Monday, October 31, 2011


So my better half drove by the lot at lunch.  She figured (correctly) that we won't be able to stop by after work with the whole annual "let's send our kids out to beg for candy" tradition tonight.  (j/k, I like begging for candy!)
Looks like wall forms are going up!  I'm hoping my framing will begin by weeks end. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Plan on building? Read this for my tip #1

So I promised some content in my blog, so here goes.
When you build and you are picking brick, have your sales rep take you out to see it on a house!  We picked off the little sample, signed paperwork, did a pre-con meeting, and THEN we drove by a house our sales rep told us had our chosen brick.  We both liked it...a lot, but my wife felt strongly that was NOT what we picked.  So today she made an extra trip out to the model to look at samples again and sure enough, what we saw was exactly what we picked.
So we could have saved some heartache had we took a little time when picking colors.

Good Luck.


So the forecast called for rain today...BUT it held off and allowed my PM to get the footers in.  Due to the grading, and other reasons I can't intelligently explain, my PM dumped almost 40 yards of concrete versus the normal 10!  Tomorrow is calling for heavy rain again, but my PM is hoping to get the gravel in and the forms in place.  Now for Pics:
I got there first and my wife took the pic from the future drive way

Ryan looking at my future porch

my boy and me

This is taken looking at the back right corner of the house.   Ryan is standing about where the walkout from the basement will be.  There is a pretty good amount of magic my PM will need to use to make the grade on this side of the house!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Grading today's progress

So the lot has been (or in the process of) graded.  It has begun.
Shell standing bravely while my boy Ryan jumps over the "cliff"

our gentle slope has been turned into a ski slop.

I love this pic.  I may have to print this out LARGE and hang in the new house somewhere.

if you look close to bottom of the photo, you will see a lone beverage can.  Every one could use a "Bud".

It has begun.

So today marks day ONE of my build.  I just got the text from my awesome sales rep, "PM said he has started your home today".

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Surely we dig tomorrow!

So we were scheduled to break ground Wednesday, but it rained (and by rained, I meant poured) all day.  So Thursday then!?    No, it continued to rain.  But, it stopped early Thursday evening and we had hopes of Friday morning.  Turns out 2 days of solid rain makes for real sloppy conditions, who woulda thought!? So my PM called it and planned to start Monday early.  The weather has been beautiful with no plans of rain until Wednesday.  So I think tomorrow will be the day, surely!
I think my PM appreciates our patience.  I get the feeling he has had over anxious people get frustrated with any delay.  I told him it's not his fault, it rained.  NBD, once it starts it will be over in a blink.
So hopefully I will have a few pics to post tomorrow.  Stand by.

So it started thunder and lightning this morning followed by some rain.  Lasted about 45 minutes and now the suns back out.  Still hoping I get a hole today.  

Friday, October 21, 2011

Could today be the day we get a hole?

So we were pumped that Wednesday, they would start digging the hole.  And then it rained, and rained, and rained a little more.  Two days later, the rain has stopped and today could be the beginning of our build.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Guardian meeting

So we did the Guardian thing last year when we were trying to build before.  We got a lady that had no idea how to use the equipment she was trying to sell.  How are you going to try to upgrade me to any system, let alone a premium system, if you can't even figure out how to turn on the speakers!!?? 
So they offer:
Home theater/pre-wire
Central Vac
and they install cable and phone line/s

The quick answer is we chose to run cable in all the bedrooms and Family room, and put the phone line in the "office".

No Security -  The whole "we give equipment for free, but you have to pay for monitoring" is crap.  EVERY security company offers the same thing.  No thanks.

Home theater - Maybe if I had wanted to spend the money, I would have gotten some Home Theater bling.  BUT, I am not finishing basement and can easily add in-wall speakers down the road.  Instead, I am installing (pre-drywall) a blue outlet box with a pvc pipe running to the basement on the tv wall and behind the couch wall.  SOOOOO, I can easily run my Bose (proprietary) speaker wires my self.  I am not doing the tv over the fireplace, but if I was....I would install PVC pipe myself and pull the wires after move in.  Guardian wanted $500 to pre-wire the fireplace for a tv!!!!  no thanks.

Central Vac -  a quick visit to Kirkwood Sweepers proved I can get a better system installed down the road for cheaper.

Now if I wanted to lump this stuff into a 30 year mortgage, it could make sense.  But it just wasn't worth it to me.  

So, we were able to skip this process this time.  We just told our Sales Rep where we wanted cable and phone.  Done and done.

Tomorrow, the ground breaks

So I verified with my PM that we are still on schedule to begin digging tomorrow.  Forecast shows for rain tonight and tomorrow, so I am realistic it could be put off.

I have perused a fair amount of Ryan home building blogs.  I am happy to find some that have just started the process.  Checking their blogs along the way will be interesting on how it's going, what they are doing etc...

A little more "catch up" info as I started this blog late.
-The lot - a little more "not flat" then we first hoped when looking, but the front yard and about 15 feet out the back door is flat.  It slopes down from there.  Works for me because I am not a big fan of mowing grass.  Ryan wanted to too much money to cement the front/back yard and painting it green!

- The Ravenna - We came close to pulling the trigger on a Naples, Milan, and a Florence.  I don't have anything negative about those floor plans.  Our sales rep is fantastic and listened to what we wanted in a house and she matched us up to a couple choices.  The Ravenna won out.  I can't lie, I am looking forward to NOT hauling laundry downstairs as we will have a second floor laundry.

- Some (but not all) Options -
    Covered front porch (approx. 6ft X 20ft) - this has always been on my wish list for years, very happy to get it.
    Upgraded hardwood through out first floor except Family and Living room.  Shell wanted it to stretch into the Dining room.  Now this dining room floor thing was funny.  We both agree that we may not see a lot of use in there, but she still wanted to lay the hardwood and then plans to cover it with a decorative rug. I didn't really care, but it was fun to give her some grief about it.  <insert her calling me a bad name here>
    Kitchen is getting the can light option, gourmet island, 42" cabinets....upgraded to "Rushmore Square Maple Glaze Butterscotch"  it's a mouthful!  We are sticking to laminate counters, but upgraded that.  And it has a nicer edge (versus squared off-not a fan of that)  Ryan wanted something like $6g's for the granite counters.  Granted I really wanted them, but decided to hold off for a few years and revisit upgrading counters then.  I plan to put the under cabinet lighting myself.  I completely remodeled my kitchen a few years back and can handle the tile backsplash, under cabinet lights, etc... my self at a cost savings.
    Morning room with fan rough in.  We decided to skip the extra windows (put that money towards extra windows in the Master Bedroom)
    Family Room, Upgraded carpet with 10lb pad (with moisture guard...we have dogs)  and.....AND..... I got my upgraded, kick ass, stone fireplace!  This was a "bump" after we saw a model with it.  We also have a fan rough in AND four can lights.
    Nothing fancy in the master bedroom/bath aside from the extra windows.  We decided against upping the bathroom except better cabinets and a double bowl.  The garden tub is not that important to us nor is the cost to bump it.

I won't bother with color selections here.  I will wait for the pictures to show off.

There is more to yap about, but this hits the major stuff.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pictures of the lot

Standing in what will become the back yard and looking toward the street.

This will be my "spot" for future pictures.  This lot drops between the front and back of the house giving us a walkout.

Shelley standing somewhere in the front porch/front lawn vicinity 

Friday, October 14, 2011

More details

So I figured it was time to post some more details.
Ravenna model
Click here to see the house we chose to build.  Some quick details.  It's a 4 bed, 2.5 bath, Family and Living room, Dining room, SECOND FLOOR LAUNDRY!!!, TWO CAR GARAGE!!!, unfinished basement, and a morning room.
Some chosen options that stand out:  Walkout basement (still wondering if I can get my bike through that door!), morning room, wood floors, upgraded 42" kitchen cabinets, stone fireplace, and a covered front porch!!!!
There is a house going up across the street and I find myself "stalking" that build.  Being on the way home from work, I find myself driving by a few times after work to check progress.  I'm sure when it's mine going up, I will swing by EVERY night.

Some tips and hints I have heard by now:
1)  Run a PVC pipe from the basement to the attic for future .... anything.  makes sense.
2)  Lay a PVC pipe under the drive way for future underground dog fence, sprinkler line, etc... (def. doing this!)
3)  Insulate the cold walls of the garage before the drywall goes up.
4)  I plan to put in a blue outlet box behind the tv and run a pipe to the basement on both sides of the family room so I can run any speaker wire in the future.

Those are the big ones on my list to do.  Do you have any ideas?  What did you do?  What do you WISH you would have done?

Have a great night.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The train has left the station

Today my wife and I met with our sales rep and project manager for our Pre-Construction meeting.  It looks like they will start digging a hole next Wednesday-ish!  It's been a long road and we are excited that it's "real" finally.  
So this is my first post.  Who am I?  What "long road" do I speak of?  What am I building?  
My family moved to Cincinnati about eleven years ago, bought our first (and currently for sale) house ten years ago.  I have three great kids.  Brennan (19), Megan (18) and Ryan (10).  Ryan will get the most benefit of living in our new home....until he's 18! 
Two years ago, we considered building and almost built with another builder.  A job didn't pan out and we walked away from a contract when the contingency expired.  One year ago, we found ourselves with a signed contract with Ryan Homes.  Again, we walked away for personal reasons.  Then, two months ago with some re-aligned goals, we decided to jump in.    
The Ravenna is the floor plan we landed on.  The layout fits our needs perfectly and allows room to accommodate our family.  I could bore you with all the options we added, but we will talk about that more later.
I have read a few other blogs.  Some were helpful, some...not.  My goal is to lean to the helpful and leave my blabbering to the facebook page.  I have picked up great hints from friends who have built.  These hints and tips are what I want to blog the most about.  What do you got?  Any great tip?  Maybe you ran a PVC pipe under the drive way before it was laid for future dog fencing or lighting.  As I post our progress, we want to hear from you.  What did you learn?  How did/would you have done it different?
That's all I have for now.  Have a great night.