Things I Wish I Had Done When We Built Our Home Building Tips Part 1

28 February 2018

Hello! So, I have a sister and sister-in-law building homes and so I have been brought back to the home building process as we’ve looked at plans and lighting and flooring and paint colors! I have kept a list of things that I wish we had done differently or things I wish we would have considered and I hope it helps if you are building, re-modeling, finishing a space.

building home tips

First, I need to say without reserve that I *love* our home. It is perfect for our family. I try to give thanks whenever I can for the blessing of living where we do in with such incredible neighbors and beautiful mountains in our backyard. In all of our moves, from apartments to rentals to fixer uppers, I have come to know that you can make any house into a home because of the people and attitudes inside of it. So, I hope this comes in the spirit of giving pointers to a sister or a good friend, not with dissatisfaction or ungratitude.

I think I’ve mentioned before that we weren’t planning on building! But we fell in love with a lot and area and it just turned out that way.  There are many lessons that you can only learn by building. So… if you can build a practice house and then build your final house!! Haha. Here we go:

building a house tips

* Floor Plan: take the time to get your floor plan right. Anything you change after you submit final plans to the builder will cost you much more money in change orders.

* Invest now in features that would be difficult to change later: heating/cooling systems, insulation, cabinets, flooring, tile etc. Things like light fixtures, paint, closet systems, and furniture aren’t hard to change or upgrade later.

* If you have an upstairs or downstairs use a high quality insulation so you don’t hear every step upstairs (especially on hardwoods)! We invested in using the Roxul Soundproof Insulation between our upstairs floor and the basement ceiling and it would also be good for rooms that are next to a bathroom.

flooring choices
* I would have gone with lighter floors! (^^ too dark!) Ours show everything and scratch easily– I would go lighter (like the color of dirt!) with some variation.

* We would have done separate HVAC for upstairs and the basement so that each could have their own thermostat and controls. The basement stays much cooler than the rest of the house and it would make much more sense to give it more heat in the winter and not as much as the rest of the house in the summer.

* 9 ft ceilings in the basement and 10 ft ceilings upstairs can make the whole house seem bigger and more open.

laundry room simple

* Laundry room! Near the kitchen or near the bedrooms? I like mine by the kitchen because it is right where I work so I can switch loads and then my kids take them to their rooms to fold and put away (well…that is what is supposed to happen, right?) but I have friends that swear by having it by the upstairs (or downstairs bedrooms). I bring my laundry out to the kitchen table to fold with the TV on or while kids are practicing or doing homework so a big laundry room that I can fold all the clothes in doesn’t make sense for me.  A trend right now is to do a stackable washer and dryer in the master closet and the plumbing isn’t that much more expensive – it may be something to consider. I do love a hanging rod, a sink to rinse, a counter to put laundry on, and cabinets to store laundry detergent, etc. in

light switch placement

* Outlet and light switch placement!  ^^ Here is an example where I ruined a perfect good wall with light switches – I could have just had them go on the the other side of the wall in the mudroom. Places to consider putting outlets:
-on top of the fireplace mantel – think lighted Christmas garland.
- by the top or bottom of stair railings (also for lighted Christmas garland)
- the front porch – for Christmas decor or lights.
- on the outside eaves for Christmas lights so you don’t have cords hanging down.
- inside of cabinets with glass doors and a few in the built ins – this is mostly for our Christmas village.
- a light switch by the master bed so you don’t have to get out of bed to turn off lights.
- on the back patio for hanging patio lights and plugging in power washers, heaters, etc.
- double outlets where girls get ready – hairdryers, straightener, curling irons, etc.
-  night lights along stairs for kids that get up at night
- if you have a Roomba – where do you want it to dock?
- in the pantry for small appliances
- on the side of the kitchen island
- where do you want your charging station for phones? In the mudroom, a cabinet, or in your room if you have kids turn in devices at night.

kitchen tips
* Kitchen: I wish we would have done soft close cabinets! I know I can switch the hinges out, but I wish I would have done it in the first place. Also, you should know that white cabinets will yellow if they are exposed to sun.

yellowing cabinets
I would have gotten window coverings or shades (on the outside or inside) right away for where the sun hits my cabinets – can you see how the top drawer is more yellow than the bottom? Or, talk to your cabinet maker about non-yellowing paint options. Other favorite features in my kitchen are here.

I had much more to say on this than I was anticipating! To read more tips
click here for Part #2 
and click here for Part #3 

What would be your #1 advice for building a home?


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