Friday, December 31, 2010


We drove by the house today.  It was a beatufiul day and there were a lot of people outside.  Lots of kids!  That was nice to see.  It looks like a lot of the duct work is finished.  I'm also very excited that our brick has arrived.  I can't wait to see it when it's up.

Also, I'm really excited that we got our SOLD sign!  I didn't think we'd be getting one, so this was a nice surprise.

The pre-drywall meeting is on Monday.  Unfortunately I have to miss it :(  I'm giving my husband my camera and a list of things I'd like him to take pictures of.  I don't think things will be much different than they were earlier in the week, so hopefully I won't be missing much.  He is taking a home inspector along with him to check things out.  Hopefully it will already be perfect.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Our First Time Inside

We met with our PM and electrician today.  We decided to add some more recessed lights, some additional outlets, ceiling fan/light rough-ins, and some under cabinet lights which I'm very excited about!  We also got to go in our house for the very first time!  It feels so small, but I know it will feel bigger once it's finished.  Here are some of our inside pictures.


Morning Room

Looking into the garage from the kitchen

Dining Room


Master Bath - the tub has arrived!

Master Bedroom

Master Closet  - I love it.

The other bedrooms.

Upstairs Bathroom

Heading Downstairs

I'm sure that's more pictures than you ever wanted to see!  I realized I forgot to take a few that I wanted, like the family room. 

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and hope you have a great new year.  I know that 2011 will bring changes for a lot of us as we move into our new homes.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Making Progress

I am amazed by how much has happened in a week.  This time last week we had a foundation.  Today we have our entire shell complete:

A couple other views:

So yesterday they hung the front door.  Today it was off.  Weird.  I'm not sure how I feel about it.  It's not something we chose and its different than any door in the neighborhood.  I just don't know that I like the rectangular window at the top (its a bit hard to see).  I don't know that there's much we can do about it.

Also, yesterday we didn't have a next door neighbor.  Today we do!

Since I wrote about it a couple of weeks ago, I thought I'd give an update on the food.  I ended up taking donuts with me when I went yesterday morning.  The man I gave them to was very grateful, but it was only his first day on the job!  He was a plumber and it was just him and one other guy.  He said he'd share with the guys working next door since they're the ones that built it.   I hope he did.  I think I'll do it again next week before I go back to work.

My husband spoke to our PM today.  We are going to meet with him Monday to go over some electrical specifications.  AND our pre-drywall meeting is set for the next Monday, Jan. 3.  It's going so fast now!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Windows and the Beginnings of a Roof!

I can't believe it, but all of the windows are in - in just one day! Half of the roof is on, too.  A finished roof is a pivotal point for us.  Our PM told us once the roof was on we'd be about 60 days out and able to lock in our rate.  We're are so eager to lock in, that's what was making us so impatient as we waited for construction to begin.  I know I keep saying it, but I'm so excited!!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Second Floor

We popped by early in the afternoon yesterday and this had already happened:

I really can't believe how fast it's moving.  Part of me is worried that it's going too fast, but I know they know what they're doing. 
It still looks so small!

Friday, December 17, 2010


My husband stopped by the site on the way home from work today.  Look at what he saw!
The first floor is just about finished.  That happened in one day.  I was just there last night and there were was some decking done, but I thought this would take days.  I really can't believe how fast it went.  He also ran into our project manager who said they're working through the weekend and should have the second floor finished by Monday!!!  Those of you who told me it would go fast, now I believe you!  Our PM also told my husband that we'll probably be having our pre-drywall meeting the first week of January.  This is so awesome!  I'm kind of bummed I didn't stop today - I didn't think there would be much of a change.  Can't wait to get there later this weekend!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Playing Catch-up

I've been pretty bad about posting pictures lately, so I wanted to get caught up. As I mentioned in a previous post (okay MANY posts) the big delay on starting construction was putting the road in. So although its just some asphalt, it was a huge deal to me once it was paved.

Here are a couple of shots from before the road was paved.

This one is looking down the hill to our right.

This is the culdesac road across the street from us.

Here's what it looks like now!

Looking down the hill.
The culdesac road. (BTW the houses on this street are starting at $20K more than our base price!!!  They are great lots!)

Here's our house all staked out.  It looks soooooooooooo small!  I should've zoomed in...not a great shot.

Here's me standing where I'll be spending countless hours over the years...the kitchen.

Okay, I know this isn't exciting, but here's our first delivery!  That's the $850 egress window for the basement that was the "upgrade" that really wasn't an upgrade.  That $850 dollars could have bought me my extra morning room windows ;(
Fast forward a couple of weeks.  Here's the foundation.  They are not great pictures either.  There are these huge mounds of dirt/rocks at the front of our house that were preventing me from getting great shots.  But, you get the idea.  I'm really liking the brick!

And finally, here's the rest of the house!
We were told framing would start today and it did!  I'm so excited!  We are right on target now.  These next couple of weeks are going to be so exciting.  And the best part?  Tomorrow is my last day of work until 2011 so I'll have lots of daylight opportunities for pictures!

Saturday, December 11, 2010


My goal today was to get some daylight pictures of our foundation.  Who knew I'd be so excited about some cinder blocks and cement!  Of course by the time I got there after all of my Christmas shopping it was already dark - at 5:30!  I did get a few pictures, they're not great, but they'll do until I can get back (maybe tomorrow if we don't get the bad winter weather they're predicting).  Anyway I was so impressed (and feeling badly) that there was a man working on the himself...after hours...on a cold Saturday evening.  He was working in the dark with a little light on his hard hat.  He was super nice!  He said he wanted to get a lot finished today since we're looking at snow and ice on Monday.  I know its his job, but I was just really impressed by this.  After all of my frustration in getting the house started, I couldn't be happier with how things are moving along now.  Also, the lumber was delivered!  They'll start framing on Thursday!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Electrical Additions

We've got a foundation (well most of a foundation)!  I'm hoping to stop by over the weekend and take some pictures in daylight.  I know they will not be exciting pictures, but I'll still love them :)

We're getting ready to submit our electrical additions.  We're planning on getting the rough-ins in all of the bedrooms and family room.  We're also going to add recessed lights in the morning room, kitchen, and family room.  We're adding another outlet to the island and some additional outlets in the garage.  Do any of you have recommendations for any other lighting additions - either things you're really glad you got or something you wish you had?  Thanks!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ground Breaking

I was shocked today when our PM called my husband to let us know they dug our hole!  We had nearly 3.5 inches of rain yesterday (which has since turned to snow), so I thought they'd wait a few days for things to dry a bit. What a pleasant surprise!  I'm a bit bummed that by the time I can leave work and head to the site each day it will already be dark.  That's going to seriously cut down on my picture taking opportunities.  Luckily my husband drove by tonight (and I mean drove by because he didn't get out of the car to get a close up look - I'd have been all over it) and got a shot.  It's finally becoming so real.  If I can get myself out of bed early enough I may drive by in the morning.  It's not anywhere close to being on my way to work, but I really want to see it and get some better shots.  The obsession begins!   

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Question for Ryan Builders...About Food!

This may be an odd question, I'm just not sure of the proper "etiquette".  So when telling people that they are starting on the house this week, a few have asked me if I'm going to take baked goods or other treats to the workers.  I had thought about it before, too.  I envisioned dropping off donuts on the first day of construction.  But then I realized there will be different workers doing different things - those that are there for the digging of the foundation may not be the ones there to frame etc...  Plus our PM told us that we shouldn't really be talking to the workers.  Not that we can't say hello but that we really shouldn't be asking them things about the house, it should all go through him.  So then I wondered if I'm not really supposed to interact with them, should I be bringing them food?  I know I may be giving this way too much thought, but was wondering if anyone else did it.  How often if you did?  Is it common?  Would I be weird for doing it?  What is the home buyer/subcontractor relationship supposed to be?  Any tips would be appreciated.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pre-Construction Meeting

I felt like it was never going to happen, but we had our pre-construction meeting today!  It went well.  I really like our project manager.  He's been with Ryan for years so he knows what he's doing - bonus!  We went over the blueprints.  Aside from a couple of lights we didn't know we were getting, everything was the way we expected.  There was some confusion about the location of our laundry room.  Originally we were going to have it in the basement, but I finally convinced my husband to have it on the second floor.  That change wasn't made in our paperwork.  Our PM doesn't think it will be an issue to have the location changed, but he has to check with a couple of people about it.  Hopefully it won't be an issue.  One thing I'm bummed out about (and its really not a big deal) is that Ryan changed the cabinet selections.  I like the cabinets we're getting, but there some new ones that I love.  Oh well.  I know that we've benefited from past changes to the materials and house plan.  Oh, and Ryan's incentive this month?  FREE FINISHED BASEMENT!!!  Too bad it doesn't apply to homes already purchased.  Can you tell I'm still a little bitter about not getting any incentive?

After a good hour or so going over the blueprints we went up to check out the lot.  It was staked out so we had a good idea of our property and the "outline" of the house.  The "house" looks so small!  I guess its hard to envision.  But it was cool to really see where the rooms, garage, driveway, etc... will be.  They'll start digging next week and then do the foundation.  He says the lumber will be delivered around the second week of December.  With the holidays coming up, I'm sure time will fly.

Finally, tomorrow is Thanksgiving!  I have so many things for which to be thankful.  For the purposes of this blog, I am so thankful that we are able to build a new home of our own, that we get to see our house being built, that we're going to live in a great neighborhood, and for all of the wonderful times ahead of us and all of the great memories we'll be making in our new home.  I'm also thankful for all of the other bloggers out there who have written about their journey so we know what to expect.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 19, 2010

It's About Time

After 2 more weeks of no progress being made and no explanation of why, I made an appointment with our sales manager to see if we could get some answers about what was going on and how the delay would effect our closing, locking in our rate, and other variables.  We met tonight and finally got the news we've been waiting for.  Half of the road is in.  Our pre-construction meeting is set for the day before Thanksgiving, and construction will begin the week of November 29th!  The delay was due to a combination of issues between the township, paving company, and developer.  I feel so much better knowing what was going on and what is planned now.

She insists that even though construction will be beginning more than a month after what was planned, we will still close in February.  I'm not sure how that will be, but after reading some of the other blogs, the house does get done pretty quickly.  I guess the project managers have goals to meet so that will provide some motivation to get our house done on schedule.  Every night that I've been there lately, even as late as 9:00 or 10:00, I've seen contractors in at least one house, so I guess they do work hard to meet the projected deadline.

So after this month of frustration and waiting, it looks like things will finally start to happen.  It's about time!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Still Nothing

We drove through the plan yesterday and the road still hasn't been put in.  I don't know what the hold up is.  Hopefully it will be put in this week.  The weather here is supposed to be beautiful all week, so at least that can't get in the way.  Hopefully my next post will contain some good news!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

In the Loop

We got an email today from our sales rep.  They are anticipating the road will be paved next week, then we'll schedule our pre-construction meeting.  While we'll be about 3 weeks behind schedule, they are still saying the house should be finished by early February.  I won't believe that until it gets closer, but I'm just glad we got an update.  I've figured out that its not really the waiting that's making me so impatient, it's the not knowing what's happening.  Although we're behind, I feel much better knowing what the current status is.  I guess I just want to be kept in the loop.  She also told us that our PM has agreed to work with my schedule which I'm very grateful for.  He's already got some bonus points with me.
As I mentioned way back when I started this blog, we are one of six families that bought a house that week back in July.  Our's will be the first one built.  Yay!  We're getting closer, even if we're taking baby steps.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


I feel that one of my best qualities is that I'm a very patient person.  Probably the result of being with kids all day.  We signed our purchase agreement over 3 months ago and although I couldn't wait for work to begin on our house, I knew we had to wait until October and I was okay with that.  I was patient. 
We were supposed to have our pre-construction meeting this past Thursday, but it was postponed.  They still haven't put the road in.  I know we'll have the meeting soon, but it hasn't been scheduled yet.  I'm getting really impatient.  I know it isn't anyone's fault, I just want something to happen already!  I'm also bothered by the fact that we have to meet with our PM between the hours of 7 and 3.  Not an easy task for a teacher.  I hope I can make it work, but if not my husband will have to go without me.  I really don't want to miss it!  My husband keeps reminding me that when our house is finished we won't even think about how long it took to get started.  He's right.  I'll keep working on that patience.

Friday, October 8, 2010


We FINALLY got a call today about our pre-construction meeting!  The blueprints will be in on October 20th and then we'll have our meeting.  Of course they wanted to schedule the meeting for the ONLY day that I can't meet - parent-teacher conference day :(.  There's no way I can get time away from school that day.  Oh well.  We'll either meet on the 21st or schedule something for the following week.  They said groundbreaking will begin before our meeting.  I am beyond excited!  We're looking at an early February closing.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Nothing at all...

It's been a while since the last post.  That's becasue nothing is happening.  Hopefully we'll be getting the call soon for our pre-construction meeting.  We were told groundbreaking would be in October.  That's just around the corner! 
Even though nothing is happening with our house, I still drive by at least once a week to see the progress in the development.  It looks like they're getting closer to putting the road in.  I'm amazed at how quickly several townhomes and patio homes have gone up.  I keep telling myself it will be here before we know it!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Finally Final

We thought all of our choices were finalized weeks ago when we signed off, but then found out that we could still make changes without penalty because of a price quote we were waiting for for a non-standard upgrade (some kind of wire shoot my husband wanted).  Since we wouldn't be penalized the $500 to make a change we made a couple of small changes.  We changed the location of our fireplace from the wall at the back of the house to the side of the house.  We wanted to do that all along, but we're afraid of not being able to use  entertainment center that we got last year.  We figured out how to make it work though.  Also, I'd been second guessing the shutter and door colors for weeks.  We ended up sticking with the same shutters - dark spruce - but darkened the color of the door.  Not huge changes, but I feel better about them.

Here's kind of what our color scheme will be.

We will have a full brick front.  This isn't our first or even our second choice of brick color.  In our plan there are rules that you can not have the same color scheme as your neighbors next door or two doors down.  Of course the brick colors that we wanted we weren't allowed to get.  Here's what we decided on - just a basic red brick.

We will be getting white trim.  The middle color is our shutter color.  The light green color is what our door was before we changed it.  It's now just a couple shades lighter than the shutters.  I didn't take a picture of the new scheme.

It's so hard to envision what our house will look like from these small samples.  Hopefully we made the right choice.  If it ends up looking anything like this, we'll be happy.

That's the house in a different plan we toured a couple of months back when we fell in love with the morning room all over again. 

When we stopped by the other night to finalize our choices our sales rep. said the developers are right on target.  Hopefully they'll be breaking ground in less than a month!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


There isn't much going on with the house so I thought I'd post some pictures from our recent visit.

                                          Looks like we'll have deer in our backyard!

                           We now have flat land!

We have a port-a-potty in our front yard!

Some pictures of our "neighborhood".  This will be the culdesac road across the street from us.

The two pictures below will be the road as it goes down a slight hill.  It's so hard to believe that in a year this will be a road with several houses along it.  I LOVE the trees!


We're so excited.  We can't wait until there is not only progress with the land, but progress with our house.

I apologize for the poor formatting of this post.  No mater how I tried to line things up, this program has a mind of its own.

Friday, August 20, 2010

What We Didn't Get...

I am so happy with the house and upgrades we decided on.  It's going to be a great house!  Of course, we couldn't get everything we wanted.   Here's a look at some of the things we didn't get.

Quoin Corners - I can't really describe what this looks like, but considering it was a $1,200 upgrade, we can deal with regular brick corners!

Landscaping Packages - we opted not to do this since my best friend's husband is a landscaper.  To upgrade the package, and I'm not sure what all that includes, can cost up to $1,500.

Service Door for garage - We figure we can just open our garage door :)


I would have loved to finish our basement, and we plan to do so in the future.  However, since its just the two of us right now, we have plenty of space.  Finishing it would be around 12 grand.  You can also add a bathroom.  We opted to get the plumbing and will eventually put a bathroom in on our own.


Granite. granite, granite.  How I would love granite counter tops!   With the type of island we're getting and the fact that we're getting the breakfast bar with the morning room, $7,000 was way more than we wanted to spend.  The laminate we're getting does look like granite.  We figure down the road we can change this as well.

The other thing I love is stainless appliances, but we decided just to stick with the black.  There was a range of prices for the stainless.  We passed.  I'm just happy to be getting a dishwasher!  It will be the first time in my life I've had one!

Owners bath - Neither one of us are big bath people, so we didn't feel that we needed a separate bath and shower.  We figured that money could be spent somewhere else in the house where more than just the two of us would enjoy it!
We also stuck with cultured marble rather than granite counter tops in the bathrooms.  The model home was great because it showed one bathroom with granite and one with the cultured marble so we knew exactly what to expect.  We'll have a pedestal sink in the downstairs bathroom, so these counters will only be on the vanities in the upstairs bathrooms.
Faucets - I'll be honest.  I HATE the chrome faucets that come standard.  But switching out faucets is an easy task.  We found faucets that we liked at Home Depot that would cost far less than the $1,000 - $1,850 upgrade.  So I'll live with the chrome faucets for a short time before we replace them.  Replacing the faucets is at the top of my list!

Those are all of the big upgrades that we chose not to get.  Yes, they would have been nice to have, but I think it will also be nice to live in our house for a bit and decide what we want to do with it.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What We Ended Up With

It's been a while since my last post.  Aside from the fact that not much has been going on with the house, my husband and I went away to celebrate our first anniversary and as a teacher I'm scrambling to get ready for school to begin!  But this is a fun post, so I don't want to put it off any longer.  We decided on the Venice model.  Here are the upgrades we chose:

- Elevation B
- Full Brick Front
- Egress Window in basement (this one boggles my mind, see below!)
- Plumbing for future bathroom in the basement
- Upgrade to level 2 kitchen cabinets
- Gourmet island in kitchen
- 42" cabinets in the kitchen (this was a no brainer for only $350)
- Kitchen sink upgrade - deeper bowls
- Gas hookup for stove (I don't really consider this an upgrade!)
- Microwave to be mounted above oven
- Ice maker rough in (refrigerator not included!)
- Fire place in family room
- Oak handrails and banisters for stairs
- Upgraded lighting package
- Recessed lights in kitchen, family room, and morning room
- Floor drain in garage
- Upgraded carpet and carpet padding
- Laundry tub (yep, that's an upgrade!)

The price of upgrades does vary from loctation to location.  For example, a finished basement for my model in Pittsburgh is close to $12,000 but in Ohio is $6,000 for the same model.  While they may not be the same, if you're interested in cost, feel free to email me at

So some of the upgrades we're getting are hardly upgrades in my mind.  For example, we are REQUIRED to have a window in the basement - it makes sense.  However, this is an $850 upgrade.  My feeling is that if something is required to meet code, it should be included in the price of the house.  Other absurd upgrades (in my mind) were the gas hookups, the floor drain, garage opener, and wash tub.  Also, I was very disappointed in the standard lighting package.  I know we could have changed the light fixtures ourselves, but I think that cost would add up very quickly if we did it on our own.

All of that aside I am very happy with what we're getting.  Sure there are things I wanted that we didn't get, but we're going to have a great house.  I'm most excited about the morning room!  I can't wait to be in our new home.

Next time I'll post about the upgrades we didn't get....and why.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Guardian Meeting

We had our meeting with the guardian technologies guy last night.  It wasn't as bad as I expected.  We stuck to our guns and only got what we set out to get - cable, phone, and internet hook ups.  In addition, they also try to sell surround sound, a central vacuum, and a home security system.
I didn't notice this, but my husband pointed out that our sales guy directed the entire sales pitch of the security system to me.  He didn't look at my husband once!  I guess he was trying to play on my "womanly" fears.  I actually did think the system was a pretty good deal, but we're passing for now.
We also finalized our selections last night!  I'll write more about that in the next couple of days.  I'm very excited!  Now the long six months of waiting begins.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Not Much Going On

There hasn't been very much to write about this week.  We have our meeting with Guardian Technologies on Monday.  This is where they do a presentation and try to get us to buy a whole bunch of things we have  no intention of buying - a security system, surround sound, and other such things.  The only thing we plan on getting are extra phone and cable jacks since you only get one of each per floor.  This is probably the only time where my husband could be sucked into buying something we didn't plan on buying :)  We'll see what happens.

And since I don't have anything else to report, I'll just complain about incentives.  My complaint is that WE AREN'T GETTING ANY!!!  I've known this all along, but after reading about the awesome incentives other people are getting, I really am disappointed.  My favorite Ryan incentive out there is the free finished basement!  How awesome is that!  That's an $11,000 savings (at least for our model)!  My next favorite is that Ryan will pay for half of your upgrades up to $16,000 - so they'd actually pay for $8,000 in upgrades.  I could think of quite a few things that  money could go towards.  Then there is the free upgrade to stainless steel appliances.  Its not as big as the other incentives, but it's still a pretty sweet free upgrade.  I'd take it!  But, no.  Our plan is in such demand that they don't need to give incentives because they know that they will sell the sites regardless.  Oh well.  I guess our incentive is that we'll have an awesome house in a great community!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Inside

Here's a link to a quick tour inside the Venice.  Some things will be different .  Our morning room will be larger and we'll have a different island.  Plus, our decorating won't be quite so nice!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Still Sticking with the Venice...

We had a quick meeting tonight just to go over some of our changes and make our flooring selections official. 
My friend is very disappointed that I haven't posted any pictures of the house yet.  So (Beth) today you'll get to see the outside.  We'll probably get vinyl siding, but there's still a small chance of brick.  I think it looks good any way.

                                             The Venice with all siding.

The Venice with Partial Brick.

The Venice with Full Brick.

I don't think we can go wrong.