Lot 256

House Tour – Master Closets

Jerry and I are very fortunate to have 2 walk-in closets in our Master bedroom. Not sure why all of my clothes looked jammed in there in these pictures…it’s very spacious.




Annndddd here is Jerry’s closet…

He spent a LOT of time organizing his clothes.  You will notice that everything is arranged by style, then color.



Even his t-shirts are organized.


What’s the over/under on how long this organization will last?  I say 1 month….

Lot 256

House Tour – KITCHEN!

It is very fortunate we are having guests this weekend.  It forces me to clean like a crazy lady…and allows me to take some decent pictures!  It should be noted, my kitchen never looks this clean.


I am so spoiled by this space…I’m ruined forever!!

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I am in love with this cooktop…and shiny range hood.


It’s so easy to clean and cooks like a dream.  So come on over!  I’ll make you dinner :).


This island has been all I’ve hoped it would be.  I have tons of prep space and storage in the cabinets.

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I have a very strict rule about dogs in the kitchen.  They’re not allowed.  I was nervous this might be an issue with Jacob because it’s so open.  But he’s been pretty good.


He’s so darn cute!!


I see lots and lots and LOTS of kitchen time in my future!  Happy Labor Day weekend to all of yinz!

Lot 256

House Tour – Bathrooms

We are slowing getting settled into Lot 256.  One of the first things I did when we moved in was spiffy up the bathrooms.  They are easy.  There is no furniture to buy…just toss around a few accessories and that’s that. 

This is a terrible picture of our first floor powder room.  Yes, we still have the ugly mirror (although it’s not so bad once there is some stuff in there) and yes, the ugly light fixtures are still there.  But they’re going up on Craigslist this week.  Those towels are blue, btw.  I need to stop using my iphone to take pictures and break out my real camera. 


I took this picture of the giant duck last summer.  It was a perfect day and the sky was an insane shade of blue.  My towels match the sky in the picture.  This picture was ordered from my instagram account and I just centered it over an old IKEA stock photo to fit in the frame.  I like these frames a lot. They were like $15, are pretty heavy and I like the wide mat.  Of course when I was taking this picture, I noticed one of Jacob’s hairs stuck under the glass.  It will probably be there for a while.  Keeping it classy at Lot 256!


The duck makes another showing in the guest bath.  But he probably won’t stay there.  We had this print in storage and it got a faint smudge on it during transport.  I will probably replace it with something botanical. 

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You will notice a bathroom trend at Lot 256.  Apparently I have a thing for flowers/plants on the back of the toilet.  It’s a hot design tip.  Here I have some fresh flowers going on but never fear!  I have a fake hydrangea to take it’s place once they die. 


This is our master bath.  Kinda basic but I added some color with another fake plant.  I’m so fancy. 


More plants on the master toilet!  This little room is so tight…I only use this bathroom in the middle of the night.  But the shower makes up for it!  SOO glad we decided to go with the obnoxiously huge shower instead of the small shower/big jet tub option. 

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So that’s your first glimpse at the progress we’re making.  More updates to follow as we get other rooms put together. 

Happy Monday!

Lot 256

The Final Progress Pictures

Things are wrapping up at Lot 256.  It’s strange to think that in less than a month, we’ll be settled into our new home. 


This will be the last set of progress pictures.  I know, so sad.  The next set will be during our final walk thru when everything is shiny and clean!  Lots of dust in the house right now.

The garage is finished and almost cleared out. 


The carpet is down in the rec room.

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The hardwood has also been installed.  All that paper you see throughout the house is protecting our newly installed floors (eeek!)


Look at our kitchen!!  I seriously had heart palpitations (the good kind) when I saw how much had been completed!  The granite.  The cabinets.  The BACKSPLASH! 


The super ugly pendant lights.  I really, really don’t like these shades. At all.


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And I also don’t like the mirror in the powder room.  I know…I’m a brat.  But WHY would you design such a modern home and use all of these NOT-modern finishes???  (NOT-Modern is a technical term).  And why did they install a full towel rack in a powder room? And why is it called a powder room?  That is definitely not a modern description…I think it’s now called a half-bath


Carpet is in the office and guest room.  Yes, I tried to take the darkest pictures I could.

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Tile and finishes are completed in the guest bath.  Notice the same NOT-modern light fixture as in the half-bath (it’s also in the master bath). Anyone in the market for a crapton of fluted shades?  Anyone?? 

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Master bedroom is carpeted.


And the master bath is almost finished.  We just need a shower door.  

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And the closets are ready for all of our clothes. 

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So you can see, it’s almost ready to go!  They have some touch up work to do on the paint and probably a bunch of other details I didn’t notice…but we’re in the home stretch! 


I know some of you have been on pins and needles waiting to hear about the resolution of the deck issue.  Well, we went back and forth with Heartland…Jerry stormed out of a meeting with one of the managers and I fired off a very nasty stern email to the same manager and the VP of Sales.  Bottom line…they feel bad but still, there is still nothing they can do.  Legally, we are stuck because we signed off on the deck as is.  The large deck was approved by someone no longer with Heartland.  So at this point, we’ve just decided to let it go and move on.  But I still clench my teeth every time I see that dumb deck.  It’s all good though, because we’re going to build a bigger, more kick-ass deck than the other end unit.  So there.

Lot 256

Lots of progress

They are making a ton of progress on Lot 256!  Unfortunately, Jerry and I aren’t making any progress regarding the dumbest deck in the history of the world.  I have a whole separate post on tap regarding this issue…but that’s for another day. 

I’m just gonna bomb you with a bunch of pictures.  They’re pretty self explanatory…

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The trim and doors are painted bright white and the walls have the first (or possibly second) coat of a warm, almond hue.  The stair treads and railings have been stained and this will also be the color of our hardwood.  It’s a dark brown with warm tones. 

Cabinets have been installed in the kitchen, guest and master bath and you can see what the bathroom granite will look like.  We used the same one for both bathrooms. 

The light fixtures are in…and are going to be at the top of my list to change once we start on the low priority adjustments.  We didn’t have a choice in the pendant shades and they are just not our style. Nor are the ones above the master vanity.  I don’t like these at all


But they are fine for now and we can just sell them on ebay/craigslist when we’re ready to switch things up.

The tile has been laid the the bathroom floors and showers.  And we have toilets!!

So things are moving right along.  We are @ 30 days out from settlement, which is very exciting!  I have no idea how they’re going to get the rest of this done…but I’m sure they know what they’re doing.

Lot 256

Let’s talk about decks, baby

Yes, you should be singing the title to the tune of this song….

Ahhhhh, the deck.  Sick of hearing about our dumb deck?  Yeah, me too.  But it’s my blog so I get to ramble on and complain about it all I want.
In case you haven’t heard…we get a 4×18 deck included with our townhouse.  WHATISTHEPOINTOFTHISSTUPIDDECK?!?!?! Sure, it’s a cute little deck, but it serves zero purpose.  We can’t put our grill on it.  We can’t put our chairs on it.  We can put some herb and flower pots on it.  It’s a garden deck.  And we can’t extend it until after the closing.  We absolutely have to wait until after closing…no way around it. Per Heartland.
You can imagine our surprise when we saw this big, beautiful deck on the other end unit in our building.  
Here, take a closer look…
That is definitely NOT a 4×18 deck!
You have got to be kidding me.
So I sent an email to our sales rep and project manager…(I did not say Jerry, I used his real name)
Jerry and I stopped at Venango Trails on Saturday to see how things were progressing.  We were shocked to see a crew building a very large deck on the other end unit.  On our previous stops, we noticed they didn’t have a deck on the back of their unit and figured they had made arrangements to have one built after closing.  We were kicking ourselves for not requesting the same option b/c we have made it very clear during this process that we planned on building a larger deck onto our unit immediately after closing. 
I’m not really sure why that end unit has received preferential treatment but honestly, we’re starting to take it personally.  All of the units should all be receiving the same options…and it’s really unacceptable that we’re not.  First the situation with the windows, which you have offered compensation with the side windows (and that was very generous of you)…now this issue with the deck.  We weren’t given the option of having the deck excluded from the unit so we could build our own.  And we were very firmly told we were unable to extend the existing deck until after closing.  That is understandable.  Jerry and I are not unreasonable.  We realize this is the first JJA building in Venango Trails and there are bound to be some hiccups.  But we feel we’re being treated unfairly in relation to the other end unit.  And that is really souring what has been an otherwise favorable experience with Heartland.  
Not too mean, right?  I wanted to insert my favorite video clip from the Legend of Billie Jean…FAIR IS FAIR!  I didn’t.
I mean, look at that nice functional deck.  You can put a table on it. You can grill on it.  You can hang out on it.  AND you can have a garden on it, too. 


So now we’re waiting to hear back from them.  They’re supposed to call Jerry today…I’m much better via email :).  I know there isn’t much that can be done now, but they I would like to see them credit the cost of the deck and the cost of the deck removal from our contract.  After all, fair is fair. 

Chiquita, I’m guessing that you haven’t seen that movie…I’m coming over soon and we’re going to watch it.  It’s a classic! 

Lot 256

And the drywall goes up!

The inside of Lot 256 is starting to look more like a home!  The garage is bursting with all kinds of fun stuff.  Doors, appliances, trim…all waiting to bring our little townhouse to life.


When you enter the house from the garage, you get a glimpse of the Rec Room in all it’s drywall, mudded glory!  Our dishwasher is hanging out waiting for the kitchen to be build

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Here is our entry.


Come on in!


I know these pictures are dark…sorry for that.  But here is our kitchen/family room.


And the living room.


The guest room & office are looking good…

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As are the laundry room and guest bath.  Tile is being installed!

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The master bedroom

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And master bath…tile is going down in the gynormous shower!

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Our pre-settlement walk through is definitely set for August 1st.  The place should be ready to go by the following week.  We’ve extended our lease at Berkley Manor through August 31st.  As that’s Labor Day Weekend, we hope to be completely moved out by then.  We have a super busy August but at least we’ll have some time to transition gradually.

It’ll be here before we know it!

Lot 256

House of Blues

The siding is up!  We are officially the House of Blues.  Blue is my favorite color so I couldn’t be more thrilled!


Not so thrilled with the color of the front door…but that will apparently change.  The “dirty diaper” brown is just primer.  I’m hoping for a black door.  And black shutters.  No, we don’t get to pick.

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We are also officially locked out of the house.  Not sure if I mentioned this earlier in the week, but the garage doors and front door are locked at night and over the weekend.  No more snooping around when no one is there.  I plan to stop by one day next week and take some progress pics from the inside.  That’s not creepy, right?  I assume these guys are used to home owners wanting to check out things during the construction?

Lot 256

The John Jacob Astor Model at Venango Trails

As you may recall, Jerry and I decided to purchase our townhouse without seeing a model at Venango Trails.  We drove to DC to see the models in Virginia and Maryland (and visit Stephanie!).  But that was in November!  It was really hard to remember how the townhouse was laid out and how much space there was in each room.  So we were VERY excited when the JJA model opened for us to revisit.

The onsite model is different than our townhouse in that they have the street entrance on the second floor.  You enter into the Living Room.  The model has the Rec room in the basement.  Our townhouse has the street entrance on the ground level and you enter into the Rec Room.  I’m not really sure which layout I prefer.  I guess it really doesn’t matter at this point!  With the exception of the entrance, the layout of both townhouses is the same.

Obviously the model has ALL of the upgrades.  And the designers did an amazing job outfitting the house.  The color palate is mainly aqua and lime green and it flows into into every room.  These vibrant colors aren’t for everyone, including us. At least not on this scale.  But it’s still pretty stunning!

So let’s take a tour!

The exterior of the model is all brick.  Ours is partially brick.  But the doors, railings and landing are the same.


They did a great job with Rec Room!  There is a wet bar and a powder room on this floor.  We roughed in the plumbing for the powder room but didn’t bother with the wet bar.  Our intention is to use this room as a Media Room (aka Jerry’s mancave).


The living room has tons of light and is very spacious.  There are 3 windows in this living room, plus the light that comes in from the front door.  So almost 4 windows.  We have 2.  Grrrrrrrrrrrr….  But we also have that side window so I’m sure it’ll be fine.  This entire floor has hardwood, as does ours.

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There is a powder room on this floor as well.  The model also has a small closet.  It would be perfect for the vacuum and cleaning supplies.  We don’t have anything like this in our place.  Guess I just won’t clean this floor.

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Right off the living room is my baby…the kitchen!  Boy oh boy, I can’t wait to put on my apron and get to work in here!!


We chose these exact cabinets…same style, same color.  But our granite has more grey and the tiles in our back splash are smaller.  It’s hard to tell in this crappy light (it was sunny and there are too many pictures to edit…sorry), but the granite in the model has a lot of brown in it.

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We do not have the French door fridge.  Ours is side by side.  But the rest of these appliances mimic ours.

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This floor is so open and airy.  Everything flows from one end to the other.

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Parallel to the kitchen is the dining room.  They have a six foot table in here, but they also have a fireplace in the family room.  We do not so we will have a larger dining area.  So we’re planning on a 7 foot table.  It’s still up in the air if Jerry is going to make one.  He has until November 15st to complete it or we’re buying one.

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The family room is right off the kitchen/dining area.  Those French doors lead out to the deck.  The silly 4×18 I mentioned in a previous post.


And I mentioned we didn’t get the fireplace in the family room and here’s why.  See that little box in the wall.  Yeah, that’s it.  So dumb.  And it was really expensive! We opted for more room in the dining room.

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Upstairs are the bedrooms.  They have one staged as an office, as we intend to use it.


The other is the guest room.  Ditto.

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They didn’t even give us the option of these tiles in the guest bath.  Bummer because I love them.  We chose the standard 8×8 square tiles and I’m sure it will be lovely.


And then we move on to our behemoth of a master bedroom.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining.  Not at all!  It’s gorgeous and so. much. room.  I love the sitting area!  We did not get the side windows…it’s just one big wall.  I think that gives us more furniture arranging options.


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The master bath is amazing.  You can’t tell but we have TWO showerheads in our enormous shower.  What the what?!?!  I think next to the kitchen, this is my favorite part of the whole house.

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His and her closets.

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The model has the 3rd floor and it’s unreal.  There is a full bath AND a roof deck, in addition to this living/bedroom/office/playroom.

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So there you have it!  I can’t wait to be settled in our place and see how different it is.

Jerry talked to our project manager tonight and it looks like our pre-settlement meeting is August 1st.  We should close within a week from that meeting. Yippeeee!

Lot 256

House Progress

Hey, hey, hey!  Check out Lot 256!


We’ve had many sunny days in Western PA lately and the crews have been working hard on the outside of the townhouses.  As you can see, the brick work is pretty much finished.  I’m not sure when they will start on the cement board siding but it should be any day now.

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They’ve also been working on the inside!  We have plumbing, junction boxes, rough-ins for the pot lights and ceiling fans…

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Lots of duct work and our HVAC (that would be heating, ventilation and air conditioning) unit is installed.

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These French doors lead to…


the stupidest deck ever built.  It’s 18 feet long…and 4 feet wide. 4 feet wide??  What’s the point of that?  Jerry has big plans to extend it to 10 feet.  Not sure when that will be.  At least I can grow some herbs.


I feel like a total bratsicle complaining about this deck until I remembers how much we’re spending on this place.  Then I don’t feel so bad.  It would have been nice if we had the option to have them extend it.  But it has to be done by an outside contractor once we close.  Which is also really stupid.

Anyway, we have our pre-drywall meeting on Friday at 7:00 am.  Which means…we could be moving in before August 1!  That is pretty exciting!