Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Almost a year

It really is hard to believe that we are just about 1 month out from our anniversary in the house.  When we decided to jump into this; i.e. sell the old house, build a new, I was worried that at some point I would regret it.  We had to take a loan to cover the difference in the old house sale, our new house payment jumped up with the new. 
But you know what?  I don't have any regrets.  "Money well spent" I believe is the term here.  In fact, paying less for something I was no longer happy with was the money wasted. 

So here we are.  Our ten month was completed in whole.  Ryan did a great job.  They installed that new hose bib on the back of the house.  They fixed the wavy/bunched flashing on the porch.  And of course they fixed numerous nail pops. 

My wife has every intention to increase our holiday decorations every year.  But for now, she is happy with a decorated fireplace mantel and some lights and decoration on the front porch.

So go forth fellow Ryan home owners.  Live your holiday....assuming we make it past the end of the world.  I got a box of MRE's and several gallons of water just in case.  And bullets...don't think about trying to get my MRE's, I love them things!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

"ten month" touch up done....almost

Warning, no boring pictures of drywall repairs will be produced in this post.  But if you have perused my blog before, this won't surprise you.

We got the letter about a month back asking for a list of discrepancies that needed rectified.  The letter specified yesterday as our 10-month inspection day.  I took our running list and sent off as an email. 

I would not consider anything strange or out of the ordinary.  A few issues, like the front door deadbolt binding has rectified itself in the cold weather but was still listed and attended to for record purposes.  We had the normal assortment of doors to be adjusted and nail pops to fix. 

The supervisor, Gary, and two other gentleman handled the issues.  Everyone was very nice, cordial and polite.  No complaints what so ever. 

A couple of high notes. 
-I listed the lack of hose bib on the back of the house.  I was told front and rear at pre-construction meeting and then when I got front and side installed, PM told me it was "plumbers discretion".  I should have pushed it then but thought I could live with it.  I can't.  More glaring to me was the other three Ravenna's around me that had front and rear.  I wasn't sure if Ryan would install a (third) hose bib on the back of the house, but I asked anyway.  And sure enough, the plumber will be back Monday to install the hose bib on the rear of the house.  Awesome!  Ryan Homes gets big kudos on this one.
-The electrician came out and dropped another outside outlet down to reachable heights.  I still have the 10ft off ground outlet, but I will use that for xmas lights.  I then got him to give me a estimate for a new 220circuit and three outlets in the basement for my wood shop stuff.  Bonus.
-The flashing on the porch has been bunched up since install and can look pretty shitty when you see it.  Gary has the siding guys scheduled to come out on that one.

For you second floor laundry owners, you are not alone if you deal with high speed shakes.  I asked Gary about it and it's considered normal in every second floor laundry.  If you are building, I would highly recommend installing cross bracing on the joists below the laundry.  

So I am happy.  Ryan has continued to impress me with their post sale attentiveness. 

That is all for now,
Carry on.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Family Pics in the new house

My oldest son came home for the weekend.  My daughter moved home about a month back.  So with everyone in the house, it seemed a great time for a family pic.  I am looking for that big 11x17 framed shot to hang on the wall.  Plus a few others for smaller frames, collages, etc...  We borrowed a nice camera from our friend Dawn and went to town.  We had better luck with nice shots outside as the interior shots seemed to be a bit blurry except for a few.  But we took probably 50-ish out front so we have some choices.  
Having this house gave us a chance to include it in our "family" shots.  We used the fireplace and front porch.

Unfortunately this is one of those "not perfect" shots.  But it will be fine in a smaller 5x7 frame.

This was one of my wife's favorite fam pics.  This will likely end up in a nice large frame.  

Friday, October 5, 2012

Second Floor Laundry, who knew?

It's me again.
I know, you missed me and my pearls of wisdom. 
Today, I want to talk second floor laundry rooms and even remind you about something.

First, the reminder.  It seems fitting that if we are talking laundry rooms, I should remind you that having your PM install the dryer vent higher on the wall so that the dryer hose can be attached AFTER it's moved into place is a fantastic idea.  One that I wish I would have thought of BEFORE I moved in.  But, hind sight is 20/20 and I didn't discover this morsel of ingeniousness until I had to hook up my dryer.  What a pain in the .... any way.  Some have heeded my warning and had the vent moved up.  Lucky.

Moving on.  The Ravenna has a second floor laundry.  My wife enjoys the proximity and I like not having to lug several baskets overflowing down two flights of stairs to the laundry dungeon.
BUT, did you know that you COULD deal with house shakes when the washer is on it's spin cycle?  I should preface by saying this seems to limited to certain front loaders.  Do you know one of the worst offenders of high speed shakes?  The LG Trom series.  Wanna take a bet which I own?  Winner winner chicken dinner.
So we move in, hook up the washer and start a load.  When it gets to the high speed cycle, it sounds like a helicopter is hovering over the house, and everything is shaking just a bit.  A little research and it's not uncommon for second floor laundries to have this issue.
I blogged a recommendation to have your PM nail in some cross bracing under the washer during the build as a precaution.  Again, wish I would have known during my build.  Hindsight gets me again.

I took it off the pedistal, added anti-vibe feet, shoved swimming noodles between the washer and wall/dryer.  We got some improvement, but left something to be desired.

The current solution.
We had two choices.  Buy a new washer ($700 +) or buy a 0Vibe washer stand.
The 0vibe stand costs $200.  I called and talked to the designer/engineer.  According to a test they ran on a 2008 LG Trom Washer, they realized a 85% improvement in shaking transferred to the floor.
We decided the stand was worth the cost.

We received it last weekend and have done several loads.  It's not perfect but there is enough improvement to believe it's worth keeping and not returning.

We will go through another round of laundry this weekend and make our final mind.

Cliff Notes:
move dryer vent up
some washers cause shaking houses more then others
LG Trom is evil
0Vibe stands are expensive and do not make a good birthday gift for your wife.
the couch is comfortable

Friday, September 21, 2012

Updates and Changes

Well folks,
I'm still here.  I wish I could blog more, but I have to build stuff or have stuff happen to make it interesting for you to read.
First let me start by passing on a tip for purchases.  We are horrible with keeping track of receipts.  The Morning Room fan has been an issue for months.  The light turns off after about 15mins of use.  That's no good AND we could not find any of the receipts for stuff we bought at move in (but I did write the purchase date on the manual).  Luckily, Lowe's helped me out by exchanging out the parts.  So last night I got it taken care of and we are good to go.
What about the tip you say?  If you are like us and never lose a manual but horrible with receipt, staple the receipt to the manual. 

We chose a darker brown carpet through out the house minus the Living room and "office".  So in the Family room, we moved in with a darker brown couch and two lazyboy chairs.  It looked very un-colorful.  Brown Blah.
So rather then replacing furniture at higher costs, we chose to "decorate".
We chose Sherwin Williams "Peppery" for the fireplace wall.  Hobby Lobby had 50% metal, hence the designs hanging.  Also added some flowers on the fire place hearth.  Replaced brown couch pillows with color.  Moved a lazy boy into the Master BR and moved a Paong chair in it's place. 

Took the brown dimensional blinds down and put up curtains with pull backs.

We are very happy with the results.  I have a late 1960's AstroTuner console I am refinishing/updating to use for the TV in the Family room.  Then I will take the Ikea table it currently sits on, add a wood top and use it as a coffee table.

The Change
My daughter has moved home.  We put her in the "game room" (first door top of stairs for you Ravenna owners).  We moved the "game room" down to the "office".  We like the change.  The game room being just inside from the garage means the neighborhood kids will no longer trample up and down the stairs dragging their dirty hands on my walls.

Next up, Kitchen back splash and corner shelves.  Stay tuned

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Curtain Rods

I love that industrial feel to interior decorations.  My wife on the other hand needs to be sold a bit.  Luckily, in this case I was a good sales person.
My wife wanted a curtain in his room to replace the dimensional blind we put up initially.  Having picked out a grey curtain, I pushed for a "different" kind of curtain rod. 
I like it and now I will make some basic shelves using pipe for the brackets.  Pictures to follow.

Not the greatest pics, but you get it.  What you don't see is the pipe "pull-back" on the side that allows my son to pull the curtain to the right side. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

No firepit, no worries

Of course, I plan to get a firepit before the temps start dropping for evenings in the driveway.  Until then, what to do.  With my niece and nephew visiting and a personal desire to impress them in my imagined awesomeness, I decided we should do smore's.  What to do?  Pinterest saves the day. 
Did you know you can toast marshmallows (or kebobs for that matter) over a 10" terracotta pot lined with foil and filled with charcoal briquettes?

you can.  and it works great. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Deck Sectional DONE!

So as promised, here is a completed pic with a enjoying a cup of coffee.
The little inserts are my creation.  I may build two more as they work great for end tables, mid tables, coffee tables, foot rests, or another place to sit.

And they are working out great.  My wife's parents are in town and we are finding ourselves hanging out on the deck.

Again, construction is super simple and I can provide plans for the small inserts.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Deck Sectional update

Last night I finished the 5th section and built a end table to match.
Leah made a great point that the cushions look like they would fall through. They do.  So I built in two vertical pieces to combat this.
I have to add these vertical pieces to the other four, and build one more endtable.

Bonus, the end table can be used as a foot rest or another place to sit.

For those that are interested.  These are super simple to build.  Start to finish, it takes me about 2 hours.  A drill and a miter saw is all you need.  

the photo is a little grainy.  I took it this morning and then lightened it a bit in Photoshop.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Deck Sectional; Phase 1

As you may or may not know, Ryan built us a 14' x 12' deck off the morning room.  Until now, only a grill has occupied the space.  I have been wanting something...anything out there.  The deck is shaded until early afternoon and would be a great place to enjoy a morning cup of coffee.  But where to sit.
So with kudos to, I am almost done building my deck sectional.  AnnaWhite has plans for the armless and armed sections.

Here's a pic of two of them together.  What the photos or rendering below doesn't show are the back supports I still have to add to help keep the back cushion from falling through.

I built this out of Red Cedar found at the closest Menards for $4.60 per 8' stick of 1x4.  I had to modify Anna's plans as it called treated pine 1"x (which is actually 3/4").  I used Cedar 1"x (which is actually 7/8").  My wife found the cushions at

So I said phase 1.  Here's why.  We have one more cushion set to use and I am almost done building the 5th section piece.  Then I have modified and made my own design for a end table/stool to use in the set. 
 You can see the smaller piece inserted between the sections and then used back to back as a coffee table.  I have the wood to build those and will have them done by the time my In-Laws fly in this Saturday.

Stay tuned for more pics. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Adirondeck Chair

It's been awhile since my last post.  It's not that I don't have time; rather I lack content pertaining to my house to post. 
But now I have something. 

We bought some cheapo plastic adirondack chairs for the front porch.  Now while they work, I would prefer something I built.  I searched and found some plans on

The plans called for pressure treated lumber, but since it would live it's life on the front porch I used common pine and sealed/stained it with deck seal.  

Note: I used Behr Deck Stain for this.  Just bought a quart.  Having now experience with ReadySeal for my deck and Behr for the chair....hands down ReadySeal is the champ.  The Behr was harder to keep drips and excessive brush fulls from splotching or leaving marks.  So if you have to stain a deck, get ReadySeal. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Great State of PA (even if their football fans are jackholes)

So I have spent the last 7 days on a Harley touring around Pennsylvania with a few other great friends. I have perused enough blogs to know that many of you are building in Pennsylvania.  My cousin lives just North-East of Pittsburgh.  I rode up Friday night and spent the night at her place.  We visited a local pub where I caught (and gave) a fair amount of shit (the curse of a Bengal's fan).
From there I toured up through Debois and found hwy666 (for the hell of it).  We rented a little house in Aaronsburg, making that our "home base".  We visited Gettysburg for a great burger at the "Blue and Grey" and spent some time at the battlefield.  We toured the Harley factory in York and then made another trip back to Gettysburg for another burger.
Dodging horse poop turned out to be a sport as we meandered up and down the roads.
It was a great trip even if we lacked the time and gas to get everywhere we wanted to go.  For you PA natives, you have a beautiful state....even given the fact the Shitsburg fans are Jackholes.  haha.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I will start by apologizing.  I still need to get some pics posted.
Most will remember I posted about meeting with my PM about landscapping issues.
Here's what was done:
-Offered to cut out exposed waterproofing.  It would leave a small tar line on the foundation.  The waterproofing is warranted for 20 years and will not degrade in the sun.  We chose to leave it alone.  I will plant some vegetation of some sort.
-added dirt to the left side of the house countering the "hump" I was dealing with.  Reseeded and threw down loose hay (loose hay is my request, I didn't want more of that hayroll shit)
-removed the silt snakes along the back.  In doing so, moved the "grass line" back several feet increasing the grass lawn part of the lot.  (my wife was happy about that.  I have to mow more grass now, booo)
-cut back drain pipe.  added some more dirt.  reseeded and threw loose hay down.
-offered to build a mulch bed on right front corner of porch (severe slope).  I declined as I plan to build a nice stone planter.

I still have a decent slope on the back and right side.  There is not really anything that can be done aside from building stone retaining walls.  I can whine and complain all I want, but the fact remains the house had to be built several feet up.  As my PM politely put it, "you have a point A (top of slope) and a point B(bottom), there is only so many ways to get there...but you have to get there."

so, let this be a good lesson to actively ask questions and fully understand what is going to be accomplished.

Overall, I am happy with what my PM did.  He has improved my satisfaction with the back yard.  I still dislike the slopes, but I working on non-mowable solutions.

One more thing to add, while standing in the front yard yapping with the PM after we walked around the house, I discovered a bedroom window with a single crack.  My PM verified it was not something a kid could cause and said it was likely a small crack on the edge at the factory and spread later.  At his request, I put in a service request online and it was replaced in less then a week.  More kudos for Ryan's online service.  

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Second Story deck?

From the day we found out that our walkout would be under the deck, I have considered ideas on how to install some kind of overhead structure that would funnel the drain water away giving me a covered patio.
Then my wife found this:
I think it will fit the bill quite nicely.

For those that wonder about cost, I got a quote today from a lumber yard that carried Timber Tech.  For my 14'x12' deck, it will cost $585.50 +tax . 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Landscape issues and a meeting

I wish I had gotten off my bum and taken some specific pictures.  Many of you have seen the following concerns in previous posts.
Final Grading.  My arch nemesis.  My one regret in this house is that I didn't stalk the work that day.
So last week I finally headed into the backyard and begin to cut out the last several feet of that hay roll crap they put over the grass seed.  When I say "last several feet", I mean all along the back edge of the lawn.  That's a lot.  Why you ask?  Because gigantic weeds don't grow through the hay roll; rather, the large weeds just push it up tent like.  Once I cut it out, I was able to mow that shit down.  Bring on the lawn mower.  After mowing, I gave it a day or two and decided I can't take it.  Between pulling the hay roll and mowing, adding in some things I already knew, I was angry/frustrated/whatever
So I shot my PM an email.
Know this, while my PM was frustrating at times in his slowness to respond, he has always come through in spectacular fashion.  

My email to PM was something along the lines of:
"you said you would bring in dirt to ease the slope, cut one drain pipe, extend the other.  NONE of that was done.  Large rocks hiding under the hay roll prove no smoothing, grading, etc... was done.  There is a hump of dirt pushed up on left side attempting to cover waterproofing but failing.  The right side is worse.  Waterproofing sticking out and a slope dangerous enough to make a big guy like me struggle to keep my lawn mower from tipping over"
That was the cliff notes.

He responded and we have a meeting tonight at the house.  Not sure what, if anything, will be done.  I will keep you guys informed.  I will get some pics posted tonight so you can fully understand my point OR tell me I'm batshit crazy and to get over it.  It's ok, I can take it.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

It's not the size of your deck that matters, but what you do with it.

And today, I sealed mine.
Today was the first weekend with no rain for two weeks.  Not sure I really wanted to seal my deck on a holiday weekend, but what the hell.  I have vowed to keep this deck in great shape and it starts now.
What did I use?
"Natural Cedar"
I did a bunch of research trying to find the right stuff.  This stuff looked to fit the bill.  I could bore you with reasons but turns out you can do a quick search on the "best deck seal/stain" and get more confusing opinions then you can handle.  It seems asking this question is like asking what political party is best, ford vs chevy, oil changes 3k or 5k,  Bud lite vs Miller lite, etc...
After enough open minded research, Ready Seal shined through.
My wife and son came out and helped and what help they were!  They probably saved me a couple hours.
For those that wonder, I used every last drop of two gallons.  I have a 14'x12' deck about 10' off the ground.  If it wasn't for all those damned stairs, I would have had plenty.  As it stands, I still need to seal 2 sides of the 6"x6" support posts and the joists below.  But all the verticals and horizontals that matter are covered.

start 'em young

Always happy to help.  He's a great kid.

Somebody wanted to come out and help too.


Almost done and still smiling.

another "done" pic.  

Friday, May 25, 2012

Scheduling Service Online

I recently read about someone knowing someone who heard of someone who had issues with getting repairs made through Ryan's online service request.
There's the link if you need it.

I figured I should post my date.
On Monday, I submitted a service request for a broken drain pipe a few feet from the gutter down spout.  It appears like final grade broke it and they just covered with seed/hay roll...nice coverup jackholes.  I also put in a request to check out a hairline crack on the front porch that developed weeks after pour.  Both issues were brought to my PM's attention.  I received no response from him.  Sooooo, I decided to check out the online service request since I am officially past my 90 day mark.

I received a call on Tuesday that both issues were already visited and checked out.  I was further told that the pipe repair will happen quickly and the crack will be inspected by someone who can make a better assessment.  Wednesday after work, I found the pipe already repaired.  Still waiting on word about the crack. 

At this point, I have a favorable opinion on their quickness to handle issues submitted.  I just put in a service request asking about the exposed water proofing that my PM has not addressed either, so we will see how that goes.

Stay tuned

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Front Pics, 3 months later

I realized after cutting my grass for the second time Monday that I have yet to post a picture of the front WITH grass.  I took these this morning at 0600-ish.  I still need the final "finished" pic for my 4pic project.  Unfortunately none of these will work.  Hazy morning light and slightly blurry are my reasons.  BUT, they work great to chronicle the overall progress.

a little photoshop eradicated the electric cluster from this pic

you would never know I photoshopped out the trunk of my car and the hose in the drive way from this shot.  Thank you Adobe for allowing me to be anal.

And just because I want to, a picture of my boy Ryan with Lily.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Rock'n Harley

For those that think I am handy, I pale in comparison to what my father can produce.  This is his third run at a rocking harley.  My son received the second back in '07 and currently resides in my living room like a piece of furniture (that needs dusted!).
Absolutely awesome.
pic is a tad blurry, which proves he is better with wood than a camera.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Look, Sgt Rich built some more shelves! who knew!?

I know, I know, more shelves.
A quick back story.  I lived in my last house for 12 years and suffered from a severe lack of storage and shelf space.  My little one car, 7' ceiling garage looked like one of those storage sheds from Storage Wars.  So now, with all this room I want space to keep it all organized and off the floor.
So on to my new shelf unit.  I wanted something beyond the "slapping 2x4's together" shelves I have built so far (minus the picture shelves, those are nice)
So behold....
I should have taken the pic before, but I had some bags of grass seed, some recycling bins, and misc. crap leaning in the corner.  We also have some dog leashes that need a place to hang by the door.

I wanted something that didn't make contact with the cement floor.  Ease of cleaning and lack of rotting over time were my reasons.  So I lagged a 2x3 built "wall" with 1/4 lag screws to a stud and sandwiched it with 1/4 hardwood

The finished look.  I built it with 2x3's, 1x4 #2 pine for the trim, and 1/2 MDF for the shelves.    I have become a huge fan of Spax screws (found at Home Depot).  I used 2.5" #8 screws on everything.  

I started throwing some crap on there quickly before having to leave for Ryan's Baseball game.  The recycling bins fit under perfectly.  The wife is looking forward to storing extra cases of drinks, water, food, etc... on shelf 2&3.  The drinks were being stored on the floor to the left of the door.  Now maybe I can dig out my work bench on the right side of the garage.

I kept it at 48" wide giving me room to hang some hooks giving us a nice place for jackets, leashes, and whatever else you may want to keep next to a high traffic door.

And this one I built without any plans.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Hang'n in the Garage

you heard right.  For those that don't know, us Cincinnati folks play a game called Cornhole.  I could explain it or you could google it.
There are two 2'x4' cornhole boards per set and I have two sets.  At my last house, they have lived on the garage floor leaning against the wall, or garbage can, or table, or whatever else I had jammed in that little garage.  NOT ANY MORE!

I went with the French Cleat to secure the boards to the wall.  Since the boards are 2' wide, I was able to buy just ONE 1x6x8', rip it down the middle with the 45 degree cut.

The other half was cut to size and screwed to the back of the boards.

our "office" is the last room that has yet to be unpacked.  At my wife's request, I built another shelf unit.  This one cost me $20.   I bought 8 2x4's and the rest was scraped from the dumpster with the new house built down the street.

Friday, May 4, 2012

I AM the big dog on the porch

the old saying, "if you can't run with the big dogs, get back on the porch"
Well with thunder storms blowing through this week, I have spent some time on my porch.
My house faces East.  Most storms blow in from the West.  Which means that my covered front porch stays dry even through the bigger storms.  Tonight was no different.  It was straight pouring, lightening, thunder, and there I was...hanging out on the covered front porch taking it in.
We almost built two times before and both times I started with the covered front porch elevations in what ever house plan we picked.  AND it was always the first to go because of cost.  When we landed with Ryan on this lot, we were forced into this elevation as there were two other Ravenna's around me.  I am glad they didn't give me a chance to be cheap.
I think the Pizza guy is glad too.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Time to re-visit some ideas

We have been "home" for about 3 months now.  We are still disgustingly happy with our home.  There have been bumps along the way, but with some patience and time it comes together.

I really enjoy keeping up with the folks who are starting, looking to start, or in the middle of building.  I think we can all work to make the blogs about more then just the "look at my drywall" pics.  We have been posting ideas, thoughts, disappointments, misunderstandings, etc...  This is great.  When I first started this process, all I could mostly find was the "look at the cabinet" blogs.  We all have great ideas, some we acted on, some we didn't.  I think it's great if we can keep these alive for the next family to act on.

I want to re-visit a some of these as you would have to dig way back in my blog history to find these.  I will also add in some I have heard from others.

-Getting an island?  Add an outlet to both sided of it.  We got the standard one outlet and found a second one on the opposite side would be great for laptop charging cable, phone chargers, etc...
-Add a tube running from the attic to the basement.  I ran a 3/4" flexible smurf tube.  This allowed me to run an attic antenna to the basement.  My neighbors have a satellite dish on the roof with the coax strapped to the siding all the way down.  The tube would have saved them this.
-Running rear speakers?  I put in a low voltage electrical box in the family room on the TV wall with some smurf tube punching into the basement.  I put another on the opposite wall.  When I moved in, I just ran my speaker wire down to the basement, strapped it across and back up into the family room.  Perfect!
-TV over the fireplace?  Don't pay for Guardians pre-wire (it was quoted $500 for us).  Just run a PVC pipe from the side to where you want it above the fireplace.  When you install it, run a string and tape it off.  That way, after move in, you just tie the string off to the cables and pull.  Don't forget to get Ryan to put in an outlet.
-Hate stacking pots and pans?  check out the pull out shelves from Rev-a-Shelf.  We bought one from Lowes.  Easily the best damn thing in my kitchen.  I actually show it off to visitors.
-Under cabinet lighting?  Don't pay Ryan's obscene cost.  Just buy the puck kit for $30-ish and install yourself.  They come with a toggle switch you can opt to install.  Mount it behind the front edge of a cabinet and run them in line.  Then run the power cord up between two cabinets, drill a hole in the top of the one over the micro.  Cut the end off and hook up a 90degree plug.  Then just plug it in to the micro outlet and you're good to go.
Note-if you pay for a switched outlet to be put in a cabinet, you can have a wall switch and skip the toggle.
-Have a dog or plan to get one?  Put a 1" PVC pipe down below the driveway when they pour concrete.  I have one so that I can run a underground dog fence through it and not deal with a concrete saw.  Consider the size of pipe.  Running a sprinkler line through would work too.  Depending on your layout, running one under the walkway would be smart too.
-Mount a TV on the wall in a room?  Screw in some chunks of 2x6 between some studs.
-Second floor laundry?  Get the dryer exhaust vent put high enough to hook up AFTER you have pushed the dryer in place.  Trust me on this one.
-Second floor laundry part II, screw some chucks of 2x6 or 2x8 between the joists under the washer.  We have dealt with the "high speed shakes"and finally minimized it by removing the pedestal, adding anti-vibe feet and pushing pieces of those foam pool tubes between the washer and wall/dryer
-CONSIDER LIGHT SWITCH PLACEMENT.  I like the idea of the garage coach lights operated from front door.  Many have chosen to get the garage interior light switched INSIDE house.  Some even prefer the basement light switch at the top of the stairs.
-Hose bibs.  You get two at the plumbers discretion.  I advise you hammer your PM for specific locations desired.  I would also consider getting a third or fourth as well.  You have four sides of your house with grass all around.  Seems getting four hose bibs would have been brilliant.
-plan to put a laundry tub in the garage.  But one could have considered paying for the plumbing outlets and drain roughed in.
-I have heard of some getting a drain in the garage.  Seems like a good idea

I am drawing a blank.  I am sure I have more.  What do you have?  What have I missed?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Holy Crap! is that grass!?

Pictures to follow as my wife has camera.
I came home today and holy crap....I see grass popping out of the hay blanket!  And we have some more rain on tap tomorrow. Luckily this is a good time as Mother Nature has helped out with some rain.  Interesting to both WANT the rain for the grass but NOT want rain as it makes for a dreary day.  
I am still waiting on that "one more time through the house" trip.  Although the replacement screen was laying in front of the garage today when I got home.
ATTENTION, don't send in your survey until everything is done.  I have faith that my PM will follow through with his "word" BUT, I sent in the survey BEFORE they final graded and sod/seeded.  One could wonder if having the survey in the back pocket he would be a little more...motivated.  I emailed him the side pic with the 10ft off the deck outlet and the waterproofing sticking out asking some questions and have not heard back in a couple days.  Time will tell.  I still have the 10 month and am fine if this crap gets pushed off til then.

Stay tuned.  I am planning on putting up some trim in the "mudroom" aka hallway from garage to kitchen with some easy to clean semi gloss paint below the trim.  Add a few hooks to the trim by the door and I have a great place for leashes, jackets, etc...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Keeping Up

I still check everybody's posts damned near daily.  I enjoy seeing the new as well as those that are in.  I like getting any ideas I can pull from a post.  Like tonight, running a gas line for the BBQ grill is awesome.  
So, if you read my post and I am not subscribed to your blog leave my your blog link and I will add you so that I can keep up.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Yard pics

So I mentioned earlier that pics were to follow.  So here goes.
bed mulched, porch painted

look, it's 4/20 and I got grass

I was asked in the last post what I don't like about the grading.  Check out the corner of the porch and how the ground/grass drops off.  That's approx. a 45degree drop!  mowing should suck.

While I am happy that I got an electrical outlet on the side of the house, I would have appreciated it within reach.  Don't see it?  Start at the A/C unit and look up.  That little box is the outlets 10' off the ground.

you may notice the gray drain pipe sticking out.  I was under the impression that additional pipe would be added and more dirt to cover.  Oh well.

one more time through the house

So my PM is rolling through the house one last time while he is "assigned" to me.  We have hit the 90day and will have to start using the 1-800 number between now and the 10 month.
What's he doing today?
Replacing the morning room screen door. Screen was torn when they were "fixing" the leak issue
Replacing kitchen corner bottom cabinet door.  Cracked for no apparent reason
Securing the hose bib.  I think they screwed it to the siding only.  ummmm, you need longer screws guys. 
Fix a spot of drywall where it meets the railing.  It's cracked and looks like shit.
Repair multiple edges of hardwood boards
Toe kick molding under cabinet loose.  They secured it with two nails only. 
Fill a small spot of drive way concrete where it meets the garage concrete.
There may be a couple other issues, but they escape me now.  I am very happy that my PM is making this one last trip through.

On the grass side of things, we got our sod/seed last Friday.  It looks great and we are diligently watering.  It's a great time of year as mother nature helps out a bit with lower temps and rain.  The final grading will be graded a "B".  WARNING, I believe they final grade and sod on the same day to keep you from bitching about the grading.  I would advise getting a very clear understanding of what the PM's plans are if you foresee issues.  Now that my grass is down, I am likely to live it as I don't want to tear up the grass I have waited for. 
I see what you did there Mr. PM.  Well played Ryan homes, well played.

Pictures to follow.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Pickup trucks do fit.

For those that wonder if the large vehicle they drive will fit into their garage, check this out.
I was asked by another Ravenna builder to send him some shots of my truck in the garage for a "fit test".  I figured I would post the results so anyone with a question on pickup trucks fitting in garages may benefit.

If I didn't hog space to the right, fitting another vehicle in here would be possible.

Although, I would probably put it on the other side as this would be a tad tight. 

It's tight, but it works.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Not so fast Mr.Grass

Ok, so nothing yet. 
I have not touched base with my PM as to the delay in final grading or sod.  As of 0700 today, I still had piles of rocks in my front yard.  Oh well....all in due time.  One more week I don't have to rake.
Piles of Rocks?  My front yard is widely populated with rocks, most from when they do the driveway.  So one day when I was bored and thinking rocks should be raked into piles and removed.  I got just under a 1/3rd of the front raked into piles before I decided I was A) an idiot, surely they will remove rocks on "final grade" and B) tired.  That's low ranking bullshit work there.  I had sent multiple inquiries to my PM asking if there is some kind of rock removal step.  The email at the beginning of this week said that he scheduled this week for "final grade" and "rock removal".  Sure...after I raked into piles.  haha.  At least the piles will FORCE them to do something.   Hopefully it's NOT level them back out and throw some dirt on top.

One quick note.  If you are like me, the package included SOD in the front, and SEED the side and back.  I talked to a neighbor that got the whole lot sodded for an additional $1000.  So it that's important to you, ask for it.  

I am waiting for 2 weeks of no rain so I can seal my deck.  I am bound and determined to not let my deck fall into shit in this house.  I started doing a little research into a quality seal.  Turns out there is a lot to this topic.  So before you waltz into Home Depot and buy the first color you like, do some research.  Turns out HD's Behr deck stain product is reviewed as some of the worst! 
After a fair amount of time, I ordered this:
Feel free to do your own research.  I have yet to apply, but this is the stuff contractors use.  It penetrates INTO the wood and not just puts a cover on it.  Even better, in two years when I recoat the horizontals, I will not have to scrap, sand, etc... the old stuff.  Just reapply.  I haven't found a bad review yet....and if YOU do...I don't want to see it!

That is all for now.
carry on

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Gett'n some grass!

So my PM emailed me this last week.
He has ordered the morning room screen door (torn when they were figuring out the leak)
He has ordered the kitchen corner cabinet (cracked)
Once it all comes in, he will set everyone up for one more trip through the house, making some small fixes that we continue to discover.
Also, there are three winter closed houses in my 'hood that will be getting a "final grade" Monday and/or Tuesday with Sod/Seed wed/thurs/fri.  So it appears I will be mowing soon.
While I have enjoyed not having to mow the last few weeks, I am glad it will be coming in early in the season with plenty of rainy spring to help it take hold and grow.

I will have to take a picture for full understanding, but I made a funny discovery yesterday.  Understand that the yard slopes down starting at the right end of the porch and drops from there.  I was walking my pups back from the empty lot (aka "my dog's shitt'n spot") and notice something on the right side of the house.  My mind tells me I know what it is, but the height has me second guessing.  So on closer inspection, my suspicions are proved correct.  They installed an electric outlet box on the right side of the house.  That's great.....except it's 10 feet off the ground!  haha.  I need a ladder to access the outlets.  Oh well, I suppose I will use it to plug an electric dog fence in.  I should mention the hose bib on the left side of the house is about 5-6 feet off the ground.
What's the lesson here?  When your PM says things are at the installers discretion, you may want to hammer down a specific understanding of WHERE is "discretion" is.

Monday, March 26, 2012

I put my Hoe in it's place!

Garden Hoe!  hahahaha

So as I walk up and down the street, peering into my neighbors garages I notice many have yard tools lining one (or more) walls.  I don't want that, especially since I only use a few tools the majority of the time.  So I found this idea and executed on it.  It works great.  When I add more tools, I will add some hooks to keep them from accidentally falling out of their slot.  Additions will be some hooks screwed to the back to hang extension cords.  If I need it, I will make another....but that will be a while.
It was so nice to get this stuff off the floor and hanging.

The back and supports are 2x6's I snagged from the new house dumpster.  The slotted top is 3/4 MDF scavenged from the pallet I used for the "pallet rack" I built a month back.  So this rack was free!  I lagged it to studs with .25 3.5" lag screws

Just discovered while making my kids pancakes Sunday morning.  The bottom corner cabinet is splitting from the top.  Already emailed the PM.  He ordered a new door today.

I may have to frame this last pic.  A man, his beer and knife flipping burgers on his grill in front of his new house.

A few other thoughts.
I am amazed at little discrepancies I find here and there.  It doesn't bother me as my PM is great at taking care of stuff as it gets discovered.  Sunday I found the base molding on the far wall of the Morning Room missing caulk corner to corner.  How have I not seen that?  Last week we closed the master closet for the first time and found it binds so bad it barely closes.  Again, this weekend I discovered the kick plate under the cabinet next to the fridge was floppy loose.
There are a few other little things.  I am not saying that any of this bothers me.  I find humor and/or amazement that I have been in over two months and never noticed some of this stuff.  It just further emphasizes my belief that so many things can fade into the grey noise of our life.
So I emailed my PM asking what can be done under his control versus what should go on a "10 month" list.  His reply was that he will knock it out.  nice!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

I'm Hung

So the Ravenna comes with an "office".  For now, it's the only room with unpacked boxes.  Mostly pictures.  I found a nice idea on for picture shelves.  Very simple yet very cool.  I like the idea that we can add, rearrange, remove, etc... without re-designing the "picture wall".  So I set out to build a set of 48" shelves.  We (I) painted them a Sherwin Williams "Batik Blue" which is very nice next to the "whole wheat" Ryan painted the house.  Three screws each into some studs on the foyer wall, add photos, and enjoy.
These are called "$10 Shelf" because that's how much the wood cost.  I used a nicer "select" pine for the back and front lip and a lower grade for the bottom.  Still came to $10 each.
Hung and ready for pictures

With pictures.  The great thing...we have already added and removed since this pic was!

A close up for your entertainment.