Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wiring & Security - Ryan Homes Build

We met with Trinity Wiring Solutions yesterday to go over cabling and security options. It took us about an hour and a half, but we enjoyed ourselves. We met with the president of the company who normally doesn't do sales, as his sales rep was out that morning. Initially, we knew what we wanted and stuck with that except we did add in security. In this case - our security system that we are going with is not just security, it is home automation also.

We are having cable pre-wire done over our fireplace because it is stone, but also having the cabling in a position to transfer it to a different wall in the family room should we choose based on furniture layout. The other cable pre-wire we are having done is in the bonus room. Otherwise, we have smart TV's and will just use them for Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, and Spotify as we have before. At least in this case, two TV's will be hardwired as not to take up bandwidth. Our cable and telephone/data are combined into one port in each location since we do not use a home phone. 

The security/home automation system we are using is called 2GIG. It seems to be a very well thought through company, and I am interested to see what other products they launch. Now, with all this being said, I am sure this is where the wiring company makes their money because we spent the most time on it and we will be paying a quarterly fee ($150) for sixty months. I am slightly nervous about being committed to something for that length of time since its not a car! But you can also never be too safe. We will have a smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector, 4 door monitors, a motion detector, and a lamp module. I think the lamp module is the most fascinating part of it. Via an app you can program the GPS to be alerted to where you are within a certain radius and it will go ahead and turn the light on so you will not ever walk into a dark house. From what I read, you can also use the modules for other small appliances and set them to a timer. This system also has the ability to link to the door, replacing the use of lock and key wirelessly (this is the part that we are skeptical on). It can also link into your thermostat and you can program the heat/AC to turn up or down when you are away or on your way home. So this system has the potential to expand and I'm sure will become quite useful for us. 

We are not going to roll any of this into our mortgage, so when we go to closing we will be giving a hefty check to our SR for $970. The bulk of the price is due to the pre-wire over the fireplace, but we have to look at resale value and the effort it will take to do it ourselves with a stone fireplace. 

Last night we were watching HGTV (go figure..) and we saw a commercial for the products called adorne by legrand. We will definitely be incorporating their amazing products into our new home. We are now hooked on this very cool new feature of home automation! 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Our Selected Options - Ryan Homes Build

I'm a Pinterest sucker. So it was pretty clear that I had ideas brewing in my head. Also, my family bought a Ryan Home in 2003 (cannot believe it has been that long) and I remember the process pretty clearly. I was extremely interested with home layouts and options even at that time because my family did the same thing - chose a smaller scale home but chose to get many different options and upgrades instead of just "going big".

I was pretty straight to the point with our SR who might have been a bit surprised with how direct and confident (if you will) in my choices. Plus, we had already toured 2 of the Ryan Homes models that were being offered at this point in addition to other models that had options that could be factored in even if they were not offered models in our community.

Our options & upgrades for our Ernest Hemingway model:
- Elevation "B" - half of a porch with a bump-out on one side
- Traditionally a 3 bedroom layout, but we are doing the FOUR bedroom layout (this changes the size of the master bedroom and closet along with the layout of the hall bath)
- A rear-attached garage with a service door
- Un-finished basement with 3-piece rough-in for basement bath
- Rough-in for wet bar in basement
- White cabinets in laundry room (Andover Square White Timberlake Sonoma Square Maple Linen Timberlake)
- Wooden stairs and handrail with metal balusters
- Level 2 moulding (may change to level 3)
- Wood flooring throughout main floor (level "B")

Dining Room
- Additional windows on the side
- Tray ceiling
- Wood flooring (level "B")

Living Room
- Additional windows on the side
- Wood flooring (level "B")

Family Room
- Stone fireplace in the family room with a low hearth (debating the low hearth)
- Requesting a white mantel (not a non-standard, apparently just a request to ask our PM)
- Adding a blower to the fireplace (my parents did not have this option and the fireplace in their home is completely useless except for looks so we are hoping for a better use of the fireplace with this option - fingers crossed)
- Wood flooring (level "B")

Master Bedroom/Bathroom
- Level "C" tile in bathroom
- Additional window
- Shower ONLY in master bath
- Tiled pan in shower (non-standard)
- White cabinets (Sonoma Square Maple Linen Timberlake)
- Burlywood Santa Cecilia Light granite

Hall Bathroom (upstairs)
- Level "C" tile
- White cabinets (Andover Square White Timberlake Sonoma Square Maple Linen Timberlake)
- Santa Cecilia Light Uba Tuba granite

Bonus Room (over garage)
- Full bathroom & closet
- Level "B" tile in bathroom (may change to level "C")
- White cabinets (Andover Square White Timberlake Sonoma Square Maple Linen Timberlake)
- Santa Cecilia Light Uba Tuba granite

Our development is offering a "Dream Kitchen" incentive at this time (we paid additional for some of these features):
- Granite counters in Santa Cecilia Light New Caledonia Azul Platino
- White cabinets in Sonoma Square Maple Linen Timberlake
- Cooktop & double wall ovens
- We upgraded our appliances to Premier II, but kept the standard SS refrigerator
- Under cabinet lighting (I read mixed reviews on this one, but we are biting the bullet)
- Recessed lighting in the kitchen
- Upgraded faucet fixtures (unsure of what this really entails - but came with incentive)
- Wood flooring (level "B")

Our next appointment we have with our SR will be when the stones arrive for the fireplace selection. We have yet to choose the color of our exterior or our stone for the fireplace. We may do anywhere from blue to green to grey for exterior siding. And, I find it a bit odd that you select your counters and cabinets before selecting your flooring and tile (which is a different appointment). However, I do want a list of the "standards" that come along with the house.

I have been reading some blogs, but haven't gotten to read through as many as I'd like just yet, but am very curious to the experiences people have had and the ideas they come up with. I am making a list of the ideas others have listed in their blogs and may make a post on that later. I am grateful that others have posted their experiences because it opened my eyes significantly. It has been harder, however, to find blogs that relate the the neo-traditional homes that Ryan offers though.

We are officially SOLD! - Ryan Homes Build

When I first heard about this development and a phone number was made available, you can BET my husband was forced cheerfully inquired. We were both equally excited! We learned of the development at the end of January/maybe beginning of February. We were placed on a "VIP" list and notified by email around the end of March that VIP guests could meet with the Sales Representative (SR) and move forward from there in April. We made our appointment with our SR for April 5th and we were completely SOLD.

Us with our SR after we were officially SOLD
I had already begun doing my research on the different homes that were being offered (between building them with the interactive plan builder and religiously refreshing and reviewing the Ryan Homes website for the development as they added new information every so often) before the opening of the sales office. When we knew what the homes were going to be like, we even went ahead and toured the two Steinbeck & Michener models located in Maryland. To say that we were not all-in from the beginning is an understatement. 

Again, when we first met with our SR we thought that we would be looking at buying a Steinbeck or a Michener but when it came down to the options, we realized that we could not obtain all that we truly wanted with either of those models. He informed us of the Hemingway model located about an hour away, so we made plans to move forward with touring the model the next day (Sunday) and meeting back up with him that Sunday evening to sign the contract. We did spend that first Saturday choosing our lot and going over options that we wanted in the home, so all that we had to do Sunday was fall in love with the home in person and come back and sign the contract.. we did just that. :)

Ernest Hemingway Model in Charlottesville via
We really enjoyed the layout of the Hemingway. The model we visited was almost a full-scale representation of the layout that we wanted except for the bonus room over the garage. I have a few qualms about the home, but I believe overall, it will be the perfect size and sort of home for our growing family and I AM SO EXCITED! And the qualms are not due to the build, layout, options or anything of the sort - it is just a different experience going from one type of home such as our previous Oberlin to a Neo-Traditional type home. 

Our development is still in the extremely early stages such as that we do not have a model home to meet in. Also, we do not truly know where exactly our lot will be located either - we just chose a lot from the layout. We have chosen a home directly in front of a common area and will be the first row of homes you see based on the entrance of the community. Again, we will have a rear-loading garage which takes away from my traditional experiences of having a back-yard, but I really look forward to be able to sit on the porch and watch my son play across the street in the common area. AND, I'm praying for some pretty great neighbors because I am all about the "community vibe". 

So, we were officially the FIRST home buyers of this new development as of April 6th. The sales office will officially open on May 1st June 21st to the public. I am so excited to see the growth and development and sale of this neighborhood, because I have such great hope for it! 

A New Development: Mintbook - Ryan Homes Build

I have been holding out hope for about seven years that nearby land would be developed into a neighborhood. It has been a LONG wait, but the time has come and the building will start soon enough! A new development titled Mintbrook is now in the works! We previously lived in a Ryan Homes - the Oberlin, that was built in 2006. It was extraordinary - to say the least. So much that it was not the appropriate home for our small family at the time and did not quite "fit us" nor feel like home. Not saying it was not a good home, by any means. We got an incredible deal on a home that originally sold for $600K and we paid around $290K. Alas, bigger is not always better. We bought in 2011 and sold in 2013. So the wait for this current home of ours has been about a 1.5 years in the making. We have toyed with the idea of moving to Wilmington, NC over this course of time, too. But as luck and God may have it, we will now be the owners of a beautiful new home by this Fall/Winter of 2014!

The development is going to be a mix of Neo-Traditional and traditional models, along with town homes, possibly some apartments, and shopping as well. I am extremely excited and open to the prospect and possibilities this change may bring! The models available are the Robert Frost, Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, James Michener, and the Winterbrook for the single family homes. The town homes are the Mozart & Strauss.

In this case, the neo-traditional homes will have rear-load garages and be lined upon a "main street". Neotraditional buildings merely suggest the past, using decorative details to add a nostaligic aura to an otherwise modern-day structure. Historic features like shutters and weather vanes are ornamental and serve no practical function [neotraditional reference]. With shutters being mentioned in the previous sentence, it goes without saying that our home will be without them. Then there are traditional like homes that focus on a front load garage with a more open backyard concept. The Winterbrook will be the only 1st floor owners suite with main level living.

Our original intent was to choose between the John Steinbeck vs. the James Michener. We loved the first floor layout of the Steinbeck and the upper level (2nd floor) of the Michener. When it came down to pricing and options, the Ernest Hemingway was a realistic choice for us to get the options and the most useful home that suited us.

Ernest Hemingway Model - Kitchen
We have been talking about wanting a home that makes use of each designated space so that no space goes left unused. In our previous home, we made no use of the living room, dinette section (because we had a morning room), bedrooms 3 & 4 (would be more useful if we have more children, however), or the entire basement (except for storage). We did love having a designated study, morning room, 2nd floor laundry, beautiful upgraded kitchen, and an incredibly large (almost too large though) master bath and 2 master walk-in closets. During the process of touring each the Hemingway, Steinbeck, and Michener it is easily seen that no space goes unused. The homes are a smaller scale than that of traditional homes, but again no space goes unused.

We could have chosen the traditional side-attached garage but when it came down to it, we wanted to enjoy the community for what it was trying to reflect. That is an attempt at being a community such as that where people spend time outside WITH their neighbors and where nearby common areas are present to enjoy activities together. From the development drafts, we are expecting to have sidewalks lined with trees. My only wish - small white picket fences. :) I have this idea in my head of how this will look and I can only hope to see what may come of the developers idea. I am extremely eager and believe that he is spot on with his design. With the shopping located in the development, it will be nice to come home on a Friday evening and hopefully not have to go anywhere but walk down the street to the shopping area. I am hoping this is more along the lines of an "on-foot" kind of development incorporated into the planning of the shops as well. We will see!

Here's to "new" things!

I have had this blog WELL over two years. Citrus & Spice was intentionally a lifestyle, foodie, attempt-at-being healthy blog. Clearly I didn't get very far!

- I've been a Registered Nurse for 4 years - in skilled rehab, critical-care cardiac, and now for the past 2 years in the ICU.
- I'm a wife of five years to my high-school sweetheart and a mom to our AWESOME 3 4 year old son.
- Biggest & best news of all? We are planning on having a home built by this Fall/Winter 2014 Spring 2015. BEYOND STOKED.

So the focus now is particularly on getting this home built. I'm definitely getting educated in this blog world. Can't wait to endure this journey! We will see where this leads. :)
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