Sunday, February 3, 2013

A Very Belated Happy New Year!!!!!

Hi Ryan Homes Blogging Community! 

I took a little hiatus from blogging due to travel, work and life in general.  But I have been inspired by all of the messages and visitors I've received asking questions about our home.  Since my last post our community has taken off and RH only has a few more lots to sell.  Also, the James Joyce has become very popular in the Charlotte area and folks have come by to see our unique selections.

Because I have been busy, not a whole lot has been going on at the house.  Here is my list of all the projects I would like to accomplish in the New Year:

(1) Organize, organize, organize!
  • Install organizers for the muchkin and my closets (will check out the Elfa sale at the Container Store this week).
  • Create extra storage space in the pantry and laundry rooms.
  • Utilize over the door space to hang things like brooms and floor cleaners.
  • Do SOMETHING about the garage. 
(2) Finish out the lighting.
  • Add lighting to the study.  I was too cheap to pay $125 for the extra light fixture.  BIG MISTAKE.  It's now going to cost me 3 times that amount to have the electrician come back and install one :(
  • I found a kit to convert the recessed light over the master bath tub into a pendant light.  Stay tuned.
  • Swap out the remaining ugly builder grade fixtures in the hallways and staircases.
  • See if we can get a ceiling fan installed for the front porch.
(3) Furnish/paint/decorate the guest bedrooms.  I really don't have a good excuse for why this isn't done when folks come to visit.

(4) Tackle the monster deck.  Last summer we purchased a grill and temporary patio furniture so that we could at least sit outside.  But I have big plans for the space:
  • Stain and de-rust (if that's even a word) our current patio furniture.
  • Add container gardens and decorations to make it more of an outdoor living/dining room.
  • Add sectional seating to the bottom deck.
  • Possibly add a shade or two to protect from the intense sun.
Whew that's a LONG list of to dos!  In the meantime here are some pics of the family we took in and around our home:


Hope the New Year is treating you and your family well:)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Let's Take This Outside...

The past couple of weeks we have been busy tending to the outside of our house.  Being a new homeowner, I had no idea the effort it takes to create and maintain an appealing landscape.  Not to mention we are the proud owners of a HUGE deck that was badly in need of stain.  Here's what we've been up to:

(1) Staining the Deck:  Since the deck has been up for a while, it was time to think about staining it.  There are a lot of stain products out there, but with the guidance of our paint contractor we selected Behr Premium Ultra stain in Mushroom.  This is a semi-transparent stain that allows some of the wood stain to show through.  Due to the size and height of the deck it was almost impossible for us to conquer this project ourselves....but I had a lot of fun watching the contractors swing from our deck as they applied the stain with a combination of rollers and spray guns.  Here are the results:

I must say that I agonized over the color...only to find that it ended up looking brown :)  My advice is to test your stain choice on a wood sample similar in type and color to your deck.  The stain colors in the store looked very different once applied.

(2) Adding to the Landscape:  Ryan Homes provided us with a basic landscape....sod (in front and on the sides), a few shrubs and 2 flowering mini trees.  This was a good start, but I thought we could liven things up with by adding some color.  We decided on these low maintenance plants:  Tropicana Black (large burgundy tinged plants) and multi colored Pansies.  We also removed the pine needles that came with our original landscape (I'm from the North and had never seen these before) and replaced them with Preen Black Mulch.  Hopefully the mulch will provide more of a weed barrier than the pine needles did.  Here are the results:


We plan on adding a few more Tropicana and bags of mulch next weekend to fill in the bare spaces.  It's amazing how just adding a few plants and swapping out the mulch has dramatically improved our curb appeal (see here for a before shot of the front yard).  There are great resources out there if you are a newbie like me planning a landscape.  I relied heavily on Better Homes and Garden's landscape planning tool at  Let's just hope I can keep these plants alive until the Spring! 

What are other folks in the RH blogosphere doing to beautify the outside of your new homes?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Front Porch Fridays

I've recently learned that a prerequisite for being "southern" is to have a charming front porch.  At least that's what it seems like if you drive around our community.  All of the homes have great curb appeal with stylish seating and just the right amount of garden/landscape.  Our HOA social committee has even organized a fall event called "Front Porch Fridays".  Each Friday a different house will host the neighborhood on their front porch (host provides the drinks and guests provide a snack or dessert).  When I got the sign up email I was excited for the opportunity to meet the rest of the neighborhood.  But then I looked in horror at my barren front porch and turned to my husband in dramatic fashion: "We can't host Front Porch Fridays on this porch!"

Well lucky for us Pier1 was having a great end of the season sale.  We were able to pick up some cozy seating for a great price.  Here are the results...

Where we got it:

Chair Frames, Cushions and Side Table from Pier 1
Outdoor Rug from Target
Accent Pillows from Homegoods
Container Garden/Plants from Lowes

I hope our porch is now worthy of Front Porch Fridays.  We'll have to see what our neighbors think ;)

Next project..........LANDSCAPING!!!!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Mirror, Mirror....Part 2!

Congrats to all of the blogging community who have closed and moved into their new Ryan homes!  I have taken a little break from decorating (and consequently blogging) to concentrate on that pesky job of mine.  However, I am working on lots of projects both inside and outside of our home and will be sure to post more in the next few weeks.

The moment I have been waiting for has arrived....we finally installed our MirrorMates!  You may remember my previous post here about this great product to transform "builder basic" mirrors into something much more finished looking.  I am happy to report that the installation was as easy as described on the website.  Once the frames are assembled and left to dry it take less than 5 minutes to affix them to your mirror.  If you live in the Charlotte area, the MirrorMate headquarters is located in Matthews and you can pick up your frames to avoid shipping charges. 

Here are some pics of the finished product:

Master bath with Tribeca Burnished Bronze frame

Second bath with Permaquid Slim Dark Bronze frame

I am really happy with how they turned out.  The frames match perfectly with the upgraded bronze fixtures.  And the entire process was much easier than taking down the rather large mirrors and installing new ones :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Master Bedroom Retreat

We've tackled another room...the Master Bedroom.  When selecting the furniture, bedding, etc. for this room I was hoping to achieve a "hotel chic" feel.  Here are some pics of the results:

My favorite thing in the room is something you can't actually see....our fabulous iComfort mattress by Serta.  Ever since grad school, my husband and I have been sleeping on a hand-me-down mattress.  Don't get me wrong, we really appreciated it at the time, but one of the first big purchases we made for our new home was a quality mattress.  We are now the proud owners of an adjustable iComfort Insight mattress by Serta like the one pictured below.  It is made of gel memory foam and makes late night reading and working in bed extra comfortable.

Other than adding some personal photos and nick nacks on the dresser and night stands, I am calling this room done :)

Where We Got It:

Bedroom set, bench and accent chair from American Signature Furniture
Artwork from Homegoods
Lamps from Pier 1
Curtains from JCPenney
Bedding from Hotel Collection by Macys
Ceiling fan from Lowes
Mirror from Ikea

Sunday, June 24, 2012

30 Day Inspection

Since I have made little progress on finishing the remaining rooms (the whole working thing is definitely getting in the way), I thought I would post about our recent 30 Day Inspection. 

Last week our PM came by to run through any issues we had and take a thorough look at our house.  We really didn't have any issues for our PM and I think most of the things that folks bring up at the 30 Day are issues we had resolved prior to closing when we had our third party inspection (see post here).  I was surprised how thoroughly he and his handyman looked through the house.  I can't stress enough how great our PM has been throughout the entire process!

My only issue was the flooring.  We got our flooring through RiteRug and had the padding in the carpeted areas upgraded in the upstairs and family room but not the basement.  As soon as we moved in I "tested" the carpet and could feel no difference between the upgraded and non upgraded areas.  What is this test you ask?  It involves a very scientific bouncing up and down on the floor in one area and then doing the same in another area.  After our PM performed the very same "test" he called a rep from RiteRug to come and pull up corners of the carpet to see what was going on.  Turns out that the flooring folks decided to add upgraded padding everywhere.  That's why the flooring felt no different in the various areas.  I was extremely relieved for two reasons: (1) I would have had a mental breakdown if we had to move all the furniture so the carpet could be ripped up; and (2) I was happy to discover I was not crazy and the flooring issue was not a figment of my imagination.

So I guess we are all clear until our 10 month.  Hopefully I will have a productive week and will post additional pics soon.  Until then, here is a pic of my bulldog Willa enjoying the floors :)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Family Room

It is hard to believe that we have been in our new home for almost 30 days!!!!  We are STILL unpacking, but have checked another room off our list...the family room.  I wanted to make sure that the room is comfortable with lots of storage for all of our DVDs and kiddo's toys too.  Here are the highlights:

Everything together...

I often have design ideas with no real thought as to how to implement them.  I knew that I wanted the mirror to lean against the wall rather than hang on the wall.  After a lengthy discussion (read borderline argument) with my husband over why this was necessary, I took to the Internet to find a safe way to attach the extremely heavy mirror to the wall.  Leave it to the folks over at Young House Love to have the perfect solution: Furniture Safety Brackets (see post here).  Simply attach two to the wall (either screwed into the stud or using wall anchors) and two to your mirror, fasten the mirror to the wall with the straps and TAAADAAAA!!!

Another shot of the sofa and finished windows.  We previously tried having a separate sofa and love seat but the whole fam just ended up crowded together on one sofa.  A comfy sectional fits our lifestyle perfectly!

Still looking for a side table for between these chairs.  It has been challenging to find a table that is toddler safe and stylish.

Where we got it:

Sofa, ottoman and chairs from American Signature Furniture
Entertainment units, mirror and sofa table from Ikea
Ceiling fan/light from Lowes
Curtains and Pillows from Crate and Barrel
Furniture Safety Brackets from
Other miscellaneous objects from West Elm and the Mommy Esq archives

A big bonus feature you cannot see in these pics is the surround sound system.  We had it installed by Guardian and the speakers are in the ceiling.  I must admit that I was extremely skeptical about the entire thing (especially the price).  But even I agree that it was well worth the investment!  It sounds like you are sitting courtside when watching the NBA finals!!!  Maybe I can convince my husband to write a post about the specifics...

Well, I am calling this room done but there are still a lot of personal touches needed to make it complete.  The cabinets need to be styled and I plan to add more family photos to fill up the space.  But enough decorating for to the pool with my little one :)