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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Know Your Numbers

For anyone going through this process of a new home, it is an exciting time for sure. We have one recommendation and that is that you need to keep track of the changing numbers from the initial meeting from all the options you may choose, to flooring, guardian, any custom work you are contemplating... Also, ask detail about the appliance packages and any differences between the standard package and upgrade since the standard most likely includes a slide-in stove and if you want a cooktop then you could be out of luck..know your numbers because you can get lost in all the changes and additions, and always push to have the sales rep to give you the net sales price not just the gross.. Truth be told,  the more you know your net number the better you are in tracking to the right number you really need to know.  

Monday, January 26, 2015

Exterior Selections

Ravenna Elevation M Cottage Style 

Above are from the model home. We chose different colors. Our Selections in a reverse plan as above will be: 

Siding: Sandy Tan
Shaker siding (at peak above garage & at 1 bedroom): Pebble Clay
Stone: Mountain Fieldstone
Shutters: Black
Metal Roof: Dark Bronze
Door: Fiery Brown (looks like a dark red) 
Trim: White

Not the best raw images of our selections (Pebble Clay shaker color wasn't available at our community for pictures) 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Another Cry for Help...Stoned!!!


After writing my initial post about stone selection, we drove to another RH neighborhood about 25 min away to look for Fieldstone Shade Mountain & Cut Cobblestone in Autumn. Unfortunately, the Cut Cobble wasn't available in the community as a choice so we are hoping our SR can get us a picture of this on a real house when we make our selections tomorrow. 

However, we were pleasantly surprised with the Fieldstone Shade Mountain. We found it on many homes within this particular community. For some reason, no one has used it yet in our community. I have a feeling it's because the sample in the model shows it to being an all grey fieldstone. Not a lot of variety in color. BUT...this is WAY off the sample then seeing it in person. We think it will look great with our Sandy Tan siding & Pebble Clay shaker siding & black shutters.  Still waiting to see if we can get the Bucks County stone in my vision house, from fellow blogger, Melissa, but if not, then we will agree with Fieldstone Shade Mountain. Below are some images of this stone if others are trying to search for it. It's actually quite nice!! Looks are totally deceiving from those 12x12 samples! 

Fieldstone Shade Mtn (left) & Cut Cobble Autumn (right)
Bucks County stone on the bottom house

Two houses with Fieldstone Shade Mountain (do these look like the same stone as above left??! We really thought it would be much more grey tones.)

We are ***almost*** sure of our siding and shaker siding for the house. BUT... We can't really find a stone we really like OR we can't find what it will actually look like on a house! I've been looking at people's blogs and really like the Bucks County stone but it isn't offered in our community. Our choices are:

1) Fieldstone Shade Mountain
2) Cut Cobble Lehighton
3) Cut Cobble Autumn
4) Ridgestone Chardonnay
5) Shadow Ledgestone Buckingham

We are trying to steer away from the stones that seem to have a lot of reds or greens in them (#2, 4,& 5 seem to have these just from looking at the samples). 

If anyone reading this can post a picture of Fieldstone Shade Mountain or Cut Cobble Autumn I'd greatly appreciate it. Here are the Ply Gem images but I really want to see them on actual houses & can't find any on-line.



We are trying to determine which stone will compliment our exterior colors best. As of now, after griping about no selection for darker green or slate blue exterior siding, we are now leaning towards a traditional style house with Sandy Tan siding & Pebble Clay shaker siding, black shutters, white trim, and a dark red door... oh, we will also have a metal roof with the Ravenna M Elevation (likely black or the black/bronze). I suppose we are a little nervous going with Irish Thistle or Spanish Olive as exterior choices for fear in years to come that these colors will look dated & we'll need to replace it. We are pretty secure on our decision now but, of course, things could change in the coming days. ;-) 

Below are the colors together that we like as I mentioned. It's a different elevation but you get the concept of the traditional colors we are thinking about to tie it all together & unfortunately the stone is not available...So anyone please help find real-life examples of the stones I am seeking!! :-)))

Finally Putting Our Stamp on the Lot!! :)))

It's official!! Felt like Christmas morning today for us!! 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Our Guardian Meeting

Had our meeting with Guardian tonight. Tried to keep it short & sweet...the guy was trying hard to sell my husband on the security system. Not gonna happen. We currently have one & never use it & if we chose to, we will transfer from our current system. 

Here's what we got in a nut shell. The price, as of tonight, $820. But this will likely change tomorrow as we need to finalize things. We got NO bells or whistles...I was hoping hubby would come home & surprise me with a speaker system but he's MUCH better at knowing our limits than I am. Haha! :-)

* Standard outlet package : 2 cable; 2 phone (but we swapped out 1 phone for an additional cable outlet) 

* 4 Ethernet outlets (one for each bedroom) that way we aren't using as much wireless capacity. I think we may remove 2 of these. 

* Over-the-fireplace cable/Ethernet/HDMI/cat5 (cable is behind the wall installation). 

Our next step (ASAP) is to really find out how much our cable company will charge us to relocate the cable box to another room (ie closet) so we see no wires/box. Guardian wanted to charge $1000 for re-routing the cable to the pantry closet & to have the IR to RF to IR remote control kit. 

Did others use Guardian to do the relo or your cable provider? Any tips? 

Also, has anyone had any luck paying Guardian out of pocket rather than rolling this into your mortgage? How did you get approval? We'd rather pay out of pocket. 

** On a side note, we couldn't get a cable outlet placed outside. We eventually want to have an entertainment outdoor space. Just an FYI to those looking to do this. Guardian will not do this for you. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Me again... Stone facade question...

Me again Bloggers....

As I was browsing the internet looking for our exterior color pallet and stone choices, I came across RH that had their stone facade wrapped around the side and rear of their homes. But then as I searched more, I also saw some RH that did not have this. question for today is, is the facade wrap-around standard for the house or not? And if not, how is this an option for other communities and did any of you have a choice to add it if it was a custom add-on? 

I'm crossing my fingers it's standard to have it wrapped-around because we have a walk-out basement lot and I despise having to look at the awful cement at the base of the house!! 

WRAP-AROUND FACADE (Tell me this isn't gorgeous!):


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Anyone Know of a Tool to Review Exterior Colors?

So I stumbled across a blog from someone who built their Ryan Home back in 2012. It was mentioned in their blog that they used a picture of their elevation & a tool to look at the exterior choices. 

Anyone know where I can find this tool???!! Is it an on-line app? Please help. We are supposed to decide on our exterior choices within the next week. Thank you!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Update on Exterior Siding and Shaker Siding Choices

I'm not too happy to report that our community has VERY little selection and no option for darker exterior colors. Pretty bummed. All the pictures on Google show beautiful blues, greens, and even darker tans. Not available in our community. We get 9 choices of siding and shaker colors (4 of which are in the cream/white hues!!!). I guess they want everyone to look almost the same... Ughhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!! :-(((((((

1.Classic Cream:
2.Dover White
3.Graphite Gray
4.Irish Thistle
5.Island Pearl
6.Natural Almond
7.Sandy Tan
8. Silver Mist
9.Spanish Olive

This was what I was trying to achieve (bottom picture). I can't even get a darker tan than the top picture (that IS the darkest!) Now what!!????

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Pictures of our Selections

* The study/playroom is actually a carpet but it's called "Venetian Tile"
(we chose to upgrade from standard in here since Grade B's scotch-guard is better. It's actually on the fibers (not just on the surface like Grade A) so stains are easier to pick up/remove and won't soak through to the pad. 

* Vanity top in Sandstone
* Bathroom floor in Stratford Place - Truffle Field (C) in an upgraded diagonal placement 
* Shower wall tile in Stratford Place - Truffle Field (C) in an upgraded horizontal off-set placement
* Shower rustic stone accent in Stratford Place - Universal Accent (C)

* Kids vanity top with be double bowl and the color is Santa Cecelia Light. We are told the batches coming in are extremely lighter than they have been in the past. So I'm guessing it will be lighter than what the picture shows. 

Master Selection Sheet


- Elevation M cottage style
- Stone facade to replace brick facade (custom request required)
- Sandy Tan siding
- Pebble Clay shaker siding
- Mountain Fieldstone stone facade
- Black shutters
- Fiery Brown door (dark red)
- White trim 


- Morning Room (incentive)
- Extra Windows in Morning Room
- Double patio door in MR (standard)
- Kitchen cabinet upgrade 2 (Rushmore Hazelnut Glaze)
- Kitchen cabinet crown moulding
- Kitchen granite countertop upgrade 2 (New Venetian Gold) *I was disappointed b/c I was hoping we could downgrade & save $ by going with upgrade1 Santa Cecelia Light instead, but after talking with the flooring rep she mentioned it's coming in batches that are Really light. I wanted a little pop of the granite so not to be "too" matchy with the cabinets. So we stuck with  New Venetian Gold. 
- Kitchen gourmet island with additional granite hang-over to seat 3 instead of 2 (custom request required)
- Kitchen tile backsplash (Upgrade C: EV98 Terrace Beige in Brick Joint)
- 2 gourmet island pendant light rough-ins (custom request required)
- Recessed lights optional in kitchen
- Ceiling rough-in in for chandelier in morning room
- Kitchen cabinet/Bathrooms hardware
- Kitchen faucet upgrade 2 in Delta Leland Bronze
- Cooktop gas hook-up
- Stainless steel appliances with gas cooktop burners 

- Finished basement (incentive)
- Walk-out basement lot
- Double basement patio door (incentive)
- 3 piece plumbing bathroom rough-in (finish this after move-in)
- 2 row 12x12 ceramic tile flooring at width of double patio entrance

- Extra windows
- 4 recessed lights
- Gas Fireplace with granite surround (New Venetian Gold) - we will do additional white moulding framing/shadow boxing from mantle to ceiling after move-in.

- Ceiling rough-in for chandelier

- Tray ceiling
- Extra windows 
- Ceiling rough-in for chandelier
- Bathroom: Type A with 5ft shower in alternate layout
- Vanity cabinet upgrade 2 (Rushmore Hazelnut Glaze)
- Vanity countertop upgrade 1 (Sandstone)
- 2 corner shower shelves
- Floor tile setting diagonally -upgrade
- Shower tile offset horizontal - upgrade
- Frameless shower (need to contact glass company to request this upgrade)

- Double bowl vanity
- Vanity cabinet upgrade 2 (Timberlake Cherry Spice)
- Vanity countertop upgrade 1 (Santa Cecelia Light. We were told the batches are coming in very light)
- 1 corner shower/bath shelf

- Trim package #3
- House bronze finish
- Metal stair balusters
- 1 double floodlight
- A few extra outlets (closet - to hide our tv box, kitchen island for laptop plug-ins, exterior at basement door so we can do an outdoor space with an outdoor TV) 

- Main level hardwood: American Scrape Great Plains 4.8" plank (Grade C)
- Grade C carpet (Simple Touch - Champagne) in the Family Room, Basement, and upstairs Zone 2
- Padding B in Basment
- Padding A in Family Room and Upstairs Zone 2
- Grade B carpet (Graystone - Venetian Tile) in Study/Playroom
- Standard padding in Study/Playroom
- Owners floor tile Grade C (Stratford Place Truffle)
- Owners Shower ceramic tile Grade C (Stratford Place Truffle)
- Owners Bath shower decorative accent: Daltile Stratford Place in Universal
- Hall/Kids Bath ceramic tile Grade B (Brixton Bone) with Almond shower tile & Almond Ivy Listello decorative accent
- Laundry room ceramic tile Grade B (Brixton Bone) to compliment next door hall bathroom  
- 2nd floor hallway in hardwood selection (waiting on quote. $2000 so will wait a few years)

We Have Wood!! ;>

We had our flooring appointment last night. 

And the selection we choose.... Drum roll... 
American Scrape Great Plains 4.8"- Grade C
Here is a sample picture (the color is the 2nd picture down on the left in the photo. Another option we liked, Brown Bear is right below it). I can't find any actual room photos of our choice on the internet and honestly these images do not truly show the rustic look it really does have. If anyone has this color or finds an image please send to me!! I'm so scared it won't be what we want. We were torn with American Scrape Brown Bear but we were worried this color would be too dark and show too much of the dirt and this mama would be cleaning floors every freakin' day.

Sure enough the Grade A hardwood was not at all what we envisioned. None of the styles I posted from an earlier post were in Grade A. Shocker. I had a feeling. As you may recall, we are trying to achieve more of a "rustic" , wide-plank flooring.

So we started looking at Grade B hardwoods. I actually liked the Rural Living selections. The only thing we didn't like was the extra cost they had to add for the entire space for the extra layering that is a requirement with this grade to be placed down under this manufactured wood since this wood is thinner than the man-made Grade C. For our model they estimated $600-$1100!! What??!!! Our gal did some calculations to compare Grade C and of course there was only a few hundred dollar difference. So....we agreed to Grade C.

We selected Grade C because:

1) It's man-made and no two pieces of wood are the exact same like Grade B manufactured wood. Grade B is done by a machine. Grade C is actually done by prisoners we were told. Yup. That was an interesting tid bit we found out. I wonder if they clank their shackles against the wood?... Who knows but we liked knowing it would have truly that rustic, already lived on feel.

2) Grade C you can have it re-stained as many times as you want. So, if a trend color goes out of style, there is no issues with having a new stain color put on years down the road. Grade B only allows to re-stain ONCE. Just once. Not to say we are re-staining every few years but if this is gonna be our home until we retire than we wanted this option because we expect to stay for a long time (unless my hubby gets a dream job in Charleston area or one of the islands. Haha!)

3) As mentioned before, there was an extra cost for the extra layer in Grade B. After calculating the difference between Grade B & C floors, it just made sense for us to get a better quality man-made hardwood since there wasn't such a huge price difference.

It's Becoming Real....

Our "Pod" arrived today. 

Gonna start packing things up slowly the next few weeks. Closing on our farmhouse is Feb 10th. I don't know why I'm emotional but I am. :-( Maybe because it's the house my husband & I first purchased as husband & wife, perhaps it's the thought of knowing our 30-week preemie twins spent their first 2 yrs of life in this house. It truly has been our own little oasis of solitude living on 2 acres. It's bitter-sweet though. As much as we loved the serenity & character of the home, we didn't love the many projects and lack of storage space a farmhouse offers. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Questions for Readers Before We Sign!

Hi All!

Please help in answering some questions you may have already inquired about with your SR. We are supposed to sign and commit to the house on Monday but I think it will have to get pushed to Tuesday since Monday we are scheduled for our flooring appointment.  It would be appreciated if anyone can help answer some last questions for us:

1) We chose a 'House Bronze Finish'. Does this include the cabinet hardware in the kitchen and all bathrooms? I don't see an option for just cabinet hardware and I would like to decline any option & find my own hardware. Would they credit us some of the money?

2) We currently have 'Trim Package 3'. But I thought I read somewhere that Trim Package 2 is the same but just a little shorter on the shadow-boxing/wainscot in the dining room. Can anyone tell me the difference and is it worth saving an extra $500 to bump down to Trim 2?

3) Walkout Basements: Did you have a choice between a slider or double doors and was this an extra charge? We are hoping we do not need to pay for a door since you must have a door for a walkout basement and hoping that a door is standard in walkout lots. 

4) Elevation M: Any exterior lighting included since this is an upgraded elevation?

5) Soap dish in master bathroom: Sooooo '70s.... When requesting to not have this (or requesting a ledge there instead), is there a $250 change order fee for a stupid soap dish to be removed!!? ;-)

6) Anyone have experience requesting rough-ins for above the gourmet island for a kitchen chandelier or pendant lights? Did it get approved? 

7) In Ravenna Elevation M, if we opted for carpet in the family room, where does the carpet start since the space is an open concept from the kitchen? Also, how did the transition from carpet to hardwood in the kitchen look? Pictures are helpful too. :-)

Thanks everyone!! 

The Good & the Bad Today...Requests We Made to Our Elevation

So last week we requested to change our elevation from C to M. Hello, that was a 7K price increase! But after truly looking at the blueprint of C we just didn't like it. Plus the night we walked into our community we were there until close to midnight so our SR could get us in the system before the end of the year. So, needless to say, we were so tired & didn't really think much on the elevation (or that later on changing it would increase our price!). 

I digress...

So along with the elevation change we requested:

Stone facade to replace the brick facade. We just don't like brick anything to be honest. Everyone has their opinion but it just isn't us and the 3 brick samples were not catching our eye.  Good news, it got approved today and NO extra charge! Woooo whoooo! We will be 1 of 2 houses that now has made this request so I'm sure we won't be the last. 

But the other request we made, because we wanted to be "different" than the other house & just merely because we were looking for a more "craftsman" style was that this stone also be placed at the base around each porch pillar. Unfortunately this was denied. I was very disappointed when we got this news today. There is another level in Ravenna and we saw a Verona elevation with stone around the base of the pillars so what gives??! Hubby isn't too upset. He thinks we can just get our friend who does masonry to do this project for us on the side sometime in the first year after we move in. And he presumes for cheaper than what RH would have charged. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Video of our Ravenna Elevation M Model Home & a Few Model House Pictures

Thank you to another fellow blogger for providing the video of the Ravenna model home we walked through.

Here, also, are a few images from the model house we toured of the Ravenna. 

Kitchen: We are staying with this same cabinetry choice for our house. It's an upgrade but we love the antique white finish it offers in person. It's called Rushmore Maple Glaze Hazlenut. We also are getting the complimenting cabinet hardware. In addition, we also did upgrade to the gourmet island. We are deciding whether to choose between their appliance package or do it on our own. I just feel that for the price, we can find a package that will also include the refrigerator! You can't see the other side of the kitchen from this picture angle but lots more storage, a double-oven, and a pantry. Behind the kitchen is a small hallway that leads to the powder room (LOVE that it's not off the kitchen or family room. Gross!!) and the study, which we plan to convert to our 2-yr old twins playroom (so I can keep an eye on them!) and use one of the upstairs bedrooms or part of he finished basement as a study). 

*UPDATE: Since this post we made a few custom requests for the kitchen. We requested 2 pendant lights over the gourmet kitchen island and we requested extra granite overhang over the gourmet island so we can sit 3 chair stools rather than 2. We got approval for both so we are very pleased that RH was able to accomodate our requests. 

Here is an image of 'part' of the model master suite bedroom. I don't think we really call it a "suite" per say. It doesn't have a separate sitting room like many new homes these days do have but this style is exactly what we were looking for! We despised bedrooms with that extra was too much for us. We are simple. We only use the bedroom to sleep. We don't even have or watch TV in the bedroom. Once we are up for the day, we are up... NO temptations to lounge in bed. So we are happy we found new construction that offered this 'minimalist' style. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Incentives We Got - Cha-Ching! $$$$$

We really lucked out...and I mean REALLY!

Because it was the end of the year - 2014 - our neighborhood was offering more than we could have ever hoped for. What we got:

* FREE finished basement including recessed lighting

* FREE morning room (off the kitchen)

* $15,000 towards upgrades

Curious if others had great deals, or what seems like a great deal, to us? Is this typical? Or did we just walk in at the right time....

Literally the 1st of January our model home list price increased by $10,000 plus the only incentives they offer for January buyers is a choice of a free morning room or finished basement & $5,000 towards upgrades. So, I think we estimated about $60,000-70,000 of free upgrades from what I could calculate up! We are more than ecstatic about that! (Insert happy dance!) 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Ryan Home ~ Ravenna Model Elevation M Cottage Style

PWe selected: Ravenna Elevation M Cottage Style

It was more expensive than the 6 other Ravenna choices but we fell in love with the outside 'craftsman' detail of the home. 

Actual picture of the model home in our neighborhood. 

Changes we are making:

1) Replace all brick in the front with a stone facade

2) Requested the same stone facade be used around the bottoms of each porch pillar 

We Took the Plunge!

After endless months of looking at re-sale homes we decided to go the new construction route. I wish we would have looked into this option much sooner but we really thought we could find a house in our price point that we could didn't happen.

We decided to make the move from our circa 1830s farmhouse last summer. As soon as we put our house on the market we had offers in the first few days. It was all happening SOOO fast. We went from "testing" the market to selling our character farmhouse in a matter of days. It was and still is bitter-sweet. Rewind, that was last September. It's now January 2015! Yup...we ended up having a very long settlement date. Inspections took longer than expected, the Buyers Buyer fell through, then we weren't finding a home we liked. We truly lucked out with the BEST Buyers ever. They came close to our list price & have been more than accommodating to the delays. They are empty-nesters and can stay in their shore house while we were doing our hunt on he "perfect" house. They saw we had 2 year old toddler twins and knew moving was a hard transition with having toddlers. I can't say enough good things about them. Wish there were more 
people like them in the world.

Our close is in mid-February and they even offered to delay it AGAIN... It was then we thought to look at new construction in our area. Sure enough, the very first neighborhood we looked at we fell in love with the model home from the inside to the outside and we were SOLD...we were just starting the process of a built home. Never done this before and so here is our journey of having our Ryan Home Ravenna model built. Bye bye circa 1830's farmhouse. So many memories....