Wednesday, October 29, 2014

October 2014

Dirt....Who Knew???
So, I'm back as promised with an interesting story about dirt. Correct me if I'm wrong but when I look at dirt on the ground while taking a leisurely stroll I don't notice anything remarkable about it. Well, let me let you in on a little ready...?? Apparently there are DIFFERENT TYPES OF DIRT!!
Bad dirt, booooo!!
Once the initial hole was dug, a surveyor or dirt analyst was brought in to test the dirt. It clearly didn't meet whatever standards they had set because they had to bring in dirt from somewhere else. Our PM, Ross told us that the dirt was not suitable to hold or support the capacity of our home. So, rather than have a sinking home they trucked in a different kind of dirt and saved us from what I'm sure would be a precarious situation had building progressed.
Good dirt, yaaaayyyyy!!

After the dirt was trucked in, the beginning stages of laying the foundation took place. The builders began what I can only describe as mapping out the shape of the foundation of our home. They laid down wooden planks in a structural pattern and from there laid down casters which would act like a mold. Imagine an oreo cookie. You have your cookie portion on either side and that yummy cream filling in the middle. Our cookie portions were the iron casters and the cream filling was the concrete that was poured in the middle of them.

The casters were allowed to set the concrete for a few days and from there, they began to waterproof the outside of the foundation. They also ran a sewage line on the front portion of the home which was inspected. It passed inspection and the dirt was back filled in that particular area.
The "oreo cookie" - like effect I was describing earlier.

Sewage at front portion of our home.

Sewage line back filled after approval upon inspection.

The black tar-like substance along the walls of the foundation is the material the builder uses to "water proof" the home.
Jacques, our "second in command" PM talked to me at great length and described the next portion of building. Once plumbing is completed and another inspection is approved, they would then back fill the space between the concrete wall and the outskirts of the hole with dirt. From there, they would level off a portion of our lot and lay down concrete for our driveway. In between that, they would lay concrete for the floor portion of the basement. Once the concrete for the floor and driveway have been set, they would then begin phase #1 of framing. I honestly am excited for that portion of building because I feel that once framing has started, everything else goes by fairly quickly.
In the meantime, here's some pictures of the wood they brought in for framing (any day now).

Wood and supplies for framing.
I'll keep you posted and updated with feedback and lots of photos of the framing. Until next time!!

Friday, October 24, 2014

September 2014

There's a Hole in the Ground!!

Let me just start this post off by saying that patience is NOT my strong suit. When getting a house built you need an abundance of it. The process of waiting for that call saying "you're loan is approved" is agonizing to say the least. Everyday will be the day that your loan officer will call you with the good news and everyday he/she doesn't call, you get a little disappointed.

Once we got the "phone call that changed our lives", we were ecstatic. The joy that filled our hearts to know that we were one step closer to living in our dream home was overwhelming to say the least. Not soon after we were approved for our loan did we get an email from our P.M. Ross to let us know that they would be starting excavation on our lot.

A little background on our P.M. Ross has been in the industry for about 20 years and is knowledgeable about his job. He has a "second in command" Jacques, who is oversees construction and building projects. Let me just tell you, anyone who can put up with me and my "lookbook" (yes folks, I have a lookbook) is a SAINT! During our pre-construction meeting I whipped it out and went down a list of questions that I found online from reading all of your Ryan Homes blogs. It's great to  know that all of you out there in blog world have similar questions as it pertains to the construction portion of your home. It was really helpful to me as I didn't really know what questions to ask. I digress, Ross and Jacques answered all of our questions and took the time to explain why certain things were the way they were. Ross is very responsive and would email me back relatively soon in regards to an inquiry I may have had. (I'm doing my best to not bombard him with unnecessary emails, but I'm so anxious for the house to be completed).

Now, back to the hole in the ground. Prior to Ross emailing my boyfriend and I, we would literally "stalk" out our lot and community. We would drive through at various times of the day and evening to include the night to see what kind of neighborhood it truly was afterhours. Well, I'm here to tell you that I'm in love with our community. It's quiet and serene, no matter what time you pass through.

At this point our lot was still a patch of grass and after about visit #1,000 we were hoping to see some change in the lot or maybe a stake or plot points of some sort. We would visit our lot at least twice a week, and PRAY that there was some sort of construction going on but to no avail.

I told you patience isn't my strong suit. So, during the latter part of September, imagine my surprise when I just "happened to be in the neighborhood" and low and behold there was a hole!

Now, onto phase #2 right?? Build a house, well, I've got a story for you but you'll have to wait til the next blog to hear about it! 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

May 2014

Oberlin Terrace Floor Plans and Upgrades/Options Pt 2
Hello everyone out in Blog World!! Here's some additional information just in case you were wondering about our floor plan and what options we chose for our home.
For the kitchen, we chose to go with the Rushmore Square Maple Linen cabinetry. I also got the kitchen hutch! I'm ecstatic over it. It gives me much more countertop space and beautiful glass cabinetry to display my better dishes. We also got hardwood flooring throughout the entire main level living space to include the stairs and the upstairs hallway (lighter wood on the right hand side). We put a carpet runner on the stairs. The hardwood that we went with was the Rural Living "Deep Java" 5" hardwood with hand scraped finishes. We went with the iron-wrought balusters as well. We went with the GE Premiere II Built In Appliances. We got the SS double wall oven and a gas cook top with a  SS dishwasher and SS side by side refrigerator. The fridge will be replaced at some point for a larger one with French doors and a freezer bottom.
This is a picture from a different model Ryan Home however this is the granite that we chose for the kitchen, Azul Platino. I think it's gorgeous! The white cabinetry is also similar to the white cabinets that we chose as well as the dark colored floors. I can't wait for my kitchen! There'll be lots of entertaining in my future.
First official purchase out of pocket for "The OB". In the kitchen of the Oberlin Terrace, there's an option to have rough-ins set up over the gourmet island. Looking for pendant lighting was probably the easiest decision ever. My boyfriend fell in love with the "industrial" looking pendant lights and we found this gorgeous one pictured above at Restoration Hardware. I love their store. I will warn you that a lot of their pieces can be pricey but I believe it's worth it for the quality and the longevity. Can't wait to get these hung up!  
For the master bathroom we chose the Wyoming Square Cherry Spice cabinetry with Wheat Granite. We chose the Nocialla 12x12 floor tile and 6x6 wall tile for the shower and surrounding for the bath tub. We chose the Shaw NVR91 Collinsville #105 Sand Pebble carpet with 8lb defender antimicrobial pad. Don't ask me what those big words mean because I don't know, lol!
For the boy's bathroom we chose the Scotsdale Maple Cognac cabinetry with a plain white marble countertop. We went with Sand colored 12Xx12 tiles and 6x6 white wall tiles for the shower/bath tub combo.

April 2014

Oberlin Terrace Floor Plans and Upgrades/Options Pt 1

How we Came to Choose the "OB" Oberlin Terrace as Our Home
Funny story. When choosing our lots we had originally settled on a lot right smack dap in the middle of a quiet cul-de-sac. We thought it would be best suited for us and our blended family and would be a nice place for the boys to play and gather. You know the saying "the early bird catches the worm?", we were not the early birds.
We had gone back and forth in really deciding if THIS was the place that we wanted to set down roots and by the time we were actually ready to reserve that particular lot in the cul-de-sac we were told by the sales representative that it was no longer available.
We were a little disappointed but we had no one to blame but ourselves.
Let me back track for a moment. Our sales representatives Sean and Brandon are the GREATEST! They're very knowledgeable and always willing to answer our many many questions. Love those guys!
Ok, now back to our lot story. After Sean told us that our cul-de-sac lot was no longer available, he steered us toward looking at Lot #23A. Prior to us sitting down and discussing lot choices with him we had looked at all the models this particular community offered and settled on the Oberlin for practicality reasons (not to mention it is a STUNNING HOME!). The only thing is, since it's one of their larger homes we would need a site large enough to accommodate it and our 3 car garage.
Looking at Lot #23A on the site map, it didn't look too appealing but Sean changed our minds after taking us out to look at it. It's the largest if not one the largest lots on the street, it can support our 3-car side load garage and will eventually have a walkway like path which gives us more space in between us and Lot #21A. In a nutshell, it was love at first site (pun intended!).
Below you will find more pictures of our lot as well as some photos from Ryan's website of our "OB" and the floor plans that we went with.
Our patch of grass!
I've never been more excited about a patch of grass in my life!
Very happy with the size of our lot.
What our "OB" Oberlin Terrace will look like.
Elevation B
Main Level
We upgraded everything on this floor plan except the bay windows and the sunroom. Looking back on it, I wish that we did that as well. I just couldn't justify the $22,000 to add the sunroom. Oh well, too late to turn back now. With the elevation we chose, it automatically added an extra few feet to the upstairs bedrooms (for the boys), which is always a plus. The morning room bump out was a "perk" for the event the builder was running as well as $10,000 in closing assistance. I'm in love with the upgraded kitchen and gourmet island as I love to cook and entertain and can't wait to do so once we move in. Also, in this particular model you get a secondary pantry in the kitchen (food for thought).  We got the 4-foot extension in the family room to give us some extra square footage as well. We also added the fireplace, and are now considering whether or not to leave the mantel as is or bring in our own contractor to add stone veneers to it.
Upper Level
We chose not to add a bath with bedroom #2. With our two boys, we figured that it would be enough to have them share bathroom #1 and just added an additional sink. Bathroom #2 is surprisingly large so I'm fairly confident there won't be too much pushing and shoving in the AM when getting ready for school (fingers crossed). Bedroom #2 and Bedroom #3 would be their rooms and Bedroom #4 will act as our guest room. Bedroom #2 and #3 were the bedrooms that would automatically have an extra few feet added to it based on the elevation we chose. I LOVE LOVE LOVE our master bedroom. We upgraded our owner's suite to include the sitting room, which is my favorite part of the house so far. The sitting room is just as large if not larger than our secondary bedrooms so there'll be lots of room to stretch out and relax. Side note, just for FYI, if you choose this home and get the 3-car side load garage, it also increases your closet space (ladies). I'm literally salivating because I can't wait to install custom closets and an island in there. It'll be my own little retreat.
Along with the morning room and $10,000 closing cost assistance Ryan Homes has also offered to finish a portion of the basement as part of their sales incentive. We've come up with the thought that the already finished portion of the basement would serve as an area for the boys to play, study, and entertain their friends (already looking for sturdy furniture). From there, we will hire a contractor to wire and finish the media room. During the pre-construction meeting we were told that the media room would have to be wired, insulated, dry-walled, the WORKS! It's ok because it gives my boyfriend a clean slate to work off of and make it the media room of his dreams. There's another area for storage or a basement bedroom. We have chose to make that the gym. My boyfriend has so many great ideas for it, I just can't wait to work out in it! Our basement bathroom will not be finished but the 3-piece rough-ins will already be in place so the contractor won't have to dig for any pipe lines.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

April 2014

The Decision to Buy (New Build vs. Already Established)
The decision to purchase a home is not a decision to be entered into lightly. My boyfriend and I thought that we would find the perfect home, an already built residence that would need minimal work to make our own.
BOY WERE WE WRONG!! We looked at various properties and even though we saw some great ones, we realized that minimal work equaled mucho dinero. It would take more money than we were willing to come up with to put into the property and make it our own. The money we would have to scrounge up to put into the already established home we could utilize on a new build.
After doing some research, we settled on a community in Prince George's County, Maryland and went with Ryan homes as our builder.
The beginning stages of the purchasing process was relatively easy. We toured the community and settled on a lot which could hold the Oberlin Terrace. A deposit to reserve the lot was given and the rest was history.
During the course of my blogging I will add pictures and give insightful information into our process and what we have gone through with Ryan Homes. Honestly, I have nothing bad to report as our progress so far has gone relatively smooth.
I welcome you on our journey to building what we affectionately call "The OB", Oberlin Terrace by Ryan Homes.