Wednesday, December 31, 2014


The digging appears to be complete and the footers appear to be in. I assume the black tarp over the footers is the insulation to regulate the concrete temp. I imagine the foundation walls are next. 

I still can't picture our house yet - the area they dug out still seems small.  I'm sure it will all come together nicely and it's great to see the progress. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The ground is broken!

As promised by our PM, the ground has been broken and we are officially under way!  Not too much to see in these 2 pictures, but it's great to see the progress. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Pre-construction meeting update

Today was our pre-construction meeting and we met our project manager, Mike.  Mike spent a few hours with us going over the plans, verifying our selections, and answering our questions.  

I have to say that everyone we have worked with at Ryan Homes has been terrific.  Our sales rep, Erica, our loan officer, Barbie and now Mike - the entire team is doing a great job.

After Mike walked us through the blueprints (too bad they can't give us copies), we walked the lot.  It was odd to walk the lot - the area where are house will sit seems very small.  I guess it is just hard to visualize a house on that empty lot.

Two things we learned today: 1. If you are building in the winter months, Ryan Homes asks for your patience (and you sign something) saying that it may take a little bit longer to pour your driveway and paint the exterior trim.  This is fine with us - we just want to make sure it is done right.  2.  Becasue our granite can vary so much in color, they will have us go to their vendor and pick our slab.  This was a nice surprise.

If all goes as planned, they are going to start digging next week ... but since it is a holiday week, we think they might not start until the following week.  Either way is fine with us.

We will update soon with photos of the ground breaking!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Stakes are in the ground! We have progress!

After all the meetings, choices, and signatures, it is neat to see some actual progress on our home site! I know it is just a few stakes in the ground, but it is a step in the right direction.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Pre-construction meeting questions

We are less than a week away from our pre-construction meeting which is on Friday 12/19.  We started the process about 2 months ago and now we are ready to see this house get built!

Based on all of the terrific blogs out there, we were able to compile a list of questions to ask our project manager ... we might think of a few more along the way.

Here is what we have so far:


What type of shelves are in the closets?

Where will outlets be located? Will there be one in the laundry room? Will there be one in the master closet? Is there an outlet on the kitchen island? How many outlets in the garage?

How wide is the opening for the fridge?

Will the windows have screens?

Standard recessed lights over each shower?

Can we remove granite backsplash lip?

French door or sliding door on morning room?

Where exactly is the crown moulding and the chair rail? Should we run the chair rail up the stairs?

Towel bars in all the bathrooms?

Make sure we are on the same page with light and fan rough-ins.

Wall paint color do we have the exact name?

Can the tile be diagonal?

 Laundry room light?

Where is all of the lighting?

Who is the AC and furnace manufacturer?

Where will the windows be in the basement?

Will all of the bedrooms have locks on them?

Verify all selections including the bronze finishes (including faucets, etc), flooring, cabinets, tile, and countertops.

Verify that they are putting in our wood stairs.


Are there outlets in the garage or anywhere on the exterior?

Location of drainpipe in the garage?

Does he know anyone who can build a simple set of stairs from the morning room? What exactly is the slurry finishon the garage walls?

What outdoor lights are standard any in the back of the house? Porch lights?

Confirm where are the hose bibs located?

Will the lawn be seeded or does he have a suggestion for a landscaping company?

Do we have to put in sidewalks or does RH do that?

What limitations do we have in terms of putting in a fence because of the egress?

What is the dimension of our back yard (that we can fence)?

How soon after the house is finished should we put in a lawn?

 What brand of roof shingles (and year) are on the house and what is the warranty? 

General Questions

What inspections will happen at each stage?

When can we visit the site?

What is the best way to reach you if I have questions?

Can I bring in my own home inspector?

They have built 30 or so houses at Nature’s Preserve, mainly the same sub-contractors? What issues does he usually see with the sub-contractors? 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Ryan Homes interior wall paint

If you are building a Ryan Home, I hope you like the color white (or some version of white) because that is what all of the walls are going to be.  It seems as though R.H. varies the shade of white and the manufacturer by region but essentially it is a slightly off-white flat paint for all of their homes.  We are building in NE Ohio and they use Sherwin Williams flat shell white.  My new friend Jeff from NY who built a RH (his blog is great) has a similar color but from a different manufacturer.  I think our interior paint will look something like the picture below but I'm not exactly sure.  

The good news is the trim will be a brighter white so there will be some contrast.  

Ryan Homes will give you the option to paint the interior walls a different color flat paint but it costs about $2,000 and the paint choices are not great.  Also, if you do any custom painting, RH will not repaint any walls they fix at the 10 month inspection.

So, we are going to let the house settle and keep the walls this lovely shade of off-white for the first year.

Dunkirk laundry room

We are building the Dunkirk version 8 (was something wrong with the first 7 versions?) which places the laundry room on the second floor (I think earlier versions had the laundry room in the first floor mud room). 

Two interesting facts we learned about the laundry room:

1.  There is a small cabinet and counter top in the laundry room (when we walked through a Dunkirk we didn't even notice)
2.  The cabinet will be the same color as your kitchen cabinets and you get to pick the laminate top.  Knowing this prior to our flooring selection would have been helpful but it's not a big deal. 

We are just happy that we will no longer be dragging our laundry down to the basement anymore!

Here is a pic of the cabinet and laminate:

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Guardian appointment

Yesterday we had our meeting with Guardian to decide on cable and phone line placement as well as discuss the other services offered such as security systems, hard-wired speaker systems, central vacuum cleaner, and intercom systems.  

We decided to have them install the wall plates that include the coax, data and HDMI (I think that's right) in the areas we wanted either TVs or where we want to have our wireless router.  Here is a pic I found on the internet of what I think they look like.  

We are not tech savvy so hopefully we made a good choice.  We decided not to have Guardian do the flat panel install.  I'm sure the TV will look just fine sitting on a stand.

The next decision we are struggling with is the security system.  Guardian offers some very cool features through their security system like being able to lock and unlock your doors with a cell phone and controlling the lights and thermostat via cell but we will skip those.  If we get the system, it will be the basic system and perhaps the smoke detectors.  

As for the other services - sound system, intercom, and central vacuum, we are taking a pass.

This was our final vendor appointment so our next apppointment is the pre-construction meeting.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Morning room - I wish they'd build some steps!

Driving through our soon to be neighborhood, I noticed that RH does not build steps so you can walk out your morning room door. I suppose it is because RH doesn't know what you may want to do with your backyard - patio, deck, etc. 

I'm not sure what we will do, but it would be nice to have simple set of stairs that we can use and have taken down if we build a deck or patio.  It can't possibly cost that much to have this as an option. 

Maybe we can put a trampoline outside the door and jump. 

Here is what morning room door will probably look like. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014


Beauty and the Beast

A view of our lot from Google Earth

Where would we be without Google?

Across the street is a small pavilion.

We are one of the last open lots on this side of the development so all of the construction will be in phase 3 which is behind our house.  This is not a mega development - only about 80 or 90 homesites (assuming they don't start messing with protected wetlands).

2 more meetings before they start digging ...

We have already met with our sales rep to discuss options, cabinets, siding, etc and she has been great to work with.  If anyone is considering Natures Preserve, I think you will really like working with Erica.  She is very responsive and gets back to us with answers very quickly.

We also met wtih Rite Rug for our flooring options.  Rachel is the rep we worked with and she was patient, helpful, and very nice to work with.  Rite Rug has the cabinets that RH uses onsite, so she was able to help us pick floors that match.  

The next two meetings are with Guardian to discuss where we want our cable and phone hook-ups and hear their pitch on the other items they can install, e.g., security system, surround sound, central vacuum.  There is zero chance we are adding a central vac or a surround system.  We might have them do a security system, not sure yet.

The final meeting before they dig is the pre-construction meeting on 12/19.  I suppose this is where we go over the plans and options to make sure that we are all on the same page.  

If all goes as planned, they start digging the week of 12/22.  We are not in a rush, so if they wait, we won't mind.

The Master Selection Sheet - oh, you mean the house does not include all the fun stuff?

Here is what we picked:

Elevation K
Side entry garage (our development requires that most of the houses have this - we didn't have a choice)
Finished basement (this and/or the morning room is typically the incentive and we knew that if we didn't finish the basement before we moved in, we never would)
Interior single french basement door (glass panels) 
Basement bathroom
4' extension to the house
2 extra windows in the dining room and great room
Morning room - this room already has a wall of windows so we opted not to add the extra windows
Kitchen cabinet upgrade
Kitchen island and also the extended kitchen countertop
Kitchen (and owners bathroom) hardware - yep, if you want hardware on your cabinets, you will pay for that
This development includes granite in the kitchen
Hook for a gas stove
A slightly better stove, microwave, and dishwasher (the house doesn't come with a fridge)
Stone fireplace
Upgraded shower in the owners bath - ceramic surround
Upgraded cabinets and granite in the bathrooms (the cost to do this was pretty low)
The house will have oil rubbed bronze fixtures (chrome is standard)
Crown moulding in the foyer and dining room (they also put a chair rail with it)
We are having 2 ceiling fan rough-ins and we had them rough-in a few extra lights
Metal balusters
Hardwood stairs - there was some question as to whether or not they could do this, but it turns out they can (I guess it isn't possible on all of the homes they build)
The floors are listed in our other posts but we decided to pick the hardwood and ceramic we liked - odds are that we will be living with them for a very long time

The last thing we are trying to decide is - should we add a floor drain in the garage?  I've heard good and bad things about having a floor drain in the garage, so we are not sure what to do.  If anyone has any suggestions, we are all ears.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Floor plan

From the top down ...

Upstairs layout - not many sturctural choices for the upstairs.  Because we bumped the great room by 4', the master is also extended by 4'.  We also took out the tub in the master bathroom.

Here is the first floor.  We bumped the great room out 4 feet and added the morning room (does anyone build a R.H. without the morning room?).  Ours will have a front porch so it will look a little different.

Finally the basement.  Finished with a full bath.  I'm told, this is where I will be showering.

Rite Rug

We worked with a great sales rep who helped us pic our floors 

This is the tile that will be in all of the bathrooms (except the 1/2 bath on the first floor) and the wall tile on the master bath shower.  

Our carpet for the great room and the hardwood floors on the rest of the first floor.  The carpet was level c and the hardwood is level c as well.  We picked the hand-scraped brown bear hardwood

This is the basement carpet - level b

This is the carpet for the upstairs (level b) next to our tile

Here is our laundry room vinyl next to our upstairs carpet

Cabinets, countertops, and siding

Here are our cabinet, countertop, and siding choices

Sandy tan siding, pebble clay shaker, black shutters, wine colored door

Here is the brick for the exterior

This is the stone for the fireplace

Kitchen cabinets (maple hazelnut) and granite counter top

This is the cabient for all of our bathrooms and the granite countertop

Baluster choice

Dunkirk: Elevation K

Here is a pic of the Elevation we selected. Our home will have a side load garage, but you get the idea. 

Nature's Preserve Twinsburg Twp Ohio

We are building our new home in Twinsburg Twp, Ohio at the Ryan Homes development Natures Preserve.

We selected the Dunkirk model which is not showing on their website as an available model, but our sales rep thought it might work for us.

We are on lot 32 and across the street from us are protected wetlands - hopefully it will stay that way!