'If I Knew Then What I Know Now...'

andreak100May 13, 2012

Pretty new here and I've found so much helpful info already. As we are ramping up our planning, I'm scouring the pages here past and present to find ideas to see how they might fit into our plans.

Any time you do a build or remodel, no matter how much you try to plan, it always seems as if there are one or two things that had you known how it would work out in practice rather than theory, you would do it differently...so, what's your "Do over"? :)

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Decision-making gets exhausting over time, and the decisions can get sloppy-- so if you have time to plan, really plan, down to what will be in each drawer, pulls and knobs and their placement, etc.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 10:56PM
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Mine were due to budget and time constraints.

I tried to save money by going with a black granite because it was the cheapest, but I really wanted River White granite. I like it well enough, but I wish I had spent the extra oney. I also wish I didn't get the bullnose edge. It's too thick.

I didn't have time to shop around or order anything online so I skipped getting a farmhouse sink and a wooden range hood.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 12:08AM
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I second waterdamage!

All the decisions that seem so fun to research before you start are exhausting to even think about during. Design fatigue sets in big time and you just won't care anymore. So try to make as many decisions and purchases as practical before you start - while research and making decisions is still fun.

Also perfection is not likely attainable and you will exhaust and frustrate yourself and all those around you if you see perfection as the only goal. Fight the big stuff and let the little stuff go.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 1:22AM
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I love this idea for a thread!

I am still in the middle of our reno, but I already have two.

1. I would have been more specific with my GC about my idea to get a single bowl sink with an offset drain to create more room under my sink. I didn't realize until after the cabinets went in that he put the plumbing on the wrong side and now there won't be room for my pull out.

2. I would have waited on my paint colors until I was SURE. I had a heck of a time with my DR color, going through half a dozen greens on the wall. The saleswoman at the flooring store told me she was great with colors. I let her pick the color at the 11th hour and let that decision go. Now my DR is "Miami Vice Teal". I get nauseous every time I walk in there.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 6:54AM
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We painted the kitchen and dining room before all the cabinets went in...wow, that was easy. Big, blank walls. Then in the 11th hour I changed my mind on the quartz countertops. Now I hate the color and it doesn't go well with the "changed my mind" countertops. I hate the color. Reminds me of the avocado sink I couldn't wait to get rid of. Waiting for DH to say he hates it too. Then it will be his idea to repaint, right?
I also hate the placement of my soap dispenser to the right of my faucet. Awkward to pump it...goes right into the basket on the cascade side of the sink. Should be way to the Left of the faucet. I wasn't home when it was templated.
The paint is an easy fix...the soap dispenser..never going to happen.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 7:08AM
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I would have been clear on my vision for my kitchen. I knew I wanted white cabinets but did not have a direction for the granite and backsplash. Our granite turned out too brown for the white and it was very hard to find that transition tile.
I am now happy with my kitchen, but I think I would be even happier if I made better design choices.
You will see this over and over on here. Picking one element at a time and then being stuck on the backsplash.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 8:08AM
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I would have halted the construction until I really thought through my window plans. Because we were making an addition, the sky was the limit, or so it seemed. I'm glad that at least I demanded sufficient room for roman shades to go up and down alongside my cabs and that we got a good look from the street, but we overbought in custom ($$) openables (with 5 windows I didn't need all to be openable). Also, wasn't aware that there are different offerings by different manufacturers and our consultant was a Pella guy so we bought Pella.

Recently I've learned that there is a no-crank, no-center support casement window by Marvin--I would love to be able to pull my windows in and out and to have that center post on the center pair disappear when they're open.

I wish I'd known that the shallow drawers underneath my pull-out breadboards would be very shallow. I would have made them deeper all around the perimeter of kitchen and sacrificed a tad of space in lower drawers.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 10:03AM
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I would have gotten a 36 inch sink rather than a 30. We had the space for it and I would have liked having the larger size.

Also I might have done a negative reveal rather than a positive reveal. I've read that a negative reveal may be more susceptible to chipping-- that's the reason we didn't do it. But I think it would have looked better over time and been easier to keep clean.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 11:39AM
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I wish I had gone with a 36" range. We were moving a wall out 4 1/2' and would have had to only go another 6" out which would have been easy. Not happening now.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 5:54PM
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bfelton--it sounds like you and I are doing the same thing, though our wall will move out 5 1/2 feet. I considered putting in a 30-incher but my friend across the street talked me out of it. So I guess it will be a 36-in rangetop, though I can barely afford the countertop space--it won't be as spacious as I'd hoped. Everything's a trade-off! I'll bet you'll get used to the 30 in no time, and maybe I'll wonder why I went so big. Is your kitchen finished yet?

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 6:56PM
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jjdcl, what kind of counter edge do you wish you had gone with?

I'm still in the middle of it, but I certainly agree with the decision fatigue. While the electrician was here, I wanted to jump in several times and say "no, not there, I've changed my mind and want it over there!" But I held my tongue. Hope I don't regret it.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 7:02PM
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#1) Bumped out, counter-height window. This is in the number 1 spot, because it would've been so easy in the framing stage, since we built our house, and it wouldn't have required any other big changes to the kitchen or house plan. Most of the other things on my wishlist may have required trade-offs I wouldn't have been willing to make...

#2) More open shelving/display space for big bowls, cookbooks, etc.

#3) More pantry-like storage instead of as much upper storage, if I could

#4) Larger, more accessible spice storage

#5) Slab drawer fronts for easier cleaning (like the window, would've been easy to do differently since it wouldn't have meant shifting anything)

#6) Supersingle sink instead of double bowl for our clean-up sink, since with a prep sink, I don't have the same needs for 2 bowls (another easy one)

#7) Specific workspace and storage for grain milling

#8) Our only back deck (barbecue area) access is out the kitchen door, and that means guests, including swarms of teens from sports team gatherings, come into the kitchen to get to the deck, and I wish that wasn't the only way.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 7:41PM
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sjerin - the reason I wish I had gone with a 36" range is because I am a lot more adventurous in my cooking and I actually bake now which I never did before. The previous kitchen was so poorly planned and only had usable counter of 4'x2' and so cooking was, literally, a chore and I didn't do any baking. I didn't realize that with a well-planned and bigger kitchen how much more fun it would be to cook and bake. Because of that, I would have liked a bigger oven and stove top. I wish that someone had explained that to me and I would have contemplated a bigger range.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 7:48PM
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My biggest regret is the location of my trash pullout. I put my trash pullout in my Cleanup Zone, next to the cleanup sink, and across a 6' aisle from my Prep & Cooking Zones. I have since discovered that we generate far more trash & recyclables while prepping and cooking than all other activities in the kitchen combined. I now either have to traipse across the 6' aisle many times with trash/recyclables (often dripping!) or I pile it all up on the counter and just make a couple of trips with a trash or recycle load.

Putting the trash pullout in the Cleanup Zone seemed like the ideal location...but it was not!

If only I had known! :-)

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 8:13PM
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I thought of another big one.

I wish I had distrusted the little voice in my head that said "We didn't have that in your childhood kitchen" and thus felt suspicious. I resisted wood floors in the kitchen because I was used to lino or tile-- now LOVE our wood floors. Also resisted doing all lowers as drawers, just in case I needed a base cabinet-- I didn't.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 9:05PM
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I would have realized that some decisions have to evolve, and that we come up with better final decisions when we can think things over for awhile, sometimes months. I wish we could have planned more of that "noodle it over" process into the construction timeline. We had some permit deadlines so tried to pick out everything for a ground up construction in less than 2 months. It was stressful and kind of ridiculous, plus we ended up changing our minds (for the better) anyway.

We would have given ourselves more lead time for choosing tile. Everything we wanted seemed to come from Italy or some came broken or they shipped the wrong color or it had to be custom run. Next time I'd start picking tile at least 4 months ahead of when it was needed.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 12:46AM
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I would have remembered that my kitchen doesn't have 4 walls, it has 5!

Questions I needed to ask myself sooner: What are you doing with your ceilings? Will your texture need repaired when you take out soffits? What is your lighting plan?

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 1:08AM
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I wish I'd have remembered my backsplash inset I wanted between the hood and the range before the walls went up. It didn't even dawn on me that I'd forgotten about it until about two weeks ago when the countertop went in. I asked our contractor about doing it at this point. It can be done. But we're not completely sure what wires/plumbing might be behind that space. I think I got pics right before they closed up that space. But I'm nervous about it. And we're so far along in our build that I don't want to have any set backs.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 2:08AM
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I'm still trying to finish up my partial DIY and Pro help kitchen.

My only major "if I knew then" moment so far was kitchen sink install. I kept original cabinets, however got new doors and painted. Had the plumber cut out cabinet for SS apron front sink. Granite installer came and said sink needs to be in cabinet before granite. Fabricators probably should have told me earlier as I removed old counter. Anyway, pushed things back a week.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 10:25AM
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I have to say, I wish I'd found this forum earlier and had a whole plan in place before I moved forward. I knew some of the things I wanted, but not all. I started out wanting to lighten up my kitchen (just a facelift for me), not a whole gut job. I wanted lighter counter tops and ended up with soapstone. DUH? While I like the soapstone, it certainly wasn't lighter! And, if I'd found this forum sooner, I'd probably have marble counters.

When I see people whole whole idea boards with all of their pieces planned out, i wish that had been me.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 10:40AM
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I'm rethinking a 16'10" cabinet run. I have one stupid, useless cabinet in the middle that's a traditional reach-in base. I had it, so I used it.

I'm thinking of taking that puppy out, sliding the cabinets down, and putting in another trash pull-out next to the stove where, when I DO cook, I cut things up. I'm loving the one next to the sink, but then I move to the other side and chop. Just gotta find out if they come in 15" wide...

Not the 1st nor last thing I'm rethinking because of great ideas I've seen here. I momentarily wish I'd thought of xxx, but then I take a deep breath and dismantle or reassemble, whatever. It's not easy, but it's easier when you've already built it yourself.
I'm making a closet today, but I'll be darned if I can find my stupid sawsall!!!

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 12:29PM
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Two things, both appliance-related:

1. I wish I had chosen a fridge that is single-door/bottom-freezer, rather than side-by-side. I only chose the SxS because I wanted filtered water in the door. I wish I'd known--or thought of--that I could just have filtered water at the sink, and then had the single-door/bottom-freezer fridge. The SxS is too narrow, and I curse it at every holiday. But the darn thing, a Kitchenaid, keeps working flawlessly and won't break, so I have no excuse to replace it. When (if) it ever does break, I will replace it with a bottom-freezer fridge, and have the counter people come and cut a hole in the sink for an undersink water filter.

2. I have a 30" range, but I wish I had chosen instead a 36" rangetop plus 30" double wall-ovens. That way, I would have had the wider rangetop I need, along with the two 30" ovens. It is a struggle for me just to have one oven, and juggle it with microwave and toaster oven for multiple dishes. I also find the 4 burners of my range not as useful as the 6 burners of a 36" rangetop. At the time, I figured I needed the counterspace more, but having lived with it, know I would have liked the double wall ovens more.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 2:58PM
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my poc ge profile all gas range waves to your sxs ref. Every couple of days, I'm reminded that poc's real nickname is much longer, made up of all curse words and punctuation symbols.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 3:44PM
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Debbi Branka

akchicago, I have a french door with bottom freezer and I have filtered water IN the fridge, not through the door. I love it! It comes on KitchenAid or JennAir.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 3:52PM
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Bmore, it makes me smile when you jump in and remind me why I love you! LOL ;-D

I've been thinking a lot lately of something you said to me long ago that I should've paid more attention to at the time (I think maybe you knew more than I did about what I wanted)... But I'm just ruminating on it for now... It's kind of binging around my skull like a pinball. I'm pretty sure my dh hopes that ball falls out my ear and comes to "no changes." ;)

Sorry, folks... Back to topic.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 4:23PM
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This is an important thread. I'm going to add my 2 cents and bump it back up for people making choices now..

I would have made the uppers where I store my glasses and plates 13 or 13.5" deep instead of the standard 12". One inch would not make a real difference visually or in the usable counter space below, but it would provide better storage.

I would have put the wall outlet for the coffee maker horizontally and very close to the counter so the cord wouldn't go up the wall.

I would have put more embedded outlets in the bottoms of the cabs. I wasn't thinking about the possibility of a permanent appliance plugged into the outlet, but my DH very thoughtfully got me a CD player/radio, and now the cord goes up the middle of my BS.

I would have checked that the paint was actually the exact same color as the sample before they painted the walls and installed the granite.

I would have made my GC give me 24 hours to make all decisions so I could check in with GW. (I actually did this part way through.)

I would have purchased everything myself so that I had receipts.

I'd have watched what he was doing more carefully to avoid the mistakes he made. I would have put everything in very detailed writing. (He was kind of absent-minded.)

I would have insisted that he finish the floor before the cabs went in so I wouldn't now have grout on the toe kicks. Or else made sure the grout was removed from the toe kicks.

I would have bought the fiber optic switch online instead of from my appliance store, where it was more than twice as much. Also, I wouldn't have wasted money ordering the adaptor (with expedited shipping)that Waste King told me I needed to make it fit the granite but couldn't use because it didn't fit through the granite. If you get one, just drill a 3/4" hole in the granite and silicone the thing on.

None of those is earth-shattering, though. Thanks to GW, it turned out pretty well.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 9:40PM
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I would not have used a color on my bottom cabinets but would have gone a neutral route. You see a color that you think will work forever and 10 years later it doesn't. Don't make this mistake. It's like buying the neutral sofa--you can always change the pillows!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 10:07PM
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I would have done more research on products you could use to strip and restain cabinets. I am really pleased with my results in the kitchen, but I used a stain and poly in one in the bathrooms that don't look as great. I think I would have been happy with the gel stain mentioned here, though I think the excessive dry time would have put a damper on my style since I had limited time to do them(Tues-Thurs for about 4 hours and some evenings)
I would have REALLY taken a closer look at the kitchens that DH and I liked. We knew we wanted darker cabinets. Easy decision and I did it myself. The mistake came with my obsession for dark, really busy, high movement DARK counters(Think Spectrus, Magma). I briefly discussed the issue last summer here on GW and was thinking all would be well, so priced the granite and made my budget off of that. I should have also researched and priced LIGHT granites I liked because once the cabinets were done, our kitchen SCREAMED for light counters. Of course, high movement, flowy LIGHT colored granite isn't easy to come by, so I had a difficult time finding something, and, when I did, it was out of budget. Next time I'll go to stone yards a LOT and THEN make the budget so as not to be disappointed. (Or find the element most important to me and really find EXACTLY what I want and price around that element. Kitchen just happened to be counters. Maybe a bathroom will be backsplash, etc)
I've seen a lot of people get some fabulous deals here at re-use places. I'll look into those places next time to see what deals are to be had.
One thing I did do right-I bought my hood, stove top and sink online--I waited until memorial Day weekend to buy-saved about $150 by waiting for a good sale weekend.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 10:38PM
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Not all of it is relevant here, however I started a similar thread on the building forum which some people may find helpful.

Here is a link that might be useful: Small things that get forgotten

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 11:20PM
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rhome... Get the sink :)

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 1:55AM
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