*Hover over and then click the arrows on the photo above to view slideshow!*
- Take numerous photos of your house being built. This is great for so many reasons, but one of the best reasons is so that you know where your electrical wires and plumbing are if you ever want to make any changes. It even helps to know where your studs are or other things lurking in your walls so that you can use or avoid them later on.
- If you can, try to avoid wasted space. By this, I mean those large “loft” areas or “flex” spaces that are often found at the top of the stairs or at the end of a hallway. These spaces can be useful to some, but more often than not they tend to be collection areas for random items (or messes)! In our original house design, the “loft” area was much larger, but we knew we could utilize this space better as part of the laundry room. Luckily we were able to reconfigure the space so that our laundry could be larger.
- If it will cost a lot to change it later on- do it now! A great case in point on this one- we couldn’t decide whether to bump out the pantry and pay the extra 2K for this. So glad we did! We have a great walk-in pantry now that if we had waited and added on later, would have cost upwards of 4K. This is a structural change that would be much more costly to fix/add later.
- Add more outlets! You really can’t have too many outlets. Builders generally won’t give you as many as you will need or if they do, they may not be in the exact spot that will make sense for your family and life. This one is a bit hard to envision ahead of time, but try to think of each space and what furniture you could or will put there. What activities will you possibly be doing there? Do you know when friends and guests come to visit, they may want to charge their phones? Add a USB outlet in a convenient place, such as the kitchen island! Do you know that you want to want to keep papers, phones, general clutter out of sight and in your pantry? Great place for an additional outlet, and moving it to a spot on the wall that will allow items to be set next to it on a shelf is an added bonus. Don’t forget the exterior as well! Those Christmas lights, the adorable little globe string lights that you can’t wait to put in the back yard, etc. all need an outlet nearby!
- Add more windows- lighting is everything. We ended up adding an additional FIVE windows to our house. I really wanted light coming in from all directions and a bright, cheery space. This is actually one of the few regrets of our new home, that I didn’t add MORE windows! Our last house seemed like a dungeon in comparison as we had fewer windows and the ones we did have were blocked by huge mature trees….which leads to another point…
- Don’t plant your trees in areas that will block your natural sunlight. Your little saplings may be small now, but someday ten years from now, you don’t want to curse them when you realize you no longer have that great view. Keep forward-thinking and really plan your landscaping to fit in the with the house you’ve imagined. On a side note, the girls have named their trees Lana and Roslyn. Very original hehe.
- Add cold AND hot water to your garage/outdoor spigot. We’ve already used this three times this month. Once when our backsplash was redone (we accidentally had the incorrect tile installed) and the guys needed warm water for their mudding/calk and cleanup. Second when we had the “playroom” wallpaper put up (more on that later!) and the installer needed buckets of warm water to use for the installation and third, when we did the below. Cleanup was a breeze, just hosed em off in the driveway!
- Motion sensors. These babies are AWESOME. The hubby installed them very easily after we moved in and we put them in both the kitchen pantry and our Master closet. Two places that we are constantly going in and out of and normally with our hands full. Also great for knowing when little munchkins are attempting to get into the cookies for the 7th time.
- Add an additional door from your garage and consider an additional concrete walkway from this door to the front of the house. We wanted this mostly for when doing yardwork, we wouldn’t have to open the main garage doors when going back and forth from the back yard. It’s also great because we keep the trash cans outside on the side of the house on the concrete walkway, so taking the trash out is a breeze.
- Extend wood/laminate flooring where it makes sense to. Our dining room area didn’t come with wood flooring as the standard option. However, I know how messy my kids can be and having Thanksgiving dinner with carpet below them makes me cringe. We actually ended up getting “Evoke” Vinyl Composite flooring- which is much more water resistant than your average wood floor. With these girls…I’ve never questioned this choice once! We also knew that we didn’t want ALL wood floors throughout the main level because we wanted to make sure that we had carpet for the girls to play on while they are still young- that level of comfort is key. You can also change the flooring in other rooms- we went with a very cute vinyl in the playroom that was actually much cheaper than the wood. Future spills, chalk, watercolors and markers are no match for this floor!
Here are some pics from our Day O’ Mud!
What tips or changes did you do or plan to do in your home? I’m always looking for new ideas and things we can incorporate- we’ll be here for the next 30 years, so plenty of time for upgrades!