Building With Bay West Homes

The journey of building a new house...

Monday, October 29, 2001

Lest anyone think this has become Ashley's site, I thought I'd chime in here with a few comments. So far, we've been really pleased with the way things are going. One thing that happened, though, is something worth warning other first-time home buyers about. I mentioned the "deck issue" earlier, and I thought I'd expand on this.

When we saw the Aspen show home, it had many upgrades that we loved. I remember seeing a list of upgrades on the show home, but I didn't happen to memorize it. :-) Being a walkout floor plan, the main floor is a good 10+ feet above ground level. There's a door in the kitchen which leads to the deck, and it seemed somehow illogical to have the deck be "optional", but it turns out it was! Not knowing this was my fault for not remembering the extras sheet on the show home, but here's what tricked me: when we were looking at our spec sheet (which detailed 400+ items in the house, what they were made of, exact measurements, etc.) I saw that the deck was listed, and it said "if required". Being a two story with a door going out into thin air, I thought a deck would certainly be "required". And since it was listed on our spec sheet, I thought it was part of the house package we were getting for the base price.

But as I learned later on, just because it was the ONLY option listed on the spec sheet, that didn't mean it was included. Apparently, if no deck was added as an option, they would reverse the door and put the handle on the outside, effectively making it a "dummy door". This all came as a bit of a shock to us when we realized that if we wanted a deck, it was an additional $2300! When I asked Bay West about why it was the only option on the spec sheet, the answer I received was that it was an error and shouldn't have been listed there. Fair enough, mistakes happen, but from a consumer's point of view it's a rude surprise when you have to shell out some serious cash for something you were expecting to be included!

Bottom line: when you're looking at a show home, make sure you understand what's an option and what's standard. When you get your spec sheet for the home, go over it in detail and ensure nothing on it is optional. Don't trust that your salesperson will know everything and tell you about it!

As promised, here are the latest photos of the building process. The first three were taken last weekend, as the foundation was poured, and they were getting ready to start the framing process.

This first photo is one of the very first thing we noticed when we drove up - the number of our house! It's been tough trying to figure out which of the holes was ours, and short of counting the number of lots we passed on our way down the street, we really had no way of knowing which site belonged to us. Then, much to our delight, not only did we discover the foundation having been poured, we also finally have a reference point!

Next, you can see our main floor without any actual flooring, just the sono tubes they use as support beams, along with a very cute cartoon someone decorated our basement wall with! It made us smile, so we thought we'd share it with you. :-)

Next, you can see our basement with the foundation poured. We're doing a walkout, so it's kind of neat to watch how that portion of our home is constructed!

Now this past weekend, we visited the site again, and again, much to our delight, we found that more progress had been made! They've started framing our home! We've got a couple of friends who live directly across the green space at the back of our home, who are keeping a watchful eye on the construction of our home, so we get weekly updates from them too!

Upon arriving this Sunday afternoon, we noticed all the framing gear that's been delivered to our site.

Next, the most exciting part of everything today, is that we have a wall! The very first main floor wall of our new home has been erected!

And finally, we were able to see our main floor with actual flooring on it! No more sono tubes exposed anymore!

All in all, these past two weekends have made us both very excited. We've been told many times by various suppliers, and others who have built homes, that there's no way we're going to be in by our projected possession date, so to see the progress they've made is very warming. Shelley and Kimerie at Baywest have also assured us that we need only listen to what they tell us, and that so far no changes have been made to our possession date! That was also wonderful news!

Now the only thing we have left to do is to go to our lighting supplier. A good friend of Jason's family works at Signature Lighting here in Calgary, and we're going to meet with her this Tuesday afternoon. We figure that while our lighting allowance is relatively small in comparison to say, our cabinet allowance, we can monopolize on a friendly relationship with someone in the business, and we can also upgrade our lighting in a couple of years once we're gotten rid of the debt we'll be in following the finalization of this home.

Stay tuned for more frequent updates as the weeks progress!

Sunday, October 28, 2001

It's catch-up day today, so you'll finally get some more fun stuff to read about! There's a lot of progress being made on the actual building of the home now, but more on that in the next post!

Jason and I put his condo up for sale this past week, which is something we've been hesitating to do, because a 6 month possession date for whoever buys the condo is a long time. Our possession date is January 25th, so we figured if we did a 60 day negotiable possession date, that would be much more reasonable!

We had our very first showing this past Friday, the 26th, and were very excited about it! I spent most of Thursday night doing some cleaning to make things as shiny as possible, and then Friday afternoon, while Jason and I were out, the potential buyers came in, looked around, and we'll find out how things went early this week!

We also decided to go with a company called RealTour Assist, as they offer discounted rates, and have done well in this particular area of Calgary. The couple who is selling our home, Allan and Melissa Logue, are truly wonderful. They're friendly, honest, and are doing everything they can to make this a sure sell. Allan came by early in the week, last week, and gave us some pointers on how to make things look more open, and after doing what he suggested, some of the rooms appear to be HUGE! It's really great to get some stuff moved out now too, instead of doing it all when we actually make the permanent move.

My parent's basement is getting pretty full though! Between shower gifts for the wedding, and all the stuff from Jason's condo, my mom's starting to wonder where else she can store stuff! It's great to have a place to pack things away for a while though. My parents live in the NW, which is the end of town we'll be moving to, from the SE, where Jason's condo is. We figured if we could get our belongings as close to our new home as possible, it would save us a lot of hassle when the big move comes around. Thanks so much Mom and Dad. We really appreciate all your help!

Last week, Jason and I went back to Nu Way Floor Fashions for our follow-up meeting regarding our flooring, countertops and tile selections. We actually ended up changing our minds on a couple of the original decisions we'd made about the backsplash and the tile in the bathrooms. Anyway, this first photo shows our countertop colour (the little colour chip), our linoleum for the bathrooms and laundry room, and the paint colours we've chosen for our walls. The darker colour is called Wind Mill and is what we've decided to paint our walls with, and the lighter colour is called Summer Suede, and it's the colour we're going to paint all the trim and baseboards, as well as the window casings.

We're going for a very neutral, warm feeling once inside our home, and we really felt that these colours accomplished both.

This next photo is the page we chose our paint colours off of. The two colours in the middle are those we decided on. We're also considering doing a feature wall in a burgundy, but made no final decisions about that at that meeting. Maybe our dads will help us with that. :-)

We're drawing nearer to both our wedding and our possession date, and as was expected, things just seem to be getting busier and busier! My midterm exams at school are coming at me full force, I have projects due like crazy, and Jason's working madly at finishing one book, while preparing himself to write at least one more! We're having a lot of fun doing everything though, and we're learning A LOT about just how important budgeting is! It's no wonder people think we're crazy to be getting married and building a brand new home within two months of each other!

We also visited our cabinet supplier this past week, Prestique Kitchens, and for the first time since all our interior decisions have started, were nicely surprised to find that the cabinets we like are not an upgrade! Everything else is, so it felt very nice hearing Wade tell us our choices were standard ones! We did, however, upgrade to two big drawers for pots and pans, as well as increasing the height of our cabinets as our ceilings are being heightened to 9 feet.

And, the final place we went to last week was Coast Appliances, where we chose our appliances, obviously! Unlike our cabinets, everything here was, again, an upgrade. Brandon, the gentleman who helped us, was incredibly helpful though. Very honest and very informative. Thanks Brandon!

One thing we did notice when returning to Nu Way, and when we went to Prestique, was that despite the fact that we had booked appointments with Connie from Nu Way, and Wade from Prestique, at least a week in advance, many of the questions regarding costs of upgrades, weren't completed until we were there. We found it a little frustrating to have to sit and wait for people to figure out numbers when we had been told everything like that was going to be completed upon our meeting time. But, despite the minor frustrations, both Connie and Wade were extremely helpful, knowledgeable and friendly. We definitely could not have asked for more pleasant experiences at either location. Thanks Connie and Wade!

Sunday, October 14, 2001

Finally! The photos we've been promising! There are quite a few, so we figured we'd do a little chronology of the past month or so just to get caught up. Jason taught me how to post photos too, so hopefully that means you won't have to wait for long to see more pictures!

In mid-September, when they actually began digging the hole for our home, one of the first things we got to see was a very large pile of dirt!

On the Thanksgiving long weekend, Jason met up with one of the Baywest Realtors we've been dealing with, and she was kind enough to take a photo of Jason and one of the men working on constructing our home!

The next three photos were taken on October 14th. Here you can see the interior of the home with support beams for the walls which will be filled with cement and framed hopefully in the next week or so!

We just thought this photo looked cool! The small portion on the far right hand side of the house that's jutting out is where the fireplace will be positioned on the main floor.

This photo is of our backyard and the awesome view we have of a green space and the Rocky Mountains!

All the construction that's happening is very exciting - especially because this is the first home we'll be living in as a married couple! It's also incredibly fun to see progress being made! Jason will be putting his current house up for sale this coming week, and we're hoping and praying that it will sell fast and that the buyers will be okay with a January possession date!

But logistics aside, we're both thrilled to see our new home in its construction phase, and we can't wait to see what happens in the next few weeks!

Thursday, October 11, 2001

Wow! Sorry for the delay in posting! We've actually been getting some good humoured flack for not having posted in a while! I guess the latest and greatest news with our new home building process is that as of last Sunday (Oct. 7th), they had all the wood to start framing our home, on site! YAY! Neither of us has been out there since then, but we'll be stopping by on Sunday again, after church, to see what kind of progress has been made.

We also have our final appointment with Nu-Way Floor Fashions (kudos to Connie for being such a HUGE help to us last time!), to determine our paint colours and a few other little details. We've chosen our flooring, and decided to go with a natural maple hardwood throughout the majority of the home, and then do an off-white carpet up the stairs to the second floor, and into the two additional bedrooms and down the hallway on the upper floor. We've doing a very cool ceramic-tile style linoleum on all the bathroom floors. It has a dark green base with some greys and creams interspersed throughout the pattern. For all the countertops, we've chosen a dark green flecked pattern which matches quite nicely with the linoleum for the bathrooms, as well as complements the maple hardwood perfectly. Backsplash in the kitchen is just the coolest in the world! We're going with an Asian theme in the home, and Nu-Way actually carries a lighter green tile with Japanese characters on it! So we're going to integrate in a very visible way, the Japanese language! We'll have to take some pictures of those tiles so you can get an idea of what they look like!

Also this coming week we're going to Prestique Cabinets to choose....our cabinets! They're going to match the hardwood in colour and wood (light, natural maple) and are going to be very simple with a straight cut look on all sides. We haven't decided whether we're going to put handles on the cabinet doors, or whether we're going to leave them with a little grip on the underside. We've been told by both our parents that handles will save the corners of the cabinets from unnecessary wear and tear, so we'll probably heed their advice. :-)

Anyway, short of those latest developments, until the home is actually framed, I feel that not much more will be happening! Stay tuned though - we still have photos to post!