Jul 15, 2012

The model we selected.....

My dad always dreamed of building a log cabin when I was a little girl. We'd spent hours sitting on the couch or at the kitchen table pouring over floor plans. As we'd read them over we'd do a visual walk through that would go something like this....

Dad: Ok, here's the front door. When you walk in, you'll be in the foyer. If you walk this way (tracing the path with his finger) you'll end up in the living room.
Me: ... and if you go this way, you can go upstairs... here's where my bedroom will be (pointing to the biggest bedroom)!
Dad:  Of course that will be your bedroom (as he laughs)!

I always enjoyed that time spent with my dad. I honestly believe it was one of the top contributing factors in my decision to go to Design School. I'm sure it's no surprise that my two favorite classes were Drafting and Space Planning. I learned how to draft blueprints along with all the space planning rules. I don't use that knowledge in my work, but it has proven to be helpful in the process of having our home built. I'm sure it will help even more as the process goes on!

Would you be surprised if I told you that I've spent countless hours reading over Ryan Homes floor plans? No? Gosh, I don't think I could count the hours if I wanted to! But, it's all good... we FINALLY made a decision, and it was tough! Ryan Homes has some really great floor plans and we could picture ourselves in two different models (that fit our price range).

We went back and forth for about 3 weeks over the Florence and the Venice. There were things that I liked about both.  Here's a quick break down:



  • The wider space as you walk from the Foyer into the Great Room.
  • The completely open space in the Basement.
  • The corner pantry.
Didn't Love
  • The downstairs Laundry Room.
  • No real Mud Room.
  • The fact that you walk through the Laundry Room to enter the house from the Garage.
  • Smaller Bedrooms.
  • The Gourmet Island.



  • Upstairs Laundry Room.
  • An actual Laundry Room with space.
  • Bigger Bedrooms.
  • The Owner's Bedroom Closet.
  • The Gourmet Island.
Didn't Love
  • The narrower space as you walk from the Foyer into the Great Room.
  • The smaller formal Living/Dining Room.
  • The separated space in the Basement.

Which one did we finally decide on? We decided on the Florence!

Our decision weighed heavily on the fact that we have 4 kids at home. We had to think about how each space was going to be used. The bottom line is: We enjoy spending time together as a family.  Smaller bedrooms with an open basement were more important to us than bigger bedrooms and a separated basement. The location of the laundry room became secondary to that. I can live with the laundry room location in the Florence. Plus, I really like the open feeling when you walk in the front door of the Florence.

Here are the structural upgrades that we've decided on so far:
  1. Loft closed off into a 4th Bedroom.
  2. Finished Basement.
  3. Powder Room in the Basement.
We're on the fence about adding on a morning room. We really want one but it may push us over where we want the total cost of the house to be. This is something we need to decide on soon. We only have about 7 more days to make structural changes!

Did you add on a morning room? What are your thoughts?



  1. SUPER cute blog!

    We did get a morning room... I blogged about it here:
    I think you should get one. AND... I think you should try to bargain with them to get it for free. We are getting it for free through NVR, but check and see if they can work with you on an incentive.

    1. Thanks! I work from home doing graphic/web design among many other things ;)

      Thanks for linking your post. That is some really great advice and I think we've decided that we are going to go with the Morning Room as long as it doesn't push us over the 45% residual that's required by a VA loan. We're waiting to hear back from our loan officer at NVR now.

      We actually already have about $20,000 in incentives right now. They were going to do a morning room for us, but we decided to have them do a finished basement instead. We're kinda regretting that now because we saved NVR some money.. it's cheaper to finish a basement instead of adding on a morning room. They're also doing an upgraded elevation for us too as an incentive.

  2. Oh, and I will give you a dollar if you turn off the word verification. Please!

    1. LOL! I didn't realize it was on.. thanks for letting me know. I turned it off... those things drive me nuts too!

  3. Great choice on the model! We did the morning room upgrade. We plan on using it for our dining area which frees up the "dining room" for other uses (we are doing a craft/school room for the kids). I love the windows in the morning room and the extra square footage is nice too. BTW we are in NE Ohio too! -Alicia

    1. How cool! Another NE Ohio blogger! There seem to be a lot of us out here :) I think I'd really love the windows in the morning room too. We put a call into our SR to add it on. Just waiting to talk to NVR to see how much it's going to effect us. -Bobbie

  4. The morning room is great for resell and it really makes each model feel so much more open. Without it, it really makes the kitchen feel closed off. I read above that it would be free but you opted for the finished basement instead, which is cheaper? Can you switch it back and get the free morning room and pay for the cheaper upgrade to get the finished basement?

    1. I actually asked out SR if they would switch our incentive back to the Morning Room. He said they couldn't... although I'm not entirely sure that's true. -Bobbie

    2. Sounds suspect!! I think they can change it as long as you are have not ordered your supplies.

  5. I'm so happy someone else is building a Florence! All of the Florence blogs seem to be older so it's nice to see someone that'll be building as I am building too.

    I think the number one upgrade for us was the Morning Room... LOVE IT!!! We are leaving our basement unfinished for now and we'll be finishing it ourselves with the help of some family members that are in construction.

  6. I am building a Florence too out here in PA.

    Due to budget, we did not get the morning room, but got the upgraded master bath (since its just me and my husband)

    How did your time with Ryan go? Our NVR incentive was sellers assist and upgraded cabinets.

    Any advice? :)


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