Friday, August 8, 2014

The Ryan House

In case you missed the news, we are building The Ryan House!! I still can't believe it. John and I have talked about building a house for a long time and we always just pushed it aside because the only place to build in Houston is in the burbs if you don't want to spend a half million dollars (which was not in our budget!!) John finally agreed to move to the burbs and here we are, building our house in Katy! 

We signed our life away (not really, but it sure felt like it!) a few Saturdays ago and you know I immediately asked the sales person for a sold sign for a photo op ;)  I am really excited about our new neighborhood and house if you couldn't tell. The neighborhood is called Firethorne and we have community pools, gyms, lakes, walking trails, etc. We'll also have easy access to shopping and freeways which is essential for us for commuting. They're also building an elementary school in the neighborhood for our kiddos one day! 

There were only a few lots left in the section we wanted. We decided to pay a little extra and go with a corner lot. Land is prime out there so we weren't able to afford a huge lot so we decided to get a corner lot to make it feel a little bigger. 

We had to pick our brick, stone, elevation, and outside paint colors that day. Talk about overwhelming. This is the front of your house that everyone will see!! The sales person drove us around the neighborhood pointing out bricks and stones and we ultimately decided on the Acme Old Francisco brick and and Austin Stone in Cream Chopped. 

This isn't our house, but this is the brick and stone combo we chose... 

We also found a house in the neighborhood that has the same elevation we picked. This what the front of our house will look like, except different brick, different stone, and different paint. 

And here is our floor plan! We looked at a bunch of builders and hundreds of different floor plans. This was the only one that we really loved and felt worked with what we wanted. We decided to add a gameroom upstairs as well. 

The builder was also building an inventory house with the same floor plan in our neighborhood that wasn't quite done yet so we got to go in and see it and take pictures and really get a feel for what it's going to look like. The model homes just are hard to picture when they are all decorated weird and it's all upgraded. Here's a few pictures I snapped from the inventory home... 

{standing in the living room looking in to the kitchen. These are also the cabinets and interior doors we chose}

{another view of kitchen/breakfast area}

{standing behind the island looking into the living room, where the TV will hang on the wall}

{master bathroom}

I am so excited about the open floor plan! I can stand in the kitchen and cook and do dishes and watch TV at the same time. 

When you build a house, you have a ton of choices, all of which cost a gazillion dollars because the builders have them marked up a ton. Our realtor did some good negotiations and got us a quite a bit of money to spend in the design center. You'd be shocked at what is not included when you build a house. Nothing in any of those pictures is standard - all upgrades. 

We went to the design center to look around once and start getting some ideas and then had our full appointment last Friday. Luckily we already had price breakdowns and my finance husband had a spreadsheet of everything we were wanting so we kind of already knew about how much we were going to spend. I'm really excited about everything we picked. We got *almost* everything we wanted. There's a few things that we had to do without but it's all stuff that we can upgrade later on, and I'm ok with that. We wanted to make sure to spend our money on stuff that wasn't possible to do later on or was really hard like wiring, outlets and cabinets. I was able to snap some pics of some of our choices too. 

{cabinets, granite for kitchen, tile for wet areas and carpet}

{backsplash for the kitchen - this was in their kitchen there}

{stone for the outside of the house and what we will surrounding our fireplace/hearth}

{picture of everything together - the wood in the middle is our banister rail}

Things we compromised on: 

Wood floors - We decided not to do this through the builder because of the ridiculous costs. It's like a 200% upcharge for wood. So, we are going to do the carpet in the living room and dining room and then rip it up before we even move in and put wood floors in on our own. We also really like the idea of the tile that looks like wood and that was even more expensive than wood floors at the design center. 

Island Pendant Lights - I really wanted these even though that kind of sounds stupid. But they really know how to get every penny out of you. So what we did was go ahead and wire for them and add the switch and we will go to home depot or something and pick one of our own that we really like and install it our self. 

Granite in the bathrooms - ugh, i hated not being able to do this. But granite is easy to add later. And they use a new marlique marble in the bathrooms now that doesn't look too bad. So, this will be something that we can do in a year or so on our own and not spend so much money doing it. This is what our secondary baths will kind of look like. 

Framed mirrors - You can bet I've already been searching pinterest for DIY's on this. Mirrors look so much better framed, but at $600 a mirror, you bet we passed on this. 

Cabinets over the toilets - Again, another thing that I wasn't going to pay $600 per bathroom for. Another pinterest project we'll do once we get moved in :) 

The White fireplace mantle - ugh, I hate it. But, to get a oak one was another $1500. On top of what we already paid to make it stone. So, we will paint the mantle dark to match our wood floor once we get settled. 

I think that's it. Honestly in the big picture, it's not alot and all stuff we can fix later. 

Right now our lot still looks like the day we signed our papers, just a bunch of dirt. We're hoping they break ground soon! December 29th is the day on our contract, but they said that was the earliest it will be done. We're thinking it will be more like January. But it's worth the wait!! 


Thursday, August 7, 2014


We have had a CRAZY past few months! Which is why there has definitely been a lack of blogging going on. There were weeks of tears and then weeks of so much joy.

You might remember me saying here in my #100happydays post that there were 2 days of celebrating... what were we celebrating?

John got a new job! 

It was a few weeks of stress though because he turned down the new job, decided to stay at his current job, and changed his mind 3 other times since those celebrations....

Yes, you read that right.

BUT, he eventually decided to take the new job and he started this week!

It was such a tough decision for both of us. How do you leave a company you've been with 7 years? We had to look at the big picture. Even though the commute will be longer for him, this is ultimately what was best for him.

So, here's what kind of went down. (I really am only documenting this for our sakes to remember this time in our lives).

We started looking at building a house back in June. We really wanted to build in Katy because we live close to their now, it's where his family lives, it's where John spent his late childhood until he went off to college and almost all of our friends live in that area. We fell in love with a neighborhood and fell in love with a floor plan so we decided to go ahead and get a realtor and start negotiating prices. Right in the middle of the process, John got the job offer with the new company. The commute wouldn't be bad from our current house, but from the new neighborhood in Katy, it would be at a minimum 50 minutes, but with traffic you're looking more like an hour or more. I was leaving to go to Puerto Vallarta and John was still negotiating money with the new company so we put everything on hold with the house.

The new company gave him the money he felt like would be worth it to move so he accepted the position and we decided to just stay in our house until next year and he would re-evaluate the situation and see if there were somewhere else closer to the job we would want to move.

He went in to his boss to put in his notice on Friday and surprisingly he wasn't trying to get him to stay or anything so he felt like this was the best decision and it all worked out perfectly. Monday he walked back in the office and the CFO of the company and his boss really were pushing for him to stay and promising him things they would do to make it better.

Alot of tears and a long story later, he decided to stay at GE. We started looking at houses again and got in to the negotiations process again and then the bosses couldn't really follow through with some of their offers, atleast not now. John really felt like he made the wrong decision after this.

He went back to the new company, apologized, and they said the offer was still open. So, he accepted and turned in his notice again at GE. He finished his 2 weeks at GE, took a week off and then started his new job this Monday.

So, what do we do about the house?? John decided that the commute would be worth it to live in the area that we really want to live in. He's been lucky the past 7 years with a 15 minute commute. Most people in Houston commute an hour or more so he can do it too. If we moved closer to the new job, we would be in an area we know nothing about, we wouldn't see our friends on the whim like we can now and when kids come, it would be harder for us to see his parents and to have help from them.

So, after all the drama, tears and confusion, John got a new job AND we signed a contract to build our first house together in Katy.

I will have a whole post dedicated to the new house process so far so stay tuned for that.

This whole process really tested our relationship. There were days we went to bed angry and both in tears just because of all the stress. But it all worked out, our relationship is stronger because of it and so many good things came out of it. :)

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