I read this helpful thread at the beginning, in the middle, and towards the end of our project. A couple of things were super helpful. Like the idea to put a gas line going directly to outdoor grill.... we would not have thought of that on our own, and it was much easier to have it done while all the other plumbing was being redone. My parents have that and have always loved the feature. And even though my grill loving husband has almost always had a backup tank of propane in case he ran out, sometimes he would still have to make a quick run to kroger to finish grilling dinner. He grills about 3 times a week, so we've already used the new gas line a ton.
Some things on that list weren't that helpful to us specifically. Like, we didn't want to spend money on a central vac. But little things, like adding dimmer switches, a light switch to our attic, were things I'm glad we did bc of this list. We also had some extra plumbing and electricity lines run so that we could eventually add a few things to the outside of the house in the future if we want to.... Like an outside wash/bath room like they have at the beach. That way the kids don't have to run inside from the pool with wet feet. I could write a HUGE list of things labeled Things I'm So Glad We Thought To Do, (the top one being our decision to raise the ceilings) but on to the 'shouldas':
1. Use tile and counter materials to guide bathroom paint color.
I knew I wanted to use white hexagon and subway tiles in the bathrooms. And white marble for countertops. So, I should have used those two things to help me decide on wall color in the bathrooms. We painted the whole house in Dover White, which is still one of my fav decisions, but in the bathrooms it looks way more yellowish because of all the white tile and counters. If I did it again, I would have taken my tile pieces to the paint store and chosen a different wall color. Maybe just a true white, or maybe something grayish. Luckily, that one is a pretty easy fix if it continues to bug me.
2. Block windows for heavy window treatments
This is really a small detail, but I had read this before on the list, and was sort of talked out of it. I wish we had added 'blocked windows' with extra studs during framing. I like iron curtain rods, and if I want to hang them in a certain spot above and beside the windows, the drill spot would not be on a stud. So, that's not a big deal really, but it is something to think about.
3. Add a gas line on porch for gas lighting.
Why didn't we think to do this?! We would have to go to quite a bit of trouble to add this now. So for now, I like our plain porch lights just fine:)
4. Decide on the EXACT windows 3 weeks before framing.
I already knew I wanted to keep our existing old wood windows downstairs. Not only would this save us money in construction cost, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE the old windows. I KNOW they are not as safe, weather tight and such. But this is where I am so glad I got to decide things like this:))) I love the old windows and the coolness they allow in the winter does not bother me or Isaac one bit. So, they stayed. But I THOUGHT I knew what I wanted as far as upstairs windows go.... I thought I could have all wooden windows on our top floor to match the bottom ones. Not so, I learned once the framer was almost done framing. I was limited on which types of windows I could pick since the framing was almost done. It's the only time in the house project where I was truly mad. We found some clad windows that would look really close to our existing old windows, so I got over it. But not without complaining a lot about it. They came in and looked better than I had expected, which was a happy. But I still like our old downstairs ones the best.
5. Bathtub placement and faucet placement.
I had wanted to salvage our old cast iron tub. Would have saved us about $600 (if i remember correctly) AND I would keep something I found sentimental. And I'm sure that old tub is sitting in a dump somewhere. Bool. Hopefully not. But if we'd planned better, we could have reused it. I didn't think about it mattering which side the tub drain was on. Apparently it mattered for pipe issues. So, once we realized our tub had the wrong side drain, we had to ditch the reuse idea. When it came to our big master tub, I wish I had thought ahead to put the plumbing for faucet on the back wall side of tub, rather than on the front side where Set can turn the water on when he walks by. Hard to explain that one, but things like that are not easy to fix once you decide on them.
6. Get two water heaters if you have a big tub and two shower heads.
We should have done this from the get go, but luckily we figured it out within weeks of moving in.They were able to add another tank under the house pretty easily. For a cost, of course. But, to have hot water for longer, it was so so so so worth it.
7. I would have spent more on faucets.
I picked plain faucets that I still like. But every time I see a really gorgeous faucet, I wish I'd just gone ahead and picked the more pricey ones. Sorry Isaac : ) The ones we have function perfectly, and look nice, so I really shouldn't list this one probably. Yet, it is something I would have done differently.
8. Kept counter remnants.
I went against all advice and chose white marble for all of our countertops minus our butcher block island.
I WOULD DO IT OVER AND OVER AGAIN! I think they're the most gorgeous thing ever. I know some people are laughing in disagreement, but this is where redoing your own house to your own taste is such fun. Freedom in choices! I just so wish I'd had them save my remnants including the squares that came from the sinks. I was told to do this and I forgot. We would have had to store them, but it would still have been nice to have them if I ever wanted them in future. As for the predicted wear on the counters, there are lots of chalky looking spots and etching on my kitchen counters already. Which I think that adds character and makes them more 'aged' which we all know I like. One day I'd love to have them honed. They came polished, so we've left them that way for now.
9. We should have locked up our valuables.
We had an ice maker, some lawn tools, and industrial fans all stolen during the process. We should have removed these valuables and locked them up looking back. Instead, we had to buy a new ice maker (sad bc our old one was a hair better than our new one) and replace the fans. You live and you learn.
10. Be sure on doorknobs and drawer pulls before they drill holes.
I should have waited to choose drawer pulls and doorknobs until the very very end. Like after we moved in. Because it wasn't until all the painting and faucets were installed that I could really tell what I wanted the hardware to look like. I ended up having them fill holes and repaint cabinets in several rooms bc I didn't wait. And I had all the upstairs knobs changed out bc I couldn't stand the ones I chose the first time. I learned that if something bugs me, that I should get rid of it right away, instead of waiting and hoping that I'll warm to the idea. The longer I let something sit, the more trouble it is to fix.
I am sure I will think of more. And now I want to write a list of the things I am so glad we did, bc a ton popped in my head while I typed this.
Overall, for our first time doing anything like this, we did super well. Isaac and I were surprised at how well we got along in the process, too. He was way more creative and open minded than I expected. He could better visualize the space planning than I could ever have hoped to. I think he was happily surprised too by my ability to make choices and decisions when I needed to. It was so so so much fun. So much fun that if I didn't want to live in this house on this street forever, that I might just want to do it all over again :)))