Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How the rock turned out (and other updates)

We have been in our home for a little more than three weeks now, and we've been busier now than we were before we closed (which didn't seem possible since things seemed pretty crazy then). Ah, but virtually all of the moving in is done, and so are the 10 ceiling fans that Lauren installed (reason No. 8,067 why my wife rocks!).

All of that work has really paid off (I'll share a few pictures of that progress momentarily), but first I wanted to provide the final update on our rock. As some of you recall, we had been asking Ryan to get the developer to grade our backyard and remove what we thought was a decent-sized rock. Then, one month before closing, we found out just how big that rock was.

Yes, that was the view from our bedroom window. The rock was going to be way too big to take out (even that smaller rock would create issues). Our property line basically ended at the back of the big rock, so we had at least 85 percent of it on our property (and, as you see the corner of our back patio in the bottom left of the photo, it didn't leave us with much back yard). 

Once everybody realized that the rock wasn't coming out, we had a dilemma. Ryan, to their credit, offered us the chance to switch to a different lot. But, by that point, the interior of the house was 80 percent done, and logistics (starting school for the kids, finding another temporary place, etc.) made that impossible. Besides, it would have been quite strange to build basically a carbon copy of the house somewhere else in the neighborhood. 

So, we decided to keep the lot. Thankfully, we had a buyer's agent who helped us negotiate what to do with Ryan. Our sales rep Amber and our PM Abe wanted to help, but they were limited in what they could do. But, two weeks before closing, we finally got approval for everything we wanted by the regional manager. Abe, as demonstrated by this deck by another blogger, is very creative and great to work with. He had a great idea for us, and put it to work. Here's how our rock looks now:

Yes, we are quite happy with how it turned out. The retaining wall spans the width of the backyard, and there are trees flanking the rock on both sides. 

Here's a view of the right side of our yard. (yes, a few trees need to be replaced, but Abe has already assured us that will be done during our 30-day follow-up).

It made for a nerve-wracking final few weeks, as we had to wait and see how everything turned out, but we are thrilled with the final outcome. Without the rock, we would have just had a small backyard, but the rock has really added a lot of character back there. A few folks in our neighborhood have already said how nice it looks, and we are happy with it all. 

There are a few issues remaining for us, including a bit of a drainage problem in the back, a creak in our upstairs hallway, and a couple minor things, but those will all be addressed at our 30-day appointment. We have really been blessed to have Ryan as our builder, as it turns out. They really worked with us, and helped us create a home that we are really proud to own. 

Sorry for the long post, but I do want to also include a few updated photos of the inside of the house, so people can see just what we have been up to. The rooms aren't finished yet (we still need to hang pictures, change some bedding, etc.) but at least you get a general idea. 

This is our son Alden's room. He has what is considered Bedroom 5, with the two-foot extension for Elevation L. With the twin bed, his room became quite spacious.  

This is our daughter McKenna's room. She got the extra window for Bedroom 3, and as it turned out, that gave us an extra window in the bonus room too. 

Here's our kitchen. We'll be adding bar stools and a few other things later. 

Here's our family room. How much would you pay for those two couches? We got both of them for a total of $800 including tax and delivery from Ashley Furniture. They are the Darcy model. We're pretty good at finding deals. 

Here's a peek from the back of our modified bonus room. This is our play room, and we've played lots of Rock Band and NBA Jam already. 

A view of the bonus room from the front. The entry to the room is at the left of the picture (notice the door at  the far left). It has two ceiling fans, and a closet in the back. 

Just like our cat Zelda, we're pretty worn out by everything, but we are quite content at the same time. 

We wanted to say thanks to everyone for your encouragement and support. The rock issue was stressful, but seeing how everyone else has handled their own situations (some even worse than ours) really helped a lot. Good luck to all, and happy building.