Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Nine Things I Would Do Differently When I Build This House Again

     After living in our Ryan Homes Ravenna for a year and a half now, I am ready to build the same house again. If the sales staff thought we were the 'non-standard request' people then, they would surely know it after this time. There are so many things we did right, and I can't tell you how much all the research, planning, hard work and spreadsheets have led to us being thrilled with our house and our choices. Having said that, we have now had time to get to know the house. When you get to know your house and how it works for your family you realize what tweaks would make it perfect for you.

     We had to push for some of our requests. Some requests took a lot of work by our PM, in the research phases. Some requests were simply refused. We do not regret a single change we made to what they offered. There are a few more changes I would request.

     Upstairs, I would move the laundry to the big hall closet between the bedrooms. It could hold the machines side by side, there could still be a shelf and rod above them, and the space in the hallway is actually wider than the space remaining after the machines are in the laundry room, so there would be plenty of room to load the machines. I am certain there is plenty of room to run pipes because in between that closet and the bedroom closets is a good two feet of space.

     The space which is now laundry room could become more bathroom/closet space. I would extend the vanity all the way to the end of the wall with the window. The two sinks could be further apart with plenty of counter space. And room for more drawers! I would extend the small bathtub they put in this model. The Avalon has a more suitable tub. Although, I would not want it in a giant tub deck like the Avalon. I do enjoy the practical way we can get in/out of the tub without a huge deck around it. I would love to have a larger whirlpool tub instead. The shower could be little larger to include a seat. The Closet would become just a little larger, as well.

     The mud room, as Ryan Homes calls it, is non-existent. Even in my mud-room loving mind, I can not call this a mud room. It's a tiny space with, count them, four doorways in it. There is not enough wall space to do pretty much anything unless you live in this giant house with just one other person.  I would rip out the coat closet and have actual mud room space. I think it would be better utilized this way.

     And the office? I would make it into a butler's pantry. Built ins all around the walls to house every baking tray, sheet, pan, silpat mat, fondue equipment, crock pots, roaster ovens, George Foreman grill, blender, juicer, coffee maker, etc. you can imagine. It could hold the extra refrigerator and freezer, and house the housecleaning supplies - especially all the stuff for the central vac. The perfect place to put the hoses and attachments still eludes me. (But what a beautiful dilemma to have!) I can imagine hooks full of potholders and aprons. Shelves full of glistening appliances, extra gallons of milk, ALL the housekeeping stuff all in one place, neat and organized.

     Of course, my husband still needs an office. He does work from home, after all. But in this house there is plenty of space for his office. We'll put it somewhere else. Maybe upstairs? One of the bedrooms  could easily serve as an office. And if we used the bonus room there could be (maybe) enough bookshelves installed to hold all the books.  Or we could build the morning room next time, but ask them to wall it off like a study.  Or, better yet, we could use the morning room as a dining room and use the dining room as a big office. It would require the simple installation of two doors and it would be lovely. Even my beautiful little front room would make a nice office if it was closed off. Especially if someone who worked out of their home had their own business and clients who dropped by. Not the case for us, so being near the main entry might not be the best idea for us. Still, it could work.

     The french doors we paid for instead of the sliding door? They aren't really french doors. I wish I had known this when we were in the planning stages. I would have made sure they were. Only one door actually works. The other is stationary and it can not be changed without buying a new set of doors. If they would offer only one real door I would have preferred to have more windows in the wall instead of a fake door panel next to the door. I find it odd. I would make some kind of adjustment to this.

     I would take the three car garage. What was I thinking?  It could have served as the 'shed' without being separate, without needing to submit plans to the HOA design committee for approval. And it would be way more secure than a shed. Plus, where in the world would we put a shed?  Do they make sheds for slopes? It is funny in a sad way that I did not consider this when we were planning. Why didn't anyone shake me and tell me I needed this extra space?

     I would ask for even more driveway. Ours is short enough that we need extra width. The third car width garage would help a lot with this. But with a Ryan, you still need to extend the driveaway area to the outside of the garage instead of where they end it, which is at the garage door opening. This is especially true if you need to open all the doors and load/unload things.  

     I would ask for a custom front porch. As it is I could not get both the elevation and the porch I wanted, and my compulsive need for things to be centered and balanced took over the decision making when it came to elevations. I simply could not abide having two, differently sized, off-center gables on my house. The horror! Could you imagine!? I think I would have become an insomniac, because there is no way I could have slept in such a house. The porch had to go. Building it today I would have asked for the porch of my dreams and told them how I wanted it. With the elevation and stone we have now.

     I would ask the basement bath to be extended all the way to the outer wall. I can not figure out whey they squeezed a small full bath into that tiny space instead of going the extra few feet and making it as spacious and grand as it could be. It is another thing I just did not think of because I didn't see it first. The model homes have a half bath in the basement, and it is plenty roomy. When you squeeze a tub/shower combo in there, it is game changing. There should always be room enough to both sing and dance in a bathroom. Don't you agree?

    
  *To read more about our Ryan Homes Ravenna click the "Our House" button at the top of the page.  

23 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. If you click on the tab saying "House" you can see all the posts with house photos. The floor plans are in the floor plans tab.

      It's a fabulous house, but there are a few tweaks which could make it perfect for us.

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  2. Your study/dining room switch sounds like it could be easily fixed. And I totally agree about the French doors---I told my husband that I love them and really wanted them going off of our morning room, but I had no idea it was really one door and window with the French door "look." We definitely would not have paid extra for them had we known.

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  3. You are so right about those french doors! Ugghh!!!!! I thought they opened too. I like the ideas coming up to stay active on the boards. I am doing 20 things I love now and 20 things i would do differently later. I have seen them do the same thing with the bath and because I checked out different homes--you had more space when you chose the full bath option and they cut off the bathroom when it was just a power room which all the empty space in the back. Fortunately, we have a full bathroom and using all the space.

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    1. We have a full bath in the basement, but it does not go up to the exterior wall. There are 4 to six feet of extra space inside the storage area. If they had pushed the bathroom all the way to that exterior wall it could be a really large bathroom.

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    2. Well gee!! that does suck! That is a lot of space to leave unused--what were they smoking? We only had a foot left and once the space suit (insulation) was installed it left less space.

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  4. I prices out a 2 ft extension and pouring to the edge if the driveway and a shed,
    I priced out 2 ft extension pouring a 3rd car parking spot and a shed,

    I now have a Palermo with a 3 car garage. It was cheaper then the other options and its attached!

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    1. depends on your PM. Mine worked a "side deal" with concrete guys. $300 cash in hand got me an extra two feet width on both sides (4ft width total).

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  5. Can I have a mud room AND an office? And I'd want my laundry room upstairs too in between the bedrooms. I always think that's genius versus having laundry in the basement or even on the first floor.

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    1. Yes, the upstairs laundry is great. I do love that it is upstairs.

      And you? You can have a mud room AND an office AND a butler's pantry!

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  6. Totally with you on the 3 car garage and the porch. I cannot believe how much time we spend in the garage and how quickly it filled up. I would have definitely sprung for it if we could do it again. We weren't able to get a porch with our elevation either and I really miss that.

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  7. I actually think my upstairs bathroom is lacking because there is only room to sing, and no room to dance. Which is just sad. I'd do so many things differently here..in fact, we already started doing things differently - hence our huge bedroom change last week.

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    1. I will come and help you knock down some walls so you can both sing and dance. This is vital.

      Or, I could be using any excuse to try to go see you, your prince, and your nuggets. :)

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  8. ahhh, if only RH was a custom builder huh? And I dont think any of us could have ever done ENOUGH research, Tammi you are right, you have to LIVE in it to get the feel of it :)

    Shoulda woulda coulda!

    I could go on, and on, but that would be more appropriate on MY page...LOL

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  9. Great ideas!!! We are waiting for our final walk-thru on our Ravenna, which is scheduled for the 21st of Aug and we have eliminated the "mudroom" closet to allow more space for a bench and shelving system. I agree with you. I don't know how they can call that a mudroom!!! We also moved the laundry room to the basement and made that space more master closet space! They knocked down the wall that separated the laundry room from the closet and now it's a huge L shaped closet. Room to buy more shoes ;)

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  10. I'd do that three car garage too, even if just for storing lawn equipment and such. LOVE your idea of doing a butler's pantry although in my case, I suspect it would encourage a lot more shopping. ;)

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    1. Liz, there is nothing wrong with shopping. Especially if you do it online. :)

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  11. My hubby and I talk all the time about things we would change about our home if we could. And I definitely agree about the bathroom being big...it is key!-Ashley

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  12. I would remind many who are looking to consider adding plenty of recessed lights. We added 4 plus a ceiling fan in Family room. Neighbor with same house (Ravenna) only has ceiling fan and always complains about lack of light. The only room I missed out was MasterBedroom. Luckily enough, a trip to the attic can rectify that. But you can't add them on the first floor or basement without major drywall work.

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    1. We didn't do recessed lights in the bedrooms, just a very plain basic light fixture like you would find in a basement. I agree wholeheartedly about the recessed lights in the family room. I would have done much more lighting. And we did a bunch!

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  13. I built a house once thinking I was putting everything exactly where I wanted it and then I had kids and was like "What was I thinking?" marble flooring? Downstairs master? AHH!!! It was like a child nightmare. We ended up having to move because of work and we built another home. Very kid friendly now. If they fall down the stairs I know they'll safely (ish) land on carpet.

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  14. I agree I need to be able to dance and sing in my bathroom. Got to have some booty room :).

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  15. We have never built a house and my hubby is a carpenter! Your house sounds lovely, and I think there are always 'improvements' when youre a homeowner. There are things you think of after you have lived in it awhile. I am surprised you didnt get true French doors- thats a pretty simple request and all general carpenters should have known what it meant!
    ellen beck

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