Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

We broke in the house with our first dinner party! With six complete strangers. ... Not kidding.

We agreed to be a dinner host for a progressive dinner sponsored by a local social group. Guests found out where they were dining during a random drawing at the appetizer house. We ended up having a total blast with three couples we hadn't met before. And we got a chance to break in the dining room and our new buffet (love  you Arhaus!). On the menu: Mustard and herb-crusted beef, roasted squash and potatoes, and salad with gorgonzola and toasted pecans.

Had the table set for 10 - but one couple was a no show. Too bad for them!

Still need to hang this mirror. Also loving this silver glass pumpkin I just picked up at HomeGoods!

Kitchen island - plenty of room for prep and wine setup. 

Next up: Thanksgiving for 29.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Survey says

We've been in the house 30 days. Hard to believe! Our post-settlement meeting is tomorrow morning. Although, at the suggestion of our PM we sent a list of items last week, and repairs/fixes have already begun. Everything on that list is small -- some settling issues, one baluster that wasn't cut right, a shower drain that needs some love.

Most importantly, we got that magic survey via email. Both the husband and I are working from home today, so we filled it out over lunch. There are rankings -- and lots of places for explanation if anything is less than 10 -- for your sales team, your project managers, and NVR. There is a section on materials (appliances, flooring, etc) and of course open comments.

So, what did we have to say?

If you've read this blog before, you will not be surprised that we rated all the people we were involved with really high (almost all 10s). And we gave high marks to the overall quality of the home and Ryan in general. But we did have some suggestions:

-- Do a better job of listing all the options available, including providing a list of options that were done to the model. Also, do not add anything to the model that isn't actually an option. (Ahem, smooth ceilings. If you weren't around for this episode in our build, read this and this.)

-- Get rid of Guardian. Explore what other companies might be able to provide similar low-voltage wiring and security. They were beyond unresponsive and charge extremely high rates for what they offer.

-- Rethink some of the appliance options -- especially the dishwasher (it's less than great). Consider more widely offering a professional series option of higher-end appliances.

-- And finally, if RH really wants to compete in the larger/more expensive home market, offer more options and more modern options. Real wood cabinets, in a larger variety of colors; more variety and darker flooring choices; more countertop options, like Silestone or additional granite choices (especially lighter); glass tile; etc.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Goodbye beige

I had been firmly in the "no paint until after the 10 month mark" camp, thinking that I'd live in the space, start thinking about color, get those nail pops fixed and then start painting. Well, that was before I moved into a beige box.

So, I give you room 1 of the "need color" project: my office.

Walls are a dark grey and wallpaper is not photographing that well, but yes, grey, and orange! 

Many many thanks to the husband who painted the room last week as a surprise while I was on business travel. And also to my mother who kindly put her wallpaper skills to work for me.

Now I just need some window treatments -- probably blinds and a cool box valence -- and pictures on the walls. I've got a stack of really cool old mimeograph instructions and stencils from the 50s/60s that I inherited from my grandmother. Hoping to frame and hang some of those.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

A few kind words ... about NVR

No, really. I realize that many folks have had terrible experiences with NVR. So much so that I've been hesitant to say too much about our positive experience. Also, I was afraid to jinx myself. But now that we are a full 2 weeks past closing and the deed showed up in the mail this week, I feel pretty safe.

We may be the exception, but things did clock along without incident. During the whole process, the loan officers (there were two) were helpful and responsive. They responded within 24 hours and sometimes much less to questions and requests, even working up multiple good faith estimates while we were debating about some upgrade options.

Our loan officer reached out in early July (more than two months before closing) to start the ball rolling on re-approval with a thorough list of documentation needed. We got a few requests out of underwriting for additional documents, but nothing crazy. Mostly some bank statements and a copy of a check that was a monetary gift from a family member.

Closing was a dream. No surprises. Lots of signatures. (And trying not to puke over the amount of our taxes - yikes!)

Are we special? Nope, not at all. We came to the table with a good credit score and a great debt ratio. But really, I think we just got lucky. Our loan officers were proactive and made this process as smooth as possible.

So, why this post? With so many legitimately negative stories out there, I wanted to share that sometimes NVR does work as it should. Much like the rest of this build process, it does seem to be largely dependent on the people you are working with. We'll be letting NVR know how great our folks were and I hope that they work to get more employees like that.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

What a week!

So, we've been here over a week. And what a week+ it's been! On the short list of accomplishments:
  • All furniture/boxes delivered from storage
  • Moved out of rental
  • Got the rest of the stored items from my mother's place
  • Sealed all that tile and grout
  • Blinds bought and installed for bedrooms (Levalor Custom Now from Lowe's -- super impressed). Handy husband rocks!
  • Additional appliances delivered from Sears (fridge, washer/dryer, deep freeze, microwave)
  • The husband and my dad installed the microwave and 
  • Installed our garage door opener. Husband bought a fancy Whisper Drive one from Chamberlain. Have to say it's the quietest garage door I've ever heard.
  • Husband added additional seed and turf starter to the yard (and mowed!).
  • Bought a million things at Home Depot and Lowes during our near daily trips
  • Bought many more fun things at HomeGoods and Target. (Because a new house requires new tupperware for me and some new melamine dishes for the kiddos)
  • Installed rope lights in the master bedroom
Oh, and somewhere in there we got about 80 percent unpacked. At least the main living areas are set up  and I managed to figure out the puzzle that is the kitchen. The kitchen is huge! But since it's so open there are not a ton of upper cabinets. And some of those are very skinny. But I think we've got it to a good working place. 

A few pics:

We were thrilled to see that our dining room table fits fully extended -- in case 10 people randomly drop by for dinner. Seriously, though, will come in handy when we host Thanksgiving. 
Absolutely loving our fridge! They had to take the handles off to get it in the front door, but it fits in the space perfectly. 

The slimline ice maker really makes a huge difference. 

Newly installed microwave!

My kids think that this should be called the "evening room" not the "morning room" since they eat breakfast at the kitchen island and we eat dinner here. The husband's old Crate and Barrel table works great here with the extension in.

The white stools have to go, but this old Pottery Barn cabinet has found a lovely new home. 

This is my favorite piece from the old house and unexpectedly the background perfectly pulls the colors from the stone on one of my favorite parts of the new house. And a little backstory: When we were dating long distance, the husband would often take photos of flowers and send them to me (in addition to lots of real flower deliveries). He took this photo of flowers he bought for me shortly after moving in with us (and my favorite kind, no less). It's a beautiful photo, but it also carries much meaning and love. =)

Probably the funniest surprise of the house -- turns out my office furniture is the same exact color as our walls! Guess just what room moved up to priority 1 in decorating and painting?

Anyone come up with a good solution to shower product storage? This is what we've come up with so far. Not crazy about having anything on the glass but am otherwise stumped about where to put my shampoo (other than clutter up the bench). Also pictured my first decor purchase. Loved this basket from HomeGoods! 

Came home from a hair appointment the other night to this lovely bedroom surprise. Loving the rope lights.
All-in-all, we're happy as pigs in shit. We love this house!

Friday, September 14, 2012

We're in!

During my brief break from grout sealing (dear RH: this is a service I would have paid extra for), wanted to put out a quick "We own this Waverly" post.

Absolutely no problems at closing. 40 minutes, lots of signing and out. Sears came with the rest of our appliances and the movers showed with the stuff from storage, all within an hour or so of close.

So far we are on trip 3 to Home Depot or Lowes. :)

Could not be happier! Pics soon!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Finish line ahead

Final walkthrough went swimmingly this morning! All that blue tape in the photos I posted yesterday -- gone. (And those issues actually fixed.) We were there about 3 hours, got a full review of all the RH warranties, maintenance instructions and even some demonstrations (like how to work the fireplace).

We've been so involved through this whole process that there really could not be surprises or new issues. We left our PM with only a short list -- a small amount of paint and drywall touchups (mostly things he noticed and taped, a few things we pointed out), one faucet that seems to hum when the hot water was on, and a dented dishwasher. The dishwasher thing was funny -- I would not have even noticed. But the PM told us first thing that it's dented and that he had already ordered the replacement front.

We are insanely happy with the house, with our PMs and with RH. Sometime later I will wax poetic about what a good experience this has been. Right now, there's packing and list making to do. Closing is 36 hours away!