Friday, August 3, 2012

LIfe after Closing! Loving the Verona!

     Well as you know I closed on the Verona on July 27, the very same day my old home closed.  I have to give a plug to my buyer's agent Amy Gamble from Leigh Brown and Associates who worked so hard to make this house happen for me. Actually their whole team worked hard but Amy went head to head with Ryan and helped me through some tough hurdles. The battle to get here far exceeded anything I could have imagined. Was it worth it? YES! I got the house I envisioned some 5 months ago and it's awesome!!!  Would I build again some day? Absolutely.

      So here's what you've missed in the past 2 weeks. A week before closing I brought in a very good home inspector. He found a whole bunch of things and my first thought was, oh no I'm gonna miss my closing date. Within 24 hours of receiving the report most of the items on the inspector's list were addressed and/or corrected by Ryan. The builder reacted very positively to my inspector's findings, I wasn't expecting that. The closing was last Friday morning, and went very fast. I've waited longer on the McDonald's drive-up than it took to sign all the papers. I took a week off from work. Jenn and I spent countless hours hauling all my possessions out of the storage units. By Saturday morning, my 2 PODs were here and it was pretty much pandemonium here. Monday I had my garage door opener installed, cable / internet / phone installed as well as my split rail fence to keep the beasts (Audrey and Myles) in the yard. I also had all the blinds installed as well as verticals on the sliding door. I used Ryan's vendor who did the closets. I had the vendor make a some closet modifications too, you'll see in the below pictures.

    So is it perfect? Of course not!  I'm keeping my "Nit list" for the first 30 day walkthru. I had a few immediate issues that were addressed. Despite being in the house many times during the build, my kitchen floor had a "Hump" in the hardwood near the sink. It was terrible and the floor would knock when you stepped on it. I thought it was going to be some complex issue but today Rite-Rug found the issue. Despite the very well prepped floors, there was a chunk of "Goop" under one of the boards that caused the whole mess. I have a picture of the culprit somewhere in the below pictures. I just don't get how the floor installer missed that. It's like he installed the hardwood over a gumball and called it good. The bulge caused neighboring hardwood boards to stick up too..but it's fixed now.
       I also had no hot water the second night when we got in the shower. Even when it did work, the shower temperature was erratic. You would have to "Micro" adjust it several times as the temperate fluctuated.  Timing for no hot water was terrible after we had just spent hours unloading a truck. The plumber came over Monday and removed the water restrictors from the shower heads. He said Noritz sent an advisory that the restrictors are confusing the water heater. He then told me he was going to reboot the water heater. I said "Did you just say you're going to reboot my water heater? There is a switch next to the heater you turn off for a minute or so to do the reboot. The hot water has been perfect since he removed the restrictors. On the up side, the shower pressure is so strong now. What strikes me as ironic though, is all this stuff about the house being Energy Star 3.0 but I can't conserve water or it will confuse my water heater. Mind you I did not want a tankless water heater. I wanted a traditional tank but Ryan wouldn't do it. Any savings in energy will be gone after one out of warranty repair on the tankless. Also had a minor leak in the drainpipe of the laundry tub in the garage. They fixed that too.
   The rest of my list is assorted nits, mostly cosmetic. You will have them too. I just jot them down as I find them and will address in 30 days.

   The blogs have been a tremendous help. Keep in mind you will have woulda / coulda / shoulda no matter what. There is no such thing as  a "Perfect" house, but we can try to get close!  For example, I remember how much I obsessed over outlets and half-hots etc. Even though I knew exactly how I was setting up my office I completely missed the fact that there was only one outlet near my desk and that outlet also is a half-hot that I don't need.  So I had to run a cord across the room.

Guardian? Don't even get me started on them.  I am starting to think there is a rule that Guardian will screw up one cable per house. My cable guy spent a lot of timing trying to find a signal issue. He found a bad (sloppy) crimp from Guardian and he fixed it. My survey will reflect my dissatisfaction with Guardian for sure.

  So here's another round of randomized pictures. Disclaimer: I'm not done setting up, please pardon our appearance!
Stuart's home office. This is the back left corner bedroom turned into the Bank of America home office. It is hard wired for  Network and telephone.

Another view of the office. That black thing on the right is an old fashioned tube television that weighs somewhere between 2 and 3 thousand pounds. 

This is the bedroom closet in my office. I had the linen rack torn out and the 5 stacker put in it's place. This was also performed by Ryan's vendor who did the original work. It is amazing watching the professional put up these shelves in just a few minutes. I wish I had gotten a picture, but it's this metal template thing, that they put against the wall. It has all the holes aligned,  no measuring, no guessing, no mistakes. These are called tight mesh shelves. 

This is the bedroom opposite the office and it will be a guest bedroom. 

Another view of the upstairs guest bedroom.

The Laundry Room. Love having the sink. My attic storage access is in here too. I've already got some stuff up there. There is tons of room up there. These, btw, are classic 12 year old Washer / Dryers that compliment the tube TV above.

Here's bedroom 4, Jenn's niche. It's her own home office aka The hamster room aka  The Woman Cave.

Well maybe not the prettiest thing one could do with the Alcove but it keeps the bulky exercise equipment from dominating the room.  These are facing the TV wall. I should add that my treadmill is not a coat hanger and is used daily for my weight loss and health regimen.

This is the downstairs front bedroom guest room. Complete with  TV, attached full bathroom and a study. The study is still in progress.

Another view of downstairs guest room.

This is the study opposite the guest bedroom. It features a love-seat and a computer desk which is currently in pieces due to issues from the PODs. Here's a tip for you: Do NOT put your furniture in PODs unless you have to. Much of my furniture is damaged in varying degrees after a couple months in the PODs. 

This is supposed to be the dining room. I never used the dining room in my old house and given this house has a morning room, we decided to turn it into a den. We gave up the living room  to get the front bedroom so this makes up for it. It's quickly becoming the crash zone in the house!

This is another shot of the den. This couch was supposed to go in the bonus room but it does  not fit through the narrow bedroom doors. It worked out nicely in this room. 

I had the shelving guys do this today along with the other custom shelves. They added a linen rack under the stairs so can have a coat closet. I gave up the cloat closet in the mudroom and made it a storage closet. That's my cable modem hanging there but will be on the shelf along with the wifi router. For those that care, despite being under the steps, that wifi signal covers the whole house, no dead spots. I thought I was going to need a repeater. I will say the panel looked good. Other than the bad crimp, it worked as I intended. 

Here's the Great Room. I was so worried about my leather set getting ruined in the PODs yet it's the only stuff that came out virtually unscathed. 

Another shot of the Great Room taken from the Kitchen. The back wall will have a TV at some point after Costco decides to give me one.

And here of course is the Morning Room. That's my beta fish who survived the move well.

Here you can see my prized fridge that I took with me from the old house. I'm attached to it, what can I say.
Another dinette pic.
There they are! The Parker Counter Stools, blatantly copied from Rachel's house. These two are 24" for the lower  Peninsula counter.
2 more Parker stools at the high counter. These are 29". They were all purchased from BTW, that's a  webcam on the counter so I can see my dogs in the crate. There's an app for that! 
Audrey and Myle's crate. 

Here you can see all the blinds that were installed today including the vertical blinds on the sliding door.

The center island, this was a must have on the new house.

Split rail fence installed. Walkthru gate on the left, double gate in the middle for possible landscape  work.

The sod is still alive despite the heat.

See the Rabbit lurking on the right? That's my Rabbit.

There's yet another Verona going up next to me. It has 4 side brick, with just some planks on the front. The seed and straw isn't doing too well with 100 degree weather. Well the straw is doing fine.

I had a rear gate put into access the woods which is still my lot. There are cows behind me, can you see any?  They like to do surprise "Moos" late at night.

Back left corner of my yard.

Didn't bother with a gate here since not much space anyway. 

Big accomplishment, one car in the garage, and I'm very close to having the second one in. A couple days ago there was barely room to even enter the house through the massive piles of stuff in the garage. 

Master Bedroom. You can see my halogen light on the pier unit. They really should offer a basic light package for the bedrooms. 

This chunk of goop caused chaos on my hardwood floor. It created a hump along with gaps  and noises in the wood. They had to rip out of a couple boards today to fix. Did the original installer miss this? I don't see how it's possible to have missed it. 

This is the utility closet between the 2 upstairs bedrooms ( 2 and 3).  Still some leftover space for a vacuum.  
Can you spot Wallace?
Since this too won't be used as a bedroom, Jenn also requested a set of shelves so this was done today also. 
Audrey is saying "Where am I"
Myles and Audrey in the yard.
That's a lotta blinds. The installer spends roughly 1 minute on each one.
This is the mudroom closet that comes with one linen shelf. It was ripped out today and replaced with a 5-stack.


  1. Congratulations! Everything is coming along nicely. I will have to remember that about the water restrictors and the water heater. I love the doggie cam!

  2. Congrats! Everything looks awesome. I especially LOVE your positive attitude! I've started to get a little disillusioned lately with the RH blogger world, since it seems there is so much b*tching going on over tiny things. You're perspective and acknowledgement that of course it's not going to be perfect are super refreshing. Looking forward to more updates!

  3. Congratulations, Stuart! I am really digging the compact refrigerator in the workout room and the laundry room! BTW--the doggie cam is a cute feature--may have to steal that idea for my dog, Harley!

  4. Congratulations! Nice home I had my tv mounted over my fireplace the gentleman did a great job if you are interested. Infinite Home Designs.

  5. Everything looks great! Wallace is so cute!!

  6. Awesome! Can you tell us more about that doggie cam? We're having our kids' playroom upstairs, and I want some sort of video monitoring so I can keep an eye on them when I'm downstairs. That seems a lot easier!

    1. The camera is made by foscam. I got it at I't s extremely reliable. It allows pan and tilt over a wide range. It has many features such as motion detection, night vision, preset locations, alarm integration etc. The iphone app called foscam surveillance works extremely well. I can easily my dogs even in total darkness. Let me know if you have more questions.

    2. Do you still like the foscam? Now that we're in our new house we're ready to buy something.

    3. Yes, I just replaced mine around Thanksgiving after the wifi failed. It was 3 years old. I got a new one and paid about $70 for it. I went thru Amazon who is an authorized seller. It's the foscam fi8918w. They also have HD models which are a little pricier.

  7. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THE VERONA DESIGN!! My husband and I went to see the Venice at Villages of Denver and it was really nice. Then we went to see the Verona at Rosegate in Gastonia and that model was even better!! I fell in love with it right when I walked into the kitchen!! The peninsula and island go perfect together!! There was so much more room in the Verona compared to the Venice and I was just absolutely breathless when I toured the rest of the house. Lol...I have been trying to find any other house that had a similar kitchen to the Verona but have found no homes!! I'm so upset because I really REALLY want to build the Verona with Ryan homes but it's so expensive!! Plus, my husband and I were wanting to get the basement too which will probably be even more expensive!! So I've been debating if we should get the Venice instead and have the builders put the island and peninsula in the kitchen, almost like a mini Verona model. We were trying to figure out how much it would cost if we just left everything at it's base and had them leave the first floor carpetless and hard floorless and we just do it ourselves. I wonder if we would save any money=P...I absolutely ADORE your home!! I was just curious if you got the basic cabinets, carpet, hardwood floors, etc. But I love your home, it is definitely my dream house!!

    1. Hi Sarah, I got upgraded cabinets throughout. The base level cabinets are kind of flat looking. I upgraded 1 level on the carpet and I maxed out on the padding. I regret that. Upgrading just 1 level on carpet cost a fortune and I'm very unimpressed with the carpet. It feels thin and cheap. If I had to do it again, I'd stick with the builder grade carpet and tear it out after closing for the "Good stuff" at a much better price. The hardwood floors were part of the promotion when I signed. The hardwood creaks and ticks, so while it looks great, I'm not too pleased about the noise.

  8. Stuart, I am really reconsidering my carpet upgrade. I didn't read this blog first. THings are starting to really add up. I need to cut back on some things. I have a meeting this weekend to make some changes.

    1. I had to move in the day of closing because the sale of my old house was the same day. If I had the time, I would NOT have done the carpet upgrades. The upgraded padding and carpet cost a fortune. And the carpet is crap I hate it. I can easily see the mesh because the carpet is not very dense. I had a carpet guy tell me he could have ripped out the builder grade carpet and re-do the house with the "Good stuff" for what it cost me just to upgrade. The carpet is so thin I can see every seam.

  9. WOW, thanks for that update. Maybe we should go visit a carpet store!

    1. Do the math, let us know how you make out.

  10. Hello there,
    I am following your blog and have found it a wonderful resource as we build our Verona. I was skeptical about the placement of the columns on the porch but see that yours have been placed like mine have. Ours just went up this week and it bothered me that they weren't evenly spaced. The PM explained that 2 should frame the door and the other should fall between the 2 windows. It makes sense in theory but I found it helpful to reference yours. THANKS

    1. I'm glad the blog helped you, that's why it is here so you and others can learn from others' experiences.