Tuesday, May 14, 2013


We had our preconstruction meeting yesterday. Having read a bazillion blogs we had a good understanding of what would be covered but we enjoyed it more than expected. Thanks to PM's meticulous attention to details and SR's complete understanding of our selections and requirements. We started with lots of information and checks to confirm our selections. Amazingly everything had made it through, unlike what we had expected from reading feedback from others (thank you Mr. SR).

We found our PM to be a very pleasant man and easy to work with. The SR identified him as a Master Builder with RH for close to 10 years (which means he built more than 250 houses). He is very professional and strictly by the book. He committed to delivering everything that had come in through the paperwork and confirmed that everything will be built based on the blue prints. Several inquiries were met with a very firm "We are not custom builders. The house must be built per RH plans and blueprints. The engineers designed it this way for a reason." When we walked the lot he confirmed that he had built every house on Palmer Lane. I forgot to ask if he had built Covington. We also counted 7 Victoria Falls on Palmer of various elevations (out of 18 in this phase).

On a funny note, our PM talked about how the kitchen is vented externally through the microwave... I came back with a frustrated, "but I don't want that. Is there a way to block this venting? I like to trap the cooking aromas in the kitchen." Both SR and PM looked at me in total bewilderment as if I was totally nuts... Until I couldn't keep a straight face any longer. In truth we would have paid for a hood or external venting if it was not offered as a standard feature (part of energy star 3.0).

I am glad our SR was with us as he pointed out a few things that have just been changed in the Victoria Falls, such the optional dining room tray ceiling now being standard. My previous 3 hour meeting with SR going over electrical and 2 hours going over the TOPO helped a great deal as we spent perhaps one hour on those areas in this meeting because we had every thing marked or answered already. Our PM commended our choice of widening the driveway and the hammer head and said that we would totally find it worth the investment and would pay off in added convenience.

Regarding the laundry room, any moving or or tearing down of walls or doors was a big "absolutely not," along with sound reasoning why it is done this way. But both advised that they will ask the higher ups about our question regarding connecting the laundry hookups on the other side of the mud room wall inside the office, just to see if it is doable. We also asked if the laundry room can be moved to the basement in the future or does it need special plumbing, and our SR will look into that as well.

5 hours later we walked out of the meeting reassured that we are in very good hands. Would have gone longer if not for screaming babies and feeling sorry for PM and SR who had families to go back to. On another funny note, we could not arrange for someone to watch our 2 youngest kids so we dragged them along. Our two year old sat next to the PM for a few minutes, and every time he started talking she started singing.. when he'd stop, she'd stop, but as soon as he started again she started again. When he would speak louder she would sing louder.. guilty, but it was really funny.

We start digging next week on May 22. Estimated closing on August 16 (both maybe 2 days off).

Update: RH approved flipping the laundry connections to the other wall, Office side.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Moved Laundry to Office to free MUD Room

Some things are much better explained with pictures. We added the home office option, because we wanted to get an office in the dead space in the garage, and a wider laundry/mud room.. But lately we have been thinking of turning the living room into an office like Roger and Donna did..

Our crazy twist on it is moving the laundry into the office space, and freeing the MUD room for, mud.. SR thinks this is unthinkable.. wife thinks laundry in office is crazy. husband thinks "forget about the office, just make it laundry".. everyone is confused.

We considered the extended laundry option, but basically wanted the extra space we get with the office addition (which I consider we got as a freebie). Each of washer and dryer are 27 inches wide and 55 inches high and 51 inches deep. Laundry tub is about 24 inches wide.

1. This change below IS APPROVED by RH after they checked higher up.
This zero cost change frees up the mud room by placing the laundry hookups on the other side of the wall. The office will become a laundry room. We will tile it on day 1.

 2. Below is the standard Home Office and Laundry/Mud room combo

3. Finally, below are two alternate versions of Extended MUD.
These are our humble artist's rendering for the best use of the space.
RH refused to do this. RH  will not mount laundry hookups on window wall or garage wall
, and won't move walls or doors. These designs are things we can do later. But we wish the plumbing can be done now. The appliances (55 inches high) will block window as it is rather low.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

I see a price increase in your future...

Ryan Homes sold out the current phase of Palmer Village. The original plan called for about 70 homes, and we are around halfway through.. I expect to see an increase in property values due to higher base sales prices. This base price has already increased by at least 30 thousand in the last couple of years in this development. Option prices have also gone up. Let's hope this does not translate into higher property taxes and insurance rates.

The developer should be starting the development of the next phase this summer. The  road and all utilities have to be installed before the plat is approved by the city. Once the plat is approved RH can start construction on the homes. Sales should start early fall. There are two phases to go, with the first continuing Palmer heading south towards Cateland (or Kateland), and the next phase curving back north towards Covington...

Monday, May 6, 2013

Appliances and the $3,300 Drillbits

Walked into Sears Hardware and Appliances on Sunday to pickup a set of Craftsman impact drill bits I spotted on slickdeals (always gets me in trouble) and bought online last week for $5..

They were open till 9PM for some sales event. While walking-around-and-honest-to-God-just-looking, saw 20% off the clearance priced items (discontinued floor models).. Indicated to assistant manager that I don't have room to store anything since we will be moving into the house by September. "Not a problem," he said. They would wrap it and store at the store's warehouse till we need it delivered..

So I liked a set of Maytag washer and dryer, and another pair from Samsung. I also liked two French Door Stainless Steel fridges from LG.. My wife shortly arrived at the store and approved the larger fridge and the Maytag pair with matching pedestals (happy early Mother's Day)! Each item was basically 50% off the MSRP. Total, taxed, stored, delivered, and installed, $3,300.. That is the most expensive set of drillbits I ever bought.

We are all set for the house now, and this was the biggest remaining issue. Below is a list and some pictures of what we got. On-the-spot-online-research returned very favorable reviews. If you have any first hand experience please let us know.

LG (28.0) Ultra-Large Capacity 3 Door French Door Refrigerator with Dual Ice Maker

Maytag Maxima Front Load Washer with PowerWash Cycle (Granite)

Maytag Maxima High-Efficiency Electric Steam Dryer (Granite)

2 matching Maytag pedestals (a crime to charge so much for these)..WP XHPC XG

Friday, May 3, 2013

Victoria Falls Elevation D with Bonus Bedroom

Ryan Homes Victoria Falls Elevation D with full brick front and side entry garage and bonus bedroom can be seen here after squeezing two houses into the monster house below (apologies to the owners whose homes I botched up in the process)..

Gutter meets the 2nd floor window at mid point like it should but roof line is obviously not right. We have the same color shutters and door as the left side by the way. The brick color we selected is Cagles Mill - Queen.

 If there is someone out there dying of laughter because they own an actual Victoria Falls Elevation D with full brick and side entry garage and bonus bedroom, a picture please!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


Post moved into Flooring post below and content combined.

Ryan Homes Flooring and Stairs Explained. Rite Rug Redeemed

Keeping this post entry though as there are some useful comments here looking for more information.