Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Regrets & Happy Choices

Beware- extremely long post...

Katie @ Thirteen Acres recently posted a coulda, shoulda, woulda list of both good and bad choices when building their house a couple years ago... ironically, our house was being built at the very same time.  Seeing her list made me realize that I have the very same two lists stored in my head.  Getting them down on paper for future reference is probably a good idea.  Though not in the foreseeable future, there's always a chance we may build again.  So if you're building a home or planning to someday, maybe this will spark some thought.

Regrets/Mistakes (in no particular order):

  • Not finishing the porch- It's still not done, probably because there was never and still isn't a clear picture of the finished product in mind.
  • Doors with more glass lights- The space inside both the front door and the mudroom door would benefit from some natural light.
  • Not finishing the laundry room- It's still not done, probably because of the extra hassle with not having a drain for a laundry tub.
  • No drain for laundry tub- David has a solution to make it work, but it will just take more effort on his part to get it installed.
  • More airflow into office- Three sides of this room are exterior walls and it tends to quickly get cold in the winter and warm in the summer.  Another register or two would have been a good idea, but thankfully David has a solution (even though it won't happen until the basement is completed).
  • Quarter-round moulding on the base trim- It was a bear to paint and gets scuffed easily.  David said there is a way to NOT have to use it, but of course, I wouldn't know what that is.
  • Shower bench too high- I knew the minute I saw it that it was too high for comfortable leg shaving.  How I wish I would have been there the day they were framing it in.
  • Master bath vanity lighting- David asked me if I wanted one or two mirrors above the double vanity and I said one.  Then I changed my mind.  They installed two mirrors but left only one four-light wall sconce.  Call me picky, but it just bugs me.
  • No floor outlet in middle of living room- I'm sure this could be easily remedied, since David is an electrician.  But we all know how that goes.
  • No can lights in living room- The living room only has a ceiling fan light, for which I don't even consider suggesting a more stylish replacement.  The room does get a bit dark in the corners, though I could probably fix it by adding a few more lamps and some bookcase lighting.  Someday.
  • Tile backsplash in kitchen- I'm not gonna hide it- I like subway tile.  It's clean looking, simple and classic.
  • Cabinet wood choice- While I'm sure light pained cabinets would scuff horribly, I can't say I wouldn't choose them anyway. 
I also love the look of dark painted lowers and light painted uppers. Mmm... look at that subway tile!

  • Builder grade lighting and mirrors- I wish we would have simply taken the credit and hit up the local consignment shops and Habitat Restore.  Or at the very least used a little more imagination with the lighting from Lowes and Home Depot.

Lowes light

Lowes light

Hazardous Design Bathroom, Home Depot light

Home Depot light
  • Lack of detail (woodwork, etc)- Crown moulding would definitely help the living room.  And I'd love to have done some wainscoting in the mudroom and bathrooms.  David informs me that doing this correctly would require removing the floor trim... and that's just too much work.  I don't blame him; I wouldn't want to do it either.  For another example of detail see the painted paneling on the ceiling of Anne Turner Carroll's kitchen above.
Happy Choices:
  • Exterior siding/trim color- I wouldn't change this if I could.
  • Exterior door color- Probably won't ever change it.  Other colors would look good too, but the blue is fun and non-traditional.
  • Hardwood throughout- I actually like that we don't have any carpet.  Mostly cause it's an excuse to buy window shop for rugs, but also because spills are not an issue and cat hair has no place to hide.
  • Hardwood flooring color- It's not extremely red.  It's dark enough that it looks current, but light enough that it hides spots and crumbs.
  • Kitchen cabinets to the ceiling- I love, love that we did this.
  • Built in fridge- It's also built back into the wall a bit, making it flush with the countertop.  David gets all the credit for the idea and for making it happen.
  • Sink in island- I love that I can be part of the conversation while making or cleaning up meals.
  • Countertop- I like it even more than the day my sister in law helped me pick it out!
  • Appliance choices- I really like our fridge and that our appliances match (yes, type A).
  • Mudroom- David and his dad carved out a bit of the porch for the mudroom.  It wins the award for the hardest working space.
  • Tile/grout color- Both grey, very modest, hides the dirt like a pro.  There's only one thing I would do differently- have it cut and installed in a herringbone pattern like this...
  • Master bath shower- David negotiated the tile shower with multiple spray nozzles in exchange for my kitchen cabinets to the ceiling.  We have both ended up liking the others' choice as much as we like our own.
  • Master bath & closet layout- Also a very efficient use of space, I think.  I love that the toilet is separate from the sink area.
There are probably more points that could be added, but the most important one is...


"I have seen everything that is done under the sun, 
and behold, all is vanity and a striving after the wind...
...The end of the matter; all has been heard.  
Fear God and keep his commandments for this is the whole duty of man."  
Ecclesiastes 1:14 & 12:13
"Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain." Psalm 127:1
May we seek to use our homes in service to God, a place of love and grace to all we entertain.  If it be children, let us praise and teach, if it be friends, let us listen and encourage, and if it be neighbors or strangers, let us have tender hearts and willing hands.  Should we have two of anything, let us have the wisdom and selflessness to give one away.  Everything we have and are, is not ours.

*read the book of Ecclesiastes for more insights on life.


  1. When we built our home my choices reflected my style at the time and I loved everything-then I moved in-and learned about new products-and saw images on blogs, etc...I guess the grass is always greener.

  2. Oh my goodness, I can't imagine all the choices one faces when building their own home. It must be overwhelming. Well, with time, maybe you can tackle some of these things. Love all of your lighting choices and the paned front doors too.



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