Friday, December 16, 2016

A Year Later.. Our Wonderful Winterbrook! Reflecting and Comments...

It's been a little over a year. We're in our home and loving it. With 3 young kids (8 & 5 yr old twins), we haven't had much time for curtains or much on the walls but some progress has been made (see the pics!). We still have boxes to unpack.  I'm thinking we will just donate whatever is in them if we haven't missed them.

With a big part of finished basement and our first floor, our house is almost double from our 2 story we had before.  Interestingly, our electricity and gas bills are the same or less than our previous house that was 10 yrs old when we sold it.  We are very pleased.

We never plan on building again or moving.  But if you want to know, yes, if I had to build again,  would build with Ryan again.

Things we would have changed are the carpet line between the living room and kitchen.  I would have a different angle to make the walk through around the kitchen counter flow better.  We would have had the door removed the the bathroom in the basement bedroom.  We'd asked and there was a charge.  Hint: Sometimes if you talk to the project manager, something like that is a time saver and money saver for them.... drywall and insulation install vs. door cutting and door install.  Overall though, it isn't that big of a deal, either item.  I'd like to add lighting under the kitchen cabinets eventually but I don't necessarily regret it. There's a point the budget just screams at you.
make with angle of edge of counter 

Things I'm glad we did:
Outside porch light- had them move the light from the side (eww) to the ceiling in the middle of the door/side window frame. We have a hanging light.
Love the ceiling ceiling fan/light rough ins. Cheap during build.
Floor outlet under the living room couch/sofa table.
Extra outside outlets around the house.
Stone fireplace.
Alternate kitchen layout. No regrets at all! Bigger laundry room, more kitchen cabinets...
Bumping out and adding the morning room. Gives a cool angle to the living room.
Adding extra windows in the living room (2), master (1)!
3rd car garage. All the kids stuff in the other garage... great!

the dining table seats 10 or a roomy 8
We are still shopping for a coffee table and side tables. The ceiling fan is a BIG one at lowes.Not the typical size.

The only frustrations have been getting the blasted 1 month, 10 month and 12 month checklists done.  I believe now, there is just a 1 month and then a 12 month.  I'm still waiting to get items done.  It's annoying,  I work full time and have 3 kids in activities and my hubby is equally as busy.  I just want everything fixed properly and move on.  They did come out close to the 1 month (like 3 month) and the 1 year and fix some things but it wasn't done right on some things.  The person I am in contact with is fine to work with now but I've been through 3 others if not more, but many of the time frames and past concerns is simple higher up  blatant issues.

My husband built before we met and then we built before our Winterbrook.  The above issues are common and not specific to Ryan.  I've been pleased with Ryan throughout the whole process.  This last part after we signed... so disappointed.  Could've been an out of the park home run for Ryan!

Suggestions to make building less stressful:  Please know that it WILL be stressful.  You NEED to be involved. You NEED to ask questions. Never feel bad. Don't call or text a Project Manager at all hours, for goodness sake, that's just rude, but compile a list and ask often.  Keep an organized list with you.  Not all PMs are awesome. Ours for most of our build was.... which flows into another point that you never know when staff might change so keep all emails and notes. Ask for copies.  The carpet place didn't catch something and it was easy to show what we talked about with them at our meeting from our notes.  Yes, they should know what they are doing but you should be fully part of the team too. Don't get made that you have to do it, just do it and be firm.

It's a business transaction. You don't need to worry about being best friends or hurting feelings.  What you do need to do is be respectful and professional, as should they.  You are part of the team. Yelling and cussing won't get you anywhere except making you look like an idiot. Make it a good learning experience.  Go into building with a good attitude. Know you will not get your way all the time. Know you will miss something that you'd wished you'd done. It's ok.  You have a unique experience to be able to be part of a house building experience that not many get to do. Count your blessings.

This time building was so much better than the last! I knew what to expect and I felt prepared. Ryan had a great sales team. The one who helped us worked hard. Called to find answers if she didn't know and didn't assume.  She really listened. Another came in the picture during our build and she was equally great.  Sometimes the sales person says things that aren't fully correct and it can really mess things up.

Our next projects....

Crown molding (uh, have you checked out styrofoam molding?! I'm all about it for the high places)
Hanging more stuff
Getting unpacked some day
Getting the "dining room" done into our "library."

Kitchen Pendants.  We added an extra row of lights by the refrigerator. We thought of moving the ones that are on the taller part, but after talking to the electrician, I do like the lighting effect it gives and the lighting at the end of the island. Pendants are centered in the middle of the island.