Building your home – must haves vs waste of money

posted 3 years ago in The Lounge
Post # 31
729 posts
Busy bee

– floor to ceiling windows whenever possible (and as much window as you can)

– transom above doors to let even more sunlight to other room

– lots of storage (also want a storage near kitchen specific for cleaning supplies and tools and vacuum cleaner)

– mudroom with closed closet for cloaks and shoes

– toe kick drawer under kitchen cabinet 

– walk in pantry

– electric connection every 5 feet, lots of lighting (not depending only on chandelier) and connection for sconces above fireplace, even if you don’t want to put sconces now.

– no carpet.

– TREESS!! As much tree as I can have/let it near house. We have one tree like 5 feet from our house and totally love it (on top of other tree on our yard too). It makes our southern window not hot during summer and warm enough during winter. 


Basically: as much storage as you can put it, as much access access to sunlight, electric connection, no carpet, trees.

Post # 32
1123 posts
Bumble bee

We’re about to start an extension on our barn conversion house. These were our must haves:

– Two storey living. We are currently one storey and find it creepy sleeping on ground level. It means we can’t leave windows open at night for fear of someone climbing in. And although we live in the countryside on a private road we do get the postman/delivery drivers etc driving past our bedroom window and it always seems to be right as I’m getting dressed! 

– More than one bathroom (we currently only have one so if I’m in the bath Darling Husband can’t go to the toilet. After the extension is done we will have three.

– More bedrooms (currently have two bedrooms, will eventually have five)

– Airing cupboard (not sure if its the same term in the US) I can’t wait to have somewhere to store bedding and towels where they won’t get damp/musty.

– Central heating (sounds obvious but right now we have storage heaters and they are awful)

– As many windows as possible on the correct side of the house (currently we have few windows and the ones we do have are on the side which barely gets any direct sunlight!)

– Main entrance close to where we park our cars

– Porch big enough to store footwear and coats

– Large enough wardrobe to hang most of our clothes


**Nice to haves which we most likely won’t fit into budget**

– Underfloor heating using water pipes rather than electric.

– Double garage

– Self sufficient heating option (ground-source heat pumps, solar panels etc)

– Pantry


**And a few things we already have which are were well worth it:

– Utility room for laundry, washing machine, dryer etc.

– Woodburning stove.

– Island in the kitchen.

Post # 33
70 posts
Worker bee

One must have I haven’t seen listed and didn’t know it was a must have until we recently bought a house with one… A central vacuum system with a toe kick vacuum in the kitchen. I love not having that dust line in the kitchen anymore! Plus vacuuming stairs is a breeze with the hose. (However, I do see you want a single story so that may not be an issue for you.) Tons of storage will also be a must! For some reason men don’t notice storage and closets like women do so make sure and stand your ground on closet space! Floor heat is really the way to go if at all possible, with a single story it would be crazy not to! Another thing I didn’t know I needed until we moved here, outdoor speakers wired into the house above the deck. I love entertaining guests and these are perfect! Storage in the garage. This house doesn’t have any built-in garage storage and it is a pain!

Post # 34
140 posts
Blushing bee

When we built our house, we focused our money on structural things that would be more expensive later to add/change. So we did:

– upgraded kitchen cabinets/layout/island, the build threw in a quartz top as part of a deal as well

– bigger windows in the basement if we wanted to eventually finish it (it came unfinished with just cement walls and insulation by default), as well as a rough-in/pipes for a bathroom if we ever wanted to add one in the basement

– included a fireplace, as well as a gas line to the backyard for our BBQ (no more propane tanks for us!!!)

– added an extra bedroom to make it a 4 bed house instead of 3 (it was a minimal cost and would boost the value significantly in our area)

– got our shower/pipes and heads in our showers about 6inches higher than standard so that we can fit under them properly (DH and i and our families are talllll)

– added ethernet/wired internet to most of our living spaces so we could literally hook up our tech devices (without needing WiFi) wherever we might want

What we didn’t pay the builder to do (and are glad we didn’t):

-Kitchen backslash, this was an easy and mostly inexpensive project to do on our own, esp considering how much the builder wanted to charge for them to do it (it was crazy)

– kept the standard carpet instead of paying for hardwood/laminate in most rooms. In our area it is much more competitively priced to have it put in yourself, rather than have the builder do it. It helps that we are currently a pet/kid free house, and shoes don’t get worn inside either (easier to clean the carpet), so we were fine pushing the expense a couple of years. 

-upgraded light/bathroom/kitchen/other fixtures. None of it was reasonably priced compared to stuff we liked at HD or other building centres

Things we wished we got the builder to do:

-Upgraded our bathrooms to have better tubs/showers/cabinets. Not because it was better priced, but because the size of the project will just be a pain. And i feel our bathrooms will need to be Reno before we sell (not for another 5-8 years at least) as they say it is your kitchen and bathrooms that sell your house. 


I am sure there are a bunch more things, but those are the ones that stick out to me. Good luck with your house design!

Post # 35
9809 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

Closets and a nice kitchen will be the most important things to me when we sell our house and buy a new one.

Also, a long driveway/garage.

Post # 37
3379 posts
Sugar bee

Bathroom: Double vanity with 3-pronged outlets next to BOTH sinks

3 pronged outlets everywhere, really. Our rental only has a few and it drives me nuts.

Post # 38
63 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

I have to say, at least 3 couples I know thought they had to have a nice master whirlpool tub/hot tub and all three moved in, looked at their utility bills, and promptly never used it

Post # 39
1726 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

We just moved into our house in November. It’s new construction but not custom to us (the couple who designed it and were originally under contract for it ended up getting divorced) so the only thing I chose was the paint color on the front door. 

But there are many things I love about this house. 

There is a huge tub in the master bath that IS NOT jetted – so I can take a nice deep soak without worrying about how clean the jets are. 

The floors are a beautiful linoleum that looks like reclaimed hard wood. I always thought linoleum was the cheapo option but this stuff is gorgeous, easier to care for than the real hard wood in our old house, and so far it seems very durable. 

I love having an island in the kitchen. Our sink and dishwasher are in the island along with some storage below. It also has a taller ledge around the other side where we can sit with barstools. It’s also nice when we have people over for dinner – I prefer to serve the meals buffet style and I can easily set that ledge up for that. 

I do wish we had a dedicated linen closet.

And we have a sort of strange floor plan. It’s a split 3 bed/2 bath – with one bedroom (we use it as an office) on the other side of the kitchen/dining/living spaces and then the master bed/bath and guest bed/bath on the other side. We have a guest bathroom immediately next to the master. It seems weird to have both bathrooms on one side of the house and the 3rd bedroom on the other side. Obviously we weren’t deterred from buying the house – but we don’t care for that particular layout quirk. 

Post # 40
937 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2018

spontoise :  My fiance and I are in our second home together (rented the first one, bought this one with the intent to keep it to rent out in the near-ish future), and both times our one bathrooms have been absolutely T I N Y. We don’t get ready at the same time every day, but when we do, it’s honestly so difficult. There’s barely room for two people to stand in there, much less actually get ready. I think if our current one-vanity bathroom were bigger or if we had a secondary bathroom or “getting ready” area elsewhere it wouldn’t be a big deal…but as it stands, I literally dream of the day we’ll have double vanities! 

Post # 41
937 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2018

SLOBee :  outlets are easy to change out, but I don’t know if you can/care to in a rental. Home depot sells adapters for like 15 cents a pop though! 

Post # 42
9173 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

outside entry/exit to basement

i learned this the hard way, when i had to return 2 couches that wouldn’t fit the turn down the basement steps.


plenty of counter space in the kitchen.


Post # 43
3379 posts
Sugar bee

brereuther :  Good to know, thanks! haha I like how my “must” list is a super easy thing to deal with.

Post # 44
937 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2018

SLOBee :  That’s definitely a good thing! 


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