Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Wisteria Lane

Being the first to build in a development certainly has its perks! We had our pick of lots, models, colors, etc and found just the perfect combination for our family. We are old(ER) than most first time home buyers and we've only got one child left at home so we went with a smaller floor plan, obviously, the Venice. Because its on the lower end of the price range we were able to load it with "extras" to make it unique. Six months into it, we are still unique in that we remain the only Venice in the place. What's upsetting to me is the fact that while there are restrictions on colors and elevations in order to keep things appearing too "cookie cutter" every single house on the street I face is a Rome! Not a bad floor plan, actually very nice, but 8 or 10 in a row makes me feel like I'm living on Wisteria Lane or that I should suggest renaming our community Stepford. Despite the attempts to make them look different it feels like we are becoming the epitome of a suburban bedroom community. :(

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Projects, projects, projects...

A few pics of the decorating projects I've accomplished this past weekend... I'm REALLY excited about the valances I made (with Mom's help!) for the morning room...

and... thanks to my favorite store IKEA, I have bathroom storage :)

I did some other "random" shopping at HomeGoods yesterday and found this cute little stool for my flying pig ;) (that story was posted previously!!)

and a really, super cool table lamp... now to find a chair to put next to it...

no really exciting news going on here, just learning to live in our fantastic new house. Hard to believe it's been almost 5 months already! We're settling in and it's finally starting to feel real ... can't wait to decorate for Christmas time

Sunday, September 2, 2012

HOLIDAY weekend? what's that??

So... with a couple of days off together what else was there to do but cross a couple more little projects off of the "honey-do" list ;)  

DH installed a ceiling fan in the great room (it kinda looks like the rotor blades on the helicopter!!) and pendant lights above the kitchen island and sink...  

My contribution to the weekend of projects was my undying gratitude (as always) LOL, I'm always grateful for DH's skill around the house as well as his great attitude when it comes to my "lists" ... However, I DID have a little bit of a contribution as well. I re-covered the lampshades on our fabulous bargain find $15 Target clearance lamps... I also put my many hours of web surfing on Pinterest to good use when I made Braided Spaghetti Bread to reward my man's hard work :)  

Here's the proof!!

awesome new ceiling fan

kitchen pendants

lampshade project


spaghetti baked INSIDE garlic bread!! Pinterest makes me look like such a great mom/wife!! This was a winner :) 

Even the "braided" outside crust looked pretty good for a first try!!

So, that was our thrilling "Labor Day" weekend... Tomorrow's agenda ~ light fixture in the craft room and organizing THAT nightmare!!!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Finally!! Some pictures!!

Now that school is back in session and my life has SOME sense of a regular schedule, I took a few photos of what we've done to the house so far.  As most of you know, we painted and bought new furniture but DH has also installed crown molding the kitchen/family room and the front living room. We are debating putting it in the morning room as well but the angles in there look like they might be a real bi...  challenge. 

We really are completely in love with the way things are coming together. Yes, I still have pictures to put up and chachkis that haven't found a home yet, but I think the major items have been accomplished. My craft room is a shambles. I've been so busy with the "public" parts of the house that I haven't even attempted to put my sanctuary together. That's next on the list...  

Last Friday night we had our first big soiree here. A fun open house with many, many friends showing up. We shared laughs and food and drinks (mostly drinks!!) and I can't think of a better way to celebrate this new phase of our lives. The house certainly lived up to it's "entertaining" potential as we envisioned it when we first walked through the model :) (did any of you know that whipped cream vodka is AMAZING in root beer??? tastes just like a root beer float!!) and soaking fresh strawberries in chocolate vodka (overnight) and dipping them in melted chocolate is like heaven in your mouth??? (like i said, there was a LOT of drinking going on Friday!!)

Here are the promised pics  

Kitchen view from family room

Morning room from family room (LOVE my IKEA rug!)

Family room from kitchen (&DH's smartTV!)

can you tell i <3 IKEA??

Family room from hall... more IKEA stuff :)

Front entry/living room

View from living room

Living room (minus the rug the cat ruined!!)

BAR (fave consignment find!!)

Morning room again

DD's room

Master bedroom

gentle reminder ;)

Master bedroom from other side         

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Crazy Summer!

Wow! the past 2 1/2 months have been ridiculously busy! Since closing, we have painted (the entire downstairs, bought furniture, gone to Charleston & the Outer Banks, taken the DD to Carolina Panthers Junior TopCats cheer camp, planned an open house for next weekend, gone to 4 concerts AND still worked full time!! I've taken very few pictures of the house but I promise now that school is about to start (next week) and our schedules become a little more regular, I will get on this and post some of the things we have done!  

This past weekend the DH began installing crown moulding on the first floor. I have to admit that I never really considered it a big deal and didn't understand why he was so insistent on doing it... UNTIL I SAW IT UP! WOW, it really does make a difference. I looks fantastic already and he's not quite done (another pic to post once its complete). We painted the DD's room (twilight meadows from Lowes) and put a really nice monogram detail (from Dali Decals) on the wall now she's in full "middle school mode" and decorating the rest of her room with brightly colored accessories and animal prints :)  We painted the accent wall in our bedroom a dark purple (valspar ~ purple rain) and silvery gray (valspar ~ silvery mist) with black furniture and silver accessories.  The small front living room, hallway and great room are all painted in a medium gray (valspar ~ opera glasses) and the morning room is a shade darker (valspar ~ bell tower stone). Our master bath is painted in a bluish purple (valspar ~ blue hydrangea) but I really don't think it's what I was looking for. I just can't bring myself to tell the DH that I'm going to want to change it ... maybe it will grow on me ;).  I haven't decided yet what I want to do with the powder room or the other bedrooms. I'm sure the DH is happy that I don't have any painting projects planned because he has his own "honey do" list, like the crown moulding that's going up!

Our open house/housewarming party is next weekend. After that I'll post some pictures of everything...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

30 day inspection

Since we are awaiting furniture delivery tomorrow and still painting some of the rooms, I figured I would give  a quick update about our 30 day follow up. Jared (the BEST PM ever!) came by to see what kind of issues we had discovered in our first month. It was hard to find anything to complain about as we are very happy with the house AND we have really only been living in it for 2 weeks!! The only thing on our list was that the door to the master bedroom wouldn't close & lock. Jared called his punch list guy who just happened to be in the neighborhood and had it taken care of immediately.

The rest of the visit revolved around discussing the remaining lots in the neighborhood and the fast pace of both sales and building taking place around us. We joked with him that if it weren't for US taking the risk at being the first ones in... who knows ;)  Buying from Ryan was an excellent decision and as for the quality of our home, well, we couldn't have asked for more.

I WILL say that so far I am highly disappointed in our HOA. We closed almost a month ago. HOA payments at closing included a "buy in" fee of $500, a capital costs contribution of $500 and prorated fees for the rest of the year. Those were obviously paid in full at that time. We have yet to hear from the HOA or receive any information regarding the pool and amenity center. We contacted our sales person who is obviously still on site and he sent the management company an email 10 days ago. The representative for the agency responded that she had sent us a "form" to fill out in order for that to happen. Well, I know it's called "snail mail" for a reason, but I think even a SNAIL could've gotten that letter to me within the past 10 days!!  I hope this isn't an indication of what this HOA is going to be like to deal with in the future. If it is, well, they've got a rude awakening coming. I fully intend for DH and I to become active with the Association because if there's going to be a "committee" telling me what I can and cannot do to my house/yard, you better damn well believe I'm going to have a say in those things BEORE they become my headache!! 

That's it for tonight. Maybe I'll take some pictures and post again sometime this weekend. By then the master should be complete and I will have some "fun" stuff to share. :) 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Living room furniture delivered!

Just a quick pic of the "front" living room (dining option). Furniture was delivered today & it took some time to arrange everything but I'm loving it. Still need curtains & a small (white shag) area rug, maybe some floating shelves or other artwork but we'll see.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Preview Pics

So, we are STILL unpacking (where did all this STUFF come from?) but it's actually starting to look like a house... I'm really loving it and wanted to post a few "in progress" pics. I also wanted to mention that while we've noticed a few minor issues, overall this is an amazing house! I'm glad we chose a RYAN home!

It's been a busy week!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

all moved in

Two weeks after closing and we've finally gotten everything moved! What a crazy, chaotic, stressful time that was! Good thing this is the last time we'll have to experience it. I think I'd almost rather move cross country than do a local move again! We've painted the front living room and hallway, yes, RH had already painted them, but I'm a colorful person and Ryan White just wasn't going to cut if for me! I'll post pictures as soon as I have the boxes unpacked and moved out of the way, but it's a color from Valspar (at Lowe's) called Opera Glasses and it turned out fantastic! It's a medium gray and we plan to use it for the entire first floor except the morning room which will be one shade darker called Bell Tower Stone. 

Phone and internet are installed and DirecTV came today. The neighbors have been very friendly, with several coming by to welcome us and to introduce themselves. We haven't had weather for a pool day yet and we've got so much work to do inside I may feel guilty for taking time off to enjoy a nice day if we get one. The bright side of that is our sod is really taking off and we haven't had to do much watering at all!!! 

Back to work for now, but hopefully after this weekend we'll have things unpacked enough for me to be able to post pictures without being terribly embarrassed about my lack of organization or housekeeping skills ;)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

...bring on the decorating!!!

Today's closing went off without a hitch, just like I knew it would!! HAHAHA! Yeah, right! I couldn't sleep at all I was so anxious about things. I don't think I was expecting anything crazy but my mind wouldn't stop playing with furniture layouts, paint colors, accessories, moving plans... etc, etc, etc! I tossed and turned most of the night and I think I finally fell asleep about 2 hours before my alarm went off! 

Anyway, I was very quiet (scared the hubby I think) as we showered and dressed to go to the attorney's office. A brief delay as we got turned around a little with our directions but we still arrived about 15 minutes early for the closing. Our realtor was already at the office. (I think I'd show up early for that check too since this is only the second time we've met with her!!!) She made out on this transaction ~ not much work involved on her sideWe had initially contacted her about a house she had listed and we wanted to see. Once we met with her and found out that the house already had several offers on it, we continued our search.  I found our house (model) and subdivision online, hubby and I went to investigate and when we finally made the decision to buy, we contacted her again to have her help with the negotiations. Other than that, today was the only other time we met with her!! But, I digress...

The actual closing went quickly and without me vomiting (which, of course, is the most IMPORTANT fact of the day!) and once the final papers were signed hubby handed me the keys and he pocketed the CHECK! What's up with that???? LOL. Yes, you heard correctly, we got a pretty nice check at closing because we had excess prepayments so of course now I'm ready to do some furniture shopping!! 

We have a "mixed household" as I like to call it. Both of us have been married before and the furniture we have is a his & hers mix and almost NONE of it matches. Honestly, I HATE IT!! Other than some accessories and bookshelves from IKEA that we've bought together, everything else is a mish-mash of yard sale finds and baggage from previous relationships. There is nothing better, and NO better excuse than a brand new house to shop for furniture that reflects us BOTH and has no memories attached but our own. :)  

Because of our work and school schedules we won't be able to actually move in completely until next week, but that gives me time to buy and schedule delivery of the furniture and washer/dryer!! That's the easy way to move! Donate all this old stuff and have the new furniture delivered to the new house.  I think I'll drive down tomorrow and take some little things, maybe stop by Lowe's and get some paint samples... pack and clean some more here (we have a LOT of boxes of "stuff" that I don't know where it came from!!). Friday the hubby and I will pick up my fabulous consignment finds and all the boxes we have packed already and go ahead and move them to the new house. Then once school is finally out (on the 8th) we will move all the "essentials" that we can't move from the house just yet. I'd like to paint before furniture gets delivered. Hmmmm. Too bad I have to work for a living. 

Good luck to all the rest of you. I never thought I would own a home, it's like I've been living someone else's life. Here we are not even 90 days since they broke ground and we're moving IN!!!  Sorry for rambling. It's been an exciting day and now it's time for my FAVORITE part ... decorating!! I'll keep this updated with all my fantastic (at least in MY mind) decorating ideas and pictures!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

...aaaaaand, we're clear underwriting!!

We got the official, final call from Michelle at NVR earlier this afternoon. After all the hoops and paperwork they got the clearance necessary from underwriting to go ahead with closing in SIX DAYS!!!! What a load off of my mind, but wow am i anxious now ~ this is REALLY going to happen isn't it? Better kick the packing thing into overdrive, denial has been a wonderful excuse for delaying ...

Just one thought, does it always take this long (even though they "approved" us before breaking ground) to get final approval? I just thought that less than a week til closing was cutting it a little close and giving me unnecessary anxiety attacks!!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Patience... NOT one of my strong points...

These next two weeks are going to be torture! I'm not good at waiting for things, especially things I really, really WANT!! Like my gorgeous new house! Now that I know it's completed and we've done our final walk through, I'm ready to MOVE! Just 14 days til closing (and it's not like I've got our current house packed ~ it's a work in progress...) but I can't focus here, I want to start moving in and decorating!  I also think it's my "glass half empty" mind set creeping in on me sometimes too. I guess until we have signed on the dotted line and have our keys in hand, I won't actually believe that this is happening! Never in my wildest dreams did I ever expect to be able to purchase a home, especially not one this extravagant. When we first started entertaining the idea of buying a house, our price range was about half of the sale price for this house. After crunching numbers and realizing that our house payment will only be about $100 more per month than we've been paying in rent for the past 4 years, we went for it! Now I'm freaking out again. It's not about the money either, just change. We can easily afford the new house payment, I'm just not one who likes a lot of change. The good side of this I suppose, is that it will be the LAST time I have to move!

Well, enough blogging and panic for now, I have boxes to pack and items to place on Craigslist!! I'll check back in over the weekend with new pics (hopefully of our fully sodded yard if the weather cooperates!)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Final Walk Through!

I can't believe it's finally here! We had our walk through yesterday afternoon (after a particularly stressful 16 hour night shift, it was NOT my best day). I have to commend my husband and our project manager for putting up with my moody, cantankerous self as we checked out this beautiful property!

I would like to give kudos to our project manager Jared!! He's amazing. I was and am highly impressed with his level of attention to detail.  We felt like he treated this entire process as though he were building his own house. Several times when we walked through the house before it was complete we noticed things that Jared had marked and left notes about fixing. Most of them were small, little items that we probably would have never noticed, but the fact that HE noticed them and did something to make it right just proves to me that we definitely made the right decision to go with Ryan Homes. 

Many of our friends are quite skeptical as the construction of our home was completed rather quickly (63 days!). We have assured them that no corners were cut and no quality sacrificed during the building process. We were lucky in that we were the veritable pioneers returning to a ghost town and investing in a property. The builders who originally envisioned this subdivision have long since pulled out after the housing crisis hit, leaving 41 home sites complete in a neighborhood of 1000 lots!  We took a chance and pulled the trigger as the first to build in this subdivision following RH's take over of the distressed lots. I'm sure that contributed to the quickness with which our home was completed as they had multiple crews available to work on the house. Now, however, there are 4 more homes in the process of being built and another 2 have recently sold! I'm seeing dollar signs already. Although I don't think I can ever picture myself willingly moving from this house, it's good to know that maybe it will retain its value. 

We are closing on May 30th at 11am! I was supposed to work that night but I know there will be NO concentrating that evening. I think maybe Meghan and I will go down to the house with a few items and maybe paint her bedroom and the downstairs that weekend while Jeff works. Because of our work schedules and Meghan not getting out of her current school until June 8th, I think we are going to move June 10 & 11. I'll keep everyone abreast of the situation. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

We're almost there!

I can't believe it! Here we are a mere 60 days after construction started on my beautiful new Venice home by Ryan and we have our final walk through next week!! We received our closing letter in the mail yesterday... 25 days from now we will have keys in our hot little hands (barring any catastrophe!!)  

I am a wreck of mixed emotions! I'm excited but more than a little freaked out. I have to admit there was a little bit of comfort in being a life long renter, knowing that there was always someone ELSE who was ultimately responsible if the furnace died or the pipes burst... now it's all on US! Lucky me DH is such a handyman around the house ;)  Of course I don't anticipate any serious or significant repairs being necessary any time soon but I don't plan to move EVER again either!! 

Better run from here so I can get some packing and cleaning done :)  

Monday, April 23, 2012

Slow week

Not much to report on really at least not construction wise. It looks like we are going to have our walk through with Jared sometime the first week of May, we just have to get everyone's schedules situated. Not an easy task considering my husband and I both work at the hospital!!

We heard from the mortgage underwriters. They are questioning hubby's child support order and whether or not he's still obligated to pay child support for his TWENTY FIVE YEAR OLD son. We have provided his divorce decree which clearly states his son's birth date as well as outlines the support agreement which was to continue until his son turned 18. We also provided documentation from the courthouse to DH's employer instructing them to cease support payments. The underwriters have not approved that as positive proof that he is no longer obligated, just that it is no longer being withheld. Just disregard the date of birth and the line that states "will be paid until the child reaches the age of 18." He says it's no big deal but stupid things like this make me angry. Otherwise, I guess the good news is that they signed off on everything else they had asked for and didn't ask for anything further. Looks like this is actually going to go to closing next month!

I took the daughter shopping this weekend thinking we would just browse the local flea markets and consignment shops to get a "taste" of what might be out there. WOW. Why am I just now discovering this little honey hole of bargains??? BIG BONUS is the fact that we live fairly close to the epicentre of all things furniture related in Hickory/High Point NC. I found a couple of vendors and stores who feature market samples and close outs from the furniture markets as well as model home furniture!  Boy did I find some deals!! I called up the dear hubby, thinking I would just let him know that we were going to have to make our way back as time got closer to move and make our bargain basement purchases from one of these individuals. He requested that I send pictures (thank goodness for my handy-dandy new iPhone 4s!! LOL).  I sent photos of a sectional sofa for the family room with recliners on each end, a counter height dining table and 6 chairs, a console table with marble top, 2 bar stools with leather seats, a large mirror, some vases, a clock and a few picture frames... lo and behold, the next text message I receive is... "go ahead and buy it all, it may not be there when we go back." 

What? I'm sorry, has my husband's phone been hacked? Mr. Frugality himself? Did he really just give the go-ahead to purchase a couple rooms full of furniture in one visit to the store, sight practically unseen by him?? I mean, I work too and he doesn't require me to ask permission to spend money, I was just informing him of my "finds" and here, he just says "buy it." I almost fainted. I did some quick calculating in my head ~ hmmm, that IS less than what the entire living room set we were planning to buy would cost us. Well, needless to say, I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. When my husband opens up that wallet and says buy what you want, I'm gonna do it!!! I walked up to the register with the accessories I could carry and then found the sales person I had randomly spoken too off and on throughout the shop. Boy did I make his day too!

So, now we have to go back and pick up the sofa, console table and the dining set and put it in storage for about a month, but even after that we still saved a TON. I told the hubby that I think I broke out in hives. Other than my car and obviously the house, I have never spent that much money in one shopping spree in my life. He's been great about it though. He said the way he sees it, for as much as I spent, I probably saved twice as much!!  Once we pick the stuff up and get it in the house I'll take some pictures.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Welcome Home

Loving the PAINTED front door...

I'm Falling Behind Again...

I'm doing it again! We have been down to the house twice since the last blog update but I haven't had the time (or energy ~ I've been a little under the weather) to post much. Let's see what I can remember...

Looks like, even though the house will be complete in the next week or so, we will probably close around the first week of June and take our time moving in so we can seal the granite and tile, paint, and get all the new furniture and everything "just so". Our current lease doesn't expire until the end of June and Meghan isn't out of school until June 9th so moving before then just doesn't make any sense.

As for the current progress, well... the kitchen backsplash has been completed and I must say it looks incredible!! I am very, very pleased!

Glad we chose to go with the middle placement for the listello. Now, I'm questioning how the white outlets are going to look but that's for another day. 

The carpeting for the second floor has also been installed. I don't recall choosing a brown color but I suppose that small swatch in the design center looked a bit different than an entire floor of bedrooms and a staircase does. This might take some getting used to: 

 I'm hoping that once the cardboard floor protection is removed it will look better with the cherry flooring. I can only hope ;) 

A + is that I LOVE the oil rubbed bronze fixtures we chose. An upgrade that didn't cost an arm and a leg but certainly looks like a million dollars!

That was last week. We went down again today, thinking that the sod would have been put down and the blinds would be up. But that hasn't happened yet. That's okay. There were other things that WERE done that look fantastic!!  

Like the bushes, pinestraw and front door...

It's really starting to look like the house we envisioned. I need to figure out some nice shade loving containers for my porch and that lovely window box since the house is north facing and we will get little to no sunlight on the front of the house... EVER! (any wonderful green thumb friends reading this your input is greatly appreciated)

They did remove the floor protection and OMG!!! I think I'm in love...
and... the kitchen... well ~ it's STILL my favorite place in the house. Just LOOK at how it's turning out now that you can see the floor and the cabinets and the appliances and the backsplash and everything all together... I can't believe this is MY (our) house!

Last but not least the bathroom fixtures are in and complete. The jacuzzi is working ;)

I think the one thing I want to do right away (after I take my first bath in this lovely tub, that is) is to frame out that bathroom mirror. I've always wanted a framed mirror in the bathroom and I'll probably do it in our bathroom, Meghan's and replace the mirror in the powder room with a nice framed mirror as well. (Jeff loves me for already making a "project list").  

I've also already got paint colors picked out for most of the house (I'm sure those of you who know me are NOT shocked by this at all). And I have THOUSANDS of pins on my Pinterest boards (no, unfortunately, I'm not exaggerating) with ideas for decorating and organizing my fantastic new home. Now, whether or not I actually have the time, energy or inspiration to actually follow through with most of them remains to be seen ;)

I realize now that I probably should have taken a couple of shots of the back yard, but nothing has changed back there. The concrete patio is in place, but no sod is down yet. Once some landscaping is there, I will take more pictures.

I don't think there's much going on down at the house this week. Maybe blinds going up, possibly sod being put in. Another coat of paint, some varnish on the hand rails, most of the "major" work is completed. Now it's just detail stuff.

  Unfortunately for now, it's bedtime. I'm sure I won't be able to sleep as I dream of paint chips, floor plans, closet organizers and pendant lighting. Nothing a little ambien can't take care of.