovered they were wrong. It caused a bunch of crap that was just annoying and frustrating and ended up delaying us for a month. In the end, we ended up switching lots and getting some stuff for free, so it worked out, and we moved on. So when my boyfriend told me he had some bad news about a couple of things I was like ugh .. here we go again.

They're not HUGE issues but still irritating.

One thing we negotiated for was our deck. They told us we could build a Trex material deck and that they would pay for half and we would pay for the other half. Well, our SR just told us, welllll we know we said it was Trex, but it's not. It's a generic composite material brand. I'm not against generic stuff, because in a lot in instances it is exactly the same, but there are a good amount of "cheap" composites out there that fade and age really poorly. We researched Trex before we agreed to their "deal" ... we know nothing about this generic brand. If it ends up looking like crap in 5 years then what? We either deal with it or tear it down and build something of quality. So stupid. We do have it IN WRITING that the deck is Trex so we'll be doing some negotiating.

The second thing we were told incorrectly was about fencing. As I have mentioned before, we really need a fence with our two dogs. We have huskies and they can pretty much jump anything under 6 feet tall. When we were told, by our SR, that the community was allowing 6 foot privacy fences we were officially sold on the community. Well, the HOA got back to us and apparently, until about a month ago, they weren't allowing fencing AT ALL. Apparently, one of my future neighbors found out about this and caused some serious havoc and eventually they caved (Thank you future neighbor, whoever you are!!!). They are now allowing privacy fencing BUT it can only be 4 ft high .. We were going to get a dog door so our dogs could go outside while we were at work, but now we can't because I won't feel comfortable about them being safe and not jumping over the fence while we're gone.

I don't understand why Ryan Homes just tells people things without double checking them. To say we're getting Trex when we aren't is just stupid. To tell us we can definitely have a 6 ft privacy fence when the community didn't even allow them previously is even more stupid!

In the end though, we think this should give us some negotiation power. I highly doubt they'll use Trex material for our deck but I think we can get a couple of things added for free to make up for the fact that we're paying for a lower quality deck than we were told. Pendant lighting and some crown molding??? We'll see!