Welcome! I’m guessing you are here because you are thinking about building a new home for your family. Well, we’ve been there and done that, so I have lots of tips to share.
One of my most popular posts from last year was Ten Things I’m Glad We Did While Building A New Home. It has been pinned over fifty thousand times already! Thank you for that! There seem to be quite a few people who are interested in building their own homes, which we totally understand. We are thankful every day that we were able to pick our land and custom build our home. Because we truly did put a lot of time into planning, there really isn’t very much I would do differently. But now that we have been living in our space for a few years, there are some very small things that we wonder if maybe we could have done differently. So, I thought today it might be helpful to look at the other side of the coin and share a few things that I might have chosen to do differently while we were building a a new home.
5 Things I Wish We Did While Building A New Home
- In-floor heat. We would have invested in heating the flooring in our master bathroom. At the time it seemed like a silly luxury, but honestly, we live in a climate that is very cold for a significant portion of the year and we are in that room multiple times a day. If I could go back in time, I would have adjusted the budget while I had the chance and lowered the quality of the finishes somewhere else so that we could put the money towards that option, because we are not tearing up the entire brand new floor to get it now.
- Dimmer switches. Almost every night my husband and I sit down together and watch a television show together after the kids are in bed. I hate watching t.v. in the dark, but if we leave all of the lights on it is too bright and there is a glare on the screen. We’ve taken to strategically turning on lights in other rooms nearby instead.
- Screen doors. This seems silly and we can probably retro fit them later if we want. I do think screen doors are kind of ugly and if you look at pictures of modern houses, most don’t have them. Plus we have a dog who might scratch the screen. But our property backs up to a farm and acres of corn and one thing I have learned about country living is that it comes with a lot more bugs. And dirt. And breeze. Every time my son runs out the door to catch his bus and doesn’t quite close it all the way behind him, I see a few more flies come in and I think, “Why didn’t we go with the screen doors again?”
- An outside entrance to the garage. I know that the reason we did not do this was for security, and because if we replaced one of the windows with a door the front of our house wouldn’t look as cute as it does. Ultimately, we decided that we didn’t want a door on our garage. But now that we live here and use our property, it is very annoying when we are outside doing yard work (which if often when you live on a few acres). Not having a regular door means that a garage door has to stay open for the kids to go in and out to get their toys or bikes. It has led to several animals getting in to our garage, just like my friend Meredith’s raccoon story. We should have just put a door there.
- An intercom. This might just be relevant for us, but I REALLY wish we had installed an intercom system while we had the chance and the walls were down. It would be more expensive and much more of a headache to go back and do it now. My mother now lives in an in-law suite in our lower level and my kids have a playroom above our garage. Almost every day, when I am walking around my house trying to find and organize six people on three different levels, to tell them that dinner is ready or it is time to leave for school, I find myself wishing I could just put out an all-call.
Really, looking at this list, these are all things that we can (and do) live very comfortably without. But if you are thinking about building a new home of your own, I know it helps to have the perspective of someone who has done it, and come out on the other side!
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