Saturday, July 29, 2017

One year (and 2 months) in!!

Has it really been since January that I updated this blog? Time flies when you're in your house!
Since January we have done a number of little house projects and the current goal for this year is to get the whole main floor painted and decorated.
Next years goal is to finish the basement and build a deck.

Anyway, first project back in February was to do a DIY shiplap wall in our family room. The room felt so big and open and bare with that wall especially- and we wanted it to feel more cozy and homey.
Here is what we had before:

 Here is all the wood on the wall- so many people said we should keep it the natural wood and not paint it white- and while it was beautiful it wasn't what I was going for.

 Here is the finished project.

The next project we tackled was the "dining room" in the Milan- but for us its what we call the "kids office or music room". It was a terrible use of the room and became a sort of 'catch all' room where stuff got put and it was so ugly.  A couple weeks ago I was fed up with it and decided to try and make it what I wanted. 

Here it is before

 This was after I just moved everything off the wall- so much better already!!!

Then I painted the entire room and we built a 12 foot long desk (the length of the wall) out of three bookcases I got on clearance at Target and 3 2x6x12s. 

I have a sign ordered to hang on the wall and I will add a bunch of things we already have to make a little gallery and organizational wall over the desk.  Also will eventually get a cozy chair for the corner next to the piano. Thinking of an area rug also. 

Our next project we did just yesterday- I had some leftover shiplap boards from that project in February so I sanded them all last week and finally convinced my husband to help me get them on the wall. I will say this time we did a much better job and it was definitely easier the 2nd time around. I also painted the other walls of the morning room the same agreeable gray that I'm painting most of the main floor of the house. 

Close up of the wall. I love how it draws your eye upwars now and makes the room seem so much taller. 

My favorite thing about the house is the green view from the back windows. I feel like I'm on vacation every day living in such a beautiful place. 

Those are all our finished projects so far. As i type this my husband is at home depot getting all the materials to build us a mudroom bench/locker area. We have never built anything like that from scratch so its going to be an adventure for sure. Hopefully we are able to figure it out without too much wasted time and materials. 

A year and 2 months into our home and we are still loving it!!! ❤

Friday, January 6, 2017

Our home's first snow!

If it's gonna be cold, it might as well snow so everything looks prettier!  True dedication right here to go outside this morning so I could take a picture of our cute little home in its first real snow!  ;) 

 I'm basically obsessed with how cute it is, and can't choose which photo to share...

 I love how much brighter it is inside from the sun reflecting off the snow!

I think its safe to say that winter has finally arrived!  Can't wait for spring now!! Brrrr...

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

1st Bedroom Makeover: Little girl's room

For her 5th birthday our daughter asked us to decorate her bedroom, I thought it was a wondeful idea, being that her birthday is SO close to Christmas. I painted her room before Thanksgiving since I knew I wouldn't want to paint a week before Christmas, but the night before her birthday my husband and I worked together all day pulling together all the things I had been collecting in my closet for months.  We measured where to put the gold polka dots, ironed and hung curtains, hang shelves, and frames. I don't have the before photos on my phone anymore but before it was just bare, construction cream colored walls and her twin bed in the room.   We added, the bedside table, area rug, bean bag chair, along with the curtains, shelves, frames. 

Overall the room makeover was a success, our little girl LOVES her new room, and her older siblings all want their rooms done now too!

This is officially the first and only room we have decorated and completed.  I can't wait to tackle another room and finish it.  I feel like I have little bits and pieces done around the house but no other rooms are painted and have stuff hung on the walls yet.  I am itching to paint but since we are over halfway to our 1 year maybe I can hold out until May/June to paint.  :)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Nearly 4 months in with Ryan Homes

Okay, so I updated about random house decorating stuff but there have been other house things dealing with Ryan Homes so I thought I should follow up on some of that too.

First, we had put in our 1st service request mid August, by the end of August we had still never heard anything, and now we had more issues to report so we sent a 2nd service request in and also added that we put in a request August 15th and it was now August 29th and we hadn't been contacted.  I think the next morning we got a phone call saying our PM had been on vacation and he was trying to catch up and then he scheduled to come Friday afternoon.

He came walked the house with us and scheduled to come a week and a half later to fix it all.  Which happened, he came and fixed squeaky spots in the subfloor in the master bedroom and the bedroom closest to the stairs.  Fixed kitchen cabinets that were banging into each other everytime we closed them... forgot to fix a seriously crooked set but he did teach us how to fix it so we need to figure it out.  Fixed trim on the outside corner of the garage.  Fixed the squeaky floor in the shower. Fixed door handles that weren't catching.  I think that was it.

We have an issue with our granite staining pretty badly in one spot from strawberries.  Our construction PM told us at our final walk thru that the granite was sealed so we wouldn't need to worry about that but that the shower grout would need to be sealed... fast forward to the strawberry incident and our countertops are definitely not sealed.  And the service PM laughed at us and said they've never ever sealed the granite and he doesn't know why our PM Bill would have told us that. He gave us some ideas to try to get the stain out and said he would have the granite company come look but then he didn't and instead gave us the number to call and ask if it was ok to try and bleach the stain out.

I have since found another item that needs service but I hate having to make the request and have the PM come and then schedule again to actually come fix it later.  I will eventually submit it (splintering hardwood I found while swiffering).

Lastly, an update on the propane situation.  I never heard anything back and finally emailed the regional manager again (our SRs boss).  He did not give me an update on the situation with Matheson as a whole at all but did offer to help us with our first bill from Matheson.  So that was really nice and unexpected.  Of course now it feels like we can't discuss the shadiness of Ryan and Matheson and the contracts they forced on us.

Good news for our neighborhood though is that we are in talks with a natural gas company to get natural gas hook ups, we need more neighbors to sign the agreements and we are in the section of the neighborhood that would be last to get hooked up but hopefully we won't be stuck with propane for the next 30 years!

Last update on the construction/Ryan homes side of things... our driveway.  When we settled we were given a really rough driveway and we were told it would get a 2nd layer and would be level and smooth and we were on the schedule for August.  We are almost to the end of September now and have heard nothing else about the driveway paving.  I noticed 3 neighbors waaayyy down the street got paved a couple weeks ago so I figured they were at least starting but there haven't been any new driveways paved around us and we are definitely not going to be first in line behind all the neighbors who settled before us so I am wondering if we will get paved before the winter hits. The driveway is settling really badly in this one corner where there is a pipe, the pipe is actually coming up out of the metal cover and we are hoping it doesn't end up breaking from the impact of a car driving over it. My husband thinks its probably a good thing they haven't paved again yet bcuz its giving the driveway extra time to settle and hopefully it won't settle too much more and cause issues again down the road.

4 months in... {almost}

Well its almost been 4 months in our home and its beginning to look and feel more like home everyday.   We have done a couple little things around the house these last few weeks and we've been excited about them so I wanted to share them the only place I could.  Lol. 

Okay these photos are so random because I am blogging on my phone and its being crazy and won't let me re order them... anyway, first up is the trash and recycling system my husband added to one of our cabinets (to the left of the stove in our Milan).  We really love it,  its so nice to have our old plastic trash can out of the mudroom.  The mudroom is our first big project, that we are hoping to tackle this weekend actually.  We don't have a clue what we are doing but when the kids started school it became very obvious that we needed that room to "function" and its just not working for us right now.  
 The trash can was our first step to getting the mudroom project going.

This is a terrible photo but the only one I have, we finally got a light/ceiling fan added to the morning room.  It is getting darker earlier now so this was a necessity.  Its kind of a boring light for the morning room, I've seen the trend in fancy light fixtures with Ryan homes owners but my husband for sure wanted a fan in this room to help with the air circulation and the plain white is something my mom always recommended just so it would blend in with the ceiling. We like it, it really brightens up the room and the kitchen and the fan is great when its feeling especially warm in that room.
 I started decorating for fall.
 I just love the openness of this floor plan and layout.
 Found a cute white pillowcover at IKEA last month and it fit the long skinny pillow that came with our couch perfectly. (The pillow cover the couch came with was orange and red, not my favorite).

I found fabric I liked and sewed this pillow cover and another identical one.  It was frustrating trying to figure out how to sew a zipper but after a few hours I managed to "make it work".  

 This room isn't on our priority list BUT I am a sucker for deals and I found this curtain rod for $11.99 at kohls and I think I had a 25% off coupon.  A couple days before that I was checking out a store I'd never been to before called Tuesday Morning, I was about to leave empty handed when I happened upon this set of two curtain panels for $11.99, two panels together for that price is unheard of... and navy blue, I had to grab them!  Eventually we will tackle this room, in the meantime though, its nice to have curtains there for when we want to close them, or just to have something decorative in that room since the rest of the house is open to it.
 Love my family room so much, especially when its picked up and there are no kids toys or blankets or dirty socks left laying around.

The best thing will be when we paint, which I was going to wait to do until after the 1 year drywall BUT i am seriously itching to do it now.  And once I do I will feel like I can hang stuff on the walls! 

Another bargain I couldn't pass up on...

My 4 year old has a birthday coming up right before Christmas and she has said she wants her room decorated as her present.  She says she wants "all the things" (curtains, bedside table, lamp, clock, rug, gold polka dots on wall, bean bag chair, pictures on the wall, etc.) Anyway that made me remember the good deal on the curtain rod I got at kohls a couple weeks ago, tried one kohls, only one curtain rod but she has two windows so I checked another kohls today and found a bunch of curtain rods for $11.99. Yay! 

I was hopeful that maybe the clearance tags weren't correct, maybe they'd be on more of a sale so I checked with their price checker and all these curtain rods rang up for $7.99 (down from $39.99... which kohls super marks up their stuff so they can put it "on sale", so if these were on the current sale the other curtain rods were on they would have been $20... ) I also had a 30% coupon so I paid $5.59 each and earned myself $10 kohls cash to use next week!  

My husband thought I  was crazy when I came home with all of these... and I know I looked crazy walking out of kohls with all 8 in my arms.  Three will go in our bedroom, four in the kids bedrooms and then one for my husband's office.

Last thing... Monday I heard SW was having one of their 40% off paint sales but it was ending that day so I wanted to hurry and paint this half wall in the morning room with my leftover sample paint, that I had painted one spot on to test the color about 2 months ago.  I wanted to see if I liked the color on a whole wall and I wanted to convince my husband to let me buy like 5 gallons and let me paint at least the family room, morning room and kitchen... unfortunately I didn't get around to buying the paint during that last day of the sale... however I do LOVE the color on the wall and in my house and can't wait to get all the walls painted. (I will be waiting for a paint sale though.)

The color is agreeable gray and I wa sreally nervous looking at the paint itself and on the lid bcuz it seemed tanner more than gray, but it is definitely a gray and I love it. It really looks good with the wood floor color and adds a richness to the space that is seriously lacking with these construction white/yellow walls.

Well thats my update for now, sorry its all over the place and super long.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Our Monday Evening Activity Tonight...

Tonight my 4 year old and I walked around the front yard pulling weeds and rocks out of the yard.  I've heard in this neighborhood Ryan Homes supposedly has a machine that sifts out all the rocks but I have watched first hand that they grade the yards with the rocks (natural and the ones they brought in for construction) still there.  They add the stinky smelling decomposing leaf "top soil" then lay sod on top.  Anyway, tonight the rocks sticking out of the grass and the mulch finally got to me and we pulled out as many as we could.  My 4 year old thought it was so much fun and didn't want to stop-- luckily for her the rocks aren't going anywhere and there will for sure be more working their way up to the surface.  

That big dirt covered rock at the bottom is the size of my daughter's head, literally)

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Propane Issues...

When we first came to check out this neighborhood and these Ryan Homes we ended up walking away for a couple of reasons actually, one being the timing of not wanting it to be completed before we were down with our rental contract but mostly what had us running for the hills was the propane contract Ryan Homes makes you sign in this particular neighborhood.  We had been up to show the kids our lot we were thinking of getting and met our would be next door neighbor who told us about the propane contract and how he had bought his from the company so he could use any company he wanted to fill his tank.  Scared us.  We decided we didn't want to deal with the propane issue.  We even asked our SR about getting electric heat... which he said its energy efficient, I am now starting to feel like they just don't offer it because they are in business with this one propane company (Matheson, by the way... so if anyone out there is reading this and is thinking of building with Ryan Homes or with anyone where you will be forced to sign a contract with Matheson, I am telling you right now... RUN!  Don't do it!!)
Anyway, as the story goes we ended up signing about a month later, despite our worries about propane.  Our SR assured us of a few things to help ease our worries...  1.  We could buy the tank for $3400 now but as time goes by the price of the tank goes down significantly so if we wanted a couple years it would be much more affordable.  2.  Matheson was competitively priced and if we ever felt like that wasn't true we should inform Ryan Homes and they would take care of it.  3. Ryan homes fills the tank to use during construction and whatever was let in the tank when we closed was ours to keep and then we would be responsible to fill the rest.

Now, when we closed our tank had 50% propane in the tank.  We called Matheson to have them put our name on the account. No one explained anything to us just asked us to fill out some forms, and send a photo of our propane gauge so they'd know how much we needed.  Over a month went by and we finally received a bill.  A bill for nearlt $800, charging us for an entire tank of propane instead of just the 30% we needed (they only fill to 80%).  My husband called and got the explanation from Matheson.  Something about how Ryan Homes was suppose to fill our tank to full before we moved in, but that it was still all our responsibility to pay for the entire tank.  See how these two statements, one from Ryan Homes before we signed our contract, and one from Matheson after we have already closed are 100% opposite of each other?!?!?! (We have also learned the price of the tank remains $3450 no matter when you buy it... also I have researched how much a tank costs and this is 3-6 times more than market)
So I emailed our SR and he talked to his boss. They both agreed that we were right and something sounded off. That was a month ago, at least.  And that is still as much as I personally have been told.

About a week and a half ago I went around my SR and contacted his boss directly.  Not only asking about the status of our personal situation but letting him know how disappointed we are in the service we are receiving from the propane company they FORCE us into business with.  And asking for help in getting Matheson's prices lowered to match other competitors prices, which are more than 100% cheaper.  (.89 a gal vs 1.99).

He wrote me back the next day and said he was working on it and asked for my phone number to give me a call.  That is the last I heard from him.

Come to find out from our neighborhood FB page and from our family walk around the neighborhood, many people happened to also contact our SRs boss and so it wasn't just my email that prompted him to "look into it".  Our neighbors had more info bcuz they actually spoke on the phone with the man and some of the options being thrown around were leasing the tank at $120 a year and being able to use whoever we wanted for gas, a lower price to buy the tank outright from, and a more competitive price.  All of these sounded great.

Next day some neighbors say the gas company isn't budging and they think their prices are competitive.

I have still not heard back from my SRs boss, so I am unsure if anything is even being done anymore.  And I am not sure what the status of our personal bill situation is.

I am completely disappointed in this entire scenario.  Other homes in our neighborhood were built by other companies and their homes CAME WITH their propane tank.  Which oh my goodness MAKES PERFECT SENSE!!!!  Why doesn't Ryan Homes include the propane tank in the sale of the home?!?!? Why did they not even offer buying it out right from them as an option when pricing out the house? I am so curious about just what back room deal they have going with Matheson?  It must be pretty sweet for them, they must be making so much money from it to FORCE all their home owners into business with this shady, dishonest company.

Our personal experience with them double charging for gas isn't unique, they have done it to all the home owners of recent.  Since we all let Ryan Homes know about it they have since scolded Matheson and told them to fill the tanks no higher than the 25% they charging Ryan Homes for, then they will charge the home owner for the propane they put in on top of what is "leftover" from construction.
Our personal experience is also just the tip of the iceberg people.  Some neighbors have reported damaged fences from Matheson trespassing and putting locks on their propane tanks so one one else can fill them.  Some neighbors report being told their tank belongs to Matheson and they will sue the home owner even though they built with one of the other builders whose tanks came with their house! Its crazy in here right now with everyone fighting Matheson and no helpful solution being offered.
What I want to do is warn any potential home buyers of Ryan Homes and more specifically in this neighborhood.  Educate yourself before you buy, and if its propane gas neighborhood maybe don't buy at all... and really don't buy if Ryan Homes has a contract they force you to sign putting you in business with any one company but absolutely never do business with Matheson!

I am not sure what the outcome of this will be, or what my next step is to get help from someone at Ryan Homes.  Its really putting a damper on our house excitement, making me wish that we never built with Ryan Homes in the first place.  I hate being lied to and I hate being taken advantage of.