{Future} Home Sweet Home

Friday, December 28, 2012

Our weekly PM update

Good productive short holiday week. Framers finished to get the trades started today. Next week electricians and Guardian will start. The framers will come back and do a frame punch once the trades are completed. Pre-drywall meeting scheduled for Monday 1/7 to ensure everything is complete.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

We bit the bullet

And finally purchased our first appliance. For Christmas we asked everyone to gift us Sears gift cards (since we had done some preliminary pricing & found they had the fridge we wanted for the least amount, plus we could put it on layaway for 12wks. Meaning, we could easily delay the delivery until the house was done.) & we were thankful they were so generous. When I did some online price checking, like I've done every few wks to see how the price was looking, I saw it had gone down even further & I knew the time was right to pounce! So here she is

We ended up going with the Samsung RF323TEDB[SR].

Here is was Consumer Reports says about it (which is one of the biggest seller points):
CR's Take
Overall, this is a very good refrigerator with
• an external water dispenser
• dual evaporators
• a door open alarm
• a built-in water filter
• spillproof shelves
• ice storage in its refrigerator

Highs This Samsung provides:
• Excellent temperature performance
• Excellent energy efficiency
• Very Good noise performance
• Very Good icemaking performance
• Digital temperature controls on its front door

Lows This model had:
• no discernible flaws in performance.

Summary: This 31.6 cu.-ft. French-door bottom-freezer Samsung RF323TEDB[SR] refrigerator has
• an external water dispenser
• dual evaporators
• a door open alarm
• a built-in water filter
• spillproof shelves 

Our very helpful appliance tester
Ah, yes, I think this one will do nicely. My raspberries will go there, hot dogs over there, & milk on the door.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Our weekly PM update

Good week with the slab plumbing installed and passed inspection. The slab was prepped and we are just waiting for the inspection. Next week the slab will be poured and framing started. It is very exciting when the home starts to go up. All of the windows and doors have been delivered also and will be ready to go in once the walls are set.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Our weekly PM update

Next week the slab plumbing will be installed and inspected. Then slab prep, inspection and pour. The next step is exciting as framing starts and the home going up.
Your pre-drywall meeting might be between Christmas and New Years.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Another one bites the dust

So I've been MIA, because we asked for a delayed delivery on our house there was a lot of sitting around & waiting once we signed our contract, made our selections, and had our pre-construction meeting. Well we just received a phone call that our PM has "left the company." No word on whether he left by his choice or not. We're a little disappointed since we learned about two months ago that our SM left our community to go work for a different Ryan development. There have been a lot of back and forth, half the time we go to our new SM only for her to contact our old SM & then our old SM responds.

But I digress. When our old SM called to tell us about the PM being replaced, he also informed us that they broke ground this week and poured the concrete! Disappointed that we're finding out after the fact instead of being given notice before hand that it was going to take place, but the SM said the previous PM wasn't very good at updating his home owners & our new PM is so hopefully we won't have to worry about that in the future. We're thrilled to finally have the ball rolling and are looking forward to updating more frequently now that we've officially started the building process!

Monday, October 8, 2012


When we originally picked exterior colors a few wks ago, we had a very whiny & squirmy toddler & made the decisions as quick as we could based on the very small popsicle sticks we were shown. There were very few combinations available and we started by narrowing down the stone that we wanted first (Kentucky). From there, Rob said he wanted "a color" for the shutters & door so they would pop & we picked blackwatch green. I wanted the darkest siding available, with which that combination only left us with Sandy Tan

After doing some googling & getting to see what full houses (in daylight) looked like with the Sandy Tan, I quickly changed my mind b/c I was really looking for a darker tan as I wanted a more Craftsman style house (which from searches & other blogs told me would be Stone Mountain Clay). We went back to the model this past weekend and re-picked our exteriors. This time around we ended up with the Stone Mountain Clay siding, Kentucky stone, and black shutters & door.

Of course, second guessing myself is one of my favorite pastimes worst traits and I was questioning my picks again as soon as I left the model b/c I worried it would be too much brown & all blend together (seriously, how do they expect you to be confident in your selections when you're going based on these tiny samples?!). Until I saw this Rome blog which, aside from having more stone, had very similar selections (including the same elevation). I'm so glad these RH blogs exist, how did we survive before the internet?!

From DavidC @ http://davidsonrome.blogspot.com/

Sunday, October 7, 2012


We went back to the model since we had to sign some change orders. I took additional pictures of the rooms I hadn't previously taken, used the new iPhone IOS 6 panoramic feature to take some shots of other rooms, as well as updated our selections/upgrades list.

Updated pics of the model


Monday, October 1, 2012

Finally, some decent news

We finally heard back on the pricing for our upgraded appliances. It wasn't great news, but it was better than I expected considering our previous experiences & letdowns. We will basically pay the same as we would retail for each of the 3 appliances, but considering they were originally saying we'd have to pay the full retail price ON TOP of the $1500 stainless upgrade we already paid, I will take it!

So it looks like we're getting our gas range/double oven, convection microwave & full stainless steel dishwasher with hidden controls (very important when you have a toddler that loves to press buttons...both the mechanical and the human variety).


Thursday, September 27, 2012

And this is why I'm sticking it out

[A small disclaimer: so I realize I've had quite a bit of ranting lately. I feel it necessary to point out that I really am an optimistic person & I try to see the good in everything, but I know I probably come off as the complete opposite in this blog.]

Our current kitchen
 The reason I wanted to share this is because this is by far the #1 reason why we consider the Rome our dream home & why I've put up with the shitstorm that we've dealt with in order to get it.

Last night at 10:30 at night (and in the middle of watching the season premiere of Law & Order: SVU), I decided I needed to make cookies. And then I groaned. Why? I freaking hate our current kitchen. We have 4 small squares of counter space & I dread trying to prepare food in it. But I dragged out my giant KitchenAid mixer (which basically takes up one of my counter squares) & went to town. An hour later, I was finally finished. When I finally sat down, I told my husband how in a few more months I would have 2 glorious ovens to bake all of my cookies at the same time (not to mention all of that counter space to spread out while I baked). As much complaining as I've done, I really can't wait to build our dream home!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Does anyone buy GE without being forced?

Doing research for our appliances has been driving me insane. I knew since we didn't have the built in wall double oven option (yes, I realize it could be done, but we have already spent over 70k in upgrades/selections & adding it would cost a lot more) that we would need a freestanding gas range w/double oven. First I checked out the reviews on Home Depot/Lowes/Best Buy, then I cross-checked those against the reviews on Consumer Reports. And basically I've come to the conclusion that GE appliances blow. The reviews on all of their appliances are horrendous and I'm convinced that the only way they are staying in business is the deal they have with the new home builders (not only does Ryan exclusively use them, but so do Ryland Homes & Lennar).

As some of you already know, RH will not give you the option of providing your own appliances (which I think is a BS "code", considering ppl sell houses all of the time without appliances) so if we wanted to go that route, we would have to pay for the appliances through RH, have them left in the garage, try to sell them, them order our own & have them delivered & installed. OK, that sounds like a great idea when you're in the middle of moving.

So I think we finally picked the least shitty GE gas range double oven option (and if you remember, we have to pay the retail price of the oven, on top of the $1450 we already paid to upgrade the appliances to stainless steel), but then I got started researching the dishwasher that was included. Ugh. Yes, another hunk of crap. And it's ugly, too! So after another day of research, we picked what I hope will be the "lesser of two evils" of crappy GE dishwashers. So we sent this to our SR to find out how much this is going to cost us. Even though it's only $200 more than the price of the included dishwasher, I have a feeling they're going to make us pay the entire retail cost with this one as well. I'll warn you in advance that there will most likely be another "I'm Fed Up" post coming...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

And this is why sales people get a bad rap

Let me preface by saying my husband is in sales. Maybe I'm biased, and while it annoys me as his wife, he's a damn good one. Why? Because he goes above and beyond. He stays up working on things for his customers, he answers the phone every time it rings, he deals with emails as soon as his Blackberry dings (I want to throw that damn thing in the trash).

Our SR? Not so much. I liked him in the beginning; he was very quick to respond to our requests (of course, he was trying to get the sale) but now it's just starting to get ridiculous. As I mentioned before, it took almost two weeks just to find out what the double oven was going to cost us (every time we tried to follow up, we were told all the bigwigs were having meetings, they had inventory, yada yada yada). It took us three days to get him to respond back with the fridge space measurements (come on, he works in the damn model, he couldn't walk the 15 steps to measure it). It took over a week for him to get back to us about the useable back yard space (I don't know if I elaborated, but we receievd out plot review & it showed we had 30' of backyard even though when we measured ourselves when they plotted off the house corners, it only measured 15' due to a huge drop from our back yard). My husband even emailed him to tell him we had additional things we wanted to add/upgrade and not only did he (the SR) not bother asking what we wanted to add, he didn't respond PERIOD. Not even to acknowledge that we wanted to add things.

Not to mention, everything was yes in the beginning (which we turned out was a bad thing, since he told us yes to things he knew weren't an option/weren't available). Now, when we ask if we can get some form of discount to upgrade additional selections (and we only asked for 5%, when we know that's well below RH's direct profit range), we're told no. You can really tell the difference between how they treat new vs current "customers" and that is really disappointing.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Guardian- check

After reading some of the blogs, I had an idea what was available from Guardian. We considered having the above fireplace TV mount but reconsidered when we realized 1. we'd be craining our heads up to watch the TV and 2. we'd have to figure out where to put the stupid cable box and 3. the only reason I even want the fireplace is to have a mantel to use for decoration (yes, how stupid is it that we're paying 3k+ for a decoration holder), which wouldn't really wouldn't be conducive for mounting a TV on it.

We knew we weren't really interested in the "techie" things like surround sound, intercom, sound system, alarm system, vacuum, etc. (we've lived without them for so long & never had a moment where we felt like our quality of life would be improved if we had them) so we our plan going into this meeting was to only add cable outlets in the family room, loft, and each of the bedrooms; and thank goodness, because we blew a TON of meeting at that Rite Rug flooring appointment and our double oven fiasco is still ongoing. Of course, I did still have concerns because I didn't know if we were going to get "upsold" or given a sales pitch and we didn't know how much all of the outlets were going to cost, so we weren't sure how painful this meeting was going to be. (The last thing you want is to go into something with a plan, get show a ton of stuff that blows your mind, and not be able to afford it.) Thankfully our rep was awesome & that didn't happen. I didn't see any other options that I felt we needed and we were able to use our 4 allotted outlets (he said it's typically 2 phone, 2 cable) all for cable (we have not had a home phone in the five years we've been married, we plan to live in this house for at least 10 years & I think by then no one is going to be using landlines). So while my brother (a TW cable installer) told me it was a total ripoff to spend $125 per outlet since it costs less than $25 to do, we were still thrilled to leave there having only spent $250.

Our littler helper hard at work. Look at all of those things to mess with and can you believe she didn't touch a single one?! If only that was the case at home!

OK, she did mess with the vacuum they had.

Monday, September 17, 2012

I'm so fed up

If you read this post, you know we've had a few issues with what I perceive to be bait & switch with Ryan Homes. After the disappointment with being offered one lot, then given another lot almost half the size, I felt like we weren't offered any real consolation for losing 4000 sq ft of yard (really, a black aluminum fence & 6 trees?). We went back & forth some more, asking for some form of discount on upgrading our carpet padding & a double oven. And then we waited. And waited. And waited. Almost 2 weeks and we finally got an answer today. We've been given a whopping $150 off the carpet padding and told they could upgrade our oven at the cost they would be charged, which is less than $200 off what we would pay retail for the damn thing. And this is after we ALREADY paid $1450 to upgrade to stainless steel. Are you freaking kidding me? $1450 to upgrade three appliances, one of which (the dishwasher) gets horrendous reviews so we'll probably end up replacing it within the next six months anyway. So now three appliances are going to cost us $4350 (the dishwasher retail is only $450, microwave is $400 so that means we're paying $3500 just so I can get a freestanding double oven, since the wall double oven isn't an option according to our SR).

So much for getting any sort of consolation for losing half of our yard. Ugh. It's a good thing my husband has a level head, because I was seething from this recent development & wanted to call our SR, tell him the whole deal was off & that RH could shove it. I am seriously having second doubts about this home building process. If we're having this many issues and we haven't even broken ground, what in the hell else is going to go wrong??

Saturday, September 15, 2012

I am a shitty decision maker

We've already started researching appliances (refrigerators & washer/dryer since we're not having RH provide them due to poor reviews from the GEs they have available). I thought I was pretty much set on a Samsung and then I read some techie article raving about the LG LFX31935ST, which had a "super blast chiller" that can chill a bottle of wine or two cans in five minutes. Of course, then I decided I had to have that one. I don't even drink wine more than once every two months. And in the off chance that I do, I've never been in a situation where I've been so desperate to drink it that I needed it to be chilled in five minutes. But still, it made me second guess my previous Samsung pick. My husband is right, I am a total marketer's dream.

On another note, who knew refrigerators could be so pretty??
Samsung RF323TEDBSR

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

We're floored

Yesterday we met with Rite Rug to make our flooring selections. I was dreading this because the consultant told us it should take 2hrs and anyone that has a toddler knows it's damn near impossible to try and make an informed decision while fetching a thrown cup, handing a snack cup, & playing Choo Choo Soul song for the 15th time; I was sure it was going to take twice that.

Thankfully, we have similar tastes & just like what we like, so the majority of our decisions were made as soon as we saw "the one." And thank goodness for the iPad + Apptivity case; it managed to keep Fi occupied for almost the entire time we were there. The only negative was the small coronary I had when I realized how much additional money we were going to spend. {Seriously, if you're going to build a house be prepared to spend 60k+ on top of what the home costs. What's "included" is crap & once you see what you could have, there's no way to unsee it.}

So here's what we picked (except the secondary bath ceramic, I forgot to get a picture of that).

Our kitchen cabinets (Wyoming Cherry Bordeaux) & granite (Santa Cecelia)

Closeup of the granite (I wish you all could see this in person, it is so much prettier since you can't see the shimmery swirls in the pictures).

The wood laminate floors that will be throughout the first floor (Armstrong Illusions Autumn Mahogany)

Carpet that will be on the stairs & throughout the second floor (Shaw Siesta Twist Hominy) 

Tile & accent for the master bath

Vinyl for the laundry room

And our little helper.
As you can see, she took her duties very seriously!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

{Future} Home Sweet Home

The Rome

Take a tour

Floorplan with our selections

  • Elevation L with stone
  • Cottage elevation garage door
  • Garage door opener After doing some research, we found that the opener RH uses is a chain system. Since the garage door is directly below a bedroom, this is a problem for us as our current door is a chain lift and it is so loud, Rob has to manually open the garage door to leave for work every morning so it doesn't wake Fi up.
  • Fan rough-in on front porch
  • Oil rubbed bronze door hardware
  • Rear floodlights
  • 10x14 patio 10x23 patio (Rob decided he wanted he wanted the patio to be flush with the Family room wall, since that extra grass would probably just end up being unused. We're hoping to put a hot tub on the extra space once our kids are old enough to not worry about them drowning in it!)
First Floor
  • Level G laminate throughout entire first floor (Armstrong Autumn Mahogany)
  • Pine stair with white ballisters & Mahogany stained oak handrail
  • Morning room
  • 2 additional windows in morning room
  • Double patio door to patio
  • Gourmet Island
  • 3 pre-wires over island for pendant lights (I fell in love with the idea after seeing them in this RH blogger's kitchen)
  • 42" cabinets
  • Maple Espresso cabinets Wyoming Cherry Bordeaux cabinets. After reading that these were veneer cabinets (& show smudged & are scratched easily) we decided to upgrade to the Wyoming Cherry Bordeaux since they are solid wood. I know each builder/manufacturer is different but we currently live in a Pulte w/veneer cabinets & every single one of them is peeling.
  • Cabinet crown molding
  • Santa Cecilia granite counters
  • Tile backsplash We decided against it since I did not like the options available (I want more of a glass mosaic tile), so we will DIY or have someone install for us in the future.
  • Oil rubbed bronze cabinet hardware
  • 60/40 undermount sink 
  • Upgraded kitchen faucet
  • Recessed lightin
  • Under cabinet lighting (I was on the fence about this b/c it's pricy & we have seen some feasible DIY options but ultimately I did not want wires hanging down from under the cabinets & I also didn't want to have to manually turn each light on & off. by having RH do them, the cords will be hidden & we will have a light switch that turns them on/off.) 
  • Gas range hook-up
  • Level IV stainless steel appliances We were unhappy with the reviews of the appliances available so we requested the best rated GE models we could find (since RH has a contract & cannot provide you with a different brand) & will pay the retail price.
  • Pull out waste basket & tray We decided not to upgrade this after we found out it would basically only include a pull out waste basket & one pull out tray under the kitchen sink. For almost $300, it wasn't worth the money IMO.
Family Room
  • Rear gas fireplace with slate surround
  • Ceiling fan rough-in
Second Floor
  • Second full bath in bedroom 4
  • 10lb carpet pad throughout second floor (Brigadiere)
  • Level E carpet throughout second floor (Shaw Siesta Twist Hominy)
  • Wyoming Cherry Bordeaux bathroom cabinets
  • Ceramic tile in secondary bathrooms (12x12 Stratford Place Willow branch w/Linen grout)
  • Ceiling fan rough-ins for all bedrooms & loft
  • Oil rubbed bronze door hardware & bathroom fixtures
Master bath
  • Maple Espresso cabinets Wyoming Cherry Bordeaux cabinets (see above)
  • Double bowl vanity
  • Alternate master bath layout with soaking tub, separate shower with seat 
  • Upgraded to jetted tube
  • Tub and shower ceramic tile surround (Stratford Place Alabaster Sands w/Antique Linen grout, Listello SA 51 accent)
  • Oil rubbed bronze hardware
 Secondary baths
  • Maple Espresso cabinets Wyoming Cherry Bordeaux cabinets (see above)
  • Ceramic tile in secondary bathrooms (12x12 Stratford Place Willow branch w/Linen grout)
  • Oil rubbed bronze hardware
We had a lot of reasons why we ended up building, why we chose Ryan Homes and how we ended up in Waxhaw (one day I'll get around to posting them), but by far the number #1 reason was this: Our community

Monday, September 10, 2012


Our "offer" (aka where we asked for a bunch of shit & they gave us about half of what we wanted) has been accepted.

Let me give a little backstory. We went to visit the model and fell in love as soon as I saw the kitchen (true story). We got the numbers, came back a week later & negotiated a price and then had to pick our lot. A huge must-have for me was having a large backyard that backed up to trees (I didn't want a view of someone else's house or our neighbors being able to see into our bedrooms). Well we were told that there were lots that the developer had not yet released but the sales rep said they would be releasing them soon & suggested we ask for one of those. After going out to look at them, we decided on one and submitted our offer.

Well 3 days later, we hear back that the monetary part of the offer had been accepted, but the developer was refusing to release the lot we wanted because he (or she, but I'm guessing he b/c HE sounds like a dick) "had no immediate plans to develop those set of lots." Well this was possibly the worst news I could have gotten b/c there were no other lots available that had private backyard, there are only interior lots (IE sandwiched between other houses).

Some more negotiating took place. We wanted a privacy fence, which we couldn't get b/c the only fence approved by the HOA is a wrought iron style (which doesn't provide any real privacy) & 6 6-10' Cyprus trees planted along the back fenceline. I wasn't happy, but we accepted the offer.

The next day, we went to sign the change order & were told the other sales rep had coned off our house corners on the lot so we could get a feel for the backyard. Of course our house's floorplan is huge so I knew it wasn't going to be huge, but we got out there & I was furious; the back of the house to the drop off behind the house was 15 feet. FIFTEEN FUCKING FEET. (Sorry for the language, but I really did yell that and I was about to go Donkey Kong & start throwing the cones around.) So not only were we stuck in an interior lot, sandwiched between other houses, with no private back yard & no option for a privacy fence, but now we were stuck with a damn postage stamp yard?!

Commence immediate emailing back & forth to the sales rep. And me going to check out a bunch of other home builders & communities (my poor husband). Unfortunately (or fortunately, depends who you ask), I didn't find a single other model that suited our needs/wants, fit our budget, and just felt like the right home as the Rome. So, we decided to just deal with our postage stamp. I'm still pissed about it but logically I know we spend so much more time inside than out, that the house itself should be a perfect 10.

And there's our story. You win some, you lose some. Although I have to admit, to be able to have our dream house with an outstanding community (complete with lifestyle coordinator) & amazing school system for Fi, I can't consider it a total loss ;)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Take a Tour

Here is a virtual tour from the community website

And here are some pictures of the Rome model home in our community.
The front porch

Living room (we'll eventually turn this into my dream library, but not until the kiddos are old enough to not pull all the books off the shelves & tear them up)

Dining room
View from the living room

Stairs & "mudroom" (aka hallway from garage)

Downstairs powder room

And the piece de resistance- the kitchen (with a view of the morning room to the right)
Huge pantry, this is going to come in handy with all of our trips to BJ's!
Morning room (Fi's future playroom)

Panoramic of the morning room & kitchen
 Family room
View from the kitchen
A panoramic (thank you iPhone ios 6) of the kitchen, morning room & family room

Study (Rob's office)
Another panoramic, can you tell I love the new ios 6??
Hopefully having Fi in the pic will give you a sense of the scale of the room-it's HUGE!

Panoramic of 1 of 2 master walk-in closets

Master bath
This tub has been Fi approved

Panoramic (2nd walk-in closet is the door dead ahead w/the orange wall)

Hall full bath

Bedroom #2 (set-up as a showroom for choosing cabinets, siding, brick, etc.) Will eventually be Squishy 2.0's nursery.


Panoramic of the loft (don't mind Fi's weird looking head, it looks that way b/c she was moving while I was taking the panoramic.)
 Bedroom #3 (Fi's room)
Fi already loves looking out the huge window

Bedroom #4 (which will be the guest suite until Fi is old enough to need a private bathroom to herself)


 Laundry room

 And just because I thought she was the cutest thing in the house