Saturday, June 29, 2013

And the work begins!

In June we had our pre-construction meeting with our Project Manager, Dave. He seems very competent, very easy to talk to and very calm...all qualities I appreciate in the man directing the building of your home.

He explained the layout of our lot, which being on the side of the cul-de-sac makes it a little funky to understand b/c they turn the house to face the curve of the street. What it means it our backyard will be bigger on the left side rather than being uniform across the back. We've been brainstorming different ideas with decks that I think will be really cool.

I do have pics of the groundbreaking but they are still on my phone and not terribly exciting. Interesting though that they hit a TON of rock when they started digging. Apparently we are getting quite the deal on that as it was no minor extra expense to have to break up 4 feet of rock. My husband calls it our Biblical house... as in the Biblical command to build your house on rock. ;)

The view from the back of our house - a view that soon will never be again, ha ha.

This the view from our driveway into the cul-de-sac where our children spent almost an hour tonight running around with the half dozen other little ones who were out playing. I think our 4 1/2-year-old was the oldest one! It was awesome. We can't wait to live around people our age with kids. Our current street is filled with perfectly nice people, but no kids and no one in our similar stage of life. We can't wait to sit on our front porch and watch the kids ride bikes in the cul-de-sac. One neighbor told us they could see the township fireworks just over the center of this pic...meaning...we should have a great porch view of them. If you're not from Pittsburgh...let me just tell you, this is a big deal. Fireworks. From your front porch.

Our lumber!! Framing was supposed to start this past week but we had severe thunderstorms every day. Ergh.

View of the left side of our back yard, which will be the larger portion, due to the way we are angled to face the cul-de-sac.

The husband looking at the basement walls below what will be the morning room. It was just a gorgeous day out.

The mandated egress window in the basement.

Walking up to the back of the house.

Looking at the basement layout.

Checking plumbing location in basement - he has some questions for the PM.

The girls' bathroom tub/surround.

Master bath with the non-standard but not luxury bathtub...i.e. it's a larger tub than the standard one but we opted not to do the luxury owner's's just not us.

View from the street of the poured walls of the basement, utilities that went in and our windows.

View of garage and basement


Oakmont Model Home Pics

The next thing we seemed to do was visit the nearby Oakmont model home and discuss ideas and how we would arrange things, etc. Luckily, the model is only about 5 minutes from our current house. I actually liked the decorating style MUCH more in the Naples model in our actual development than in this model, but at least you get the layout. My apologies that all of these are just iphone pics, so they pretty much blow.

View from kitchen into family room on left and morning room on right. We are doing the morning room and the 4 foot extension on the family room. We are *not* doing a fireplace so we will have extra windows included in our extension. We also changed our minds at the end and went down to a regular size island so we can have that area open for a dinette table. We purposely don't want the morning room to just be another dining room so we are going to try it this way. I might decide I just want the whole area open and move the table, but we'll see.

The model has the morning room set up with a dining table.

The first floor powder room.

The master bedroom from the bathroom side. It was pretty much impossible to get all in one shot. No panoramic on my iPhone4 :)

Shot from front door into formal dining room. We did not go for the bay window or the extra trim. We'll do the crown molding ourselves. My husband did it in our current house and got pretty darn good at it. I'll hire him out ;)

View from front door of foyer, hall closet and study. We did do the study option with the glass French doors.

Bedroom 2 or 3, I can't remember. Our girls will share the big bedroom at least initially.

The other big bedroom, which will be our guest room at least for the next few years.

The smaller 4th bedroom. We are doing the 4 bedroom option with the closed foyer upstairs. This will probably be a playroom.

Upstairs hall closet outside of the girls' bathroom.

Main hall bath that our girls will share.

What the closed foyer, 4 bedroom looks like at top of stairs. Master is on the right.

Formal dining room again

Inside of the study

The large, lovely pantry in the kitchen. The laundry room is to the left. The dining room to the right.

View from kitchen to front door.

View from family room to kitchen/morning room.

Other side of kitchen - door to basement to the right of the refrigerator.

Choices, choices and more choices

If memory serves, the next thing that happened was that whirlwind two weeks of option selections and meetings and more meetings. My husband handled most of the Guardian meeting himself because, well, I really didn't care and the cost of hiring babysitters for all of these meetings was getting a bit ridiculous.

At Rusmur Floors, it was finally my turn. I went in wanting Espresso cabinets with the Hickory flooring, although I was a little hesitant that the contrast might have been too bold for me. Turns out Hickory was also way expensive and since we wanted hardwood on the entire first floor... we ruled out Hickory. The rest of my thought process went like this... we love dark wood furniture and already have a lot of it so that combined with having a dog and little kids, I didn't think we should go with dark espresso floors as well. That left some sort of complementary shade for the floor. I really disliked red hardwoods and really like hardwoods that show the natural shading of the wood. So with the help of the awesome Rusmur rep, we went with this shade. I rarely see it on any Ryan blogs, so every once in awhile I still kind of second guess myself. But then I walk myself through our reasoning again and feel better. I would have loved to go with the Level 3 widest width boards, but again, budget ruled, so we have the narrow planks.

We are going with the laminate countertop on the left (of the sample cards) in the picture for the kitchen with the plan to put in Quartz counters ourselves in the next few years. We preferred the Quartz to granite and Ryan no longer offers anything but laminate, hi-def laminate and granite.

Counter clockwise from bottom left - vinyl floor for laundry room, Hardwood floor for entire first floor with the exception of the family room, Espresso cabinets in the kitchen and master bath, laminate counter in kitchen, the greyish-white tile is the master bath tile, the Ebony stain is the stairway railing stain, the Cognac cabinet in the girls' bathroom, the warmer colored tile is for the girls' bathroom and the carpet (Sweet Tea Intuitive) is for the family room and all of the bedrooms upstairs.

Another choice I don't see much on blogs - we went with black appliances. First, we don't really like the stainless and fear fingerprints. Also, on the pictures I did find, the black appliances seemed to blend right in to the Espresso cabinets and kind of disappear. I liked that. I did go for the gas range with the extra burner b/c I have dreams of buying a grill pan to set on the middle.

The last selections we made were exterior, and limited, of course, by the choices of our neighbors directly across from us and two to the right. (Two to the left are unsold.) We went with graphite gray siding, white trim and navy blue shutters. Our front door was called Outerspace, which really was a sort of navy. We are doing stone to grade, which I love and due to our integral, front-entry garage, we are getting a whole lot of it for the money.

Overall, I was very happy with the exterior choices - I definitely wanted gray and really hoped for stone accent somewhere. We selected Elevation A for the Oakmont because the full front porch was a must have for us. You can only do the full front on the first elevation.

Making It Official

I'm starting this blog a little late to the game, admittedly, so I will attempt to catch up to the present over a couple of posts.

A year ago, we came close to buying 1+ acres of raw land and building on our own from scratch. When the seller decided not to sell, we spent months and months scouring real estate listings for an existing home to meet our needs. What needs? We are currently a family of 4 in our 1,000 sq foot (and that's being generous), 1 bathroom home. When we were a newly married couple, that was awesome. Now when 2 adults and 2 small girls are all trying to use the toilet at the exact same time, it's um, not as awesome.

So we looked. And looked. And installed the Trulia and Zillow apps on our phones and then deleted them b/c they were so annoying. Until one day, a coworker told us about the Ryan Homes plan they just moved into that was in the geographical area where we were searching (close to husband's new office and close to our church.)

From that recommendation, things seemed to go FAST. We were pleasantly surprised to find that Ryan's Oakmont layout was very similar to the Virginian plan we almost went with when we were going to build on our own through Heartland. So days later, we were signing papers and plunking down that first big check.

It took a few weeks (sorry potential lot buyers for letting you think it was available) to get out to the site and hang out sign, but we finally did in late April/early May.

Our 2-year-old was happy to play around in the dirt, but our diva 4-year-old thought the whole experience was miserable.

So, we just took turns taking our picture with the happy kid. And the dog. She's always happy to be along for the ride.

No, we aren't building in the desert as a FB friend asked me. It's just hilly as heck southwestern PA.