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  Red Carpet Center
Retiring to Florida
The Big Picture
Selecting Legacy
Visiting Legacy
Design Studio
Red Carpet Center
The Pool
Lessons Learned
Our Finished Retirement Home
The Move: If I Only Had a Brain
The Yellow Brick Road
Fireworks, Booze and Porn, oh my!
The Emerald City
No Place Like Home
Leesburg Hospital


So many choices, so little time...

As a very general rule I am loathe to discuss finances.  While I didn't grow up in the generation that would never do so, my dad did, and imparted to me the thought that it just wasn't something men discussed.  If you have a lot of money it sounds like bragging, if you have very little it can be embarrassing, and in any case it, like your sexual activities, is something that no one other than your helpmate really needs to know anything about.

That said, I also realize that a lot of the thought processes we went through in getting to our dream could be beneficial to others.  So, with great trepidation I will lay out my budget to the world, with the hope and understanding we can view this separate from my personal financial state, and as a template to help anyone in a similar situation.  While the specific numbers can and will vary depending on your own situation, the general process should be the same.

We started knowing we did not want to spend more than $260K for the house and the pool combined.  I felt this was doable, and not something that would give me a lot of grief.  I was also aware too well of the way things have of getting out of hand if you don't have a pretty close roadmap to stick to when you are engaging in this kind of process, so with that in mind I prepared the following spreadsheet:

  1. House/Lot -- 195300

  2. Bullnose Corners -- 1000

  3. Carpet Upgrade -- 500

  4. Corian in Kitchen -- 2035

  5. Corian Sink -- 440

  6. Smart Option 6 (attic storage) -- 675

  7. Garage R30 -- 315

  8. Wood Flooring -- 3000

  9. Pest Stuff -- 600

  10. Liberty Oak Cabinets -- 2065

  11. Refrigerator Credit -- -300

  12. Insulated Windows -- 1000

  13. Stove Upgrade -- 300

  14. Coach Light Prewire -- 130

  15. Tile Upgrade -- 900

Total House 207960

In the house I had to make a lot of assumptions.  Some of the pricing, like the kitchen Corian and Oak cabinets was stuff listed on the Red Carpet option list.  Other stuff I just guessed at, and I was pretty close with nearly everything except for the wood floors (I had a price quote from Lowe's and I figured with the carpet allowance I could bring it in around $3K, and they wanted $1500 more.  Luckily Annie did not like the Liberty Oak cabinets, being more than happy with the laminate, and so we got back on track there).

In the end the "real" numbers ended up like this:

  1. House/Lot -- 195300

  2. Bullnose corners -- 895

  3. Carpet Upgrade -- 413

  4. Corian in Kitchen -- 2035

  5. Corian Sink -- 440

  6. Smart Option 6 -- (somehow got missed in all the excitement -- sigh) 0

  7. Garage R30 -- 315

  8. Wood Flooring -- 4482

  9. Pest Stuff -- 600

  10. Upgrade Cabinets -- 517

  11. Refrigerator Credit -- -540

  12. Insulated Windows -- 920

  13. Stove Upgrade (not needed) -- 0

  14. Coach Light Prewire -- 195

  15. Tile Upgrade -- 775

  16. Shower Tile Upgrade -- 585

  17. Toilet upgrades -- 250

  18. Raise Vanities -- 100

Total House -- 207282

If we hadn't overlooked the attic storage (we did tell Angela about it, it was the first thing we added, but it somehow didn't make its way onto the budget sheet and after we went through everything else I just overlooked it when reviewing) we would have been nearly exactly on our estimated budget.  As it was we were a little under budget (but that would quickly fade when we got to the pool -- more on this later).

Other impressions about the Red Carpet center (not strictly the design studio, where you can actually make structural changes and the like): Angela was a terrific help and knew how to handle folks very well.  I never felt rushed, and it was a very pleasant experience picking out all our colors and other choices.  I also thought we got a lot of things standard (like marbled window sills, Corian in the baths, etc.) that would have cost extra in other places.

Pringle is very reasonable about giving you credit for things you don't want (like the refrigerator) or want to change (like carpet to wood).  Overall I think the choices and standards they offer are pretty extensive.  This is the second house I've had the opportunity to pick out various options for, and this design center is far and away better than my other experience.

Things I didn't like -- while I knew going in that no structure changes would be allowed, I was just slightly disappointed we couldn't even change an electrical outlet or two.  But, all in all it was everything and more I could have hoped for.

If more of the Red Carpet center had been available on the web it would have been even better -- for one thing, I wouldn't have "missed" the attic storage since I could have filled out my form requests and brought that along.

After having come so close to budget with the house I felt the pool would be a piece of cake -- after all, nearly all the options for the pool were spelled out quite clearly beforehand.  Little did I realize...

Next: Pool

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