Friday, May 30, 2014

Decisions, Decisions!

The best thing (at least so far!) about building a new home has been the options list.  When my sales rep handed it over she told me, "some people go over it line by line, but some people don't look at all", who are those people and why are they building a house??!!  Seriously, the options list is like your birthday, Christmas and the 4th of July wrapped up into one ream of paper.  Unfortunately the list is also where budgets go to die, it is really easy to get carried away! 

Probably the most important thing is to go over the list carefully, and make sure you know exactly what everything is, and exactly what you are (or are not) going to get in your new house.  With Ryan homes you get 14 days to make structural changes and 30 to make cosmetic.  After that it is up to your sales rep and project manager's discretion and its likely going to cost you even more.

I found the blogs really helpful when it came to options because it helped me visualize what I wanted, and it also really helped because I almost missed two really important upgrades that I would have been disappointed if they hadn't gone through.

With no further ado- on to the options!

We chose elevation C for our Rome, because it had the all important extra two feet on the loft.  When we were touring the Rome model we overheard someone explaining to a perspective buyer that some elevations had an extra two foot bump out in the loft area that increased the square footage by 300 ft.   When I learned this I was very excited, because one of the drawbacks of the Rome was that the loft was smaller than in the McRae we were considering from Ryland Homes.  I knew we were going to use the loft as a play area, and my boys have lots of toys, so I wanted to make sure we'd have enough room for storage and enough space to play.  The extra two feet brought the dimensions of the loft area up to 14.6' by 15.1', roughly the size of the living room we are using as a playroom currently.

As an even extra bonus our community was offering an incentive for elevation K, alternate elevation I, which was exactly the same price as elevation C, so we were able to get it at no additional cost.

We also decided to just go with siding, and not add the partial stone or partial brick because we'd rather spend the money inside where we will see it everyday, as opposed to spending it outside for our neighbors to enjoy (sorry neighbors!)

Rome, Elevation C pic from
When it came to color choices we didn't have a lot of options.  We have neighbors on all sides, and since we can't have the same color as them, it did cut down on our choices.  We also weren't interested in a white or tanish home, we were looking for something with a little more pop.   We went with Irish Thistle with Dark Berry shutters and Black Fox front door color.  All of the trim will be white and the garage door will have arched windows.
The flash washes the colors out a little, but here is the siding, door and shutter sample

Here is a picture of a house with my siding, shutter and door color, ignore the tan parts, my house won't have that detail

As for our other decisions, we added

  • Two foot extension to the garage (this will be really useful for storage)
  • garage door opener (standard option in our community)
  • morning room (we got it free with the May promotion in our community)
  • extra morning room windows (I'm really excited to have a true sun room!)
  • Gourmet kitchen island (the regular island is standard, so it wasn't much cost to upgrade)
  • cabinet crown molding (standard in our community)
  • brushed nickel cabinet hardware (standard in our community)
  • tile backsplash level A
  • upgraded kitchen faucet (comes standard with the granite)
  • cabinet color- maple cognac timberlake (the maple cognac is standard in our community)
  • 42" kitchen cabinets (comes standard)
  • Kitchen granite color- Santa Cecelia (granite is standard in our community)
  • black appliances (standard in our community)
  • Gas range
  • large single sink

here is a pretty bad picture of our cabinets and granite

here is a picture of a model home with our granite and cabinets (our kitchen will have a different layout)
 Family room
  • fireplace rear wall with Venetian Gold granite surround
  • fireplace blower with remote
Master Bath
  • soaking tub and shower with seat (the separate tub/shower is standard, it was a little extra to add the larger shower)
  • ceramic tile (comes standard)
  • double bowl sink (comes standard)
  • vanity color- maple honey timberlake (may be upgrading this at our flooring appointment)
  •  granite vanity top- wheat
  • brushed nickle fixtures
Kids bath
  • double bowl sink
  • vanity color- maple honey timberlake
  • ceramic tile floor 
  • cultured marble vanity top
  • brushed nickle fixtures
  • attic storage with pull down stairs
  • level 3 trim package with crown molding, chair rail and picture frame molding in dining room

This is the crown molding in LR and picture frame molding in DR
  •  pine stair with white balusters (this one I almost missed, I didn't realize that it wasn't standard, thanks fellow bloggers!  I would have been really upset if I realized too late and my entry hallway would have had two weird half walls extending into the space )

if you look through the doorway you see the stair banisters, without the upgrade you'd just have two half walls extending into the hallway, weird! 
Electric and wiring 
  • 7 ceiling fan rough-ins (family room, morning room, loft, and 4 bedrooms)
  • dedicated circuit in garage (for fridge)
  • 4 recessed lights in dining room (I really hate dark dining rooms and chandeliers don't give off enough light)
  • 2 recessed lights over fireplace
  • recessed lights in kitchen (we are moving the location of one and changing it to a light rough in- because..)
  • adding two light rough-in over island (those two with the one recessed light we are moving and changing to a rough in will become pendant lighting over the island)
  • adding outlet to pantry (for my future wine fridge)

  • 10x12 patio (standard in our community)
  • hardwood in Foyer (standard), 1st floor powder room (standard), kitchen (standard), mud room, dining room, living room, morning room, first floor hall
So that is what we have so far!  Next week is our flooring company meeting (Rite Rug in this area) and we have to choose our tile, carpet and hardwood.  I might be changing our master vanity color (I'm afraid that the maple honey will look too washed out with the wheat granite if we pick a beige tile color), and I know we are going to upgrade the carpets and pad and add tile flooring for the kids bathroom.   When we have that appointment I'll be sure to post an update, and I'll try to get some better (non-flash) pictures of our color choices.  Thanks for reading! 


  1. I was one of the ones who "tried not to look at it". That options list can bankrupt you for sure!

    I have to say I am so jealous that your community has so much included! The granite, moulding, and cabinet hardware is huge! All of that would run us about 7k in upgrade costs!

    We are building a Naples in Illinois. We look to be on a parallel time frame. Here's to a quick, painless, and quality build!

  2. Hi Bridget! Yes, that list can be tough! My husband wanted to pry it out of my hands because every time I looked at it the cost of the house went up and up!

    I was thrilled with the options offered in our community, there is another Ryan community about 15 minutes away from the one we chose, and the base housing prices were a little lower, but once you added in the extra upgrades, we actually made out better.

  3. Do you have more info about attic and if you could get real stairs but still have it unfinished so you could finish it off later