Our Kitchen Selections: Granite, Cabinets, and Lighting


Selecting the options for our kitchen was fairly easy because we pretty much knew what we wanted.  Luckily, the model home at our community features our selections, so it was easy to know and love what they will look like in "real life."

I love a timeless, white kitchen.

ryan homes naples kitchen model maple glaze cabinets santa cecilia granite
Ryan Homes Naples Kitchen Model
Ryan Homes Kitchen with Morning Room
Ryan Homes Kitchen with Morning Room (source)

The only thing hard to picture about our kitchen has been the actual layout.  The kitchens above have become the "old" kitchen models as Ryan Homes frequently changes their floor plans.

Our kitchen layout moves the fridge to another wall, adding extra cabinet and countertop space.  We have a morning room, so we will lose the window above the sink in the first picture and instead have bar space overlooking the morning room, as shown in the second photo.

ryan homes kitchen dining room

The refrigerator will now be on this wall, alongside the hallway leading to the dining room.  The pantry is on the right of the hallway to the dining room.

As mentioned, luckily our granite is installed in the model so it is easy to see what it will look like.  However, if you are interested in building with Ryan Homes, your granite samples to choose from are small squares.

Santa Cecilia Granite
Santa Cecilia Granite

The Santa Cecilia granite has two different shades to it, and can be either of the variations shown above (one has more gold to it).  So it is important that if you choose Santa Cecilia (and can't choose your own slab, which we are not sure we can at this point) that you love both variations.

santa cecilia granite ryan homes st. kitchen
Santa Cecilia Granite

You can see the different variations in color actually sometimes run through the granite as in the photo above.  Also note too when choosing a granite the granite names are standard.  We were able to go to Home Depot and pick up a small sample of our granite to have on hand.

santa cecilia granite ryan homes under cabinet lighting
Under-Cabinet Lighting

My father suggested we add the under-cabinet lighting and I am so glad we did.  It looks beautiful in the model, but it will also simply add more light in the kitchen, and it will be nice to not always have to burn the can lights overhead for our recessed lighting.

Timberlake Rushmore Painted Maple Glaze Cabinets ryan homes
Timberlake Rushmore Painted Maple Glaze Cabinets

We are really happy with our cabinets, the Timberlake Rushmore Painted Maple Glaze cabinets.  The Timberlake brand also offers a "hazelnut" glaze but we were worried they would look too dark, and liked the look of the cabinets in the model.

The next step for our kitchen (besides it actually being completed) is coming up with a "design" plan.  We will want to find a kitchen island, choose and DIY a backsplash after move-in, and determine what color to paint, as well as a color scheme for decorative accents.  It should be fun!

Do you like a white kitchen, or do you prefer darker cabinets?  Both styles will be around for years to come.

The Wrath of Winter Storm Pax


Last week we had a lot of snow in the Charlotte area, much more so than ever occurs here.  Most of the southeast endured winter storm Pax.  Unfortunately for us, because Charlotte hardly ever gets snow, our city lacks snow equipment to plow the roads and the entire city shuts down.  It was fun taking my husband's truck (four wheel drive enabled) around to see our city covered in snow, but not so fun to see our lot covered in it.

ryan homes footings slab weather delay

ryan homes footings slab weather delay

During our Friday update on Valentine's Day, our project manager said he has to wait for the snow to melt before he can get through to the footings and get the city out to inspect and approve the footings.  Then the concrete blocks will be laid in preparation for pouring the slab.  He said all new construction is behind in the area due to the weather so he anticipated it would be hard to get the next steps done in a timely manner due to contractors being pulled every which direction to complete jobs.  However, he said even with the weather delay we were still on schedule and will begin framing in 2 weeks!

Soon enough, our house will start to form in front of our eyes.

The Study (Upgraded Formal Living Room)


We chose to upgrade the formal living room by adding a wall between that room and the dining room and adding a set of french doors to enter the room.  While I really like the idea of a formal sitting area, it had the potential to never be used and we thought a designated office area would be more practical instead of sacrificing one of the upstairs bedrooms.  This room is the only room downstairs we chose to leave carpeted (we would have loved wood but we had to draw the line somewhere as we priced out upgrade options).  The room could also make a great enclosed playroom area.  Here are some pictures from the model:

ryan homes formal living room study upgrade french doors
Ryan Homes Formal Living Room Upgraded to Study Option

ryan homes formal living room study upgrade french doors
Ryan Homes Formal Living Room Upgraded to Study Option

The Footings are Poured


What is a footing?  If you are anything like me and/or don't have a construction background, you likely have no idea.  The footing is part of the foundation and you can read more about footings here.  Basically, some concrete looks to be haphazardly poured in preparation for the concrete blocks that will be laid prior to pouring the concrete slab over the entire floor plan layout.  But, we have footings! Check out our red clay and concrete.

Ryan Homes Naples Reverse Floor Plan Garage Footings
Left Side of Home (Garage) Footing

Our garage is on the far left side of the front of our home.

Ryan Homes Naples Reverse Floor Plan Elevation D Porch
Front Door and Front Porch Footing

Ryan Homes Naples Reverse Floor Plan Elevation D Front Porch
Front Porch Footings

We are building the Naples (reverse floor plan) Elevation D.  We have a front porch!

Ryan Homes Reverse Floor Plan Morning Room Rear Fireplace Footing
Morning Room Extension and Rear Fireplace Footing

In the above picture you can see the outline of our morning room extension off the kitchen and a small stick out for the rear fireplace.  You can also see the bit of yard on that side we will lose to the morning room compared to our neighbor's yard next door.

The next step is pouring the concrete slab over the entire thing.  Unfortunately, Charlotte is due for 4-6 inches of snow this week due to the harsh winter the southeast has had this year.  It is unusual for it to snow much in Charlotte.  We think this may delay the pouring of our slab, but we'll have to wait and see what our project manager says.

Oil Rubbed Bronze vs. Brushed Nickel Hardware


oil rubbed bronze, brushed nickel, sweet home carolinas blog

The standard plumbing hardware in our Ryan Homes community is chrome, so during the upgrade selection process we were able to consider upgrading to oil rubbed bronze hardware or brushed nickel hardware for all of the plumbing fixtures.  We are going to have bronze hardware on our interior doors, but for the plumbing we wanted brushed nickel.  Our fixtures will all be Moen brand, specifically from the Eva collection.

ryan homes brushed nickel hardware soaking garden tub
Ryan Homes Upgraded Garden Soaking Tub (James Joyce Model)

I am looking forward to our soaking garden tub.  We have one now in our rental and I love to relax and catch up on TV shows on my iPad.  The faucet shown is the Moen Eva Brushed Nickel Two Handle High Arc Roman Tub Faucet. The tub we are actually getting with our upgrade is the rectangular one below.

ryan homes oil rubbed bronze garden soaking tub upgrade
Ryan Homes Oil Rubbed Bronze Option (Naples Model)

Oil rubbed bronze hardware or (ORB) is known for showing water spots, so that is one thing to consider if you like the look.  Choosing between these two finishes is mostly just personal preference.

Choosing a Floor Plan


Once we decided we wanted to build with Ryan Homes, choosing a floor plan was actually one of the easier parts of the process.  There were certain aspects of the layout that we knew we wanted, and not all floor plans offered.  Ryan Homes builds for modern living, so all of the floor plans available to us to choose from had kitchens that opened to the family room, which many people look for.

naples reverse floor plan ryan homes
Naples Reverse Floor Plan

Surprisingly, not all of the floor plans with a formal dining room had the dining room connected to the kitchen, so we made sure to choose one that had a connecting hallway.  We are also really excited about our Morning Room (or Sunroom).  It can be used as a breakfast area or as an extension of the family room.  The "study" downstairs shown above is actually a formal living room that we chose to upgrade to a study.  The upgrade closes in the study from the dining room and adds two french doors.

SOLD! Building a Naples with Ryan Homes


One of my best friends, Lauren, started looking to purchase a home with her fiance around the same time as we did.  Lauren and I work for the same company and can chat online throughout the day.  One Monday morning she started telling me about her weekend and that she and her fiance were going to build a home together!  That weekend was the first and only time they had been out house hunting.  I thought Lauren was crazy to be jumping into such a big decision so quickly, but I was so excited for our friends.

Fast forward to a few weekends into our home search, having seen several existing homes and not loving any of them.  Lauren's new neighborhood sounded like it had all the right things, but my husband and I remained calculated in our home search, going over all of our options until we had exhausted them.  We never thought we would build a home together as our first house.  But were we starting to come around to the idea?

ryan homes, charlotte, new construction

We had driven through Lauren's neighborhood but not stopped at the model home.  One weekend we went to check it out.  It was beautiful!  You should have seen Ryan's face as we walked into the master bedroom.  All things considered (new vs. older home, schools, commute to Uptown Charlotte) we decided the new neighborhood was the best fit for us too!

Everyone approaches home buying differently.  Lauren went with her gut and saved herself a lot of time on weekends.  We went to home after home and never found the right combination of things- the right location, the right school district, the right floor plan, while Lauren shopped for furniture.  We are so grateful to be living in the same neighborhood as our best friends.  In fact, we ended up purchasing the lot right next door to them due to it being the only one left with a wooded backyard.  We couldn't ask for better future neighbors and we're so glad our friends are excited to have us swoop in on their great initial decision!  We're so excited for the future of our neighborhood and hope we are just a few of the other young couples moving there as well!

Househunting in Charlotte


My husband Ryan and I decided to start looking for a home to buy about 5 months before the end of our lease.  I asked around for realtor recommendations, and we quickly found someone to work with.  Initially, our search was time-sensitive because we did not want to renew a lease.  We wanted to start putting our monthly payment towards an actual mortgage.  We wanted the money we spent each month on housing to stay ours.

Everyone hears that renting is "throwing money away."  We believe this to be true.  Even though my husband could potentially be required to relocate in a few years, if we at least start "buying and selling," instead of just renting, the monthly payments we make every month will be going towards equity and not towards someone else's mortgage payment.  When you rent, you get nothing in return.  Especially as we matured and started looking for rentals that were more expensive to begin with, the best time to become homeowners was clearly as soon as possible.

Charlotte has several historical, close-in neighborhoods and a few suburbs.  For our search, we wanted to stay in South Charlotte.  In addition to our ideal location we also considered schools, nearby amenities, and age of the home.

How did we decide new construction was right for us?

A Year in Review - Moving to Charlotte


Even though we are a week into 2014, I thought it would make sense to post a "year in review" of 2013 in order to kick-start the blog.  2013 was an eventful year for my little family (my husband, Ryan, and dog, Jack).  Near the end of 2013, my husband was offered a promotion that required a move to Charlotte, North Carolina.  The decision to move was long and hard as we loved our friends and family in Florida.  But, we decided to move from Tampa, FL to Charlotte in January 2013, excited for our new adventure.


Charlotte, NC: Southpark area townhome, Madison Park
Charlotte, NC: Southpark area townhome
My husband and I visited Charlotte to find a place to live (and rent).  We knew little to nothing about the area prior to our relocation, but thankfully Ryan's counterpart at the company was able to provide some suggestions on places to look.  We lucked out and found a beautiful townhome to rent in a great close-in location.  


Snow in Charlotte, NC, North Carolina
Snow in Charlotte, NC
We move to Charlotte!  The second weekend we lived in Charlotte, Charlotte had its only snow of the season.  Everyone told us it snows once a year in Charlotte, and we were here for it.