Saturday, November 30, 2013


Ok, so bear with me on this one.  I know I said this blog was to keep everyone in the know about our building process.  As I've started this and included links for stuff, I realized it's also a great way for me to keep organized and save links to the products we are getting.  While I'm sure some of you will be thrilled to know the details of our appliances, some of you will be yawning.  I get it.  Feel free to skip this post.  

I wish we had the option of not including any appliances in the building process and instead purchasing them later, but alas, that is not an option.  I guess it's something to do with the mortgage process/approval.  So, we chose the one level upgrade on the appliances in black.  This includes a stove, dishwasher and microwave.  

First the stove:

We could have run a gas line for a gas stove.  I used to have a gas stove growing up and they're great, don't get me wrong.  But I LOVE LOVE LOVE how easy it is to clean a flat top stove.  I've had two in the 12 years we've owned our house and I can't imagine going to anything else.  I would kind of like a double door option that allows you to cook two things at different temperatures, but maybe the next stove.  This one does have some nice features though. First, it's self cleaning.  A must have in my mind.  Second, it's hard to see in the picture but it has a warming unit.  Maybe useless, we'll have to wait and see.  Third, it has two heating elements which appear to be controlled in a way to allow you to cook two things in the oven with even heat.  Something I never have quite figured out in my current oven. And finally, it has a delay start.  This is a feature I've wanted on a stove so I'm pretty stoked it has that.  

Second the dishwasher:

Nothing terribly fancy here.  I read some of the reviews on this dishwasher and it seems ok.  For me the most important part of a dishwasher (other than actually making sure the dishes get clean) is how quiet it is.  The reviews seem to indicate it's a pretty quiet dishwasher.  The overall negative aspect of the dishwasher is that the dry setting doesn't actually dry the dishes.  I can live with this.  My current dish washer seems to be drying my dishes a bit less lately and it's only a minor inconvenience.  The pictures of the silverware container look a bit weird.  We'll have to wait and see on that one.  

Finally, the microwave:

I don't think I'm too picky about microwaves.  I really like having a +30 seconds button and a soften button for butter.  I've got to have a light above the stove for cooking.  No microwave really gives me the light I desire, but I've learned to deal with it.  A microwave we used to have had sensor cooking which was cool.  This one might have it, I can't tell yet.  

We will still have to buy a refrigerator and washer/dryer.  We'll wait closer to closing to get those and have those delivered.  

Monday, November 25, 2013

Outside Colors and More Choices

Sometimes I am amazed by how similarly my husband and I think.  Generally speaking, we usually have the same ideas in mind.  With all the choices we made this weekend, things could get ugly quick.  There were no big arguments and neither of us felt the need to dig in our heels about anything. The outside brick choices is a great example of this.  Going into the meeting we both immediately agreed we didn't want any dark brick colors.  Ryan homes had 3-4 reddish brick color palettes and 2 lighter choices, so our choices were narrowed down pretty quick.  The brick color we chose is called Sugar Creek, we liked it because it had a bit more variation in the colors of the brick throughout.  
Once we had the brick color picked out, we then had several different color schemes to pick from for our siding, shutters and doors.  The siding will be mainly on the back of the house and also on the second story of the sides of the house.  We decided to pick shutter colors first.  We narrowed it down pretty quick to a bright red, dark green or... jeez.  I can't remember the third color.  Anyway, the red shutters are paired with a light siding and a black door.  The green shutters were paired with a green door and a darker siding. I love the black door.  We both preferred the red shutters.  Neither of us were crazy about the light siding.  So, we drove around the neighborhood again to be able to see some examples of the siding choices.  After that, we decided that the light siding choice was ok so we went with that color palette.  

While there to make our final color choices we had some other final choices to make.  There were a few things that we've been waivering on. One is the side load garage.  Long story made short, we decided to stick with the side load. We also added a wet bar rough in for the basement, a gas line to the back yard, water softener rough in and decided the final placement of our ceiling fan rough ins.  One thing we didn't realize we would be doing this soon was the placement of the extra outlets.  We had priced in three extra outlets.  After reading through blogs and suggestions of people who had built I wanted to make sure we had some in a few of the closets as well as the master powder room.  I really wanted to to put one in the pantry.  Bob thought I was nuts.  So, I let this one go.  I did have one put in the master closet, the laundry room (I really can't believe there wasn't one in there!) and the powder room.  This was the one area that we disagreed on and I stood my ground.  

The master powder room has a door, it is on the same wall as the vanity, which is where we would normally put a night light.  I'm afraid that the night light won't shine into the powder room. I don't like peeing in the dark and I don't like flipping a bright light on in the middle of the night.  (Really I'm not sure men should be peeing in the dark either.  Darkness can't help aim, am I right??)  An extra outlet in the bathroom is, in my mind, necessary.  We also realized there was only one outlet in the garage.  Not good.  Originally I thought my dad could add these, but after talking through it, the walls in the garage will be insulated and dry walled, we we don't wan to have to mess with that later.  A total of 6 outlets were added.  This is a relatively small cost in the scheme of things and I think we'll be very happy we did them. Moreso, I'm afraid we'd regret not doing them.  

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Other Bathroom and Flooring Choices

There will be two other bathrooms in the house, one on the main level which I think of the guest bath because it's right by the guest room.  The other one is upstairs and will be the boys bathrooms.  The options in these two bathrooms will be the same except the boys bathroom has two sinks.  The pictures I took of these cabinets and ceramic don't seem as accurate as they are in person.  

Carpet will be in most of the main rooms; all the bedrooms, the office, the family room and the dining room.  In all of these rooms we will have the same carpet throughout.  There will be a different but complementary carpet in the basement.  The first picture is the main carpet.  It doesn't really show the flecking that is in the carpet, but you get the idea.

This is the basement carpet.  Pretty standard carpet.  

We will have a stone fireplace in the family room on the main level.  There is one of these in the model home and it is so pretty.  Below is an example of what the fireplace looks like and then a picture of the actual stone we chose.  

Finally, the laundry room will have a resilient vinyl flooring.  Nothing special here, but functional.  

Tomorrow I'll add details for the outside brick and color choices.  

Master Bath

I am ridiculously excited about the master bath after having made our choices. First, we have opted to only have a shower in the master bath.  It will be a 5 foot shower with a seat.  A SEAT!  I will have a place to sit and shave my legs!  Woot woot!  With this upgraded feature, the shower is tiled in ceramic and we the floor will be tiled in a nearly identical ceramic.  The wall tiles are 9x12 and the floor tiles are 12x12.  

I believe the tile is more white than what it shows, at least in the bottom image.  We felt a white cabinet would look best with the ceramic, but did not think that the standard white marble would look very good - we felt it would be too much white.  So, we splurged a little and decided to do a granite counter in the master bath as well.  The small square that you see in the pictures is a sample of the granite.  It has flecks of red which will accent well with the red in the accent tile.  

The faucets are in oil rubbed bronze, here are some links with pictures of what everything will look like.  

Kitchen Choices

We made so many choices this weekend that I think it's best to break it up over a couple of posts.  First I'll start with the kitchen.  

The flooring in the kitchen is an engineered hardwood.  This will be in the kitchen, dinette and foyer.  The wood type is Hickory and the color is called Fall Canyon.  This is the same flooring they have in the Ryan model home and we really like it.  

We changed our cabinet choices, we originally had selected a cherry cabinet. We didn't particularly like the way it looked with the flooring. This year we put a glaze on our current cabinets to make them a Java color.  We really like it. With that in mind we decided to go with darker cabinets in the new home. The color is Maple Espresso. The cabinets are made by Timberlake Cabinetry and the product line is Scottsdale. 

There will be granite in the kitchen which I'm pretty excited about.  I had researched the choices with Ryan ahead of time and found plenty of blogs and images for the granite choices.  I had an idea of what I wanted.  Bob and I both agreed on the Santa Cecelia Granite which seems to be one of the most popular.   It has a lot of variation in grain and color and offers a lot of warmth.  

Here is an image of them all together.  

Our appliance package is GE appliances in black.  I have information on them, I will post links for those later.  The kitchen sink will be a stainless steel under mount sink.  We didn't really care for the faucet options, so we are getting a very basic faucet which we will replace later.  All of the lighting and plumbing through the rest of the house is in Oil Rubbed Bronze, so it's likely that we will find a faucet in this finish later.  We chose not to have Ryan do our black splash either, so we will do that at a later time.  

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Meeting with Guardian

Last night we had our meeting with Guardian to go over some of the electrical choices in the house.  Originally, I was slightly disappointed that we had to drive across town to meet, but after going I understand why. They have a room that is set up with everything. They have a panel set up which shows you what they install; its basically the command center for everything they could install.  It houses the alarm stuff, the internet stuff and other options. They also have a couch set up with a couple of different types of speaker systems they can install and other products to show you.

The Guardian Dude was actually pretty cool.  He came right out and said, I don't expect you to make a decision on any of this tonight. He wasn't pushy at all.  It came up that my dad was an electrician and he immediately said "that's great, that can save you some money." When we were discussing wall mounting the TVs, we talked about placement and exactly what we and dad could do versus the professional installers.  I can't stand someone that tries to make a hard sell or someone that assumes you don't know anything about what you're purchasing and he was neither.  

So, what did we decide to do?  He went over the options for cable, HDMI and internet to each of the places there is going to be a TV. Since a lot of TV's and gaming systems can now be connected to the internet it's important to know how you might want to use your TV in the future.  It makes me feel like Judy Jetson.  First, we are having them install what is needed to mount the TV above the fireplace.  The nice part is, they way it is set up in the family room, we actually will have the ability to put the TV on either wall with no problem, in case we decide not to mount the TV above the fireplace.  The guest room will have cable.  The master bedroom will have cable and TV.  We have decided not to put cable in the kids rooms.  This is twofold, one, we don't want the kids to go and hide in their room and have unlimited access to TV.  We prefer to limit their options and have control over what they watch. This will force them to be social with us.  Two, if we ever change our mind, it's likely there will be some wireless cable box options in the future, so it's not really necessary to hard wire it.

The basement is the fun part.  We plan on the basement being our main entertainment area for the kids and our friends.  Eventually, we'll put a bigger TV down there and the kids gaming systems.  One of the things Guardian sells and installs are home theater systems.  Basically, you have the option for them to prewire for speakers or go ahead and install speakers.   The cost to prewire was $440.  We were surprised that the cost to have them install their "platinum series of speakers was only about $1200 more.  Yes, this is not chump change.  But, the cost of decent speakers would probably cost close to this anyway, so why not go ahead and have them install better ones for just a little more.  We don't plan on moving to another house after this any time soon.  So, that was our fun splurge of the evening.  You have options to put speakers throughout the entire house but we showed restraint.  

The last option we went over is the security system.  Bob pretty much left this decision to me.  We used to have one; the long story made short, the only reason we cancelled it was because our phone line went out.  My mother in law has had her house broken into twice. The second time they had an alarm system and it probably prevented the thieves from taking more than they did. I also like that you can have the smoke detector monitored.  Alarm systems nowadays don't require a phone line, which we won't have.  They also have fancy features that allow you to arm and disarm them from your smart phone. Fabulous!  I thought that if we chose to install the alarm system that the installation charge would be waived, but apparently Ryan Homes has a $250 charge.  (Insert frustrated face here).  I don't understand this charge, so I'll have to talk to our Sales Rep about that.  

So that's it, we've made our prewiring choices.  Saturday is the fun meeting. We finalize our cabinet choices and choose flooring.  I'm super excited about that.  I'll be sure to take my camera and get pictures of our choices for that.  

Friday, November 15, 2013

Meetings, Meetings, Meetings

Yesterday Bob met with the financial dude (FD) to begin the loan application process.  There was a list of over 20 documents we had to gather before the meeting.  This included pay stubs, w2, personal and business tax returns, business documents including a letter from our CPA, bank statements, investment information, current home documents and other things.  Bob had made copies of all of these along with a cover sheet of all the documents annotated.  From what Bob said, it sounds like FD may have actually swooned.  I guess not everyone is as anal organized as us.  Weird. The normal time frame for approval is about 30 days.  Since Bob is self employed it will take closer to 45-60 days.  We are really hoping for 45 days as that would allow us to break ground before the end of the year.  Ryan homes and NVR (the mortgage company) are sister companies, so they have a vested interest in getting this done as quickly as possible.  

On Tuesday we are set to meet with Guardian.  Guardian does the wiring for cable, security systems, stereo systems, etc.  Bob and I talked a bit about what we want to have done but haven't made the final decisions since we don't know the cost of everything.  So, we'll let the Guardian dude do his sales pitch and go from there.  We did go over the floor plan in detail last night in case we need to decide where to put our cable lines sooner than later.  We know we'll have one in the master bedroom, the living room and the basement.  We've also decided to put one in the guest room.  We quickly decided where the furniture would go in the bedroom, allowing for new furniture somewhere down the road.  The basement and guest room are no brainers.  The family room is a bit more complicated.  

Basically, we have to decide if the TV should go on the wall shared with the study or above the fireplace.  The fireplace is a beautiful stone that goes up to the ceiling.  They will put in an outlet in the stone for this.  I'm not sure if the TV would then sit on the mantle, or if we could hang in on the stone a bit up from the mantle.  Assuming we did that, I believe they would run the necessary cables behind the wall and then we would need something to hold/hide the cable box to the right or left of the TV.  We also need to decide placement of the couch(es) and chair(s).  We know that a new couch set is high on the list of things to buy soon after moving into the house but we don't know if it will be two couches or a combination with some chairs.  Decisions, decisions. Assuming the cost isn't outrageous, I'm now leaning towards putting two cable outlets in the room to provide flexibility and avoid regrets down the road.  

Next Saturday is the meeting I look forward to the most.  That's when we meet with the Design Gal (DG) to decide the flooring in the house.  We'll also confirm our cabinet choices, chose the granite for the kitchen, the brick and paint colors for the outside and probably some other miscellaneous items. Aside from picking the floor plan this has to be one of the most fun parts of building.  

Guardian Technologies

Monday, November 11, 2013

Exciting News! We are building a new home!

This is it.  We've made the choice, the leap, the final decision.  Here's the back story.  Bob and I bought our current home in May of 2002, three months after getting married.  It was supposed to be our 'starter' home.  We thought we would like here 3-5 years then move into something bigger, something better.  Slowly the economy and banking industry began to crumble.  Banks were going under due to sub par mortgages.  People were foreclosing on houses they could no longer afford in a poor economy. Everyone talked about the drop in home prices and the inability to sell homes. So, we stayed in our house a bit longer.  

Fast forward to 2011, Bob was doing well at work and we tossed around the idea to building a custom home.  We looked at floor plans to purchase, purchased software to create your own floor plans.   Then, Bob was presented with an incredible opportunity to start his own firm.  We knew that we would not have the time to do a custom build.  We also knew that since I am a stay at home mom, if Bob became self employed it would be a while until we could likely be approved for a new mortgage.  So, we stayed in our house a bit longer.

It's now close the the end of 2013.  We have been looking online at homes for sale for several months.  Our close friend and Realtor has taken us to a few to look at.  One Sunday afternoon when Bob wasn't working, we decided to drive around a few neighborhoods and walk through some model homes.  Our first stop was Ryan Homes.  We chose to go there first because they were the first builder to open (everyone else was opening an hour later.)  We met with a friendly sales rep, who wasn't too pushy.  We found a couple of floor plans that we really liked.  Over the next month we continued to look at existing houses and had a few meetings with the Ryan Sales Rep to go over things. During one of those meetings we found that Ryan had re-released another floor plan to build which we hadn't seen previously.  So, we aren't staying in our house much longer.  

On Sunday November 10th, we made the final decision to build the Verona with Ryan Homes.  Our paperwork is signed and our preliminary choices are made.  We've also decided not to wait, and so depending on how the financial approval process goes (it will be more lengthy due to Bob's self employment) we may break ground as early as next month and our home may be finished as early as April.  

This is an incredibly exciting time for our family.  So, I've decided to start this blog to document this time and help our out of town family and friends keep track of this process with us.  Hang on tight, it's going to be a fun ride!

Ryan Homes, Chateaux at Woodfield

About the Verona

Verona Floor Plan Options