Thursday, September 11, 2014

Concrete is here!

Ok - so yesterday, I drove by the site, thinking "what could possibly have happened in one day??" When I pulled up, this is what I saw: 

Day 17: The concrete has arrived!

I pulled over and parked and walked over to the home site and found this structure: 

Needless to say, I was SHOCKED! I spoke with one of the workers who was there with one of the trucks. I told him that was our home and he said it was going to be "big and beautiful." He also explained to me that they were pouring concrete today and then told me some other plans for the work week, but I missed the last part of what he said because I was so intrigued by watching the men hang on to the edge of those platforms. Does anyone know what those blocks are called?

Anyway, I'm going to probably drive back by later today or tomorrow. 


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Ground Is Broken!

Time Flies When You're Building a Home....

So, I am going to try to condense 2 weeks worth of pictures into one post. Again, I am amazed how fast things are moving. I thought I'd be ok just dropping by the homesite once a week or so, but that's apparently not going to cut it if I want to catch everything that is happening.

About a week before we got the email about setting up our Pre-Construction Meeting, this is what our house site looked like:

Let's call this Day Zero

The day we got the email about the Pre-Con Meeting, we swung by the homesite because we interpreted that as a sign that maybe our lot had been cleared. This is what we found: 
DAY 1 - The most beautiful dirt ever!

DAY 4 - Some dirt had been moved around

The following week  (just after the Labor Day weekend) our site turned into this: 

DAY 9: Looks like a maze!
I know you can't tell from the picture, but those trenches were extremely deep.

And then 3 days later, this is what we found:

DAY 12: WOW!!

Our most recent discovery was this: 
DAY 13: We have wood!!

Loved the site of this!

So, needless to say, I am going to have to step my game up to capture these memories a little bit better. I'm going by today after work - it's a pretty day outside, so I anticipate something being done. You never really know.... 


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Pre-Construction Meeting

I'm Baaacckkk!! 

So, things are moving so fast! I know many other bloggers mentioned that after the pre-construction meeting is set-up, the progress is ridiculously quick, but I didn't realize how true that was until now. 

We were asked via email on Monday, August 25th to set up our Pre-construction Meeting with our Sales Rep and Project Manager that SAME week. Now, generally it is nearly impossible for us to be able to switch our schedules around with such short notice, but when I asked about pushing it to the following week that was quickly shot down by the SR. I'm sure I could have insisted on postponement, but I was able to get our schedules coordinated so that we could both be there on August 28th. 

I came prepared with a list of Pre-Construction Meeting questions that I had seen on some of the famous Ryan Homes blogs out there (thank you bloggers!), and I also added my own personal questions - I included the list below with the answers. 

All-in-all, the meeting went well. I will say that the PM did seem exhausted and relatively unaware of certain changes in our options from a structural standpoint. I definitely made note of this and plan to contact him weekly and be heavily involved in the process in case any major errors are implemented.

The meeting was set-up for late afternoon and it lasted approximately 2 hours. Our realtor joined us, as did the SR. We met in the model home morning room, which was very cool.

The first thing we did was review our lot plan (I will scan it in and post it later). It showed all of the surrounding easements, the distance between our neighboring lots, and the outline of our home within our property lines. I have to say, this was the MOST exciting part of the meeting. Everything suddenly seemed so real seeing that plot sketch. In fact, when we got home I couldn't stop starting at it. We did a lot of initialing and then the PM gave us a 20 minute overview of how the build process was going to go - answering the vast majority of the questions that I had outlined below. I really appreciated this. We initialed some more.

We then moved on to reviewing are blueprints. It's too bad we don't get to keep them because they are huge and amazing! We went through everything from the elevation to the basement details and caught just a few mistakes - the most major one being that they had the wrong Owner's Bath layout in our Master Bedroom. (UPDATE from prior post - we switched to the bath / shower combo!). There was also a discrepancy in window placement in the basement. The PM made notes of those changes directly onto the blueprints. We finished by going over all of our options / upgrades and flooring / guardian selections. I had memorized them and reviewed them again the night before the meeting, which is good because there were a few mistakes. In addition, we had to go through and identify which windows we wanted to have blinds. Thankfully, I had kept a floorplan with all of this outlined and they copied it from that.

After the meeting was over, the SR and realtor left and we hung out in the living room with the PM for a little while, just talking about our families and plans for the future. That was a wonderful end to the meeting. 

TAKE HOME POINTS: What the SR tells you is not the final answer. The PM has the ability to move windows around, add or remove features, and give you small perks if you ask for them, depending on the personality of the PM. I am finding that each time my SR told us "no" or "Ryan homes NEVER allows that," I hear from a Sales Manager or Project Manager who tells us "sure - no problem." So, don't feel like you have to settle - just ask the people who are in charge of the actual building process - you won't get what you want unless you ask for it!

Pre-Construction Meeting Questions:

1.       Will there be outlets on the stairways? No - outlets on staircases are not required
2.       Where will the attic access be located (appears optional on the floorplan)? Attic door identified on blueprint - it will be a small panel door in the bonus room as well as a pull-down door in one of the secondary upstairs bedroom
3.       Will there be French door opening to the upgraded owner’s bath (appears that way on the floorplan online)? Nope - normal door
4.       What are the model numbers of the appliances that come with the home (dishwasher and oven)? We received a print-out with the specs of all of our selected appliances and the pictures of them (we had to initial this too)
5.       Will the windows have screens? Yes
6.       How big of a refrigerator will fit in the space in the kitchen? I actually didn't get around to asking this question. I'll revisit this in a month or so
7.       Is the tub in the master bedroom jetted? No
8.       Can we add pendent light rough ins? I didn't ask this because my husband and I decided that we may not really like to have the pendant lights in the kitchen - fear of over-accessorizing :-)
9.       Can we rearrange closet shelving layout? PM initially said "no, not really" and then said "but ask me again when it's closer to the time to put them in and maybe I'll be in a good mood." Eh? Ok.....
10.   Where will the window in the recreation room be? Clarified on the blueprints and found to be in the wrong place. He crossed it out and drew in a window in the correct place.
11.   Will all of the bedrooms have locks on them? Stopped looking at my list and forgot to ask this - oops!
12.   Where is the best place for the wet-bar rough-in in the basement? Against the wall where the wet bar is located in the model. This will allow for it to be as out of the way and unobtrusive as possible. It commits us to placing the wet bar along that particular wall, but we wouldn't want it be anywhere else.


1.       Will there be a deadbolt in the door to the garage? Forgot to ask this question too. Oops, again!
2.       Are there outlets in the garage or anywhere on the exterior? Forgot this one as well. What was the point of me bringing a list?

3.       Will the garage be sheet-rocked? Yes

4.       Where are the hose bibs located? In a logical place on the side of the house

5.       What outdoor lights are standard? Can you upgrade the lights or add more? You can add more lights, but there is a flood light in the back included and that will be directed in the most logical direction. There are also front porch lights included.
6.       Will the lawn be seeded or sodded? Will this be the same for both the front and back? Sod with bermuda grass in the front, sides, and back.
7.       Will we have trees in the front? Yes - PM said he will make the front look appealing
8.       Will there be sidewalks? No - there is a sidewalk in front of the houses across the street, but not along our side of the street. We do have a street light in front of our house.
9.       How many steps will we likely have leading up to our front door? Are we guaranteed to have the full front porch railing? At least a few steps, similar to our neighboring house. The SR had told me a few weeks back that we would only get the full front porch railing if we had a minimum number of steps (I think the number was 3 or 4) however, the PM said that he didn't care about that and he would put one up for us regardless of the number of steps.
10.   Do we have input on how the stairs from our deck are directed? Not really, but PM said he will make sure the steps are directed in the manner that makes the most sense and that will give us the largest usable back yard.
11.   Will we have a concrete pad outside of our walkout basement? Nope


19.   How and when can we visit the site? PM said to email him before we come and that he will meet us at the location. He said in the whole process, there are only about 6 days where we will not be allowed to visit because of safety. Other than that, he just asked that we email him beforehand.
20.   What is the best way to reach you if we have questions? He gave us his email and cell #
21.   Will you contact us via text / email when important new things are happening? Weekly updates? He advised that I shoot him a message each week and he will let us know what is planned for the week to see if it's something worthwhile coming for to take pictures / watch, etc.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Owner's Bath Decision

Roman Shower vs. Upgraded Bathtub 

Tough decision to make.

The model home of the Lincolnshire that we have visited (as well as the model on the Virtual Tour) has the upgraded Owner's Bathroom with the Roman Shower Layout. With this option, you get two separate vanities and a linen closet, but there is no tub. We selected this at first because we don't usually take baths and we thought we'd really like having our own corners of the bathroom and a linen closet. The shower is just slightly bigger than the standard shower pan and there is a seat as well as two shower heads. Plus, if we really wanted to take a bath, there will be 3 other tubs in the house, albeit much smaller than a Master's tub would be. 

Another equally priced upgraded option was the "Soaking tub and Shower w/ Seat" Layout. With this option, you get a huge nicely tiled tub (my husband is 6'2 and can fit comfortably in this tub without having to bend his knees), and a standard shower pan that has a seat built in We initially declined this layout because it combines the vanities into one and you lose the linen closet. Plus, we don't frequently take baths. The SR tried to give us a verbal description of what this option looks like, allowing us to see a sample of the tub in another model and showing us the floorplan diagram, but it was hard to visualize because the online pictures and the model here in our town only display the Roman shower option.

We were very happy with our Roman Shower decision until our Rite Rug meeting. We were told that, due to the lack of 90 degree angles in the roman shower, we would be unable to have shelves added, as opposed to what the standard shower allows. Also, the Level C tile that we are paying for it confined to the shower and a nice rim around the shower door, but it's a lot less tile than if we had the tub, which would showcase our tile and listello all around the bathroom, for no additional cost. 

I called around to other developments that had Lincolnshire models and found one a few states away that actually had the upgraded bath / shower combo. That development's SR was kind enough to take the time to take pictures of their bathroom and sent them to me. It actually looks very nice!

So - fellow Ryan Homes bloggers - I would love to have your input - which option would you select? Roman Shower - sacrificing a big soaking tub, but gaining a linen closet and separation of vanities. Or Bath / Shower upgrade option - sacrificing a linen closet and separation of vanities, but gaining a very nicely tiled LARGE bath tub.

Thanks for the input in advance!


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Paperwork Galore!


Sorry for the delay in posting - life has been quite busy outside of the home building process (as if that wasn't enough)! However, I added pictures of the Lincolnshire Model Home to the blog - be sure to check them out! I will be adding our final Structural selections and Flooring choices within the next day or so.

When we signed our contract, our SR warned us that "from this point on, everything that is discussed will be in writing." He was not joking! We have made several trips back to the office to sign / initial various change orders and sketch diagrams of different parts of our home.Tomorrow we will be going back to sign another form to re-emphasize that we do not want our kitchen granite to extend into a lip border (I plan to do my own backsplash after closing).

I was even surprised by how many papers we signed at the Rite Rug meeting, including different forms just to acknowledge that we understood how to clean and care for each type of flooring - Vinyl form, Hardwood form, and a Ceramic Tile form. Glad we have a binder to organize everything. I guess it is good that they are so detailed in their documentation.

More to come soon! Hope everyone's build process is smooth sailing!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Selections Overload!

Choices, choices, choices....and more choices!

So, tomorrow is a BIG day for us! We will be meeting with our SR for a Selections Meeting. Truth be told, this is our second attempt at a Selections Meeting. We met a week ago and were so undecided with all of the additional choices and optional upgrades, that we bailed after 3 hours and decided to "try again" after we had some time to really think about what we need vs. what we want vs. what we don't need or want. Fortunately, I had scheduled that first meeting early enough that our deadline for structural selections isn't for another few days.

We live rather far from the model of the Lincolnshire, so it makes it a little difficult to get back and forth often enough to really visualize what would look good in our home's layout.

We did go by the model again this weekend and came up with our tentative game plan to expedite tomorrow's meeting. Feel free to give any input - it will be interesting to see if we actually stick to these decisions tomorrow when we have to put them in writing. 

Did anyone else have any trouble making decisions during this phase?



Upgraded Owner's Bath with Roman Shower (struggling with the idea of not having a soaking tub, but I've literally taken a tub bath once in the last 8 years and the roman shower is slightly larger with two shower heads)

4-foot extension in family room and basement 

Bonus room

Gas Stovetop
Extra second floor bathroom (Jack and Jill style, for our twins to share)

Elevation A - full front porch, all siding. Comes with a metal roof over the porch.

Finished basement rec room + full bathroom

NOT finishing the extra rooms x 2 in the basement (one is a "media room," the other is a gigantic "Home Office" - we will finish these on our own)


Fireplace Granite Surround - Venetian Gold

Kitchen Cabinets - Maple Espresso 

Kitchen Granite - Santa Cecilia

Interior Hardware - brushed nickel  

Owner's Bathroom Cabinets - Maple Espresso 

Owner's Bathroom Counters Granite - Santa Cecilia Light

Secondary Bathroom Cabinets - Tahoe Cherry Bordeaux 

Secondary Bathroom Counters - White cultured marble


I can't even begin to describe how difficult this choice is for us. The color that our neighbor has is a very light, grayish color, so we can't choose that. However, it seems like there are a billion color combinations of siding, shutters, door, and brick choices that we can choose from. Very overwhelming! We narrowed it down to a combination with Navajo Beige siding and another combination with Khaki Brown siding, but that was at the end of the long meeting and I think we were just ready to go. So, tomorrow, I will start the siding decision all over again.

This is what we narrowed it down to: 



I will also ask about the color combo for this house we passed in the other Ryan Homes neighborhood. It really caught our eye!









Wish us luck!!

Friday, July 4, 2014


Welcome to Our Home Building Journey!

Thank you for visiting our blog! We have spent several weeks exploring the blogs of our fellow Ryan Homes families who built beautiful houses. So, we decided to begin our own blog, with the hope that our experience will be helpful for future families that are building. We are also hoping that others will also share advice that will help us along this journey. We have already had several questions in the first week since we signed our revised contract! Luckily we have an awesome realtor that has been extremely generous with her time and input.

We selected the Lincolnshire Floor Plan. If the blogs are any indicator, we are one of 3 families in this country that selected this plan. LOL.... Maybe the other "Lincoln'ers" are just hiding out. This picture is NOT our house - but it is a Lincolnshire with with the full front porch elevation we selected.


This is a first floor master plan. We concluded that the layout was very unique and something fun for us to try for the next (hopefully) 10 years or so. We considered the Dorsey Hall and Jefferson Square plans for a LONG time, but the Lincolnshire had the BEST basement layout for our needs and had interesting nooks and build options that we thought would give us a type of creatively styled home we had never lived in before. Plus, the morning room is the largest of the plans and the ceilings are 10 feet tall, which we loved! I will post pictures from the model home soon. 

As we are beginning the selections process, we realize there are some trade-offs for the aforementioned benefits. Nevertheless, as long as they don't compromise the "feel" of the living areas of the home where we will spend most of our time, I'm ok with them! 

So, enjoy our journey with us! We are truly excited and blessed to be able to share this experience with you all. This is our first time blogging and it will be a work in progress. 

We were so excited to see the SOLD sign on our lot the week after signing - Let the games begin!