Monday, August 26, 2019

Sheds, Exterior Lighting and Mudrooms!

We decided earlier this year that we needed to get a shed, but we didn't want anything huge - because then we would just fill it up with tons of junk.  So we opted to get a small shed to store bikes, pressure washer, etc.  The things that get in the way in the garage.

We had talked to someone at the Home and Garden show a few years ago about exterior home lighting.  We loved the idea of it, but hated the price tag attached to getting it done.  This year, we decided to be brave and do it ourselves.  We got the set (plus a few expansion packs) from Costco.  The brand is Volt and it is sold online as well via their website and Amazon.  It was fairly easy to install (burying the wires was by far the worst part) and I think the after looks pretty professional.  The nice thing is that it plugs right into one of our exterior outlets.

Our mudroom was another one of those items that we said that we could do on our own after the house was built.  It wasn't high on the list so it took us a few years to get around to.  We wanted a built in look and went back and forth about how to do it.  We considered Ikea furniture hacks and even hiring someone to do it for us.  Ultimately, we ended up buying the main unit online.  We gave it a built in feel by putting trim around it.  The rack actually is from Ikea (as well as the mirror).  It gives us the space we need without things feeling cluttered - or bags and shoes piling up everywhere in our house.

Basement Remodel

We did not have Ryan Homes finish our basement.  We didn't like their options for finishing and wanted to design the space ourselves.  We worked with a contractor that we had used in the past at our old house and he helped us come up with the perfect layout for all of our wishes:  a play room, a theater room, a pool room and a bathroom - and we also needed storage options too.  It took a while to get to a finished product, but we don't regret doing it this way.

Going from the kitchen, this is the stairwell down to the basement.  We had carpet installed and the ceiling and walls painted.  At the bottom of the stairs, we have an unfinished area behind the door with the hot water tank, electrical panel, HVAC system, solar stuff, utility sink and lots of shelves for storage purposes.  We also had a large closet area put in at the bottom of the stairs that is in an L-shape around the corner.  We turned part of it into a dry pantry of sorts and the rest is for totes filled of old clothes and toys.

This is the playroom (at least for now).  We had a pretty chandelier put into this room for the girls and also have a half wall so that we can peek in on them and hear what's going on.

I guess I never took an after picture of the pocket doors, but they are going into the playroom.  They are painted white and look much nicer than this picture shows.

This is the view of the doors from inside of the playroom.  Again, they look so much nicer painted white!

This is the view from the other side of the hall that the playroom is off of.

This is probably easily my most favorite part of our house.  I love the trim so much!  And the epoxy flooring turned out great too.  It complemented the look (and color scheme) that we were going for perfectly.  Plus, there is virtually no maintenance with it and if we would ever get water in our basement (fingers crossed that we won't) - it would not be damaged at all.

This is our theater room (the screen hadn't been put up yet) with the most comfortable couch that was ever created!

This is the view looking from the movie room into the play room.

No movie room is complete without a screen. It took us a bit of time to get it put together properly and hung, but it's perfect for the space.  We put up a 110" screen.

We also added a dartboard and decided on some wood paneling for behind it to hide when we missed.

Last but not least, we have a full bathroom down here.  We had all of the pipes and hookups put in by Ryan Homes when we built, so we just had to actually get the sink, toilet and shower to install.

House Upgrades Since Closing

The first thing that we worked on after we moved in was a backyard area that worked for our family.  We went back and forth about whether we wanted a deck or a patio.  Ultimately we ended up going with a patio because it was easier and less expensive.  It has served us very well!

 As soon as we had the concrete pad poured, we added a set of stairs and finally removed the safety rail from the back door.  This was so wonderful to finally be able to use this door as a door!

As soon as the concrete pad was in, we had a fence put in around our backyard.  We had been using a temporary fence from the basement walk out for our dogs so this was quite the luxury when it was finished.  We had gotten so used to walking down into the unfinished basement and it was so nice to be able to just let them out from the kitchen.

As I said in my last post, it took a really long time for our grass to grow.  After this picture was taken, most of the grass died and we had to put topsoil down over most of our lawn and then seed it again.  We have also hired a lawn company and the grass really started to come together after getting it aerated and overseeded.  We still have a few small patches that need help, but for the most part, the lawn is finally full and lush.

On the inside, we added some lovely lights into the kitchen.  This particular light came from Costco.

It took a few years, but we finally have MOST of the first floor painted.  I'd love to say that we painted it ourself, but we hired a painter to get most of it done.

We also gave our fireplace a much needed upgrade.  We love the stone fireplace look, but were unimpressed by the options that we had from Ryan Homes.  We knew we would be able to do it exactly how we wanted it for less money eventually.  Our eventually finally came.  We found this amazing old hand-hewn wooden beam off of Facebook Marketplace.  We stained it and had someone come in and put it up along with the stone.  It turned out even better than we had expected, especially after we were able to finish painting the living room when it was all done.

The dining room was a project that we took on ourselves.  We installed the crown moulding as well as the chair rail and wainscoting.  This is also one of the few rooms that we opted to paint on our own.  It was a labor of love, but we love the finished product.  We knew that this was something that we wanted to do when we built the house, so we had the builders put in the outlets on their sides along the trim so we wouldn't have to mess with those when it came time to install the picture frame moulding.

(The moulding under the stairs was the absolute most difficult part of this project!)

In an attempt to be more "green", we had solar panels installed on our house.  

Final exterior home photos on the day that we closed PLUS everything that has gone wrong so far

Here we are, 5 years later almost, and I'm just getting around to posting the images of our house when we actually got around to closing.

The pillars on the front porch were finally put in.

As well as our landscaping package (though it would be well over a year until we actually had decent grass growing)

All of the ground was leveled out and the retaining walls were installed.

Since we finished building, there has not been a ton of issues.  Mostly everything that we had problems with, Ryan Homes eventually came out to fix.  Some items took multiple phone calls, but ultimately they have handled everything that has come up.

The one issue that we had right away was a leak in our master bathroom.  At first, they didn't believe that there was an issue, but after a few calls, they sent someone out and we pretty much had to have our entire master shower taken out, re-tiled and re-grouted.  That fixed the issue and we haven't seen anything else since.

We also had a small leak in our attic which after 1 call was resolved.  They sent someone out immediately and got it fixed up.  This fixed the issue.

One other thing that we had to have them come out for was to fix the radon pipe that was running through the house.  Where they had placed it did not leave enough vertical pipe to install the radon fan in our house.  This happened after our warranty was up but they still sent people out to move the pipe and get it so be "proper" for the fan to be placed.  We were very thankful and happy that they were willing to help us out years after we had closed.

The one issue that we still have (and have had since right after moving in) is that water always seems to get onto our front porch when it rains.  It runs along the siding channels and down into the front porch corner.  They have come out many times now but can't seem to fix it.  We are just hoping that it doesn't cause issues later one.

All in all, we are very happy with how our home building experience went.  We love the house and so far it seems to be a pretty quality build.  The one piece of advice that I would offer to others going through the home-build process is to be diligent and go to the home site frequently to make sure you don't see anything "wrong" with what it going on.  And also take LOTS of pictures of everything.  Especially the framing.   We have referenced those photos so many times over the years to see where pipes or wires or duct work are running - also to see about where we might expect to find a stud in the walls when we are hanging things.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

We close in less than a week!!!

So we close in SIX days! I can't believe we are almost done with this process!! I'm also so excited to get into the new house finally!!  Everything is coming together and the end is in sight.

We went to the house last night and most of the interior finishes are just about done. It looks like a livable space with flooring and lights and carpeting and painted walls abd a hot water tank!!

The pictures don't even do justice to how beautiful it all is. Of course there are some minor things that we noticed such as bad patch jobs and some sub par finishing work, but our project manager has been amazing and I know he will take care of the last few things we have noticed... Maybe even before we bring them up at the pre settlement meeting on Monday.

Here are some photos of where things are... The cleaning people were in the house when we stopped by.