Friday, September 30, 2016

Ok, here are the much delayed pictures of the finished house.  Before we moved in, which is why there is no furniture or dog hair.

Lets start in the basement, this is the view from the bottom of the stairs, facing into the basement.  The daylight coming in from the left is from the window well that is in the morning room bump out.  

Full view looking out from the mechanical room.

Looking down the hall into the great room and kitchen (you can see a little bit of the island).

The guest bedroom in the front of the house.

Down the hall to the front door.  The french doors lead to the study.

The study.  Good bit of room actually.

The Kitchen

Looking into the morning room.

The master bathroom and the massive shower on the left.  And as you can see, there is a seat on the right where you can watch your significant other while they shower.

Looking into the master bedroom from the sitting room.  Bathroom door is on the  right and closet on the left.

And finally, the sitting room.  This is what really makes the smaller bedroom of the Pisa livable.  If you omit the windows from the one wall, you have another wall for furniture.

I know some people will want to see other things so I am linking a video tour here too.  

If there is something specific you would like a picture of, please just leave us a message.  And message with any questions.

Oh, almost forgot....
Here is a picture off the deck that sits between the morning room and the sitting room.  Nice size, about 15x12.  

And the fence to keep me and the dogs from wandering off.

And as you can see, we did not get sod, we got hydro-seeded crab grass.  Oh well, a good yard will take me a few summers anyway.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Sorry folks, I have been remiss in posting since we moved.  I promise I will get finished pictures up soon.  Keeping it short, we love the house, yes, there are a few minor issues, but those are being fixed and it is feeling like our home now.  Honestly, the first week or so it felt like we were living in someone else's house.

Back soon with pictures.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Stress is not building a home, it's selling s home.

I am beginning to feel that the worst part of this entire process is selling your current home.  You sink cash into some modest updates, fresh paint...clean for hours on end...vacate for hours on end with dogs in tow.  Only to be told the dining room is too small or the bedrooms are not big enough or they really want hardwood (like you could not see from the pictures that we have tile and carpet.

Then you have to thank the spoiled  little millennial brats for looking and you hope they liked it, while all the while you are cursing them under your breath for wasting three hours of your weekend.

It is stressful as hell.  No wonder some people never move.

Rant over for now.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Last chance to look inside the walls...the pre-drywall walk through.

Wow, this is moving fast.  Our PM called to tell us it as time for that last peek inside the walls.  During the walk through we went over all the light fixture placement, what each receptacle and switch was for, covered all the questions or issues we had spotted previously.  He also covered all the changes we had from the standard plan and answered all the questions or concerns I had,   He also let me know when the drywall would be installed so I could get in there and insulate the outside walls in the garage,

The garage is now insulated all around, except for the el cheapo uninsulated thin panel steel door, which I will at least insulated before winter.

Since they will be dry walling this week, I stopped for one last inspection around the house.  I made sure to check all the windows to make sure they spray foamed around them.   Things look good.  Now we just need to sell the house we are in now and pack the rest of our stuff.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Let the walk through begin....

No sooner had they gotten all the exterior panels up, the roof shingled, the windows in and the basement floor poured than we got the call that Guardian wants to do their walk-thru.

Now this is an easy one, but you need to keep in mind where you think furniture will be, what direction you want to face when watching TV, where you might put the desk in the office.... that kind of stuff.  We walked through the house with our Guardian rep and she marked out where we would want to put the TV's, the modem and router in the office, where the speakers should be in the ceiling.  Oh yeah, and where our keypad for the system would go.  When you go from room to room, thinking about how you will lay it out and how you will spend your time in that space, it begins to feel more like a house than a bundle of sticks.  And Susan and I both noticed that as we stood in various rooms and spent some time in there, they no longer seemed too small.  Kind of an odd mental illusion I guess.

At this point our Project Manager popped in to see what we thought.  Bad timing for him.  While we are generally very happy with the progress and the quality of the construction, there were some issues I had noticed on previous visits and a few things Susie noticed that we decided to address at that point.

Like wall studs that were cut into...

Now our PM said this was done to straighten bowed studs and that none of them were on load bearing walls.  I am going to be checking that on the next walk thru.  Not real happy about it.

There was a gap between exterior panels...

But that was fixed a day or so later.

Then there is the issue of the walls that are not supposed to be there....

These little walls divide the morning room/dining room from the kitchen.  But they are not supposed to be there.  They serve no structural purpose.  And we had asked in the pre-construction meeting if we could remove them.  "No problem" they said.  Well, it became our Project Managers problem when Susie noticed them.  Now we shall see if they are still there at the next walk thru.

In a little more than a month, we went from having a hole in the ground to being totally under roof.  We have our pre-drywall walk thru tomorrow.  Will be taking tons more pictures so I know where things are in the walls and to document any issues.  And our project manager thinks it will only take and hour.  Yeah right.

Selling a house is hard work

If someone had told me back in December how much work it was going to take to get our current house ready to sell (not to mention how much $$), I might have said forget it.

In addition to painters, carpet cleaners, counter top installers and cleaning people (who did such a piss poor job Susie basically had to redo most of it), we have been working on decluttering and packing.  And keeping the house clean.  I think that is hardest of all.  Now that we are on the market, we have to be able to hide the evidence that not only are there no dogs in the house, but no people either.  Just want to get the thing under contract so we can just pack up everything and not worry about boxes in view.

OK, rant is over for now.

On to the important things.  Progress on the new home is amazing.  We went from just concrete forms a few weeks ago to a full foundation walls....

Next thing you know, there is a floor down...

From having the floor and a couple wall panels, one week later we have this....

And by the next weekend, it is all buttoned up...

And guess what its almost walk thru time.....

Monday, March 21, 2016

Getting the old house ready to sell or how the heck did we get this much stuff.

The one thing I would bet most people don't consider when they sign on to build a new house is a realistic estimate of what they will need to do to sell their current home.  I know I sure as heck didn't.

I mean I expected there to be some cleaning and painting involved, but when our real estate agent came in and gave us an honest evaluation of the value and what we need to do to get top dollar, I was stunned.

Now, a little background.  Its just me and Susie and the dogs, so no kids or kid stuff.  We have been married going on 25 years and have lived in this house which we built 16 years ago.  Since that time we have accumulated WAY to much stuff.

In the past two months, we have taken numerous trips to Goodwill to drop of clothes and household items we no longer use.  We have rented a 10x10 storage locker for things we need out of the way to stage and sell the house. As Cindy says the less stuff in the house the better.  I have replaced all the bright brass door levers and cabinet knobs with aged bronze (you know all that stuff HGTV says is trendy).  We replaced all the overhead light fixtures (again to get rid of the bright brass) and donated the old fixtures to a construction recycling center.  We are replacing the 16 year old carpet in the main rooms on the lower level with Pergo (only slightly more than carpet in terms of cost, but will hopefully give us more bang for the buck).  We have painters coming in to paint the two story entry and the other rooms on the 1st floor.  We had a wonky retaining wall rebuilt.

Was I expecting to have to do all this?  No.  But am I will to do it to get more than average for our house?  Yes.  Will it pay off?  Jury is still out on that.

So, some advice, have a pre-sale inspection done like we did before you do anything to your house.  Ours only showed the wonky retaining wall.  And depending on the age and how well you have kept up with updates and painting, I would be prepared to put $5000 or more into your house to get it ready to sell.

Oh, one more tip.  Check Craigslist for moving boxes.  We found a couple very near us who bought a lot of moving boxes from Home Depot and were looking to get back some of their investment.  I got 8 large garment boxes and close to 80 other boxes (small, medium and large) for about $70 bucks.

Progress or just a big hole in the ground.

On a whim we stopped by the lot on Saturday on our way back from the initial drop off at our storage locker.  Surprised to see this......

They have the footer poured so far...

and according to my conversation with our PM, they will be pouring the rest of the foundation today or tomorrow.  

Now, he explained that because of the slope of the lot, its not going to be zero entry, but he will work hard on the back fill and grading to try and keep it to one step into the house.  

Judging by how fast the other homes are moving along, things look right on schedule.

Pre-Construction Meeting or Meeting our new best friend.

A little remiss with this posting.  On March 7th, we had our pre-construction meeting with our temporary sales rep (our regular sales rep was still out on maternity leave) and our project manager.

Our PM or new BFF seems to be a very capable guy (avoiding using the adjective young here as everyone is beginning to look young to me) who has been doing the job for several years and has delivered over a hundred homes and not missed one deadline.

We went over the entire build step by step, room by room, from front of the house to the back of the house.  He was very detailed and went over each and every change we had made from the standard plan just to make sure he understood everything.  Answered every question we had and addressed every concern.

They are going to work with us as best they can given the topography of our lot to make it as accessible as possible.  Really concerned about having more than one step from stoop to the house and from the garage to the house.  They can add some extra blocking in the shower to grab bar installation and said they would not remove any extra insulation that appeared in the exterior walls of the garage before the drywall goes up.

He went through the process of how inspections will be handled and how items that need to be fixed or replaced will be marked.

He said we are welcome to visit at anytime, but to not get in the way of the guys if they are on the job site.

Seems like we got a project manager we can work with.  But still a long way to go.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

The upside of the groundhog getting it right for a change.

You know the saying, "Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn now and again", well even Punxsutawney
Phil gets it right now and again.  And the upside of that is construction season starts earlier than they planned.

I will admit, I panicked a bit when we got the email from our temporary Sales Rep Phil (our regular Sales Rep Brittany is out on maternity leave, congrats by the way if you see this) that they wanted to schedule our pre-construction meeting for the second week of March so they could begin breaking ground the week of the 13th.  A full month ahead of schedule.

Yes, I panicked because we had not made a lot of head way in getting our current house sale ready.  Well after thinking about it, I realized that moving up construction really did not alter our sale time table because we had faced the prospect of being homeless for more than a month if our house sells fast.  So this may work out anyway.

So, to see how things looked at the new neighborhood, I swung by today to take a look....

Here is the first house on our street, last time I was here it was only a foundation...
They are going to have some nice open space to the one side, right next to the final resting place of the Reel family.

Here is our lot all staked out...

And here is the house that will be two doors down from us, right at the end of the cul-de-sac.

So now to get the flooring replaced, find a painter and rent a storage locker.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Just one more thing.....

Apparently, no mater how many meetings you have with everyone, you end up needing to ask just one more thing...

For example:

How tall are the bathroom vanities?
FYI, they are 34" in the master bathroom and 31" in the other bathrooms.

Do the kitchen cabinets come with knobs and or pulls and do we get a choice?
Yes they do and no you don't.  They include knobs that match whatever you picked out for the fixtures (bright chrome, rubbed brass or polished nickle).

What does our flooring look like again?
This one is on me, I did not take a good picture of it when we picked it.  And looking it up on the internet was a bad idea.  Armstrong's website only showed one little sample of it that was a very boring brown when we though we picked a more distressed and varied color.  A short email to our flooring person at Rite Rug got us better pictures and relieved our self induced anxiety.  

And since it will be a few more months until they even break ground, I am sure we will think of many more questions.  One good thing is that friends built a Pisa Torre just down the road from where we live now (in a now sold out Ryan plan) so we will paying them lots of visits to get tips and hints and measure things like windows (will try to buy things like blinds and curtains ahead of time).

Now we just have to get our house ready to sell.... 

The last meeting until they are ready to dig...or one more opportunity to change your mind...again

Well it seems I have been remiss...again... in posting right after our meetings.

We had our last meeting before the pre-construction meeting, I think she called it our 30 day meeting (30 days after we signed the contract I guess).  After the previous meeting with Brittany, our Sales Rep, she sent us home with the electrical diagrams so we could review our light and switch placement.  Basically its the floor plan for the house broken out into different sections.  Each section then has lots of squiggly lines and symbols that are supposed to represent recessed lights, outlets and switches.  I consider myself fairly mechanically inclined (thanks to years of following my father around while he fixed things at every house in the neighborhood) so, once I figured out the different symbols, I was OK, but a key to the symbols in nice bold print would be nice Ryan Homes.

I learned something in this meeting about my lovely wife of 24 years.  She HATES lamps and switched outlets.  Huh, who would have figured.  So given my wife's vehement dislike of all things lamp like, we opted for a boatload of recessed lights.  It's fine with me, one less thing to dust, but changing bulbs will be a bear.  Unless Ryan puts LED's in the recessed lights.  I will pause here for all of you who have a Ryan Home to finish laughing.

Anyway, LED bulbs aside, given the number of recessed lights in the kitchen, hall and great room, the switch panel is going to end up looking something like this.

But you know what they say, "Happy wife, Happy life"

We will have 2 switched outlets however and Susan was just fine with that because they will control an outlets that will be hidden by the crown molding where we can install rope lighting.  Should be cool. 

The 30 day meeting is also one more opportunity to make changes to things like an extra light or outlet outside, a door into the garage or a slop sink in the garage.  It is also a chance to tell them not to install a garage door opener (I don't like the type and brand they use so I will bring my own guy in to install that) and to swap out a tub for a shower (with no door so we can give the dogs a bath) in the basement bathroom.