So today I would like to talk about a few house build choices we would change if we were to do it all over again. Since we just passed our 2 year build anniversary, I have been reflecting on the things we love and the things we would change if we knew then what we know now. I don’t have a lot of regrets, but now that we’ve settled in there are always things I think about either in a “what if?” way or just have turned out to annoy me.
So my biggest regret aesthetically can be seen in the following picture. The vent coming out of the front stone towers comes from the downstairs half bath. I actually saw it ran through the ceiling and out the front frame when no one was there to talk about it. Unfortunately the next time we were there to talk to our field manager when I was planning to bring it up, they had already cut off the venting pipe and capped it. Me being the person who doesn’t like to rock the boat convinced myself that it would be too difficult to rerun the tubing and that they already cut the hole in the framing and that couldn’t be fixed so I would just have to live with it.
In hindsight, I wish I would have insisted on it being fixed and ran out the side of the house instead of out the front. To me it was common sense not to run it out through my stone. This is especially so considering I had already asked to relocate the front water spigot out the side around the corner from it’s original location because I didn’t want it going through the stone. Why would I want a vent cap to be right through the stone in a very visible spot between the first and second floor, when I didn’t even want the spigot near the ground to go through the stone? There’s not much I complain about with our build, but this is definitely one of those few things.
We didn’t put a ton of thought into our basement because we knew we wouldn’t be finishing it for some time. We did make sure to have a window that could open in case of an emergency to get air in or smoke out or heaven forbid pump water out as the base plan called for glass block. We also paid to go ahead and put a rough in for a future bathroom in the basement as it is infinitely cheaper and easier to go ahead and run those lines under the concrete before it’s poured.
One of the things I didn’t think about though was the amount of pillars we would have to have to hold up the wooden beams that were in the base plan. We upgraded so much in this house over the base plan so I don’t know why I didn’t really think about this issue. Our last house had a very small basement so I suppose it didn’t occur to me the amount of pillars we would need for our long beams on a much larger house over a big basement. We will certainly be able to make rooms and work around the beams but it will limit how we make rooms down there in the future. Even smaller rooms may have some beams in the middle which is both frustrating and limiting for certain applications.
We didn’t see the blueprints until we were ready to sign off on the design and it was a crazy winter day when a storm was coming in, the building office was being told to close down early because of the storm and the whole thing was a bit of chaos. This wasn’t an environment really conducive to sitting down and going over the plans in detail or taking time to think about what that amount of pillars meant.
I am pretty happy with our wall color choices still, but I chose to do the posts for our staircase railing in white along with the spindles, the stringers and the risers for the stairs. The tops of the stairs and the handrail I chose a dark stain to match our cabinetry. It was a unique combination as most people make the posts the color of the handrail and the stair tops OR make spindles stained and the hand rail white. Sometimes I wonder if I would have liked the posts to be stained to match the handrail and stair. I knew the look I had in my head, but now I just wonder….what if?
Speaking of the stair posts, I have some other what ifs about them. I went online to the manufacturer to look at all the millions of stair pieces we could choose from and picked a few of posts to get quotes on. I didn’t like the base post that came with the house plan and wanted to upgrade, but considering all the other upgrades we were doing, I chose to not upgrade too far as we were originally told because of the size of our staircase we’d probably be using 6-8 posts and that’s a lot of money at hundreds of dollars per post. In the end I should have gotten a solid number on that because we only used 4 posts and I could have upgraded to a post that would have mimicked the panels on our doors and were a bit more chunky, which I would have liked better.
This one can be fixed somewhat after the fact, but is easier and more seamless to do during the build. We had a couple outdoor motion lights added to the back of our house for security purposes, especially once we have a pool. I got talked out of putting any additional extra lighting on the outside of the house in front because we would have two coach lights by our side entry garage and two more porch lights by the front door. The electrical contractor told me that would be plenty and I should have listened to that gnawing voice in the back of my head that originally wanted lights in each of the corners.
Sometime in the future I will probably want to run some additional lighting outside in the front of the house, but it would have just been so much better to pay for it at the time as I am sure it will be much more expensive to add it after the fact. Living in the country can be pretty dark when you go out in the evening without adequate lighting. I want to be able to light up the outside of the house at night if I want to for a party or gathering, but also to be able to see better when taking pets outside at night, etc.
So as you can see I don’t really have a lot of regrets or build choices that I would change. I am sure if I thought hard enough there would be things I would love to improve on like a bigger bathroom upstairs or more lighting in our dining room. I mean I don’t know a single person who would say they think their house is truly perfect the longer they live there. Still my list of things are often cosmetic and not functional issues. Our last house was such a bad layout that it led to many functional issues and quickly became a miserable place to live.
Stay tuned for part 2….the home build choices we made that we still love!Thanks for reading!