We went back and forth for a couple of weeks, weighing out the costs and value each upgrade option would add to the house. Eventually decided on:
*42" cherry cabinets in the kitchen, as we have standard 9' ceilings and the standard size didn't fill the space
*Gourmet island with granite (Uba Tuba) counter tops in the kitchen
*Stainless steel appliances including a double oven
*Morning room off the kitchen
*Fireplace on the side of the family room with Absolute Black granite surround
*White spindles/wood hand railing going upstairs instead of a plain half wall
*Recessed lighting in the kitchen and basement
*Powder room in basement
*Water softener system-the water in our area is extremely hard!
*We decided on a non-standard upgraded owners bath-we'll keep the linen closet and have a tub/shower combo, but it'll be an over sized tub instead of the standard with the fiberglass surround.
*Upgraded vanity cabinets in the master and secondary bathrooms
*Upgraded faucets in bathrooms and kitchen
*5 ceiling fan rough ins-all bedrooms and in morning room
*Upgraded lighting fixtures in formal living, entry way and stairwell
*Additional outlets-one outside, one above the fireplace to mount the tv, and one above the kitchen cabinets
*14x16 deck off the morning room
Our flooring rep was extremely helpful! What I thought would have been a couple hour appointment turned out to be about 30 minutes (well we also had a pretty good idea of all the flooring we wanted). The flooring options were detailed out by level. So one upgrade over the standard was considered Level 1, two was a Level 2, etc. which increased in price accordingly. We chose:
*Level 1 upgrade in padding to 6lb carpet padding throughout the house
*Level 2 California Berber carpet in the family room/formal dining on the first floor, stairwells, and throughout the basement and 2nd floor
*Laminate hardwood floor in the kitchen, morning room, front entry and main floor powder room
*Level 2 Vinyl in the bathrooms on the 2nd floor and in basement, as well as the laundry room
These are our cabinets, granite, and flooring choices. We originally picked out a backsplash, but decided to delete that option and put the money towards the water softener system.
Our last meeting was with Guardian. To me, they are a little overprice for some of their packages. However, we did decide to use them for some pre-wiring in the house. They'll be doing:
*flat panel tv pre-wire above our fireplace in the family room so we don't have to rip out dry wall (it's an exterior wall, which makes it really difficult to wire yourself with the insulation). The FP pre-wire includes an HDMI, CAT 5, cable, and RGB.
*pre-wiring for back surround sound speakers in the family room.
*in the basement, speakers/pre-wire for home theater system
*additional 6 CAT5/cable hookups in the house along
We ended up getting an amazing deal on a new Pioneer receiver and 12" Klipsch sub for the basement.
A few things to consider when looking at Guardian's prices:
Weigh out what you feel comfortable doing with price and convenience. Richard's really good with electronics and felt comfortable hooking things up. The Home Theater system basic package is about $2400. Just getting the speakers was significantly less, but you have to provide your own sub and receiver. If you already have a system, they do pre-wire for rear speakers for $215.