Wednesday, May 30, 2012

First Impressions

First, the disappointments:

  • The wire shelving is very flimsy.  It also has dividers for the hanging part, so you can't just slide everything down the rack.  Disappointing!
  • I found a clump of drywall mud under the carpet in the study.  I had specifically gone to the house the day that they prepped the floors for carpet because I was concerned about all the clumps stuck to the floors.  There were still quite a few after they had sanded.  I spoke with my PM and he said that he hand scraped them all before carpet went down.  Well, he missed at least one.  It's about the size of gumball.  Don't know what they'll do about that or if it's worth it.  It's about a foot from the wall and I could probably put a piece of furniture there.  It's just the fact that I had specifically mentioned that room as being particularly bad.
  • The paint in the house is still tacky.  If you even touch a wall or a door, it leaves a mark.  Now that we have a dehumidifier running in the basement, I'm hoping it will dry faster.
  • The dishwasher is small and noisy.  They didn't even finish putting the spinner arms in place.  I did that myself and all of the silverware basket covers and other parts were just put in a drawer.  I found those a couple days later.
  • The kitchen sink is very small.  While it is 8" deep, it's too small to even fit a standard dishpan.  The stainless steel is also very rough.  I'm hoping in time the grain will wear down and be smoother.

And now, the things I love:

  • I really like the range and microwave.  I've been using a builder grade range for the past 8.5 years, so I'm loving the upgrade.  
  • I love the upgraded laminate.  Everyone that's walked into the kitchen comments on how much it looks like granite, but it's not cold and hard like granite.  The ogee edge is just the icing on the cake.
  • The house was actually cleaner than I expected.  I've mopped all the hard floors and the water wasn't very dirty.  The cabinets had been cleaned out from all the sawdust that was in them.  
  • I'm so glad we went with the oil rubbed bronze fixtures.  That was our last change order and I'm so happy we went for it.  They are beautiful!
  • It may seem silly, but the garage steps are several inches deeper than our current home which makes it easier to go up and down the steps.
  • I love all the space.  
We've met several of the neighbors, and they all seem very nice.  There are a lot of families, so I'm hopeful that the kids will find friends soon.  I would post pics, but we were so busy moving boxes in that we really didn't take many.  I will post more pics as we move in.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Friday, May 25

We were really hoping to get our keys early on the 25th so that we could make a run with boxes before the kids got out of school.   However, they were still doing touch-ups that morning, so we couldn't get the keys until later.  We packed up the trailer (in the unbelievable heat), picked up the kids from school and headed out to a nearby model to pick up the keys.  We met my parents at the house.  Another blogger had taken a picture of the family turning the key in the lock for the first time.  So, we took the picture:
The youngest did not want to participate :(
This is where things went downhill.  Our oldest child's birthday was the day of the walkthrough and he wanted to be the one to turn the key for the first time.  Only problem was, it wouldn't turn.  We were given four keys, so we had him try another one.  None of them worked!  We tried the service door, and again, none of them worked.  Our PM was still on vacation and I didn't bring the other PM's number with me.  DH looked up the phone number for the model where we picked up the keys.  I called the SR there and explained what had happened.   She was very apologetic (though it wasn't at all her fault) and told me that she would see what she could do.

We took a walk around the house since my parents had not seen the house before.  As we got to our neighbor's side of the house, I saw one of the workers that I had met before (on the infamous day of the mud).  I asked him if there was anything he could do.  He immediately came over and explained that the keys had never been changed from the contractor keys.  He got out the manual from his truck and remastered the keys for us.  It was a miracle that he was there at 5:00 on the Friday of a holiday weekend.  

We finally got into the house and were able to show my parents around.  We went out to eat and then came back to start moving boxes in.  The kids are still in school, so we can't move in fully until school is out.  Because of that, I don't have many new pictures since the house is still without furniture.  Our first piece of furniture in the house is a counter stool.  We bought one to see if we liked it, and we do.  Now I have to order two more counter stools and two bar stools.  

DD had to play Vanna White

The next post will contain my first impressions of the house after spending the first day/night there.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Few Pictures

Here are a few pictures from our walk through today.  We didn't get to take many since we had to get to our closing right afterwards.

Morning Room

Family Room

View from dining room looking into living room

Stairs (obviously!)

Master Bedroom

One of my favorite parts of the house!

I was pleasantly surprised to find the house much cleaner than the last time we were there.  They did another cleaning, and while it is not spotless, it is much better than our last visit.  We also found out other pleasant surprises that were just little details that made the house even better than we knew.  Our yard and landscaping will be installed shortly.  I am looking forward to having that done.  We had to wait forever for that in our current home, so it will be nice to get that taken care of.  We are looking forward to moving in and getting settled!  I plan to continue to update as we move in and decorate.

We Have Closure!

We had our walk through this morning at 10:00. We had another PM filling in because ours was on vacation. There were a few minor cosmetic items that they starting fixing right after we left, but other than that, the house looked great. Pictures will follow later.

Closing was a breeze. We were told to allow for an hour, but our appointment only took about 20 minutes. We signed, dated and initialed, and we were done.

Congrats to fellow bloggers Steve and Ericka and Darryl and Tammy. Hope your closings went smoothly:)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Old House/New House Top Five(ish)

As we are closing tomorrow, I find myself thinking about what I am most excited about in the new house and what I will miss most about our current home.

New House (in no particular order):
1.  Space - We will have about 4300 sq. ft. of finished space.  Sadly, I don't think we'll have a problem filling that!  With three kids, two cats and two large dogs, we will fill up the house in no time.

2.  Walk-In Pantry - We do not currently have a pantry, let alone a walk-in.  I use the upper and lower cabinets next to the refrigerator as a pantry and have extra shelves in the basement for overflow.

3.  Cul-de-sac Lot - While we currently live in a closed development with only about 75 houses, we have a few neighbors that refuse to abide by the 25 mph speed limit and drive like maniacs down the street.  Some of these people even have young children but refuse to slow down when they see kids playing in the front yards.  I can't wait until we live on our street with 4 houses!  Talk about low traffic!

4.  Yard - We will have a little less than 1/3 acre.  This is about the size of the yard I had as a child and I think it's perfect.  Big enough to have lots of room but not so much as to have to spend the entire weekend caring for it.

5.  Floor plan - I love that the master bed and bath is on the opposite side of the house from the kids' rooms.  No more worrying about waking up children by showering.  The stairs are also near the master, so we can come and go without tip-toeing past the kids' rooms and they have to walk past our room to leave the second floor.

6.  Location - DH's commute will go from about an hour each way to twenty minutes each way.  We are looking forward to more family time.  We will also be fifteen minutes from DH's sister and her family.  We are excited for the kids to be able to spend more time with their cousins.

7.  Master Bath and Closet - Have you seen our master bath??? It's gorgeous, if I do say so myself.  It might be one of my favorite rooms.  The closet is huge and will be more than enough room for our clothes.

Old House (also in no particular order):

1.  Neighbors - We will miss our neighbors immensely.  We have all lived here for 8-10 years and have watched babies being born and growing up.  It's comforting to know that if you need something, there's always someone around to help.  I'm hoping we have good neighbors in our new home!

2.  Three Car Garage - This has been such a luxury.  Though we no longer have three cars, it's so nice to have the third area for all the kids toys and lawn equipment.  This will be quite an adjustment.  We'll see how long it takes before the shed has to go up.  The three car garage also comes with a three car wide driveway.  The neighborhood kids always end up in our yard because they can easily play basketball in such a wide, level driveway.

3.  Mature Trees - One of the reasons we chose our house over other houses in other neighborhoods is because the developer left a lot of the existing trees.  While this meant we were unable to get satellite, our backyard is mostly in shade and is a great retreat during the hot summer.  However, it does require a ton of raking in the fall/spring, so maybe we won't miss the trees too much :)

4.  Kitchen Island - I have a feeling I'm going to regret not getting the island in our new kitchen.  We will have the peninsula, so there will be plenty of counter space and we are always getting in everyone's way with the island, but that is where I do all of my prep work.  We opted not to do it knowing that we could always add it down the road.

5.  Most of all are the memories that we have created in this house.  Our oldest was 19 months when we moved in.  Although he lived in two other houses before this one, it is the only home he remembers.  We also brought home two more babies from the hospital and have watched them grow.  It will be bittersweet to leave here, but I know we will make many new memories!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Quick Update

We met with our PM today to do a "pre-walkthrough" walkthrough since he is unable to be there for our official walkthrough.  The PM who is filling in for our walkthrough was there today as well.  He seems very knowledgeable and even helped with pointing small flaws.

Many of the touch ups had been done, but as I tend to be a bit OCD, I found many more that were then all marked with blue tape.  Both our PM and the other PM didn't seem to mind all that we pointed out, and even said that they would rather take care of them now than later.  Everything was very minor imperfections (paint drips here and there, spots where carpet layers had nicked the woodwork, etc.).  We examined each room, except that we realized after we left that we never got to the study or the powder room.  Just goes to show you how much room we will have :)

The house was supposedly cleaned, but if that's the final clean, then I'll have my work cut out for me once we close.  The carpet had been vacuumed and the hard surface flooring seems to have been swept, but I guess I was expecting it to be a lot cleaner.

I don't recall if I mentioned previously, but I was not happy with the placement of the light post.  It was about 2 feet from the sidewalk and 5 feet from the driveway.  I asked our PM if it could be moved so that it was equidistant from both.  He took care of that today and it now looks so much better.

It's a bad angle, but there was a truck parked
in front of the house, so it was the best we could do.

The front door is now painted.  They painted it brown, but it was supposed to be Fine Wine.  We had been a little worried that the Fine Wine would be a little too pink, so we're just going to stick with the brown.  They also changed the hardware on the front door from a plain knob to a lever on the outside.  I forgot to check the inside!

We also have our house numbers.  I didn't even notice until DH pointed them out:

The next few days are touch ups and city inspections.   Monday is the quality inspection.  Next Wednesday we close and Friday we get our keys.  Somehow, it seems like it's been forever to get to this point and also seems like we just broke ground yesterday.  

Friday, May 11, 2012

Carpet, Laminate and Blue Tape, Oh My!

Our lot was rough graded today.  It was so nice to walk up our concrete driveway and sidewalk today instead of the mud.  Our laminate was installed on Wednesday and the carpet on Thursday.  The drywallers were in doing touch up today.  The contractor that was there Tuesday when we dealt with the mud was there again today.  His job was to mark all the spots that needed to be fixed and to install all the door handles.  Our house looks like a roll of blue tape exploded in it.
My in-laws were in town, so we were able to show them the house.  It was the first time we've taken anyone else through the house, so it was great that they were there.

Yard with rough grade

Basement carpet with basement bath vinyl flooring
Custom flooring
We extended the laminate floor.  It should have ended at the railing,
but we extended it to the edge of the family room and
included the hallway and the powder room.
We're really happy with the result.

My beloved arch :)

Fireplace with carpet

Kitchen floor with carpet

Very dusty Armstrong Native Cherry upgraded laminate

Powder room

Stove and dishwasher are now in place
Notice the plethora of blue tape around the pantry door
Next Monday, the house will be cleaned top to bottom.  Tuesday will be all of the paint touch ups.  Wednesday, we are meeting with our PM to go over the house as a "pre-walkthrough" walkthrough. He is leaving on vacation the day of our official walkthrough, so he wanted to make sure to go through the house with us beforehand.  Thursday and Friday will be final touch ups and city inspections.  The following Monday is the quality inspection and we will have our walkthrough and close on Wednesday.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Driveway, A Sidewalk and a Whole Lot of Mud!

We made a trip to the house yesterday.  I know, it was not our usually scheduled Friday visit, but we had to be in the area for another reason.  There was no way I was going to be that close to the house and not go in.  PM said it was no problem and he would make sure the house would be open for us.  We have been locked out since the doors were installed.  He was in meetings all day and wouldn't be there.
When we got there, we were surprised to see a crew finishing up our driveway and sidewalk and that of the neighbor's.  While it was great to see that done, it meant we couldn't walk up the driveway as we normally do.  Of course, it also poured on Monday, so the yard was a mud pit.  I was not expecting this, so the kids were in the school shoes and I was in sandals!  We decided to go for in anyways.  I'm sure we were quite a sight trying to walk through mud that we kept sinking in.   By the time we got to the service door, I could barely lift my feet (as I was also carrying my three-year-old).  I got to the door, only to find it locked.  We stood there for a few minutes, trying to figure out what to do when a contractor came over.  He told me that the PM had called him to let him know we were coming and to leave a door open.  He said he wondered if he should tell the PM that they were pouring concrete and if we knew about it.  Nope, I'm not psychic.
So, he told us that he had left the front door open for us (all the way on the opposite side of the house).  We waited for him to walk around and let us in.  By now, I'm a little frustrated since I had a meeting to go to after this and I'm covered in mud.  After he let us in the garage, he put down cardboard in the mudroom for us to take off our shoes.  Fortunately, he had just gotten done sweeping the house, so there were no nails or anything else dangerous on the floors.  Now to the good part: the pictures (which are not high quality since all I had on me was my iPod)!

Stove is not pushed into place because they
are waiting to install a new counter to the left.
The first one came up a little short, but they
installed it anyway.

Microwave (hope I can reach!)

The stain is Traditional Cherry and looks
quite a bit darker than the sample, but
I love how it looks.

Thermostat's installed.

Missing phone line has been excavated.

This is our breakfast bar.  I'm not quite sure what
it is attached to, but since PM's already marked it with
blue tape, I'm sure it will be fixed.

After our tour through the house, the contractor was waiting for us.  He had paint sticks for us to clean our shoes, plastic bags to put them in and offered us a "U-Haul" blanket to put down on the car seats.  He even helped with scraping shoes since I was there alone with the three kids.  So, all was forgiven for not mentioning to our PM that they were pouring the concrete.  We'll be back on Friday to check out the wood laminate flooring and the carpet that will be installed today and tomorrow.  Friday is drywall touch up and they've got some work to do.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Let There Be Light!

The electricians and plumbers were at the house today.  Lights, switches, faucets, toilets, towel bars, toilet paper holders, closet shelving, laundry tub, etc. were installed throughout the house.  The powder room toilet and pedestal sink will have to wait because the laminate flooring will not be installed until next week.

Speaking of next week, Monday will be registers and more finals, Tuesday will be the first clean and floor prep, Wednesday will be the laminate flooring install, Thursday will be carpet and Friday will be drywall touch-ups.

PM has already been busy with the blue tape, so there may be some in the pictures.

From the spot

Columns and trim have been painted.
Can't wait to see the front door painted!
Powder room mirror sitting face down on the kitchen counter.
Someone was kind enough to write, "I'm glass.  Don't brake me."
Too bad they don't know the difference between brake and break:)

This is the first time we've seen the door from the house into the garage.
We thought it would be a 6 panel like the front door but were pleasantly
surprised to see that it's a 2 panel to match the interior doors.

Absolutely love the oil rubbed bronze enclosure!
A big thanks to Tammigirl for posting the pics of her bathroom which
convinced us that we needed this upgrade!
Soaking tub (amid all the blue tape)

Oil rubbed bronze faucets

One of the secondary bath's fixtures

Dining room chandelier

Pull out chrome faucet

Powder room light

Kids bath
Will be asking PM why the shower curtain rod is chrome
since we paid to upgrade "all" fixtures to oil rubbed bronze.

Kids vanity and light fixture

Laundry tub

Basement bath

Basement bath

Missing phone jack in the basement

Even the floodlights are brown!

Coach light and service door from garage

I was pleasantly surprised to see how much of a contrast there is between the paint color on the walls and the trim.  Because the trim is a bright white, it makes the walls look a bit creamier.  I was afraid it was going to look too "white on white," but it's really not.  Though I didn't inspect things too closely because we were on a tight schedule, I'm also really pleased with the painting.  The walls were sanded down in areas where they had been quite rough and they seemed to have cleaned well before painting as I didn't notice dust or any particles caught in the paint.

While we have been making these Friday night visits, I realized this week that we only have two more of these visits left.  That third one will be the first night we spend in our new house.  I can't believe how close it is!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

First Furniture Purchase for the New House

We bought our first pieces of furniture this weekend for the new house.  Since our current family room furniture will be in the basement at the new house, we needed new furniture.  We've been looking online and have been to a few stores.  We really wanted something durable and comfortable.  With three kids, two big dogs and two cats, we wanted something that would last.

We ended up going with couches from La-Z-Boy.  Now, this is your traditional La-Z-Boy furniture.  It's a bit more modern looking.  We wanted clean lines and that's exactly what we found in the La-Z-Boy Metro Sofa and Apartment Sofa (basically a loveseat.)  They have a ten year warranty that covers stains, punctures, rips, etc. that was a must-have.

It was so comfortable and everyone in the family was in agreement.  How often does that happen?

As CMM posted, La-Z-Boy has an in-house design consultant that will come to your home for FREE.  They will also look at your floor plan if you're like us and don't have a finished house.  There is also an accent chair that we may get after we're in and have a better feel for the space.