Sunday, July 30, 2017

Our Selections: What we got right and what we missed.

Overall I am very happy with our selections and I think we got most everything we wanted. 

As a refresher this is what we went with in the design studio:

From the tab at the top of this site here:

$23,000 in total non-structural options
Major non-structural options we selected in order of cost: 
(Only items over $1000 listed) 
·                     -          Level 2 kitchen cabinets. (these are many times more expensive than anything else.)
·                     -          Level 2 Hardwood on entire flex space/entrance level.    
·                     -          Level 2 Hardwood in Kitchen/Living Room and stairs up to bedroom level.
·                     -          Level 1 carpet and Level 2 pads on upper two levels. 
·                     -          Granite upgrade for the loft wet bar.
·                     -          Backsplash for kitchen.
·                     -          Bathroom tile and bathroom cabinet upgrades.
·                     -          6 additional recessed lights.  (2 in flex space and 4 in living room)

·                     -          3 hanging lights above island, under kitchen counter lighting and wiring for 3 ceiling fans.

What we did right:

-       I think we did great with the flooring overall:

The lower level flex space (which I am using as my office) looks much better with hardwood.

      Also the hardwood itself at level 2 was of pretty good quality:

-        The Level 1 carpet with level 2 padding turned out great as well.  The extra padding makes it seem like a higher end carpet even at only level 1.

-       Granite countertops came standard (Level 0) but they had 4 levels of countertop upgrades and those got VERY expensive VERY quickly.   I think not upgrading the countertop here was a good choice as it was so expensive and the granite looks good.   I know some folks love marble but I like the way this came out.
      The lighting in the living room (+4 additional lights) and the 3 pendant lights above the kitchen island also seemed to be the right decision.    We got dimmers on all the lights in the middle floor after the purchase.  We considered less lights up here but the island is LARGE and needs 3 pendant lights and the great room also needs at least 4 lights.

We also really like how the bathroom tile selection turned out.

-       The wetbar upstairs comes with laminate and even though we are finding we are not using the loft very much we still thought it needed upgrade to granite and that turned out pretty nice.   We left the standard cabinets up there and went with the darker standard (Level 0) granite.  (there are only two level 0 options, the light and the dark)

-       We only got ceiling fan hookups installed in both bedrooms and the loft.   This saved us from having to install any overhead lights in all of these rooms.    This saved us a TON of money as the overhead lighting was expensive and we were able to get very nice fans after the closing for cheap.   There is even a guy working in the community who installs them.

I still think the cabinet upgrade was too much at $7000  (almost 1/3rd of our entire upgrade spending) but my wife LOVES them and they look good so I am putting this one in the positive category.

Things we would change:

-         Lighting in the lower level/laundry room

We added two additional lights in the lower level and the way they were configured was not optimal.

 There is already a light in front of the doorway to the garage, the stairs and the front doorway…   But then one of the additional lights we added is right next to those other three lights that come automatically, leaving only one light for the entire side of the room. 

This is the current cluster of lights down there:

Yet the entire other side of the room has one light...  This flex space in the Parker is bigger than you think so I should either added more lights or added the two lights on the far side room so they were not all clustered together.

The laundry room also desperately needs a light.   We installed one of those motion detecting lights in the closet after the close as without it you cannot see what you are washing.  Add a light here assuming they will allow it.


The backsplash was $1240 yet the entire backsplash is only 17 inches high and around 4.5 feet across.   There are only 39 total tiles.   That is $32 per tile.  I could have left this out and done it later myself for a small fraction of the cost.  At the design studio I thought this backsplash was going to be much bigger.

-       Ethernet ports:

You get 2 cable hookups and 2 Ethernet hookups without adding additional cost.

For the cable hookups we put one in the living room and one in the loft.  Those are fine as that is where the TV’s are…  We put one Ethernet cable in the office and one up in the loft.  The thinking was the office obviously needs one and maybe we will work up in the loft sometimes and would like a wired connection up there.   Since streaming is so big now I SHOULD  have put the second Ethernet next to the living room TV.   These townhouses are so big no matter where you have your wifi router you are going to have issues.   I bought a wifi extender but connecting to the extender and then trying to stream HD/4k content is not working out great.  These are cheap and just add one at each TV.
Overall those are the only things I can think of that I would have done differently.  

Since the hardwood is so important I think if I had to do it again I would have went up another level on the hardwood to level 3 to get an even thicker wood but the fact that we have it on the first and second level and both sets of stairs that would have been pretty costly.   I might have cut the granite upgrade in the loft and the backsplash in the kitchen and gone level 3 or even level 4 on the hardwood flooring.

That's everything I can think of right now, feel free to ask questions in the comments...

Friday, July 21, 2017

Construction Update:

We finally have internet (and mail and trash service) here so the blog is finally back.

Since it's been a while here are some construction updates:

Building #3 is finished from the outside and it looks like they are still working on the interior of this building.  Still looks possible that most will close in August.

Building 4 went vertical in early July (I believe it was July 5th) and they already have the frame up...  But what's really strange here is they only are building 5 of the 9 units.   Four of the units are still just sitting at the foundation.

Here is another shot of the 4 units in building 4 that have not been started for some reason:

Next time I talk to someone from Stanley Martin I will ask about that.  This is the first building they have done this with so there must be some reason.

They are also already getting the front row of the next cluster of buildings foundations started.  (units 40-46)

This is right below building #4... for reference check this:

Aside from the townhouses the thing they have made the most progress in the 50 days we have been here is the bridge to M square.   This seems to have the most folks working on it and it is coming along fast.

Here are some shots of that:

I am hoping when this bridge is done it cuts down my walk to College Park Tennis Club. 

The retail construction seems to be moving on the slow side.   This is what the Gold's Gym looks like as of today and that appears to be the only building they are working on the exterior of right now.

Now that I finally have internet expect more updates soon!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Lack of updates:

Still no internet or mail at Riverdale Park Station.

There are signs that both will be here soon so hopefully more updates coming this month.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Retail Opening Dates for Riverdale Park Station:

Here are the retailers opening dates I have been able to gather.

These are the estimates that the companies provided to me in their words. 
  1. Burtons  -  “Early November of 2017”
  2. District Taco – “Before the end of 2017”
  3. Jersey Mikes – “Early 2018”
  4. Habit Burger – “Mid-2018”
  5. Hyatt House Hotel – Early 2020   (listed on website) 
I asked the other retailers that are coming as well but did not get answers from Gold’s or MOD.

If I had to guess on those two based on the other information I have received I would say that MOD would be 4th quarter of 2017  (in the same building as District Taco) and mid-2018 for Gold’s Gym.