Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pre-Settlement Meeting

It has been awhile since I've updated but life has been CRAZY lately. Finally, the storm has ended and I can finally breathe!

Old picture - We have a tree now!

Yesterday, we had our Pre-Settlement meeting. It was pretty quick and painless. It only took us about an hour and a half. Our PM seems to have these meetings down to a science. I know a lot of people take about 3 hours but we've gone through all of our meetings faster than the average. Maybe because my bf has met with our PM a few times in between the Pre-Drywall meeting and yesterday.

Our PM started by going over how things will work over the next year. He and his crew will check back in with us at the 30 day mark. He told us to keep a list of things we find while living there and he'll fix everything that happens within the first 30 days. After that we have a 10 month check in, but this is with Ryan Homes' service department and our PM is not involved with that (bummer). Then I believe he said we have ANOTHER check in at the year mark, and this will be with the service department as well.

We started on the first floor and he turned on all the faucets and appliances so we could see that they work. He showed us how to turn off the water to the sink and the dishwasher. We went over the fireplace and the thermostat and all that good stuff. My bf and I also opened all the windows and checked all of the outlets. I also took my shoes off and walked on the edge of the carpet (separating the great room from the kitchen) to make sure there were no metal pieces that will poke feet when walking barefoot. There were quite a few so I asked him to fix that. I understand that carpet is put down with tack strips buuut that doesn't mean it's okay for them to poke your feet.

We did the same stuff upstairs, thermostat, turned off and on lights, checked placement of toilet paper holders and towel holders, turned on sinks and showers, flushed toilets, tested outlets, etc etc. We also just looked over things to make sure drywall and trim looked good. In the basement we went over the water heater, where to turn off the water, how to turn off the water to different hose bibs, and all that good stuff.

We noticed a few things we wanted fixed:
  • Tack strip in carpet needs to be fixed so you can't feel the tack strip
  • Bump in the drywall on basement wall
  • Window in office not right - doesn't lock and gets stuck
  • Kitchen cabinets - a gap between two cabinets is a lot wider than I would like
  • Light by deck is crooked and loose
  • Crooked outlet in hallway
I think that's about it. I'm probably missing a few things.

We also noticed that our sod is looking awesome! We've had PERFECT weather for sod. It's cooled down a lot and there has been a good amount of rain. It's already planted its roots.

Our PM also confirmed that our door is "Farmhouse Red," so I will be painting it to a brighter red.
I also asked about painting interior doors within the house and he said that won't void any warranties, which is awesome! I know I want to atleast paint the interior side of our front door and maybe some other's as well. I think I may paint part of the pantry door with chalkboard paint too so we can write grocery lists or little notes on it.

Our PM also went over some tips about the sump pump, water heater, turning off water when going on vacation, sealing all the tile in the house, and some other stuff too. We also got a giant folder of stuff we can look over.

I didn't get any pictures, because I'm a slacker! We close on Wednesday (aka tomorrow .. what??) so I'll take pictures then.

My dad and I also finished the legs of the table and started staining! Here are some updated pictures of that! We'll be putting the pieces together once we move.

Just because I want to finish my countdown list - Here are some more of my top 10 favorite things about our new home!

6 Days from Closing - Tile in bathrooms

I'm so glad we splurged and got nice tile in all of our bathrooms! It looks so nice!

5 Days from Closing - Upgraded carpets on first floor

We decided to splurge and get level C carpets downstairs. A friend of ours who built a Ryan Home did the same and their carpet was so soft that it swayed our decision to get standard carpet. It feel so nice on my feet!

4 Days from Closing - Storage!

Storage galore! I can't wait to have places to put stuff! Nothing will look cluttered and it will be fabulous!

3 Days from Closing - Finished basement

Getting a finished basement is really nice! I think it has really added value to the home and we want to eventually put a bar down there. Basically, it will be a man cave, but it will be awesome.

2 Days from Closing - Morning Room

I seriously love our morning room! I think it makes the whole downstairs look more open and the light that comes in is fabulous! Part of me wishes we had gotten the two extra windows but I still love it! It was definitely a pricey upgrade but so so worth it.

1 DAY FROM CLOSING!!!! - Our fireplace

Yesterday at our pre-construction meeting our PM had our fireplace on. It was so pretty! I am so happy we got one! I can't wait to decorate it during Christmas season and hang up stockings. Plus, you can run it with batteries if your power goes out so you can keep warm. I also love the slate inlay I picked. I love my fireplace!

So, that's about it for now! We close TOMORROW!! We'll gradually move stuff over throughout the week and then we're doing the big move on Saturday. I can't wait!!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


What??? I can't wait! Continuing my countdown of my favorite things!

7 Days from Closing - Kitchen

I ADORE my new kitchen. I love the white cabinets that we splurged on. I'm happy with our countertops. I love that we have a gas stove and new, working appliances. I love that there is a ton of natural light flowing through the downstairs so I don't feel like a vampire! I love all the counter space I'll have when cooking and that I won't have to play tetris in order to make all of my bowls and pots and pans fit on the counter while I'm cooking. I love that we'll have a TON of storage space so we can actually put everything away and not leave stuff on the stove or counters due to no other option. I love that I can see into the living room and the morning room from the kitchen so I can watch TV or socialize while cooking!


So beautiful!

Anyone else super pumped about their kitchen??

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Countdown & future projects

8 days from closing!!!

When looking through older Ryan Homes blogs I saw people counting down with the top 10 things they love about their new home. I thought it was really nice and a great way to get pumped up for the move, so I'm going to steal their idea!

10 Days from Closing - Having a home

Over the last 6 years I have not stayed in one place for more than a year. It was really a combination of college, studying abroad, graduating, moving to a new town, moving to a different town, and then moving in with my boyfriend. At the same time I never really fully moved out of my parent's house (you should see the amount of stuff I still have at their house ... lol!) I've never even bothered changing my license, mailing address, or doctors, because it just wouldn't make sense, so I would travel about an hour. As much fun as I've had the last 6 years, this constantly moving thing has gotten OLD. I really can't wait to have a place I can call home and hopefully we will be there for more than a year! haha!

9 Days from Closing - A yard for my dogs (with a fence)

I am so thankful that I have a home with a yard that my dogs can run around in! Now that our dog Loki is fully grown you can tell the apartment life is just not suiting him. You can tell he gets frustrated with the limited space, and I feel like a bad fur-baby parent! I really can't wait for them both to have room to not only run around the house, but go outside and not have to be on a leash of any sort! (I'm a little obsessed with my dogs .. if you couldn't tell).

8 Days from Closing - Our elevation

I had to fight for this one! My boyfriend didn't really see the value in upgrading to our pricier elevation, but I loved it! I love architecture (I ALMOST majored in it in school but didn't for some weird reason I now regret), and I wanted to pull up to a home I think is beautiful and different than the rest of the houses on the street. My boyfriend now sees the value and we both love it! Definitely a great decision for us.

I also have been looking into some future projects. These things will not happen for awhile (this whole moving and buying furniture thing is expensive! Who knew??), but a girl can dream. I'm thinking I can do at least one of them in the spring time.


I really want to make the mudroom a functional area. Right now it's just a room with a closet, which is fine, but I really want a bench, a place to put shoes, and some hooks for hanging up stuff.

This is what I have in mind - My dad is already confident it would be pretty easy to make.

Here's the link to the blog with the instructions

I think it would be nice to have a place to sit and take shoes off, and hang up dog leashes (or maybe backpacks for kids in the fairly far future).

Kitchen Backsplash

The next thing I have in mind is some kitchen backsplash! I really want to get this done, because I think it makes such a huge difference, and helps "de-ryanize" the house! I have a few ideas but I can't decide! I also don't know how much it's going to cost so that will also influence when this gets done.

White painted brick backsplash
White subway tile with gray grout
Source: Pinterest
Blue/gray subway (ish) tile
Source: Houzz.com
I like this a lot too - lighter gray with a touch of blue
Source: Houzz.com

Not sure which I like the best but I kind of like the touch of color.

Anyone else have plans to de-ryanize their home after moving in?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Lanscaping, a driveway, a paint update, and a not so ugly couch!

We are 9 days away from closing!!! Single digits! That said, I had a crazy weekend! I have had so many projects to complete before we move in and they are keeping me busy. I'm also balancing two grad school classes which adds to the insanity!
First, I'd like address the whole painting when moving in issue. It looks like the vast majority of communities lets you paint and it will NOT void the drywall warranty. The only stipulation is that after they fix the wall, they paint it back to the original color they painted the wall, and then you are responsible for touching up your custom paint. This is what we thought originally. Unfortunately for us, our PM confirmed that in our community it completely voids our warranty. Is this stupid? Yes. Does it compromise the actual drywall? Ummm, no. Is our PM really correct about this? I don't know, but I have no doubt it would cause a battle to get things fixed if we did paint. Not really worth it, so we're going to stick it out and have boring white walls. Pretty jealous of all of you who are allowed to paint!
We also asked about installing our floor. This does NOT void any warranties. I don't know how installing a floor does not void anything while painting a wall does, but whatever ..
Anyways, we got our weekly call and were told that our house is pretty much done. All lanscaping is done and our driveway was paved. Of course we went down to check it out. We have no trees in our front yard .. not really sure why since everybody else in our community does. Oh well. Now we can pick whatever tree we want and won't have to worry about moving a tree we're not crazy about. They put about 8 trees in the back (kind of excessive in my opinion). Some type of pine tree and then some ornamental cherries (we think). Of course they were planted like a stepford community perfectly spaced out with no creativity, but they will remain that way until the spring (if our dogs don't run into them and kill them, lol!), so we don't risk them dying. Plus, I honestly can't see us feeling like moving them!

This past weekend I stayed at my parents house. We sanded all of the wood for the table so now we just have to put the legs together and then stain and seal everything! My mom was FINALLY not working this weekend so we got to work on that ugly pink velvet couch! I decided to reupholster it in a bright teal fabric. Go big or go home! Is bright teal right for everyone? Nope, but I love it and I think the pop of color will be great in our mostly neutral home!

Now we just need to cover the cushion and we are finished!! I LOVE it, and I think my mom and I did a great job, especially since we have never done this before!

Happy Columbus Day!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Can we just move in now??

We went to the house yesterday and everything was pretty much done, aka, everything was done except some finishing touches on paint and stuff like that.

I'm so ready to move now!! The house looks BEAUTIFUL! We both love it!

Some things we saw for the first time were:
  • Painted front door
  • Painted columns on porch
  • Vinyl in the kitchen
  • Carpet everywhere
  • Island installed
  • Hardware installed on everything
  • Appliances
  • OUR DECK!!!
It is seriously a home now! There are some minor things they need to touch up. Cabinets were mostly fixed, but there is still a gap between two of the doors on one of the cabinets that's a little too wide for my taste. They also have A LOT of paint touch ups to do. Our PM had blue tape EVERYWHERE.

It's crazy how much different the house looks with all the flooring installed. The bedrooms look and feel like bedrooms now, compared to just feeling like shells before. The kitchen is just amazing and I'm so happy to have all that counter space and storage room! I even started thinking about where I'm going to put all of my stuff! haha!

We'll start from the front - shall we?

We saw that our door was painted and we got new hardware for the front door. Pretty exciting but I am not thrilled about the door color. The color of our door was supposed to be "Farmhouse Red" and this color is more of a rusty orangey red. We were expecting a really bright, fun red. I'm not completely convinced that they put the correct color on the door so we're going to check on this. If it is correct and this color is considered "Farm house red," then I will be painting the door. I know this is a TOTAL first world problem and may seem really minor but details are EVERYTHING for me. I guess it's the artist in me? Everything makes a difference and this red is just not doing it for me. Easy enough to fix and wouldn't be too expensive but still a project.

Great Room


Office door (love the french door look on this)

Great Room - taken from Morning room (and a peak at the vinyl)
Everything here is great! I LOVE the slate in the fireplace and it flows really well with our slate colored counters in the kitchen. I can't wait to hang stockings from the mantel for Christmas! I'm also really happy with the upgraded carpet! It's so soft! (We walked around without shoes on so we didn't track mud throughout). I also really love the office door.

Kitchen and Morning Room

Kitchen - straight on shot from Great Room

Kitchen at an angle (Can you tell I love my kitchen??)

Kitchen from Morning Room

Morning Room
 I LOOOOOOVE my kitchen! It is beautiful and I'm so happy we went with white cabinets! They're classic and will stand the test of time! I also really like our counters. Granite was something we figured we could do later if we wanted to, but honestly, I don't think we'll be switching our counters anytime soon. The texture in these counters is actually really nice.

I also don't hate the vinyl flooring. It's not too bad at all. I'm not saying that it will not be replaced by my fabulous laminate wood flooring, but if we have to wait on installing the floor it won't kill me!

I'm loving our appliances! We ended up upgrading our appliances a good amount. Not only did we pay for the stainless upgrade but we paid for several models up than the standard stainless models. We decided to do this after looking up reviews. I think we'll be really happy we did.The microwave is nice and big and I have a gas stove for the first time! I've never cooked on a gas stove before, but I heard it's awesome and I'll never go back to electric, so I'm excited for that! The dishwasher makes a cool little noise when you open it and the layout is nice! Awesome!

The island is beautiful but I have a suspicion that it may not be the correct island because it is HUGE. For some reason I think it may be a gourmet island meant for a Rome because it takes up a good chunk of our kitchen (our kitchen, and house, is narrower than a Rome). I shouldn't complain because the counter space is great, but I just hope we don't find that it's too big and kind of clunky when trying to move around in the kitchen. I may just be crazy .. which is probably the most likely explanation.

The Deck

14' x 22' Trex deck!

We were told we'd have about 6 or 7 stairs ... A bit of an understatement .. haha!

Close up!

For those of you who have followed my blog for awhile, you know this deck was put into action due to some mistakes Ryan Homes made with our lot. We started off splitting the deck 50/50 with Ryan which was already a great deal (this was their way of making up for their mistakes). Over time (due to miscommunication on Ryan Home's part) we not only got switched to Trex (not their contractor brand) but we were pushed up the highest tier of Trex. In the end it probably came to a ratio of 30/70 in our favor, which is awesome!

It came out beautifully! My boyfriend was beyond excited to see this baby! We're so happy with the size and the colors and the material! It's plenty big enough for a grill and some seating with room to spare! Love it! We also checked out the model home's deck to see the material we would have gotten originally. There is no wood grain look to it and you can see skrews in the boards while ours has a nice wood look and is completely clean looking (no screws to be seen!). Very happy!

Up Next

I guess the next steps are just them cleaning up little mistakes (like paint, the cabinets, etc). I don't think there is much more to do! Craziness!

During out pre-settlement (October 20th) I'll take more pictures of the other rooms too. These were just the highlights.

This weekend I'll be working on the ugly couch with my mom. All fabric is cut out and sewn so now we just have to put the new fabric on the couch bones! I may also work on the table a little bit with my dad too if I have time. If not, we'll finish that next weekend.

I hope everyone is loving their home as much as we're loving ours!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Building a table is hard!

We are only a little over 2 weeks away from closing!! What??!?!?! Where did the time go? Remember that I said I was going to build our kitchen table with my dad? Well, we started this weekend, and guess what .. we severely underestimated the time it would take! Haha! Oh well.

We worked on it all day Saturday and Sunday and got the top completed! This was the hardest part because you have to make sure the wood is all flush and flat, and wood is not perfect (who knew?), so all the boards were a little bowed in places. It took a lot of strength, quick drilling, and teamwork to get these boards straight and flush. I think it turned out pretty nice if you ask me!

We also got all of the wood cut for the legs of the table but haven't assembled it yet. This took a lot of cutting and prep work people!

So next steps include:
  • Drilling some holes to prep the pieces
  • Assembly of the legs
  • Sanding everything (this is probably going to take forever)
  • Stain (hopefully only 1 coat)
  • Strategically sanding to give it an older look
  • Polyurethane
  • Attach the top and the bottom
  • Done!

We also went by the house quickly this weekend to meet our fence guy. We talked to him and got things situated. We saw that they were installing carpet in the house so we didn't want to go in and get in the way!

Another change we saw is they put in the posts for the front porch (it's no longer being held up by scrawny looking wood).

She is looking pretty sexy if you ask me!

This week's Agenda:
  • The deck
  • Another round of grading (I think)
  • Final touches and adjustments (straightening cabinets, fixing paint here and there, etc).

There's really not much else to do! It's mostly just fixing tiny things and putting final touches on stuff. Lanscaping won't be done until about a week before closing so we won't see that for awhile. So exciting! We are so excited to move, but it's coming down to the wire!

To Do List:
  • Call water company
  • Call trash company
  • Call electric company
  • Get cable/internet ready
  • Pack
  • Get blinds
  • Get garage door opener
  • Finish reupholstering the ugly couch
  • Finish the table
  • Finish up my Grad School classes
Ahhh! So much stuff!

Hope everything is going well for everyone else!

Friday, October 3, 2014

People Planning to Paint - Please Read!

Hi everyone!

I know a lot of people are thinking about painting their homes once they move in, so I wanted to share something that our PM told us in case you aren't aware (since we weren't until yesterday). Apparently, if you paint your walls it voids the warranty on all of the walls that are painted. Our PM said it wouldn't cover ANYTHING that happens to those walls including nail pops and warping. Even if your drywall mysteriously ripped in half it wouldn't be covered.

I know this sounds completely ridiculous, but it's definitely something worth looking into. We even asked a friend of ours who built a Ryan Home in a different community and he said they told him the same thing. It's definitely possible that this is only true in certain communities but I'd just check with your PM directly.

With that said, we will not be painting unless he tells us he was wrong about this for some reason (but he was REALLY confident in his answer). Some of you are aware that we bought paint, and I know some other people bought paint as well, and the good news is, is that unopened paint can last 10-15 years as long as it's stored in normal temperatures (no unifished basement areas, garages, etc where it can freeze and fluctuate a lot in temperature). At least, that's what several Google links told me.

In other news:

My boyfriend headed down to the house yesterday to meet up with our PM. We had seen a few problems here and there so we wanted to address them with him. Here's a list of some of the problems we saw and his reponse:

  • Crack in molding above big window (exterior of house)
    • He ordered a new piece and it's already on site. They'll replace the broken one
  • A big cut in the ceiling of the basement
    • Noticed that there was a lump in the floor -  they realized the beam used in the floor has a small bump in it so they had to cut the drywall, cut off that bump, and installed another support beam)
  • Vent on outside of house still crooked
    • He'll have it fixed - siding crew was supposed to do it but they didn't
  • 4 footers for deck (we thought there would be more than that since a friend of ours had 8 for his)
    • We only need 4 footers
  • I thought we were getting recessed lights on our porch??
    • Admitted they missed this on the blueprints. This was already corrected yesterday.
  • Drywall looking bad on one wall in the basement
    • Because they were cutting and removing beams in the basement ceiling they had to cut the drywall tape on a wall connected to it so it would relieve the pressure. If they didn't do that then the drywall could rip. This will be fixed
  • Cabinets - some drawers look pretty crooked
    • These will be fixed towards the end - he explained the last two weeks are used for the detailed work so everything is perfect
  • Mudroom door - looks like it was installed incorrectly according to the plans of the house.
    • It was - he'll fix it
Our PM also let my boyfriend know that the deck we were going to get was out of stock and wouldn't be available in time for the house to be finished. Now they're giving us the highest tier of trex decking which is pretty awesome! So now we're getting the Transcend tier in "Tree House" with white railings. In a perfect world I would like a little dark of a color but I really can't complain. We're getting a really good deal on this deck (For a refresher on price see this Blog post). We're still paying the same price but now we're getting actual Trex (not GeoDeck - see this post), and now we're getting their best tier of decking which not only is better with fading and strength, but it has a nicer grain with more depth! Saaweeet!

Tree house (Source: trex.com)

Our vinyl flooring was also installed (foyer, kitchen, morning room) yesterday. As many of you know, we are planning on replacing the vinyl with these beautiful laminate planks when we move in:

They're a little darker in person

Now we're concerned that these may void some type of warranty (like the paint does with walls). I'm REALLY hoping it doesn't, or it would only void the warranty of the vinyl, in which case, we obviously wouldn't care.

Overall, things are going well! We love our PM and I love that he admits to things that he misses. I have much more respect for someone who says "We missed those recessed lights, but they will be fixed," than someone trying to play it off and make an excuse. Nobody's perfect, so little things like that don't botter us, especially because he gets the job done and gets it done well and fast.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Locked in Rates & Electric

Rates Locked!

We finally locked in our rates at 4%. Not too shabby! We got scared that the rates would go up since the treasuries have gone up. Plus, it's been hovering around 4% so we doubted it would go down in the next 20 days.

Electrical galore!

We decided to head down the house yesterday to check in on things. We got there before 6 (they normally stay past 6) and no one was there. We saw lights and they had power! Definitely an important step to building a house, right? Power is good.

We also had a Mailbox and house numbers! How weird is it that something like a mailbox is beyond exciting when building a house?

We also had some light fixtures installed out the outside of the house (You can see one of them to the left to the garage) and I really like the iron look! There were also a bunch of light fixtures in the house. I think just about all of them have been installed.

They also graded our front and back yard and our sidewalk, walkway, and porch are all cured and solid!

Another nice surprise that we saw was that they poured the footers for our deck! My bf is beyond excited for that deck! It was nice to see where the footers were poured so we can kind of picture how big the deck will be.


Deck footers!

They also left the door open so I was able to go in and check out the master bath with lights on. Here's a better picture of the tile (not in the dark). I'm pretty happy with it, although I still kind of wish we could have had a slate gray shower. Oh well.

Master Shower

Now, we're on the look out for blinds and a garage door opener. They actually installed a garage door opener and we were SO excited and thought maybe it was just a really nice gesture for being good clients to our PM buuuut they took it out! We were pretty bummed ... so now we're looking for one again. There are some fancy garage door openers out there!

Anyways, we're counting down the days until closing! So excited! I cannot wait!