unique/favorite features in your build....

mcfromctJuly 3, 2010

I had read a post a couple of years ago about unique/favorite features that individuals put into their new build. Some that come to mind were having a walk-in closet on the 1st floor for games/storage, quiet-close drawers in kitchen etc. It was such an interesting post! I'm curious to hear an updated version of that post so....

What unique/favorite features are you putting or have you already put into your new home?

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I don't remember what I put in the other post so this may be a repeat.

I'm glad I insisted on having cabinet access to the tub so we change out faucets or replace equipment as needed.

I love that the light comes on in the pantry when I open the door.

My dh loves his bench he had built into the shelves in the master bedroom.

We're happy that we built the house so it gets a lot of natural light. We also like that we arranged our house so that the North side isn't the front of the house.

I had the builder add an extra water faucets to the outside so that I have a faucet on all four corners of the house.

We should have built a tornado shelter while we were building the house. Now I have to give up my garage closet for it.

We should have added the extra window in the attic so I'd have natural light and could open the window while I'm there.

We should have switched the placement of the built-in vanity and chest of drawers in the master bathroom because there is no place to hang a towel rack.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2010 at 4:29PM
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I got this idea off GW 6 years ago when we built this house. We have a 'secret' room. It's a room/closet with all the kids' games- behind a door that looks like a bookshelf. The new house will have larger room behind the bookshelf. Another unique item-our back stairs are spiral leading to the second floor. Two dishwashers in the kitchen, a kettle filler, and two laundry areas. These are some of my favorite and I'm doing it again!

Here is a link that might be useful: secret room doors

    Bookmark   July 3, 2010 at 7:47PM
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Walk through pantry from dining to kitchen.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2010 at 8:10PM
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Placed the house with lots of natural light. Even though we have a one story house we have dormers that the builder suggested we "box in" so that they are like skylights from the inside. Lots of outside outlets on front and back porches.
Was concerned about too much hardwood but now am so glad we did. Made our crawlspace almost 4 feet tall; great access for DH!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2010 at 10:40PM
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Doorless walk-in closets in bedrooms built by staggering walls to allow door-width passthrough. Moved kitchen sink and dishwasher out of the kitchen and into a separate pantry area to allow more effective use of the kitchen for food production. Bullnosed all corners and window openings 1-1/2"

    Bookmark   July 4, 2010 at 4:53PM
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Thank you to all that have posted with your terrific ideas - the kinds of things only someone who has built a home would think of.
Boy, cabinet access to the tub is something I would NEVER think of - I would just assume of course you can change your own fixtures. But I had a friend recently that had that exact same problem - she couldn't access hers. Who would ever think??
I remember a few people saying that they had a light that came on in the pantry - what a great idea!
Natural light is so important to us. I always joke with my DH about us having SAD (seasonal affective disorder!) - really, living in New England and having 2 huge trees blocking the sun from our family room has been awful (the worst one being our neighbor's huge tree). I would even question whether or not to have a porch in our next home because it would block some sun from the rooms, although I would really love one.
I read all of your ideas and think they are so great - walk through pantry, 'secret' room, lots of outlets outside, doorless walk in closets - such great ideas!
Keep them coming!

    Bookmark   July 5, 2010 at 7:14AM
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I found the original post - some really great ideas!

Here is a link that might be useful: Things you couldn't live without or wish you had added

    Bookmark   July 5, 2010 at 7:53AM
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clearly this idea is not for everyone, but I just met someone that built a curly slide into a corner of the house (I believe first floor to basement) for their 4 boys. the built it with the intention of needed to set aside a space for an elevator for the future (for themselves or future owners) and wanted to make use of it for now!

we designed a side patio/porch for all of our grills to keep the smoke and heat away from family/kids during our big cookouts. I'm really happy to have this for safety reasons, and the grills would take up too much precious space on our back patio.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 11:32AM
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My two favorite features are having two sets of stairs to the basement (One set in the house and one in the garage) and combining the master closet and laundry room as one. My wife loves the fact that 95% of the laundry never leaves the laundry room since it's also the closet.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 3:48PM
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We live in the country, and have two dogs and two cats. So my favs would not be everyone's favs. As a matter of fact, many people wouldn't even understand them!

I absolutely love the "doggie shower" in our garage. It's a hand-held shower (w/ hot and cold water) that is in our garage, right outside the laundryroom entrance to the house. There is a floor drain right there, as well. When the dogs (and humans!) get their feet muddy during our nightly run/swim, they just line up at the doggie shower to wash off their feet. Then they can go in through the laundryroom (rather than the other garage entrance to the foyer. We've also used it to hose out the garage fridge, etc. The tile guy loved it because he could fill his buckets right there in the garage. When I bought plants but had to wait to plant them, I just lined them up by the doggie shower and it was a snap to water them. With a drain right there, I don't have to worry about over-watering. I've used it for a million things since we moved in this spring. LOVE it.

The other unique/fav is my "cat closet", which is at the back door. It is a walk-in closet (with motion light inside) that has two cat-size openings out the back. Each opening comes out on the bottom of built-in bookshelves in other rooms (one is built in bookshelves in the master br, the other is built in tv/media shelves in the great room), giving the kitties access to the house, even if the door is shut. In the 4x8 closet is the litter robot, extra litter, cat food, extra cat and dog food. Above the litter robot are deep shelves where I store bird food, trash bags, bug spray, etc., used in and around the back door/patio. I LOVE it. Litter box out of the way. No one ever knows it's there until I show them. Easy to access. Dogs can't get in the cat food/litter. When we put in central vac (next winter, when there isn't grass to mow 24/7), I'll also be putting in a vacpan.

Besides that, I love our radiant floor heating (hydro); walk thru laundry to master closets to master bathroom; trash compactor; huge storage closets made from the attic space; and sunroom.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2010 at 12:46PM
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Central Vac, but I missed the debut of the hide-a-hose variety.

Minimum three foot wide doorways; no thresholds.

Oak flooring throughout. Low pile wool 'orientals' that can be sent out to be cleaned. Easy-care; no icky carpet residue.

Hot water radiant heat under north-facing rooms. (This was a 'fix' when the HVAC guy turned out to know nothing. Now I wish we had it throughout the house.) Nu-Heat under master bath tile floor. Still need the forced air HVAC for A/C and to humidify the air in winter; twin air returns.

Heavy mouldings around windows and doors -- no need for 'treatments' beyond some shutters and inside-hung roman shades.

Pella French doors and windows with pleated shades between the glass.

Two-stage furnaces w/flow-through humidifiers (no mold) and Aprilaire filter systems.

Kitchen: More drawers than doors; 'money green' granite that needs no sealing or wiping dry; dishdrawers; under-cabinet lighting; pull-out waste/recycling; huge archtop over-sink window; 36" big/little-shallow/deep sink + prep sink in island; 'breakfast' space w/pairs of French doors to east patio and south screened porch. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner for 2 - 6.)

Skylights in eastern slope of screened porch roof that keep bkfst rm and DR light in winter.

Master suite: A rectangle w/BR on one end and bath on the other, connected via a short hallway between walk-in closets.

Master Bath: Ultra-Bain jet tub that is 'just my size' and fills in two minutes; rinse hose. Two extra large pedestal sinks. Deep sunk-in-wall medicine cabinets w/elec. outlets; look like wall mirrors when closed. (Buy large, framed mirrors; have carpenter build boxes w/mirrored backs; hinge mirrors to cover boxes.) Sconces. Window in toilet room. Two additional windows in bath. Large linen closet in bath. No fixed overhead shower -- up/down adjustable hand held. (Highly ecommended: DH who will use spray to swish debris down the drain and wipe down shower glass.)

No wood decks. Patio blocks. (No maintenance.) Minimum 12-foot deep terraces.

Enclosed front stoop protects archtop wood door.

Hose bibs around exterior. Electric outlets for lights, fountain.

Bluechip gravel driveway instead of impervious surface. (You have to have someone who knows how to plow this.)

    Bookmark   July 7, 2010 at 2:54PM
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1. 9' x 11' tornado shelter with steel reinforced poured concrete walls and roof. It's under the front porch.

2. A stucco covered two story poured concrete interior wall weighing 34,500 lbs. It provides added thermal mass for our passive solar home.

3. A huge expanse of glass on the south walls for passive solar heating. Overhangs shade the glass in summer. The view is great.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 12:48PM
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I didn't get to the mistakes:

Inadequate overhangs -- can't open some casement windows if it's raining, and we are sorely missing shade for the row of French doors facing south in LR and DR. Not sure a pergola would help since this faces true South.

Few electrical outlets in basement -- it's unfinished and I never thought about this until I wanted to plug in dehumidifiers. (Resorted to light fixture plugs.)

Difficult access to electronic equipment behind bookcase in library.

So sorry I let the contractor talk me into recessed cans in ceilings. Ugly 'swiss cheese' effect. Use only a few of them.

What possessed me to salvage two toilets from the teardown? Toilets are cheap; installing them isn't. These two are water-wasters.

Why didn't I listen to the plumber instead of buying some American Standard faucets? Two have been repaired three times in 10 years. Yes, the parts have lifetime guarantees, but you still have to pay the plumber. At least everything behind the walls is Grohe.

There is a bottleneck in the kitchen in front of the fridge/freezer. The island comes too close, and that's where the prep sink is located. (Why does my DH want to wash his hands in that sink while I'm preparing dinner? The powder room is a few steps away. LOL)

Sorry we put a cathedral ceiling in the guest room. Not cozy and hard to heat/cool.

Wish we had basement access from outside the house to store summer furniture and so that service people wouldn't have to come through the house to use the interior stairs.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 2:45PM
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toto brand potties, low water and everyone who uses our bathrooms asks about them, they are ada height also-love, love, plus self close lids

refridgerator drawers (two) in butlers pantry, one holds adult beverages the other kids drinks, no digging in fridge-love, love

big mudroom with cubbies, amazing how this helps keep other parts of house tidy

tornado room off garage, huge peace of mind

hose bibs everywhere, we have four on house, one on poolhouse and two in yard

deep garage, can pull in and shut door and then unload groceries

heated masterbath floors on timer, great to get up to in winter

big windows and natural light everywhere

nook off office with built in desk for computer, can shut door and not see mess

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 4:44PM
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My "single/double" oven and the big, deep drawer under it. That drawer holds those things I have always had to pull out the step stool to get to: the slow-cooker, the food processor, the rice cooker...I LOVE that drawer! And all of the other drawers in my kitchen for that matter...why didn't they start doing pots/pans drawers long ago?

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 7:34PM
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    Bookmark   July 13, 2010 at 2:42PM
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    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 1:18PM
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Don't use often enough, but love our Ann Sack's Onzen tub.

Bought extra drawer bases (2) when ordering MBath cabinetry and installed in MCloset. Each has bookshelf sitting on top/back. DH has books on his. I have a few books and sentimental things on mine. We each have a few leather storage containers also.

Toto toliets, ADA height with self-closing lids. LOVE the lids!

Self closing drawer hardware in kitchen.

Kitchen cabinetry ordered from England. Probably my most favorite thing.

Deep, generously sized verandas. Front is flagstone. Upper and lower back verandas stained concrete.

Tornado room is huge and located under the front veranda. Solid concrete.

Wide door openings throughout house. Door from garage into back hallway is 4 feet wide - movers loved it.

Extra deep coat closet inside that hallway. Plenty of floor space storage for extra/unopened dog food, cat litter, etc.

Custom sliding panels to conceal great room TV when not in use. Custom door made from vintage shutter on niche next to FP for TV/DISH equipment. The niche was originally a coat closet (next to foyer). We live in the South, and it was a waste for us.

Vintage seal from a NYC bridge used over range.

Granite counter in the laundry room that runs continuously along one wall. Cabinets/sink/washer/dryer. Love the counter over the w/d.

Second laundry room on lower level with larger w/d.

Storage! Storage! Storage!

All guest rooms have walk-in closets with painted built-in shelving. Each has a small floor to ceiling shelf area also.

All bathroom cabinets have feet, no bases. Making them more furniture like.

Like Chisue, I hate can lighting. Only have it in the bathrooms and kitchen. If it weren't for DH, we wouldn't have any. I used 4 sconces in both MBR and great room for extra lighting (plus lamps).

Copper cupola.

Extra deep garage - like Susan said above - can pull in, close door and still walk around vehicle, unload groceries. Also added space between cars. NO pole/supports in garage. We also used Hardi-panels (the stucco looking one) in the garage. Our GC had done it in his home. You can hose it off (we haven't needed to, but we could lol). Painted. We also have the same trim used inside our home inside the garage (base, crown, windows - 2x6 clear pine stained dark).

Didn't skimp on finish choices in lower level. It's open on there sides (is not a basement) and we live on a lake so it's a great space. Sheetrock ceiling, not drop down. Same limestone counters in bathroom as main level baths, etc.

Poured 14 foot walls. This left plenty of space between floors for HVAC, etc. Ended up with 10+ foot high ceilings.

Hallway in lower level is L shaped and 5 feet wide. Five bookcases are built-in in first part of L. Second part of L is getting four bookcases installed today.

Had trim carpenter build a potting bench style table inside the walk-in pantry. The microwave and toaster are kept there, and it's great for setting down grocery bags or unloading or making a sandwich. Customized shelves in pantry to my specs. No food storage in kitchen cabinetry.

Measure three times, cut once for floor outlets in great room!

Exterior outlets and faucets - don't skimp.

Copper backsplashes in kitchen and laundry room.

I love our home.

Here is a link that might be useful: my house tour

    Bookmark   August 7, 2010 at 9:52AM
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Unique features I love are:

Concrete reinforced tornado room.

Double front doors. Double wide steps everywhere. All doors extra wide for wheelchair accessibility and easy moving in and out of wide furniture.

Our dog room. It is a room JUST for the dogs and is filled only with dog beds and dog food and water. It has FRP going halfway up the walls, tiled floors and dog doors leading to an outside dog run and dog yard in the woods (out of sight). We also have a dog shower in our garage.

Round greenhouse with skylights and french doors leading into master bedroom.

Two laundry rooms, one upstairs. One downstairs.

Kitchenette upstairs.


We wish we had made out family room a couple of feet larger.

I wish I had a foot operated trash bin opener. I'm always having to clean that drawer pull.

I wish my pantry was bigger.

I wish I had had a built-in paper towel holder.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2010 at 12:42PM
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