We are still in the stage of major design choices. AKA the fun stuff! There is a lot to choose and a lot to think about.
We had our meeting with Guardian yesterday, to choose the security and electronic (“low-wattage”) elements for the house. Very excited about speaker systems! Researching these is somewhat hard, because you quickly get in the weeds with very technical discussion on home stereo buff sites, and that’s a level of appreciation and technical detail that we aren’t really bringing to the table. They use the Klipsch 2650 or 3650 speakers, but I’m having a hard time finding out what exactly the difference is between them — other than the basic logical principle that the more expensive, the more vaguely “better” it would be. Whether it is worth it, is the question. It’s certainly a feature that gets a lot of use, so it might be.
I’m super excited about the deck, patio, landscaping, and all other outdoor elements. This is what really makes up for giving up the urban lifestyle – your outdoor spaces! Ryan (or at least the Fairwood development) has a nicely developed landscape plan that comes standard, so for now we’re not going to worry about that. (Though in the future we’ll probably put in a cherry tree or two!) So the advance planning work on the exterior is going to be on the deck and/or patio. Our sales rep at Ryan recommended two companies for it:
Deck and Fence Company in Millersville, MD is Ryan’s standard recommendation; they’ve done many decks in the development. Our sales rep herself used North American Deck and Patio for her house, and loved the result. (their web site is here, Facebook page is here)
I’m starting my research now and will be consulting for quotes, designs, price schemes. Browsing some other Ryan home building blogs, I saw some considerations that others have had to follow — either pouring a foundation for a deck at the same time as the rest of the foundation, or waiting to build at least six months until the house has settled. Our rep said that neither of those would be a concern; we can just plan the deck as we will and not worry about it.