What Would You Do/Build Differently In Your House?

I love my house, we are so blessed! It’s simple and humble, but it’s ours and I couldn’t ask for more! We designed and subcontracted it ourselves and by the compliments of the subs and people who see it, I think we did a pretty terrific job, with the help of the Lord, of course!

We may, of course, someday build again, so I’m keeping a little diary of things I wish I had thought of doing, things I’m glad we thought of, or things which might be better done differently.

To do differently…for example, we had the framer place all our windows just about 1’ off the floor. Most of the time I like that, especially because our little doggies like to look out at the wildlife, but next time I think we’ll place them higher because being so low hampers our furniture placement.

Good thing to do…one thing we did, thankfully, think of, is placing the main living area so that it would not get afternoon sun. Been there, done that, hated it! In this heat we would just BAKE every afternoon and no amount of running A/C or ceiling fans would help.

To do differently…If I had the same kitchen, I’d place the kitchen window in the corner (2 smaller windows on 2 adjacent walls) rather then just one facing forward, so I could enjoy more of the wildlife when I’m at the sink.

Good idea…I wish I had thought of this, but it’s a great idea to make your bathroom counters as high as your kitchen counters. Much more practical. Someone told me about that years ago, but I forgot when it came time to build.:roll:

I’ve never had a custom house, but if I were to do it I’d do it greener first of all.

Even if you’ve never built one custom, you might have ideas to share of things you love or hate about the home(s) you have lived in. I used to want a formal dining room and now that I have one, I consider it useless space. One hardly ever uses it!

I find the same thing with our living room. I probably would get the dining room for holidays at least though.

Laundry room
Big linen closet
Plenty of storage in the kitchen
Pantry for food

That’s all I can think of now in my cold induced haze… :zombie:

Keep the laundry near the bedrooms.

Our old house had bedrooms on the lower level and the laundry was nearby in the furnace room. We moved to a house I love so much more, but it’s an older 2-storey with bedrooms on the top floor and laundry in the basement.

Ideas for building vs ideas for buying are so different.
The houses in my price range with basements had junk basements, crawlspace houses were also garbage. I got a slab, hard to mess up a slab but also not the best thing in tornado land.
If I would’ve built my own at that time (my labor) or even got a house I was looking at with room to build it would’ve had a full basement.
Hiring it done would’ve been a mini house.

Ideas from actual building are also very different than ideas from living in.
After building my brother’s house he has said if house building ever happens again it’s going to be a simple ranch. I tend to agree, it can be thousands of square feet and even 2 story but all the roof angles and wall juts in modern architecture are wasted time, space, materials and money.
You can frame up a ranch in no time.

Also outlets. I would put outlets on every stud. My sister-in-law hated the idea of how many outlets we were putting in. Now that it’s finished you don’t notice them, you would notice fewer if they had cords stretching to them.
When I do something major in my house I drop a couple outlets in just for good measure.

Something I learned from comparing my brother’s build to my slab, design the utilities so they are all grouped together. Something I’ve noticed with modern designs is they have no problem putting water and drains at opposing sides of the house.
You may look at the finished house and think it’s nice but the cost for all the materials and labor is in there.
I’m amazed with all the talk of green construction I’m still seeing this kind of waste, it just further cements my thoughts that “green” is code for “gimme your money” and has nothing to do with conserving resources.
Just look at modern construction measure in thousands of feet compared to '50’s construction measured in hundreds. Green? I don’t think so.

I absolutely agree with the laundry near the bedrooms. My washer and dryer used to be in the basement, but I got a stackable and put it in a large closet and it’s just the best.

I would never get a white bathroom floor again.

Keep the dishes in a cabinet next to the dishwasher.

I use my dining room only a couple of times a year. One day I’ll figure out what to do with it, but it’s where we walk in, so yarn storage is probably out of the question. :teehee: but then again. . . :think:

Windows that fold in to wash is nice.

Lots of outlets is a wonderful thing, too. I have a lot in the newer end of the house, but not enough in the older end.

Lots of drawers in the kitchen.

I dream of building my own home someday and have held onto building plans for years that I see at home shows.
What I like - big, open, fenced in yard with BIG custom built shed and deck.
Don’t like - drive in garage in basement level of house (trucking groceries up a flight of stairs is not fun on my best day let alone with a broken ankle)
Like - kitchen open to living room with lots of windows and fireplace
Don’t like - no pantry with pull out shelves and no small appliance storage - the toaster, kitchen aid, food processor, coffee make, blender all have to sit on the counter or go to shelving in the basement
Like - large master with private bath and walk-in closet
Don’t like - no shelving in walk-in closet, master too close to living room
Like - ceiling fans in all the rooms

Our house is on the small side. Not too small but not big either. 1600 square feet I think. The “dining room” is an area off the living room, but around a wall from the kitchen, not convenient at all if one was to carry food out for dining. We eat in our largish family room which is open to the kitchen, like a “great room” but built in 1977 before that term was used. We put a desk and computer in the dining area that we used to all share but it has become my husbands “office” the area is divided from the living room by the couch which face away from that section. I really don’t want a formal dining room ever but if I had one I would make it a library.

The one feature that I dislike in out house is that the washer and dryer are in the garage. (oddly enough about 1/2 the houses for size and price range we looked at were like this at the time) It would be relatively easy I think to turn them around and take down the bathroom wall behind them and gain access to them through the master bath…we’d have to do some enlarging there but the master bath is very small and our room is quite large. The only problem is money! we’ve been here 12 years and this little remodel still hasn’t happened. I would like it to happen before we get old unless of course we move but we have no plans to do so at this time.

We took out about 1/2 the carpet in the house and put in laminate in the halls, family room and kitchen, I really like that!

Those are the main points I can think of.

I’m in the process of buying a house (I close in 2 weeks!). Things on my list were (1) sheltered parking, (2) plenty of counterspace in the kitchen, (3) a dining space where I could both have people over AND open the oven/refrigerator at the same time.

I sort of inherited my house, so I shouldn’t complain when it’s free. But…We only have 7 foot ceilings which is nice for some things like washing them or installing new lights but ceiling fans have to be placed strategically. There is one in the dining room but it has to be over the table and this room has been renovated yet so it will have to be removed when it is. There is no way to put one in the living room. We have replaced most of the floors with laminate flooring. As we finish renovations wall to wall carpeting is a definate no. I have a son and pets so carpets just don’t agree, area rugs yes. I would also like a better entrance, my front door walks into the living room I wish this could change but definately can’t happen. And a finished basement, which we are working on.

Congrats! We just got the last approval and the word of Ok to close yesterday…now waiting for a time and day to go sign the papers :happydance:

We have been through 30 some homes and wanted these things:

Privacy, no n’bors sitting on top of us

Everyone on the same floor bedroom wise

Washer/Dryer close to bedrooms (this didn’t happen it’s hard to find that around here but at least they are not in a dark damp basment)


Open living room

More counter space

2 bathrooms

larger closets (we live in a very old farmhouse now and they just didn’t make big closets back then)

2 car garage

Mud Room

Extra room for an office and family room

I would build two houses. One for me and one for my yarn.

I recommend at least 1 or deep drawers in kitchen and bath if you have the room.

A pull-out shelf/drawer for pots is great. I have and love it.

I thought I’d like a desk area in the kitchen, but I hate it! It’s a constant mess. At least I wish I had thought to have some doors put in front so I could close the entire area, but I wouldn’t have been able to afford it anyway.

I would like a small closet in the laundry room (maybe just as deep as a regular cabinet but going all the way up) to keep the vacuum cleaner, rug cleaner, mops, step ladder, etc.

Love this thread!!

My hubby and I were fortunate to find a lot before the building actually took place. The builder already had a house plan that was approved by the city, but he worked with us on modifications to the inside.

Some of my favorites:

Changed the tub and single shower in the master bedroom to be a dual shower, which left room for a linen closet. It was cheaper to do this because it eliminated one drain. We also added those non-see through marble squares at the top of the shower for natural lighting.

Had slider doors installed for the master closet. We also went gung ho on installing shelving. I knew that if we didn’t do it at the beginning, we never would. I :heart: my customized shelving, even though it cost an arm and a leg.

We had pergo/laminate installed everywhere except for the bedrooms. At the time, we only had one dog. Now we have three, so this has saved our behinds with the potty training we went though with the last two dogs.

We actually went with lower countertops for the guest bathroom. My kids were younger then, and I figured it would be easier for them to wash their hands and take care of business. IMHO, it was a good decision.

We changed the original placement of the refrigerator which enabled us to get a pantry added. I loathe houses that don’t have pantries. I can’t believe this builder had not planned for it originally.

We added a concrete patio around our porch…oh so nice for setting the grill on. Our porch is covered with a doggie door, so the dogs have shade when they’re outside but can go potty when they need.

I insisted on an open floor plan, so we made sure there wasn’t a wall between the kitchen and the den. I love cooking and watching TV or visiting with company.

Little things also make a difference…

We had window panel things installed with the garage door so there would be natural light there.

Things I would change:

I would have tiled the house instead of doing laminate. The dogs have scratched it, even though the saleslady told us that it was scratch-resistant.

I would have checked the placement of the garbage disposal. It wasn’t installed on the most efficient side, so I had to insist that the original plumber come back and change it. Not a pleasant experience.

I would have asked that some outlets be placed in the floor. I’ve seen this done before and love how you don’t have cords running everywhere.

There are probably some other things I would have changed, but for the most part, I’m very, very happy with how the house turned out.

We purchased a 1760 sq ft manufactured home to replace a rickety old farmhouse that wasn’t worth saving. I had my dining room walls replaced with windows for house plants and also to look at my yard, pond and the creek across the street. I do have a dining room table but it is mainly a catchall and I put my blooming orchids on there as they get bright light but no direct sun.
I had a jetted garden tub put in the master bath and it also has a walk in shower. My laundry room is also the mud room and is off the kitchen with a door into the second bath so I can come in and use the bathroom without going through the house.
We paid for a super good sense package that give us R19 walls and about R40 in the ceiling and floor. It keeps our heat bill at about $60 a month and we haven’t added air conditioning. I can close the house up in the morning and draw the blinds and it stays relatively comfortable until I can open everything up in the evening and cool back down.
I would do a ground to air heat pump next time.
We have lots of outlets and find that very convenient when rearranging a room.
Overall I’m happy with the floor plan we choose and the changes we made.

I have always adored Japanese culture and how they decorate their house. I have plans to decorate my house walls with Japanese traditional kabuki wooden masks and also with antique African masks. I have seen some online examples that look so good.