Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Another short update, but with pictures!

Spoke with the PM on Monday and he is fine with leaving the shutters off the stone.  Woohoo!!

He asked the husband to stop by today because the stain-guy was there, working on our stain for the stairs/handrails.  It looks good, at least from my husband's smartphone photos (see below).  I'm excited to see it on the gorgeous stairs (see further below).

The center bit is our flooring - maple cocoa brown. 
Not a perfect match, of course, since it's two different wood types, but I think it's really close.
Pretty much exactly what I wanted and hoped for.
Soon to look even awesomer (as if that's possible).
Apparently the railing for the 2nd floor wasn't delivered, so we're waiting on that.

Other news: upper cabinets are installed, along with hardware.  The hardware's a little plain, but hey, at least the holes are there now.  We can always change it out at some time in the future.  The husband is not pleased with the cultured marble vanity tops in the bathrooms, but I pretty much knew that would happen.  Right now we have a beautiful piece of granite in our main bath (the only full bath in our current house), and we're spoiled.  So, changing those out for granite will be another DIY project on the list (he says sooner rather than later).  [We loved the kitchen granite options that RH had, but not the bathroom ones.  We were rather unhappy to find that we couldn't have the kitchen granite in our bathrooms.  So, we went with the standard cultured marble in expectation of changing it out sometime in the future.]  Also, trim is up - AWESOME!  I cannot wait to see it painted.  We requested the lower trim and wall below the chair rail in the dining room to be painted all white with the trim paint.  I think it'll make it look more like full-on paneling.  Our friends (who recently built with a custom builder) have this effect on the wall beneath their kitchen counter-bar/overhang and it looks super-rich and awesome.  I do like it the other way, too, with the wall painted with color and the trim white - makes the trim pop.  Regardless of color though, the trim looks amazing.  It looks amazing now with just primer on it!  Crown molding is also installed in the finished basement areas - including the half bath down there!  Apparently, it's a super formal half bath. 

Oh, in the picture directly below of the dining room, you can see where the trim installers and electrical guys obviously had a falling out - there's an outlet that has a piece of trim running directly through the middle!  Ha ha!  PM is already aware of it and will be getting it fixed.

Dining Room - upgraded trim package.  Worth every penny.
All of the trim and wall below the chair rail will be painted trim-white.

Dining Room Ceiling - no space for uplighting/rope lighting, but it'll still be awesome.

An example of the rest of the crown molding trim on the first floor (actually in the study).
Will be painted white, including the wall between trim pieces.

The stone on our fireplace that we were questioning will be fixed, and we found a few rough areas on the ceiling where the stucco material didn't seem to be quite knocked-down enough.  All things that I'm sure the PM will handle in time.  Now to wait for everything else to come together.

We won't be able to visit the house this weekend (major bummer for me, since there's no way I can leave work to check out the inside during the day).  Oh well.  Guess it'll be even more of a surprise when I do get to visit next!

*UPDATE for Nadase*
(And anyone else who is interested...)

Below are pics of knock down ceilings and the standard ceilings that we would have gotten.  I know some others have talked about ceilings before, but I don't know if anyone has shown pics of the knock down.  As for the slurry textured walls in the garage - last time I was there the garage wasn't textured yet.  However, we have a similar texture in our closets, so you might as well.

Knock Down Ceilings

Example of Non-Knock Down Ceilings (stolen from a website -source.  Looks strange because it's B&W)
This would be the standard ceiling in my community.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Drywall finishing, flooring, and cabinets - oh my!

The only times we can really get out to the house anymore are on the weekends.  It's hard to stay away all week - but we just can't see anything after work! 

Regardless, things are moving right along.  We finally have stone!  I couldn't wait to see this go up.  I was rather concerned that I wouldn't like the Buff stone with the Stone Mountain Clay siding.  I just love the siding so much that I was terrified that the stone would fall short of my expectations.

Well, it doesn't!!

I was able to drive past one morning, while leaving a meeting at one location and heading off to "real work" at another location.  No, the house is not "on the way" or between the two places - in fact, it's totally out of the way.  But, I luckily got lost trying to find a post office in between locations (slacking hard-core on mailing out Christmas presents), and ended up right down the street from the new house.  Post office search abandoned and already late for work, I decided to do a super-quick drive by to see if anything was happening on the outside of the house.  And it was!

The signs of stone-working...

In addition, I saw that the other houses in our neighborhood had finally gotten their siding as well!  So nice to see it all coming together.  I went by after work and saw the stone firsthand.  Plus, I went inside and found a bunch of guys working on our hardwood floors!!  And after 6 pm, too!!  I didn't stick around to get pics of the flooring.  The next day I was able to pull the same deal and drive by in the morning.  Finally got to see the stone in daylight, and I love it!  Sent the pic to the husband, who said, "Damn, looks good!" 

[Stone Mountain Clay siding, Buff Ledgestone stone, black shutters, white trim]

On Thursday my husband got a chance to sneak away from work for a little bit, and found folks working on the tile and installing the bottom cabinets.  Super exciting!  We went over on Saturday and got to spend some time walking around.  I was happy with so many things, and I love the tile and hardwoods so much that I can't stop thinking about them.  The cabinets are nice as well, but I'm sure I'll be more excited about them once the countertops are on and everything isn't so dusty and dirty.  Excited to see the trim too...and doors...and everything, honestly.  Some of you have been here already, and some of you will be here soon enough - it's an emotional rollercoaster.

The basement floor, pre-grout, near the walkout (under morning room area).
This will ultimately be the bar area.
[Stratford Place Truffle Field]

[Wyoming Cherry Spice]

This island looks huge.

The tile in the mudroom - most of the adjacent hardwood is still covered.
[Fidenza Cafe tile]

Gorgeous gorgeous hardwoods on the stair landing - did not expect to get this but I am pleased.
[Maple Cocoa Brown]

I am seriously in love with this tile.  Seriously.
(and if you look closely, you'll see they continued the tile above the showerhead - woohoo!!)
[Stratford Place Truffle Field and Wisteria Tortoise accent]
The basement railing - loving the iron spindles!  Can't wait for stain...

Family room and fireplace - hard to see but I'm sure it's wonderful.

Still one of our favorite views!

One last thing.  As we were staring lovingly at our stone exterior, we noticed these three cement bar-like tiles on either side of the double windows.  We wondered at first what they were.  Then it dawned on us - they were there to install the shutters.  Hmm...  We like the shutters, but we weren't sure we really wanted them on the stone side.  After some discussion, we decided we would ask the PM not to install shutters on the stone side.  If he has to because of some rule of keeping everything the same throughout the development, okay, we'll live.  But I'm so in love with the stone and afraid that the shutters will cover up too much of it.  I don't know.  We're hoping our email and voicemail will get to the PM before someone installs them tomorrow (highly likely since it's a holiday for most folks).  I mean, if we have to have shutters, it's not a deal-breaker, but we think the stone looks so great as it is.

Please stay like this forever. 
Except for the stone walkway and mud yard, of course.

Not sure if any work will be done tomorrow, but I'm excited about our next weekend trip to see the progress.  Unfortunately, we might be out of town this coming weekend, so who knows when we'll get to check in next.  Oh, in other news, we've locked our rate (yay!) and have our pre-settlement walkthrough set for February 14th, with closing on the 15th.  (super yay!).  I think I already mentioned about the walkthrough and closing dates, but there they are again.  The LO says they will be getting another appraisal before then (anti-yay!) so we're keeping our fingers crossed that the new appraisal comes back no lower than the previous.  Higher would be awesome, but I'm just hoping for no change at all.  That's all I'll need to make this house ours officially.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Letter from RH

Yesterday we had a letter from RH in our mail.  Apparently, our pre-settlement walkthrough date has been determined - February 14th.  And then our closing is supposed to be that following Friday.

I'm hesitatingly excited about this.  I'm scheduled to be on call that weekend (of course!  I changed my call from the first weekend in February because of a possible Kentucky bourbon trip we might be taking at the end of January, so now I'm inconvenienced in another, different way.) 

Still haven't heard from NVR (*crickets chirping*), though I'm thinking we should be calling them ourselves soon.  I don't really want to because the husband is so much better at that stuff than I am, impatience may win out.  Besides, he doesn't seem too worried about the interest rates...  Okaaaaay...

Oh, the drywall finishers started mudding yesterday and stone is scheduled for tomorrow, Friday.

So now I'm sitting here, nervous about changing my silly countdown gadget because I don't want to jinx myself.  How ridiculous we sometimes become in such important times in our lives!  Of course, we will take a lesson from M and double check dates with our PM before showing up unexpected (thanks for the tip - amazingly, I would have never suspected this to be necessary!).

It's funny because I've seen the house in person and I know there's hardly any interior work done, but RH is already sending out prep paperwork with possible closing dates and so on.  I'm expecting this date might be moved back...but then again everyone else seemed to worry too and still have their stuff come through at the end.  Mostly.

We shall see.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Garage Goodies! (PGBD #60)

Ran past the house yesterday right after work, while it was still light out, to see if anything had changed on the outside.  We are still waiting on stone installation.  Well, the stone was in the yard, but we're still waiting on installation!  That's okay.  I'm hopeful for today, since the temp has increased significantly (expected high in the low 40s here) so fingers crossed they install it today.

I was able to sneak inside - not really sneak, the front door was totally unlocked, and of course I can't pass that up.  No changes to our drywall yet - no mudding or taping yet.  But, we did have some garage goodies!  Our cabinets, trim/moldings, and interior doors were filling up the two car side.  It was awesome, and totally dark so I couldn't get a decent photo.  Oh well, there will be time enough for that later on.  Of course, everything was still in boxes too, so there wasn't really anything to photograph anyway.  It's all a step in the right direction.  The husband is hoping to drive past the house today.  (He has been ridiculously busy with work, working 24-36 hour days this week and the past weekend.  He was so exhausted yesterday at the end of another 36 hour workday that when I told him I was going to check on the house he said, "Oh, I forgot that we were even building a house."  I hope he gets a break soon!) 

The neighbors across the street are almost completely done - mailbox installed, electricity on, everything! - so I expect their closing to be any day now.  The next door neighbors had their concrete forms up and walls poured, and workers were digging out the lot next door to them.  Things are picking up on our street! 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Pictures with siding and interesting discoveries...

Here are the pics I promised yesterday of the siding. Of course, the white/shiny silvery area will be covered with stone eventually (though who really knows when).

Luckily, I was able to make it inside the house yesterday as well, to check out what it looks like with some drywall up. It looks different. The spare bedrooms seemed small to me, but the husband told me I was crazy and they didn't look any different than before drywall. Okay, I'm crazy. I'm still totally in love with the first floor family room/kitchen/morning room, which I've always loved. Our master seems okay too, but I didn't spend a lot of time in there. The basement is growing on me as well, especially with the walkout and those awesome full-size windows. Once again, this lot has proven to be the best one for us, and the main reason why we never walked away when we had the chance. Lets hope I don't regret it in a month when the new appraisal comes in.

Since I can't add captions using the Blogger app on my iPad, I'll just tell you now what the pics are. Pretty self-explanatory, the first ones are of the outside of the house with siding. Some pics look better than others - the front of the house faces north, meaning the back is south and almost always has sun. Nice for living, bad for photos. Add to that the inherent cloudiness of NE Ohio winters, and you get some less-than-ideal pics. Oh well, it looks awesome, just trust me. Just to refresh memories, this is the Stone Mountain Clay siding with black shutters and white trim. Some of the shutters are misaligned - we will be bringing that up with the PM, of course.

The other photos are of the awesome morning room (I love you, Morning Room) and random weird things I found inside: a drawing of a face around the plumbing in the powder room, and a uber-random candy bar wrapped with wiring in my future office. Umm, what? I also found the obligatory bottle of mysterious yellow liquid (which I'm not posting because I think we all know what that is by now). Not too pleased with that, of course, but I am at least grateful that it was located in the basement bathroom area - a fitting location, and probably better on concrete than wood subflooring, just in case. No excuse for it, though. There's a port-a-john next door to the neighbors' house, just a short walk away.

BTW, I heard back from the flooring specialist about my concerns from yesterday. She responded to my email within an hour - I'm totally pleased. Unfortunately, it seems the tile above the shower head in the master may be a no-go: she said the price of the tile for the shower includes only the amount that they would be installing standard, and anything more than that would be considered a non-standard and therefore will have to go through the RH sales office first. So, yeah, pretty sure that's not gonna fly. I'm a little upset in that these are not things that I knew to ask about (how often have we all said that one?) because if I had I would have taken care of this before our change orders were due. Oh well. We are currently waiting on word back from the sales office regarding this one. On a much better note, my fears were alleviated when she told me that we would be getting the awesome "turned wood plank" transition between our hardwoods and our carpet. I know some of you have gotten a nice piece of marble between your bathroom tile and carpet, but it sounds like we will be getting a thin metal transition (made by Schluter - I checked them out online and they look good, similar to what I was expecting). There will be a matching wood transition between our mud room tile and hardwoods. *giant sigh of relief*

Now to wait for the stone, finishing or the drywall, and all of the five hundred million other things that need to happen before we close.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Siding and Drywall (PGBD #55-57)

I was able to get out of work right on time Thursday, and so I headed down to the lot to see if there was any progress.  There was!  At some point (either Wednesday or Thursday) we got siding, which looks awesome.  While I was there, the guys were installing drywall in the living room and dining room.  I snuck into the backyard and saw that the basement was drywalled as well.  It appeared that some of the upstairs was done, too, but it was difficult to see as it was getting dark and the only lights were in the living/dining rooms.  Of course, the doors were locked and I couldn't get in.

The husband was able to run by Friday afternoon, and he actually met one of the neighbors (this is the first time we've been there at the same time as someone else).  These are the neighbors to the left of us - they just broke ground this week (yay for them!).  Apparently there's a lot of kids in the neighborhood, which we were kinda expecting, but now we will most definitely be surrounded.  Neighbors to the left have two kids, neighbors to the right have two kids, and apparently neighbors across the street also have two kids.  We have two cats.

The folks to the right of us had brick installed, and those across the street are staring down the closing barrel (I think they're due to close in a couple weeks).  So, Phase III, which for so long sat with only two lots sold throughout the summer and fall, is now becoming a crazy, booming area of construction and growth.  And mud, of course.

I'm starting to get excited.  I'm really hoping we can get in this weekend.  I'd like to walk around with drywall up.  We'll get a better sense of size and space, or so I've heard. 

Unfortunately, I'm also starting to get really nervous about some things I'm afraid I can't change.  I never thought to ask about the transitions between our hardwoods and the carpet in the family room, and I'm afraid it's gonna be some crappy thing that I hate (like a metal transition?  not the nice wood I've seen elsewhere and in the models).  I just assumed it would be like the model.  We all know how wrong that can steer us (I want to go back in time and smack my past self).  Seriously, it's a small thing but a big deal to me and I'm terrified that it's too late to do anything about it.  I need to contact the flooring people.  I also need to contact them about the tile in the master shower.  In addition to all this cosmetic BS, we would like to know if we can lock in any time soon.  Of course, our LO is nowhere in sight, and we obviously don't have the awesome NVR folks working with us that some of you have had - you know, the ones who send regular email updates on rates and so on.  I'm not sure where our loan folks have even been as of late.  Just another example of NVR and RH not really communicating.  Are we supposed to be initiating all this ourselves?  Where's the guidance?  Thankfully the husband will be handling this, as he is much better with the finances than I am.
I am currently at work and unable to upload a photo of the siding from my Thursday evening drive-by.  I'm hoping to post some later today or tomorrow, with better lighting.  For now, I must get back to work, and also find the flooring specialist's email address.  Kinda freaking out right now.  *deep breath*

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A long-awaited update...

Here's a short update:

Not too much to report, thanks to the holidays.  We had our pre-drywall meeting before Christmas (I think it was the 20th, but honestly I cannot remember anymore).  Everything seemed to be going okay.  We had a few questions/concerns (including how far up the wall they will tile in the master shower - apparently that's up to Rite Rug and I need to call them about it), but we'll be getting those handled eventually.

Lots of time lag before siding and drywall were supposed to be installed, mostly because of the holidays.  The rough date for those installations was yesterday.  I was off, but was waiting on the plumber as I broke our garbage disposal at the current house after accidentally destroying one of our shot glasses (smooth move, I know, and now we have to go back to the Hoover Dam to replace it - vacation time!).  So I never got the chance to get out to the lot during the day.  Plus, most of the time when I'm off I want to just stay in if I can.  I'm not really one to drive all over creation shopping or whatever on my time off - it's precious to me and I want to spend it doing stuff I like, such as watching movies and working on craft projects.  Going out into the cold is not included in "Stuff I Like."  In addition, the husband is super-ridiculously busy at work right now, and he hasn't been able to head out to the lot either.  But again, it's not like it matters since there was so little happening over the last 2-3 weeks.  I'm hoping to be able to drive past today after work.

I just wanted to let you all know that we're still around and still building, and we're still following up on all your blogs as well.  Let's hope we get some more good developments to post about soon.

One of the more recent exterior shots - with garage doors and some decorative trim over windows and door.