Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Night View

This picture was taken a couple of weeks ago.  I decided to do a night drive by and found the lights on and it bought me to tears.  The house looks gorgeous in the night with the lights.  I can only imagine how pretty it is going to look next Christmas!!  Can't wait!! As you can see, the black front porch shutters were not installed at that time; nor did we have trees and shrubbery on the outside; but it still looks beautiful.  We are still waiting for the exterior painting (black door, the white trim and the brick to grade in ivory pearl).  

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Breaking NEWS!!


Our LOT #28 & LOT #52 broke ground the same week on October 3, 2012, only a DAY apart.   I just found out last week that LOT #52 went to settlement the week of December 17 and have already moved into their brand new home.  We were only a day apart which meant we could have easily been in our home this month.  (RANT) How is this possible????   I was really hoping we were going to be in our new home by the end of this year; but it was dragged out to January.   This was a huge disappointment; but it was set up that way from the beginning.  When I asked WHY I was told we had several customizations that is requiring them to move the date out further.  Honestly, I know they could have closed us by the end of December because they were moving at a rapid pace with our home even with some of the mishaps of reordering supplies.  They have done a wonderful job with building our home and we could have been in our home before or by December 31.  Typically, it takes 75 days to build a home and 90 days is given for grace.  We are way past the 90 day mark approximately 100 days into our build.  I have watched some of our fellow bloggers break ground the same week and have closed on their homes so I know it was possible and I also know that the customizations were done so early that we could have gone to settlement this month.  They also said that they had to factor in the weather too.  It bothers me that we did not close by the end of this month because we waited so long to break ground and it will be over a year by the time we close.  February 9 to January 11.  I really wanted us to start the new year in our home.  In the meantime, I am keeping my fingers crossed and prayers lifted that we close as scheduled and we won't keep getting dragged out further and further.  Enough is Enough.  In the meantime,  I am happy we will be moving into a brand new home, I am happy my husband and I will be building our new foundation for our marriage in our new home, I am happy to have more time to tidy up loose ends to move as scheduled, I am happy that we get to live in a home that meet our needs and desires and I am happy that we had a great team to work with at Ryan Homes, Angela (SR),  Howard & Moe (Loan Officers), Stephanie (Loan Specialist), Greg and Ryan (PMs) including Dina at CTI, Mary at M&R Flooring and Kenneth at Guardian.  Lastly, I can't wait to get into our new home and jump for joy like a little girl with two afro puffs blowing in the wind.

Currently the following items need to be addressed before we can have our walk through as scheduled:

1.  Exterior house painted.  We are on the schedule for Wednesday/Thursday of this week of December 24 provided that the weather will allow it because it must be 50 degrees or higher to paint.  According to the the Washington, DC Metro area weather forecast this week, we are expecting rain and temperatures below 50 degrees.  It would be nice if the weather cooperates and shifts to warmer temperatures.   I really would love to see the door painted black along with the ivory pearl from the brick to grade and all the outside trim.  It would have been a nice gesture if the PM scheduled the painters while the painters were painting the house on LOT #52 since we were only a day apart or scheduled the painter when the weather was pleasantly warm the past couple of weeks.

******As of December 26 it is raining cats and dogs outside (no exterior painting will be done and the weather is calling for temperatures below 50 degrees****

2.  Installation of the OTR microwave and cook top.  

3.  Final paint of the interior home

4.  Interior railings stained to the same color as our espresso hardwood floors.

5.  Window in bedroom 2 needs to be replaced (it's cracked at the top)

6.  Installation of outside railings

7.  The PMs complete punch list completed

8.  Hepa system installed for the Central Vacuum System

9.  Receive Final Approval Letter from Ryan Homes

10.  Installation of large piece of slab missing from the floor to ceiling fireplace.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Dead Bolt Lock

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that we were officially locked out of our new home; however, we still had access whenever someone was working on our home.  Now that we are 19 days out from closing on our new dream home we were told that the locks have been changed and the only people with the keys to our home are the PM and the PM.  We have two PM's in our community.  This means that they will not authorize anyone access to the keys unless they open the door.  Each day the PM's make sure the locks are secured in the basement, the garage access door near (mud room) and the front door.  They will leave the garage door open only if they are expecting deliveries after business hours.  Our new home orientation is scheduled for Tuesday, January 8, 2013, at 10:00 am and our settlement is scheduled for Friday, January 11, 2013, at 11:00 am at which time we will receive our new, shiny three keys.  **If you have a basement expect to receive a set of three keys that are interchangeable with all three doors.  If you don't have a basement, expect a pair of keys for the front door and the mud room door.  Ohhh, if you have a basement that is in-ground that does not include a well way exit, expect two keys. 


I promised Henry and Elise that I would check out the neighborhood to see if I could find their Victoria Falls elevation that they are building.  Unfortunately, the Victoria Falls is not a part of our series for our community; yet, if someone requests the home RH will build it for them.  This home is directly next door to our Rome.  It is a Victoria Falls, Elevation D.   I love what they have done to the exterior.  They chose to combine the home with stone and brick which took several weeks to get approved through the county.  I know Henry and Elise are looking for a brick home with their elevation but I could not find their elevation after driving through our community.  

Thursday, December 20, 2012



Drove by the house today to take some exterior pictures because our PM said "we will be getting the last set of trees today for our landscaping".   I was hoping to get some evergreen or pine trees because they resemble Christmas trees.   To my surprise, we received three Holly Berry Christmas shaped trees that are absolutely gorgeous.  Not sure what the other tree is but I love the placement of each tree.   In the meantime, they added some more shrubbery that look like a pile of sticks strung together and appear taller that the others which I can not name in this moment.  It looks a little funky right now,  but I am sure when they blossom they will be beautiful.

Grass, Trees, Shrubbery and a House Number

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Three Pictures....Plus One More

Our Home Still Under Construction
Still waiting for the door to be painted black, the missing black shutters to be installed, the columns on the front porch to be painted dover white and the planting of the shrubbery and trees for our lot.
The trees you see in this picture are from my next door neighbor's lawn (Lot #27).

This is a picture of our kitchen from last week still under construction before the infamous backsplash GONE WRONG!! Please continue to share any ideas/suggestions/thoughts of what I can do to remove the backsplash GONE WRONG!!  You can see pictures on DWtimes 2 blog that she posted yesterday at:

This is a picture of the backsplash gone WRONG!!  This is absolute terror!!  It is a total eyesore!  My preference is too still have my tumbled stone backsplash.  I was told that to remove the backsplash would cause damage to the drywall and unfortunately, since this is my mistake, Ryan Homes will not even entertain the thought of allowing the tile company to change it before closing. I even called Lowe's and they won't do it because they do not remove backsplash (only install). I wish I knew how to do it myself because I would go pick up the supplies and start chipping away and install the color below:

This is the color I should have chosen--it's neutral and would go perfectly!  Yet I took a risk and made my first blunder as a new interior designer on the block!  The only thing I can say now is that RISK creates GROWTH!  Plus this is another opportunity to use my creative energy to resolve what appears to be a total nightmare!
 ***I deleted some pictures from my blog and was able to upload these pictures.  I still have the task before me to create more storage space.  My last paper will be written today and will allow me to create some time to devote to this blog***

Saturday, December 15, 2012


We are still making daily progress on our home.  Yesterday they cleaned the entire house and unveiled the carpet, hardwood, granite counter tops and it looks lovely with the appliances.  Today they placed the sod down without the trees which was weird because normally they grade the lot, plant the trees and than lay the sod.  I am still anxiously waiting to see what the tree placement and choices will be; however, it was a wonderful surprise to see the entire lot filled with grass.  

Later today, the workers came to install the back splash in the kitchen. The two tone kitchen with the Rushmore Maple Square Butterscotch cabinets and the Rushmore Maple Square Espresso gourmet island with the St. Cecilia granite looks absolutely beautiful together until the workers completed the back splash.  I came back to the house when they were just a few tiles away from completion and I gasped for air.  The back splash was installed with great skill and is awesome; BUT the color does not go with my palette.  I wish I had gotten there just an one or two earlier and would have stopped them from installing it. Part of the problem is that the granite and the back splash are competing against each other.  The colors are in both products but does not offer contrast. I really love the granite and called the tile company representative to discuss the colors and she assured me that the two would work together.  Well, it's a hot mess!!  I am so disappointed that it did not work out; however, I am happy to have taken the risk to think outside the box.  I have no idea what the outcome would be because I want it changed immediately.  I was told that it would be a messy job to remove the back splash because it would damage the walls.  I sent an email to our tile floor representative asking for suggestions/options because I know I can not live with the color as it is unless I change my entire theme to blend the colors.  It isn't so much that the colors are not in the same palette--it's just that when you look at the back splash you see a dark tone and the granite looks like it has swirls.  Honestly, it looks like a bad wardrobe combination.  I know our PM isn't going to allow for the tile to be replaced while under construction, but I am going to go for it anyway.  My dream kitchen became a disaster in a matter of hours.  If anyone has any information on how to replace the back splash or any other suggestions, please share.  In the meantime, the plan is to replace the back splash or change my entire interior design of the morning room, kitchen and family room which is not a bad idea because I do see the potential in making it work and I have already come up with some alternative designs.  I wish I could show you some pictures of the two tone kitchen because it's gorgeous; hopefully this weekend.  

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda....

Hey everyone!!  I have been taking a moment to peek at the blog posts and respond when I can because I have been so busy with finals this semester.  As I peeked, I noticed a recurring theme.  A theme that, I, too, have been entertaining on so many levels so I decided I get to nip this in the bud...TODAY and move forward.  It seems like they need a 12 Step Program for New Home Construction Builders because I realize I have agonized and gave importance to a few things and cried over other things and jumped for joyed for a lot of things.  Honestly, I guess this blog is that program because it gave us all the opportunity to share our ups and downs with so many people that we may never meet in person but have had the opportunity to connect with in this forum.  Hopefully, some of us will stay connected and not disappear as I have seen so many others do.  

Anyway, the intention of this blog is for everyone to take the opportunity to 
of what they shoulda, coulda, woulda have done had they known while building their new dream homes plus an opportunity to express an attitude of gratitude for the things they did get.  I thought this would be awesome because it could heal so many at one time and also support those people who will be building afterwards and use this post as a learning forum.  Simply just respond in the comment section with your list.

So here is my list:
 I should have made sure I understood the dynamics of picking the exterior colors of our home instead of being concerned that the meeting was becoming lengthy. 
I wish I could have picked the colors I really wanted in that meeting instead of regretting the colors that I have that I can't do anything about at this time.
I wish I would have stopped our SR and made sure I knew all the options for picking the exterior colors of our home based on the options I had with black shutters/doors because only I knew of one at the time that she pointed out but there were so many others.
I wish I could have picked the Stone Mountain Clay siding at that initial meeting for our siding color but when I found out the scheme wasn't what I wanted it was too late because you can't pick the color of the home to the left or right or across the street from your home.
I wish I could have submitted the metal ballisters as a non standard request but did not know I could have done so when we sat at the table the first day or any day after before the deadline.
I wish I could have submitted the 15 lite panel doors as a non standard request because I have learned they hang differently from the standard doors and now I must order the doors later but my new home will be altered because of it.
I wish I would have not listened to our SR when she said, just get the doors from Lowes instead of from us.  Big mistake!
I wish I would have submitted the non standard request to have the brick continue around the entire garage instead of listening to our SR and DH say don't worry about it.  Ugghh

Here is my what I am grateful for:
I am grateful to God for making this dream a reality.
I am grateful for building this new home that my husband and I get to move into as our "forever home" as empty nesters.
I am grateful for the support of Ryan Homes and their flexibility to do whatever it took to approve our loan to build this home.
I am grateful for building this new foundation with my husband of 13 years come February 28, 2013.
I am grateful for the perfect model and floor plan called the Rome to meet our needs and function according to our lifestyle.
I am grateful for so much livable square footage that the Rome offers and the lower price it cost us.
I am grateful for an excellent interest rate.
I am grateful that we survived the 6 month underwriting process. Wheww...that was rough!
I am grateful that I learned the true virtue of patience.
I am grateful for all the non standard requests that were approved for our home.
I am grateful to have a wonderful RH building team at Fairwood.
I am grateful that I was able to use my interior design vision to implement into the structure of the home.
I am grateful for our soon-to-be new neighbors we met and the opportunity to  to fellowship together once we move into the community.
I am grateful for having the opportunity to take advantage of the "Home of the Month" special for the lot and model we had chosen which gave us a total of 65K work of incentives.  
I am grateful that LOT#28  and the Rome model we had chosen were still available and came with these huge incentives when we  finally qualified in January which was the Home of the Month special.  Our timing was impeccable!! God is good!!
I am grateful for being able to drive by often to check on the status of our home on a daily basis because it's only 5 minutes away.
I am totally grateful for this blog because it was through this blog that I learned so much about the home building process.
I am grateful for the wonderful people I have met on this blog and the opportunity to share what I have learned and for others to share what they have learned--priceless!!!
I am grateful for God's provision for us to build our new home.
I am grateful for to put the things we did get can be implemented after settlement without no one telling us what we cannot do.  
I am grateful for having an attitude of gratitude for all the wonderful things we have in this new home to share with my DH, family and friends.
 I am grateful to have a new home to move into on January 11 with all the beautiful options/upgrades/non standard requests that we picked and to have the perfect floor plan called the Rome!

Lastly, I am grateful, in advance, for our settlement moving easily and effortlessly!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

So What's Going With LOT #28???? - Update!!!


In the meantime, I will take this opportunity to update you on the progress of the house:

1.  Our new home orientation (walk through) on Tuesday, January 8, 2013.
2.  Settlement on our new home on Friday, January 11, 2013.
3.  Locked in at an excellent rate of 3.25 %.
4.  Drywall completed weeks and weeks ago.
5.  The house is illuminated--we have electricity.
6.  The cabinets are installed; however, we are missing a couple of cabinets. missing cabinets came in TODAY! 12/12/12
7.  All bathrooms are complete with tubs, commodes, showers, granite sink tops, vanities, mirrors, lightening, shower surround, floor tile, faucets, etc.
8. Floor to Ceiling Fireplace installed, waiting on the large platform piece.
9.  Guardian work completed.
10.  Porch columns installed
11.  Garage post, front door post, recess porch lights, recess, sconces and floodlights installed.
12. 60/40 sink installed with kitchen faucet
13.  Espresso Hardwood Floors on entire main level installed.
14.  Carpet throughout home installed with exception of small storage room.
15.  All additional lightening fixtures installed including standard lightening.
16.  Exterior siding, louver and brick is installed, missing shutters on front porch
(I am not too crazy about our exterior colors, we discovered after the brick installation that the house sits SW which doesn't get the sun shining directly on the house and the red brick that I thought would pop is not popping  :-(   I am hoping once they install the missing porch black shutters and paint the columns and paint the door black it will make an impression on me).   All of the other shutters are installed.
17.  The trim throughout the entire house is installed and looks fabulous.
18.  The small storage room in the basement is finished (non standard request).
19.  The wet bar is installed with full set of cabinets on both sides with Ubatuba granite counter top.  The sink and recess lightening is installed too (comes with wet bar).
20.  The grading on the property is complete and expecting the sod.
21.  The initial painting was completed; however, they guys had to come back to patch various locations and will be repainting the last coat.  They showed up as I was leaving--12/12/12
22.  The driveway, crosswalk and porch are complete.  We have more than a 30 inch drop from the porch so we may be getting a railing.  They are bringing in more dirt and may try to give us a steep hill to avoid installing a railing.  According to code in the Maryland area, if the drop on the porch is higher or at 30 inches they are required by code to install it.  I really would like the railing for safety measures.
23.  The large unfinished storage room in the basement insulation and laundry hook ups installed.
24.  The laundry tub is installed in the basement.
25.  The whole house humidifier is installed.
26.  The sump pump and battery is in position.
27.  The house is painted with a platinum white which gives the walls in the house a two tone affect.
28.  Vent registers installed throughout the house.
29.  Deadbolts installed on all doors.
30.  Central Vacuum System installed
31.  We do have plumbing that works (forgot to add)
32.  We do have water of course too.
33.  I forgot to mention the St. Cecilia granite looks gorgeous on the island and cabinets.

Outstanding Items:
1.  The trim on the exterior needs to be a painted (door, columns etc.
2.  The house number installed.
3.  The sod installed (this week) YAY!
4.  Stainless steel appliances installed; namely the dishwasher, cooktop, double ovens, OTR microwave.  (The refrigerator that will be installed is a RH standard, we opted out of this feature and purchased a Samsung French door with APPS)!  YES!  I can't wait to use it.  Stopped by today and guest what I found the appliances installed.
5.  Final paint and clean up.   Paint job completed TODAY!
6.  Durango shelves removed and installed in desired location in guest bathroom.
7.  110V additional outlet removed and installed in desired location.
8.  Waiting for the correct kitchen cabinet above the microwave.
9.  Backsplash installation

**This will be my last week visiting the interior of the home.  I only plan to take pictures of the exterior which includes the completed landscaping.  If the shutters, doors are painted, I will take photos of them; but I don't think they will do that until later.  I am very anxious to see the landscaping completed and our tree placements.**

I will re-enter the home on Tuesday, January 8, 2013, at 10:00 am for our "REVEAL DAY." 

I want an element of surprise and I am sure whatever items we find from the new home orientation will go on a punch list to be completed before closing on Friday, January 11, 2013.  We have done a fantastic job being certain our non standard requests were met to my specifications from my daily visits to the home at least three times a day since we currently live only 5 minutes away.   Our PM has done a  fantastic job meeting our requests and continues to do so which is a blessing.

Monday, December 10, 2012

We are going out on TWO dates!!

It's official!!
  We received our letter from Ryan Homes 
for our new home orientation on 
Tuesday, January 8, 2013, at 10:00 am 
our settlement is scheduled for 
Friday, January 11, 2013, at 10:00 am

Sunday, December 9, 2012

......And Locked OUT!

We are officially locked out of our new home!  This means if we want to see our home we must check with the SR for the keys on the weekend.  This does not; however, stop me from stopping by during the week to check in on the progress of our home.  I will at some point stop going by the home the closer we get to our walk through.  I do want to experience an element of surprise for an official REVEAL DAY!  I will give an update on the progress of our home hopefully with pictures this time.

Friday, December 7, 2012


Guess WHAT?  
We locked in our interest rate at 3.25%!
What can I say, GOD is GOOD all the time!!!!

** I am not a DC native; however, my husband is a Washingtonian, but this was the only song I could find to celebrate the theme of locking in our rate, so for all you Washingtonians out there you can understand the excitement through this song the most since you were dancing off it while growing up in the District of Columbia :-) 
PS. I must keep using the videos for my blog until I can figure out how to create more storage space.  Don't have the time dedicate to resolving this issue until after final exams.
 I must remained focused on studying

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

WE GOT THE POWER! (And tips from bloggers on how to restore storage space)

 The lights were installed yesterday throughout the entire house including the garage post lights!  The Lamp Post Light! The Front Door Post Light!  The Floodlights!  The Morning Room outside post Lights! The Recess Porch Lights!
Today to my surprise the Electricity was powered UP!  
We definitely GOT  THE  POWER!!! 
The Illumination in the house is everywhere and looks fantastic!!


It feels so toasty on the inside of the house -- what a blessing?
I imagined what it would feel like with the fireplace burning on those cold winter nights because it was installed yesterday.  We chose the floor to ceiling fireplace and it looks awesome with the eyeballs above it (more lights)! YAY!
All the vents in the house were blowing warm which I am extremely happy about because it was difficult to enjoy all the progress in the COLD AND IN THE DARK!

The door bell is LIT up too and it works!!  
Just Awesome

***Sorry everyone no pictures to share!  I maxed out my google storage and have not figured out what to do just yet without paying for the additional storage space per month.  Plus if I were to delete pictures from my blog it would delete them permanently and mess up my plan to incorporate my blog into a book. Any suggestions??

Friday, November 30, 2012

I have been hoodwinked, bamboozled......

**this is a long read but worth reading and will save you lots of stress**
plus my first RANT

Someone mentioned to me that she was looking for some information on my blog regarding the pre-drywall meeting.  So I am taking this opportunity to share what my experience has been and what some of you, actually most of you, need and may want to be aware of while building your home with the specific selections, upgrades and options you may or may not have chosen.

First, we did not have a formal drywall meeting because we had many mini meetings in between to discuss the different options in our home so it wasn't necessary to have a formal pre drywall meeting. We just kept it moving!

Second, let me urge each of you to schedule another meeting with your SR after you sign the purchase agreement to discuss all the details of the selections you chose for your home.  This meeting will be much shorter than your first meeting if you follow the next step.  Take the selection sheet home and thoroughly go over each item because 99% of the time most new homeowners will discover options that they are unaware of and this gives you the opportunity to make adjustments to your options and stay within budget.  Plus most homeowners are not privy to this selection sheet until after they complete the purchase agreement so it's impossible to know all the options available for your model/floor plan until you walk out with a big grin on your face with your purchase agreement in hand.

Third, Schedule another meeting and go over ALL your paper work and change orders to be sure that your paper work is reflecting the paperwork of your Sales Representatives including your paper work from Guardian and the flooring company. Be sure to get copies of your Guardian options and flooring options and over go that paper work line by line and verify the prices you are being charged for each item you selected.  DO NOT BE SHY ABOUT ASKING FOR A MEETING-- IT IS CRUCIAL TO YOUR NEW HOME OR YOU WILL BE TOLD, SORRY WE CAN NOT CHANGE THAT OR SORRY I NEVER TOLD YOU THAT OR YOU WILL DISCOVER THAT YOU OVER PAID FOR SOME OF YOUR OPTIONS.  ***BE SURE TO HAVE THIS MEETING WITHIN YOUR TWO WEEK DEADLINE PERIOD WHICH MEANS SCHEDULING ALL YOUR APPOINTMENTS WITH ALL THE VENDORS ASAP OR YOU MAY BE TOLD, SORRY IT'S TOO LATE.

Fourth, record in a notebook/journal all the discussions you have with your building team and record the date and time.  Be sure to verify the information with them to be certain you are only recording facts and not your interpretation before you record your notes.  After your conversation, back it up with an confirmation mail to cover your assets. Do not be shy about recording your notes in the meeting, you do not want to rely on your memory once you get home.

Fifth, If you follow these steps you should show up to your pre construction meeting with very little concerns because you checked your list and you checked it twice with your SR.  Bring your back up material to your pre construction meeting.  AND, be sure to go over every detail with your PM at this meeting too.  AND, yes, take notes in this meeting too.  Record everything in your journal even if it feels unnecessary.

Sixth, If you requested and were approved for any non standard customizations again, keep records and discuss with your SR detail for detail your non standard request and do the same with your PM before they start your build.  Also, ask for a copy of the customizations approval list from the costing/pricing department during this meeting to include in your records along with a copy of the change order until the official change order copy is returned with signatures in the mail.  Be sure to be very specific in your non standard request and ask for clarification from your SR to be sure it is going on your change order according to your specifics.  It is easy for your non standard request to be misinterpreted. Be sure your PM understands your request and don't forget to bring copies of pictures to provide to your PM for his clarification of your request.   

Seventh,  For all non - standard requests provide pictures, measurements, and if necessary, provide     the name of the company, your point of contact, phone numbers, address etc if you are working with a company outside of RH to expedite your request.  If it is a RH product that RH does not offer as an option, contact the vendor to verify that the product is available in their warehouse to request as a non standard request to provide to your SR.  Do your research before presenting your request so that you are prepared and to increase the chances of getting your non standard request approved.  If your non standard request is denied, ask what are they willing to do to meet you half way to have the non standard approved.  I have seen some very unusual requests that RH has approved for customers on this blog that I was shocked to see approved because I have been consistently told that RH is not a customer builder; however, these requests were approved. 

Eight, Keep all your documentation for NVR on a thumb drive for both you and your spouse, in a folder in your email box for easy access from your smart phone when asked to provide the same documentation, once, twice and maybe even a third or fourth time.  Go to your human resources department and/or immediate supervisor and alert them of your home purchase and to expect a call for verification of employment at different stages and better yet, get an official (notarized) employee verification letter a week or two before your walk through and also have all documentation in a binder with you at all times.

Nine, check on your home as often as possible to catch any mishaps.  It is much easier for your PM to make the changes sooner rather than later.  If possible, ask a friend or two to check on your home if you are not able too because the mishaps will happen.  For instance, my cabinets were installed the other day and some of the doors are not aligned, the wrong cabinet product was delivered, the wrong brick color was delivered even though my change order reflects the correct colors, etc.  If you discover an item isn't reflected on your change order chances are they will tell you it's too late.  Check all your supplies to be sure they reflect the colors you chose.  I caught the brick layers just in time before they installed the wrong brick color and the guy told me he was mixing the two styles of brick together because he thought that is what we ordered.  We had one stack of the right color and three stacks of the wrong color.  Imagine the set back it would have caused and luckily it was reflected on our change order.

Lastly, I hope this information supports you in your building journey and to at least prevent some of the common pitfalls throughout your build.  It will not in any way guarantee any mistakes from occurring but it will definitely reduce some of them.  I have had some very interesting mishaps over the past few weeks that made me feel highly discouraged and honestly, at the highest level of pissosity because I was misinformed by my SR that an option in the Rome was standard and when I discovered it wasn't there my SR rescinded what she told me.  If I had known otherwise, I would have submitted it as a non standard request several months ago while we waited six months for approval.  I feel hoodwinked and bamboozled because they did nothing to accommodate the miscommunication except tell me in so many words they were not going to do anything about it and they accommodated several requests that we are paying our money have these customs built into our home.   The bottom line for me is that regardless of the number of requests we submitted it has nothing to do with this issue.  I WAS MISINFORMED. PERIOD.  They suggested that I had several customs and they accommodated most of them and I should be happy about that which I am but DO NOT suggest to me that there is nothing that can be done to keep me a satisfied customer.  If RH has a cap on the number of upgrades, selections/options, and customizations that a family can choose to build their home it should be stated and have each family sign a form stating such.  As far as I am concerned, I do not see a limit of the customizations, selections, or upgrades in their model homes.  I have discovered that as much as your SR/PM/RH/LO would love for you to be in your dream home and will go to bat to see it through the key thing ALL new home builders need to know is cover your assets because they are definitely covering theirs; because at the end of the day--IT'S BUSINESS.  SO TREAT THIS EXPERIENCE AS YOUR NEW HOME START UP BUSINESS THAT YOU ARE PURCHASING AND WILL BE PAYING FOR FOR THE NEXT 15/30 YEARS.  DO NOT BE SHY OR FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE FOR ASKING FOR WHAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO HAVE IN YOUR HOME OR ANY QUESTIONS THAT YOU MAY HAVE ABOUT YOUR HOME. IF YOU HAVE THE QUESTIONS--ASK. NO QUESTION IS TOO DUMB TO ASK FOR SUCH A CRUCIAL PROJECT BECAUSE ONCE THE WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY CLOSES, THEY WILL UTTER THE WORDS, SORRY WE CAN'T DO THAT OR YOU CAN ADD THAT LATER AFTER YOU SETTLE!



Monday, November 26, 2012

Scripturally Speaking.....

One of the many blessings of building a house is having God's blessing on your home.  As for me and my house we shall serve the Lord at all times because and we are eternally grateful for such a time as this to build a home especially with such wonderful LOW interest rates.  With this in mind, I decided to cover our home with scriptures in each room along with some other positive affirmations. I saw a couple of bloggers inscribing scriptures in the wet cement which is a great idea and I saw a fellow blogger Stark Ravin Ravenna (Emrose) who wrote scriptures on the frames before the drywall and decided to follow her lead and took it a step further.  Both husband and I are reading this fantastic book called "Renovating Your Marriage Room by Room" which speaks to using the eight bricks to enhance, improve or rebuild the foundation of your marriage.  I took the eight bricks and recorded them throughout our home too.  The Bricks are:

Brick #1 - Nurturance - constantly pump new energy, new life daily
Brick #2 - Honor - see your spouse as God sees them, see their goodness
Brick #3 - Encouragement - daily say one encouraging word or practice an act of kindness
Brick #4 - Acceptance - love your spouse for who they are, NOT who you want them to BE
Brick #5 - Grace - love without demanding changes in your spouse, we all make mistakes
Brick #6 - Truth - always remember the truth of God's word
Brick #7 - Humility - think more of your spouse and less of yourself (this is powerful)
Brick #8 - Commitment - Song of Songs 2:16 "My beloved is mine and I am his" (remain loyal)

I have to admit since the Rome is large it did take some time to cover all 21 rooms of the house; however, both my husband and I enjoyed the experience.  I took pictures of all the locations and it's interesting because as I walk through the house I can remember the scripture behind the drywall.  For instance, as we walk up to the second level, it is inscribed on the wall in huge letters, BRICK #8 COMMITMENT and a scripture beside it.  I later went back to the house and put additional scriptures in  each room.  Should you desire to partake in this wonderful experience you can use one scripture, blessing or affirmation for each room and use scriptures that speak to the space of the room.  For instance, the grandchildren's bedroom have scriptures about children etc.  Of course, it is not necessary to record as many scriptures as I did; however one per room will suffice.  Enjoy placing a hedge of protection around your home. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

You Can Get With This...

I decided to do this post because I understand the difference it made for me as I began to choose my selections/upgrades/customizations for our home.  This was not an easy task with some options. In order to know every selection for your floor plan you must study the selection sheet which most people do not have the time to do and/or are unaware of the selection sheet.  There are a variety of selections/upgrades to choose from and what about those non standard customizations we know that we want before we start building.  Bottom line, the the challenge when building your first home is knowing what to ask for from a selection sheet that you may not be aware of when you sit down to develop your house on paper.  It is a lot to cover and and a budget that most want to adhere too.  After you sign the purchase agreement, you are in possession of the selection sheet that some people take home and study like a hawk and others don't take another peek (they just want the house built).  We are given typically two weeks to make any changes. Not much time right?  My intention for this post is to share a few things I discovered along the way that can make a big impact on your home.  Some can be changed others you are stuck with.  

There so many to choose from but check out WHETHER OR NOT YOU CAN GET WITH THIS OR YOU CAN GET WITH THAT!  The information below will support you in making up your mind. The choices are always personal to what your family wants, needs and desires are and can never be compared to anyone else.  So continue to make the choice that best fits you.  The choices in this post are coming from many bloggers who knew beforehand or found out afterwards when it was too late.  Again, I can not cover them all because I will be here for the next few days; however, here are a few:

This bathroom is under construction which is why you do not see the soap dish.  Consider whether or not you want your designer ceramic surround installed in your bathrooms with this towel bar directly above your listello.  The towel bar/soap dish do not match the materials of your designer ceramic. I took the picture and discussed this with our Tile Floor Representative to be sure they did not include these in the guest or master bathroom.  

Close Up Views

Another bathroom under construction; however, this homeowner chose to use the traditional 6*6 ceramic tile and kept both towel bar/soap dish which matches perfectly since they are made from the same materials.
  Our basement bathroom has this same tile and I kept the towel bar/soap dish; again, because they are made with the same materials and pleasing to the eye.

I was absolutely clear that I did not want to have the traditional towel bar/soap dish attached to my designer ceramic so I have two of the corner durango marble shelves installed in the showers of both guest and master bathroom. 
Each durango marble shelf in our community cost $100 each.  They also have a ceramic corner shelf that will cost you $50.  I do have a picture of it and the ceramic corner shelf has two lips on the edges that flip upwards.  They will serve the purpose--just be careful that the color matches up with your bathroom tile.

If you want to take your bathrooms to a whole another level try this option:  Seamless Showers (Pretty) and be sure to not disrupt the beauty of the shower with those traditional towel bar/soap dish that you see in this picture (unless of course, if that is your choice).  I love this idea and it looks fabulous.  If you want to read more about a fellow blogger named DWTimes2 check it out here she was able to get this non standard request approved.  We plan to install one after settlement because they really give the bathroom a beautiful face lift.


When we first visited to determine our qualification, our SR immediately asked me did I want capped walls or balusters.  I had no clue what she was talking about. lol  I chose the balusters and was grateful that she mentioned such an important detail.  A few months later, when it was time to purchase, we discovered and were blessed to be chosen for the ROME HOME of the MONTH Special and received the balusters along with ALL the other incentives.  WOW!  It was unbelievable!!  Once we signed the official purchase agreement the cost for the balusters were deleted because of the ROME of the MONTH special. YAY!
Uncapped Walls

Laundry upstairs

Laundry downstairs in Basement

 I chose the laundry downstairs in the basement because I am ole school when it comes to doing laundry.   The laundry room upstairs was way too small for the dryer steam system that we own. Even though this had nothing to do with my decision--I later found out from Sgt Rich blog that the laundry upstairs rattles the entire house when doing laundry.  Please refer to his blog before you make your decision.  I was so pleased that I made the choice I made because his findings were interesting.  He gives you some advice on how to remedy this problem if you have it or what you can do to prevent it.  Check him out here:

Friday, November 16, 2012


After the excitement of breaking ground and watching the framing of your house being built it appears as if nothing is happening.  Yet, to the contrary much is happening--your house is still being built.  Even when you cannot enter the house due to the rules and regulations that Ryan Homes wants the home owners to adhere to for safety reasons and beyond--again, there is still a lot of framing going on the inside of your home.  When you are finally able to walk inside your home for the very first time the excitement builds up again and shortly thereafter, AGAIN--it appears as if nothing is going on.  Let me repeat that---yet, to the contrary much is going on!  I call this the "bone of my bones" stage where all the internal aspects of your house is being put together.  

Monday, November 12, 2012

AND the refrigerator we chose is.........

Isn't she lovely!
The door handles go perfectly with the other kitchen appliances!

Love the Space!!
The perfect amount for both my husband and I!
Some people have complained that the ice box takes up some of the cubic feet on the top level; however, it's perfect for us!
I love the Flex Draw (middle draw) for our grandchildren to grab their snacks!  The possibilities are unlimited with the flex draw!

There are several fun APPS installed that are user friendly!  Calendar, Pandora, Weather, Twitter, Photo Album, Memos, Recipe/Cookbook App and a host of others

We chose this French Door Refrigerator for several reasons after doing much research around our personal preferences, needs, wants and desires:

1.  I have always wanted a larger fridge to manage food temperature for the variety of foods I store.
2.  In choosing a larger refrigerator the french door was most attractive to me and for some reason the side by side fridge never struck my fancy.
3.  When I discovered the Samsung with Apps, I was struck by the technology since I love gadgets and the unlimited possibilities of fun that both my husband and I get to have with the Apps application.
4.  The Samsung comes with the extra Flex Drawer giving us four doors instead of three.   I also love that our grandchildren will have easy access to the snacks stored in the Flex Drawer that Grandma keeps on hand for them when they visit.
5.  The Samsung has the gray sides instead of the black which would not interrupt the interior design in the kitchen.
6.  The Samsung's 28 cubic feet was just the right amount of storage space because my husband and I will be the daily consumers.
7.  The Samsung's door handles are very very close in design to our other appliances which doesn't give it that choppy look and feel.
8.  We did fall in love with the LG 31 cubic feet especially with the two way door which was fabulous; however, we had to deduce to what would work and what wouldn't work and the LGs structure and design conflicted with our other appliances.
9.  The Samsung's stainless steel match the other appliances perfectly; again, keeping with the uniformity in the interior design.
10.  We have a fabulous family member who will hook the refrigerator's wifi system up correctly to avoid the issues some people have mentioned with the wifi.  He is a manic geek with an IT degree and IT business which gives us great confidence with the hook up structure.
11.  The Samsung was on sale at the time of purchase and we got an excellent deal including several hundred dollars in rewards for a future purchase.  We have the best buy rewards that gives you a percentage of your dollars back from all your purchases which is sweet!!
12.  There are a host of other benefits and features that you can find on a fellow bloggers post Maria at who picked the same fridge.  She provided those details for your reading pleasure.  Check it out!
13.  Lastly, Best Buy was willing to delay delivery of our refrigerator without additional fees.

 AND, the refrigerator is just adorable and I can't wait to use it.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Central Vacuum & Crumb Catcher

For those of you who have the Central Vacuum System, can you tell me whether or not you find it beneficial to use on hardwood flooring?  We were told that we need additional inlets because we change the configuration of the Rome floor plan.  The system comes with at least 7 inlets and beyond that you must purchase them, if necessary.  We are not interested in paying any additional money for inlets that we may never use for the hardwood flooring which will be installed on the entire main level. Please share your feedback/experience.  Thank you!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I am so WIRED!! (Thursday)

Literally and figuratively, I am so wired!!!! 

We met with both PMs today to cover all of our 65 wiring selections!!  This was another looooonnnnng meeting!  We met for approximately 3 1/2 - 4 hours.  

LOL  We look wired, too!!
So not only am I wired with excitement--I am tired and cold!!  We had to take a 30 minute break so I could warm up in the truck.  The best part about all of this:  Our house should be WIRED UP by tomorrow!  They had a bunch of workers onsite to complete the wiring, so I would not be surprised if they do finish today.  They tend to work beyond their regular shifts until the work is complete.  However, since it is a lot of wiring it may take an additional day which is what our PM told us at our pre construction meeting.  Today is class, so I won't be able to stop by to see if they will be finished this evening.  However, I am sure when I show up for my daily drive by tomorrow morning the work will be complete!  YAY!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

She's a BRICK..HOUSE!! (Tuesday)

When I arrived to the lot on my way to class I was totally surprised!  The guys were laying the BRICK!

*****wait a second, is that a liquor bottle, don't tell me these guys are drinking on the freaking job!! I just noticed this!!!*****
Somebody, please tell me that is NOT what I think I SEE!

Need to stop by when I get a chance to see the finished product. My visits have been less over the pass few days -- school work is calling my name.  They had a combination of two styles of brick color!  Glad I caught it because I wasn't going to stop by and glad I changed my mind.  It would have been horrible to see brick on our house that we did not choose!!