To help others - Things I would do different and things i love!

suzienjAugust 4, 2010

Feel free to add more to help others. I completed my home in December 09 and now that i have lived here a while there are things i love and things i would do different so i'm going to start a list to hopefully help other people!!

Things for a new house-

Light Countertops (silestone is maintance free)- I looove my light countertops more than my dark ones- they dont show marks and streaks-- so beautiful (we have corian, granite, silestone, ceasarstone and granite)-- dont recco corian- scratches easy, love my light colored granite and my silestone!)

Dark tile floors or light tiles with veining and use dark grout (or if its beige just use the darkest beige-to hide dirt etc) Love my textured tiles that hide every crumb- they have some veining so it really hides the dark dog hair and kids messes. Do not use textured tiles in the kitchen as cleanign them will be difficult- someone told me that once so i went with a veined looking tile that looked textured but if you rub your hand across its actually smooth- making it a simple thing to clean!!

Light wood floors- or wood floors that are oak with graining to hide dents (NOT SHINY)== shiny + maple = Lots of maintance! lol-- the darker the floor- the more you will see dust.

Thick Carpet- stain resistant! very important to get good padding and i love our mohawk stain resistant carpet- worth the extra $$

Use only Tile flooring in bathrooms (not wood)-- we did use wood in the powder room ... and it always shows the drips of water etc... tile would have been much more low maintance.

Master Bathroom- should have an 8 inch spread if possible

Put hand showers on sliding bars in all bathroom showers- makes it so much easier to wash down the shower!

Stainless steel- if you go with the trend get a good cleaner- I love claires spray on- works like a charm

These are the few i came up with- feel free to add more to help others. Hope this helps. I have kids and a dog- wish someone had shared this with me!!

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wear_your_baby

Thanks! Sounds like I'm doing some things right. Couldn't afford the shower bars though. And I was wondering about a stainless cleaner-I'm so nervous about that!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 11:01PM
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jmck_nc

HATE my stainless steel...more info about this cleaner please. I've tried so many and it always looks awful.
Thanks!
Judy

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 5:42PM
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chisue

Look for this topic, where the subject has already been discussed: "Unique/favorite features..." There's also a link in there to an even earlier thread.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 5:57PM
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trudymom

Things I love--stained concrete floors throughout house.

Things I'd do different--think things through better like where to put cable tv outlets.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 7:06AM
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suzienj

jmck-- claire stainless steel polish and cleaner- google it- its a spray- i love it- use it with a microfiber stainless steel cloth (you can get those at target)-
I tried soooo many cleaners before i found this one!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 8:13PM
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idrive65

Love my large (for me) kitchen and big window over the sink.

I love my tumbleweed corian counters and uba tuba island top.

I love my wide wood floors that are nearly everywhere and hide traffic and doghair, and the dark tile in the mud area that hides dirt and driveway gravel.

I love having the "back stairs" so dh doesn't have to traipse through the house, up the main staircase and back around to the master bedroom over the garage to shower after work.

I like having stairs to the basement from the garage so we don't need an unsightly hatchway outside.

I would have paid more attention to angles of sunlight and added a few windows accordingly. I would've chosen Anderson windows instead of Marvin Integrity. I might have looked for wider patio doors to get better views to the back yard. I wouldn't have listened to my GC's recommendation to put smaller windows in the bathrooms.

I would have selected a Kitchenaid dishwasher instead of a Bosch.

I might have gone for 9' ceilings instead of 8'.

While I do like the one-piece showers for budget and easy-clean, I'd never get the "double seat" kind again. The ledge seats take up too much space and get icky.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 10:39PM
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rookie_2010

Per a tip from the kitchen forum, I've been using plain old Pledge wipes (yellow container) on the stainless. One swipe with the Pledge wipe and then wiped off with a dry cloth and it does a BEAUTIFUL job. I really think it coats it slightly and protects against fingerprints a bit. It also works on brushed nickel.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2010 at 11:30AM
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dakota01

Get EVERYTHING - EVERY LITTLE DETAIL - IN WRITTING !!!

I have spent way more money than I would ever have guessed, because details were not in my builders contract.

My builder did not supply a list showing how many lights, plugs, etc and where they were located. So I find that I'm paying for things I would have thought were "In there".

I will NEVER assume when building a home again. Oh, that's right.... I will NEVER build AGAIN !

    Bookmark   August 7, 2010 at 12:09PM
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david_cary

Just wanted to put a positive note after jeannie. All builders probably spec out code lighting/plugs. So if you want more outlets than code, you are going to pay for them. Most people don't need more than code - I think we did 1 for a wall hung TV. Now lights are a different story - code allows for very few lights and almost everyone does more. These are not huge dollar items - unless you get fancy fixtures or the builder has huge markups. I think our electrician charged $35 per extra light and for each extra switch. So an extra overhead light would be $70.

Cable, internet and phone are often speced low and you often get ripped off with the cost of adding more. So it is always a good idea to know the number here and the cost for adding more. It can easily be an extra $1000 for such a minor thing.

Best decisions - HAH, Nice screened porch with IPE, walnut floors, built in speakers, led undercabinet lights, raised planter for garden that thankfully had enough sun, alarm with deadbolt sensors, zoned HVAC

Worst - Not doing more landscaping DIY and settling for slightly smaller plants so I could do more, smaller masterbath would be easier to clean, didn't build out sink in kitchen so our Grohe ladylux had to be installed on angle, not pricing out geothermal - might have made sense with tax credit

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 6:37AM
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kbncan

Hey idrive65

"you would have bought the Kitchenaid instead of the Bosch dishwasher" can you expand on that. I was going for the Bosch. But the order is not final.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2010 at 10:59AM
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kate38

idrive--please elaborate on why you would have chosen Andersen over Marvin Integrity, and which Andersen would you have chosen?

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 11:55AM
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Lori B

- Inquired up front about electrical change orders. There were a number of outlets that I thought were missing. (None originally along stairways, none in upstairs toilet/shower area, under countertop for built-in wine fridge)
- Tried to minimize (or conceal) switches & outlets over my sink/bar pass through area in kitchen. After the house was framed, I inquired about this, and it was a $500 change order. I thought that was ridiculous and passed.

- Wished I would have paid more attention to the plans and verified the heights of the windows. One bedroom (upstairs) has really low windows. The plans were in error. Too late now.

- Made sure to get bigger sample size of wood floor stain samples.

- Make sure more things are in writing. I thought I was diligent enough, but apparently you need to go OVERBORED.

Good decisions that we made --
- Analyzed in detail our contract with the GC. Yes, it could be more in our favor, but I'm so glad that we changed a lot of the language from the one that they gave to us. We totally re-worked it.

- Removed landscape from GC workscope and interviewed 4 different landscapers. Landscape was important to us and we didn't want a generic, thoughtless plan.

- Put a keyed doorset on our master linen closet. And an electrical plug inside. I can keep my hair dryer always plugged in there. And jewelry box closet can be locked up.

- Added a window in the shower. Love it.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 12:59PM
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swhite10

I have a Bosch dishwasher in my current house and will DEFINITELY be putting one in my new house. You can't hear it run at all and it cleans dishes beautifully!! Bosch dishwashers are #1 in my book!!!

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 8:40PM
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suzienj

def get things in righting and make sure its detailed- our beautiful wood floors are semi-gloss- I know we said we wanted matte cashmere- but guess what it doesnt say anything on our contract - so we got what we got..... and b/c it wasnt in writing we couldnt write it so check your details (ie chrome, stainless, bronze, oak, maple, 3 1/4 inch planks- everythign should be detailed!!) who cares what they think- this is your insurance policy....trust me

love my murray feiss light fixtures.

Just completed our paver patio-- we choose a beautiful light tan- in retrospect maybe should have done a darker paver that wont show dirt, kids juice spills etc.... hmmm

mud room- would have loved this with kids!

details (like nobs (love top knobs) and lighting and molding!)

Paint colors- so happy we had the house painted before we moved in...!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2010 at 3:04PM
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nycefarm_gw

I have always been mad that I cannot sit in my whirlpool tub and look out of the window, we have an amazing view. The windows are about a foot above the tub deck...

    Bookmark   August 11, 2010 at 3:14PM
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sis3

nycefarm - I have noticed that in most houses the window above the tub is too high to actually be able to see out when you are sitting in the tub!

Things I love:
Central vacuum with Hide A Hose
Bosch dishwashers
Bosch washer and dryer
Monogram refrigerator drawers
Sub Zero refrigerator
The layout and lighting of my kitchen - I did the designs for a kitchen that suits me
Panels to match the cabinets on every appliance except the range!
2 story atrium style foyer that provides light to the rest of the house
The front garden - it's alive with butterflies and hummers and gets lots of compliments!
Phantom retractable screens on many of the French doors
2nd floor laundry room
Dimmers on almost every light switch

Don't love
Monogram range - I wish I had bitten the bullet and bought a Wolf or similar. The (propane) Monogram doesn't get hot enough and the company couldn't care less! Waste of money!
The windows - tried to support a local window manufacturer who promised a lot (they weren't any cheaper than reputable brands) but delivered very little. Big expensive mistake!
Wish I had chosen painted kitchen cabinets rather than the dark cherry. The kitchen is a little dark in daylight. Having loved painted cabs for many many years I felt they were becoming too common! Should have chosen what I love! I needn't have chosen custom cabs either, standard sizes would have fit perfectly and the style I chose is a simple classic style!

BUT the winner of my favorites IS ......the CV with Hide A Hose. It is great!!!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 10:32AM
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angela12345

Here are links to some of the earlier threads . . .

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/build/msg0708180218905.html - unique/favorite features in your build....

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/build/msg051803107471.html - Things you couldn't live without or wish you had added

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/build/msg012331272427.html - What things did you find needed adjusting or changed?

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/build/msg052337148911.html - is there anything you wish you had done

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/build/msg1011400927581.html - What about your new build makes your life easier; what doesn't ?

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/build/msg0913570232282.html - Brands/Products That I'd Use Again

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/build/msg0321442732113.html - Share your best sites for deals on supplies!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 1:09AM
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ILoveRed

I would not do inset cabinets with an active family. The edges around my drawers are getting beat up pretty badly. These edges would not be showing if I did not have inset cabinets. The drawers would cover them when closed.

Oh well--live and learn.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 11:56PM
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mitri89

We've been in for 4 1/2 months now and overall are very happy with how our new home turned out.

Things I love:

Wood floors - Ours are 4" white oak, site finished in a medium stain color, satin finish(not shiny).

Dover white laquer painted woodwork, mouldings, and cabinetry. We have stained cabinets in a couple of bathrooms, and I'm glad I didn't go stained in the kitchen and rest of the house. The stained acts like a dust magnet and washes out the paint color on the walls. But most of all, white wood against painted walls and hardwood floors just makes me happy.:-)

Love my kitchen. Thank you kitchen forum! Definitely pay a visit over there if you're just getting started.
-It turned out beautiful(white custom cabs, arched hood, wood floors)
-Lots of well placed lighting all on dimmers
-Functional, large layout with specific work zones
-Danze faucets and pot filler
-Silgranit sinks(love the big single basin and the round prep!)
-Bosch ovens
-Dacor 36" gas cooktop
-Kitchenaid DW and Fridge
-Giallo Ornamental granite
-Microwave built into the island
-Trash pullout
-Tons of deep drawers instead of cabinet doors
-Step in pantry

Smart Strand carpet - feels and looks great - LOVE IT!!!

Love our huge paved, curvy driveway and walkways. Lots of room for the kids to ride bikes, scooters, and play basketball.

Huge covered porches front and back

Exercise room off of master for treadmill and weights

Walk in attic access from upstairs

Huge bonus room upstairs

Big laundry room with 2 washer and 2 dryer hookups, quartz folding countertop, deep stainless sink, and plenty of storage.

Love that the dryers vent right outside, not up through walls and then to the roof like our last house. Makes cleaning the duct a huge pain and cuts down on effiency.

Sound system with speakers throughout and on back porch

Paint colors - Tobacco Road(main), Dover White(woodwork)

Lots of lighting throughout almost all on dimmers

Schlage door hardware and deadbolts

Love being out in the country on a little land with tons of trees and a pond. Peaceful and lots of room for the kids to play and explore.

Things I'd do differently -
Insulate wall where upstairs bath plumbing runs downstairs for sound reduction.

Put in sprinkler system - On the list to do next spring

Wish we would've upgraded to satin or eggshell paint in the bonus and kids rooms. Went with flat to save money figuring we could always repaint later.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 6:28PM
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vidyaram

Thank you all for sharing what you love and what you don't!
mitri
I have seen some of your home pictures when you were almost done and loved your taste. I don't know if you posted your whole house pictures after you completed it. If so, please post a link.
About the smartstrand carpet, what color did you choose. I am thinking about the same carpet and find it hard to choose the color which is not berber like and I want the carpet to feel soft under the foot. Recently saw a house with ultrastrand and liked that too. But don't know how it compares to smartstrand in price and quality.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 10:54PM
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mitri89

Vidyaram, I just posted some pics of our house. I've been so terrible about taking pictures since we moved in. I never even took any of the outside after the landscaping was done. I guess I took so many pics during the build and just after moving in that I got burnt out on house stuff for a while and kind of forgot about it. I'll include a link at the bottom to the thread.

I think the color of our Smart Strand is Almond, but I don't remember the name of the collection. We got it through a design center that our builder uses. Anyway, it's a light creamy tan with little gray flecks in it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Finished House Pics

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 5:57PM
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