Small things that get forgotten

auroraborelisApril 11, 2012

I keep hearing that most people find that there are small things that they didn't think about until after they finished construction that they wish they would have added into their build, and I was curious if all of you would like to help me to compile a list for all of us to consider during planning!

So far I have

- Plugs in kitchen pantry for charging, or for items that may end up living there

- Full size broom cupboard in pantry or laundry room to hide all the cleaning items away from sight.

- Solar tubes in areas that don't get natural sunlight

- Prewire security system

- Run wire and prepare roof for future solar

- Central Vac with vac pans

Any others to add?

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I would run conduit under your driveway just in case you need to run wiring or plumbing in the future.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 8:57PM
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My contractor friend said one thing he learned to do was run a 2" pvc pipe from baement straight up to attic, for any future wiring to second floor.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 9:17PM
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I put plugs in several closets for charging a cordless vacuum. I have one that I like already and am going to ask for the Dyson one for Mother's Day ;). They are centralized closets for the upper and main level. This isn't something you need if you have a central vac (we decided against one) but maybe it will help others ;)

1 Like    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 7:16AM
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I'll second the vote for outlets inside closets. I'd also suggest several 4-plug outlets instead of all 2-pluggers. (By the time you have a bedside lamp on each side of a bed, plus a plug-in clock or two, plus a plug-in base for your cordless all adds up to lots of outlets.) It would also be fantastic to leave a vacuum plugged in, inside a closet, and just grab it and do quick touch-ups of the rugs, etc.

Also, plan a specific place for your dog food, treats, and bowls. I forgot to plan for furnace vents, so once cuts were made by out builders, there was less open floor space for bowls and such. With a 65-pound English Bulldog, the bowls are pretty big.

Going with the furnace vent thing, plan where yours should go, instead of letting the builder decide. We have a sliding glass door in our bedroom, and the vents went on either side of the opening -- just where curtains hang. So we can either have our warm furnace air go up into the folds of the curtains or we can put plastic vent covers on the vents to direct the air out and over the floor underneath the bed.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 1:26PM
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Awww, man, I wish I had thought to put an outlet in my broom closet for my cordless vac. I use it all the time...can't believe I didn't think of that. Oh well, I guess it can just hang out in the mudroom.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 1:52PM
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x3 on the outlets inside closets. My parents are doing a slow move in to their new house and we have found several closets where an outlet would have been helpful.

Make sure you have enough space to hang long clothes. Double rods are a great use of space, but you need somewhere for dresses, long skirts, robes, long coats, etc.

One thing they have been very pleased with is having a switch to the attic in the hallway. The attic is just for storage, but much easier to turn on/off light from down below. There are also a few electrical outlets up there in case you ever wanted a fan or radio, etc. while you were working up there.

More plugs in bathroom/bedroom. My parents have the adjustable beds and since each side moves independently, each one needs its own outlet. Add in two lamps, an alarm clock, etc.

If you decorate outside for the holidays, plugs under the eaves (probably wrong terminology) that are controlled by a switch inside are nice.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 2:14PM
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Ah - attic light! I just sent my builder an email to be sure there was one up there (only thing up there is the air handler) and asking where the switch is!!!

As far as plugs in closets go, I put one in my closet too as I have a clothes steamer that I use occasionally. I will have a hook where I can hang whatever I need to steam and will be able to do it in my closet.

Also, I put a plug in the master toilet closet. Primarily because I wanted to plug in a small night light so you could see where you were going and didn't have to turn on the light, but also because it leaves open the option of a washlet down the road. Although I wasn't personally a fan after trying one at the tile place (!), I can see that it might be helpful down the road if you run into medical issues.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 3:22PM
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Recess your fridge...I forgot, and it's the one thing that will bug me forever.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 3:24PM
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These are all great ideas everyone! Keep them coming! :)

Nikkidan - how do you recess your fridge exactly?

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 5:18PM
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I had outlets put inside the vanity cabinets so the blow dryer could stay plugged and stored there without wires hanging out. Also put a charging station in one of my kitchen cabinets in the buffet/desk area so cell phones, iPad, etc could charge behind closed doors. Plan for wiring of tv's especially if over the fireplace. If you have 2 doors into the same room, make sure you have a light switch for that room at each door. We are having to wire our basement garage, after the fact, because we forgot a light switch from one of the 2 doors into that garage.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 6:51PM
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If your husband works out in the garage, consider adding a separate 20a circuit with outlets at waist height wherever he might need to plug in tools.

I also put a dedicated 20a circuit for the tv and a/v equipment.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 7:12PM
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Place for the kitty box, storage for Christmas tree decorations, and always more closet/linen space, than you think you'll need. At least, that was my mom's list, when she requested some changes, for her new home :)

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 7:42PM
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We are building cubbies in our mudroom. I plan to put an outlet in each cubby for each kid to charge cell phones, ipods, DS, etc.

Great thread! Thanks!!!

1 Like    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 8:39PM
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We keep adding pocket doors. For so many places it just makes more sense.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 8:42PM
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In our second build, we put in a "seasonal closet". It has hangers for wreaths from floor to ceiling and makes changing decorations with the seasons soooooo simple and quick. It's also big enough for rubbermaid boxes and the Christmas tree to slide into. I will definately be putting in another "seasonal closet" in our next home.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 8:51PM
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Pre-wire speakers indoor/outdoor

Garden outlets/power, water line

Double conduits from attic to basement

Dryer vent lint box

Hepa filtration for allergy sufferers

Heated towel racks

Motion sensor pre-wire for selected exterior lights

Soundproofing where needed (we did laundry room/bedroom wall)

Identify area for low voltage can/rack (alarm brain, network server, modems, routers, etc). Helps to have this stuff accessible.

And don't let your plumber caulk the bottom of your toilet to the tile to hide potential leaks. Sigh.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 9:19PM
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These are all great ideas, so many I hadn't thought of!

Though, Dyno, I don't know what you mean regarding "Dry vent lint box"!


    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 12:11PM
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Also, be sure if you have a raised deck/terrace to put a hose bib on there. I learned that from here and will be so glad I did when I need to hose off the terrace or patio furniture.

I also put in a hot/cold hose bib outside our friends porch door (silly name but I can't call it the side porch because it is on the front!). Good for washing doggies after they go swimming (our neighborhood fronts a river)! Moen makes an attractive one - unbeknownst to my plumber who put in a dual handle 1' wide commercial one - not pretty next to my porch stairs. We switched it out :)

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 11:31PM
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At the last minute, I realized I didn't want my white plastic Sonicare toothbrush sitting on top of my beautiful black Richllite counter. Had the cabinetmaker build a mini-shelf below the sink on the side of the box and power added there. It is just "open with the left hand and grab brush with the right' -- I find it worth the extra 2 seconds of effort.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 2:47PM
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Hi Laura12. I should have said lint trap. It's secondary filter placed in-line with the discharge venting from your dryer and serves to keep the venting clean. The longer or more convoluted the dryer vent run, the more necessary - fire hazard concerns and all. You can certainly get by without one but every situation is different.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 3:29PM
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Thought of one more as I was messing around with it this weekend. If you go with a wide island, you can put a bank of cabinets on the other side (12"). They aren't the easiest to get to, but it makes a great use of space for items that aren't used often. Adjustable shelves also really help. I was helping my parents move in this weekend and they have three double cabinets under the island overhang. Each had 2 shelves. To make it fit what we were putting in there, we changed it to the first cabinet having 3 shelves, the second having 2 shelves, and the third having 1 shelf. We are going to keep board games and puzzles in the first cabinet. They will only come out at holidays. Middle cabinet holds some appliances that are used MAYBE once a year. Last cabinet will hold all the recipe books and boxes, etc. that aren't used very often.

Excuse the mess - this was in the middle of construction when there was still dust everywhere! You really don't notice that they are cabinets - they just look more like a decorative back piece. But we knew we wanted a finished look since it was open to the great room and it wasn't much more expensive to make them functional cabinets.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 9:29AM
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All these ideas have been great!

I never heard of putting an in-line lint trap in place, but of course, it is a great idea! As is the storage in the back of the cabinets!

This list has come up with a bunch of 'small' things that will make a huge difference! Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 4:48PM
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pre wire for generator to essential areas.

Hair vac pan in master bath and girls bath for all those long hairs. (And kitchen mudroom)

Block windows for heavy curtains if needed. Floor electrical outlets in family room for lamps.

carbon monoxide unit on wall somewhere upstairs.

consider seriously extra hose bibs for home.

Gas line to grill on deck.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 12:46PM
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Vac pan for the bathroom! I hadn't thought of needing one there, but that makes perfect sense!

What do you mean by "block windows"?


    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 8:44PM
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Vac pan for the bathroom! I hadn't thought of needing one there, but that makes perfect sense!

What do you mean by "block windows"?


    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 8:46PM
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We put plugs above the cabinets for lighting during Christmas time. I have room to decorate above cabinets. We put plugs on the porches. The front porch has them in the ceiling for Christmas lights.
The back has several in the walls.
Don't forget 3 way switches anywhere you would be coming in from different directions.
Plugs on stairway for Christmas lighting.
Lots of venting for attic space. Gable vents wherever possible and then we did a whole house attic fan.
Ceiling fans-- look at ratings of use -- You can find some that will only cost you 38 dollars a year if ran non stop. They can get expensive in the electric bill if you get the wrong ones. has several and it gives you charts to know what it would cost you per year to use.

Glad someone put lights in attic--- we didn't even think of it. Glad we aren't done w/ electric yet. We are close and I would be upset down the road not having lights there.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 8:53AM
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Laura12 - this is just a guess, but I think block windows would mean to add additional support blocks during framing around the top/sides of the windows so that you will have a strong stud to screw a curtain rod or any supports into.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 10:00AM
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Glad some of you may be catching the attic light in time!

Multiple faucets on the outside - I believe the new house has 4, so that basically each side of the house has one near.

All appliances that could be gas or electric were plumbed for both so that they would have options down the line due to cost of gas vs electric, needing to replace one and finding a good deal, etc. I know it was the stove, water heater, dryer, and maybe something with the heating.

We call it the sunroom, but it's more like a 4-seasons room - it can be closed off from the house with an exterior french door - instead of sheetrock it has the same hardi-board type stuff that was used in the garage - tile floor - wall of windows - and it has a vent from both HVAC units going to it. They went ahead and put in a gas line in case they ever wanted to add a gas heater in there.

Also put a gas line on the back porch so that a grill can be hooked up directly.

There are so many 3-way switches and rooms with multiple light sources in the house that I had to get out the labeler and start labeling switches. I told my mother it was only temporary and once they lived there for a while and all the switches became second nature they could peel the labels off, but I think she would be content with leaving them on there.

Also, if you go with any ceiling fans that have remotes, make them try them out. We put in two fans in the great room that would be controlled together by the same remote and then also put one in the master bedroom that would be controlled by a different remote. Unfortunately, at first, the living room remote would turn on the light in the master bedroom, etc. I don't think the fix was very difficult, but wasn't one we would have wanted to trouble shoot on our own at a later date.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 10:37AM
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We are putting an exhaust fan in the laundry room for our indoor cat's litterbox.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 5:04PM
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christin78 - I have never heard of a pest line! Do you mind sharing what it costs to have it installed, and what you pay for annual spraying?

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 8:44PM
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An appliance garage is absolutely perfect in the bathroom. Install under a top cabinet. Build a small cabinet inbetween some studs in the 'potty room'. Great to have necessities at arms reach. Also put outlets in the outside eaves for Christmas lights!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 10:03PM
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Pantry door on swivel (in case of full hands)
Pantry light on motion sensor
Master-switch from master bedroom that controls all exterior lights (in case you hear something from bed).
Pre-wire for future security cameras

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 10:05PM
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1. An entrance to the basement from outside for salt delivery, repair men etc so they don't track thru your house.
2. A light switch at the head of your bed so you can turn out the light once you are in bed.
3. A phone by the door leading into the garage for those pesky calls when you are getting in or out of the car.
4. An inside button to open and close your garage door for when guests arrive and its raining.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 11:25PM
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Great list - I'm making note of it for our build this Spring. I thought of something that I needed just a few days ago. We get quite a few power outages. What's not fun is being suddenly plunged into total darkness when it goes out in the winter.

We got some of those power outage flashlights at Costco that plug into an outlet to keep charged. Place them in strategic places and enough outlets to support them. I'm able to see to get things ready to go through the fun time :/

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 2:17AM
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Everything mentioned is great. One thing my dad did when building the house was take pictures of all the walls before Sheetrock went up so you knew where all the wiring was in case you needed to add or change anything. It was helpful when our builder was about to cut the outlet hole in the wrong spot.

Also make sure that all the plumbing in your bathrooms are done correctly. My toilet was placed too close to the tub pipes so I couldn't get the deeper tub because they didn't allow room.

The best thing we did was place outlets under the eaves connected to a switch in our dining room for Christmas lights. No need to set a timer. Just have to flip the switch.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 11:58AM
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One thing we discussed with our builder that then fell off the radar was using cast iron pipes for the plumbing drops from the second floor. (We tried to be thorough about putting everything in writing, but we missed this one.) I really wanted a quiet house, and the whooshing water sound in certain areas of the house when an upstairs toilet is flushed has been a disappointment.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 12:20PM
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This isn't a "thing" for the house, but I suggest making copies of all product manuals prior to installation of equipment, finishes and fixtures.

During my build, the subs almost never kept the installation/instruction manuals for things they installed (think plumbing fixtures, light fixtures, appliances, fireplace, steam unit, etc.). They did the install and threw then away.

If you can, make copies prior to installation and give the builder the copies so you can keep the originals.

(Who knows, maybe I'm the only person to have this happen to them?)

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 1:20PM
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Have Sparky run 220V to the garage. I ran it for welders, air compressor, tools, etc. However with the future of plug-in hybrids, having charging capacity already in your garage will definitely be something you might appreciate in the future.

As identifeid earlier, recess refrigerator and you can get a standard refrigerator that is flush with your counter much more inexpensively than one of the pricey built-ins.

Myron Ferguson has a book out, "Better Houses, Better Living" that is invaluable read. I have the previous version "Build It Right" and my subcontractors all read it on their downtime (lunch, breaks, took home after work) and identified numerous items within their trade that they had never thought about. My book was basically destroyed, but it was definitely well used. I checked out 100's of books from the library, I only bought a handful, I highly recommend this one.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 11:30AM
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My parents added a whole house sound system. They can play CDs, radio, or hook up an i-pod with it. There are then speakers in most of the rooms, the garage and the deck where the music can be listened to (there are also separate knobs to control the volume in each space).

They also were emphatic about making sure the builders didn't "box" off spaces, where storage or shelving could go (but may be a little more work for the builders to do).

Something that was in the sketches, but the builder ended up not putting in (and my parents have always still wished for) was a drain in the garage to get rid of the excess water quicker from vehicles after it snows or what-not.

They also added vanities to each of our rooms, with a sink and cupboards underneath. They said that it only cost a couple hundred dollars a piece, and definitely helped ease morning routines in a house full of girls.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 2:25PM
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As far as the whole house audio goes, we wanted speakers in a few rooms but we were building a new old house so didn't want controls in the walls. There are lots of things out there that are controlled by iPod/ipad/itouch. My husband is glued to his phone for work and I put in a charging drawer in the kitchen for all the other items. We already have an iTouch, 2 iPhones and 2 iPads so this seems the way to go for us.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 10:04PM
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I've been lurking here for the past few days and wanted to add a couple of things!

For those of you considering pre-wiring for audio, don't forget to wire into a wall in your back yard. It would come in handy if you add a pool in the future or just want to throw a pair of speakers up in the yard in the future.

Another idea similar to the post about in-wall insect control is adding a mosquito system. It's a system of tubes and pipes installed in your walls that automatically mist mosquito spray along the outside perimeter of your house and wherever else you choose to put a spray pump. This is one of those things I really wish I knew about earlier! Apparently the spray can help combat other flying insects such as wasps (which I absolutely hate...) and flies. Here's a couple of cool links about the system: and

My last suggestion is adding a mailbox sensor. They basically sense whenever your mailbox is opened so that you're not running out of the house checking for mail when it's not there. When your mail arrives and the door opens, a sensor inside the box sends an audio signal inside the house to indicate mail arrival. As cool as this is (here's a cool link to one of those..., I would prefer something hardwired instead. Perhaps something like an additional doorbell inside the box that you can ask your mailman to push whenever he drops off the mail. I find this especially important with increases identity theft and mailbox vandalism (when I was out of town for two days, some kid decided to throw a large fire cracker role into my mailbox when it had mail in it and burn not only all the mail, but the entire inside of the box. Because it's a brick mailbox, it's impossible to just replace, and I can't find the bricks used on the mailbox anywhere). While we're at the mailbox, if you do decide to go for a brick one, make sure that you look into getting a mailbox liner. They allow you to easily replace your mailbox if it's damaged in the future without having to rip out or redo bricks. I can't find the link at the moment, but I've definitely seen it. Don't forget to add a gas or electrical line to the top of your mailbox to make sure people don't hit it in the middle of the night either! I have a circular driveway, and if I could redo ours, I would put two brick posts, one at each side of the circular driveway with a lamp post on each one, one of which would contain the mailbox, and the other which would contain a newspaper holder. I'd also throw some LED lights that shine on the house number onto the box (like you see here:

    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 10:16AM
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A master switch at each exit (Front, back or garage), that turns off all of the power to the switches/lights in the house, so that you can turn off all lights without going to each room and/or light switch.

1 Like    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 3:08PM
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Receptacles for fire extinguishers. Maybe plan some cutouts so they are flush to the wall.

We live in bear country so I'd like to plan a little covered niche for bear spray at/near each entry. You'd be surprised how many bears break in!

Secure gun storage.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 11:31PM
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Definitely recess your fridge, which means having a closet-like dip into your wall, but with no door, of course. Ours aligns perfectly to the depth of our pantry, which is right next to it, and which doubles as a broom closet, so that the next room didn't have a strange bump in it.

Minimal walls. And lots of windows. It makes even our tiny two bedroom feel like a large house. We don't have walls dividing the living room, dinning room, or kitchen, which is the majority of the downstairs. Also a space-saver- stacked stairs- Which means five to seven steps, landing, fives to seven the other direction. Our landing has a large window and a bench, which has chests shoved under it.

If you have minimal walls, you often need something else for support- we have three big raw-wood posts, which more or less divide the bottom floor in half. In summer, we string up a rope to hang swimsuits, towels, and tents from, and winter we hang up christmas lights, just to add a bit of soft light, because it gets pretty foggy and grey in our corner of the world.

WarmFloors. The best heating system EVER. Hot water thru tubes under your floors, which heats them, and the heat transfers to furniture and the air. It's quiet, invisible, and programmable.

A laundry room. Not just a hall, or closet, a room. We screwed up there, and now our upstairs hall is full of laundry, always.

Built in bookshelves.

And last, but not at all least, an ante-room, with coatracks and shoe storage, and a way to keep the heat in.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 7:02PM
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Don't forget to get COPPER TUBING for your ice maker. Make sure that the tubing part from the freezer and until it's out of the kitchen wall is copper. If you get the cheap plastic tubing behind the freezer for the ice maker, the plastic will get hard from the heat behind the freezer and you will have to call a plumber within a 3-5 years. It cracks from the heat. You could have water damage in the kitchen wall, or floor. I learned the hard way, and so did my neighbors.
Things are not built as well as they used to be ;)

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 12:49PM
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I second:

Photos of electrical, plumbing, and windows before drywall goes up for future reference

Using scrap wood from the construction site to fill in gaps or block in a solid structure above windows to secure window dressings

Conversing with your heating and air guy: All of our heating vents are under windows which blows heat or cool into the curtains and now we use these unattractive magnetic plastic diverters which I constantly am kicking and breaking.


Consider a storm shelter to weather the threats your area faces. We have a tornado room in the basement under the front porch. Very little expense for great peace of mind.

Make choices that are handicapped accessible. You never know when life will change for a family member for a recovery or a lifetime. Having an entry, bedroom/bathroom accessible or easily converted may make your home more suitable for you and also open a market to you in case of resale.

Closet lights on the hinges. Goes on when the door opens and off when it shuts.

Do your homework. We did not dig into options I would enjoy but did not know about.

Listen to your own instincts. One of the benefits of building your own home is getting what you want.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 10:38PM
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A garage drain is a good idea, but not code legal in many areas. Check before you build.

In addition to recording the locations of wires and pipes in the walls, try to measure the location of anything under the slab, and various utilities out in the yard. You never know when you need to dig them up, or what areas to avoid when you start digging that swimming pool or garden pond.

I'm going with Universal Design, trying to make the whole house as handicap-accessible as possible. Even a young person can wind up incapacitated by injury or disease, and it's nice not to have to retro-fit so you can stay in your house.

We're building with ICF, which means any wall penetrations must be in place before the concrete is poured, or you have to break out a jackhammer. I'm going to make a number of extra penetrations, which will then be filled with foam until a future use is needed. If there's one thing I'm learning about house design and construction, it's plan, plan, and plan!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 5:50AM
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I wish we had an electrical outlet INSIDE the bathroom mirrored medicine cabinets for recharging electric shavers, facial handheld cleanser, electric tootbrushes/waterpiks, etc. Yes, there's an outlet on the wall by the counter, but I hate seeing all those chargers and cords! Seems most of the tips have been to place more and hidden outlets everywhere . . .

We also have a concrete floor with geothermal heating/cooling coils built into the floor which we LOVE; however, we wish we had thought to run an electrical line with a few floor outlets, especially since we have very open floor plan and couch sets are not against a wall, so to add a lamp or plug in a low-battery laptop (or other electrical devices) while comfortably lounging on the sofa means running an extension cord--ugly and a trip-hazard.

I wish we had plumbed for a built-in drinking fountain, especially for the kids and future grandkids--an extra one outside or in the garage or back porch or something from backyard would also be nice when they are playing outside in the summer. The number of cups used for just a quick drink get ridiculous and especially for large family gatherings . . . . . we have to settle for lots of labeled cups but I would rather have avoided this . . .

As far as planning for future wheel-chair needs or such . . . . if you have more than one floor, it's a good idea to plan an elevator shaft in case you want to install one later. For now, it means we have 2 small storage closets, but would be fairly inexpensive to install an elevator later. You can always plan to install one of those electric stair lifts, but you should at least think about your preference on the 2 options and plan for the possibility to make it easier.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 2:08PM
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Kitchen features on my wish list...
drawer microwave
knife drawer
pull-out garbage/recycling/laundry (for dirty dish towels/napkins/bibs!)
paper towel holder in drawer slot
drawers for all lower cabinets (more efficient use of space)
two soap pumps at sink (one for handsoap, one for dish soap)
motion sensor on pantry light
place to store fresh fruit
easy-access place to store frequently used appliances
place to hang aprons
place to hang hand towels
place to store broom / kitchen vacuum
recess the fridge

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 10:15PM
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Funny about the drinking fountain! I got one locally in porcelain that we are putting in our kitchen for our large family. It will really cut down on the cups we have to wash. One of my biggies is that I'm going to tile my bath walls for ease of cleaning. I'm also planning extra room around my toilets. I can't think of any more that haven't been mentioned already.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 11:19PM
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Wow! This post has yield so many helpful tips! While not all of them apply to us, I'm sure many are helpful to others coming across this post.

I love the water fountain idea I never even thought of that as being an option. I wonder if there are water fountains that have a water filter in them...

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 12:12PM
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I apologize if these have been mentioned, I did quickly read the posts above but may have missed them.

Hide A Hose for your central vac - it makes the world of difference (if you have mostly hard flooring)!
Appliance lift in a cabinet if you have a heavy kitchen mixer. I have one for my KitchenAid.
Never M Ts for your built in soap dispensers.
The last two items can be easily retrofitted but Hide A Hose needs to be installed before the walls are closed up.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 1:01PM
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One of the best ideas i saw incorporated into a build was having the spindles and hand rail made as a fixed unit that get gets slid into a moulding track where the base meets the stairs. once it is slid into place a couple of screws fasten it down and can be hidden with wooden caps so that when you need to remove the railing to move furniture in and out ie ( king size mattresses ) you just pop the caps , unscrew and remove the unit. The channel, slide track is needed to stabilize the unit for safety and wobbleyness ( ya thats a word, lol )

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 9:06AM
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redburt - now that is a cool new one! Any idea what brand that was?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 2:55PM
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Found this on youtube on removable handrail/balcony system:

Here is a link that might be useful: YouTube: Removable handrail/balcony system

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 6:41PM
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All the suggestions posted on this thread have been so valuable, though I'm sure many of you (like myself) find your head spinning with all the ideas, so I just sat down and categorized them all!

Closet & Organization
- Plugs in several closets
- Make sure your closet has enough space for both double hung rods, and singles to accomadate long clothes
- Full size broom cupboard in pantry or laundry room to hide all the cleaning items away from sight.
- More closet/linen space than you think you'll need
- Cubbies in mudroom with an outlet in each one
- Motion sensor on pantry and closet lights

- Plug in master toilet closet for night light
- Outlets inside vanity cabinets (upper and lower) in bathroom for dryer etc.
- Heated towels racks
- Don't caulk the bottom of your toilet to the tile to hide potential leaks
- Make use of the pony wall in a bathroom by turning it into storage.
- Vac pans for hair
- Appliance garage on counter

- Run conduit under the driveway for future wiring or plumbing needs
- Prewire speakers both indoor and outdoor
- Ensure you have hose outlets and power on all 4 sides of your house, and on top of any raised areas
- Hot/cold outdoor water is good for washing pets
- Motion sensor pre-wire for selected exterior lights
- Keypad entry on garage door (Keypad entry on front door is great as well)
- Gas line to grill

- Plugs in kitchen pantry for charging, or for items that may end up living there
- Recess the fridge
- With wide islands put cabinets on the both sides. While they are not easy to get to, they are good for storing seldomly used items.
- Built in paper towel holder
- Custom storage organization in kitchen drawers
- Warming drawer in dining room
- Pantry entrance near both kitchen and garage
- Custom shelves and a place to plug in appliances in pantry
- Plugs above cabinets for Christmas lighting
- Set up for both gas and electric appliances
- Pantry door on swivel
- Pantry light on motion sensor
- Copper tubing for your ice maker from the freezer and until it's out of the kitchen wall
- Drawer microwave
- Knife drawer
- Pull-out garbage/recycling/laundry (for dirty dish towels/napkins/bibs!)
- Paper towel holder in drawer slot
- Drawers for all lower cabinets (more efficient use of space)
- Two soap pumps at sink (one for handsoap, one for dish soap)
- Easy-access place to store frequently used appliances
- place to hang hand towels & aprons

Electrical & Plumbing
- Prewire security system & cameras
- Run wire and prepare roof for future solar
- Run a 2" PVC pipe up from the basement to the attic for future wiring needs, some suggested double conduits.
- Seperate 20z circut with outlets at waist height in garage to plug in tools
- Seperate 20z ciructe for TV and a/v equipment
- Identify areas for low voltage can/rack
- Pre-wring for music and speakers, inside and outside
- iPad controllers in the walls to control whole house music systems
- Pre-wire for generator to essential areas
- Carbon monozide unit on the wall upstairs
- Make sure plumbing in bathrooms are done correctly. One commenter's toilet was placed too close to the tub pipes so I couldn't get the deeper tub because they didn't allow room.
- Cast iron pipes for the plumbing drops from the second floor cuts down on noise
- Take pictures of all the walls before Sheetrock went up so you knew where all the wiring was in case you needed to add or change anything.
- Include a 220V to garage (tools, future electric car etc)
- Measure the location of anything under the slab, and various utilities out in the yard.
- Run an electrical line with a few floor outlets, especially since we have very open floor plan and couch sets are not against a wall
- Plumbed for a built-in drinking fountain,

- Light switch to the attic in the hallway (and remember lights in attic in general)
- Solar tubes in areas that don�t get natural sunlight
- In cabinet lights and outside lights on timers
- Make sure you check the cost ratings of ceiling fans
- Check all remotes for ceiling fans prior to construction completion
- 3 way switches where helpful
- Master switch from master that controls all exterior lights
- A master switch at each exit (Front, back or garage), that turns off all of the power to the switches/lights in the house, so that you can turn off all lights without going to each room and/or light switch.

- 4 plug outlets near the bed in the master
- A light switch at the head of your bed so you can turn out the light once you are in bed.

- Plugs under eaves for holiday lights, with a switch inside to turn on and off.
- Enough storage for Christmas decorations
- Seasonal closet with hangers for wreaths, and space for rubbermaid storage boxes.
- Plugs for Christmas lights: over cabinets, in stairway, in porch ceiling, under eaves

Heating, Cooling, and Vacuums
- Central Vac with vac pans, if you have hardwood floors - get a Hideahose
- Plan where furnace vents will go instead of letting the builder decide
- Hepa filtration for allegergy sufferers
- WarmFloors heating

- Read Myron Ferguson has a book out, "Better Houses, Better Living"
- Receptacles for fire extinguishers. Maybe plan some cutouts so they are flush to the wall.
- Where possible pocket doors
- Secondary dryer lint trap
- Soundproofing where needed
- Stairs from garage to basement
- A phone by the door leading into the garage for those pesky calls when you are getting in or out of the car
- An inside button to open and close your garage door for when guests arrive and its raining.
- Additional support during framing on the top side of windows for curtains
- Power outage flashlights and keep in outlets around around house. Recess these into the space with each fire extinguisher.
- Mailbox sensor to alert you whenever your mailbox is opened so that you're not running out of the house checking for mail when it's not there.
- Ensure builders don't "box" off spaces, where storage or shelving could go
- Make copies of manuals prior to installation and give the builder the copies so you can keep the originals.
- Minimal walls, and lots of windows.
- A laundry room. Not just a hall, or closet, a room.
- Spindles and hand rail made that can be removed for moving furniture
- Handicapped accessible.
- Plan an elevator shaft in case you want to install one later, in the meantime it will serve as storage closets.

- Plan a specific place for your dog food,
- Place for the kitty box,
- Place for dogs to be bathed
- place for dog crates
- Exhaust fan in laundry room for litterbox

Regional considerations:
- an ante-room, with coatracks and shoe storage, and a way to keep the heat in.
- An entrance to the basement from outside for salt delivery, repair men etc so they don't track thru your house.
- storm shelter to weather the threats your area faces.
- a mosquito system and
- little covered niche for bear spray at/near each entry.
- Drain in the garage to get rid of the excess water quicker from vehicles after it snows
- Pest line (brand name Taexx) a small tube is run around the perimeter of the home through the framing, and then pest control can spray within it.

2 Likes    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 1:19PM
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melaska are my new best friend ;)

This is something I would've done since I'm so anal about organization (although you'd never know it if you stepped inside my office!) A gal's gotta have one holdout!

Thank you SO much for doing this. Make sure you let us know if you add to it :)


1 Like    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 4:03PM
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Melaska - I have the same sort of organization skills! Some things are meticulous, others are a mess :)

This list included everything that was suggested here, they don't all work for me, but they are all great ideas, and I'm sure they are helpful to someone. I'm creating my own list now with items for our build. I have a bought a few books with great suggestions as well (one is referenced above), I'll try to update this with my room by room ideas in a few weeks.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 4:17PM
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I so relate :)

Now I'll have to check out the book mentioned add to my pile of organizing stuff ;) Which reminds me...I saw a really good article on organizing mistakes on Yahoo...I'll link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: 10 Biggest organizing mistakes

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 7:55PM
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Love the article! Thanks!

I thought of one more relating to central vacs.

It seems everyone agrees that for hardwood floors hideahose is the way to go, but for those who have small hardwood areas another solution may be a Vroom, SpotVroom, or Wallyflex.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 4:22PM
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Dimmer switches--important for creating ambiance.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 3:28PM
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We installed dimmer switches in all of our bathrooms for middle-of-the-night trips to the bathroom.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 8:34AM
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This reminds me of a pregnancy forum - we all are MORE than willing to share advise and our experiences! Lol. The most enjoyable for me when planning our custom built home was to make home management easier in every aspect for my family, and for absolutely everything to have a place (yet look pretty). There are so many great ideas in this feed, but unfortunately unless money is no object you will blow your budget if you try to incorporate a lot of them. For example, I really wanted several floor outlets for lamps and such in different rooms until I found out each cost me $125! I then was more than happy with just two.:-)

Take all the great suggestions and prioritize what is most important for how you and your family live down to what would just be nice to have, but not really necessary. What is top on someone's list may be on the bottom for someone else.

Here's my "so glad we did this" list from my house:

Top of the list is Low E windows and reflective insulation. I live in the south where it was 105 F yesterday and didn't turn my air on till mid afternoon. Btw, make SURE all outside facing walls are caulked on bottom of sheetrock (where baseboards go). Our other house didn't have and the baseboards were always cold and drafty cold in the winter.

Built in pull outs: laundry hampers for all bathrooms, double garbage bin in kitchen and pull out laundry baskets and bins in a custom cabinet for my laundry room.

More than adequate wifi (hard wired!) and zoned in 2 different spots for our ever increasing gadgets requiring wifi.

Built in central organization desk area that I use for mail/bills, calendar for family, bulletin board, supplies and individual cubbies to hold each of our children's overwhelming school work/papers. No more clutter on my beautiful countertops it table!!

My "had to have" was a built in ironing board in the master closet. Mine was purchased at HD and is recessed into the wall. I keep my iron and supplies in it.

Everything else has already been mentioned more than once.

Lastly, don't let any area go to waste if you want to maximize space. You can have odd shaped closets or built in shelves, etc. just by going in after house has been framed and seeing what will be covered up according to the house plan. My MIL has the most amazing pantry as she stopped the framer from boarding an area up that could connect to her pantry doubling it in size.

Good luck - building a house is so much fun!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 5:12PM
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Here are links to some of the earlier threads similar threads . . . Dream Thread! (What do you wish you had now?) - unique/favorite features in your build.... - Things you couldn't live without or wish you had added - What things did you find needed adjusting or changed? - is there anything you wish you had done - What about your new build makes your life easier; what doesn't ? - Brands/Products That I'd Use Again - Share your best sites for deals on supplies! - To help others - Things I would do different and things i love! - Things I wish I'd specified on my plans - It's been two years...what I've learned, would change, etc... - Biggest Mistakes? - Help!!! Have I forgotten anything? - designing electrical in house - doing whole house audio

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 9:22PM
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I put a plug in my master bathroom toilet closet! I thought if I ever wanted one of those Toto things I could get it but in the meantime I am going to put a small night light in there so we don't have to turn on the lights to get to the toilet :)

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 9:49PM
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those Toto washlets are the best! Definitely get the one with the heated seat. if you're going to do it, then go whole hog. We have friends who live in a 10,000 SF house who came over, and were so excited about that thing!

I only have 1 to add to this excellent, extensive list. If you're doing a whole house water softener, try to make sure your pipes are no more than 1 1/2 inches. My plumber put in a 2" pipe, and unfortunately, that requires a commercial softener, at 2 1/2x the price of the one I could have used. Also, put in a bypass for the softener, so that you can still get water to the house, if the softener needs to be repaired or replaced. Lastly, sodium softened water can kill house plants, so put in a separate line to 1. all exterior hose bibs, and 2. kitchen sink.
My issue currently is that my hot water dispenser at the sink can't take reverse osmosis water, as it will eat into the metal tank eventually, so I either can't have house plants, or will have to find another source of water for them. Regular water filters don't take out the sodium, since it's just a replacement electrolyte for the calcium that causes hard water. I must say, though, the week that we ran out of salt in the softener, all the shower doors had horrible water spots, and now that the softener's reloaded, the water spots have disappeared (after a few squeegees!).

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 9:31PM
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I wish I had thought about the placement of our heating/AC vents. There is one right over my side of the bed in our MB, and I hate it. I can't stand having cold air blow on me when we have the AC on, and DH likes it cool when we sleep, so I feel that annoying air blowing when I'm trying to fall asleep.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 12:04PM
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A dimmer light switch to the bedroom right by the bed... so if my husband forgets to turn off the light, I dont have to get back up... and in the morning, I can turn it on dimly so I dont trip over anything. lol

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 2:30PM
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I just have to say Laura12, you are so very kind to compile this all! Thank you for your time & effort! Also thank you to all the contributors. You all are amazing!

1 Like    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 11:08PM
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Your welcome! It was helpful for me to think through it all as well.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 11:15PM
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Thank you for the great thread and compilation!
One idea my new GC gave me is plan where your shut-off valves are for your appliances to make it easier for maintenance/servicing later. He is putting the water shut-off valve for my fridge under the sink cabinet instead of behind the fridge.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 7:15PM
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I think if I lived in snow/ice areas that I'd want a heated drive/walk way. We have no use for it where I live now, but was nice in Sweden.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 10:02AM
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I love the shut off valve suggestion!

Somewhere else on GW I had seen someone who had their GC put to large shut off valves for the whole house on the garage wall which seemed like a great idea which I had completely forgotten about!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 11:54AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Install light switch that comes on when you open the door and shuts off when you shut the door on closets and pantry door

install loop under foundation and run pipe up to the attic should you find you need radon remediation. Very inexpensive to do before the foundation is poured...much more expensive afterward. We found we needed ours and were glad we had it.

I agree on appliance garage in the bathroom. Also be sure to look at your bath design and make sure you have a place for towel bars...and toilet paper holder...we almost didn't have space!

Run wiring for audio systems to the outside too to add external speakers should you want them.

Have electrician wire home in 2 breaker boxes for essentials and non essentials in case you wish to add an emergency generator in the future.

We designed a space in our home for a future residential elevator should we need one in our dotage.

Put two connections for underfloor electric heat if you use case one breaks.

I ran a "blue book" during the house build....a blue notebook with drawings, materials, sourcing, etc. for each room and became a critical communication tool between us, architect, builder and trades. Also great for communicating with suppliers when selecting materials.

I agree with picture taking of plumbing, electrical, etc. before the house is closed up.

Spend more time than you think for what switches are where and what operates what. My electrician's logic was different from mine and I still have to flip switches to see what runs what.

Insulate under the basement floor to keep basement warmer and more comfortable.

Consider flooring height where materials change to avoid the need for lots of transitions.

The other mistakes we made were from lack of follow through...things we intended on doing but somehow didn't get communicated or insisted upon and now we don't have them...mostly minor, but annoying nonetheless.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 9:25PM
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Laura 12, thanks to your list we installed a pvc run under the driveway HOURS before it got poured. It took a 30 minute trip to the store, 30 minutes to assemble, and a 40' run cost under $20. It will likely save us a lot of digging and headaches in the future. I WISH I had read this list 6 months ago. Our build is nearly complete (just over a week away), and some of the tips are gems. Thank you!


    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 2:52PM
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Happy to help! Though, it wasn't my idea :) It is also something I would never have thought of!

We are still in the planning stages (working on floor plans now) so this has been very helpful for us, though, I would give up some of these little items in order to be a week away from completing our build instead of a 1.5 year! :) ha

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 4:35PM
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What a super thread! I only have one thing to add, and it's actually in the yard - similar to the conduit add under the walks & driveways (which thankfully we did).

We buried almost 100 feet of PVC from one of the outdoor spigots out to an area in the yard where I knew we'd be doing stuff like washing out the mower, having garden nearby, birdbath, etc. We threaded a quality 100' hose through it, and there it stays. Keeps you from constantly having to be coil & deploy a super long hose. Also keeps one off your lawn. At the house spigot, we put a splitter with valves. If we don't need the hose, just unscrew it & screw in something else.

Beagles, these are the first pics I've had time to view of your home. AMAZING house!! Love what I've seen - you did an incredible job. And the pony-wall storage rocks! We have one in a guest bath, and that would have been a fun addition.

Was happy to see that a bunch of these ideas, we incorporated. Except the elec outlets in the closets - we didn't even do one in the master, and wish we had. It's the only thing carpeted on the main floor, and I have to plug into the adjoining bath when I vacuum. Small item, but I would have done it.

Good luck Laura.
- Les.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 5:45PM
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On another thread I mentioned how I put this information together into a spreadsheet for tracking and I thought it may be helpful to share here as well.

I can't share the spreadsheet, but it was fairly easy to put together. After I combined everyone's ideas into categories I put the relevent information for us into into a spreadsheet in googledocs with one sheet for each room/item (for instance, master bedroom, great room, kitchen, and then a category for electical/plumbing and outdoors). We are currently still working with a designer and haven't finalized our floor plan yet, so the spreadsheet also has design information and photos (uploading the photos was a bit of a pain but worth it).

Doing this on googledocs instead of excel allows us to access it from anywhere, and anyone who we share it with can always access the most recent version (you can give them viewing rights or editing rights). It is also possible to access it from most smartphones.

I've also bought a few books that I'm currently working on adding information from
- How to make your house do the housework by Don Aslett
- Designing Your Dream Home by Susan Lang

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 5:53PM
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We have central vac and I had them put an outlet in the garage so I can vacuum the cars out, it reaches into the laundry room too so I can vacuum the dryer vent sometimes if the screen didn't catch it all. Handy for pets too. We discussed vacuuming everything in site last week, lol including some pets....

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 4:53PM
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Lot of great info in Don Aslett's book! I'm trying to incorporate as many as I can in our build.

I'll have to check out the other one you mentioned. Thanks!

I thought you could share Google docs? I've never tried using it so maybe I'll give it a try.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 11:55AM
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You can share googledocs, I have ours shared with my husband and our drafter/designer, and later we will share it with the GC.

I just didn't want to share it here as it has personal information in it.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 12:44PM
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Great thread!
For those getting older, or who have elderly relatives who will visit, don't forget to add a grab bar in each shower.
I did not notice if it was already said, but definitely put plenty of undercabinet lighting in your kitchen, because those areas do get dark--makes a huge difference when prepping your food.
Also, make sure your builder puts your smoke alarm far enough away from your oven so that when you have it going full blast at holiday time, you don't have to find a ladder to turn off the bleeping smoke alarm which has decided to go off at the most inopportune time.
One final thought for now,if you want a safe for valuables, have the builder save you some space between wall studs or floor joists to accommodate such a safe. Its hidden, and built in, so no one is going to be able to take it.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 7:41PM
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All great ideas - here are a few more -

Put a 6" wall behind your washer and dryer - they can sit flat against the wall because the vent can go down through the wall.

Wire for a jetted tub and outdoor hot tub ... just in case. We didn't and ended up bringing 220 across the back yard from our shop.

Strongly agree with putting heat & a.c. vents where YOU want them. Ditto with the light switches.

Stub in plumbing for a bar - just in case.

Use stair lights.

Put heat lights with vent fans in bathrooms.

Lower level additional heat sources.

Angle kitchen corner countertops with full lazy susan in corner - use a full size door to eliminate finger pinching corner doors or swivel doors.

TV jacks anywhere you THINK you might want one.

Sure I will think of more ... this is it for now.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 8:07PM
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Run actual duct work under your kitchen sink - from the hole to the front toe kick where your register plate is. You would be amazed at how much heat & cool air you lose behind your cabinets. Most contractors don't do this.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 4:22PM
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farmerswife6558 -I think that is one of the first comments that I don't entirely understand...

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 4:59PM
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> Also, make sure your builder puts your smoke alarm far enough away from your oven so that when you have it going full blast at holiday time, you don't have to find a ladder to turn off the bleeping smoke alarm which has decided to go off at the most inopportune time.

They now make a smoke detector that you can silence with a remote control. Since some of my smoke alarms are 12' up, it's a blessing.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 9:09PM
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Laura - They usually cut the hole for the heat/air near the wall and then put the register plate in the toe kick. Without the ductwork running under the cabinet forcing the air to go from the hole to the front toe kick all of the heat/air just circulates under and behind the cabinets with very little actually coming out the front. The duct work makes a huge difference. Hope this explains it better?

    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 7:54AM
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farmerswife6558, I have never seen that before! That is an awful design, and I had no idea that any builder would consider that acceptable.

The bizarre things we learn in this process!

    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 12:06PM
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RNmomof2 zone 5

We reinforced with wood in the walls where we thought towel bars would go. No pulling them out through the drywall for us!

    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 9:45PM
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I'm not building a house now but if I was I love a lot of these ideas. Here are a few things I would like:

I know this one sounds crazy, but for those that have a husband that works rotating shifts and is sometimes a day sleeper, you would relate.

I want to have a small room (fox hole) in the master closet. It needs to be just big enough for a XLtwin size mattress. No Windows, sound proof, air vent and an outlet (since they are added everywhere else) for an alarm clock, for my husband to sleep in when he has to sleep days. I hate having to black out my bedroom windows to make it dark in there for the day and not being able to go in my room when he is sleeping. I always feel like I have to tip toe through the dark so I don't wake him. He would probably sleep so much better if he had this.

Also for those in the southern states(hurricane areas)know how this would be handy. I don't know the exact terms but I know they have a way of doing this when installing the breaker box to your house. Have a way that you can plug in a generator to your breaker box and it can run your entire house when the electricity is out for long periods of time. This would have been nice after Hurricane Ike came through.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 3:59PM
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We have built several custom homes so most of these suggestions are things we have already incorporated. I recommend buying a quality fire proof safe and having it bolted into the frame of your home - goodbye safe deposit boxes. Also, we had a cat "room" built under our stairs to a loft. The cat's entered the room via a cabinet in the laundry and a door for cleaning the room was accessible from the garage. No messy kitty litter or smells. Also, built in ironing cabinets with lights and outlets is huge (particularly in one of the master closets). I also had a lighted, magnifying makeup mirror installed on a swing arm in our master - no cords or taking up counter space. No slam cabinets and drawers are great - spend your money on these! Always have pull out cabinet shelves and deep drawers. The clean air systems for us are a must. One suggestion I don't agree with is central van - horrible! I have had several & would never have another. I recommend buying a Rainbow Sweeper system instead - it will be the last vacuum you will ever need to buy, or better yet just let your housekeeper worry about that vacuum.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 5:16PM
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LargeEventPlanner - thanks for the additional tips!

It is interesting how what some people can't wait to have are what others can't get rid of fast enough, and the central vac is always one of those items. Personally, I can't wait to get a hide a hose system in my new house!

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 7:23PM
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Great suggestions! I only have one thing to add -

If you have a basement and the garage is on the ground level, have a ramp built from the garage down to the basement. The kids can drive riding toys down to the basement for storage. You can use a dolly to bring up large outdoor Christmas decorations.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 12:15AM
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great ideas! to add: if you put paper towels in a drawer space with the trash in a pull-out below them, you can use the space behind the towels to store trash bags--so convenient!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 3:47PM
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2 of my pet peeves that will be addressed when I build my home are 1) Toilets set too close to walls and base cabinets so a vacuum cleaner head and mop won't fit in the space to clean 2) Bathroom too close to the kitchen/dining area. Nothing I hate more than to be sitting at the snack bar, or dining table to eat and being able to hear someone using the bathroom.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 11:31PM
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I can't remember if its been mentioned or not, but there are smooth-sided toilets now available for reasonable prices. The sides are completely smooth- no bolts, no trap area, just smooth. Much easier to clean; much harder to install.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 5:54AM
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wow. I think.if you put in all these idea my bank account would seriously seriously like the national debt. Lots of cool ideas you guys have.

My builder said no more for me. It's not really a custom home. It's just being changed some to help me with severe nerve/muscle damage due to a bad surgery at a major (thebest?) hospital and best doctors. The builder is amazing for doing this for me even if it's not cheap for me .

So I second that plan for anything happening. Even with the best doctors and a 'routine' operation they can end your life as you know it. No possibilities of lawsuits as those credible enough to testify from the top hospitals were all friends.

Anyway plan and prepare and have savings that can't be affected by stocks dropping or inflation or pensions/retirements ending. Make sure you get long time disability insurance. it probably won't be close to an executives salary but it can buy groceries. I'll let that be my thing to add on the lists out there. Please plan for the unplanned.

1 Like    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 2:15PM
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A few other things now that we have lived here for a couple of weeks:

We love the jamb switches on our master closets - open the door and light is on, close it and it is off. Keeps you closing the doors ;)

We love the timers we got for bathroom fans. We bought enough for all fans (intermatic 5-30 minute ones from Amazon) but the electricians didn't install them all places. I went down to the basement (I never go down there) and someone had left the fan running in the bathroom. We have 8 baths (don't get me started on that!) and these fan timers are great. We did one on our master shower fan too. The ones the electricians put in we didn't like (had to actually bend down to read them to turn them on). These you just hit the button at the bottom a couple of times.

We put a hose bib on our upper brick terrace (we have a walkout basement). Love it and have used it tons to wash patio furniture, clean off terrace after potting plants, etc. Wouldn't do without it!

We also put a motion light in our pantry. It might need to be adjusted because it goes off before you put things away if you are doing several things in there (you can waive your arms and it goes back on) but I knew with 3 boys and my DH that the light wouldn't be turned off and the door wouldn't be shut. . . this has worked out great.

One pet peeve - when I was putting the light in the pantry, I didn't account for the shelves so it is centered on the room not the shelves, which go to the ceiling. No biggie but I wish I had thought ahead!

We also did motion lights on our basement stairs and stair tread lights. These have been great too because the stair case is open only for a couple of stairs and then turns so you are enclosed. I felt like the stairs would be safer with the lights and they do feel like they are. . .

And I agree about the central vac - I am not a fan. The hide a hose may be better but the central vac in my last house was never used. I put plugs for cordless vacs in a couple of closets and keep them charged there for quick pick ups.

1 Like    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 8:23PM
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ENCLOSE THE SOFFIT & VINYL WRAP THE FASCIA! (The part under the roof and at the edge of the roof line where the gutters attach.) Many new builders charge extra for this. DO IT! Otherwise, you will spend years hating the unfinished look, removing bird & wasp nests, and hours painting trim that could easily have been maintenance free with vinyl. Also, it costs twice as much to do after the house is built.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 5:55PM
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Great thread! Our house is being framed now and this is great timing for us to incorporate all this good advice.

A couple of things that I can think of

1. TV and Internet cabling for the garage (especially if you spend any time in the garage)

2. Internet connection (Ethernet port) by TV (a lot of the new TVs allow for Internet connections so you stream Netflix, Hulu).

3. A central and unobtrusive location in the house to set up your wireless router. Usually the wireless units are set up on one end of the house and the signal is too weak to be picked up on the other end of the house. My contractor suggests hiding it in the entry/foyer closet (so need to put in an outlet and an ethernet connection there).

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 11:29PM
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We are in the middle of designing our dream home. The home we live in we bought when it was being framed so we were able to make quite a few changes to the floor plan- and be creative as well! Besides many of the ideas that have already been mentioned, here are a few that we did:
1. I hate corners in closets and kitchens and cabinets. Such a waste of space! Whenever possible we used the corners creatively. For instance: one corner of our kitchen could be accessible from the room on the other side, so we created a closet from the room on the other side of the kitchen, rather than having it be a useless, hard to get to corner cabinet in the kitchen. Even better- the closet is hidden in the wainscoting that lines the wall. It's a hidden door! We also did that with the corner in our bathroom- we put shelves that were accessible from the room that butts up against the bathroom. Genius! And no wasted, hard to get to corner space storage!
2. We put tube lights in so we could have natural light in areas that didn't have a window (pantry-closets-etc) This way we didn't have to turn on lights during the day- we had natural light from the tubes!
3. In our laundry room we installed large pullout wire drawers to make it easy to sort laundry by load. No more piles of laundry on the floor!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 2:32AM
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bjwithers, I would love to see a picture of what you are referring to regarding the "hidden closet" in the corner of your kitchen. I am having trouble visualizing that.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 11:41PM
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I'm not an artist, but here you go.

Here is a top view showing the kitchen and living room. This picture deals only with the lower cabinets. There is no break in the counter, it wraps around the corner.

The wainscoting in the living room are rectangular frames that are smooth inside. One of the panels is the door to the cupboard under the dead corner in the kitchen.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 12:53PM
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This view is at an angle, to show how the cupboards/drawers in the kitchen butt up against each other to create a dead corner. No lazy-susan! Hurray! I would post real pics, but I'm away from my home right now.

Hopefully this clears up the confusion.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 12:58PM
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Our next house is going to have a urinal..! Husband, son, 2 son inlaws, 6 grandsons, and counting...hoping to save on some back breaking, constant, nasty cleanup..

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 11:46AM
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Thanks bj-- ingenious.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 12:48PM
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mcklbk: I hear that, and its in my plans for my new home.. The male of the species has certain internal plumbing equipment that works much more efficiently in a vertical arrangement. Your astute observation will also ease the stress of your male relatives having to accurately gauge a relatively small target location on those late night in-the-dark trips to the porcelain convenience.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 12:57PM
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I would like to add a few we did on our custom build:

36" wide doors. I hated banging my elbows when carrying a laundry basket into the bedroom. And it helps with future wheelchair access if needed.

We had vents put in the walk-in closets for air circulation.

Make sure your largest platter/bowl/crockpot/etc. fits in your cabinet. I just barely had enough depth for my biggest platter.

We wanted to do a drain and heat in our garage but weren't allowed due to local building codes.

We added a washer/dryer hookup in the basement in addition to our main floor laundry room.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 12:17PM
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Great thread...wish I had seen it earlier. We're towards the end of our framing of our custom home and wanted to share a couple of things that haven't been mentioned yet.

1. Cat 5e x2 (or more) to every possible site where you might want to have data, phone, video and/or music. It's the "swiss army knife" of cabling and increasingly used for everything.

2. In addition to motion sensors, place hard wired water sensors for your security system for all low lying interior areas where there may be water leakage or intrusion(e.g. sump pumps, window wells/walk up stairs from basements, water heater, etc.). Can save you thousands in preventing a leak from getting worse.

3. Drain(s) for the same purpose above.

4. Foam(eg icynene) insulation for the band boards where the largest leaks into the house envelope occurs.

5. Second the idea of 2" conduit from basement to attic for future cable runs

Great ideas of which I will probably incorporate some into our build shortly.



    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 9:40PM
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We moved into a new home in April and these are 2 things that really bother me--even though i had already read them on the gardenweb before--i still forgot.
1...3 car garage not deep enough--get deep if you can!
My van fits ok but my dh spent most energy designing detached garage/workshop that he forgot to make sure his long truck would fit in attached garage.Fits by like 2 inches. Kind of trusted builder on that one.
2...The master bathtub not planned well. Make sure you can get in and out easily. Trusted builder on this one also--he has built many higher end homes in this area including his own with same master tub. The kids take baths in it now but hard to lift them in and out due to deck design.

I guess my main message here is don't trust the builder on the smaller details--he is not god and may not be familiar with the garden web.I didn't stick with my guns enough and he was good at being wishy washy to often.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 5:17PM
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Our old home had an open kitchen-living room floor plan, including a very solid, granite-topped kitchen island on casters. Looked permanently installed and matched the countertops, but could be moved around (with effort) for parties, large family dinners, etc. Everyone loved it. We'll be getting another one for our next house!

I can also second the recommendation for solar tubes ("Sola-Tubes"). They do miracles in turning cave-like corners of dens and whatnot into light-filled spaces.

Thanks to all for the great ideas!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 2:39PM
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Several things, some small, some big:

BIG -- Major! Hire your landscape designer along with your architect and contractor. Have the three work as a team FROM THE BEGINNING. You will save yourself all kinds of headaches, and the landscape plan can maximize savings. Like if your contractor is digging a trench, the irrigation, outdoor wiring and such can be laid in the same trench. Stones can be harvested from the construction site for later use in building garden walls, pathways, etc. Land grading can happen when the heavy equipment is on site, instead of bringing the back-hoe back in. Certain plants and trees can be marked to "save," giving your garden a head start. Most importantly, a landscape designer can help to situate your house on the property to maximize views, maximize outdoor land use, and save energy. Plus you get a more cohesive indoor/outdoor flow.

Other Stuff:

Hose bibs everywhere. Better to have lots of winterized hose bibs than have to drag long hoses around. Even if you have irrigation installed, you will need hoses to water potted plants, wash to car, etc. etc.

Exterior electrical outlets everywhere. Think landscape lighting. Think holiday decorations. Think outdoor dinner parties. Think what a pain it is to have to run a big orange extension cord through the snow just to get lights up in that tree by your driveway.

Vacuum cleaners: Own two. Keep one upstairs, and one downstairs. Worth every penny!

Dog/Cat door: If you have pets, where is the dog/cat door going to go? Needs to be someplace unobtrusive. Also don't cheap out on this, the cheap ones get dirty and break down. There are "step-through" dog doors that are better for you pet, especially as they age. Make sure it has a double weather curtain.

Computers: Designated closet at chest height (no bending!!!) for all your computer stuff -- modems, wireless routers, etc. Ugly to look at, a pain to deal with. Make it both easy access and hidden.

And speaking of easy access -- electrical outlets, hose bibs, the controls for the irrigation -- there is NO REASON these things need to be 6" from the floor. Universal Design principals put them higher, and as you and our general population ages, you will find this makes life easier for you, and your house easier to sell.

Stairs -- Same thing, make the rise 3"-4" instead of 6". As people age, stairs become an issue. With shallow stair steps, it's more accessible for you and potential home buyers.

Doorways -- Make them wider. They don't have to be crazy-wide, but wide enough to pass through with a walker or wheel chair.

Washer/Dryer -- Elevate them so they are easy access. Use space underneath for long-term storage (drawers or pull-out shelves), and keep laundry supplies at chest level for easy access. Build in a laundry sink, indoor drying racks, and a large folding/drying table. People (meaning "guys") often give poor attention to the laundry area, which is heavily used.

Closets -- Cedar line the back walls to keep away moths.

Recycling/Composting -- Where will that be collected? How much are you willing to carry in one trip? Decide if you want many trips with a light load, or less trips with a heavier load.

Speaking of compost, plan a spot for that away from the house, and probably screened.

Kitchen Garden -- this is part of how your house is situated on the land. The kitchen garden if you want one shouldn't be too out of the way, needs to be pretty in it's design, and obviously needs sun and irrigation. It can and should be incorporated into your overall home/garden design.

Great thread, thanks everyone for the great ideas!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 3:35PM
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Oh and a few more things:

Have an easily accessible place for board games, video games, etc. so you actually use your games. I have to get on a ladder to get mine -- what a pain, so my Scrabble skills are declining.

Toilet -- Don't place it too close to the wall. Men tend to do this, but women need more space on the toilet. Logistically. 'Nuff said.

Bidet -- Great to have!

Shower -- Design one with no lip, so there is nothing to trip over getting in or out. Also later, you or whoever can roll in if needed.

Build in a deep shower seat and tile it. It's handy to be able to sit in the shower when you shave your legs or whatever. Mine doesn't have one so I use a teak wood bench.

Built-in ledge in shower for shampoo, etc., with a very slight grade so water doesn't pool.

Grab bars. Vertical and horizontal. DON'T cheap out on this. There are grab bars that rip right out of the wall if you are falling, which is when you really need them to work. Grab bars are rated -- get the ones that are "official" for handicapped use, and have professionally installed. Also, get the kind that are scored on the metal. The smooth ones are hard to grip.

Full spectrum lights. The best ones around are made by Chromalux. They come clear and frosted, and are far superior to the ones sold in America. These are used extensively in Nordic countries. They last forever, and come in many configurations (three-way bulbs, spotlights, etc.). Available on the internet.

Programmable thermostats with digital display. Much easier to read, also you can program for vacation time etc. to save energy. Mine has a clock on the display as well as the current temperature, and I find that clock very handy since I don't wear a watch.

Garage Drains/Mats -- Since many areas don't allow them, check out the garage mats. These are heavy-duty raised mats that you drive your car onto. Any water/snow that drips off runs off the mat. Much safer, especially getting in/out of car when carrying stuff.

Phone or emergency button in garage. I was recently injured and when in rehab unit at hospital, there were three women there who had fallen in or near their garage, and had to drag their bodies (broken pelvis, broken hip, broken hip and leg, respectively), into the house and to a phone to get help. Took each of them an hour of pure hell. They had to do it, because it was winter and if they waited for help, they would have frozen to death in their unheated garages.

Exterior gas piping -- not only for grill, but also for a potential outdoor fire pit or other fire feature, increasingly popular in landscape design. Another reason to bring your landscape designer in at the front end.

Porches and Portals -- They are never deep enough. When furnished, the typical 8'-10' outdoor shades space allows for furniture that only points out. To make an area deep enough for a conversation seating arrangement, you need 12'-15' minimum. It adds a sense of grandeur to your house, and makes that porch really usable, an 'outdoor living room.' It also allows for enough space if you want to put a dining table out there. And so cheap to expand the roof line, cheap to do when building, expensive to add on later.

Roof line intersection with walkways -- where I live (northern NM) most people don't have gutters. Make sure your roof line isn't slanted in such a way that it dumps a load of snow right onto your entryways. Mine does, and it turns into a perilous sheet of ice that has to be battled every winter. Roof line should slant sideways over walkways, so it pulls snow/rain/ice away from path and entry. Also with your landscaper, make sure where the run-off destination is, you have appropriate plantings underneath. Our roofs here tend to be metal, and the snow slides off all at once, heavy enough to snap a tree in half.

I have radiant heat flooring, and love it. No vents to get dirty, no dust, no vent cover to clean!

I love the generator idea someone else mentioned, being able to plug that in at the breaker box area to run the whole house. We lose power around here every year.

Wildlife friendly outdoor storage -- We don't want to attract skunks and mice, but do want to feed the birds. Solution is to have an outdoor, sheltered storage area to keep bird feed, suet, etc., in gasket-sealed containers.

OK, over and out... for now! ;-)

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 4:40PM
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I did some comparison shopping and priced out the Chromalux lightbulbs that Karen suggested. Here are authorized retailers with the best prices.

20 for $100

20 for $110

20 for $110

Prices include shipping.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 10:39AM
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Chromalux - looks like an interesting option, but we need to keep the majority of our bulbs cfl or led!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 1:29PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Long thread and can't remember if it's been sure to take pictures of all your interior spaces before the sheet rock goes you know where plumbing and electrical etc etc are for future reference.

1 Like    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 6:51PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Make sure the door to your mechanical room is large enough to get the furnaces and other equipment in and out...

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 9:18AM
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One thing that I am seeing would be immensely helpful is in the laundry room have them put the faucets down below the height of the washer and also the plug for the W/D. Our washer dryer is right next to a bank of cabinets with a sink in it. I am told that now they put a little access door in the side of the cabinet for the hoses to thread through so that the faucets are under the sink and also the outlet for plug ins. Why? Because this way you can build a counter all the way to the wall over the washer and dryer, front loader that is. No one wants to see that ugly opening for the faucets above the washer and dryer or the three pronged plug in the wall. If you don't want to do that at least have them install lower than the height of the W/D. This is for laundry rooms that are visible from the kitchen as mine is. It's a part of the house on the first floor. It is decorated as nicely as the rest of the house. I know I am not explaining this very well so I will post a link to an example.

Here is a link that might be useful: Counter over front load washer/dryer

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 9:27AM
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Brad Edwards

Thank yall so much!

-A permanent staircase in your garage to the attic along the wall "Much easier to put out holiday decorations"
-A 4x8ft 3/4 lift system in the garage they have 800 and 1300# "Would be great for old people, or taking out a season of decorations
-Dimmers on master and living ceiling fan if not running can lights
-Consider a 3 if not 4 car garage, many people are using the extra space
-Remote control ceiling fans with light control for master, living, outdoors
-Not wiring for Alarm system and using wireless instead
-Getting tank less hot water heaters
-If living in the SOUTH, enclosing your building attic entirely and house walls, using open cell foam on the rafters, and leaving the attic floor uninsulated "helps with cooling"
-Stained concrete flooring Helps cooling "use rugs"
-Consider using cultured marble instead of extensive tile "easier to clean, cheaper labor cost, easier to replace"

I am going to add 2-3" PVC in all bedrooms, PVC "4' In living room" before the walls are insulated, and add cover plates. I will cap them and lightly stuff the top with insulation, this will allow quick wire runs throughout the house and should only cost about 100$. Think how easy it would be to run a new coax for tv etc.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 1:19PM
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Brad Edwards

Somebody said a area for dirty clothes in the bathrooms.

I think a rolling hidden hamper with drawer to hide it in all bathrooms would be great, especially for the elderly or young, that way kids could do their OWN laundry "or at least help".

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 1:30PM
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Brad Edwards

-Plant herbs near entry ways or in containers nearest the Kitchen
-Have two or more compost areas so you don't have to haul trash waste
-Buying a couple of larger trees if lot is empty near the end of the build and using smaller ones to grow in
-Using focal points, low maintenance shrubs, and edibles
-Consider using Vegetables and fruit trees in the landscape
-Have a Hidden AC unit with screen "either latticed fence with vine or shrubs
- Have an area near the exit of the garage for garden tools
- Consider new LED solar power vs low voltage for large lots

Check out Garden Webs landscape design, P. Allen Smith, and Better homes and gardens for ideas.

Forgot a couple of things inside-
-A faucet over the cooktop
- Auto off Timers for cell phone drawer
- "just bought an antique cast Iron fireback for real fireplace"

-Twinkling fiber optic in ceiling lights
Last but not least one of the coolest things I have seen and would be amazing in kids rooms or a home theater

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 2:21PM
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This is an amazing discussion, thanks for all of the great ideas!

For people with kids, grandkids or even pets, here are a few things on my list:

1. half-door pocket doors to block off stairways, hall or rooms.

2. motion sensor lights in the bathrooms and bedrooms for kiddos who can't reach the switches

3. stool that slides out from the kick plate in the bathroom for brushing teeth and washing hands

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 3:46PM
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heated floors in bathrooms

custom storage under stairs

built in bookshelves

    Bookmark   August 17, 2012 at 7:51PM
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I did do quite a few of the items mentioned in my build. What I never thought of nor did my cabinet guy - was to make the peninsula (that I had false door panels put on) usable storage! Since I don't have a true pantry, that would have worked nice for cans, extra paper towels, tall vases and beverage holders, etc. DARN
Also, the pony wall storage would have been so nice for tall hair spray, t-paper, etc.
I do love that I put an outlet in my master bath tall cabinet, my sonicare and clarsonic are hidden away rather than on my counter.
I love having a few plugs in the master bedroom on a switch, also small recessed lights above bed are nice for reading.
I'll have to keep this list you guys have going in case I get brave enough to build again!

    Bookmark   August 17, 2012 at 10:30PM
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1. When the contractor puts down the plywood subflooring, be sure that you request him to use screws, and no nails! I can't tell you how noisy the floor in my house is with creeks and pops. The edge of the plywood should align over a floor joist so that it does not flex or bend and make sounds as it ages.

2. Make sure water drains away from the foundation of the house. It should be gently sloped. Make sure that under the house if there is a crawlspace that a moisture barrier is put down. Its like a giant roll of trash bag plastic (but much thicket). You can do it after the fact, but its nice to know every nook and cranny is covered, and no moisture will warp your floors from the ground below.

3. For areas of the home which are not easily accessible by attic (in the case of cathedral ceilings, tray ceilings etc) you may want to add a conduit channel or prewire for security system. I added a security camera system to my home, and the worst part is that I could not place the cameras where I wanted them because the wiring into the eves of the house was not easily accessible because there is no attic above those corners of the house.

4. Avoid landscaping that is too close to the house. Small bushes planted by a builder look great the first year, but they should be a couple feet away from the foundation, so that you can get behind them to wash windows, and make sure the foundation has air space for vents.

5. Gutter downspouts - Make sure that if your home has a gutter system that the downspouts are adequate. If the lot is heavily wooded with trees, you probably want gutter guards or similar system. Consider adding a underground cistern and connect the gutter downspouts fill the cistern. Its a great way to save water. You can put in a small pump connected to a hose that allows you to water the grass or plants without having to use city water or well water. Harness the power of rain water. If you don't want a cistern, then make sure that the downspouts connect to a french drain, or at least pipe the water far away from the foundation of the house so that it doesn't create a moisture problem for you.

6. Plumbing access for showers. Make sure that if your shower backs up to an interal wall that you cut a hole in the sheetrock and put in a plumbing access pannel. there is nothing worse than having to destroy a wall to remove the shower valve or fix a leak. You can put the panel under a bathroom cabinet to hide it, or in a closet.

7. Insulte attic openings. If you have a pull down stair case, maybe have the builder make a lightweight box to cover the pull down stair, and line it with insulation. There is a plastic model available at Home Depot / Lowes that looks like a plastic sled which sits atop pull down stairs to help seal the heat and cold out. There is a zip up model that makes an air tight seal but it was quite pricey. I made one with styrofoam insulation lining a lightweight wooden box to cover the stairs.

For attic doors that go into the eves of the house, say in a bonus room over garage, or in top floors where the celing is slanted, make sure the door shuts tightly, and is well insulated, since the attic is right behind the door and is going to be very hot/cold in seasonal temps.

8. Window tinting- in todays larger suburban homes with windows, consider a reflective mirror window tint. During the daylight, it blocks harmful UV rays that fade furniture and carpet. The mirror finish means you have extra privacy since you can see out, but others cannot see in. At night it offers little protection, since the mirror finish doesn't block the vision when there is no daylight to reflect.

9. Mister - if you have a hot patio or pool side, consider installing a misting system to cool off on a hot day.

10. Leave an extra irrigation zone or two for drip irrigation - for your deck and patio areas. If you forget, you can retrofit a timer and small drip hoses, one to each pot and planter. This keeps your flower pots looking good all summer long with hardly any manual watering. On the home's outdoor spigots, I added a battery timer to turn the water on for 15 minutes a day. The 1/4 inch hoses are cheap to buy, and the drip heads are inexpensive too, available at your local home improvement store or online at

11. Plan your irrigation zones to save water- If you have broad patches of grass, try to zone your sprinkler system so that if your city or state requires water conservation during droughts, then you can turn on the system to water only the most important beds and borders where you have made annual plants, but skip the grass, or water grass less frequently. This is something I can't fix now that my system is installed. The zones in my yard are mixed, so for each important flower border, it waters grass, so I feel like I'm wasting water.

12. Drill a well or get separate water meter for irrigation. Cities and Counties charge a lot for water meter installations, but its easier to do before your new lawn is established. Cities charge a sewer fee for each gallon of water that you use. If you separate your irrigation system from the household water meter, then you can be billed a much reduced rate on the irrigation water since they do not charge for the sewage treatement. Sewage is usually twice the price of the water itself. Wells may be more efficient and better for your pocket book long term, but they can run dry.

13. Designate an area in a detatched garage or shed for storing lawn equipment and gasoline and oils. I have seen too many house fires around town from a propane tank, gas can, or paint can exploding if it gets too hot. Don't put storage near a water heater, especially gas appliances. Keep yard storage in a shed far enough away from the main structure of the house to keep smells away and minimize fire risks.

14. Add cabinets and countertops to your garage. My neighbor has a basic set of large cabinets installed in the garage, with a cheaper formica countertop. This makes for such a clean looking garage, and a great working area for potting plants, or a small woodworking project, or car repair. Its worth buying some weatherproof cabinets and plan the garage as part of the home, so that the bill is put into the mortgage payment, and not directly out of your checking account.

15. Finish the garage floor - paint the garage floor with an expoxy seal or garage paint so that car oils don't stain your garage. Plan to mop every couple of months, or wash out the garage with soap and a light spray with the water hose. Its so nice to be able to walk into the garage and know its clean, and not worry about pets and children getting dirty in oil and leaked radiator fluid (lethal to pets and people) because I know my garage floor is cleaned regularly. It looks great too!

16. Seal your tiles! in some of the bathrooms in my house the builder used lower end tiles, and white grout. But the grout was apparently not sealed, and now its stained and dirty. A spill or two later and it just looks bad. This is a case where prevention is the key - if the grout is sealed when it is brand new it will look great for a lifetime. Let it get dirty and you will spend many hours cleaning it to try to restore that like new appearance.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2012 at 2:05PM
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If you have a crawl space foundation, be sure to add lights down there for workers (plumbers, etc.) who will at some point need to work under your house!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 5:12PM
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One thing I had in my last house that will certainly be in my new build is an electric air filter on my furnace. I hardly ever had to dust! It was worth its weight in gold.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 10:47PM
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Not sure if it was mentioned (I tried to read through it all) we had outdoor outlets put into the soffits on each corner of the house. It makes hooking up christmas lights so easy. No extension cords everywhere.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 9:21PM
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I put a wall switch in each room linked up to all the power outlets (except one or two) so that all the things that can be turned off at the wall when you're not going to use them for a few hours (lamps, tvs, radios etc) can be flicked off when you leave the room. Great energy saver.

Each bedroom/living room has usb power outlets to charge all the iProducts.

We put tvs in the kids' bedrooms into their built in closets, so we put a multi-power socket and an antenna connection into the ceiling of the closets to facilitate those. It means doors can be closed and tvs, dvd players, xboxes go unseen.

Another thing. Calculate how many power outlets you think you're going to need and double it.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 5:22AM
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Sorry I haven't read everything here so if this has been listed already ignore...
Our builder didn't see the need for lights in the closets that weren't technically walk-ins. All of our kids' closets are deeper but not giant. None of them had a ceiling light. We're about to add in lights there, the pantry, coat closet, and hallway closets. I'd also say to add in outlets in your closets too. I'm already planning out our 2nd house while I'm decorating this one. Thanks to everyone on this list as I'm sure I'll be referencing it!

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 12:49AM
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I've never understood who charges their cell phone in the kitchen or mudroom? Ours charge on a little dock/radio in our bedroom. What if someone calls in the night?

So far, I incorporated several of these ideas. I added a hose bib on the deck to wash the deck and water any potted plants I have out there. I added outlets to all closets to charge electric broom, etc. I added a switch to the attic light from the closet where the pull down stairs are. There's a laundry chute between the master bathroom and the laundry room downstairs, in addition to hook ups for upstairs laundry if we ever want it.

One thing I forgot and regret - there's no outlet in the master bathroom commode room to put a nightlight.

And I wish I had increased the height of some of my cased openings. Wouldn't have cost anything, and would have made things feel more open.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 8:31AM
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"I've never understood who charges their cell phone in the kitchen or mudroom? Ours charge on a little dock/radio in our bedroom. What if someone calls in the night?"

I do, but I charge during the day or whenever the phone needs it....not at night. I wouldn't want the phone in a room (bedroom) where I can't hear it. At night, the phone is on silent.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 6:59PM
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I had a plug under EVERY window for Christmas lights and Christmas candles. LOVE IT...

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 1:54AM
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Brad Edwards

I hate to disagree with cornflake girl, but adding too many power sockets is just wasting $. I agree you should have at least 2-3 for every normal sized bedroom but I have seen some people add 10+ for a standard 12x16 bedroom making the room look gaudy, like the guy couldn't figure out wehre to put them.

I think figurig out the bed placement for rooms ahead of time, and making sure there is a plug on both sides of the bed for nighstands will usually give you about 4 plugs as usually one wall has a window and another a closet. The reviews on the USB powered outlets were also pretty low, great idea but not the most practical right now for many iphone products. Also, if you know where your most likely bed placements are you can run two coax outlets to the areas so if you sell they will automatically have a good area to hook up to TV.

As atistango said above, inconspicuous plugs near windows for Christmas lights are a great idea, especially on the front of the house.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 2:48PM
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Brad Edwards

I hate to disagree with cornflake girl, but adding too many power sockets is just wasting $. I agree you should have at least 3-4 for every normal sized bedroom but I have seen some people add 10+ for a standard 12x16 bedroom making the room look gaudy, like the electrician couldn't figure out where to put them.

I think figuring out the bed placement for rooms ahead of time, and making sure there is a plug on both sides of the bed for nighstands will usually give you about 4 plugs as usually one wall has a window and another a closet. I would then add another near the window and maybe one in the closet, thats 6 for the room and closet. The reviews on the USB powered outlets were also pretty low, great idea but not the most practical right now for many iphone products. Also, if you know where your most likely bed placements are you can run two coax outlets to the areas so if you sell they will automatically have a good area to hook up to TV. I also like the cat 5 optional multi use coax with 4 outlets opposite the main bed placement as many kids and adults now game, have multiple stereo components hooked up etc.

As atistango said above, inconspicuous plugs near windows for Christmas lights are a great idea, especially on the front of the house.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 3:07PM
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For maximum efficiency, we did the following:

1. Radiant barrier roof sheeting.
2. Extra thick walls (6") with extra insulation (R21).
3. Extra blown-in insulation in the 2nd floor attic.
4. New windows and doors in the whole house. For the west and south facing, we got the Milgard Suncoat Max.
5. We put heated flooring in the bathrooms.
6. Got the highest efficiency HVAC systems (one for upstairs and one for downstairs) and replaced the ducting in the old part of the house.
7. Put a solar system on the roof facing south.

We didn't think to put an air return between downstairs and upstairs and that's something we should have done because it does get hotter upstairs than downstairs, but we almost never use the A/C even though we live in an area that routinely hits 100 in the summer. We use a bunch of ceiling fans to overcome some of the temp differences between upstairs and downstairs (our house is open between first and second floors in several areas).

With the above changes, after adding 1800 square feet to our existing 1900 square foot home, our electric bill is generally negative in the summer. We received a credit of $73 for the months of May through August. (This is in an area where the same sized house can have $800/mo utility expenses in the summer.)

Also, I agree with taking pictures throughout every phase so that as questions come up later, you have a reference.

We put an ironing board station in the new master closet (with an outlet).

We also framed an area for a laundry chute/dumb waiter, which we haven't installed yet, but will eventually. It'll go from the master closet directly to the laundry room.

You can never have too much storage! We put in a large laundry room pantry to store non-everyday appliances.

I agree with the people that said don't let the contractor frame in potential storage areas. We have a ton of lighted storage in more than one attic area and that's for luggage, Christmas and holiday stuff.

Also agree on the light switches to control outside lights. We have a couple of 5 way switches (my EEE husband had to explain how to do this to the electrician though). And stay on top of your electrician! Make sure everything you've agreed to is in writing.

We ran speaker wire and LAN cable everywhere ahead of time and marked where it is (for the speaker wire anyway), so we can add speakers as we need to.

We had a gas line run to the outdoor covered patio for an outdoor fireplace. Haven't installed it yet, but we will. And, we had a soffet with rope lighting incorporated on the outdoor covered patio, along with recessed lights and two ceiling fans.

On the subject of recessed lights, go with the latest LEDs. They're great and they contribute to higher efficiency.

We also had two solar tubes put in upstairs in the hallway and that also contributes to efficiency since we don't have to turn on any lights in that area when there's daylight out.

If you haven't picked a contractor, get 3 bids. You don't necessarily want to go with the lowest, but you want to go with someone who has a great attention to detail and thinks of things ahead of time (in the planning phase).

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 4:32PM
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Apologies if these have been mentioned.

1) Leaving a hollow area behind walls for a future single person elevator.

2) Designing in closets with doors that open outside the bedroom - to put away clothes or pack if the person using the bedroom is sleeping.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 8:46PM
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We are remodeling an older house and can't stress the wider doorways enough! Also added plywood renforcement in tub alcove and toilet area so that we can add grab bars later down the road without worrying about stud location. And all toilets are the tall 17 inch height as well. Cabinet heights are adjusted to our needs- not what the "standard" is so that we can be comfortable.
My next items on wish list is a natural gas generator to run the whole house. I'm so over the power outages for days at a time with every hurricane. Would love tankless water heaters also.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 12:15AM
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My bar in my kitchen has a corner cabinet that was useless for 25 years. I finally talked my husband into putting a door on the back side and added matching faux panels to the rest of the bar. It has made a huge difference. We are building an apartment on our house for my inlaws. Thank you for all of the good info.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 1:40PM
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This post is fantastic!

Items I'd add:

Rain collection barrels/bladders - these can be placed below grade or below porches/decks and can include hose for watering garden (some can even be used for flush water in toilets).

More pantry/less cabinets. In many cases pantry space can be cheaper than buying upper and lower cabinets as well as counter top and can provide more room and more flexibility.

Allow for more than one hookup for TV in family room - I don't like to keep furniture in one location forever and it is limiting to have cable hookup on one wall only.

Include some outlets near ceilings in some rooms - we plug in projector and lights over bookshelves in our bonus room.

Consider where you are putting your AC units - wish both of ours were outside of the fenced back yard - one seems very loud when it kicks on and we're on the patio, even though it is around the corner.

Consider where you will put your large garbage and recycling cans - you may want a "pad" for them to avoid soft ground/mud and also a little fenced area to hide them.

Landscaping: for me in the south - deciduous trees on the south side are great, allowing for shade in summer and sun's heat in winter.

Consider a "package" mailbox if you get packages while at work - these have a lower section that can be used when your away instead of stopping mail, as well. stuff can drop down, but you'd need a key to remove.

Solar fan for the attic - a vent fan that comes on with sun to alleviate heat in the attic - run your AC less.

Take special care in placing your thermostats - our open-plan home has the upstairs one in a hall, open to the stairs and foyer at either end. Our bedrooms are kept closed because of pets and their temperatures are drastically different from the hall, which is subject to the heat rising from the downstairs.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 4:11PM
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Sounds a little bizarre but we put a cable outlet in the master bath. It's so nice to soak and relax while watching your shows. Also, outlets built in to your bookcases/entertainment center where tv is. Possibly 2 cable outlets in each room so you're not running wires. We had electric outlets built into the island/peninsula in the kitchen. It's under the overhang so we can plug in crockpots or phone chargers.

Multiple hose hookups outside are a must!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 11:23AM
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Our HVAC system has small sensors throughout the house to regulate the temperature and keep things balanced and energy-efficient. Consider where appliances, etc. will be placed when installing electrical outlets. We have one next to the clothes dryer that is completely inaccessible. Stick to your guns and don't automatically think that the pros know everything. I wanted lights on the sides of the mirrors in the bathroom and the electrician talked me into a single light over the mirror which isn't the best lighting for that particular use. Also, get the electrical arrangements in writing. Many things were changed or left out, such as dimmers, on final installation. We used pocket doors, which we love, but we used solid core doors which are very heavy for this use. We would go with hollow core on the pocket doors. Also, there is a way to put electrical switches on the wall that houses the pocket door, but our electrician was unaware of this so our switches are placed elsewhere. I'd research this and talk to the electrician about it if you want electrical on the affected walls. And while I agree you can save money on kitchen cabinets with a nice, big walk-in pantry, which we have, remember: it's a lot of extra steps and certainly not quite as convenient.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 11:48PM
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This post is awesome! Thank you for the awesome ideas!

A few things we are considering:
* we saw this recently and it is beautiful: add large, flat-topped molding (around bedrooms, dining rooms, etc ) a few inches from the ceiling to hide rope lighting that is on a dimmer switch. It gives a warm glow all the way around the room.

* where possible, make electrical outlets recess into the wall so that plugs do not stick out from the wall.

* in a bathroom or closet use the tall, shallow space between studs as a storage area and hang a full-length mirror over the opening as a door. I use mine to hang jewelry, scarves, belts, etc.

* if the master closet is big enough, add a stacked washer/dryer so that clothes, sheets, towels are easy to wash where they are used.

* if a bedroom is next to the laundry area, add a tilting hamper in the common wall for easy laundry access.

* if you have a fireplace on a wall that has a deck or patio outside of it, add a closeable 'flu' on the outside wall so that it will act as a 'heater' for the deck on cold days when you might like to sit outside. (Especially if there is a hot-tub nearby)

* if the laundry area is downstairs from the main house, pre-planned laundry shutes in each bedroom, or a central closet, are great for easier laundry gathering.

* my friend built their house with a dedicated Christmas electical circuit. The outlet plates have covers for off-season, but one switch turns on trees, garlands, and outside lights while not taking- up the regular outlets.

* for dry climates consider whole-house humidifier.

* small, unused attic spaces can be finished over kid's rooms for playroom, study area. A ladder up the wall with a small opening in the ceiling is something most kids/teens would love!

Thank you to all who have given ideas!

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 9:28AM
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an outlet on the fireplace mantle - for christmas lights, a small lamp etc. Then you don't have to try and hide an extension cord or conduit up to the mantle.

Fireplace hearth with built in drawers. Even wide shallow drawers can be used to store gas matches, cards, games etc. A lot of wasted space under most standard fireplace hearths.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2012 at 12:33PM
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I don't know if it was mentioned but one thing I wish I had planned for was a laundry chute to my basement laundry room.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 10:28AM
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In the master bedroom have a his and hers bathroom w/closet. Mine is on one side of the room and my husband's is on the other. Each of our closets are off of our bathrooms. When we build our next house, I will definitely be doing this again. I love having my own bathroom and closet. It is wonderful and I am surprised that I don't see this more often on the home building shows.

1 Like    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 4:14PM
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We are in process of building our new home and we realize that we wish we had made the passage way to the basement wider! 30" is standard but 36 would be much easier to get stuff down there....
Ceiling fans in the large spaces, these are not simple to install later...make sure they are at least wired for them.
Dimmer switches! I hate bright lights and placing things on dimmers makes life much more bearable.
As a side note, when picking out a lot of land, check for things like which side the water lines are on and if the electrical service has poles close enough...this will save you time and money later. Good luck in your project!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 11:26AM
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Joann Totton

Put a laundry area in your master walk in closet. This is nice if you are a couple by yourselves or if you have older children. This way, your dirty clothes are exactly where they need to be and you do not have carry laundry. A second laundry is good for guests or the childrens clothes.

Also, a walk in pantry.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2015 at 8:07AM
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Take pictures, pictures, pictures of all phases of construction!!! Know exactly where the studs are, in case you need to hang heavy pictures/decorative wall hangings etc. Thermostats: We have zoned heating, therefore have four thermostats in the house, and all thermostats are placed inconveniently in relation to hanging pictures/decorations, etc. Just a couple inches either way would have made a difference. Changes can be made once you receive your electrical/plumbing plans. Same with wall switches. We have baseboards for heating; if we had requested just one baseboard be eliminated in our kitchen, we could have recessed a baker's rack by 2" which would have really made a difference. Lower level bathroom was only plumbed in, and we didn't pay much attention to the plans having a bathtub there; wanted a shower, so in the end had to order a shower stall with a bathtub drain.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2015 at 6:54PM
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Consider your whole "wish list" and PLAN for things that you'll want to add in the future but can't afford now (like an outdoor kitchen, etc) and run lines for electric, gas, & plumbing

Install high R-value insulation, windows & doors.

Label your electric panel switches.

Laundry room/closet (ideally located near the bedrooms, but could also be in a main bathroom or hall closet) w/ in/on wall folding ironing board, drying rack(s), shelves for laundry supplies and a "laundry hamper sorting station": space for 4 tall laundry hamper/baskets -- to pre-sort laundry into "whites", "darks", "colors (blues/greens)" & "colors (reds/tans/yellows)" -- when a hamper is full it's a load of laundry.

Master Closet /Dressing room - space for an island, counter, or rolling cart on which to fold laundry as well as pack suitcases for travel.

Never run out of hot water & save energy: install "instant" point-of-use tankless hot water heaters for each bathroom, kitchen, & laundry

Install exhaust fans vented to outside for every bathroom & kitchen

Extra shower features including a hand-held, rain head, steam

Heated interior floors -- at least in bathrooms & basement

Heated outdoor steps, porch, walkways. & driveway (if you get significant snow or ice in winter)

Wire for tv/av equipment above fireplaces.

For Christmas & other seasonal lights, install outlets for lighting at doors, below each window sill, near railings, & on mantels - think wreath, garland, "candles" etc placement & if/how you'll want to light it.

PLAN landscaping that needs little watering and/or incorporates edible, sustainable, and energy-saving properties

PLAN your landscaping lighting & watering -- if will you want to put "fairy lights" or other lights in your trees/bushes or on any balcony, porch, patio, deck, gazebo, fence, etc, you'll want a power source. Same for fountains (water pumps need electricity or solar power). Irrigation systems need power & plumbing.

Rain barrels to help irrigate. Consider piping a Graywater system to recycle/reuse water from bath & laundry to your yard.

Lights for paths & steps (a great safety feature)

Motion detector security lights at gates & doors

Timer switches & light sensors for all exterior lights

Lighted house numbers

Power for electric garage door openers

Conduit below sidewalks & driveway to allow for future wiring/plumbing runs

Correct slope & French drain in the driveway outside the garage doors

Wire for alternative power source(s) -- solar, wind,

Wire for a back-up generator (that can power refrigerators & freezers as well as heat/cooling plus some lights and/or small appliances in case of extended emergency situation).

Roll-out drawers in kitchen cupboards

Consider storage solutions for pantry, kitchen, & baths -- some things are easier at the build stage & some are fine as "later retrofits" by the owner.

Roof windows/skylights/solar tubes to light covered porches and attics.

If pool, lake, or beach living - a shower (outside or inside) near a back door. Where ever you live, a "foot bath" (shower/spigot) is great for sandy or muddy feet/shoes (even from normal gardening or play).

Underground power lines (instead of poles) are safer & more attractive

Install an indoor main shut-off for water (as well as the one at street -- you'll be glad you did if you have a water problem in bad weather or middle of the night)

Especially in dry climates, consider a cistern or a well as part of your house plan

Lower insurance cost -- locate your home as close as possible to a fire hydrant (make sure they are functioning - check w/ your fire department). Choose roofing & building materials that have excellent fire-rating.

Every room needs an escape route. For all second story (or higher) rooms, plan a space for escape equipment like chain ladders (a window seat below or a wall cavity cupboard near the window or in a closet)

    Bookmark   February 21, 2015 at 12:39AM
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Alex House

If you live near forested land in a region where forest fires are known to occur, install rooftop sprinklers - very cheap. Bonus - you can turn them on when you see solicitors approaching your front door.

1 Like    Bookmark   February 21, 2015 at 1:29AM
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This thread is an oldie but a goodie. I have several comments /tweaks to the things that’ve been presented:

- If you did everything suggested here, I agree you’d be approaching the national debt. I mean, if you just put in outlets everywhere suggested, it’d cost you a month’s paycheck. Pick and choose wisely. Some of these ideas cost little and will add plenty to the function of your house, while others are just kind of questionable.

- Instead of recessing your refrigerator – depending upon your layout – you might prefer to make your adjacent cabinets deeper (meaning perhaps 30” deep instead of the standard 24” deep). It gives you the same effect, but with different details. I’m thinking of going this direction because it would also allow my sink to sit in a slightly deeper cabinet, meaning that the faucets wouldn’t be so “crowded” to clean around. However, if you do this and have drawers, be sure that your builder makes your drawers go the full 30” deep – you don’t want to waste that extra 6” of space at the back of the drawer.

- New tip, not bounced off any previous thoughts: I am definitely going with one of the new “one hole” kitchen faucets. I’ve always hated turning a sponge sideways or squeezing a dishcloth through my old-standard faucet. I love the idea of being able to reach around one item easily – and I love the idea of having a bit of space behind the sink so I can clean behind the faucet easily.

- I disagree that a pantry is less convenient than kitchen cabinets. It may be a step or two further, but in a pantry you can SEE what you want immediately, and you don’t have to move anything around to reach the item you want.

- Big thumbs up for Myron Ferguson’s book Better Houses, Better Living. Another thumbs-up for Don Aslett’s Make Your House Do the Housework.

- I once thought central vac was a “must have” – I despise vacuuming. But since I got a Roomba, I’ve decided central vac isn’t worthwhile. Sure, you still need a “real vacuum”, but for everyday work, you can’t beat the Roomba. Additional perk: Unlike central vac, if your Roomba breaks or a better model comes out, nothing permanent is installed inside your walls. Additional, additional perk: I get no end of entertainment watching the dog challenge his mortal enemy, then run from him.

- Several people have mentioned laundry shoots, proximity to closet, etc. I’m planning to get three large wheeled laundry baskets (they’re kind of vintage looking and fit into my design nicely – they’re expensive, but that’s okay), and I’m planning a linen closet in each bathroom with an open space in the bottom to sized to fit those baskets . . . then they can just wheel over to the laundry room. I’ll have one basket in each bathroom and one basket in the laundry room – and they can change places as they’re full /empty.

- Grab bars in the shower have been mentioned. I’m using NO towel bars anywhere – it’s going to be grab bars all the way – towels can hang on the larger ones. They do cost more, but this is our retirement home, and the bathroom isn’t a place to skimp on safety. I’m also choosing to go with a tub-in-a-deck (rather than a dreamy clawfoot) because it’ll be easier to place a grab bar on the deck.

- In my current house I have a “Christmas light switch”; that is, a switch that turns on the exterior outlet that controls the Christmas lights around the porch railing – and it’s wisely located in an oddball spot to the “wrong side” of the French doors. This means no one ever turns it on accidentally. In my next house, I plan to place this switch inside a closet adjacent to the front door.

And a couple new ideas that aren’t mentioned here:

- Everyone wants a cut-out niche in the shower for shampoo, etc. And usually they’re placed in the center of the shower with a pretty, coordinating tile that looks nice – until you fill them up with shampoo bottles. Then they just look junky. If you have a solid wall (or half wall) instead of all glass doors, put your niches IN THE WALL so that they’re not visible from the rest of the bathroom.

- Bring the window above your kitchen sink all the way down to the counter. That’s an extra 6-8” of light into your kitchen, and who doesn’t want that?

- Plan your dining room in such a way that your seating area can be extended when you’re hosting a large number of people. For example, our dining room is going to be a long, narrow room . . . and on the end we’re planning a little window seat – not attached to the table. But if we need more seating, we can extend the table AND we have a card table the same height as the dining room table – it will be able to scoot into the space between the table and the window seat, and all of a sudden the window seat IS the chair at the end of the table.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2015 at 7:51AM
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When we built our house here in Central MN, we had in-floor heating placed in the lower (garden) level. Plumber told us that it wouldn't cost too much more to extend the hot water lines out to our detached garage. The cost really was minimal; and what a godsend to have our garage at a constant 40 degrees in the winter-- even today, when the temps are predicted for -25 and wind chills in the -40s.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2015 at 10:39AM
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This is such a good list, even the old posts! Is it okay if I link to my blog here? At the end of this post I link to another blogger's two posts on what upgrades to make and what ones to forgo, and I thought those lists (and the comments) were also really helpful.

There was a lot of outlet talk on this thread but I didn't see anything about adding an outlet to a kitchen island (if you have one). Maybe it's just standard? It's a must for me. I'm also definitely putting an outlet in our bathroom cabinets under the sink, as others suggested.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2015 at 8:57AM
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Phone, cable, and 2 ethernet lines mounted in the wall at each room and living room so you don't have wires sticking up through the floor or out of the wall. Run all to a central location and label all wires (I ran all of mine to my furnace room and have the router and switch box there). With this setup you can connect whatever lines you are using from whichever room. I know a lot of devices are going wireless but many still use wired like DVR's and game counsels. I prefer my desktop computers to be direct wired anyhow.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2015 at 10:33AM
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Alex House

Regarding heating the garage with pex in the slab. Depending on your jurisdiction, as soon as you provide a means to heat the garage you change the space into potential conditioned space and have to build the rest of the garage to that standard. Further, even if you don't connect it, the building inspector may require you to build as a conditioned space because some future buyer may connect the system and they don't want the homeowner heating an uninsulated space.

A heated garage is a "in for a penny, in for a pound" type of situation.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2015 at 2:53PM
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