Thursday, March 18, 2010

Ten Things I Would Have Done Differently...

When building, we had a billion and one decisions to make, and thankfully, 99% of the decisions we made have been great :) But of course, as with anything, there are always things you wish you could change. Hind-sight is always 20-20 so I thought I'd share with you my regrets in case you are ever faced with similar choices.

Just a note: It was really hard to think about ten because, luckily, we are happy with most of our decisions!

1. Kitchen window

The kitchen window above the sink caused us some drama while building. The window is smaller than the space above the sink, so the contractors accidentally placed it higher than we had thought. The builder showed us it and asked us if we want them to put it lower as planned, or if we like it higher. I kind of liked it higher, but we agreed to lower it. When they did, we regretted the decision a lot!! We wished the window had been bigger and covered the entire space so we can get more light in the kitchen.

We had three choices: Leave it as it is; pay $200 and raise it back to where it was; or pay $500 for a new, larger window to fill the entire space. We ended up paying an extra $200 to have it raised again, but now I wish we had gotten a bigger window. Take a look at the picture, it's a good size, but I love my windows to be as big as possible for the maximum light to enter. (The family room, for example, has huge windows that I love!) The ceiling is about two feet from the top of the window. That's two feet of lost sunlight!

2. Master awning window

Our architect made us excited about having an awning window in our master bedroom, and even though our builder warned us about our bed's headboard, we didnt think much of it. We just thought, oh well, so part of the window would be covered. We didn't realize just how much! As it is, the window is pointless, and it just lets in light and is pretty useless. But I guess when we sell the house it can be an asset to potential buyers who don't have as massive a headboard as we do!

3. Master bathroom - vanity

When designing the master bathroom, we didn't want people to enter and to see the toilet. But we also wanted the toilets on the same side as the vanities, so we ended up putting the shower and jacuzzi on the wall across from the door, and the vanities on the other side. So when you walk in, you don't see the nice vanities, mirror, and lights. Now, I sort of wish we had done it the other way around; the shower and jacuzzi are nice but the vanities is a nicer sight when walking in to the bathroom. And the toilet is pretty hidden so I don't think it would have been a big deal. I also wish we hadn't made the shower THAT huge, there's no need for all that space, and that it wasn't so narrow. In all though, I think our bathroom looks pretty good!

This is the view from the door as you enter, I think it looks good, but the vanities would be more grandiose of an entrance. I don't like people seeing my shampoo, razor, and loofah as they enter my bathroom (not that many guests ever make it up to my bathroom - LOL).

The rest of the view as you walk in.. You can tell how large the shower is in this pic.

The vanities/toilet (but I couldn't get the light fixtures in the pic)
After seeing the pictures, I'm not so sure we made the wrong decision after all!

4. Master walk-in closet

I love the size of our walk-in, and I love that we didn't go with wire racks and shelves. We spent a good amount of money on the closet layout, the only thing I wish had been done differently is, that the high rod on the Her-Side to be wider, since most of my clothes are longer and I need more of the high rod than the lower ones. So now most of my skirts are touching the floor, instead of being hung up high. Also, instead of shelves, drawers would have been nice (but more expensive too!).

This is the rod I'm talking about. I wish it were longer because I have a lot of long coats. I ended up using the His-side too ;)

Not sure you can tell, but my skirts are touching the floor

5. Brick color

Ahhh, what can I say about the brick color. There was a specific color I wanted, but that brick was too expensive. So the brick contractor sent us to subdivisions to look at houses he had done and to pick a brick. Not finding one I liked, I searched online and found a few that seemed nice. The contractor gave us addresses of houses with the brick that I chose and I went to see them and picked one, but I wasn't 100% convinced. I shouldn't have went with it just to get the job done!

This was the brick color I liked:

This is what we ended up using:

Close enough though, right?? It's not that I don't like it, but it's not how I imagined it would be. But I think in the summer I will like it even more.

6. Partial overlay cabinetry

When choosing our cabinets for the kitchen, we had to decide on the wood species, the color, the overlay, and the panel. We went with raised panel, and chose maple and a dark cherry color because that's what we love. As for the overlay, we had the choice between full overlay and partial overlay. Full overlay looks a lot nicer because there are no spaces between the cabinet doors or drawers. But for our kitchen alone, it would have been an extra $1,000. We didn't think the aesthetics was enough of a reason to dish out that kind of money.

Here's how our partial overlay look from the outside:

What we didn't realize, however, is that full overlay has a practical purpose as well. When you open cabinet doors with a full overlay, you have a huge box area for you to use. With standard overlay, there is a divider between the two sides of the cabinet so getting larger items in and out is more difficult. I had a hard time getting my larger kitchen appliances (Stand mixer, Food processor, Slow cooker, etc) into the cabinets because of the divider. One time, as I was pulling the slow cooker out, I had to tilt it to allow it to get out, and in the process the lid fell and broke into a million pieces. Had we realized this before, we probably would have upgraded to full overlay, regardless of its extra cost.

Here's the divider in the middle.

7. Storage space in kitchen

In my previous condo, I had a walk-in closet in the kitchen that I adored. It was the best part of the condo for me and I stored just about everything in there. I used it as a pantry, supply closet, and storage space for larger appliances.

Our earliest plans for the house included a walk-in closet for the kitchen, but the architect and builder convinced us to save space in our kitchen. I do not regret this, I think our kitchen looks great the way it is, and I'm not sure where a walk-in closet would have worked out. And, at the expense of sounding really spoiled, I wish I had an extra pantry. I have plenty of cabinet space, but a second pantry closet or larger cabinet would have made up for the lack of the walk-in closet.
Again, not a big deal, but just something that would have helped me store my larger appliances more easily!

The pantry - closed, then opened

8. Laundry room closet

Along those same lines, I wish we had made a small closet in the laundry room, or mud area, for things like my ironing board, vacuum, sweeper, mop, swiffer, etc. Right now they are all just in my laundry room and I would have preferred a space to hide them in, especially because my son loves to grab them and play with them. While we're at it, a window in the laundry room would have been nice, but we didn't do one because it would have been opened to the garage.

My storage "niche"

The following aren't even regrets, but just things I might consider differently if I were to do it all over again...

9. Carpetting in the basement

We carpetted half of the basement so that our son has a nice place to play when he gets older or has friends over. The thing is, when you go down the stairs, the right side is carpetted, but immediately to the left isn't. So even though half the basement is carpetted, it doesn't feel that way. If I had to do it again, I would have continued the carpetting to the left a few feet so that when you get down the stairs there is still some carpet to the left. Not a big deal of course!

This is the view as you come down the stairs

10. Kitchen sink

If you remember, back in the day I was confused as to which sink to get for my kitchen. I asked around and all but one person told me to get the one-basin, really deep sink, and I regret it!!
I ended up getting a ten-inch deep sink (left), instead of the nine-inch one, and since it's mounted under the cabinet it makes it feel even deeper. I get backaches any time I wash dishes for too long...! It's such a pain.. Literally! I totally wish I got this sink instead, (right).

What do you think about my decisions?

1 comment:

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