What things did you find needed adjusting or changed?

sunnnyJanuary 7, 2010

When designing and building what were some things you 'caught' and changed or wished you would have? This is similar to the great thread on what are the things you love about your home and what would you do differently but this is more of an - "I realized the door frame leading from the kitchen into the mudroom was going to over lap the kitchen counter by a fraction of an inch so had the framers move the door over slightly while framing" type question. While talking to a friend tonight she mentioned this very thing. She also mentioned that she would have added lights to the entertainment and kitchen glass doors and that her bid from the painters did not include priming - only painting and she had to add that cost seperate. I'd like to hear others experiences with things one never thinks about or some of the unexpected things you encountered and learned.


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I found out the other day that my French doors for the office don't have a place for a lock. The only thing that can go on them is the dummy door knobs. If we want to lock the doors, I have to buy new ones.

Painters like to paint everything with one color. You need to specify which rooms and ceilings you want painted white. For instance, I assumed ceilings, closets, and garages were white unless specified otherwise. My builder talked me into color ceilings in the rooms with crown molding because I have white trim in some rooms. I pointed out other ceilings I wanted white. Apparently, I wasn't specific enough because I have yellow closets and ceilings in certain rooms and a completely yellow garage.

We also had to add more lights. We have a front porch and back patio area that we plan to enjoy. We needed more lights so we could see outside of the immediate area at night. I would have liked a light at the side of the house that wasn't the back, front. or garage side. Dh didn't want to pay the extra money, but we have a half acre out on that side and I'd like to turn it on if we start getting critters in the yard.

I learned yesterday that my Jack/Jill bathroom doesn't come with a shower rod. I thought it was standard.

We also modified our kitchen after the framing started. the wall by the refrigerator got extended a few inches so the refrigerator wasn't sticking out. My dh really wanted a desk in the kitchen counter. I hated the idea. We were talking to the neighbors who got the desk and they agreed that it wasn't a good idea for our lifestyle so we went with a regular counter there and added more cabinets. I also had an appliance garage with plug-in added so I can have easy access to the coffee maker, toaster and can opener without them cluttering the counter.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 12:33AM
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Good question.
I wish we had made provisions for audio throughout the house.
I wish the builder would have used PT lumber on the T&G porch flooring.
My wife wishes the master bath were one foot wider.
I think I should have gotten a 500 gal propane tank instead of 250, so I could fill once a year and get a 10% discount then.
Nothing major, but I had planned the house for 25 years!

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 6:27AM
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I adjusted the budget in the area of roof, windows, and electrical.

Roof - upgraded to standing seam
Windows - upgraded to more tint
Electrical .... I have discovered that I like lights... lots of lights... so my electrical is about double. I added a number of sconces, 20 closet door lights. I also didnt figure in the speakers, inside & outside.

I ordered skylights for the shingles, and then decided on metal for the same price, but then upgraded to the standing seam. My skylights werent made for metal, so in order for them not to leak, they dont open.... but I can live with that. Didnt want to take the chance of a leak but I love the additional light.

I think I might have liked my porch a little wider, but we have spent a lot of money on the porch as it is and it will be great.

I am not crazy about the way the steps will come off the porch, and I remember talking about this for a long long time, and at the time, there just wasnt any other way to make it work out right but I don't remember why now. But it will be okay.

The windows on the 3rd deck aren't quite right, dont quite line up but I didnt catch it until the door went in ... but they are okay.

OOOH, this is the big one for me. I cheaped out on the arched window over the front door. If I hadn't seen the price, but I thought 1200 was too high, and it was early on and I felt like I needed to decide right then, and I didnt want to start adding to the budget. Then as I watched the porch coming together, it really needed that arch over the front door to match the arch of the porch and to be consistent with the arched window up above. So, we created an "arch" with the keystone and other stone. I do like it, it cost me way less, but I am afraid ppl will say, you really missed the boat with that one.... I really doubt any of my friends or family will even notice or care actually, but I know it.

I have done little things, like move outlets. I had them move the lower level thermostat because I want to have a sliding barn door and it would have been in the way.

I am not a big nit-picker, but some areas of my spray foam isnt as thick as I think it should be, so the guy is coming back this morning to touch up. It probably would have been just fine, but...

I made a couple major changes last minute before framing started. Made the office accessible via the kitchen with pocket doors, and made the old office door an in-wall fish tank. Also closed in the 2 story family room, and made another family room upstairs, which eliminated the need for another dormer over the garage.

We are about 2 months from being done, so I am sure my list will grow haha. But I read on a thread to love your house, love your decisions, and I know I will be happy. Over all, it will all be great and we will love it.

I am just worried now because most of the decisons have been mine, I am worried about how it will all come together--will it just be a hot mess. I want to make sure the $ stretch to the end, or will we have to finish a few things ourselves or live with them unfinished for a while, those things are really weighing on me now.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 8:26AM
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Bathroom fan venting - I should have been move vigilant and adamant that there were no 90 or 180 degree turns in the venting. I bought very quiet fans, but they don't work as quietly when there are bends in the venting. All of mine are the same, some are whisper quiet, others are loud.

We have lots of exterior French Doors, some swing in, some swing out, depending on interior vs exterior space and furniture placement... but the outswing ones have most of the threshold inside. So in this cold weather, a large metal conductor of cold is at each of those doors.

I would have tested and looked at all electrical outlets before paying my electricians. I've got a mystery issue, but more importantly, they left two sets of live wires bare in my oven hood (we didn't need a fan, but ran electrical for it and another outlet for over cabinet lights). No box, no wire nuts, just live wires in the wooden hood.

I would have taken more time to cut and install some plywood decking in our attic. We have some up there, but it's kind of just thrown down, not really set up to walk on and store stuff.

I would get my HVAC folks to put a small return in each bedroom instead of the large one in the hall. I can still do this through the attic, but we need to leave the bedroom doors open now.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 9:32AM
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I thought I spent a lot of time thinking about electric outlet placements and read lots of tips on here, but still didn't think to put lighting or outlets on the top of my large entertainment centers (did above kitchen cabinets and fireplace mantel, so not sure why I missed it on other cabinets).

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 10:02AM
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We "caught" or discovered a few things as the build went along. 1) the hvac "closet" inside the house in the house plan was very small. The builder suggested we make it a pantry instead, it was convieniently located in a hallway next to the kitchen. So our 2 car garage had an extention on one side and the builder suggested closing in that area to house the hvac, hot water tank, softener.
2) According to our house plan our master suite bathroom had a tub, separate shower stall, and double vanity. With our split bedrooms ( 2 other bedrooms on opposite side of the house) there was no linen storage near the master bath.
We decided to put in a shower stall and a linen closet plus add 2 more windows on that wall.
Now, had I been more "in tune" I would have noticed the laundry room was quite small. If I had to do it over I would have, somehow, made that room a little bigger. All in all it is sufficient. Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 11:07AM
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Not sure about others but I find this type of info very helpful. I hope others will chime in and add to this.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 7:00PM
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some light switches had to be moved/adjusted based on beams, plumbing, cabinets flush to wall, etc. no biggie, but required some thinking and willingness for change

also due to header beam the can lights were not centered down our main first floor hallway. we made them move the beam! kind of a major pain, but glad we did it (our OCD selves would have gone nuts even though others probably never even look up!)

really wish we would have been more stringent with the hvac guys about placement of the tubing up in the attic to make the space more usable for the future. it seems like they just had a hay-day up there and ran it everywhere! I also wish we would have put more plywood (and even drywall for the potential of finishing it for a small office) up there.

lighting & outlets: you can never have too many of these! based on code restraints the JJ bath area with tub and toilet is too dark. I wish we would have put an outlet somewhere so I could put a nightlight in there for my kids.

initially the audio/tv system wiring was to go low on a wall in the family room, but we decided to move it to a closet behind this location to keep it all hidden and not have to purchase furniture to house all the components in. now that remote controls can work through drywall, there's no reason to have all that stuff out!

added more insulation during the process (it's wicked cold in chicago too!!!)

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 9:39PM
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I just remembered another change I added. I had cabinet doors added to the decking outside of my jacuzzi tub instead of the tile that was originally planned so we have access in the future in case we want to change out faucets or the motor dies. Apparently, access is code in some areas, but not others. Our last two houses did not have access.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 11:12PM
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Adellabedella, I have to comment on your name. I mean this is the BEST way because I love these books but your name reminds me of the childrens books Amelia Bedilia. :)
When my dad built his house he added an access panel to the wall behind the tubs which backed up to his closets so when/if he ever had plumbing problems he had access and didn't have to tear into the sheet rock. I have noticed in my neices newly built home that all the walls and ceilings are ONE color which I didn't like at first but it's seemless and in a way soothing. They painted the garage as well which I like because it doesn't show dirt as easily as white and reminds me of your garage. My sister also told us to add MORE LIGHTS and she said you can never have too many outlets (well maybe but have plenty) so we will do that, too. I hope you find a solution for your library door locks.
Srercrcr - I like the idea of a larger propane tank. What a good idea. I'm glad you got your house after that many years of planning. I have a good friend who built about 4 years ago and I kept telling him "how can you leave your house where your kids grew up" and aren't you going to be sad to leave - but he told me over and over that he was SO excited about leaving and starting his new life. I couldn't understand at the time but now that we've sold and are finally coming to the point of building I completely understand.
gopintos - I LOVE light too and our recently sold house was dark and cavelike for many years then we added a huge window and glass front and garage door (Which we found out later wasn't really up to code) but we were in the country and I loved having it since most people came to our back door anyway. I'm sure no one will notice or mention the arch over the front door so I know you'll learn to love it as is. I wrote down that saying and will print it out and keep it with me as I tend to second guess my choices.
bdpeck - I never gave one thought to the venting so that's now on my list of make sure it's done right. I hope your mystery electrical issues aren't serious. That would make me crazy. I'd like to ask how many others put the small returns in each bedroom and what difference it makes.
mairin - I'm very OCD too and I'd need my lighting in a line as you. I find structure and symmetry are calming to me.
My just sold house had NO laundry room. It had a bi-fold door in my breakfast area. I HATED IT! When we were young and only doing 2 loads a week it wasn't so bad but after 19 year of having dirty clothes in my kitchen and eating area I promise I'll have an outhouse before I give up or have a small laundry room. LOL There's 2 things that are must haves for me: a man cave for all stuff and a decent size laundry room.
I've reallly enjoyed reading everyones stories. I'd love to hear more.
I have to tell you that I've lived in Texas most of my life (off and on 49 years) and this is the first time our lake has frozen this much since I've lived here. There is 20 feet of ice around the edges this morning. It's 2 inches thick with ice up the tree trunks and the base of the piers where the wind was blowing so hard the water Texas! Yesterday morning the wind chill was 5 BELOW zero here. I lived in Maine for 2 years and this reminds me of that time - but I left there who still lives in Maine that we need to move back there to thaw out.
I'm sure many of you are having the same thing. Tomorrow is supposed to be better for us. Hope you all get some relief soon.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 10:27PM
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We have an Onzen tub in the MBath with an access door in the MBR closet. We made sure the area was well insulated before the tub was installed. Makes a big difference on keeping the water temp hot longer.

During construction, we made the MBath shower a tad larger. Stole room from the toilet area. Don't miss it.

Most of our changes were made during the drawing stages - we added 2 feet to each end of the house and 2 feet in the middle. The main level guest room was too small, the MBath needed it for the Onzen tub and the middle needed it in the DR so the wall for cabinet was big enough.

I had HVAC company move thermostat in the lower level - close to door, so it would not interfere with picture hanging. Much easier to do at that stage.

Pretty much knew what was going where during construction, so had door swings, switches and electrical outlets installed where needed. I did not want too many and did not want many outlets showing.

We used some type of fiber cement 4x8 textured-look panels in our garage. You can paint, looks nice and you can hose it down. I thought it was a Hardi product, but don't see it on their website. Seams are covered with painted screen trim.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2010 at 12:21AM
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Tub is too low, can't sit in the tub and look out the window at the gorgeous view!

    Bookmark   January 12, 2010 at 4:46PM
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As the last poster said, check the height of windows by the tub. We wanted to see out too but didn't have elevations. We had the window reframed lower, then added a transom window above rather than order a complete new window and have a wasted window left over. Worked out great.

Check with the HVAC guy to determine where ductwork and returns will run. We had open trusses which was great but it's always tight from the basement to upstairs. We had to take some of the master closet to make it efficient. Compare apples to apples on the bids. We didn't go with the cheapest bid. I chose the HVAC company I trusted most and they didn't use any flexible pipe for heat runs or returns, only custom made sealed ductwork.

If you have a basement like we do in MN, definitely do 9' ceilings. This is a feature I knew I wanted after being around so many different basements my whole life. It doesn't even feel like a basement since it has height and tons of natural light. Also, in-floor radiant heat in the basement is awesome as well as in the tiled areas on the other floors!

Check your door swings before ordering doors, no matter how many times you look at it on the plans.

Check with the applicable subs to determine how many chases are needed under the foundation and their location. I had placed a number of draintile chases but it turns out none were in the right spot for the geothermal loop field access pipes. I had to hand dig under the footings which was major. I got it done and it's great now but omg.

If you're planning on doing a lot of finishing work yourself be realistic how much you can do as timing is key. I did tile, wood floors, master tub and shower prep and tile, radiant heat, etc. This slowed the project down because they all needed to be done at the same time.

Be on your job as much as possible. I was there every day, sometimes all day and sometimes for a little bit in the morning. Then I'd be back at night to work on my stuff or check on the days' progress.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 11:15PM
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