Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year!

Today has been the most exciting day yet! Our little patch of dirt is starting to look like a home. We also got word on Tuesday that our basement will have 4 full sized windows instead of  2 (which were originally going to just be in the unfinished storage room). Last but certainly not least, we had the opportunity to meet a few of our neighbors. They were all very nice and we look forward to future block parties. We hope everyone has a Happy New Year..please be safe! 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

New Home Decorations

Since we'd been out of town for the holidays and thus were unable to monitor the progress of the house's exterior, I thought I'd post an update on some new interior decorations for our future home.
"Hott Family" sign, courtesy of HandcraftedBrunette on Etsy
Heather's aunt and uncle were kind enough to get us not one, but two wonderful signs for our home- the first of which being the "Hott Family" sign above.  Both of our signs were created by HandcraftedBrunette on Etsy.  The sign looks great and should be prominently displayed in our new home.
Another sign for my future man cave!
According to HandcraftedBrunette's instagram page, over 120 people have already seen and "liked" our other new sign, which will make a perfect addition to my future man cave.  Not only does it look great, but it perfectly encapsulates my love of tacos and beer!

Special thanks to our families for these and many other gifts that will aid us in furnishing our new home.  We'll look to post more updates this week, as we may start to see some framing popping up shortly (weather permitting).  Likewise, I plan on posting more updates about my future man cave and how I plan to furnish it.  I have my eye on another piece of art that I think would look nice down there...

Hope all of our followers have had a wonderful Christmas, stay tuned for more posts!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Lumber Delivered

The crew has been working hard the past few days to get the foundation waterproofed and the floor ready for concrete. The plan is to get the basement floor poured before Christmas so that the can start framing after the holiday weekend. A big thanks to our PM and all the workers that have been working their booties off to get us back  on schedule. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

We have a foundation!

Thanks to the beautiful 60 degree weather and a hardworking team, we have gone from a pile of dirt to a foundation! We look forward to having our framing material delivered soon. 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Almost Ready for Concrete

I went by the lot today and snapped some pictures. It looks like some of (if not all) of the helical piers are up. Our PM told me last week that they plan to put the concrete and work double time starting Monday to make up for the time we've lost. I had the chance to meet some of our neighbors yesterday while I was volunteering with the fire department. We took santa around on the fire truck so that all the kids could see and take pictures with him. I was glad to see that our new neighborhood is filled with young families! Here are some pictures I took today of the "progress"made thus far our lot as well as of the model home kitchen with the new island design our kitchen will have:

Wednesday, December 9, 2015


Well, it's been a while since we last posted an update on our home and that is because not much progress has been made thus far :( we still have a lovely pile of dirt anxiously awaiting a foundation. We found out the delay is due to some information they found out about the soil on our land. The good news is that our landscaping will look beautiful because the soil is rich and soft but the bad news is that they were having a hard time figuring out a way to lay the foundation to minimize future settling. Well our PM contacted a company that specializes in helical pier foundation systems and they are set to install our piers at the end of this week. Although we are disappointed in the progress that has currently been made, we are happy to know that our house will sit on a solid foundation (thanks to the lovely engineer that designed it for us). Hopefully we will have a foundation by the end of the work week. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

We broke ground!

Such an exciting day...we finally broke ground! Although we are already a week behind (lot grading delays), we are confident that our PM will keep everything on track. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

SketchUp Practice

In order to aid in our layout planning and to make our blog more aesthetically pleasing, I decided I would play around with SketchUp- a 3D model building program I had used in the past at work but hadn't tried out in a few years.

I used the basement floor plan that I found on the Ryan Homes website, and after reacquainting myself with the nuances of the program, I managed to build a basic model complete with walls, two windows, and a carpet that closely matched our shade of grey.  Unfortunately, Heather informed me after the fact that I had actually created a rendering of the wrong floor plan, as our home has the "reverse" floor plan of the standard Venice model.  So there went an hour of my life that could have been spent otherwise...

On the bright side, I started to get the hang of the program again after not touching it for several years.  If any of our other fellow prospective home-builders wish to give it a spin, it can be downloaded for free from their website.  It may not be the most user-friendly program I've ever encountered but there are plenty of tutorials available on YouTube and it's free, so I really don't have much room to complain.  I'll look to make a model of the correct floor plan sometime in the near future so we can try and put the program to better use.

Rob's (failed) attempt at creating a 3D rendering of the future basement.

Loan Status: Approved

After waiting what felt like an eternity, we finally got word back that our loan has been approved! Now they can finally start construction. Our little plot of land will have a house on it in no time.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Pre-Construction/Flooring Meeting

Today we bookended our usual Wednesday workday with two separate housing meetings.  We attended our pre-construction meeting this morning at the Ryan Homes Venice model home, and then had our flooring meeting at Advanced Flooring and Design.  With a great deal of coffee, we managed to make it out of both meetings alive and with an even better picture of what the interior of our future home was going to look like.  We have detailed our decorative choices for the home below:

Main Floor:
-Hand Scraped Engineered Hardwood (Fall Canyon)
-Kitchen Countertops (Rushmore Painted Linen)
-Kitchen Granite (Santa Cecelia Light)

-Carpet-Level B (Graystone: Amazing Greige)
-Padding (Forest-Middle Tier)

-Carpet-Level B (Graystone: Amazing Greige)
-Padding (Viscobond-Memory Foam)

Basement+"Future Kids"/Guest Bath:
-Shower Tile (6X6 Semi Gloss White)
-Floor Tile (6X6 Matte White)
-Vanity (Cherry Bordeaux)
-Countertop (White Cultured Marble)

Master Bath:
-Shower Tile (Polaris Gloss White 9X12)
-Floor Tile (Parkway Grey 12X12)
-Accent Tile (CW28 Wave)
-Vanity (Cherry Bordeaux)
-Countertop (White Cultured Marble)

Laundry Room:
-Floor Tile (Sandalo Castilian Gray)

Pre-Construction Questions/Answers
Living Room (Office)
-Will this room come with a ceiling light? No, but there is one in the entry way and a switched outlet for a desk lamp 

Family Room
-Can we lower the mantle on the fireplace (for TV mounting)? Yes
-Will there be a bump out from fire place? (for future deck placement): Yes 24” bump out 
-Will there be a blower for the fireplace?: No 

-Outlet in cabinet for putting under cabinet lighting in after closing: Yes  
-Can I pick my own granite slab? (We want the non yellowish Santa Cecelia): No but promised it would be will be light/ not yellow
-Can we request that they not add a granite lip? Yes 
-Can we move the cabinets above the refrigerator so that they are flush with the wall?  Not flush but as close as they can get it so that the cabinets will still open all the way. 
- Height of the counter/island? (for stools)- Standard countertop height 

Morning Room
-What type of door to the outside (sliding or patio?): patio

Master Bedroom
-Can they raise the shelving in the closet? Yes
-Will closet have lighting? Yes 

Master Bathroom
-What is the height of shower head? Can it be raised? Yes, they will raise it as much as they can
-Can we add a bench in the shower? NO :(

-Will there be an outlet in the unfinished area for media closet/future bedroom? Yes
-Where is the door going to be located? Far right (sliding) 
-Window in unfinished area? 2 full sized windows 
- Can we section off the utilities? All in one area but will not be drywalled into their own room

 General Questions
-Will there be insulation around water pipes? (We do not want to hear running water throughout the house): No but it wont be a problem 
-Bib locations: front and back 
- Outdoor outlets-how many? Front door, basement door, morning room door
-Where will the attic access be located?  Laundry Room 
-Will landscaping be installed before or after closing?  After
-Smooth or rough ceilings? Smooth
-Lawn- seeded or sod? Sod
-Rock/straw removal before laying SOD: Yes 
-Will we have any ugly utility meters in our yard? NO
-Total square footage of our home? 3,025
-Dual Zone HVAC? No, Single
-Paint color on walls?  Divine White (not pure white)

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Maggie Lends a Paw

Heather and I enjoyed finalizing all of our exterior and interior options at our finishing meeting today.  Upon relaxing on the couch after our meeting, we realized that one of our furry children, Maggie, had positioned herself on top of all of our paperwork.  As Maggie isn't always the most sociable of cats, we took this as a sign that she was excited for our family's new home and wanted to help out her human parents however she could!

...or perhaps she just enjoys the feeling of sleeping on top of paper.  Either way, I'd like to think that our little Maggie is just dreaming about our future home and all of the space she will have to run around and play with her brother.  We'll have to ensure that we keep these little guys in mind as we continue to plan our construction!

Change Order Appointment

Well, today we had the opportunity to pick out all our interior and exterior finishes (minus the flooring). It was much easier than I thought it was going to be. After pricing everything out we decided to add the nickel finish upgrade and went one tier up on our appliances.
Our finishes are:
Shake Siding-Silver Mist
Stone-Dakota Ledge Stone 
Shutters-Dark Navy
Trim/Garage Door-White
Cabinets-Rushmore Painted Linen
Countertops-St. Cecelia Light 
Appliances-GE Profile

Cabinets-Tahoe Cherry Bordeaux
Countertops-Cultured Marble

Stone-Dakota Ledge Stone

Flooring: TBD (our appointment is on the 11th)

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


Welcome to our blog!  Our names are Rob and Heather and after living in an apartment in Virginia for the past year and a half, we recently decided to build our first home together.  As if we weren't busy enough planning our dream home, we decided to further enhance the experience by creating a blog to track our progress and gain insight and feedback from others.  But first, a little background...

We have been together since November 2013 and have been engaged to be married since November 2014.  This will add another layer of excitement to the process, as our closing date (February 2016) falls only two months before our wedding date!  Our thought process was to remove both of these figurative band-aids as quickly as possible so that we can immediately begin enjoying our lives together upon getting married.  In addition to the two of us, we are bringing along our two, furry children; our orange cats named Milo and Maggie (I'm sure there will be more to come on these two).  We plan on diving further into the specifics of our home in future blog posts, but we are building a Ryan Homes Venice Model, complete with four bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, and a finished basement.  Our vision is for this home to provide the perfect blend of space for the two of us to relax, space to entertain and accommodate our friends and family, and space for our family to expand further down the road.

This is our first foray into the world of blogging, however we felt that this would provide a useful forum to not only keep our friends and family updated on the progress of our new home, but also to gain feedback and input from those who have been in our shoes and/or have had experience working with Ryan Homes in the past.  Both of us will look to contribute to the blog- although we both have different voices and have different visions for the house, we both are excited to build our very own dream home and both appreciate any feedback or advice that our followers have to offer.  Thanks for joining us on this new and exciting journey and feel free to subscribe to find out how #HottsBuildAHome!