MelissaL
February 6, 2012 in Design Dilemma
Building a custom home.... Any "must" haves/cool ideas you have come across? For example - Outlets on both sides of the front door, water faucets on the porch for plants, or make the flase panels on cabinates flip out for extra storeage?
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Charmean Neithart Interiors, LLC.
What a great question. I have designed many spaces and I have to say it really comes down to practicality for me. Here are a few of my favorites. A second sink in the kitchen (full size if possible), an instant hot faucet at the main sink, magnetic door switches (light comes on when you open door, great for closets), a built-in dirty laundry bin in the closet or bathroom area, bedroom lights switched at bedside, a walk-in pantry, an in-drawer ironing board, a hand shower in all showers, valet rods in closets and finally, ample shoe storage. Let me know if I can provide any further information. Good luck with your new home. Charmean Neithart
51 Likes   February 6, 2012 at 8:17PM
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InsideStyle Home and Design
SO many options! How about radiant heating under the hard surface floors - especially in the master bath area, towel warmers, remote access to all of your electronics and lighting - from an iPad or universal control, In the kitchen - I love a refrigerator drawer down low for the kids or special items. If I was building my own custom home, a wet or dry sauna would be high on the list.
12 Likes   February 6, 2012 at 8:28PM
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MelissaL
What great ideas! Thanks! I am including magnetic door switches on some doors- the walk in pantry being one! Also thinking of making the laundry room door swinging...since arms tend to be full coming and going.
23 Likes   February 6, 2012 at 8:32PM
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charleee
How lucky you are! Here's a suggestion - in the kitchen, place the outlets under the cabinets instead of on the wall? This will allow you to tile the backsplash, if you choose to, and provide a seamless, uninterupted look.
51 Likes   February 7, 2012 at 1:47AM
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TanCalGal
Alarm systems for fire, carbon monoxide, theft. Hot water re-circulator.
5 Likes   February 7, 2012 at 10:27AM
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patten
Electrical outlets on every wall, and at least two cable/internet outlets in each room. It will never be cheaper than now to add them so you have options in the future.
17 Likes   February 7, 2012 at 11:19AM
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Becky Harris
I love having a pot filler, and I am saving up for a tankless water heater. A big bathtub is my biggest luxury item. While I don't care about the jets, I love being able to stretch out and fill it up to my neck.

Rainbarrels and graywater systems would be great to install now while you are building. Building things to be as energy efficient as possible is easiest to do now and will save you tons of money in the long run.
19 Likes   February 7, 2012 at 11:48AM
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Jabelone
I like music so.... put speaker wires in the wall before drywall. Built in speakers in the ceiling is another audio or "surround sound" option. Lighting effects are a nice touch. Not all lighting is for practical reasons, sometimes a rope light hidden behind a beam (for example) can add great interest and mood.
9 Likes   February 7, 2012 at 12:23PM
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Kayron Brewer, CKD, CBD / Studio K B
I would design in a hamper for dirty dish towels in the kitchen or pantry.
29 Likes   February 7, 2012 at 12:55PM
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mousemaker
it's a good idea to have heavy duty power outlets outside, like on a garage or outbuilding, so that you can use them for any outside work, including filling tires with air, yard work, house fixits :)
i have always wanted a mud/snow/sleet/darkofnight room :)
A pantry is a must! as a child i lived on a farm for a while and there was a large and wonderful pantry...one feature i had to have for my new kitchen was a potato bin. yes, i was chuckled at :) but many viewers are jealous!
pull-out bread board is not used, i needed a lot of space for my spices (several drawers and a cupboard full)
a central vacuum system i am told is the best thing ever.
11 Likes   February 7, 2012 at 1:58PM
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mousemaker
a three-seasons room! maybe a room designed for indoor plants? like a breakfast room with a lot of windows?
if you have children to keep safe? many appliances come with child safety features.
5 Likes   February 7, 2012 at 2:07PM
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colcek
I love my sponge storage in the front of my sink. The front of the sink panels hinge down and are lined with plastic mini-bins. It's the perfect cubby for those unsightly sponges.
14 Likes   February 7, 2012 at 2:08PM
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MelissaL
Loving all the ideas! Thanks!
0 Likes   February 7, 2012 at 2:16PM
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jenny
Having the laundry room on the same floor as the bedrooms would be great. Hauling clothes up and down the stairs to the basement is a chore in itself!
19 Likes   February 7, 2012 at 2:23PM
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josieb
1. Outlet by your steps for Christmas garland/lights, same on fireplace mantel.
2. Instead of all those kitchen cabinets on the bottom, put in 2 dishwashers and never unload dishes again ... use and put in the second dishwasher. Also, make all the other bottom "cabinets" drawers. It takes only one movement to see what's inside. Pull out shelves require the room to open the doors and then you have to pull out the drawer.
3. Two ovens as well. You will use them more than you think.
4. Same with clothes washers. Put a small apartment stackable unit in the pantry/kitchen/mudroom area. If your kids are young or you have pets the few times you don't want to lug the really gross stuff upstairs/downstairs to the "real" laundry will be worth it. Also, the sound of laundry going on the main level is just comforting.
5. Make a "pantry" upstairs for blanket, pillow, vacuum cleaner, and luggage storage. These big items are always hard to store.
6. Make sure your house has windows that open on every opposite side of the house. (north/south and east/west)
7. If you end up with a bathroom that has no outside walls and therefore no windows, try to add a sky light. That opens.
8. If you are going to tile the master shower, make sure there is a niche for shampoo, a ledge to rest your foot when you shave your legs, and a bar for washcloths. A bench to sit on will just serve as a low shelf for all your "product".
9. Consider cork flooring. It can go just about anywhere. It's warm, soft, eco-friendly. What's not to like?
10. Most of all, enjoy the process and go about it thoughtfully. Never choose "just to get it done." I hope you have many wonderful years in your new home!!
45 Likes   February 7, 2012 at 5:00PM
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qfiffle
Have a look at this thread with lots of good suggestions!
2 Likes   February 7, 2012 at 5:02PM
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qfiffle
Sorry, the link didn't work. It's here: http://ask.metafilter.com/26522/Home-hacks
4 Likes   February 7, 2012 at 5:02PM
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mjoharen
don't forget a gas line and electricity for your outdoor BBQ and Internet cable for sonos box. interior cat5 doesn't matter so much for devices, but wil matter more for household systems like radiant heating and security lights. don't hold back on recessed lights, speaker wiring and skylights depending on your style and locale. but a sky above your master sinks is very nice.
8 Likes   February 7, 2012 at 5:28PM
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bepsf
Radiant Heat.
Solar panels on the roof.
Tankless water heater.
UV glass on the South and West exposures to minimize fading.
A grey-water system, rainwater capture and dual-flush toilets to conserve water.
Windows placed for cross ventilation, deep roof overhangs on the South and West sides to minimize the use of AC and few doors / windows on the North side to eliminate heat loss in the winter.
16 Likes   February 7, 2012 at 5:30PM
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zweet
Plan the placement for your Christmas tree. Have the electrical outlet controlled by a wall switch. If you like to put "candles" in the windows, have the under window outlets upstairs controlled by a switch downstairs.
Make sure none of your sight lines reveal a toilet.
How difficult will it be to move the furniture up the stairs?
How far will you have to carry the groceries to get them to the kitchen/pantry?
29 Likes   February 7, 2012 at 5:34PM
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zweet
Our new house was going to have a windowless stair hall upstairs, so we're adding interior windows to borrow light fron an adjacent room.

Have at least one extra wide entry for moving the big items in and out (appliances, furniture).
4 Likes   February 7, 2012 at 5:44PM
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zweet
A second refrigerator (even in the garage) is wonderful for holiday meals and for drink storage.
8 Likes   February 7, 2012 at 5:53PM
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MelissaL
@memama. I totally agree on the toilets! I moved the bathrooms around so you would not be looking at a toilet when you opened thebathroom door!
6 Likes   February 7, 2012 at 6:34PM
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diddyoh
I like having at least one electrical outlet and a water source on every side of the outside of the house. If you plan on having a spa outside rune the 220 line now, and might as well run a television cable at the same time.
I love having cable outlets in the master bath where I can soak and watch television. I also put an electrical outlet and cable line high up in the garage so a television would be out of the way and accessible.
Outside electrical outlets near the soffits for Christmas lights, avoids cords running all over the place.
Love my radiant floor heat, especially in the kitchen and bath, where the tile surfaces stay warm, and the floors dry in an instant after mopping!
I also have an affinity for pocket doors, especially if they are double doors, say leading from room to room, they are great on closets too.

Good luck and have fun with the new house!
12 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 2:58AM
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cnorthcott
I second the idea for a gas line outside for the BBQ grill. We have one and we love the fact that we never have to refill a propane canister!
10 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 3:27AM
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keadog
Great thread! We're about to start a build also - we went with a pocket door in the pantry & laundry rooms. Conserves interior wall space in these smaller rooms.
12 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 3:36AM
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alex511
1. Put in a beverage refrigerator in the kitchen. It frees up space in your refrigerator (and is great if you have kids).
2. When in doubt, add more windows. We just had a house built, and I wish we had put in more windows for more natural light to come in.
3. Use foam insulation on exterior walls--a MUST!
4. Consider putting insulation in the ceiling of a room that has surround sound so as not to impact rooms above it. I can hear the TV in our master bathroom like I was in the same room! I'm just glad it's the bathroom and not the bedroom.
5. Definitely recommend putting in speakers in rooms where you think you will want to listen to music.
6. I agree with the recommendation of a second sink in the kitchen.
7 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 3:40AM
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nassaumary
On the subject of power outlets, if you are thinking of situating your couch away from a wall, consider outlets in the floor so that you can have lamps on either side or behind the couch. If you rearrange furniture, the outlets are nothing that a rug can't hide...
27 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 4:03AM
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nassaumary
Oh, and build your closet large enough to put your dressers in...nice to have a room just for sleeping or lounging and leave all the clothing 'stuff' in the one area.
18 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 4:04AM
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iGlass Pty Ltd
Everything listed below all makes sense but if you want to add a real WOW factor, then you should incorporate iGlass into the design. iGlass is switchable glass that changes from opaque to clear at the flick of a switch, great for use in bathroom windows or as a shower screen where privacy and natural light do not always get to play hand in hand.
If you will be building in the second half of this year, you might like to consider dimmable glass from iGlass. This will be able to be used in external glazing of your house and when integrated with a home automation system will darken automatically as the sun hits the facade of your home.
To give you an idea as to what intelligent glass will be able to do in the near future take a look at this new video posted last week. http://www.corning.com/news_center/videos/ADayMadeofGlass2.aspx
make sure you make allowances in your design to incorporate these new ideas tomorrow.
14 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 4:04AM
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jillgriffin
We just finished building. The things I wish I had done:
1. Sponge storage in the front of the kitchen sink panel
2. Kitchen towel racks hidden near the sink
3. Cupboard with pull down ironing board
My favorite features:
1. Dimmers on all the light switches
2. Deep drawers in the kitchen instead of lower cabinets. No more stooping and reaching to the back recesses of cabinets. I LOVE them.
3. Charging station in a cabinet with pocket doors at the edge of the kitchen
4. Cabinet with pocket doors to house microwave, toaster and coffee maker so they are convenient, but you simply close the cupboard door to hide them.
23 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 4:59AM
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lemi
Central Vacuum system & incorporate it in your kitchen kickplates & baseboards in other rooms with hard surfaced floors if possible. This way you can sweep the dirt right over to the kickplate & it is sucked away!
17 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 5:36AM
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dawnwinds58
Must haves:
1-The best stove venting hood system I can afford. (We cook a lot.)
2-Dish drawers rather than overhead cabinets you can never find anything in.
3-Reverse Osmosis water filtration system on all faucets in the kitchen. ie: icemaker, instant hot water, pot filler over cooktop.
4-tankless water heater under kitchen sink for all kitchen water. (only a cold line need be run to kitchen, no heat energy lost by water sitting in pipes and no running the water till it gets hot, more efficient.)
5-The largest walk-in pantry I have space for to get stored food OUT of my kitchen space. (less heat on stored food = fresher longer)
6-Pocket doors to release that swing path to become usable space.
7-built-ins to store things you have to keep, but tend to take up space or just lay around cluttering things. (blankets, extra towels, computer supplies, large kitchen equipment like colanders, cookie sheets, even pizza pans.
Give them a home.)
8-A bath drawer set up for hair dryers, curling irons, hot rollers etc. that has its own power supply inside the drawer. No more laying around or having to unplug and wrap cords.
9-Make plans for ventilation and air flow to assist heating and cooling the home. Passive venting by roof design and window placement is 100s of years old in the south. (Just because it isn't high tech doesn't mean it won't work. Plan for cool in low and heat to pass out at the ceiling line.)
10-A morning kitchen hidden in the dressing room between the bedroom and bath. A small microwave, toaster, and coffee/tea maker with mini-fridge can make lazy mornings and rushed exits a lot easier and more enjoyable.

Un-numbered but most important, always include as much green tech as you can. It's your money, why spend it on utility bills if you don't have to.
It just makes sense.
22 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 5:50AM
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denisez
2 dishwashers!!! Our custom house is 18 years old and we added the 2nd dishwasher in the pantry/mud room (big walk through from garage) 15 years ago. We plan to remodel kitchen & bring it in.

A switched outlet or 3 outdoors for holiday lights.... then label the switch(es) so you remember year to year :-)

You cannot underestimate how much better drawers are than base cabinets!

Gas cooktop; electric (convection) ovens
5 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 5:57AM
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rrpollack
We're building in VA and designed the house with south windows and large overhang for heat gain in the winter when the sun is low and shade in the summer when the sun is high. All the window coatings were individually selected based on the side of the house and whether or not the window was protected from the sun. If you want passive solar gain on the south you don't want Low E with argon. Low E 366 window glazing is great where you want to protect from heat gain but it greatly cuts the visible light gained.
Look into AAC block construction. Fire proof, insect proof, mold proof, rot proof,noise dampening and mass (for retaining temperature balance) and insulation are integral. The walls breath and no drywall, studs etc are needed for exterior walls,. I am loving it.
We also put in a 2000 gallon tank to store rainwater off the roof. It goes under ground, so you don't know it's there except that you always have free water for irrigation and flushing your toilets.
8 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 6:18AM
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pursue
You might consider plugs by all the toilets in case you decide to install Toto Washlets. They are a wonderful luxury to have and would be very useful as you age! They are easy to install if the plug is already in place.
10 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 6:27AM
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sherillb
Consider in floor heating for basement and garage. Geothermal for heating. Agree with large closet to include dressers. Love my front and back porches. Compare at least three quotes for everything. Include/hire all your talented friends and family. Take lots of pictures.
3 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 6:47AM
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millerwm
I agree - the central vac system is a must - had one in a previous house I built and it was worth every penny! Including the kickplate.. I really miss it now.
Using LOTS of drawers instead of base cabinets. So much easier to find things.
Mud room with a closet for all of the coats, jackets, etc
These are a couple things on my "must have" list when I build again.

Also - if you know you have a heavy mirror or picture to hang and know where you want to hang it use a scrap piece of wood from the framing and nail it between the studs before drywall goes up. Gives you something to nail in to.
15 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 6:56AM
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Ventana Construction LLC
So many of the ideas that we recommend are already mentioned above. A few more:
A drawer with a built-in outlet to serve as a charging station for electronics
Choose a "media station" area to host your security, tech an other low voltage needs so that all the electrical can chase back to one location.
Add a timer to your towel warmer so it's not on all the time.
Add a humidistat to your bath fans so that they cycle off once they've cleared the air. And the best money you spend will be on a quiet exhaust fan in baths and laundry.
Use cast iron waste lines at least on vertical runs so that you don't hear a waterfall of water when someone uses the plumbing above you.
Get a level 5 finish on drywall in rooms with alot of windows.
Insulate around laundries and baths and between bedrooms for noise reduction.
Insulate between floors or use RC channel when ceiling sheetrock is hung to reduce noise as well.
Install flush-mount wood floor registers in your new wood floors.
Install an in-counter composting container.
Install a counter-mounted "air switch" for your disposal.
Roughin for solar even if you don't install it right away.
Install extra blocking in the walls at closets and bathrooms (particularly places where you might want to add shelving or grab bars in the future)
Think universal design (wider doorways, fewer stairs, spaces everyone can use)
Don't forget landscape lighting, or water or gas...outdoor fireplaces are a great feature!
Anne / Ventana Construction Seattle, WA
21 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 7:06AM
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MelissaL
Thank you all for the continued responses!
2 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 7:10AM
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Texas Lightsmith
I just saw a posting that showed little doors in the kitchen wall for trash and recycling chutes that went into the garage! Ba da bing! I thought that was pretty smart... as long as the kitchen is next to the garage ;)
15 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 7:15AM
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Texas Lightsmith
the grey-water system is a great tool for watering the lawn and conserving tons of water! the only possible draw-back (which is a good thing) is that you have to use certain soaps and detergents that are bio-friendly as we should anyhow. :)
5 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 7:17AM
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ohmaar
Here are a few of my favorite things:

Mailbox bell! (A different-toned doorbell activated by an old, re-purposed garage-door opener transmitter.)

Hybrid tankless water heater (more efficient than simple tankless)

Natural gas "spigot" on the back deck that I plug my natural gas grill into. (Never run out of gas in the middle of a BBQ again!)

Drip irrigation lines to every planter on the deck.

Electrical outlets every 6 feet (including outdoor fixtures on the porch/deck.)

RG6, CAT5 and Fibre run through a single chase to every room.

No central vac (existing construction), so I hacked an old HEPA-filtered vacuum body into the back of one of the cabinets in my kitchen island and created my own kick-plate switch for sweeping in the kitchen.

In the laundry room, TV, wall-cabinet ironing board, and enough counter space so multiple children can fold clothes simultaneously (!!)

iPad-controlled lighting and TV in the bedroom. His and her dual iPad and iPhone charging docks on the bedside tables. ;-)
7 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 7:23AM
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Maxam Architecture: David Maxam, AIA
1. Get a Nest brand thermostat for whichever heating system you choose.

2. Windows for light from 2 directions in every room where possible.

3. Don't skimp on front door hardware. Pick a stylish handle set that really plays up the style of the house.
5 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 7:58AM
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honeybare
Pot filler most definateley. Would never build another house without one. Electrical outlets are every 3 feet, usually putting them in the MIDDLE of a window. I would put electrical outlets at the edges of the windows - for plugging in Christmas decorations especially.
Gas connection for the deck BBQ.
Switches by the bed for night time. Hate getting up when your already warm and cozy!
Extra outlets in the office if you can decide where your desk is going.
We have 110v and 220v outlets in our gym - some equipment takes the higher voltage.
The backing in bathrooms and closets is a must. We actually put plywood before the drywall in our bathroom so we could hang bars/hooks/mirrors wherever we needed. No more pulling out of the wall when hanging things up.
We put a small base shower right by our front door to rinse off muddy boots and for veggies from the garden and such. It gets alot of use.
10 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 8:20AM
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Lisa Trapanese
Use the space otherwise allocated for plumbing a bidet for plumbing an area for the cats to use with quick flushing/disposal as for toilet/bidet effluent.
2 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 8:39AM
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bwl8585
1. Dimmers on every light switch.
2. Install an ice maker in your pantry instead of in the kitchen. They are noisy but extremely valuable in the summer.
3. Built in Shelving everywhere you can afford it, bedrooms included.
4. EXTRA wide stairs. My husband measured his sneakers (size 13) and added an inch or two. People compliment us all the time about how easy it is to climb stairs in our house!
5. Don't go to the expense of real stone in all your shower stalls. We did in all four and I regret it. There are great tile products out there which mimic real stone for a lot less.
6. Wire your outdoors for Low voltage lighting, including light fixtures at the street or down the driveway. Then make sure the switch is someplace convenient.
7. A tub in the garage us a must. We tucked one into a deep closet.
8. Don't use cedar siding or cedar tiles anywhere on the outside. Insects love to nest in it.
9. Whatever is recommended for soundproofing between floors, add it and a little more. Guests in the downstairs bedrooms can hear our dog doing her "Is breakfast ready?" dance through the ceiling.
10. Get It All In Writing - especially the change orders so no one is confused about colors/quantities/dimensions/cost.
11. Someone already said this but it's worth repeating . . . a cabinet or drawer next to your sink with an electrical outlet built in gives you options to keep your hair dryer plugged in, add a lighted mirror for makeup applications or keep your electric toothbrush plugged in but out-of-site. I even have a small fan tucked away!
12. Speaking of fans, living in the South means we're hot when we come in to change clothes. I put a miniature ceiling fan in the middle of our closet. Aaah!
11 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 8:55AM
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Joseph F. Yencho, Design/Builder
Hey Melissal, For energy eff. try incorporating "airlock" areas off the front and back doors. Will there be a mudroom area? And you should really have a www.Realcookingkitchen.com in your design. Only way to fly (or cook) in new built homes LOL.
3 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 9:35AM
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mbwhite618
We are in the middle of building a custom home and have many of the ideas above incorporated into the plans. Two ideas that I don't see are installing the highest efficiency gas furnace(s) you can afford and adding electrical outlets in cubbies to charge phones, iPods, iPads, etc. Good luck!
2 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 9:40AM
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dontweten
I loved having and miss in my other house Intercom system w/ aGREAT stereo system (cleaning with music playing) answer the door without leaving your basement or movie playing, I also wondered how it would be to have central vacuum (one day).
2 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 9:43AM
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Mona Ives
I admit i got tired of reading all the other replies, so my apologies for any repeats:

Think about your floor plan when designing windows and doors - I had a client design their own house in 2005 and was obsessed with natural light/windows - problem is there's so place for the TV in the family room. Give some thought to how you'll furnish each room before adding windows and doors.

Pocket doors are a great one - and can be next to impossible to do after.

Think about wiring really hard.

Everyone has given you awesome suggestions - my best suggestion would be:

While building - it's ok not to finish something if you're unsure, can't find the price you want, or can't get the style you want on your current budget. Don't do something just to finish! You will regret this. When I was building my home in 05, our budget was running out and to get reimbursed on our construction loan we had to show "substantial progress" which meant I had to put in some floors that I regret putting in and have since replaced, etc. There were several items like this that we did because we had to do something and were running out of money. Don't do it. You'll just spend more in the long run. Leave some things unfinished and finish them after you occupy.

If you can't decide upon something, live in the house for a while first before doing it. When I built my house originally, I had thought I would continue to entertain crowds every weekend and made my front room into an additional living space that could seat and hold more guests - with a french door opening up to the family room. Great for parties. But 1-2 years later, as it turns out I'm too busy with my clients to entertain that much and I wish I had made the front room into a den/library that I would've used daily. My office is far too small. I am now planning an expensive re-do. So it doesn't hurt to leave things alone for a bit before deciding what to do. Be as flexible as you can so your spaces can be re-purposed when your l
8 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 9:55AM
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swese
We just finished our home it took us 2 years. You will always forget something. These are somethings that I love and some advise:

1. Lighting lighting lighting. We had a lighting "designer" help us. Putting in art lights dimmers chandelers and sconces, even up light on columns, I would never have thought to. It make a huge difference people can't put a finger on it but they always say that there is something different about our house. I got the idea from Candice Olsen love her shows she always has a focus on lighting, knew I wanted it, need help to get there.
2. We did a toto toliet just in our master not really that big of a splurge we bought ours on line it is really just a seat that fits on the toliet that you plumber installs but you have to have power!
3. I love that we put in framed mirrors in all the bathrooms, start looking now there are some great ones and looks so much better that the "builder mirrors"
4. We also did the christmas light switches super great.
5. One thing that we missed is we have a few windows that are high and we wished that we had wired to these to have motorized shades.
6. We also did radiant heat love it, but be warned it is a lot more money. You still have to have all the furnaces you would have with a forced air system to circulate the air. Super nice twice the price!
7. Spent time think of thing that would make your home uniquely yours. We put in a London Phone booth door where a small closet would have been because we didn't need the storage space. Also, we have a dumb waiter (for the big costco trips, because our garage is in the basement) and hide it behind a chalkboard. No one ever knows it is there. Also, we put a craft room for our daughter under the stairs. When we started our build she was 8 and when we finished 11 so plans changed from play house to craft area.
8. One regret we bought a pre-made vanity in our main level guest bath, I thought oh that room won't be used much. Regret it is by fa
3 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 9:56AM
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Mona Ives
life changes.

Then lastly, find some exciting luxury/spluge item. My dad (an architect) designed a double-sided fireplace in one of his clients' master bedroom that was also right above the master bathroom tub. I think it's crazy, but the clients love it. So find that one crazy item you'll love and put some money behind it.
5 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 9:57AM
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roch503
Just moved in to our custom built home. Let me add a few things that I love that I haven't seen listed:

1. Laundry chute (such a traditional idea but looove it!)

2. If you're a cat person: Cat cabinet in laundry room. It spans 3 cabinets with a hole in one door for her to jump through. It houses the cat box and food bowl, away from the dog. ;)

3. Lockers in the laundry room for each person's shoes, coats, back packs. Just wish I'd put outlets and a shelf in each one for cell phones, etc.

4. Cutting board above garbage drawer. The cutting board has a hole in it so when you're done chopping, you just open the garbage drawer and push the refuse through the hole into the garbage can or compost bin.

5. Light switches by bed for room lights AND for country dwellers, swittches for outdoor flood lights.

6. Custom made dog gate across stairwell base so dogs don't have free access to carpeted bedrooms. It is on special hinges so that we simply lift the gate up out of the hinges when company comes.

7. Extra sound proofing around powder room and pipes from upstairs bathrooms.

Have fun with your custom design!
8 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 10:33AM
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concordorbust
In our previous home we had one light switch in the master bedroom beside the bed to turn on all the outside flood lights. There was a piece of mind knowing if we heard anything during the night one switch would turn them all on.
7 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 10:42AM
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fyli
A few people suggested auto-lights in pantry and closet. I have a love hate relationship with my auto-light in the master closet. I love the convenience 90% of the time, but hate when I periodically need privacy for changing and can not entirely shut the door. I wish it had a motion sensor!

I love the suggestion about swinging door for laundry room.
3 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 10:55AM
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mousemaker
i feel really inadequate compared to all the wonderful responses..:(
i don't know much about the gas line install, but for some reason a red flag went up when i read the suggestion for a gas line hook up to the BBQ. i am sure it is convenient and saves the refill trips..but it just sounds like a disaster waiting to happen..please make sure you if you do it, to do it safely.
my experience in remodel is only with my old, creaky home :) so i am not up on the new materials, etc. i do know that as we age, our needs change with regard to how we use our kitchens and bathrooms in particular. i don't know if you want to plan ahead or if you will be having visitors with those kinds of needs, but it might be worth considering.
i have found that our new tankless water heater and water softener have made a huge difference. one of those is that it keeps new appliances working and looking better.
we had a laundry chute installed in this old creaky house :) and it's the best thing ever!!
if you are searching for landscape ideas and information? every library should have Gertrude Jekyll, Elizabeth Lawrence, and Katharine White.
4 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 11:01AM
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bepsf
One other thing that I've found most useful in my apartment:

Rather than closets - frame out alcoves for built-in wardrobe systems that include drawers, hanging space, shelves, etc. It's a much more efficient use of space than closets.

Also - Planning a space for the Wifi, Printers, chargers for Phones and iPads, etc - preferably someplace near your entrance where you can also drop keys, briefcases/purses, etc.
6 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 11:32AM
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catwhit
Consider magnetic induction cooktop. Runs on electricity, but heats/cools as fast as gas. No gasline in kitchen required. LOVE my induction cooktop!
8 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 12:51PM
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Patricia Federico
A full length mirror in every bedroom or bathroom. And I like to have two dishwashers in the kitchen if you have a large family or enjoy entertaining.
2 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 1:26PM
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sharpesl
A separate laundry room, and be sure to incorporate the imporant slop sink. You don't want to be washing those paint brushes or dumping dirty buckets of water in your kitchen sink. I don't know what we'd do without ours, and it's super great for washing those large roasting pans.
4 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 1:54PM
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mousemaker
I know the trend is towards ebooks and electronic media, but if you have a large collection of books? (guilty guilty) you might consider a library.
6 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 2:02PM
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ifulton
We built 18 months ago. This is the home where we will retire when the time comes so we considered our future needs. In the kitchen, we had corner lazy susan's installed in the upper and lower cabinets and drawers under the cooktop. The plan didn't provide a walk-in pantry, but the shelves behind our cabinet pantry all roll out. All doors are wider than average in order to "age in place" and walls in bathrooms were re-enforced with boards that will support future handrails, all hidden behind the dry wall. Showers include a seat.

I had an appliance garage built in our master bath with electrical outlet to house my personal appliances (i.e. hair dryer, flat iron, etc). On the opposite side in my closet are wonderful shelves floor to ceiling! Both our closets have shelves with open bins/baskets.

Tankless water heater and foam insulation have already paid for themselves as far as energy savings are concerned! Great investment.

In an extra closet, place shelves for those items you use rarely (i.e. grandmother's silver chest). In the bottom area, place a rod 43-45 inches from the floor so you will have a place to hang your tablecloths, runners etc. I'm so glad that I used this instead of having 2 coat closets in the guest hall.

You're smart to ask for advice, enjoy your new home!
3 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 2:11PM
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tsudhonimh
Power outlets on ALL sides of the house, so you can run power weed trimmers and lawn mowers without a mile of extension cord.
5 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 2:13PM
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Patricia Federico
I love all the creative ideas everyone has come up with. Makes me want to build my own house.......
3 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 2:22PM
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molega2008
We just finished, well almost, our log home and I would suggest plug-ins in the floor. Our furniture is arranged away from the walls so running chords to wall outlets would have not worked. I thought of it for the great room but not for the basement. Not sure how I missed that!
Also, light sensors in all your closets.
Make sure you have planned for ample lighting and put dimmers on.
Another thing would be if you have central vacumn, to have a suction in the
toekick around the sink area. Great for sweeping the floor, no need for a dustpan.
Here's a picture of the place we built.
22 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 2:23PM
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shodgson
Hi. Really think about areas to keep family members shoes that are taken off at the front door. Think about a dedicated pet feeding area. If you have children think carefully about bathroom storage for bath toys. We included a drawer beside the bath and it works really well.
3 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 4:50PM
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youngh
Just a couple thoughts I always have in case I ever get to build a home....

Good insulation for temperature control -- but also between floors of the house, especially if you have hard floors or speakers in the ceiling, to help control noise issues.

Laundry room (not walkway from garage) with large sink and counters.

Outlets strategically placed for holiday decorations (in and out).

That's all for now. Have fun! :)
3 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 5:31PM
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m_freddie
Bathroom outlets in the bathroom cabinet! With electric toothbrushes and razors there is always something charging on our bathroom counter and it drives me crazy!
8 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 5:35PM
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dafjt
I am looking at adding those "pop-up" things at the back of the countertop that hold a tv, knives, etc., and you can put them back down when you're done, leaving a clean countertop! Any structural things that you would like, would take priority, since "cosmetic" things can be done later, if necessary. For example, 10 ft. ceilings in the entire house, windows, skylights, wiring, etc., will be less expensive and more do-able when the house is being built.
3 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 6:12PM
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jblom
Best thing I have seen lately in new homes with finished basements that will be a must have for me in my next house is stair rails to the basement that are on hinges so you can lift the stairs toward the basement ceiling and move furniture easily in and out. It's awesome! Have seen it with glass walls that slide out also.
1 Like   February 8, 2012 at 6:53PM
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hnelson
Lived in Japan for 7 years. All homes/apartments have built in shoe storage in their entryway so shoes never go in the house. The favorite one we had was a full walk in closet that housed all shoes for our family of 4, plus had room for umbrellas and shelves for our "pocket" items such as keys, wallets, purses, id badges, iPods, etc. it even had room for our coats. When we move back, I will find a way to have this in any home I buy/build.

Built in espresso machine.
7 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 6:55PM
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djsherry
We put in almost all of these ideas when we built our house. Walk through each room in your mind and how you'd use it daily.. Also make a list of what you like (and don't like) about where you live now. Plan on universal access-we also put in taller toilets, not so low to sit..amazing the difference to makes, even if your not that old. Havel fun.
3 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 7:10PM
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amyn
Agree with built-in speakers in key rooms, and don't forget to add speakers outside for patio/deck. Great for parties.
Dimmers on lights in public rooms.
Pantry and linen closet doors that swing out, not sliding or bypass doors. Always stuff in the middle you can't see.
Think "good bones" like plenty of windows, 9 foot ceilings, large openings to rooms and hardwood floors all over. Those things are hard to add. You can other things over time, like built in bookcases in office or family room, crown moldings, etc. as the budget allows.
Rough in for central vac, even if you can't afford the vac system now. You can always buy/add that later.
Built in gates at stairways (built from same materials as your railings) for kids and dogs. Looks so much nicer and they function better too.
Charging station somewhere other than the kitchen - out of sight.
Have fun!
3 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 7:24PM
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ej610
Got to have a bench in a shower area.
2 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 7:30PM
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Julie Frisina
Wow, I am currently doing our house plans and all the above info has given me some really good ideas to include in my plans.
Something interesting to add, is whether you have thought about a scullery which leads to outside. I have included one in our plans, mainly because I like growing veg and can bring it into the scullery to wash etc.. also great to store an extra freezer...
Low light switches, great for kids and people in wheelchairs
5 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 8:51PM
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tracemac
Outlet in walk in closet in case you want to hide the ironing board.

In the great room, think about where your flat screen may be and put an outlet about 5 feet up to hide the cords.

Built in speakers in every room you want to listen to music.

Under cabinet lightening.
3 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 8:52PM
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kamcgee
Wow, so many great suggestions - I may want to build again!

A couple of suggestions on lighting:
- A professional lighting designer is well worth it! Will suggest great ideas you never knew existed.

- Walk around and imagine where you will want wall switches so you don't have to walk across a room or entry to turn on/off lights. Bedside controls are great.

- Consider a lighting system with all-on/all-off features. We installed these at our front door, door to garage and bedside in master bedroom. SO GREAT to turn lights all-off when you go to sleep or leave the house! Ours has ability to program buttons to control sets of lights, i.e. turn on essential lights when you come into the house in the dark.

Good luck!
5 Likes   February 8, 2012 at 9:06PM
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pl7711
I love my outlets located inside my closets so that iphones, ipads, etc. can be recharged on a closet shelf instead of out in the open. Also, we have placed a shallow (12 inches deep) full closet with shelving in each of the bathrooms for all those bottles, hair dryers, mirrors, toilet tissue, towels, clothes steamers etc. We have purchased pleasant clear storage boxes at the Container store and EVERYTHING is nice, neat, organized and in one place, without having to purchase extensive expensive cabinetry. Don't forget under cabinet lights in the kitchen. Pocket doors in strategic places can be just wonderful. And a complete luxury but once you have had it, you can never do without - his and hers master baths. The gentlemen don't seem to mind having a small bathroom to themselves, and you can make the larger more lavish bathroom with the tub (he can use it whenever he wants) in the ladies bath. Yum. Scrumptious!
5 Likes   February 9, 2012 at 2:32AM
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Colleen Fitzpatrick
I would consider installing a grab bar in every shower in the house. It's for safety at any age, and support not just for the elderly, but for anyone with an injury. It's something that should be designed in before building, because it requires extra bracing.
5 Likes   February 9, 2012 at 5:00AM
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christydrew
Believe it or not, I love having two dishwashers on either side of the sink! We had the room and so we went for it. Now I can't imagine not having two of them.
It seems like you are always unloading the dishwasher to reload the dishwasher.
With two of them--it never happens! I love it and I would do it again!
4 Likes   February 9, 2012 at 6:36PM
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tractormama
I'm now building my first (and probably last) home. I spent almost two years thinking about it. Here's my list of must-haves I'm incorporating:
1. One handicapped accessible outside entry from garage, plus a bathroom, master bed, laundry, and all entertaining spaces, including the screened porch. 3-foot wide doors. We all grow older and we can experience mobility issues at any age or with family and friends who visit. Tops on my list were taller toilets for all the bathrooms -- oh, the luxury -- and they cost no more, and main floor laundry.
2. Easy to clean and keep clean: All floors are hardwood, tile, or vinyl, with area rugs.
3. Easy and cheap to heat/cool. Utility rates are going up, up, up & we all have some responsibility to do what we can: I used low E windows, geothermal heating and cooling (from the pond), solar panels, 2 by 6-inch wall studs, good insulation. The geothermal also has a bonus: provides some hot water. However, I didn't go for top of the line windows, insulation, etc. Some of those use more energy to make than they will save. I also found most parts made in the US and got a great deal on the solar, otherwise it would not have been cost-effective to import from China.
4. Wide roof overhangs and some rain barrels. A couple of DIY rain chains for fun.
5. I used pocket doors to save space and allow easy access in several places.
6. All showers include a detachable hand held as well as the standard shower head. Grab bars in each bathroom and bracing installed for adding more if needed.
7. An outside shower for coming in from the garden, a swim in the pond, or washing the dog.
8. Wall cubbies on the hall side of the walk-in pantry for pet food and water bowls that sit off the floor.
9. Bench in a niche by the backdoor to pull on boots, stow shoes under, hang hats, jackets, and dog leashes over, and shelves and cubbies for recharging, stowing stuff to take or drop off, or whatever.
10. Water faucets and outside outlets all around the hou
6 Likes   February 9, 2012 at 7:02PM
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pursue
We have had two dishwashers for over 25 years. It has been very nice. I think it is more efficient to have one dishwasher and sink near the table area and the dish storage area and one in the preparation area of the kitchen. We use both dishwashers on a daily basis. When the children were home, they could always help so easily with the dishwasher for just the dishes. Now my spouse handles the "dish" dishwasher and I handle the preparation dishwasher. It has made my life so much easier. Some of my friends have two dishwashers, but do not use them on a regular basis because they are not that convenient. They only use them around the holidays or other big events.
1 Like   February 9, 2012 at 7:04PM
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1maps
What fantastic ideas! I agree with so many of them. Other thoughts:
- wet bar in family room or entertaining room
- gas fireplaces (unless you live in an area where you really need serious heat from wood-burning fireplaces)
- every bedroom has its own full bathroom (love this one!)
- "taller" cabinets in bathrooms so that users aren't doing lots of bending over when doing sink tasks
- consider a skylight in any bathroom that doesn't have a window
- ceiling fans in bedrooms, and consider remote controls so they can be operated from in bed
- cabinet-depth refrigerator, or situate the refrigerator so it backs up to an area (e.g., a garage) where you can build in a recess so that a regular-depth refrigerator can fit without sticking out into the kitchen floor space
- conduction flat cooktop (very fast and efficient cooking)
- operable drawers under the cooktop that can hold all utensils
- hardwood floors in the kitchen
- storage cabinet over the built-in ovens/microwave that incorporates vertical dividers (great for storing trays and cookie sheets)
- use only drawers (no doors) on lower kitchen cabinets
- garage that enters into or pretty close to the kitchen so you don't have to trek through the whole house, or up the stairs, with packages
- Silgranit (granite/composite combination) sink in kitchen (low maintenance, beautiful, resists chips & scratches, safe up to 400+ degrees)
- trash compactor
- large (formal?) dining room
- tray ceilings (beautiful)
- generous crown moldings (also beautiful)
- bay windows (add space and provide areas of interest rather than just flat walls)
- if a 2-story house, front and back staircases if possible
- lots of extra insulation above garage, so any bedroom/bathroom above it won't be cold in winter or hot in summer
- whole-house surge protector
- back-up generator
- motion-sensing security lights outside on all sides of house
- security system on all doors and windows, rather than being motion sensors (that
3 Likes   February 10, 2012 at 7:18PM
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1maps
Continued -- (I have lots of ideas, and I ran out of space) :)
- security system on all doors and windows, rather than being motion sensors (that way, you can arm the system and still be moving around in the rooms)
- deadbolt locks on all outside doors and door to basement
- full bathroom on main floor (especially good for elderly or post-surgical people) & of course include grab bars in tub/shower area
0 Likes   February 10, 2012 at 7:25PM
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mousemaker
i'm sure we are all invited to your housewarming :) :) and i will bring bread, salt, and wine...
5 Likes   February 11, 2012 at 7:46AM
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PRO
Hilsabeck Design Associates, Inc.
If you haven't thought about it already, I would add an Outdoor Kitchen to your new home. It is a lot more economical now at the beginning stages than to add one later. Depending on where you live, a well designed outdoor kitchen is just like having an additional room that would be utilized every day. Be sure to include a Dishwasher; yes they make them for outdoors now, so not only is it easier to clean after a BBQ, but also it provides great storage when not in use.
1 Like   February 11, 2012 at 9:26AM
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zweet
Loving bwl8585's suggestion re deeper stair treads!
How deep are they? We're still in the design phase where we can make a change like this without incurring extra fees; appreciate any feedback. Thanks!
0 Likes   February 11, 2012 at 11:36AM
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MelissaL
Come one come all to the party.....but you will have to travel to Houston!
6 Likes   February 11, 2012 at 11:39AM
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hilltop1155
Thanks for thinking of this! It's really helpful to me too, since we are in the process of building a custom home. Here are some of my thoughts:

- Large closet at the back door where we keep all our own coats, shoes, etc.
- Large closet at the front door that's empty, for guest coats, shoes, etc.
- Warming drawer in kitchen, especially if you only have one oven
- Warming drawer in the bath for towels (Jacuzzi makes them)
- Custom cabinet with outlets and recessed area to drop cords into, at the edge of the kitchen, used for charging station, laptop desk
- Solatube tubular skylights in master closet, master bath & kitchen - with dimmers and lights inside
- Tip-out cabinet in bathroom with outlet inside and holders for blow dryer and curling iron
- Large, barrier-free shower
- 32" minimum (usually 36") doors throughout for possible future wheelchair access (it's our last home)
- Separate toilet room in master bath
- No stairs (I've had them, they're beautiful, hate going up & down stairs - plus there's that possible future wheelchair access. If you do stairs, put wood treads on them and not carpet.
- LED lighting wherever possible, including in risers of outside steps
- Lots of landscape lighting - plan ahead to run electrical outside where needed
- Baking center in kitchen with all the baking essentials at hand
- Dimmable, recessed light fixtures at the corners of the dining room (chandelier in the middle of the room) - it lights up the room more evenly
- LED undercabinet lighting in kitchen, alcove lighting on top
- Lights in all the closets

One last thing that I did on my current home : Think ahead about where you want your wall outlets. Too many contractors want to put them every six feet no matter how that falls. Think about your furniture placement & put make sure they go where you'll need them. Also make sure thermostats won't interfere with your wall decor.
4 Likes   February 11, 2012 at 3:55PM
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biggreeneggtable
Plan for an outdoor kitchen by running cables, speakers, plumbing now. It will save plenty of aggrivation and money later.
Under vanity lights in the bathroom that come one as you walk into the room. Set them on 5 minute timers.
Laundry shoots in the walls.
1 Like   February 11, 2012 at 4:08PM
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lindsayjane
I don't know if this is the kind of idea you have in mind but, given the opportunity to build, I'd love to add a hidden passageway -- for either security or novelty. They're not just doors on piano hinges anymore. My brother's company engineers and builds some amazing passageways. How about a fully-automated door activated by a chess piece, or knocking on the wall in morse code? You dream it, he builds it! www.hiddenpassageway.com
4 Likes   February 11, 2012 at 5:23PM
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pursue
Also, if you plan to have a garden, or you think you might need an extra hose far from the house, you might want to put in the piping for the faucet. I think hauling hoses out to the remote areas of the garden is not fun. Of course underground sprinklers are wonderful. If the yard is big, you still may want extra faucets in the garden.
2 Likes   February 12, 2012 at 5:22AM
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christinamhand
Dear Melissa, I've renovated twice and I can tell you you're getting really good advice and tips from your responders. I'm going to add one essential item not previously mentioned. Get a binder and use it to record everything you do. Take pictures at every phase of construction. Someday you may need to know where a pipe or wire runs etc. File your receipts and warranties. Clip the manufacturer's stock and colour number from a box of the tile or flooring you use. Record your paint colours/chips. Include the names and contact numbers of your builder, plumber etc. Keep a diary of your progress and a running list of your expenses. This will be an invaluable reference book for you in years to come.
Speaking of flooring and tile - buy a little extra to have on hand - just in case. You'll find in five years time that they will no longer be available if you need to make a small repair. Same goes for any fabric you use for drapery or upholstery.
Good luck!
25 Likes   February 21, 2012 at 7:17PM
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mgene13
Install a 220 line in your garage to charge your electric hybrid car.
10 Likes   February 24, 2012 at 8:08AM
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mousemaker
it just occurred to me that you might like some gardening ideas? although i read all the posts and there are references...but depending on what style you like or what you are hoping for? you might like to check out The Mount, which was Edith Wharton's home. The gardens are lovely...also, Elizabeth Lawrence..
0 Likes   February 24, 2012 at 8:26AM
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dejongdreamhouse
We just moved into our custom home 2 weeks ago (http://dejongdreamhouse.blogspot.com/). The biggest piece of advice I would give you is to put your money into your structure and things that can't be changed. Finishes are nice, but trends change quickly. You'll never be able to back and change the things the foundational things, so start your priority list there, and don't skip.

Second, if this is your forever house, consider what your family needs now, what your family will need when the kids are old, when the kids are gone, when grandkids visit, and when your health declines. Consider universal design principles now so that if one day everything changes (as it did for me when I sustained a traumatic brain injury), retrofiting your house is one thing you DON'T have to worry about. Incorporate things like wide doorways and hallways, rockers instead of switches, levers instead of door knobs, drawers instead of cabinets, zero-entry doors and showers, microwave drawers, multi-height counters in your kitchen, level transitions between rooms, adequate lighting, etc.

Try not to think of trends. Focus first on what's practical, then finish the way you like. A pot filler is a good example of a trend, if you want to pay the extra expense of putting in a water line, at least put in a sink within a step or two, or your negate the benefit of not having to carry a pot of water. (Of course, if you have a sink right next to the stove, it seems silly to have a pot filler, too. I just don't get that trend at all). Consider flow, function, layout, etc.

All that said, two weeks in, here are a few things we LOVE about our house:
* 2 story full ICF construction: our house is QUIET, ultra-energy efficient (HERS score of 41 without geothermal or solar), solid, and strong. We didn't even hear all the storms the last few days.
* cork floors: green, easy to clean, soft, quiet, beautiful.
* Instahot: we are big tea drinkers. I'd never want to be without it.
* walk in pantry. LO
6 Likes   March 5, 2012 at 9:27PM
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dejongdreamhouse
walk in pantry. LOVE the space and ability to stock up and take advantage of bulk savings.
* master suites on both main and upper floors. Great for guests, and we can move downstairs when the stairs become difficult.
* all energy star appliances and water sense water features (low flow fixtures, dual flush toilets, etc) = wonderfully low utility bills
* quartz countertops. easy to clean, ours have 24% recycled material, no sealing.
* touch activated recycling center and faucets in the kitchen. No dirty, sticky messes.
* mudroom!
* lots of storage
* laundry on both floors for long term planning
* great location with friendly neighbors and sidewalks

Also, keep in mind, your house will cost more than you realize. Just expect that because that will be the most stressful part of the process (hopefully!). Between things that come up (finding clay that has to be dug through in your foundation), vendors raising costs, and the likelihood that as you research your options you'll likely spend now to spend once...give yourself a buffer that take the changes and upgrades in stride.

Good luck and enjoy the process. We chronicled our whole process so others could learn from our experiences and better anticipate all the hiccups and fun in the journey!
3 Likes   March 5, 2012 at 9:28PM
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K R
A indoor residential fire sprinkler system, A low-cost reliable safety option!
2 Likes   March 8, 2012 at 1:00PM
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PRO
Soundproofing & Acoustics
Ask your architect to hire me as a noise/acoustic consultant. It is very expensive to remedy a problem such as footsteps or mechanical equipment, it is much better to plan for quiet zones in the house and which rooms are supposed to sound really good.
1 Like   March 12, 2012 at 4:53PM
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Karen Schenck
Am building a home in a year and love all these ideas. One thing I'll be doing is a large shoe closet in the mudroom. Shoes are the last thing I put on and the first thing I take off. It makes no sense to me to have my shoes in my master closet at the other end of the house. I'm also going to put a large mirror in the mudroom so I can see the final outfit and make sure the shoes match!
13 Likes   March 12, 2012 at 5:19PM
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josieb
If you are going to put in hardwood ... and expect to NOT use area rugs because, say your family is young, or maybe you have dogs, hire this man. Put some sound insulation around the master bedroom and any guest bathrooms at a minimum. Personally, I like to hear my dishwasher or clothes washer running because it is a peaceful "things are as they should be noise". But, we rescued a dog who has still has potty issues and rugs are not an option for awhile .... We put in hardwood floors throughout and our house is loud. There is a huge difference between the hardwood and the carpet. Huge.
0 Likes   March 12, 2012 at 5:24PM
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dejongdreamhouse
Karen, that's exactly what we did and why with our mudroom. No shoes past the mudroom. I always shake my head when I see the big master closets with huge shoe racks. But then, I'm not a shoe person, so all my shoes fit in our mudroom!

Soundproofing is one of those things people don't think about until it's too late. Going from hardwoods to cork, our house is SO much quieter, and the cork is much easier to care for than hardwoods. I'm sure the 12" concrete walls (ICF) help with the quiet, too!
7 Likes   March 12, 2012 at 6:08PM
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dwh2
1. Hot & cold outdoor faucet for washing the dog. Moen makes a good one.
2. Depending on your part of the country consider installing a walk-in safe room. Ours came from Family Safe in Tulsa.
3. If you have lousy soil, amend it before laying sod or planting in garden areas. Once the plants are down, you're limited in what you can do.
4. Make a nice laundry/utility room. We come and go every day thru that room because it has access to our cars in the garage. Only guests use our front door.
3 Likes   March 12, 2012 at 6:55PM
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Canyon Construction
A back-lit counter made out of recycled glass can create the perfect mood light.
0 Likes   March 20, 2012 at 10:11AM
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lea811
Several have mentioned pantry and closet lighting. We have the motion-sensor type and love it. The laundry room light is on a motion sensor, too--great when you walk in with a basket in your arms! Also on my list would be a second refrigerator. We have a place for one in the laundry room--great for holidays or when we're entertaining. Another thing that I had in a previous home and miss in my current one is deep drawers in the kitchen for pots and pans--no getting on your knees to find what you're looking for! Good luck and may God bless your new home!
2 Likes   March 20, 2012 at 7:52PM
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Debbie
Great ideas from everyone! One of my Must-haves is Hot water on demand (NO hot water tank)! any steps have to be not-so-high (knee surgery)..Great idea for outdoor kitchen. Have you checked out an "evo" grill! That is now on my must have list! Add more than you think built-in lights! Remember too, health issues--you never know if you or a family member will be in a wheel chair at some point. 2 Master bedrooms a MUST! I have and hope never to be w/out is a reverse-osmosis water filter and tap (does NOT cost that much and comes w/tap water and HOT water) (get your chilled water n ice from fridge door). Whole House water filter(as the city pipes come into the house). Oversized garage w/plenty built-in shelving w/doors (like Ikea) all around the perimater of the garage. Wall heat in garage (at least 1500 watt)! Ribbon windows vs full size windows in garage and bathrooms. French doors to outside patio/deck, for bedrooms, cause it is too hard to get an over-weight person out a window (Fire escape)! Gas (or propane) fireplace (sooo nice and clean). Covered porch in any season! Instead of sky-lights use Sun Tubes (Tunnels) WOW! those are amazing!
I hope this is'nt all repeats, but, if repeated, then you know that it's a must-have! Good luck. (*my advice on painting? NO white ceilings! Just use a lighter shade of the wall color!)
OoOoOoo one more thing...NO cheapy light switch and plug-in covers......That is my pet-peeve! There are sooooo many awesome covers to go w/each room's decor! FUN! ;o) deb *Don't forget curtain-less (door-less) walk in showers! *Use a solar-tube in shower for great lighting!
0 Likes   April 11, 2012 at 11:19AM
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Debbie
I went back to read all the other tips...there IS something else--Blue Jean insulation! Never molds--anti bugs and mice (jeans are soaked in boric acid). Saw this on (Mike Holmes; Holmes on Homes (DIY tv)...especially nice if you have a climate controlled wine room!
3 Likes   April 11, 2012 at 11:32AM
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mousemaker
faints dead away that someone read through all the previous tips.. :) :)
6 Likes   April 11, 2012 at 11:39AM
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Debbie
LOL...I've been researching for a couple years for our "forever" home must-haves! ;o)
1 Like   April 11, 2012 at 1:51PM
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ammk
We are building a house...just under roof. This is our 5th, but still learning new tricks. Thanks! One thing I love (and have used and will use again) is a ventilating window high on the wall in the master closet. It is wonderful to open it and "air out" the closet and provides daylight. Also, look for any additional storage possibilities. If there is usable space anywhere, frame it out, put a door on it, and consider heat/cool vents for a future room. On this house we were able to make some changes to allow for walk in storage as opposed to pull down storage....so much better. Consider location of electric box/meter on the outside. You don't want it in the front of the house. We added 2 feet to our front porch making it 8 feet rather than the usual 6 feet. The deeper porch allows for moving around chairs, etc. According to your location, choose windows carefully. If you have a view, don't cover it up with grids in the windows. Consider location of outside heating/cooling units. You don't want them outside your bedroom or near outside entertaining areas. I like a hose bib inside the garage rather than outside. If building on a hillside without a basement, dig out enough to use for storage of porch furniture, flower pots, shovels, etc. to free up garage space. Don't forgot at least one outlet (for power tools) and lighting..even a concrete floor. (Had one of these on one of our houses and loved it...will have it in this one).
1 Like   April 22, 2012 at 11:04AM
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Rustic Wood Studio
If you need custom switch plate and outlet covers, I can make them for you. Mark - www.rusticwoodstudio.com
1 Like   April 23, 2012 at 8:36AM
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Debbie
@Rustic-eeerrr, Mark--Great lookin' work!
0 Likes   April 23, 2012 at 9:21AM
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TVCoverUps
A pretty slick solution we've done for many custom homes is hiding their television behind their artwork when not in use with a TVCoverup. There is an automated as well as a manual version which you can lift with only a few fingers. Far cheaper than any other hidden TV solution.

Check out my Houzz page or TVCoverups.com for a better idea of how it works.
0 Likes   April 24, 2012 at 2:28PM
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mousemaker
i dunno about the rest of you? but i'm pooped!!! :) :) :)
3 Likes   April 24, 2012 at 2:44PM
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Eggleston Farkas Architects
There are a lot of great ideas in this thread. Some of them assume lots of space and a generous budget. If you can do that, great. But for projects of any scope and budget, there's an even more basic "must have": build efficiently and build well. An efficient circulation pattern, rooms that can be furnished appropriately, spaces that are appropriately sized for their use, flow, and ease of living. All the gadgets in the world won't make up for a poor layout.

A well built house will be more cost effective and "green" in the long run. The greenest material really isn't, if 10 years down the road it needs to be removed and disposed of because of repairs and maintenance. I've seen too many construction sites where the membranes, flashing, roofing are poorly done and will shorten the longevity of the building.

Our firm has been fortunate to be recognized with design awards and publications, but in the end it is less the visible aspects of the design that are the most important in our work. Rather, it is our part in creating efficient well-built homes that are tailored to our clients' lifestyles that is most rewarding.
10 Likes   April 29, 2012 at 9:18PM
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Create Good
must have seamless sinks from creategood.net
3 Likes   May 11, 2012 at 12:38AM
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oreobaby
we are building a ranch style house and thinking about a doorless, curtain less shower in the master bath. wondered if anyone used it. What has been your experience with the drain and how have you overcome the problem of water seeping out?
thank you
0 Likes   May 17, 2012 at 9:24AM
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Debbie
@oreobaby---just go to the nearest manufactured homes on display and check it out! That's what I did! They have it down pat! *also Manufactured homes have great kitchen design ideas. The only change I'd make is to install a solar-tube in the shower....and ribbon windows in the bathroom vs the big ones.
*re:water seepage....watch a few DIY or HGTV episodes on installing a shower...I'd definitely use that orange moisture-barrier wrap, under the tile work.
0 Likes   May 17, 2012 at 9:35AM
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DeWitt Architects
Great design with complete construction documents. This is how you price and afford cool ideas and detail solutions to all kinds of issues prior to construction and spending outside of your budget. Cool ideas are useless if you cannot afford them or design them into the space. A experienced architect and designer and provide drawings allowing a contractor to price your cool ideas. Then they will help you prioritize them in a way that gets you the most for your money. The cost of the professional fees is always made up for in good efficient design, trouble shooting, planning and pricing, engineering, and budget control. I have talked more clients off the “more space and complexity solves everything ledge” and saved them huge cost in construction, maintenance, and operating cost.
4 Likes   May 17, 2012 at 10:31AM
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Cordini
Cordini, it's very easy to use in homes, apartments, dorms, offices virtually everywhere you have an outlet you can use Cordini. Cordini is a cord storage product, it's packaged, patent pending, trademarked, electrical certified by Intertek, a member of GS1 US Barcodes, made and manufactured in the USA and also currently being sold on QVC. Cordini was also awarded "Best New Product in 2012" at the Great Big Texas Home Show in the Texas Stadium in Dallas.
I had a booth at three Home & Garden Shows, I sold over 630 in only three weekends. It was a jaw dropping experience to most that saw my invention and how easily it gets rid of excessive cord length.
Please look at my website, www.Cordini.biz look at the "Before & After" photos and the installation video you can see yourself that this product works on every oulet in your home. It's new, it's unique, it's tough, it's Cordiini!
Overview of product
I invented the Cordini – a cord storage product -- to help eliminate excessive cord length. But, it has the potential to do so much more! Store cords easily and eliminate excessive cord length, and more importantly potential safety hazards, with the new Cordini.
Using the Cordini can help prevent accidents, eliminate trip hazards and keep toddlers and pets safe. Use the Cordini with a variety of appliances, including: cell phone chargers, floor lamps, table lamps, oscillating fans, alarm clocks, desktop speaker wires, telephone wires, electric toothbrushes, electric shavers, pencil sharpeners, televisions, stereos, radios, PS3 boxes, paper shredders, printers, blenders, candle warmers the list is virtually endless.
There are two versions of this unique product: the Recess Cordini and the Flush Cordini. Both are easy to install, only takes a screwdriver!
0 Likes   June 14, 2012 at 4:30PM
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yvonnecmartin
Windows low enough that you can see the grass and flowers outside.
2 Likes   June 14, 2012 at 11:05PM
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yvonnecmartin
Windows low enough that you can see the grass and flowers outside.
4 Likes   June 14, 2012 at 11:05PM
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yvonnecmartin
Windows low enough that you can see the grass and flowers outside.
1 Like   June 14, 2012 at 11:05PM
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missangel99
Just building a custom home as we speak. Use doors and windows with shades or blinds in between glass, no more dusting or cleaning drapery or blinds. Extra large laundry room with closets for vacuum, bucket, mop, etc. and shelves for things you never know where to put like camera's, photo albums, etc. Built in shelves low to the floor for housing laundry baskets. Drip dry line over wash tub. Extra large pantry with electric in pantry for a small microwave, not putting one in the kitchen. Electrical outlets in the garage near doors for cleaning cars, trimming bushes.
3 Likes   August 14, 2012 at 4:45PM
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Debbie
@missangel--have you seen this? : http://ana-white.com/2011/01/sausha%E2%80%99s-washerdryer-pedestals This is what I will have!! Got it from this web site.
1 Like   August 14, 2012 at 6:05PM
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MelissaL
@debbie already showed these to the cabinate designer.
1 Like   August 14, 2012 at 6:12PM
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Debbie
YAY!!!
0 Likes   August 14, 2012 at 6:14PM
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Debbie
YAY!!!
1 Like   August 14, 2012 at 6:14PM
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betty_wooster
We're planning to install tip-out storage (usually done on kitchen sinks) in the master bath to hold toothbrushes and toothpaste. We're also going to use the space beneath one of the two master bath sinks for a slide-out pair of (small) wastebaskets - one for trash, one for recycling.

I didn't see anyone mention raising the dishwasher - it's not all that uncommon anymore, but seems like a fantastic thing for aging backs.

Also, I think it's a must to have some kind of filing cabinet and desk area wherever the mail enters the house with an outlet for a shredder and space for trash and recycled paper.

I've been told that range hoods can be built with a fan that installs on the roof (vs. in the hood?) and that this is much quieter.

I am contemplating a second, small door for the frameless shower so it can be opened to access the faucets without getting wet.

Has anyone got any brilliant cat-box solutions for indoor-only cats? I am thinking about retrofitting the space beneath a little-used sink and running a vent/fan through the wall up to the roof. The sink in question backs up to the master walk-in where I think we can cut a cat-door opening and install some carpet-lined sauna tubing that the little monsters will have to walk through to get in and out (no more litter tracked in hallway). Cleaning will be easy enough because I will just open the under-sink cabinet and reach in (plus I am hoping to find hardware like I've seen on some coffee tables that lifts up and forward).

If I had the space, I would install a small, stacking washer-dryer in the master bath for towels.

My designer set up a "cook's seat" on the kitchen island that is across from the traditional bar seating. We're putting open shelving underneath the counter there. While cutting veggies, etc., the cook can rest his/her feet (also, this is where pet food dishes will be set).
2 Likes   September 10, 2012 at 5:16PM
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betty_wooster
I don't care for the raised washer-dryer because I like to use that space to fold and organize laundry, but I am searching for a wall-mounted seat that will spring up and out of the way (like some theater seats) but that I can sit on when accessing the dryer.

We are designing a window "seat" that is really a bed (for grandchildren) with a privacy curtain (for napping).

There are two kitchen gadgets I've been checking out: touch-operated faucet and push-button garbage disposal operation at side of sink (vs. the old, far-away wall-switch).

Speaking of storage, it makes sense to plan ahead for storage for all of your media products (the DVDs and games) as well as the charge-able items and, if you are of the age of being or soon-to-be grandparents, don't forget about space for toys for "visiting firemen".

I would also include some way of viewing the front door without being there - even just a web-cam.
0 Likes   September 10, 2012 at 5:25PM
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hilltop1155
We put in conduit attached to data boxes wherever we plan to have TVs, speakers, computers and printers. That way, as technology changes, we will be able to upgrade the wiring from the current CAT6 to whatever is the latest & greatest in the future. We also placed extra outlets and conduit/boxes in the areas where the amp, DVD player, turntable (yep, we're old school) and other electronic devices will go.
2 Likes   September 10, 2012 at 8:37PM
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Darzy
An exterior, or garage area for "pet/dog wash station". Doggie shower.
1 Like   September 10, 2012 at 8:50PM
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Custom Home Planning Center
quite the list. Some one with time on their hands should do a separate discussion string that starts with a numbered check list of all of the above. Here are a few more to consider:
1. add interior lights to skylight shafts
2. use a raised drip sink in the laundry with a kitchen spray type faucet for washing cats and small dog.
3. use radio frequency switches to eliminate all 3,4, or 5 way switch runners. (saves a lot of copper)
4. rough in for solar panels and generators
5. design wet room baths (all drain to linear wall drain)
6. run ext. duplexs to all out side light locations so you can build inexpensive custom light covers to cover plug in led light bulbs
7. use stud cavities for extra storage not just the medicine cabinet.
8. add slot wall to storage areas & closets
9. use kitchen facaucet with spray spouts med way on the counter instead of the back. (for rinsing hair or handicap access.
10.a use two manifolds for plumbing where long runs waste pipe
10.b When using tank-less gas hot water heaters add a codo size elec tankless unit on the the hot supply for the 2nd manifold.
11. use between 24"center windows at the top of walls since this does not require headers.
12. consider radiant ceiling panels over tile as a more cost effective alternitive to under floor heat.
13. use old wall to wall carpet for ground cover in gardens, landscape beds and under dry streambeads
14. use bio cystic mats under concrete and paver to hinder root growth of trees
15. build in a one piece condensing washer dryer in the master closet
16. use SIPs pre-cut panels for interior walls for custom circle or other shaped passage doors.
17. consider a panic or storm room with reinforced walls and separate communication gear, water,food waste disposal.
18. in multi story structure consider framing into the floor an elevator shaft location or extra wide stair cases for handicap access.
19.rough in a under crawl or under slab 6" PVC radon gas exit port through the roof.
20. run a vampire circuit on bottom port of duplexes to be able to shut off power to unused appliances.
21. run duplexes with ubs jacks in convenient locations.
22.use plant through pavers to reduce site run off in parking areas

given these and the earlier items we should end up with a list of top 100 must have if your building a new home.
5 Likes   September 10, 2012 at 9:30PM
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Sigrid
I'd think about the longevity of appliances and devices. Don't build too much around a device that may be obsolete in 10 years.

If you put in light-sensing thermostats, make sure they are not in dark corridors.
0 Likes   September 11, 2012 at 12:27AM
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Debbie
When we did a kitchen remodel, on this house, that had not seen any improvement is >40 years-we did the push-button garbage disposal--Nice! The under the sink Reverse-osmosis water...w/cold and Instant Hot attached. That is wonderful! (Especially in a city where there is tooo many chemicals in the water). Whole house water filter, where it comes into the house.
If you are building a forever-house, you do have to think about the times you'll be having those knee operations...and how to getup the dang front steps! Not hitting the wheelchair on woodwork, going thru doorways, (the door gets scraped or the door frame does).
1 Like   September 11, 2012 at 3:02AM
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Shoreline Renovations
0 Likes   September 11, 2012 at 4:36PM
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Custom Home Planning Center
#23 just off the presses (elec show in Indianapolis) 15 amp power source powers one transformer for 30 + led can lights switching from anywhere in the house placed anywhere in the house. Wiring to lights 18 gauge low voltage wire. Think of the savings in copper let alone your light bill.
2 Likes   September 11, 2012 at 5:25PM
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TVCoverUps
Cool Ideas can involve hiding your flat screen TV behind your art. Especially if your only place to put the TV is over your fireplace. The cool factor would be to have your AV specialist, enable you to press one button, The art flips up, the TV can pans out and tilts to your viewing area, then the TV comes on.
0 Likes   September 14, 2012 at 10:59AM
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codi b
i am on the same search and found this thread invaluable! http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/build/msg0418014712443.html?26
0 Likes   September 14, 2012 at 12:04PM
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Sputniks Station
How about a laundry room adjacent to the MBR closet with builtin hampers that open from both sides of the wall? We have 4 builtin hampers that I call red, white, blue and dry-cleaning. We pre-sort our clothes when we take them off into rolling baskets.

Be SURE all the windows open for easy cleaning from inside the house.
2 Likes   September 14, 2012 at 1:07PM
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Rio Brewster
You can buy timers for vents in the bathrooms. You push a button a 1, 5, 10, 20 minutes later the vent turns off by itself. And YES a central vacuum system.
0 Likes   September 14, 2012 at 1:54PM
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Rio Brewster
You can buy timers for vents in the bathrooms. You push a button a 1, 5, 10, 20 minutes later the vent turns off by itself. And YES a central vacuum system.
0 Likes   September 14, 2012 at 1:54PM
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Nancy Hehmann
Trash compactor! Do not know why they frequently leave them out. You dont have to use reg trash compactor bags in them; just reg. trash bags. Makes everthing neater and you dont have to empty as often. If you have pets, it make the trash secure! they last too!
1 Like   September 14, 2012 at 2:02PM
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Nancy Hehmann
Trash compactor! Do not know why they frequently leave them out. You dont have to use reg trash compactor bags in them; just reg. trash bags. Makes everthing neater and you dont have to empty as often. If you have pets, it make the trash secure! they last too!
1 Like   September 14, 2012 at 2:02PM
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Nancy Hehmann
Trash compactor! Do not know why they frequently leave them out. You dont have to use reg trash compactor bags in them; just reg. trash bags. Makes everthing neater and you dont have to empty as often. If you have pets, it make the trash secure! they last too!
0 Likes   September 14, 2012 at 2:02PM
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PoshHaus
Awesome thread! I say best to checkout http://www.poshhaus.com/ for things worth considering for any awesome home building, or remodel!
0 Likes   September 15, 2012 at 6:10PM
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Custom Home Planning Center
1st quarter list for my custom home class:
A. Site planning
1. Passive solar - know and use southeast to south west for most windows in climates that have a heating season
2. Clear all organics from the building zone
3. prepare site access for delivery trucks (use available crushed concrete from the ready mix yard as most will sell it for little or nothing to clean up their yard ask about water damaged bags of mortar & cement)

B. Footing
1. Footing step down should lap to double depth by no less than 8"
2. Adding fiber to the concrete is cheap insurance against failure.
3. If adding steel to footings use chairs - rebar must be isolated from ground contact or it will rust out and weaken the footing not strengthen it. (metal grade stakes should not have direct contact with rebar)
4. Anticipate ordering slightly more yardage than you need, but be prepared to use the left overs (cutting sona tube concrete forming tubes in 4 or 5 inch deep slices let you make stepping stones for example)

C. Foundation
1.Add PVC sleeves for utility passages
2.consider seismic spacers between top of foundation and sill plate (note: holes through plate should be larger than normal to reduce transfer of movement.
3.after applying weatherproofing where necessary, apply a hydrostatic spacer fabric to foundation and field drains
4.use a continuous Metal insect shield between between foundation and sill plate caulk penetrations and/or apply boric acid paste.

D. Framing
1. drill drainage holes in floor deck as necessary to avoid standing water.
2. have field shop crown and mark all wall members and headers. (walls= all arrows pointing the same direction when assembled, Headers = crown pointed up)
3. be aware there are articulated top and bottom plates for forming curved walls
4. use California corners to avoid voids of un instated space or pre insulate corners and T's before sheeting.
5. check that point loads have studs and blocking all the way to foundation or properly sized beams.
6. remember if windows are less than 22 1/2 RO they do not require headers, just scrap material for nailers.$$
7.consider using custom pre cut SIPs ( structural insulate panels) for circle or other custom shaped passages
8. Cantilevered trusses allow for full at the wall/ceiling insulation and a ready made soffits
9. .Use SIPs for exterior walls.
10. consider 2 x 6 interior walls where a ref area can be dropped back to 2 x 4 and eliminate the cost of cabinet deep ref.
11. keep select wall areas for use of stud cavities storage clear of wires and ducts.
12.add blocking for curtains, towel bars, handicap rails or any anticipated heavy wall loads
13. pre frame for pet doors, safes, ect.
14. use 5/4 plastic deck lumber exterior under door sills
15. up grade to screw shank 12cc framing and 16cc nails (high wind construction)
16.use foam sill sealers under exterior wall plates
17.use pre insulated box type headers or at least 1/2" foil faced foam board for spacer when construction headers.
18. use steel studs for kitchen walls or any wall with major cabinet work.
19. use full 8' not pre-cuts for wall members the extra 4 1/2 inches makes the rooms working better for ceiling fans and upgrades of door heights and wider trim. Fill space at bottom with 1/2 plywood for base trim. (true for 9' and 10' material as well) field shop should verify length when marking crowns.
20. double check wall plumb. (self leveling laser or string plumb)

Rough Ins

Plumbing
1. run crawl or under slab to out the roof pvc radon vent
2. run exit collars for utilities in the foundation
3. run pvc roof vent pipe with wire pull to future active solar panel locations.
4. consider double manifold installation to shorten supply runs when using cross linked polymer lines
5. run pvc and line pull to secondary circuit board for future generator
6. If using a gas tank-less unit (best choice) consider an elec. tankless unit at the 2nd manifold location to boost temperatures for longer runs
7.consider 30" counter tops on exterior sink walls to allow plumbing to run behind cabinets not in the wall. (colder climates)
8.consider trap clean outs on sink drains even if not required.
9.add outside bibs no less that 30' appart
10. consider a gray water and/or rain water capture and store for landscape and gardening use
11. consider running drip irragation to trees and landscape as as opposed to sprinklers.
12.rough in for future exterior uses. (water features, hot tub, mist coolers, outdoor shower, pet bathing area or future pool)
13. add garage drains at the garage door for washing out the garage and to prevent water coming into the garage for outside.
14.run recirculation plumbing for water feature.
15.roll in shower framed - double up joist tapered to meet drainage and span requirements
roll in shower slab - hold fill down to allow shower floor to taper to linear drain on low end
16. large tub filler - chrome nipple on 3/4" hot and cold lines coming out of the ceiling and dropping into tub (save$$$ over expensive roman tub spouts)
17.run hot and cold lines to toilet / bidet mixer (remember you may need elec. outlet behind toilet)
18. wet bar and or tub filler line rough in
19. on 2nd floor baths run cast iron 2nd to 1st floor drains for sound reduction
20. remember refrigerator ice cub water supply
21. Install shower valves with built in diverted for switching from rain to hand shower (few available)
22. locate full house water shut off in easy to reach location (individual shut off exist per fixture, but don't forget an interior shut off for the water run to garden water bib.
23. Insulate hot water lines to reduce heat loss
24. Make sure copper lines do not have direct contact with slab or concrete work
25 if using copper lines throughout make sure to attach them to a grounding rod for lightning protection
26. add a drain line 3" plus to safe or storm room
27. make sure field drains gravity flow to downstream outliet. or are pumt to a pit with a sump pump.
29. add a reverse flow stop vlave in the main drain lines
30. roof vents should be out of site from the street.
31. consider a water fountain

All the suggestions posted on this thread have been so valuable, though I'm sure many of you (like myself) find your head spinning with all the ideas, so I just sat down and categorized them all!

Closet & Organization
- Plugs in several closets
- Make sure your closet has enough space for both double hung rods, and singles to accomadate long clothes
- Full size broom cupboard in pantry or laundry room to hide all the cleaning items away from sight.
- More closet/linen space than you think you'll need
- Cubbies in mudroom with an outlet in each one
- Motion sensor on pantry and closet lights

Bath
- Plug in master toilet closet for night light
- Outlets inside vanity cabinets (upper and lower) in bathroom for dryer etc.
- Heated towels racks
- Don't caulk the bottom of your toilet to the tile to hide potential leaks
- Make use of the pony wall in a bathroom by turning it into storage.
- Vac pans for hair
- Appliance garage on counter

Outdoor
- Run conduit under the driveway for future wiring or plumbing needs
- Prewire speakers both indoor and outdoor
- Ensure you have hose outlets and power on all 4 sides of your house, and on top of any raised areas
- Hot/cold outdoor water is good for washing pets
- Motion sensor pre-wire for selected exterior lights
- Keypad entry on garage door (Keypad entry on front door is great as well)
- Gas line to grill

Kitchen
- Plugs in kitchen pantry for charging, or for items that may end up living there
- Recess the fridge
- With wide islands put cabinets on the both sides. While they are not easy to get to, they are good for storing seldomly used items.
- Built in paper towel holder
- Custom storage organization in kitchen drawers
- Warming drawer in dining room
- Pantry entrance near both kitchen and garage
- Custom shelves and a place to plug in appliances in pantry
- Plugs above cabinets for Christmas lighting
- Set up for both gas and electric appliances
- Pantry door on swivel
- Pantry light on motion sensor
- Copper tubing for your ice maker from the freezer and until it's out of the kitchen wall
- Drawer microwave
- Knife drawer
- Pull-out garbage/recycling/laundry (for dirty dish towels/napkins/bibs!)
- Paper towel holder in drawer slot
- Drawers for all lower cabinets (more efficient use of space)
- Two soap pumps at sink (one for handsoap, one for dish soap)
- Easy-access place to store frequently used appliances
- place to hang hand towels & aprons

Electrical & Plumbing
- Prewire security system & cameras
- Run wire and prepare roof for future solar
- Run a 2" PVC pipe up from the basement to the attic for future wiring needs, some suggested double conduits.
- Seperate 20z circut with outlets at waist height in garage to plug in tools
- Seperate 20z ciructe for TV and a/v equipment
- Identify areas for low voltage can/rack
- Pre-wring for music and speakers, inside and outside
- iPad controllers in the walls to control whole house music systems
- Pre-wire for generator to essential areas
- Carbon monozide unit on the wall upstairs
- Make sure plumbing in bathrooms are done correctly. One commenter's toilet was placed too close to the tub pipes so I couldn't get the deeper tub because they didn't allow room.
- Cast iron pipes for the plumbing drops from the second floor cuts down on noise
- Take pictures of all the walls before Sheetrock went up so you knew where all the wiring was in case you needed to add or change anything.
- Include a 220V to garage (tools, future electric car etc)
- Measure the location of anything under the slab, and various utilities out in the yard.
- Run an
20 Likes   September 16, 2012 at 6:46PM
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Ellessebee
Honeybear - could you post a pic of your little shower near the front door? I love the idea for foot/boot washing. Is your plumbed into a sewer line?
0 Likes   September 27, 2012 at 8:12PM
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Custom Home Planning Center
1 Like   September 27, 2012 at 10:14PM
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Ellessebee
Oh - so cute! I'd have thrown my kids in, too, if I had had that when they were young.
2 Likes   September 29, 2012 at 8:43PM
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gmtdgt
Wish I had had this complete thread several years ago when we were building our house! It would have saved lots of time looking and reading!! We did pretty good.....but there are always more ideas and things we could have/ should have done! One thing I have seen yet....if you have room in in kitchen and use a Kitchen Aide mixer...a mixer lift. I love mine! I added a rool out drawer underneath the lift for the attachments.

I also had the cabinents made Europeon design...meaning no space between the cabinent doors...adds a nice clean finish and no middle supports in the cabinent. We also like our soft closing doors/drawers. We have many drawers in the base cabinents, particularly for the containers of flour, sugar, salt. Our center island has our sinks, work space...etc. By accident we discovered that we can swiel the sink facuet around to the work space to fill pots...and then move them to the stove. It is not a pot filler at the stove ...but darn close!

Our pantry is huge...big enough that we have storage, cookbook shelves, freezer and wine cooler.

We love our walk in shower in the Master....we were told to wait til winter and then we would want to add a shower door....hasn't happen yet and I love not having a door or curtain to keep clean. we have a hand held shower head with a turn on handle near it and a regular head with a thermostat handle for both shower heads and a seperate turn on the water handle for the regular head near where we step in. That was my husbands idea and it is great. I usually turn on both regular and handheld which I have lower for a wonderful shower experience.

So many more good things that we did....still working on finishing. Couldn't find some lights or bathroom mirrors at the time and the contractor just finished off the wiring. Over the past two years we have found what we really wanted, at the price that we wanted and then installed.

With floor outlets they ran wire to the area we wanted them but waited to punch through the floor...they suggested living in the house awhile and until we decided where the furniture would go and then they would come back and install them...2 years later and we are still waiting because I am going to get new furniture!

Good luck...It was fun but sometimes very exhausting when doing it from afar and dealing with several subcontractors all in the same time period. I am use to multi tasking and was ready....but I wasn't ready for how fast some things happened when you had to factor in ordering and delivery time. Some days my brain was fried when we were on site!
3 Likes   October 16, 2012 at 1:44PM
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Patti
Great ideas, we are in the process right now...gravel is being delived as I speak of building our slab house with ICF:) all handicap accessible, age in place home. right now going with stained concrete floors, and large laundry with raised dog tub:) we live with 3 Belgian Tervurens and 2 cats:)
1 Like   October 19, 2012 at 12:24PM
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Custom Home Planning Center
As I always tell my Custom Home Building classes approach the project with a healthy level of fear.
Don't forget the raised cat litter platform in the bath for the cats. On my last project I did a raised (storage under ) drip sink next to the washer dryer that doubled as litter box area for ease of clean up. Are you owner builders?

One item I missed on my class outline above was the use of used concrete and bags of dead mortar and cement. These are often available free to who ever will haul them away as it helps suppliers to clean up their yards
2 Likes   October 19, 2012 at 1:16PM
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ggauntann
We put in a couple of Secret Door bookshelves to close off bedrooms from our game room as well as a pool cue rack that is also a secret door for the bathroom, they are a lot of fun! I use built-in drawers in my bathrooms for clothes hampers. Someone already suggested putting a plug in bathroom cabinet for charging tooth brushes, I so wish I had done that!
We have tankless water heaters in two houses and I do not like them! I waste so much water trying to get to the hot water. The maintenance is more also. The big plus though is long hot showers and a jetted tub filled with hot water.
We love our Toto Washlet seat in our master bath.
3 Likes   October 24, 2012 at 12:44PM
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Eric Vecchiola
First time poster but I just read the entire thread and took down ideas that related to my style and location (Western PA). Thought I'd just copy/paste the whole list so you all can use it too. We are in the blueprint stages of our custom home and I'm collecting great ideas like those shared in this thread. Without further adieu....

KITCHEN
Extra "drink fridge" in the kitchen
Outlet above cabinets for LED lighting
Under cabinet lighting
Deep drawers instead of lower cabinets
Magnetic light switch in kitchen pantry
Gas line running to the deck for grill hookup
Pet food drawers / storage
? Silgranit sink
220 line in garage (hybrid car or appliance)

OUTSIDE / GARAGE
Hose spigot near the front of the garage.
Heavy-duty outlet outside of garage
Utility sink in the garage with spray faucet
Spot light between garage bays
Cable outlet in garage
Switched flood lights in rear and driveway
Speaker wire runs in garage and outdoor speakers for driveway
Conduit under sidewalk for running future lights
Keypad entry wired on outside of garage door

FAMILY ROOM
Outlet above mantle
One switched outlet in the living room for X-Mas tree
Insulation in family room ceiling to dampen sound

FOYER / HALLS / POWDER ROOM / STAIRS
Outlet near the steps for garland lights on railing
Taller toilet in powder room
Taller vanity in powder room
Deeper treads on stairs

MASTER BED / BATH
Plywood or other backing on bathroom wall where towel racks will go
Outlet inside vanity for charging items (shaver, toothbrush, etc)
Tall and elongated toilet
Pocket door seperating toilet/shower from sink and tub
Extra insulation on floor to prevent cold air from garage below
Window in WIC to provide fresh air
? Cost of cast iron plumbing drops from upstairs drains

LAUNDRY
Utility sink with spray faucet
Drain in floor
Insulate floor as sound barrier (maybe sound-proof material under washer and dryer)

DINING ROOM
? Tray ceiling
4 recessed lights - one in each corner of room
Chandler in center

ELECTRICAL
Whole house surge protector
Connection for generator (with LED to indicate power on)
Access to power for future landscape lighting
9 Likes   November 5, 2012 at 8:23PM
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TVCoverUps
Glad to have you on board, note that though there is a lot of information on the TVCoverUps website, every installation is custom to a degree, and it is always best to give a call so that we can address your particular situation.
0 Likes   November 6, 2012 at 8:00AM
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Margaret Phillips
Great list so many must haves, yes I read every post. One feature I really love is having two washing machines (or possibly three ideally) build a laundry room fitted with space, plumbing, electrical (and/or gas) for at least two washing machines and two dryers. Always busy, busy you stop relax going to do laundry, well you have whites, darks, delicates you name it. Stop waiting on laundry get several loads done at once. I rarely see this feature but in a best use of time world, several washing machines is it. Don't get me started on the families with several children. The poor parents are staying up late doing 3 or 4 loads of laundry a night. Why in this world of efficiency are poor Mothers not able to get lots of laundry done at once?
If you are building a dream home from your own imagination on your own site, without restrictions.Have a roof that faces south in the best degree for solar shingles or solar panels. One big long slant facing south.
I often entertain informally with everyone bringing dishes that need reheating. Several microwaves are a must for myself
I did see this mentioned once briefly but if it is at all in the budget a elevator or a elevator shaft. A good friend of mine parents built their dream beach house 30 years ago. The best views are from the 4th floor, the main street level is Garage and etc, next level is the open great rm and kit etc, next level is bedrooms. This house was so well laid out you wouldn't believe it. Floor to ceiling windows every level. Anyway they are in their eighties now and the last few years the elevator has come in very handy. We always used it for carrying those heavy bags! They both are still using the stairs mainly to be healthy but some days it is a handy to have that elevator after that bike ride.
Thanks for all the tips
3 Likes   November 10, 2012 at 2:01AM
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Ellessebee
Couldn't agree more about 2 sets of laundry machines and 2 microwaves but I'm doing it a little differently. I currently have one set on the bedroom level of a 2-story colonial (this is where the previous owners had it) and I added a full laundry room on the main level, off the kitchen and "playroom" which made it very convenient to watch my kids as I did laundry etc. The main floor laundry is also very convenient for putting dirty gardening and work clothes right into the machine without tracking them through the house. In the new house we are building I will have a laundry on the main living level (with master bedroom) as well as one in the walk-out basement. The one upstairs will be smaller units, just enough for clothing for my husband and me. The set in the basement will be larger, for bulky items and the dirty work clothes will never make it into the house. They will even be stored down there when clean. As for the microwaves, I have one that is an over-the-range hood, as per the original owner's design. Then I have a counter-top model at the other end of a long galley kitchen, close to the dining room in what could be called a butler's pantry space, that kids and husband can use and stay out of my way. I often use it for secondary cooking (things that will take 15 or 20 minutes and don't need constant tending) and keeping things warm during meals. I am planning 2 microwaves in my new kitchen, too. I must admit, though, that my architect raised an eyebrow and my builder thought it was a mistake in the plans. But I wouldn't give either up! If I couldn't afford the machines, I'd still allocate the space and get the equipment when I could. Makes a big difference, in my opinion.
1 Like   November 10, 2012 at 5:26AM
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hilltop1155
I was a little surprised when I searched through these posts and saw no mention of a make-up air system. In today's well-sealed homes, this items shouldn't be overlooked. It pre-heats air, separate from the main heating system, and brings it into the kitchen to make up for the negative pressure created by today's powerful exhaust hoods. For those who plan to have 600+ cfm exhaust hoods, you should be compensating for that. Yes, you can open a window - so if you live in Florida this might not be the problem it is in the cold north country.
7 Likes   November 10, 2012 at 10:33AM
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under 1 air change an hour it may be a consideration to add a air to air heat exchanger, but 98% of new construction just isn't detailed enough to make it worth the energy cost let alone the initial cost. I'm waiting for a solar powered for low volume needs. and really should function by change in interior air pressure.
1 Like   November 10, 2012 at 3:05PM
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Aesthetic Tile Imaging
Do you want to include tile art murals inside in your shower, in a sauna, around the fireplace, or for a kitchen backsplash or outside for an outdoor kitchen, pool, fountain, hardscape. Kiln fired art is completely weatherproof and will never fade.
1 Like   November 28, 2012 at 10:11AM
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nasmijati
Others have mentioned Universal Design. If the house you are building is going to be your "forever" house, it is much easier to design these details in from the beginning rather than trying to retro-fit the house later. Here are some sites:

www.universaldesignstyle.com

schafferconstruction.com ( specializes in Universal Design)

ergonomics.about.com

The Action Fire Repair site has a photo of paved walker steps for outdoors. The riser is shallow, and the tread is deep enough that someone using a walker/walking frame can fully mount the step before proceeding to the next one.

Folks with vision problems such as macular degeneration often need high contrast. It is not necessary to use black and white.

For example, in the bathroom, put high contrast tile around the faucet, faucet handles, the edge of the built-in bathing/shower seat, the drain, and the Curbless entry to the shower. A dark tiled shower might have reflective metallic gold glass tiles for the contrast.

In the kitchen, a contrasting color is helpful for the edges of counters and tables. Saves picking up so many "almost set the glass all the way on the surface" spills.
3 Likes   November 28, 2012 at 11:13AM
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GONZALO DE SALAS
Mmmm besides all the high tech appliances and other great suggestions I've seen, have you thought of considering some piece of art related to the house architecture, either inside or outdoors? Since you are creating a custom made home you will probably like some kind of exclusivity in the house decoration.

I am a sculptor and high end furniture designer so what else could I recommend you! :-)

I invite you to visit my site www.gonzalodesalas.com/en

I do every sculpture's project on demand so I could even create some new pieces for you.

Here are some examples.
The idea is to have some kind of relevant piece of art that will give a strong personality to the place where it is putt.

Hope you like the idea.
0 Likes   November 28, 2012 at 12:28PM
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orangecamera
Some more ideas:

DO NOT put in popcorn ceilings.

Convenient storage in or near the dining room for extra folding chairs, extra table leaves, table linens, etc.

Have your builder or electrician mark all the breakers in the box and mark the corresponding outlets. Write numbers on the inside of switch plates, and correspond them to breakers. It will make your life easier, especially with a large house.

Rough-in for a bathroom in the basement even if you don't need it yet.

Make sure stairways are wide enough for a lift chair in case you need it in the future.

If you have beautiful specimen trees, or yard sculpture, etc, try to get a view from more than one vantage point inside the house. And consider running electricity so you can light beautifully.

Some sort of sheltered shelf or bench at the outside of your front door to rest packages when you're coming/going and need to use keys at the door. Also for use it as a place for package delivery.

Install a retractable clothesline in your shower and/or tub, like the ones in hotels.

If you're building a large enough deck, make all the side railings into benches.

Use standard sized things where you can, so when it's time to replace you won't have to have the replacements custom-made.

Lever door handles rather than round. You can open them by pushing down with your elbow if your hands are full.

We installed corner guards to protect our walls from the ravages of a power wheelchair. Not the little clear ones, but the ones you see in hospital corridors. They have saved us many tiny repairs.

eztia and others have mentioned Universal Design. I wouldn't build a house from scratch without incorporating those concepts! Also, look at the ADA guidelines to get specific measurements for doors, bathrooms, etc. (For example, if you haven't ever thought about it before, you might not realize that plumbing under your roll-under vanity or kitchen sink needs to be out of the way of knees when in a wheelchair, and also insulated to keep knees from being burned.) Much easier to build it "right" the first time than retrofit.

Have a place in your garage for a "donate" bin, to collect things where they're close to your car and you're more likely to actually get them donated instead of gathering dust.

Try not to have too many bends in your HVAC ducts.

Garage doors on the front and back (of the same garage), so you can get your riding lawnmower out without having to move the car. Or at least a back or side door to the garage for easy access from outside.

If you anticipate needing a wheelchair, think about the size of a side-loading ramp van. Make sure there is room to roll around the van and onto the ramp. (also, take into consideration that the ramp typically on the passenger side).

If you live in a cold climate, think about snow removal when planning your driveway and walkways. You need somewhere to dump the snow without destroying your landscaping.
3 Likes   December 3, 2012 at 12:29PM
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Patti
as you can see the ICF is just now going up. I did make all doorways wheel chair accesible and there will be a ramp in the garage and out back door. this is exciting and scarry. all plumbing is in place and design of house. The only thing we can change at this point is interior walls to an extent. the house is a slab one story and not very large home.
0 Likes   December 3, 2012 at 12:45PM
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Patti
as you can see the ICF is just now going up. I did make all doorways wheel chair accesible and there will be a ramp in the garage and out back door. this is exciting and scarry. all plumbing is in place and design of house. The only thing we can change at this point is interior walls to an extent. the house is a slab one story and not very large home.
0 Likes   December 3, 2012 at 12:45PM
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Patti
as you can see the ICF is just now going up. I did make all doorways wheel chair accesible and there will be a ramp in the garage and out back door. this is exciting and scarry. all plumbing is in place and design of house. The only thing we can change at this point is interior walls to an extent. the house is a slab one story and not very large home.
1 Like   December 3, 2012 at 12:45PM
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Leo
this thread is great for our timing. we have hired an architect and he just finished floor and roof plans and we are now writing up finishes and trims and a list of must haves. One thing I havenot seen is the use of 5/8" drywall that provides a bit more noise suppression and holds paint better. (Tip from my architect). I also like a 8" shelf around the inside of the garage to hold paint cans, fertilizer, tools while working etc. Out theme of the new house is Texas Hill COuntry and we will have 60% stucco and 40% natural stone quarried in Texas. Any hints for enhancing the theme inside? Kitchen? Dining room? we will be covering floors with tile (porcelain) for inside, how about covered/screened patio? unscreened patio? House is one story for couple in 60's anticipate some grandchildren in future, but hints on extra strong handrails in shower, where else? where is good location for 2nd refrigerator? Our walk in pantry will double as a storm/safe room. hints there? how about strategies for pre-wiring for backup generator. what areas should be protected with automatic on? in areas where water is not plentiful, should we get tank-less water heaters with re-circulation and instant hot water? (I can't stand waiting for hot water from sink or shower) are there any problems with those? we will likely have a pex water system. any hints on those?
2 Likes   January 15, 2013 at 8:48AM
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Patti
wow..I know for sure there is alot of planning! we do have a re-circulation for the hot water, but tank-less we heard of alot of problems and the $$.I found that we took the plans and have had them on our island since September! we take it one steep at a time, but since it is a ICF slab home there was pre-planning. Electrical and plumbing being #1 we take each room at a time, and outside one side at a time for thinking thru things:) We did wire for future generator. All door ways are wide for wheelchair. one floor. ramps in garage, and porches. outside shower for pets or dirty boots! and our windows & doors are High impact for storms. (tornadoes) we are just now putting the roof on, when it gets warmer on thursday:) and right now they are framing the rooms inside. we etched a design in our concrete, and going with stain floors, allergys & dogs:) My advise listen and TALK to your contractor about every move you dont want any surprises:)))
1 Like   January 15, 2013 at 9:01AM
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Patti
Leo our whole house is a safe room! check out ICF houses:) they are putting hurricane clips on our roof and the plywood for the roof is screwed on instead of nailed. the shingles we wanted were 3 times as high for high impact (we live in Arkansas)..we went with corning true definition harbor blue shingles wind speed up to 130MPH:) and hardy siding. Good luck it takes alot of planning:)
1 Like   January 15, 2013 at 9:10AM
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Rustic Wood Studio
Leo, I know that the Hill Country has a lot of pine woods, so if you are considering the rustic lodge theme, how about my Northwoods plates. If you are staying with a western theme, then consider Buckboard or Old West. All of my plates are hand-carved, one-of-kind.
2 Likes   January 15, 2013 at 9:10AM
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Debbie
@Path & @ Leo--when my husband was stationed in Japan, I got to go there, but, since I was not eligable to be "command sponsored" we lived outside of the base...our itty bitty house had hot water on demand, and for the 2 years we were there, not one problem! I would think hot water on demand (tankless), would only get better---since it was 41 years ago we lived there....it is #1 on my remodel list where-ever we move to (or build) for our retirement!
I know also, no matter what---I have to have/can not live w/out a Reverse Osmosis system (since ours needed repairs, last month, and hauling in gallons of water is not a fun chore at our age!)
2 Likes   January 15, 2013 at 9:13AM
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Jabelone
Is there a way to unsubscribe to this thread without unsubscribing to all threads I posted on?
0 Likes   January 15, 2013 at 9:14AM
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dejongdreamhouse
I commented on this post almost a year ago and I'm so glad to see it's still going. In addition to all the fabulous things the above posters said, I would add searching for bloggers who are building a home similar to yours. There are so many micro-decisions that you don't even think of when you are just getting started. Bloggers who post about each step in the process, with lots of photos and descriptions of why they made the selections they did were so helpful to us (and hopefully our blog will be helpful to future builders). Here are a few I suggest:

ours, of course: http://www.dejongdreamhouse.com http://icfbuild.blogspot.com/ http://thehomeonthehill.blogspot.com/ (just getting started) http://modernwinnipeg.squarespace.com/ http://imaginationcorporation.com/house-project/ http://www.lizerhomestead.blogspot.com/
4 Likes   January 15, 2013 at 9:42AM
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orangecamera
Jableone, yes. On the email you get when someone posts a reply (thi, if you're reading this in an email) there a link at the bottom to unsubscribe from just this thread.
1 Like   January 15, 2013 at 11:41AM
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Custom Home Planning Center
While you may be too late to attend the Las
Vegas National Home Building show next week, you may watch NHBA TV which will cover the show.
0 Likes   January 15, 2013 at 6:46PM
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Humphries Homes
I have not read through all of the comments so forgive me if I am repeating ideas. I like to put the dust vac ports in kick plates under kitchen cabinets and bathroom cabinets. You just sweep trash over to cabinet where the inlet kick is mounted push the switch with your foot and vac comes on. Its really like magic, I get a kick out of it every time a home owner sees it. it is a small step for the Ban on Dust Pans!!! Also love the pop-up outlets in large islands where you have no place to put outlets, power outlets raise up out of top of counter and recess back in when not needed, great for small appliances or laptops. Love motion sensor activated lights in powder rooms and closets, i put them in all of my walk in closets, you can adjust the sensors and timers. I cannot live without music so I put wireless media hookups in all of the common areas, so anyone can plug in iPod, iPhone and stream music to the zones selected, or even put a slideshow of pics on your TV. I like to hide master closet doors behind bathroom built in cabinets so no need to go into bedroom from bath to put on clothes. I also put a door into the master bedroom from the closet for those times you are not coming from the bathroom.
I do the same thing in a lot of kitchens to hide pantry doors as well. Even did the classic moving bookshelf that revealed an indoor shooting range, for those of you that like to hone your shooting skills while still in your PJ's. Believe it or not that is not the weirdest thing I have built for home owners. I could keep going but I am certain I hear someone snoring.
0 Likes   January 25, 2013 at 11:01AM
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Leanna Hart Designs
If you have a dog building in a dog washing station is very handy. In garage or mud room areas. Also built in dog beds or bowls are great too. Consider swing arm sconce lighting for bedrooms and/or small seating areas. It is a great way to save space on nightstands and tables.
1 Like   January 25, 2013 at 11:11AM
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pambam44
Whew! Just finished reading this whole thread! Tons of great info. We are building a semi-custom home this year so loving the ideas!! I need advice about land lines. We just dropped our land line at our current home. Should we have a land line installed in our new home?
0 Likes   February 2, 2013 at 7:48PM
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Ellessebee
I have been debating the same question. Where I'm building the 4G cell service from Verizon is wonderful and we already have one Vonage VOIP line, so i could exist easily without a land line. However, they say you should have a land line for 911 emergencies so 911 operator can identify your location quickly. I'll be getting the most basic service for that.
0 Likes   February 2, 2013 at 8:08PM
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Kim Lange
A small thing - but - put a 2x6 around the perimeter of your room at eye level. It makes hanging pictures or anything on the wall so easy. You always know where the stud is.
5 Likes   February 2, 2013 at 8:28PM
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dejongdreamhouse
@Ellessebee, We moved into our new custom home almost a year ago. No land line. No regrets. 911 can locate us with our cell as long as we have the GPS activated on our cell. (http://www.dejongdreamhouse.com/2012/01/electronics-overview.html)
0 Likes   February 2, 2013 at 8:39PM
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Custom Home Planning Center
New from the NHBA Vegas show : Stud space cabinet for plunger toilet bow brush and cleaner for under $40. (white raised panel door) Mini LED exterior Light fixtures40 styles. Water proof osb floor decking. Dome and arched and eyebrow framing kits in a box set. Velux self closing rain sensor w/remote opening function. Lutron battery powered remote controlled roller shades.
2 Likes   February 2, 2013 at 10:07PM
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orangecamera
@Kim Lange, I can't quite picture what you mean about the 2x6. Can you explain?

@embracegrace, without a land line, is there a way to send and receive faxes? That's the primary reason I've kept a land line. It's an awful expense just for that and I'd love an alternative.
1 Like   February 3, 2013 at 8:47AM
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Kim Lange
Imagine standing in a room of just vertical 2x4s. Now at eye level place a 2x6 in between the studs horizontal where you may ever want to hang something. You could do it all around the room so you could hang any picture on any space in that room. I just did it between two sets of studs in the center of each wall.. Hope that helps.
1 Like   February 3, 2013 at 9:52AM
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orangecamera
Kim, behind the dry wall, right? Thanks for the explanation :)

We did something similar in a bathroom remodel, for installing grab bars.
1 Like   February 3, 2013 at 10:05AM
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dejongdreamhouse
OrangeCamera, Our printer has a fax capability. It sends an email (from us) to a fax or email recipient.
1 Like   February 3, 2013 at 10:06AM
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orangecamera
Hm, my printer is also a fax. Maybe I can do the same as you do...I'll have to look into it more. Thank you, embracegrace!
0 Likes   February 3, 2013 at 10:25AM
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berndog2
Cheap solution to wire and connection while you are building and before the drywall go on..
I installed smurf tube in teh walls to key locations and can pull anything in and out that I want. Let me know if you need details..
1 Like   February 3, 2013 at 10:43AM
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Leo
the home builders call the board between the studs "blocking" and it is a good idea for pictures and bath towel racks and TP holders too.
new question: single story home, laundry next to master bath. I am thinking of asking for a "see through" cabinet for the wall between the laundry and master bath; as you take towels out of the dryer, you fold them, open a door and place them on shelves. on the other side, you take the towel out to use, and when dirty, put it on the bottom shelf and while in laundry pull off and put in hamper. should there be a cabinet door on both sides or just one? has anyone had something like this? i would like to avoid putting a door between laundry and master bath (too many doors already) also could have laundry chute that goes just between the two rooms.
1 Like   February 4, 2013 at 3:09PM
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Ellessebee
Hi, berndog2. I'd like the details about how you installed the tubes in the walls. We are using in-floor hydronic heat which will prevent us from just drilling through the floors wherever we need to pull a wire from below. I'd like to put some sort of chase or tubing to be able to pull wires later on if needed. Is that what you're talking about?
Kim Lange, could you give me more specific detail about how you nailed up the blocking between the studs? Is the blocking on the flat? Can you nail up a straight line of blocking at the same height across several studs? Thanks - great ideas to bring to my contractor tomorrow!
0 Likes   February 4, 2013 at 5:25PM
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PRO
Custom Home Planning Center
The cheapest way to run future wire pull tubing is to use pex plumbing line as it comes in large rolls and can be drilled into the studs and can even cover it up as long as you take a photo of the location or mark the floor. I'm doing a few between room 8" PVC for my cats to get around the house when I've blocked them out of the main room and the good furniture.
1 Like   February 4, 2013 at 8:54PM
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orangecamera
@Leo, cool idea. I'd put a door only on the bathroom side. My only concern is having used (presumably damp) towels in a cabinet. You may want the lower portion to be more like a mesh hamper so air can circulate.

I'm envisioning a hamper type basket in the lower section, that "rocks" between rooms, so you can pull it toward you on either side. Top can be shelves, as you described.

@Custom Home Planning Center....you have very lucky cats! Such a great idea! Are these cat pipes just short pieces between two adjacent rooms, or a pathway inside the walls? (Have you read the Heinlein book "The Cat Who Walks Through Walls?")
0 Likes   February 5, 2013 at 4:26PM
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Debbie
@Leo---My aunt and uncle were Wheat Ranchers and I will never forget their awesome home (built new in the late 50's)...In the kitchen--the garbage cupboard could also be opened from the mud-room, to facilitate taking out the garbage. In the main bathroom, the dirty laundry was put in a big drawer, which my aunt opened on the laundry side to pull out and wash. Built in/walk-in freezer in basement (she cooked for the ranch hands) and wonder of wonders---roller-skating in basement to a juke-box. (Wow for us poor relations!) One huge wall in kitchen was cupboards and ovens. (Would still be an up-2-date kitchen these many years later, if the appliances were switched out!)
0 Likes   February 5, 2013 at 5:44PM
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coldol1
I love my bidet!
0 Likes   February 5, 2013 at 5:56PM
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pursue
Or to save space, just use a Toto Washlet. Or at least put the plug in by the toilet so you can add it later.
2 Likes   February 5, 2013 at 5:58PM
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orangecamera
3 cheers for the Toto Washlet. I like mine so much I took it with me when I moved.
0 Likes   February 5, 2013 at 9:21PM
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mapeggy
Orange camera and others wanting to get rid of fax...learn to scan. I thought I would need fax..a year later it is still on a storage shelf. You can scan almost anything you could fax. Difference is fax goes to a generic piece of equipment... While scans are sent to specific web addresses or emails. Today almost everyone has an email address.
1 Like   February 5, 2013 at 11:11PM
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PRO
Joys, Jewels, and Gems
Kitchen idea: The Galley Sink. See Trend tab at http://tgmcabinets.weebly.com and look at Kitchen trends. There are 2 videos. Must have it. Then cabinets. I'll tell you tomorrow. It's late here.
0 Likes   February 5, 2013 at 11:34PM
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orangecamera
Thank you, mageggy. I actually just learned this yesterday, when I found out my attorney no longer uses his fax machine (despite having his fax number on all of his correspondence). He called to say he hadn't received something from me, and I swore I sent it. It took a few minutes for us to realize he was looking for an email! I scanned and emailed it, what a time-saver!

I may actually get rid of my "home phone"!
1 Like   February 6, 2013 at 6:59AM
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tlalexander
I am currently designing my custom home and am getting some great ideas here. One that I haven't seen yet is:

If your kitchen shares a common wall with your garage, put in a small (about 2' wide and 2' tall-ish) door into your kitchen pantry. Saves the time of hauling all of the groceries into the house and distributing. Just open small door and put groceries directly where they need to go!
0 Likes   February 6, 2013 at 12:06PM
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orangecamera
tlalexander, nice idea. Check fire code before putting openings between your garage and your house though, just to be safe.
1 Like   February 6, 2013 at 4:14PM
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Nancy Hehmann
I have had a trash compactor for 30 yrs and would hope I never have to do without one. They are Great!
You do not have to buy the special bags either; I just buy heavy duty large trash bags. But, no dog can get in the trash. YUou can store more in the secure drawer before emptying b/c you can easily compact boxes etc.
1 Like   February 6, 2013 at 4:25PM
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tlalexander
Fire code (here) for the door from garage to pantry is same as any other exterior door. They have gotten so popular (here) that many stores are stocking these little doors.

Another wonderful idea is having a "walk-in" closet at the front door with a door. With a small built in you have area for coats, jacets, shoes and things that are in your hand that always end up on the entry table. The ones I have seen are not bigger and usually smaller than a traditonal entry closet. It's great to hide the clutter that so easily accumulates at the front door by just closing a door. The door options are endless to add to the decor rather than distract from it.
2 Likes   February 6, 2013 at 4:37PM
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tlalexander
Another idea for having a fax without a fax machine or dedicated land line is Efax. Efax issues you a fax number based on your area code. I pay a small monthly fee and I get emails alerting me to faxes. Still MUCH cheaper than a land at $15 per month. I sign on to my Efax account and my fax history is all right there with confirmation that it was sent. I don't use it very often but its wonderful for attaching documents, using while traveling and for the all important confirmation that it was sent and when. Sometimes e-mail works great, but sometimes so does sending/receiving fax. Not everyone I do business with has managed to stay as tech savy and fall back on what they are comfortable with.

They also have the option of voice mail and a virtual secretary. Something to look into to see if it's right for you.
1 Like   February 6, 2013 at 4:50PM
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orangecamera
Thanks for clarification, tlalexander :) It is a great idea. I don't have a place to do that the way my house is laid out, but I did mount a pantry rack on my garage wall just outside of the door to the house. This way I can just reach around the corner and grab a can of whatever I need. I have a small kitchen and no actual pantry, so the pantry rack gives me a lot of added storage space. It also means I can unload canned goods directly from my car without having to carry the bags into the house. That's an added bonus for someone who has trouble lifting heavy bags.

Another way to add a lot of storage space is with a hanging shoe organizer with pockets. I have one inside a closet door, and the pockets hold lots of little tools and things. Mine has mesh pockets, so I used plastic cups inside the pockets to keep little things (like little tiny screwdrivers, and my scissor collection) from falling through or cutting the mesh.
2 Likes   February 6, 2013 at 4:54PM
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dejongdreamhouse
tlalexander, we wanted to have a passway from the garage to the walk-in pantry, but it's against code here because of the garage emissions leaking into the house.
0 Likes   February 6, 2013 at 6:44PM
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Dante J Schembri
A secret room
1 Like   February 6, 2013 at 6:49PM
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PRO
Incredible Windows!
A secret safe.....thanks for all of the great ideas! We hope to build our "dream home" within the next year. We are "empty nesters" and want to be sure to plan a home that will last for many, many years.
1 Like   February 28, 2013 at 5:29AM
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dejongdreamhouse
Incredible Windows, we just moved into our dream home a year ago, Houzz, Pinterest, and Garden Web were such helpful resources for us. One post on GardenWeb that you might want to check out is this one, with links to several build blogs: http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/build/msg1022525114967.html?26

You're very wise to consider aging in place. Part of the fun for my husband and I was dreaming and considering the needs we would have for our house when our son is young, a teen, as empty nesters, and with grandkids visiting, as well as what we would need if either of us developed any mobility issues. You can read more about our earth-friendly, energy-efficient, and universally designed home here: http:/www.dejongdreamhouse.com.

Enjoy the process!
0 Likes   February 28, 2013 at 5:35AM
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senab
lighted staircase.
3 Likes   February 28, 2013 at 6:03AM
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MelissaL
Finally breaking ground...will post the results showing how we incorporated many of these ideas when completed! Thank you!
4 Likes   February 28, 2013 at 6:55AM
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Patti
well our house is going, slowly because of weather mostly and ordering doors etc. first minor dissapointment was that we can not vent heat or air in garage like our house here:( air/heat man said that would be against code. did not want intake just vents::(( guess we will have a cold garage because we surely cannot afford a seperate unit.
1 Like   February 28, 2013 at 7:06AM
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PRO
Custom Home Planning Center
Add a 220 out let to the garage for future elec car charger and for portable heater
1 Like   February 28, 2013 at 8:41AM
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PRO
MUSE Design
Use this language frequently in your contract:
•"To be approved by owner."
•Also specify that you will get reimbursed for any allowances that go unspent. (Otherwise the builder can legally keep that money.)

Doubling up on some appliances when you build is very cost effective. We installed 2:
sinks, fridges (second is refrigerator drawer close to family room and dining room), SILENT dishwashers, microwaves (one is built in drawer microwave in island - can use a microwave as a warming drawer), laundry rooms upstairs and on main floor where master bedroom is.

Make sure there are spigots and elec outlets on each side of the exterior of your house.

We added 2 extra spigots towards the back of the yard (1/2 acre).

Love my:
- 10 x 30 ft porch with outlets on both sides of front door.
- 7 x 5 ft kitchen island with cabinets on 4 sides, outlets, and room for 4 stools. Use it for all kinds of projects - great to have a large workspace. Love to have friends sit there while we cook when entertaining.
- Few base cabinets - many pull out drawers. One reinforced to hold all heavy pots and pans. Garbage can on track in cabinet.
- Non-pretentious house. Intimate and comfortable feel due to size of rooms and 9 ft ceiling height.
- Master bedroom on main floor with laundry room next door.
- Reading lights in ceiling over bed.
- Large shower in master bath with 27 inch wide bench and waterproof cushion so we can lay down after jogging. 3 shower heads.
- Double use dining room. I use it as an office. Built it in the southwest corner so it is also a sunroom and it has a bay window with window seat built in. Built in cabinets in that room double for dining buffet or office storage. We don't use a formal dining room but use the breakfast room for all meals.
- Landscaping planned to provide views from most windows.
- Many, many windows and windows are close to floor to maximize light. Also kitchen windows come down to back splash.
- Bead board ceilings on porches stained beautiful color. Everyone says how beautiful they are and they are not expensive.
- Large TV hung on articulating arm. Had wall braced for it especially.
- Keyless remote entry.
- Fans in bedroom and bathroom as well as other rooms.
- Elec outlets inside bathroom cabinets easily accessible through drawers for built in sit down makeup table.
- Paneling and wainscoting in white painted wood along stairway and in passageway. Lots of white trim throughout house interior and exterior. Including trim at corners of house.
- 6 inch high baseboards. Larger than standard size molding around interior and exterior windows and doors. (5 inch outdoors, 3.5 indoors.)
- Wide, wide hallways
- Closets with automatic lights and shelves above the rod.
- Interior and exterior French doors with transoms.
- Pocket door in foyer provides privacy from front entry to the rest of the house, if we wish it.
- Large garage with sufficient room to open car doors.
7 Likes   March 4, 2013 at 9:19PM
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Ellessebee
Great ideas - what color is your porch beadboard stained?
0 Likes   March 5, 2013 at 8:58PM
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PRO
MUSE Design
It's stained a medium chestnut brown, picks up that color from the front door and stone in the chimney and porch siding. We were very careful to manage the number of finishes used on the exterior so they didn't clash and become a distraction...as recommended in the book, What Not to Build. Here's a picture, unfortunately not a close up. And a picture of the back of the house as well.
4 Likes   March 6, 2013 at 6:24AM
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Ellessebee
We're in the throes of construction right now and feeling the pains of a poorly thought-out contract. We had the participation of our architect and review of an attorney but there are still too many unwritten details. "To be approved by the owner" would have been very helpful had we put it after every item as too many things were not specified in detail by the architect and left to the discretion of the contractor. He always leaned to the cheapest option. He offered upgrades at additional cost in some cases but in other cases we didn't get the chance to consider better/different options, such as which ventilation fans to use in the bathrooms. Some items would not have cost more but could have been more to my liking/design preference, such as the staircase which had to be rebuilt at my expense because the style the contractor installed did not go with the rest of the house - but we had never discussed it. In some cases our architect dropped the ball (specified the stairway railing but not the tread design themselves), in others the contractor did what was expedient and economical for him. In most cases I didn't know how or when to specify which details. A large project can be overwhelming and it's important to have good pros working for you but this experience has taught me that even the pros can't read your mind. Having a general "to be approved by the owner" clause would have saved a lot of heartache.
2 Likes   March 6, 2013 at 8:14PM
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Susu98
Electrical outlets with USB to charge directly
4 Likes   March 6, 2013 at 8:18PM
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kimdee24
Something I wish I'd done in this house:

Insulate for sound dampening interior walls: shared walls between bathroom/bedroom, laundry room wall/great room, and kitchen/bedroom.
3 Likes   March 6, 2013 at 8:23PM
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PRO
Cordini
Cordini fits those USB outlets too. No long cord either!
0 Likes   March 7, 2013 at 5:25AM
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Patti
we are in the process of putting insulation between bath/bedrooms today! we thought this would be something worth while, what another 100.00 plus at this point. LOL i am speaking of someone who is over 50,000 from are original $$ plan:(
3 Likes   March 7, 2013 at 7:15AM
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PRO
Custom Home Planning Center
Sound channel is much more effective than insulation. also double rocking over the channel is superior to just channeling.
1 Like   March 7, 2013 at 7:38AM
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Ellessebee
What's a sound channel, please?
0 Likes   March 7, 2013 at 8:41AM
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Bravehart Building
Plug molds under kitchen cabinets - and strip lighting at kick on lowers and at valance on uppers! Sets the mood!
3 Likes   March 7, 2013 at 8:53AM
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PRO
Flourish Design Elements
How about a really unique newel post. It can be a great statement piece in a home. We do custom!
0 Likes   March 7, 2013 at 11:11AM
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Meg
great ideas! THANK YOU!!
0 Likes   March 7, 2013 at 12:17PM
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Patti
they are blowing in insulation between walls as i write, between bathroom/bedrooms/utlity room/den/front hallway...will try and take pictures if anyone is interested.
1 Like   March 7, 2013 at 12:41PM
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Leo
where are you and what kind of insulation? we are in the design phase now and have received "advice" from builders and architects on insulation types in the Houston TX area (hot); there are spray foam advocates and those who dont like it; fiberglass vs cellulose also.
0 Likes   March 9, 2013 at 9:04AM
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Patti
this is in Harrison AR...on the Mo border...blown in insulation
0 Likes   March 9, 2013 at 9:57AM
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Patti
the above picture is blown in cellulose...i was also interested in foam, but the cost was at least twice as much:( ...and since this is a ICF house we are going with the cellulose, with boric acid to help with insects.
1 Like   March 9, 2013 at 9:59AM
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Custom Home Planning Center
Yes. i normally put boric acid on the tops of all exterior plates to stop infiltration of bugs.
Note: this is only done just before you poly seal the walls to avoid body or lung contact, after all it is poison and should be treated with respect.
1 Like   March 9, 2013 at 12:08PM
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Debbie
@ Custom Home---That's why the new blue-jean insulation was so appealing to me---keeps the bugs from eating the boric-acid---plus--the article on the blue-jean insulation sez that if it gets wet, it will dry out and not get mouldy! http://www.wellhome.com/blog/2012/01/could-blue-jean-insulation-be-a-good-fit-for-your-home/
0 Likes   March 9, 2013 at 4:56PM
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Custom Home Planning Center
Since there is little air flow in stud cavities getting moisture out would be very slow. When I've used blown / binder cellulose insulation I try to give it a week to dry out before I Polly seal the walls and then drywall.
2 Likes   March 9, 2013 at 5:57PM
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S. Thomas Kutch
Melissa, I've read all the postings and just about everybody has given you some excellent ideas to consider........now the big question is how do you incorporate the ones that are most important to you? Of all the postinga, only one briefly touched on the most important first step.......and quite frankly it's undoubtedly one of the most important steps you'll take. It's one thing to have a notebook full of ideas, but the final result will be determined by the plans and your program.

I would strongly suggest you establish your budget first and foremost. All the dreaming in the world won't mean a thing unless you have the means to make it happen. Start with what you can afford to budget towards your projects. What will your finances allow you to include and the cost of getting it.

Here's some suggestions that should be included in your budget. 1. Land cost. 2. Design / Engineering fees. 3) Construction contingency. 4.) Soft cost (i.e. insurance, permits. 5. Hard Cost (construction materials and labor). 6. Furnishings.................these all come out of what you can afford.

At the lest, you need to start with items 2, 3, & 4........subtracting these from your budget amount will give you your working item 5 budget.................

Next, get you a thorough and detailed set of plans and specs that will establish the bench mark for bids, construction and the inevitable conflict resolutions.........and yes, you will have conflicts on the site.

You wouldn't even thinking about making a cross country trek through Yellowstone National Park with out a map, compass and the proper equipment would you.........well, it's the same thing with building your dream home. It begins with preparation and that begins with the realities of what you can afford and getting it down on paper.....................start off right.
5 Likes   March 9, 2013 at 7:38PM
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camillealbert
Sound proof your bathrooms, especially the main floor powder room used for company. Separate heat and air condition controls for each floor. Large guest closet on frost floor. Master suite on first floor. Sun room. Bay windows and corner windows are a pain to curtain. You CAN have too many windows !! Patio ( maintenance free) instead of a deck with a roof or at least an awning. Cooktop on the kitchen island.
4 Likes   March 9, 2013 at 8:11PM
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rugao123
Patti,
Run a gas line to the garage, and install a rinnai wall heater unit in the future. That's what I'm doing now.
2 Likes   March 11, 2013 at 6:24PM
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PRO
Custom Home Planning Center
If you live in a cold winter climate do not forget to have a pre heat tank in conditioned space. It can be sealed in it space if necessary, but it will protect you from below optimum temperatures caused by very cold water coming in from the street. Even with gas your tankless hot water system only raises the incoming temperature so many degrees.
1 Like   March 12, 2013 at 7:32AM
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Beth McLennan
Lots of great ideas, but I sure am a little shocked and disappointed with all the many ways we find to waste energy and resources in our homes. Sorry to come off sounding self-righteous. It's just depressing to see so many suggestions for double and triple appliances, power- and remote-controlled everything, and I think somebody even mentioned making sure to wire for a TV in the garage. Like I said, depressing.
6 Likes   March 20, 2013 at 12:36PM
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Patti
but also alot of nice ideas! ICF homes, insulation types, Windows and hot water heaters that are Energy star:)
0 Likes   March 20, 2013 at 1:19PM
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NeWay Bidet
Hey Melissa,
Building a custom home is exciting! Making everything with your touch, nothing better! We have a lot of products to compliment your design at www.newaybidet.com from bidet toilet seat attachments to complete vanity sets for a great deal! Email me at steven@newaybidet.com for a special "Melissa" discount!

Cheers,
Steven
0 Likes   March 20, 2013 at 2:45PM
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ksstyle
The most important "must have" is making sure you have a good architect. One that can follow your project from beginning to end. Having a good design is nice, but if you don't have an architect that can complete the construction documents... your contractor is definitely going to make a run on you. Going to a website I just used called localarchitect.co was the best investment ever. But definitely ask a lot of questions and most importantly "you get what you pay for".
2 Likes   March 30, 2013 at 10:57AM
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Johan Swart
Lots of great comments. I also would recommend to consider how far apart your bathrooms are from your hot water supply. A bathroom on the other side of the house normally takes forever before the hot water reaches it - makes for lots of wasted water. Also, think about your walkways and driveways - extend your driveway, widen your walkway to your front door, larger front door patio is also nice.
0 Likes   April 8, 2013 at 6:57PM
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PRO
Joseph F. Yencho, Design/Builder
@ johan-- the trick to quick hot water is to make sure your plumber puts in a recirc line with a 00 (1/42hp) pump
1 Like   April 8, 2013 at 7:13PM
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Gwen Boles
We are in the process if build our custom home also. I don't know how you are about decorating for Christmas but one thing we did was put outlets by each window and on each corner of our home. We have one switch that controls all of them so we can turn them all on or off with one flip! Another thing is we put in a dirty laundry pass through from bathroom to laundry room. Clothes go directly into hamper in cabinet. Good Luck!
0 Likes   April 8, 2013 at 7:19PM
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Susu98
Re: outlets for Christmas lights
Try www.sillites.com, I love these! Our builder had these in the model and we got them. So happy we did!
3 Likes   April 8, 2013 at 7:28PM
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dchomedesign
Extra outlets in ensuite. Or outlets inside the cabinet drawers.

2 floor laundry is a must! I have it and will never go back!
0 Likes   April 8, 2013 at 9:42PM
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kdorwin
One poster suggested 30" deep counters so pipes can run inside (for cold climates) - we didn't do that for plumbing reasons (hooray for the mild PNW climate!), but we do have 30" deep counters going in. That way you get added work space on the counter AND you can install a "regular" size fridge. I'm sick to death of my current built-in fridge. It's expensive, more difficult to maintain, and has much less space inside. The new house will have a nice, big fridge that will look "counter depth," thanks to our nice, deep counters! Extra-deep cabinets and drawers can be very costly, and we don't need that additional space, so our builder is just setting the cabinets forward and has built a little support ledge/shim for the back of the counter. We paid a little extra for the counter top and for 2 side panels (on the fridge and on the other end of the counter), but the savings on the fridge alone has practically made up for it.
0 Likes   April 18, 2013 at 8:32AM
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Ellessebee
Kdorwin, We were going to do something similar using a standard depth fridge, until I started to shop for that fridge! I was so disappointed with the selection in standard depth units that I gave up in frustration and bit the bullet buying a counter-depth one. To be fair, we have some rather particular criteria, like no ice/water through the door, but I found that the design, fit and finish of the shallower ones (the ones that also made me dig deeper into my pockets) were just much nicer. Over and over salespeople told me the manufacturers just aren't investing in the standard models any more so they're not getting any improvements or upgrades (like better lighting, nicer freezer layouts, better drawer glides etc.) I think it's a mistake on the part of the manufacturers if that's the case, because not everyone wants or needs a shallow depth fridge. I'm just glad I have an adjacent pantry for a second fridge, cause I sure won't have enough room in the main one.
1 Like   April 18, 2013 at 9:30PM
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kdorwin
Ellesseebee, we fell in love with a specific fridge first before we decided to make the change. We DID want ice/water through the door - I think most of the nicer full-size fridges have that feature, so I can see where you would be frustrated in your search! A second fridge is definitely a good option. We've put in room for a full-height (but counter depth) fridge in our basement. The pantry is adjacent, but not so big that I wanted to fit a fridge in there.
1 Like   April 18, 2013 at 9:56PM
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jpmcmahon44
*Built in storage shelves in a bonus room.
*A kids secret playroom off of the bonus room (with an air vent for circulation)
*Add a dormer in bonus room with a window seat
*A 3rd garage
*Opening Windows on all sides of the house
*Drawer in the kitchen for the unsightly trash & recycling
*Outlets on both sides of the front door- for decor
*Gas line outside for grill
*Hot-tub hookups outside
*Extended patio area with fire pit built in and dains into grass and not on concrete
*Pergola off of house
*Outlet above the kitchen cabinets for rope lighting
*Rope lighting below counter in kids bath for night lighting
*A 220 Volt outlet in the garage for generator or an electrical car charging station (future selling feature)
*Wide stairs - installed a slide for the kids!
*STORM SHELTER in the garage - or even under the kitchen with a trap door (we live in Oklahoma!)
*A trap door above the garage leading into the bonus room- to avoid hauling furniture inside the house.
*Installed ironing board cupboard for laundry room ($149 @ HomeDepot)
*Installed cabinet between studs to hide unsightly Plunger, toilet brush and toilet cleaner ($40 Home Depot)
*Dimmer switches for lighting-especially in master bedroom - (bow chica dow now)
*Door from walk-in closet to Laundry room- or a cabinet that opens on both sides
*Hamper near kids bathroom
*Dog house in space under the stairs
*Sprinkler system hooked up to a different source than house water- cost savings- most of our $ for water goes
to treatment and sprinkler system doesn't need re-treatment.
*Media Center for router, speaker system...in a hall closet - add extra shelving
*Outlets in Closets for dust-buster charging...
*Outlet in thrown room (toilet) for air freshener
*2 shower heads in Master shower - with body sprayers if possible - for shared showers
*Shower bench, built in shampoo shelves
* Cable outlets in 2 places in Master suit so you can switch around furniture
*Small glass tiles to separate Tile and carpet spaces
* Built in Garage storage (balls, lawn tools ...)
* Mud room (bench with hooks and cubbies at garage entrance)
* Exterior lighting on house to show off different features
* Space for a small deep freezer in garage ($150)

Ok I'll stop there- These are just a few ideas we are doing in the house we are building now.
Hope they are helpful in your build. I enjoyed reading all of the above ideas!
11 Likes   May 30, 2013 at 8:54AM
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orangecamera
@jpmcmahon44, many good ideas. This is my favorite of the ones you listed...brilliant!

"A trap door above the garage leading into the bonus room- to avoid hauling furniture inside the house."
0 Likes   May 30, 2013 at 10:05AM
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Sandra
Use recessed receptacles behind appliances so you can push them all the way back against the wall.
I am also building a house in the near future and have found all your ideas wonderful. Thank you all.
2 Likes   June 26, 2013 at 2:02PM
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Cordini
For your house, hide those long electrical cords! Use Cordini!!! www.BuyCordini.com
0 Likes   June 26, 2013 at 3:55PM
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PRO
Change Your Bathroom, Inc.
I like the new outlets with USB plugins built in for charging phones and other devices.
1 Like   June 27, 2013 at 6:27AM
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Big Mountain Builders
Not a Wow factor but something we do with all of our clients before construction. We walk them through the home via 3D Modeling and every time there is a modification made. Usually slight modifications whether it's a window size or slope of ceiling but it has eliminated costly changes during the construction process. Most Truss Manufacturers are doing 3D Modeling as well as a lot of designers and architects.
0 Likes   June 27, 2013 at 7:06AM
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Big Mountain Builders
Wow factor for our clients wish list is controlling many aspects of their home via their Smart Phone or Tablet. There are many options to this that could include lighting control, home audio and entertainment, security, heating and cooling, irrigation, energy consumption monitoring, pools and spas, etc.
1 Like   June 27, 2013 at 7:11AM
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Cordini
Cordini works with the new USB outlets as well and takes it one step further, it hides the cell phone cords!
2 Likes   June 27, 2013 at 8:33AM
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cozarth
There have been several mentions of laundry chutes from one place to another. Here is mine: Our laundry room is by the back door and we have a rinse shower right there on the outside. We set up a chute and a couple of shelves from the outside to the inside. We keep a change of clothes on one shelf, drop the dirty laundry into the hamper through the chute, and I keep towels on the other shelf. After the outside towels get washed, I just open the inside and set them back in. Of course, that won’t work in an urban area unless you don’t mind the neighbors peeping.
1 Like   July 14, 2013 at 11:45AM
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marthafish
So many great ideas!
0 Likes   July 14, 2013 at 12:16PM
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Ricky Bagolie
If you have little kids and plan on using your backyard for kiddie pools or slip and slides, a hot water line to your backyard hose.
2 Likes   July 14, 2013 at 4:59PM
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orangecamera
Oh, that just reminded me of a back yard at a house I used to own. The prior owners had had an above ground pool (taken down before we bought the house). When we moved in there was an electric outlet in the middle of the back yard. We put in our garden in the area, and used the electric outlet for power tools, and later for a radio. It was very convenient.
0 Likes   July 14, 2013 at 7:57PM
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pkarakas
Have a gas line run to your patio for your BBQ
1 Like   July 14, 2013 at 8:01PM
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susanlh2010
This the longest, and one of the best, discussions I've read on HOUZZ. We, too, are getting ready to build our last home (dream, retirement, etc.). We decided to build it because after exhausting our search we kept finding houses with poor design due to wasted space. Our new home will be edgy, modern and every room, hallway, nook and cranny will be purposeful. It is a big challenge but fun. Another fun thing we are doing is envisioning very high end finishes and then finding good solutions for copying them while saving money. We are handy and artistic so DIY projects are possible. One caveat we have learned is to know when you need professional help. A cheaper version that looks tacky will make the whole project weak. Happy trails!
4 Likes   July 16, 2013 at 6:45AM
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Kim Lange
Just be sure that his dream home is manageable. We built ours 20 years ago and just sold it. It was a gorgeous home - what we had always dreamed of. Just never dreamed we would be too old at 60 to really give a care about all the maintenance. If you can hire everything done when you are older then it works - but if you love doing it all - you may not when you are older. Just my thought. ENJOY it all!!!!
1 Like   July 16, 2013 at 6:51AM
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Bravehart Building
Ageing in place is important to consider. We just installed artificial turf to save us work in the future- but actually the lawn did not flourish due to lack of sunlight and in-floor heat in concrete slab, on an Addition we just completed. We also make artificial trees for client's outdoor rooms!
All of these items can make our lives maintenance free.. and that is important as we age - and as we work harder at our day jobs!
2 Likes   July 16, 2013 at 7:56AM
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Arley
Do have all of your showers lined with a Kurdi water/vapor barrier. This is used for steam showers, but I'm putting it in all of my showers for the added protection.

We are also putting in a steam shower with a bench.

When you "re planning make sure there is a place for everything. Consider your hobbies and activities and make room for it all, a space that won't require shuffling to get things in and out.

I like a large fire pit to sit around. Ours has a triple fire ring, that is 48", a one foot gap, and an 18" ledge that we use for food and drinks. It's a concrete circle with a gas stub attached to the fire ring. The pit is filled with lava rock, the ring is -1" below a top layer of lava rock. We have a key to turn on the gas and we light it with a long handled lighter. We love watching outdoor movies and making s'mores, and visiting with friends in this area, so relaxing!

Predetermine a spot for a projector outside and add electric and cable outlets for an outdoor projector up high, so you don't have cords on the ground, or use a ladder for your projector.

Don't forget to plan your entire yard as well. How do you want to use your outdoor space? Where will you put your grill? What will you see from every window in your house?

An outdoor shower that has privacy, but is open to the sky.

I like to hang twinkly lights and other types of decor from the ceilings for parties, I'm still trying to think of how to make sure I can do this easily.

Outdoor weather proof hooks for holiday decor, ie garlands, banners, flags etc.
1 Like   July 22, 2013 at 11:35PM
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Arley
By the way the fire pit has no need for a drain, the water runs right through the ground just like it normally would.
0 Likes   July 22, 2013 at 11:42PM
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macgrill
In the "splurge" category, you could turn one of your rooms into a theater. We decided to put one in and quickly discovered with 8 grandchildren, this was the best investment we ever made.
1 Like   July 23, 2013 at 12:12AM
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jpmcmahon44
Our firepit has to have a drain because it's built into our cement patio. Otherwise the water would sit at the bottom of it.
Also we created a theater room upstairs in our bonus room and love it- sound proof door and all. We also created a kid play space in what could be a storage closet off of the theater room- it has a full size door and a mini door.
0 Likes   July 23, 2013 at 4:29AM
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jonesie2
Thanks,christinamhand for the binder advice.
0 Likes   July 28, 2013 at 11:07PM
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cindymp
2 best things our contractor suggested - tile underneath all the sinks so that when (not if) you get any kind of leak, there's no rot and its easy to clean. Also, we have a metal 'pan' underneath our dishwasher that is slightly tilted forward. Now, if we ever get any kind of leak under the dishwasher, the drip will roll forward and we'll see it before it can do much damage. I realize these are more maintenance than design ideas, but easier to put in when building than retrofitting.
4 Likes   July 31, 2013 at 5:33PM
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corgidusty
I read this whole post 4 months ago before construction on my new custom home started. Today, I'm reading is again before I go through with my contractor and discuss where to put outlets. I'm single and can't do tons of expensive things, but for anyone that is interested here are the items that meant the most to me. Some are splurges that I "had" to have after looking at all the beautiful pictures on Houzz!

-floor to ceiling porcelain tiles in the master bath (with accent glass tiles)
-a drawer in the master bath for hair dryer, toothbrush, etc...
-a contractors mirror in the master bath that is framed (I think it looks a little nicer than the plain edge on the mirror but I love having the big mirror)
-a freestanding tub (purchased on sale at Lowes and if you tell them you're moving they'll send you a 10% coupon so I used that on top of the sale and if you use their credit card you get another 5% off)
-a good security system that I can control on my iPhone and iPad - things I can control include camera, lights, door locks, and thermostat
-remote control blinds on my two large windows in the living room and dining room with a sensor that closes them automatically when the temperature reaches a certain level (it's gets very hot where I live)
-fireclay farmhouse sink (purchased on clearance at qualitybath.com) It's by Whitehaus and is reversible
-lots of recessed lights (purchased on sale at Home Depot)
-vaulted ceiling in dining room
-Chandeliers in dining room, master bedroom and master bath
-crown molding in main areas of house and master bedroom and bath
-a diagonal half wall between dining room and living room with see through fireplace
-cork flooring in room over garage that will be used for a craft room
-full bath in room over garage with a large sink (for craft projects)
-glass tile backsplash in kitchen
-wallpaper accent walls in master bedroom, dining room and guest bathroom.
-handscraped hardwood flooring in most of the house, carpet in bedrooms, tile in bathrooms
-a spigot on the deck (how I wish I had this in my old house!)
-a designated area for modems, routers and wireless printer in my kitchen pantry
-butlers pantry
-double ovens (I got the freestanding kind)
-no cabinets below kitchen counter only deep drawers or pull out drawers
-a toe kick with a folded stool in the kitchen (hoping to pull this one off with my contractor :) )
-under cabinet lighting in kitchen
-granite countertops in kitchen and bathrooms
-outlets on both sides of the master bed with switches that control all the lights in the room
-central vacuum
-motion sensor, timed lights in bathrooms, pantry and laundry room
-a designated laundry room with a sink, broom closet and room for my small freezer with a designated outlet and a table I bought at IKEA that folds out on two sides and can be used to put laundry on or wrap presents and folds to about 10 inches wide when not in use
-a drain in the laundry room
-a huge master closet
-a separate toilet room with outlet in master bath (has a pocket door)
-outdoor outlets for Christmas lights that can be turned on from the inside
-a large deck (couldn't afford for it to be screened in :( )
-Motionsense faucet in the kitchen (total splurge-purchased on Ebay)


After reading horror stories, I was very concerned I would leave something off my list of what should be included in the house since I've never done anything like this before. So, I made a list of all the things I could think of to include in every room of the house. My contractor put this list in the contract so we can both refer back to it so hopefully nothing is left off.

Also, I'm purchasing all the faucets, lighting fixtures, toilets, specialty sinks and tubs on my own. I wanted to take that expense out of the final mortgage cost. I always look on Amazon, Ebay and Overstock before buying anything. Also, if you look at threads like these, people will mention other places they have purchased items at good prices - that's how I found the fireclay kitchen sink. Also, I have a storage space less than a mile from my house where I am putting all my purchases. I label them all and what room they go in and my contractor has a key so he can go get whatever he needs when he is ready for it.

I am also keeping a book where I keep track of each room and what is going in it and where it was purchased. Hope this helps somebody.
14 Likes   August 7, 2013 at 5:11PM
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Custom Home Planning Center
Looks like you have the project in hand. I would recommend shooting pictures of all the walls before the sheet rock goes in. It makes finding a covered outlet a lot easier and future changes as well.
6 Likes   August 7, 2013 at 9:02PM
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OnePlan
Wow ! Great list ! I'm sure your home with be awesome when done ! Please post pics along the way too ! :-)
1 Like   August 8, 2013 at 8:47AM
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jordanmj
Dimmers on ALL light switches. Also, if your new house will have gas lines, have them set up a line on the outside of your house for your gas grill...never worry about your propane tanks running out in the middle of cooking a meal!
0 Likes   August 8, 2013 at 8:59AM
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Quality Bath
corgidusty, how are you enjoying your sink? Which model did you get? If you have time please post pictures or send them to us, we love to see how creatively our clients use our products!
1 Like   August 8, 2013 at 9:10AM
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georgetownlady
Carefully consider your lighting as you are building. Artwork pops on the walls with appropriate pot lights and is much cheaper if installed during construction. Don't forget to plan for your trash and/or recycling. Also, pull out drawers in your larger kitchen cabinets will greatly enhance your storage space. I always include an electrical outlet in my pantry designs. If you have a large pantry allow room for your large mixer, toaster, or choppers. These are the most unsightly items on your countertop. Do not forget to plan out your patio and landscaping. These items will greatly increase your satisfaction with your home.
0 Likes   August 8, 2013 at 9:25AM
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ruth1841
Twenty-seven years later and still happy with: central vac (even nicer as you age), appliance garages, lots of outlets everywhere and hose bibs outside if you garden a lot, two kitchen sinks. Have fun!
2 Likes   August 8, 2013 at 9:30AM
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jpmcmahon44
We added a fire pit to our back porch and added a drainage tube that goes under the cement. Picture here
3 Likes   August 8, 2013 at 12:04PM
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Aesthetic Tile Imaging
Custom Imaged Porcelain - see my Houzz profile - especially the Large Format project
0 Likes   August 8, 2013 at 1:07PM
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corgidusty
Here is the link to my New Home Blog. It has the front elevation and floor plan. I plan to add more info on fixtures and finishes soon. Framing is almost finished. http://donnasnewhome.blogspot.com/
0 Likes   August 8, 2013 at 2:44PM
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jpmcmahon44
As you can see the house is not yet complete. We put a slide into our staircase...because...well, why not?!
6 Likes   August 8, 2013 at 3:15PM
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Portland Stair Company
Love to see more pictures of this. You need to have fun with your home and looks like your heading in the right direction....lov it
0 Likes   August 8, 2013 at 3:35PM
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jimmycommabig
1. A place in the kitchen where you can plug in all phones, pads, etc., and have them hidden, placed in a cabinet or in a niche with a door. This is really a matter of electrical planning. You may wish to have two duplex receptacles and have them separated in order to accept multiple transformer packs/weird plugs.

2. In the bathrooms, install a duplex receptacle in a cabinet or vanity next to/below the sink. This would of course be switched off the load-side of the code-required GFCI. The idea behind this is to have a place to plug in a woman's hair dryer. In fact, if this is placed in a drawer (with a suitable length of flexible MC cable or FNMC), then the hair dryer gets used and then placed back in the drawer when done. We installed two 20A circuits to our bathroom to handle hairdryer, curling iron and lights simultaneously.
1 Like   August 10, 2013 at 8:13PM
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Wise Pool & Spa Service, Inc.
Wow, what great ideas! I hope you included a hot tub in your backyard. After all this, you need somewhere to relax! Check these models out:




Have a great day!
0 Likes   August 15, 2013 at 11:33AM
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quebodeaux
We are building our first custom home next month and did a search for new home ideas and came across this string. What great ideas! I have added many of the ideas to my punch list. Two things i do want for sure is a split plan master bath, two of everything! Two sinks, vanities, linen closets, walk-in closets and even toilets! I would love a walk-in shower with dual entry and dual shower heads... Ahhh! I also want deep drawers rather than base cabinets. If there is not enough space for a lot of cabs/drawers and there is a linen closet in your master, I suggest having drawers added to the bottom of the closet to store medicine cabinet items. Good luck to all!
0 Likes   August 21, 2013 at 11:53PM
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krdc579
We converted an extra bedroom into a walk-in closet. If i were to build a custom home, this is a must have. We put built-in dressers along walls, a bench seat beneath the window, an in-wall pull down ironing board with electricity,and built a penninsula that includes high and low hanging areas and on the end in the middle area of the room. The end of the penninsula section houses 2 laundry hampers and built-in jewlery drawers for me! We even added shoe box storage above the window. We also added a pull out holder for dry cleaning and belt rack/ valet shelf for my husband. I haven't seen many closets that top our little conversion. The original closet area of this extra bedroom had been converted into a built-in desk area. We kept this for now ( due to cost) but plan to add more dresser drawer/linen storage in the future.
2 Likes   August 22, 2013 at 1:45AM
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cosmicthing
Consider designing the walk-in pantry large enough to house appliances you use but don't want sitting on your precious countertop space. For instance, I'm not a frequent microwave user and I wanted a real vent to the outside hood over my range, so I asked for my microwave, which is large enough to hold a 9x13 dish for those holiday times, to be installed in my walk-in pantry right inside the door with a prep counter running the length of the pantry. Its awesome! Parties you can prep in there, hold food warm but still have plenty of counter space.
2 Likes   August 31, 2013 at 8:02AM
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camillealbert
If you have a front porch make it deeper than standard. In the back a patio is more maintenance free than a deck. Make that deck as big as you can even if you have to have more than one level. And go with a roof , awning or pergola.
0 Likes   September 1, 2013 at 5:54AM
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Hillcrest Home of Keowee Inc.
Heres a few items we install in every custom home we build, you should too.
1. If you live in an area with radon gas prep for a passive radon system, should not add more than $ 300.00 to the overall budget.
2. Run 3" schedule 40 "chase" between floor and into attic for future access and cables, you will use them someday for sure cost is under $ 100.00
3. Prep the lower level for future use ( basement ) include bath rough in, consider hvac, etc.
4. In multi level homes use RC1 channel on the ceiling for superior sound proofing, it is inexpensive if your builder or sheetrock installer is unfamiliar , educate them.
5. Install 4" sleeve ( several ) through lower level poured walls for future use ( no cost , use scrap pieces )
6. Electrical: install a floor plug in living room, install a switched plug with timer for xmas tree, install switched outlet front and back exterior soffit for xmas lights, install plug in attic space for future radon fan, install plugs in appropriate location for phone/tablet charging.
7. If you have concrete or other hard surface drives put in 4" pvc crossing underground now for future lighting, irrigation etc. cheap now ! expensive later.
8. Install a gas port and 220 electric line to exterior ( future outdoor kitchen , hot tubs etc )
9. Before sheetrock install wood blocking for a. window treatments b. bath hardware ( don't you hate when those cheap plastic plugs pull out of the wall when you use the toilet paper hanger ? , c. grab rails in bath ( yes you may get old enough to need them)
10. Drop the floor 6" in the bathroom shower area so there is no curb required , and design the shower to require no glass door if possible ( hate cleaning soap scum glass)
11. Install a wall niche for shampoo etc. in showers.
12. Don't forget a bench in shower or she will be upset.
13. Large shower or tub? better install a hand held shower to keep it clean, you can't splash water that far to rinse it.
14. Please use 36" vanity for most of us over the age of 8
15. Install a GFCI plug behind the toilet ( cose requires one anyway) and go find a deal on a Toto Washlet and see what you have been missing all these years.
16. Add several body sprays and an extra shower head in at least the master bath ( this is a must )
17. Put a robe hook in every bathroom ( PLEASE)
18. Decora switch's , should do plugs too, its not 1960 time to upgrade.
19. Pot filler behind stove, inexpensive nice feature.
20. Please vent the hood over stove NOW when it is cheap to do.

OK, I will stop now. Think ahead and remember two items to bug your builder about FOOTINGS AND FLASHINGS , make sure they are installed correctly or you'll be spending time and money in the future to repair.

Have a great day ! Custom Building is FUN...
D
7 Likes   September 2, 2013 at 6:26AM
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Sandra
Great advice! I want more.
0 Likes   September 5, 2013 at 5:53PM
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Custom Home Planning Center
question - if you have read this whole column. What issues do you want to ask about? (other than how to afford all the ideas you've seen here.) Always looking for new Challenges. You just need to ask.
1 Like   September 7, 2013 at 8:51AM
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Custom Home Planning Center
around the office waiting for your questions
2 Likes   September 7, 2013 at 8:52AM
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Joshua Baxter
To reiterate what has already been mentioned...put electrical outlets, cable/phone outlets everywhere so you don't have to look at unsightly wires sticking out including floor outlets placed accordingly depending on furniture placement possibilities, and do not forget about outdoors outlets, put them everywhere including in the lawn near bushes trees for holiday light decoration, avoid gutter downspouts by directing rainwater underground into french drains that are easy to construct with the tractors that are already onsight for other work, include outdoor lighting on landscape features that is hardwired to house, remember gasline outside for bbq, back inside the house put recessed lighting everywhere to aid lighting fixtures, and lots of light switches (3way), and make certain electrical outlets where lamps may be plugged wired to wall switches, a GOOD lawn irrigation system, extra deep basement for added ceiling height, multi zoned HVAC especially for the different bedrooms and bathrooms, housewide phone system just like at the office :), extra insulation in the walls (even interior) and ceilings/floors for soundproofing, use building materials meant to last such as brick, stone, cement, slate/terracotta roof tiles, solid hardwood/natural stone flooring, have all the windows in house tinted to block uv rays that fade fabrics/paint, cut down on A/C bill, and provide privacy without having to close curtains or shades, custom built cabinetry throughout painted a crisp white will never go out of style, and speaking of millwork...make sure doors are placed such that there is always ample room for desired moulding+at least 3 more inches of additional wallspace to allow for painting/wallpapering, video surveillance outside if not inside too, always put a handheld faucet in every shower/bath, beware of "environmentally friendly" products such as low flow plumbing fixtures like shower heads or sink faucets that don't have enough pressure to rinse the soap off or toilets that need to be flushed more than once to get everything down or solar landscape lights aren't bright enough to illuminate a thing...I am all for green building, just do your research, try to testdrive as much as you can before making selections, unfortunately when it comes to home design/construction it is true that you get what you pay for...I could go on all night, lol, but my fingers are getting numb from all this typing :) enjoy what's in store for you!
0 Likes   September 7, 2013 at 11:21PM
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evamdesign
Also as often mentioned, avoid the wall and ceiling acne! Such as outlets wired from under the cabinets, also wire some into cabinets as everything needs plugs, the wine openers, every gadget requires power, but it is nice if it is hidden. I would see if you can get a elevation electrical plan drawn so it specs where you want to mount all the outlets, doorbell, thermostat, etc. And then be explicit about it with your builder and if possible be on site to communicate that to the actual crew, as they will just place it wherever otherwise. My sister specified hardwood for the kitchen, but the tile guy thought it would look much better with tile and went ahead and installed it thruout. It was only because they went on site every night that they caught it. Also spray foam insulation is a very energy efficient way to create a tight building envelope. I highly recommend it. Also depending on the climate where you are building, even putting insulation under the foundation can create a more comfortable environment, less cold floors. Lots of people consider the sexy stuff, the finishings, but I think that everything should be considered. Also don't get just green board put behind tile in the showers, get the concrete backer board or ditra. Also consider passive lighting, daylighting techniques. Light shelves are great and I love clerestory windows! http://www.suzukipublicschool.ca/public/files/images/BuildingFeatures/SavingsReport/figure1.gif
0 Likes   September 7, 2013 at 11:49PM
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Cordini
Cordini outlet plates work with any type of outlets! GFCI, USB any outlet in your home, great for kitchen and bathrooms! www.BuyCordini.com
0 Likes   September 8, 2013 at 8:52AM
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Sandra
I am interested in soundproofing some rooms when I build. What really works and what is most cost effective? What do you think of the channel type you hang drywall to?
0 Likes   September 8, 2013 at 3:27PM
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Hillcrest Home of Keowee Inc.
Resilient Channels are specially designed sheet metal rails that are mounted across the studs of walls and ceiling joists.They lay over the soundproofing insulation, and the drywall is attached not to the studs, but directly to the resilient channels.This arrangement may look strange, but in practice it acts as a sound shock absorber of sorts. Rather than the sound being transferred through the standard rigid wall assembly, it is absorbed and redirected by the resilient channels.
You will typically experience a gain of up to 5 STC levels when properly installed into a ceiling or wall.
1 Like   September 8, 2013 at 3:45PM
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Hillcrest Home of Keowee Inc.
Soundproof Drywall +Soundproof drywall is like sheet rock on steroids. It combines multiple layers of gypsum board, and layers of material like steel, to increase its mass and density, and thereby blocking sound.This increase in mass and density can greatly improve STC ratings when soundproofing a room, or soundproofing walls.While soundproof drywall is more expensive, it can be well worth the investment when you consider the performance gained.
1 Like   September 8, 2013 at 3:48PM
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Hillcrest Home of Keowee Inc.
Roxul AFB (Acoustical Fire Batts) is a great soundproofing material in it’s own right.It’s made of a winning combination of soundproofing rockwool and thermal insulation.It’s low cost and wide availability make it a great choice for your remodeling project.
It’s soft and flexible, making it easy to tightly stuff the batts into standard stud wall cavities.
2 Likes   September 8, 2013 at 3:49PM
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jpmcmahon44
Here are a few things I did- finally complete. First is the complete fire pit in the backyard, and the slide in my staircase, double shower heads, one with body sprayers, and finally making use of the space under the stairs by making a room for our pup.
So many great ideas we couldn't afford them all!
6 Likes   September 17, 2013 at 8:05PM
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Carole Manzerolle
Have windows instead of backsplash
Corner to recharge all iPad iPod iPhones of the family in the entrance or mud room.
0 Likes   September 17, 2013 at 8:25PM
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Outlook Construction
At Outlook Construction, we build every home with uncompromising quality and integrity. So we have many ideas, for more information visit: outlookconstruction.net
0 Likes   September 26, 2013 at 6:19AM
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PRO
Country Wood Products
Use Double doors instead of bifold doors if you have the room and you don't have walk ins. They became the only option when bedrooms were small. The cost of a double doors is almost always cheaper than 4 door bifold. Also choose your millwork carefully. It will be the true face of your home.
0 Likes   September 26, 2013 at 9:23AM
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remove123
Pocket office in the kitchen (closet size room with a sliding glass door) ...great place to put all of those papers and docking station items, printers, out of sight when company comes over! I was tired of all my kids' papers and magazines on my kitchen island and now they have a home along with bulletin boards, etc. We used quiet rock and acoustic windows in master with foam insulation and it is super quiet. Run a conduit from attic to basement for TV cables etc so you can run things now and in the future.
2 Likes   October 1, 2013 at 10:25AM
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Ellessebee
We're doing a small office similar to what you describe but having custom cabinetry built into an alcove designed for this purpose in the living room, just outside the kitchen. The cabinetry will coordinate with the kitchen which is open to the living room. I didn't want to deal with door swings or pocket doors that would have limited placement of furniture, electric switches and outlets. In our case, we didn't want glass doors because even frosted glass might not conceal all the stuff we have to hide! I have great expectations for this little space. I will post a pic when it's all done.
2 Likes   October 1, 2013 at 11:12AM
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callie_french
If you add electrical outlets at the roofline it's very easy to connect and hang Christmas lights. About every 12' or 36'. Then put the switch on a dimmer system to come on at dusk and odd at dawn.
0 Likes   October 1, 2013 at 11:22AM
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Sandra
Carole What exactly do you mean by windows instead of backsplash?
0 Likes   October 1, 2013 at 5:27PM
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PRO
CoHo Properties, Inc.
A minor luxury for me was adding electrical outlets by the toilets in the bathrooms. At least do this in the master bathroom. This will allow the usage of a washlet toilet seat, which has a built in bidet feature. Once I outfitted my bathroom with one of the things I never wanted to have a bathroom with out one....I think its so barbaric not to have one.
1 Like   October 2, 2013 at 6:54PM
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margaret17
Awesome thread! I read though it all (yes _all_) and compiled a list of 170 features I would love to have in my new (in "dreaming" phase) custom home.

One item I don't think I saw here was heated bathroom mirrors so they aren't covered in condensation when you step out of the shower.
3 Likes   October 5, 2013 at 4:37PM
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tinakb
Cosmicthing - you mentioned a walk-in pantry. Do you have pics of your pantry? I am wanting something very similar for our new home design..thanks
0 Likes   October 9, 2013 at 5:55PM
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Sandra
Making your windows lower in place of back splash is an awesome idea. I plan to do this in my kitchen.
0 Likes   October 13, 2013 at 7:49PM
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Sandra
I don't remember seeing this must have. A whole house air filtration system included in your heating/air conditioning unit. My house stays dust free for almost 2 weeks.
3 Likes   October 16, 2013 at 4:55PM
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PRO
Retractableawnings.com Inc.
Lots and lots of great ideas above :)
camillealbert mentions an awning as a must have or cool idea. Take a look at www.retractableawnings.com for great ideas to help with sun, glare, UV, rain and bug protection. I have also attached pics of some of the product types we offer
0 Likes   October 17, 2013 at 12:27PM
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cynamonc
Install charging stations in the garage; eventually we will all have electric cars and charging stations are quite inexpensive to put into a new build home but much more to install into an existing home.
2 Likes   October 17, 2013 at 7:17PM
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dnamama
WOW WOW WOW, You should charge for this. Incredibly helpful, Houzzers. You guys are so SMART! Can't wait to break ground! Thank you
1 Like   October 18, 2013 at 2:17PM
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orangecamera
I don't know if this has been mentioned earlier.... an outlet inside a closet or cabinet to keep things like handheld vacuums charged while stored.
1 Like   October 24, 2013 at 7:01AM
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Leo
Cynamonc: do you have the specs on wiring and/or plug outlet for electric car chargers?
0 Likes   November 19, 2013 at 8:04PM
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Leo
Well here we go. After seven months with architect and interior designer we have released P LANs and Specs to 5 builders for bids. Thanks to all houzzers on this thread cuz we specified many of theses ideas and builders think they are cool. Expect proposals due early Jan14 and contract early Feb and breaking ground about late M arch here in Houston area.
0 Likes   November 19, 2013 at 8:07PM
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J Petempich
there are so many comments that I didn't want to read each but if it hasn't been mentioned, I would have under cabinet lights connected and wired to wall switches.
1 Like   November 19, 2013 at 8:35PM
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Ellessebee
I had my undercabinet lights wired together in a series and switched with a wall switch - PLUS, they each have their own on/off switch so I can turn them all on or off or selectively. I can also dim them. Useful options in an open living/dining/kitchen plan like ours.
1 Like   November 19, 2013 at 9:14PM
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PRO
Scottish Home Improvements
Love this question! Don't know if you've considered exterior options yet, but siding paired with natural stone is such a timeless look!
1 Like   November 19, 2013 at 10:42PM
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macymacmaples
I agreed with the comment about how depressing the energy and resource wastefulness is, but I wanted to add that IMO it depends on each individual. If two of something like washing machines or fridges suits YOUR family and lifestyle and genuinely makes your household function more efficiently then it can be a worthwhile priority. On the other hand if people are putting things like extra televisions and fridges in all sorts of weird places just because everyone else seems to be doing it or because they're too lazy to walk into the next room, that does depress me.
Anyway, great list of things to think about, I'd just say analyse what's relevant to your lifestyle and don't skimp on cupboards and power points.
4 Likes   November 19, 2013 at 10:49PM
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Patti
after just finishing our new home I just want to pass one important thing to say to your contractor/builder, or maybe many. Make sure everything you want is in your PLANS there is a lot that you find out you would like later on but if you don't have it in your plans most likely you will not beable to add later! So take your time and decide what you want. Research this site is very nice for ideas, but sometimes our pocketbooks are not this large:(
1 Like   November 29, 2013 at 10:11AM
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PRO
Kitchen Designs by Jeffrey F. Krider
You are welcome!
0 Likes   December 11, 2013 at 3:33PM
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PRO
Kitchen Designs by Jeffrey F. Krider
Patti, You are spot on with the suggestion about making sure you get what you want. One of my first questions I ask a new client is " Are you flipping the house, selling within a few years, or is this the home you plan on staying in for the rest of your life? Once that is established, I tend to tell the client that if this is your last home, then get what you want! The more research and time you put into learning about the products, especially kitchens and bathrooms, the happier you will be with the results. I have heard many clients say " We will come back later for trim for the wall cabinets, roll out trays, and the other finishing touches. Truth be told, I almost never have clients return to add accessories. Lets face it, after the stress, anticipation, and expenditures, most people will settle back into their routine and it is one of those "to do" items that won't get done. Thank you Patti for letting others know what I have been telling clients for years.
0 Likes   December 12, 2013 at 3:51AM
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PRO
Stoneply Residential
So many great suggestions. How about a lightweight marble or granite slab shower surround for the master bath? Authentic stone adds a touch of luxury.
0 Likes   December 12, 2013 at 7:15AM
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rjl45
how about hidden outlets on the outside to provide power and not have to run a million feet of cord across your yard. Or run cords for hanging Christmas lights and a front entry with a built in set of outlets for lights and others things.
2 Likes   December 22, 2013 at 4:06PM
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PRO
Galilee Lighting
some lighting ideas by Galilee Lighting
1 Like   December 22, 2013 at 5:34PM
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Curt D'Onofrio
skylights, solar tubes
0 Likes   December 22, 2013 at 11:44PM
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okdokegal
Pad installed for a dual fuel generator for power outs, and add the switch box for it right away. Whole House Surge Protector. GFCI breakers right in your service panel to protect all the outlets on that circuit. Don't be afraid to get a bigger electric service and go with more circuits and heavier as well, it is better to overplan a little to handle your electrical needs than be short (and overheat wiring and trip your breakers all the time). Plan ahead for inside and outside Christmas lighting needs and put some of those circuits on their own switches, outside lighting near the door. Add a RMH heater in an area near the center of your house. Passive solar design. Add to the design to allow summer cross venting. BUTLER PANTRY that can also double as the laundry area, next to your kitchen. Plan for access for all your plumbing from the other wall side if possible. Add LED 'running lights' for night navigation to bathrooms and kitchens. Tankless water heaters. The less grout lines the better. Whole house water filtration especially if you have hard water. When putting in your backsplashes, remember trying to scrape say an explosion of pancake batter off that when you were gone for three days and come back to find this happened. Same thing for showers-envision you're gone for a month and get to come back to chisel all that clean, work backwards from there. Don't scrimp on the toilet, get something that really flushes. Put turn off valves on ALL the sink lines and the toilet, and the shower, and the tub. Don't scrimp on your front and back main access doors and make sure the closers aren't 'snap your heels off' type. Think it over several times about totally open kitchen versus making a full holiday meal in that space. TAKE GOOD PICTURES while the walls are still open; this is vital later if someone wants to remodel or spike something into that wall, use your "X-ray vision" pictures...and put a yardstick or something from a known reference point in those pictures. Plan ahead for wiring changes and leave fish lines for future pulling stuff in the walls/conduits. Natural gas, anything to do with it is well worth the price you pay the pro. IF in doubt, go check on the permits and legals yourself. Always get referrals and go visit former clients if you do hire someone to work for you! Be conservative with stuff that will be there forever (tile and countertops). Get an Umbrella Liability Policy for $1 million and don't tell ANYONE you have it-this is an extra rider-just on the outside chance.... and keep it after construction is done and you move in. If you are in termite country be VERY conscientious in cleaning up sawdust and scrap, they look at that stuff as an invitation. Black Widows like to come in on dimensional stick lumber. HVAC especially with crawlspaces, is another one where hiring pro is probably the best bet. Large Skip Dumpsters seem to be magnets for scavenging AND for 'midnight donations' as well, plus they may be an issue on space in general. Expect budget to go in tatters, and you may end up 20% over without blinking. Underball if you have to and wait to the end for some of the fancy stuff if you have to. Your sense of humor may get worn out by the time you are done. Good luck
6 Likes   December 23, 2013 at 1:35AM
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PRO
Custom Home Planning Center
I do all my exterior lights with switched duplex outlets w/light boxes built to cover and flip up to plug in light strings.
0 Likes   December 23, 2013 at 11:43AM
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PRO
Luxe Water Walls
Indoor Water Features....
http://www.luxewaterwalls.com
0 Likes   December 23, 2013 at 5:36PM
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PRO
FaucetlList.com
A large contemporary free standing clawfoot tub might look great! Something like this: http://faucetlist.com/67-Contemporary-Pedestal-Double-Ended-Freestanding-White-Acrylic-Bath-Tub.html
0 Likes   December 23, 2013 at 7:11PM
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cindymp
I love this! Friends just redid their master bathroom and put in a motion sensor that activates low level lighting underneath the cabinets. When they get up in the middle of the night to 'use the facilities' they don't need to turn on that harsh bathroom lighting, and it's easier to fall back to sleep (OK, my age is showing :-)
5 Likes   January 2, 2014 at 7:42PM
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Ellessebee
All good comments, okdokegal! We are at the end of a total renovation/rebuild/renovation and before we've even given the contractor the final payment we are looking for an electrician to redo some of the first one's work. (Not that it was bad - it is all up to code - but some of the things he did were just plain dumb - like the quad outlet on the TV wall for the various electronic components but because of the size of the transformers on these devices we can't plug in more than 2 at a time. When we asked for 4 outlets we should have said 2 separate duplexes but we didn't know and the electrician didn't think or ask.) So the strings my husband ran for pulling additional wires are coming in very handy.
1 Like   January 2, 2014 at 8:13PM
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Joshua Baxter
As a designer...I will be honest, my number one "luxury" in a home is the appropriate outlets/shitches everywhere, even closets, not 8 feet on center, every 3 or 4 max, who wants to look at extension cords, charge your razor out of sight in a drawer or closet, there should be at least 4 electrical outlest on either side of a bed to plug in alarm, charge cell, plug in cordless phone, and a lamp...plus occasional laptop or camera or tablets? Put floor outlets everywhere...and outside too!
3 Likes   January 2, 2014 at 8:20PM
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shirleenprescott
Outside shower.
Garden/ potting shed/composter.
Exterior /interior wired for sound-zoned
Rather than running cat 5, I would just create a wireless network with range boosters.
Garage doors on opposite walls. Can be opened up to create a pavilion of sorts/ access to the back yard. Ours are wooden and match.
Auto on emergency generator- runs on propane.
Gas fireplace logs.
Gray water recycling.
Screen back porch.
Power in trees/ garden benches/ decks.
Indirect access to bedroom closets-via bathroom hallway.
Whole house Floored attic for storage.
Hidden closet for valuables- could be subfloor.
TV outside on patio/deck.
Wood windows- we have Pella.
Small Sitting room off the master- leave the TV out of the bedroom.
Master downstairs/ all other bedrooms on the second floor.
Tasteful discreet outdoor lighting.
1 Like   January 2, 2014 at 8:32PM
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Jessica
Power sockets in the garage so you can vacuum the car or use power tools anywhere. Think about those kind that hang from the ceiling and can extend when needed like they have in some professional garages. If you have an electric car these will come in handy too. Make the garage big enough for the vehicles you want to park. Nothing is quite as frustrating as realizing that your pickup or SUV won't fit in it or the tailgate gets scraped by the door when it closes and there isn't enough room to walk around the vehicles. Ceiling mounted fire extinguishers like those sold by Griot's Garage are also a good idea.

Think about places you might want the floor reinforced, under tubs, hot tubs, safes, large aquariums, waterbeds, or other especially heavy objects.

Think about automated storm shutters, safe rooms for shelter in other emergency situations, and plan ahead with a backup generator.

Make sure the landscape is properly designed to drain away from the house and that water from gutters and hardscape like driveways and patios has somewhere to go where it won't pool and breed mosquitoes. Get your local extension service to recommend a master gardener to help you determine proper placement of trees and shrubs so they aren't too close to the house, or plumbing lines. They can also recommend varieties of plants that grow well in your zone, are not invasive, and won't get too big for the location you put them in. Always take a look overhead when planting trees, you don't want them to interfere with power or cable or phone lines.
0 Likes   January 2, 2014 at 9:11PM
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k69atie
I have just installed one of these little wizards in my kitchen, pop up plug sockets which go flush with worktop when not needed.
6 Likes   January 5, 2014 at 6:03AM
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chookchook2
Solar power.
1 Like   January 5, 2014 at 6:13AM
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Curt D'Onofrio
k69atie: That is so cool
0 Likes   January 5, 2014 at 6:18AM
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k69atie
I thought so Curt, but they are all over the internet,some have USB sockets too. It plugs into a standard electrical socket below the worktop. Prices range from €42 to over €200
0 Likes   January 5, 2014 at 6:25AM
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Ellessebee
How is it for cleaning, if you're preparing food and something spills?
0 Likes   January 5, 2014 at 10:41AM
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k69atie
I have it in an area where I don't prepare food.
It's used for my bread maker, slow cooker & occasionally charging my laptop. Elsewhere I have wall sockets.
1 Like   January 5, 2014 at 11:01AM
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PRO
Custom Home Planning Center
usb combination with single plex and double usb are common and less than 12 dollars in the states
0 Likes   January 5, 2014 at 9:05PM
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k69atie
In a pop up like this ?
0 Likes   January 6, 2014 at 12:23AM
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PRO
NK Woodworking
Custom home... I Haven't actually seen much true Must Haves in the 400 comments. But if you must have that stuff, then you for sure can't forget an epic custom built stairway...
0 Likes   January 13, 2014 at 7:14PM
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luvrubies
A whole house generator that automatically kicks in when the power goes out. Very important for us, wish we had done it as we are in the country. In past 2 months we've had tornadoes -and a blizzard
0 Likes   January 14, 2014 at 8:34PM
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Steve Guadagnino III
Check out these that i found for you at http://www.cjshearthandhome.com/
0 Likes   January 15, 2014 at 12:37PM
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foreverfarm11
just did this - things I missed - making more room for a full size fridge - had to buy a counter depth because i didnt do this and didnt want the fridge sticking out. Putting indention over fireplace for tv -- if you are putting your tv over the fireplace. makes sure island has enough room for chairs to pull out Things I did - adding extra electrical outlets in basement/ outside of home. dimmer switches where I could - lighting under the kitchen cabinets wired in - access panel that accesses the motor on jetted tub - 42" cabinets in kitchen - lights in all closets - extra windows - ...
0 Likes   January 15, 2014 at 12:56PM
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foreverfarm11
I wired for the whole house generator - but I have to turn it on - I was told it would be a good $3000 more to just turn on - I think I can walk my but outside and flip the switch for that amount.
0 Likes   January 15, 2014 at 12:58PM
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easternhomebuilder
Couple of things we did. We put a plug on the fireplace mantle to power a Christmas village lights. And we put a plug on the floor near the couch for an end table light so we would not need to run a cable to a wall. I did install reading lamps on the walls on both sides of the master bed, but lots of people do that. Oh...install outdoor plugs and faucets on each side of the house. (I agree on the whole house generator. big house, get a 20KW model. Worth every penney.)
0 Likes   January 16, 2014 at 6:38PM
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easternhomebuilder
Two more ideas. One, Our architect had specs dual sinks in the guest bathroom. We shortened the counter to one sink (still plenty of counter space and put in a wide floor to ceiling custom cabinet for linens. Love it. Two, make the stairs and hallways wide. Oh, and the doors widr too. Spec hallways and doors are much too narrow. Sorry if someone has already posted these ideas. Getting into this discussion late and no time to reach all the responses.\
0 Likes   January 16, 2014 at 6:54PM
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azhomes
Bathroom in every bedroom.
Love my central vac.
Large kitchen island.
His and hers walk in closets in master.
Walk in closets in the bedrooms.
I like a great room vs a living room and a family room. Depends on demand of area.
Walk in shower in master bath.
Large laundry room
Good sized bedrooms. No 10 x 10 please.
Don't worry about the hard wire tv and surrounds stuff. Everything is going wireless.
0 Likes   January 16, 2014 at 8:00PM
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Sarah Weber
so many great ideas
0 Likes   January 16, 2014 at 8:18PM
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easternhomebuilder
We put in redundant cat 5 for TV and internet, and a phone wire to every room. We now use wireless for the phone,and internet, eliminating 2 cat5 and the phone wires, and expect to move to wireless TV soon. I'd think twice about running the CAT5 for those things. Ditto speaker wires, as many are going wireless. I'd also think twice about whole house wiring for emergency lighting - the cost trade off favors a emergency standbye generator. You may still need it for secutiry or other things, but more than a few strands seems enough given the changes in technology.
0 Likes   January 17, 2014 at 4:47AM
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easternhomebuilder
If you are buiding now or even thinking of building, now is the time to make up lists and review hem with your contractor, builder, electrician, etc. You would be amazed how many people do not do that. Also, the professionals can tell you the pluses and minuses of many ideas.

Categorize interesting ideas. For example, I would keep in mind the size of house planned (2,000 SQ Ft, 3,000, 4000, 5,000), and budget (under 500K, 500-1,000K, 1,000-2,000K, over 2,000K) because things take space and it is amazing how quickly construction costs add up in a custom home. I would rank ideas as essential, if we have the budget, nice to have, and defer to later, but do be realistic. Some things are best done at time of construction. I would also rank ideas in terms of easy, medium, and hard, for you to do if adding things during renovations.
1 Like   January 17, 2014 at 6:30AM
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easternhomebuilder
If the property allows it, make it a walk-out basement. I added a cellar olffice with windows and a regular door. Love the access it gives me to the cellar and the backyard.
0 Likes   January 17, 2014 at 6:43AM
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mousemaker
there Is a thread about saving water if you are interested.
0 Likes   January 24, 2014 at 1:33PM
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PRO
Owen Homes LLC
Isn't Houzz great!? Especially for these kinds of questions- I love all the input! There are so many options for you when building a custom home as far as cool ideas.. some we have incorporated into our custom builds: - walk-in hidden pantry... our cabinet maker creates pantry doors but you actually walk into a pantry room. - add a push button for the garbage disposal on the island next to the sink instead of a switch. -recessed outlets so you don't have to worry about not being able to access an outlet, -USB outlets, -depending on your layout storage space underneath the stairs, -if you are doing a fireplace we always do built-in storage shelving on either side with a mantel and a place to put your TV. - for TV's above the mantel we use PVC piping and tunnel it from the storage to where the TV will hang above the fireplace so all the wires are hidden and not in the way but can be easily accessed. There are so so many more but it looks like you have a lot to read through anyway ;)
0 Likes   January 24, 2014 at 2:05PM
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cafrane
Install a disposal in your island. Sounds like a small thing bur invaluable.
Outside shower with HOT and cold water. Good even if you experience 4 seasons.

Take pictures of your wiring and plumbing as they build the house so you will have an idea if you want to make changes.

Choose your doors wisely. By this I mean the doors to the pantry, hall closet, etc. We have folding doors by our side door and if they are open we can't open the side door. Our pantry doors are are the also folding so we lose space for hanging items. Never thought of that when we were building.

You decide on the closet type and design. Many builders have a go to that you may not like when it comes time to use it. It's worth hiring a professional closet designer.

If you have high ceilings, fans are a must.
1 Like   January 25, 2014 at 6:14PM
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ismail_naima
This is an old question but had to add as we love Houzz. I am surprised that people aren't into "home automation" as much. We are making sure we build in these new gizmos to keep our home updated. Some really nice suggestions here as well - http://www.hopeonabudget.com/must-haves-building-home/
2 Likes   February 5, 2014 at 1:25PM
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Ellessebee
We took pictures and video of our house under construction and it's been invaluable at times, especially since we have radiant heat and must know exactly where the tubing is before we make any holes in walls or floors. Speaking of holes in floors and walls, run extra wiring or pull strings and chases for additional wiring. We found out only after we were all finished that we had a lot of WIFI dead spots - probably because of the radiant heat panels, so we had to run additional ethernet cables. The video was especially helpful for this.
2 Likes   February 5, 2014 at 2:59PM
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PRO
Adrian J. Naquin Interior Design L.L.C.
My suggestions:

have a design professional involved in plan/ design of house - contractors no matter how many houses they have done are ill equipped to do good design

Good design can reduce the size/ footprint of the house which will save money on building financing, operation,energy cost, maintaining and cleaning. so validate what size house you build. and try to reduce it size at every turn - Don't build as big as you can afford - build what you need. Conspicuous consumption is just plain stupid. Design from the inside out not to fill a building footprint . make space do double duty where possible. Less is really more if it is well planned.

make plans for the future ( chases etc) because the only thing you can be assured of is things will change

within reason chose energy efficiency items as a tenant in the design without going overboard $ because tech . will all change in 10 years

Don't forget a room's scale will be instrumental to your feeling cozy and comfortable
( too big = too cold)
3 Likes   February 5, 2014 at 4:03PM
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Curt D'Onofrio
@Ellessebee: Taking pictures of your house while under construction. That's a great idea. Wish previous homeowners did that.
1 Like   February 6, 2014 at 12:59AM
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Curt D'Onofrio
What i want in our house? Skylights for natural light and for solar heat in wintertime. With sensor, an insulating blanket is automatically drawn over it
1 Like   February 6, 2014 at 1:07AM
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Martin Salgado Tello
Amazing!
0 Likes   February 8, 2014 at 8:41PM
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khayes8515
My favorite things----built in clothes hamper in my closet that opens up to the laundry room. Love it. Also above the hamper are shelves (behind doors) for sheets that also opens up to the laundry. You can fold your sheets as they come out of the dryer and put them away without ever leaving the laundry room!
Overhead lighting above my bed for reading. Lamps aren't enough.
0 Likes   February 9, 2014 at 10:15AM
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khayes8515
Forgot to add - his and her bath (tub in hers) with a large shared shower between them. Awesome.
1 Like   February 9, 2014 at 10:39AM
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Hal Braswell
Do extra depth cabinets on the same wall as the refrigerator. Instead of paying more for a cabinet depth refrigerator, you would be paying a little more for more storage. Or create a chase in which to run plumbing and electrical and achieve the same effect with fridge or range.
0 Likes   February 9, 2014 at 10:49AM
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whirlwyn
Good question. Owned a house built 40 years ago with electrical outside near doors, patio. same house triple sink, small middle for garbage disposal with 50/50 sink on the side. Wall switch controlled top half of ALL outlets in each bedroom. you can be more practical with lights, radio, tv, chargers, etc. Also hot/cold water just inside garage was great for washing outdoor stuff or soccer shoes, etc. Be sure outside faucets are easily accessible for later or temp additions such as drinking fountain, planting sink, water feature, kids slip and slide.. Only entrance to current house built 20 years ago is thru "car" door. I miss the pedestrian door. Suggest carriage lights that do not require tools to change light bulbs, even if it's once a year. Ditto to heated floors being good. Have fun.
0 Likes   February 9, 2014 at 11:11AM
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PRO
Shuler Architecture
Great question! Here's a short list that I consider the low-hanging fruit for any custom home:

Water saving measures: low flow toilets, water saving shower heads and faucets, drought tolerant landscaping, waste stream management during construction (talk to your contractor)
Recirc line on a timer (talk to your plumber)
Invest in an efficient power plant. Energy Star heat pump with an HSPF between 8 & 10 (>10 preferred) and a SEER rating between 14 & 18; (>18 preferred). Include sound dampening technology and/or acoustic enclosure.
Whole house energy recovery ventilator (ERV) with an air-to-air heat exchanger integrated into the forced air heating system.
High performance windows with a U-value=.32 or less
Bath fans: Panasonic 'Whisper-Quite' series on a timer (110 cfm MIN)
Energy Star appliances throughout.
Back up generator ready electrical panel
Heated floor in the master bath
Steam shower in the master bath
Clothes chute if laundry is on a level different from bedrooms.
If you live in a sunny climate, design deep overhangs to provide shading on your exterior walls.

All of these measures will go a long ways toward lowering your utility costs and increasing user comfort. After this, it looks like there have been a lot of great suggestions on planning features and finishes made by others.
4 Likes   February 9, 2014 at 11:37AM
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dnamama
wschumann, I know our soon to be started home is going to be a big adjustment for me, too. We've spent 20 years in a home with an entrance in to the foyer and one in to the kitchen and then of course, through garage, basement and screened porch. It is going to be a very big change for me to enter through the garage or front door, with no alternative on the front of the house.....but we just couldn't make it work.
0 Likes   February 9, 2014 at 1:07PM
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Custom Home Planning Center
I recently completed a Mech redo on one of my earlier passive solar homes. I eliminated the central heat/air duct system and went to mini splits at 1/2 the cost and three times the efficiency of the old system. My cost material & Labor was $2200/zone with a seer of 28.
1 Like   February 12, 2014 at 8:18PM
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Ram Nath
"Cutom home planning center" can you please explain what you mean?
0 Likes   February 28, 2014 at 9:43PM
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njschaefer78
So many great ideas! Here's a few I didn't see:

If you have a basement and have any intention to ever finish the space,

1)pour a 9 (or 10) ft foundation
2) rough in plumbing for future bathroom/wet bar/etc.
3) put in egress windows

If on city water, especially if sewer fees are high, install a second water meter that doesn't count water used on the outside of your home (irrigation, washing cars, filling up kiddie pools, etc.) toward your sewer bill.
2 Likes   March 1, 2014 at 1:17PM
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bluenan
This thread is from TWO years ago, surely the house is built by now....
1 Like   March 1, 2014 at 1:24PM
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njschaefer78
Clearly still a relevant list that has helped many a home owner planning for new construction or remodels, bluenan.
2 Likes   March 1, 2014 at 1:39PM
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mfwolfe
Njschaefer78. It is a possibly helpful list but there has been an epidemic of old posts being revived because posters don't check the date before they post. That is why bluenan. Said that. It wasn't snarky it was trying to alert folks to be more careful. Houzz discussions are not kept like a library. Issues are settled and then the topics go away.......usually.
2 Likes   March 1, 2014 at 3:27PM
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bluenan
Thanks mfwolfe, the reason I capitalized "two" was so someone might notice how old it was and not spend valuable time trying to be helpful to a poster who is long gone, not to admonish someone who had responded. That probably didn't come across the way I meant it.
4 Likes   March 1, 2014 at 3:45PM
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Amy Stokes
This is one of my favorite posts on houzz. I actually just sent the link to my sister who is remodeling. I'm glad it popped up again to remind me it was here.
3 Likes   March 1, 2014 at 3:53PM
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bluenan
Amy Stokes, you can Bookmark it in your Houzz and it will be there when you need it.
1 Like   March 1, 2014 at 4:00PM
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MelissaL
Actually, the house should be completed this May!
1 Like   March 1, 2014 at 4:14PM
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Denita
Oh, Melissa, we would love to see the home when it is completed. Can you start a new thread then with photos?
0 Likes   March 1, 2014 at 4:18PM
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MelissaL
Absolutely! I'll start one and post on this thread where to find it.
1 Like   March 1, 2014 at 4:38PM
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janiehburton
Don't know if these features have been mentioned. We built our home last year and have enjoyed our mixer that pulls out of a bottom cabinet. We use it much more frequently than in our other house where it had to be lifted to the counter top. Also, have your downstairs master shower fixed with a flat entry for aging in place. We also like that we added an 18" beverage refrigerator in the Butler's Pantry. Enjoy your new home!
2 Likes   March 5, 2014 at 9:49AM
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dnamama
Thank you, Janie. Several friends have mentioned these mixer shelves and I do love my KitchenAid and definitely see in my future the difficulty of hoisting it on to the counter. My question: Is that shelf really stable and secure, for a heavy bowl of dough, or does it wobble? Also, what tile is that on the shower floor? Really like the look and want to understand how to do this without water leaving the shower. Is it simply a slightly tilted floor?
1 Like   March 5, 2014 at 5:05PM
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chookchook2
Excellent ideas for getting older.
0 Likes   March 5, 2014 at 5:10PM
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mjoharen
That's cooler than I would've thought before my daughter bought one, very heavy things. I always wanted to create some type of lift where you'd have an enclosed wine rack go down into the floor/crawl space where cooling would be easier or even natural.
1 Like   March 8, 2014 at 12:12PM
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Hoebeke Builders, Inc. / The BuildCHX App
SO MANY fabulous ideas - you may need three budgets to afford all of the wonderful goodies! At the risk of sounding like a used car salesman, I think you could benefit greatly by picking up a copy of my book, UnHINGED: A Homebuilder's Secrets for Saving Time & Money (Amazon), and maybe even my app BuildCHX (iTunes and Android). Both were written for the homeowner who is trying to learn a little bit more about the building business so they miss some of the bear traps out there that waste time and money. So many have found both the book and the app very helpful for getting on-track with the process. Additionally, I'm now on Twitter sending out free tips through my two different accounts @BobHoebeke, and @BuildCHX. After 35 years in the business I feel overwhelmingly compelled to share the wealth! Best wishes, and have FUN!!
0 Likes   March 8, 2014 at 12:45PM
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janiehburton
Hi. Our power has been out due to ice storm. To the list add a permanent generator... To answer your questions - the mixer stand is completely secure. You pull it up from out of the lower cabinet with the handle (see picture). There is specific hardware that is manufactured for your contractor to use for installation. To lower it, you release the mechanism under the mixer shelf and lower it back into the cabinet with the handle. It works perfectly! The shower tile is subway Carrera marble on the walls and the floor is smaller Carrera blocks plus black marble in an old fashioned basket weave pattern. The shower floor is built so that it slants slightly toward the drain and there is a marble threshold that separates the hardwood floor from the shower floor tile. It is honed in such a way that the water doesn't flow onto the wooden floor, but is relatively flat so a wheelchair can easily go through the door. Let me know if you have other questions.
1 Like   March 9, 2014 at 5:55PM
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lkj123
I've always wanted to have a secret room in my future home. I think it would be really cool to have it hidden behind the wall or even a secret basement passage way. This is a really great question by the way, it's really got me thinking about other things I would want in my house. I think that having a separate garage with a 2nd floor and a wood shop would be a dream come true.

Luke | http://www.personalhomebuilders.com/services.html
2 Likes   March 19, 2014 at 2:48PM
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easternhomebuilder
Luke, the NSA and FBI now know about your secret room. Too bad - it was a cool idea.
2 Likes   March 19, 2014 at 3:06PM
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easternhomebuilder
A couple of people have suggested multiple cable, phone, and internet drops (lines) in each room. When we built our home 7 years ago we did that. Today it would be a waste of money because those things are now being communicated within the house wirelessly. What I would do, however is dedicate a closet on the first (middle) floor to the wireless home devices. That way, your wireless signal has the shortest path to all rooms. My son actually did that and now I can understand why.
1 Like   March 20, 2014 at 2:37PM
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Denita
^^^easternhomebuilder, I did the same thing in my newly built home in 2003. Today of course it is not needed as you point out. Talk about a waste!
0 Likes   March 20, 2014 at 3:01PM
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Ellessebee
We thought we wouldn't need extra cables and wires, assuming we could rely on wireless technology for most things. However, we soon found that the radiant heat panels we put in the floors do a great job blocking the wireless signal - so we had to run ethernet cables for computer and television connections. It's tricky with radiant heat but we managed with the help of lots of photos and video we took of the house during construction. If there's any one thing I'd say to do, it't that: Document everything with photos and video!
3 Likes   March 20, 2014 at 3:44PM
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easternhomebuilder
thanks for that comment ellessebee. as you point out, what works for some might not work for all.
1 Like   March 20, 2014 at 3:56PM
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Excel Builders
We are a custom ICF home builder and always are looking to improve to our features of our homes. Here are a couple of ideas you might like. Access from master bedroom closet to laundry(see picture) air jet tub vs. Whirlpool type tub no water comes out just air eliminating the chance of mold or mildew in lines thus black discharge out water lines which would not be possible. Big enough master bedroom walk in closet allowing for cabinets with drawers (some bigger drawers) then you don't need any dressers in bedroom area instead maybe a chair and or other furniture. We are now building an ICF home using mini split concealed in ceiling HVAC system minimum 18.5 SEER VERY EFFICIENT GOOD LUCK
0 Likes   March 21, 2014 at 2:05AM
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Red Berm
I'm not sure where you are located but out here in CA we like the ideas of solar panels, green roofs, and I even worked on a custom home where the air conditioning system was designed through use of evaporation from a waterfall through the center of the house.
1 Like   March 21, 2014 at 9:43AM
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John James O'Brien - Design for Inspired Living
There are plenty of great suggestions for you to consider in this thread, so I'll take a different tack. Some thoughts:

- Avoid wasted space. Utilize (the remarkable number of) void spaces in construction. E.g. a narrow pull-out shelf unit beside a guest shower is a nice feature, but is typically "standard depth" leaving a void that may extend another 12" plus. It will be up to you to specify that your pullout should make use of the maximum depth possible (a factor of slides and runners, shelf lengths, etc.). Kitchen corner cabinets can, instead, serve space needs of adjacent rooms--no wasted space at all. this is not in any sense a common approach--you'll need to guide such thinking (or hire a designer who can).

-Form follows function: take time to think, discuss, re-think and re-discuss how you envision living in the space.
--- Are you a reader? What criteria can you identify that encourages your joy in reading?
---- Is someone in the family a musician or gamer? Your criteria might include design and materials to muffle sound.
--- Do you segregate interior and exterior living, or prefer a sense of living in nature? These perspectives shape window placement (& treatment), alignment of sight-lines, landscaping, etc. It is often possible to create a sense of space and privacy even among dense neighborhoods.
--- Do you like the jostle of family members in the kitchen or prefer physical separation? Your criteria will influence the distance between counters, the expanse of an island, etc. no less than your criteria based on how you cook, whether a breakfast counter or table suits, etc.
--- Prefer thick walls and deep sills? Achievable with well designed storage walls that offer the practical benefits. For those who decorate seasonally, or circulate works in a personal art collection, or simply rotate collectibles, this concept is particularly useful.
--- Need serviceable laundry facilities but don't want to dedicate a full room? There are many ways to fit function into a beautiful outcome.
---Do you want to maintain a sense of openness for light and air flow but need to conform to code requirements for safety? Shift thinking away from "wall" or "railing" to consider other means to meet code requirements (e.g. a designed display unit that hits the marks).

Most of all, develop a checklist list from this thread and your other explorations so that when you are developing the plan, you can know whether your team is on side with your vision. Leave room for the creativity you are hiring--but demand that creativity. If a team member or assigned trade doubts that x or y can be done, don't force that - find someone for whom meeting your needs is fine and who has the required skills and ability to communicate until there is solid understanding. It is amazing how much effort goes into a plan that is sometimes not actually followed as the project progresses!

Listen for "it's always done this way" a sure sign that you'll need to shake your architect/contractor/designer out of the box or accept that you're paying custom for a home that's like others (in which case, why build your own?). Be open to full explanations that build your knowledge and suspicious of blunt explanations that shut down your ideas. That said, as trust is built, trust. If trust is lost--don't ignore that.

Good luck--and as I always say, have fun! It is a "growth process" with all that entails--but so satisfying.
2 Likes   March 21, 2014 at 10:34AM
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hayleydaniels
I haven't read through this thread, but I'll my husband's 'must have' if we ever build--a fire suppression sprinkler system.
0 Likes   March 21, 2014 at 10:38AM
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easternhomebuilder
Live in Massachusetts, but lived in the San Fran Bay Area for 12 years just before building here. My observation is that there is about the same level of adoption of solar in both new construction and existing homes. Not a lot. Ditto geothermal. Just hasn't caught on yet. Might be the economy. Might be the high cost. Might be the lack of government incentitves. Like with cars, the govt puts in short term incentives hoping to give a kick start and then takes them away. If they want people to use them the incentives need to be permanent. Phase out incentices when costs drop due to volumes increasing. Curious, how many 2-person families are using on-demand hot water? That's another techology with high initial cost in comparison to older technology.
0 Likes   March 22, 2014 at 5:47AM
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Ellessebee
We have recently considered adding some sort of solar energy to our house. Unfortunately, we didn't design the roof with solar panels in mind and doing so would have eaten into our livable sq footage because of complicated zoning issues. We also have a hillside and a lot of trees to the south and west. The best estimate we've gotten is that we could get about 17-20% of our electricity needs met with solar panels. Although we're more interested in saving electricity than in saving money, we decided not to go for it, hoping something more efficient and/or practical will become available soon. I'm particularly interested in solar shingles which could fit more efficiently on the roof, but I've been told they have issues, too. In the meantime, we're watching and waiting hopefully.
1 Like   March 22, 2014 at 5:58AM
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jesseauciello
I didn't take the time to read all 400+ comments before me, so forgive me if this has already been said.

Someone mentioned planning a switched receptacle where you'll put a Christmas tree. I don't know about you, but we move our tree around, and I couldn't pick a single place to switch.

We ended up running 14-3 to all the receptacles in the living room, then I added a switch next to the fireplace lighting switch. The beauty of this is, with just a small amount of DIY wiring, I can switch any outlet in my entire living room. Very handy if you don't have a single spot for a tree. And 14-3 costs only about 10% more than 14-2, so it's a minor price increase for a single room.
0 Likes   March 25, 2014 at 3:36PM
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Custom Home Planning Center
You can have 1/2 of a duplex switched the other 1/2 not. This is also a good place to plug in electronics which draw power whether they are being used or not to reduce your elec. bill.
0 Likes   March 25, 2014 at 11:19PM
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NK Woodworking
Designer High End Wood Bathtub?
2 Likes   March 26, 2014 at 1:20PM
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Custom Home Planning Center
looks like a good start. When you finish you might offer it up in an open format for others who will not do the work, but will benefit from it. And we will add items to your list you may have mist.
0 Likes   April 2, 2014 at 6:59PM
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sllucas2
Thank your for your response. Yeah, I know I missed many other items so really the repository is in its infancy and I consider it a "rough draft" until our floor plans are finalized. I wanted to get what I have posted to help everyone and hoping to add feedback and those "missed items" should I want to incorporate them in our house as well.
0 Likes   April 3, 2014 at 6:19AM
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padlpaws
Walk in attic! It's such a luxury rather than climbing those dangerous pull down stairs. We're planning on building again this year and the stairs will be behind a door in the garage since this house will be a one story. If it can be worked into your design I highly recommend it, especially as homeowners age pull down attic access is a real safety issue. Good Luck!
0 Likes   April 3, 2014 at 7:39AM
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easternhomebuilder
re: Padlpaws. We use a 'bonus' room off the garage, accessible through a bedroom, as a walk in attic. While this room has insulation along all walls, it is unheated and unfinished, and the wall in common with the bedroom makes the adjacent bedroom cold all winter. I plan to add sheetrock this summer to see if that helps, perhaps replace the door with an exterior door. Other's suggestions are welcome! It is nice to have a walk-in attic-type space. We don't have to use the walk-up attic.
0 Likes   April 3, 2014 at 9:53AM
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JKIRSTEN HOMES: custom home builder for Austin, TX
We love installing built-in vacuum systems for our custom homes. Saves time, money, cleaning hassle, and greatly improves the home environment!
0 Likes   May 12, 2014 at 4:05AM
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GN Builders L.L.C
There is so much good advise and ideas here that is hard to come up with anything else other then have a sauna or a swimming pool in your bedroom LOL.

But if nobody mentioned above and if you do allot of cooking a pot filler faucet would be a nice addition to your kitchen and if you can, rough in plumbing and electrical piping and wiring for the future if you want to add a bathroom in the basement, or a sink, gas piping for outdoor grill, etc... wiring for landscaping, kitchen cabinet lightning if you plan to have glass cabinets, etc

Good luck with your new Home.
0 Likes   May 12, 2014 at 4:38AM
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sapphire
We put sound insulation in our laundry room walls and bathroom walls too because they are next to the family room - no noise!
0 Likes   May 12, 2014 at 4:38AM
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sapphire
We also put sound insulation in our basement ceiling when our kids were teenagers, 20 kids, no noise upstairs! Bonus!!
0 Likes   May 12, 2014 at 4:40AM
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klschult
I'm building a home now. These are the items on my wish list...
electrical outlet under both sinks in master bath (so DH rechargeable razor or toothbrush doesn't have to sit on the counter), bay window over kitchen sink, electrical outlets above kitchen counters (for xmas lights), electrical outlet in walk-in pantry (for rechargeable hand vac), electrical outlet in master closet, extra stud across from knoll post at top of stairs so child gates can be installed correctly, water faucet on front porch for watering plants, save one lower cupboard next to sink for pull out garbage, we have a generator for power outages so we will make sure it can plug into the house in the garage and power the necessary things in the house without extension cords, double doors into master bedroom (oh yeah), lots of recessed lighting, have garage floor and driveway sealed right away to prevent stains and its easier to sweep, walkout basement, two way fireplace between family room and kitchen/nook, and luxury carpet throughout (Karastan Smart Strand Silk).
1 Like   May 25, 2014 at 1:23PM
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macymacmaples
"extra stud across from knoll post at top of stairs so child gates can be installed correctly" that's a very sensible idea kischult. Some of the most valuable features are not necessarily the most visible.
2 Likes   May 30, 2014 at 12:14AM
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Progressive Solutions / Renaissance Bronze Windows
One step towards an energy efficient home is your windows & doors.
All of our Renaissance solid bronze windows & doors come with triple seal glass and double weatherstripping, although we do not currently offer a thermally broken unit.
With the narrow profile of our bronze, the glass and weatherstripping can have a greater impact on the overall performance of the window.
All windows and doors are rated with a solar heat gain co-efficient (SHGC) and U-factor, so you could check those requirements to meet your needs.

You are welcome to view our ideabooks or product video & website-
Ideabook: Black Kitchen Windows www.solidbronzewindows.com
Ideabook: Black Bathroom Window Ideas www.solidbronzewindows.com
Project: Renaissance Solid Bronze Windows & Doors www.solidbronzewindows.com
Ideabook: Black, Bronze & Steel Door Ideas www.solidbronzewindows.com
http://blog.werefindinganswers.com/gallery/renaissance-bronze-windows-doors-2
http://solidbronzewindows.com
0 Likes   June 9, 2014 at 9:55AM
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pjdot
We are hopefully a 6 weeks out from completing our house. Such great ideas. Biggest idea is ask how much because many things are not very clostly. Things we did on a 1850 sf house.
9' pour main and basement
geothermal - do the reserch before you let sticker shock get you. 30% back from Feds and 30%-50% savings in energy consumption
well/septic because of need but no more bills
reviewed windows and enlarged windows in breakfast and living room to 7' - cheap upgrade
modified floor plan to make it more open
pull out drawers in lower cabinets - cheap upgrade!!
moved rough in plumbing to exterior walls in basement - FREE
architectural shingles and ridge vent - FREE
Egress double hung slider windows in look out basement (drywallthrough window and makes nice livable area and natural light)
Use energy efficient lighting, toilets, etc
collect rainwater from downspouts to water
review SF on how you will use and make changes to better utilize
think of the basement when your buiding including bathrooms because of rough in
take out the master tub if you won't use and repurpose that space
review your closets based on your needs
review walls that have windows and either the view or how you will place your furniture
add enough electric, cable and ethernet where you need for Tv's etc in all rooms
recessed lights in kitchen and breakfast room instead of fixtures
recess lights over porch and garage instead of fixtures
exterior electric outlets for christmas lights, and any other needs on each side of your house
extra frost free water spout on each side of house
electric in ceiling of garage if you want a heater
under cabinet lights and molding
review size of cabinets to make sure you are getting enough storage
do those extra improvements that are hard to do later
review interior door layout and how the flow works. change as needed.
dedicated pantry in a handy location
we extended our pantry to 30" to match up with our fridge and will do deep shelves
if you build custom check out buying some things on your own (lighting, cabinet hardware, etc and save $$)
patio - review what you want because it is hard to add onto concrete and have it look right
focal point - spend the money on it. We added stone to ceiling on fireplace and hand hewn mantel
engineered hardwood floors in open floor plan LR, Kitchen, breakfast room, foyer and hallway.
upgrade padding for carpet is a must and cheap
framed mirrors instead of building grade mirror (we bought for little more then credit we received but look is so much nicer)
ceiling fans - 52" for each room. will help with air flow (we bought they will install)
insulation on bathrooms to reduce noise
3 car garage
extra single door off garage
bigger porch

would love to do solar but haven't figured that out so thanks to those that have added info on that.
happy building all!!
1 Like   June 16, 2014 at 7:36PM
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dnamama
Great, practical points, pjdot. Tell me about the architectural shingles and ridge vent. What did you choose? We are definitely paying for that upgrade with our builder. Again, thanks for the summary! Enjoy your new home. We are 'en route' and windows and roof go on in the next week.
0 Likes   June 17, 2014 at 4:06AM
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PITTcooking USA
Hi there,
very nice to design your own house.
I recently started in the USA with importing Pittcooking, integrated cookingtops.
Have a look on my website if you consider cooking on gas its a
very nice new feature to your kitchen.
www.pittcooking.com
Good luck with your construction job.

Kind regards Rob Terlaak
0 Likes   June 17, 2014 at 4:27AM
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Darla Scheuerman
Electrical outlets in the soffits for Christmas lights, when you think you have enough install another 30% . Also lots of exterior outlets, again you will use more than you think.
0 Likes   June 17, 2014 at 5:36AM
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Darla Scheuerman
I would also insulate between interior walls. After spending a night in my guest room/a houzzer adventure/ I could hear the shower and closet doors from the bedroom next to it.
1 Like   June 17, 2014 at 5:51AM
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maryellensue
So many great ideas! Two I had on top of all of the others is a Lazy Susan for your spices and seasonings in a corner cabinet. So handy instead of sifting through them all in a drawer or rack. Plus don't forget your Linen Closet. This can easily be overlooked, but so convenient! Just a little tiny closet space near the bathroom(s) where you have a few shelves to store towels, washcloths and extra toilet paper. So wonderful just to have that specific extra storage.

Building my house next year and this discussion has given me so many wonderful ideas!
2 Likes   June 20, 2014 at 8:06AM
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FaucetlList.com
A Custom Shower System is a very cool thing to have if you are designing a custom home. Read more about How to build your own Shower System: http://faucetlist.com/blog/Shower-Systems.html Here are a few examples:
0 Likes   July 9, 2014 at 8:05PM
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renataimagines
I'm in the beginning stages of building my dream home - just bought the land, still working out the design with the architect. My thought is to build with aging in place in mind. I have read through all of the comments. Took two days! The information is invaluable. Thanks everyone! And yes this is a proper use of houzz.
2 Likes   July 10, 2014 at 6:33PM
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dnamama
Same. Roof is going on. Windows just put in. We are 54 and 55 and that was our goal as well. Last move for us, we hope! Best of luck.
1 Like   July 10, 2014 at 6:52PM
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renataimagines
Thanks! I retired early too; just turned 56. I'm using my 83 yr old dad as my model. Watching him go through the aging process has given me a lot of insight as to what works and doesn't. For example, we will be installing dishwasher drawers on either side of the sink instead of a full size dishwasher. Its easier for him to pull the drawer open than bend over to load dishes. Best of luck to you too.
2 Likes   July 10, 2014 at 8:24PM
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chubers
This is definitely the proper use of houzz! I'm building a house and this have given me so many great ideas I wouldn't have thought of otherwise.
4 Likes   July 16, 2014 at 6:03AM
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JKIRSTEN HOMES: custom home builder for Austin, TX
@Chubers - Great point!
0 Likes   July 16, 2014 at 7:04AM
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Custom Home Planning Center
I'll be going through the info to up date my earlier section I as I prepare to teach my Custom Home building field course for fall then finish and post the section II.
1 Like   July 16, 2014 at 10:18AM
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margaret17
I'm pretty sure that bgfuqua was referring to a post that has since been removed from this thread that was, in fact, not the proper use of Houzz (which is why it was removed). This thread is absolutely the right use of Houzz. I read through it a few months ago and continue to monitor new posts for good ideas.
3 Likes   July 16, 2014 at 10:22AM
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aredinger
Reading, building, and reading some more! We have owned our lot to build on for 5 years so my excel spreadsheet has expanded since then. These are great ideas to add, thank you. We just broke ground this past May. I have read every comment and here are a few items I do not believe have been listed - definitely family friendly with 3 little ones and maybe more to come!

Exterior
-Full screen doors not sliders kids always get them off track
-Ask to keep any extra building supplies - you probably paid for them anyways - great for kid play areas or in case something gets broken...
-Built-in flower planter boxes on the front porch railing
-Handprints in the cement walkway
-Up, down and all around lighting in all areas - general, task, accent

Bedrooms
-Halogen reading lights over all beds for nighttime stories
-Built-in window seats or in those "unused space" areas that will be boxed in that open like cedar chests (can line with cedar too)

Bathrooms
-Behind door towel rack (hingeit)
-Consider separate small linen and toiletry closets - never enough room
-Timers and humidity detectors on kid's bathroom fans
-Recessed medicine cabinets in all rooms with either mirror or cabinet matching front - can be recessed between studs on side walls

Closets
-Valet pole in all closets to have the next day's clothes ready to go

Flooring
-Extra padding or high quality under carpets - kids sit on the floor a lot so you do too

Great Room
-Built-ins with lighting on any support poles/beams that need exposed if you are going for the open floor plan look so it looks like more of a piece of furniture than an obstructed view

Playroom
-Kid fun paint - chalkboard, magnetic, glow, dry-erase
-Playroom with toy closet that converts to a sunroom

Kitchen
-Drawer with built-in containers to house flour, sugar, etc
-Keep all countertop cut-outs for cutting boards, coasters, whatever
-Kid snack refrigerator drawer (Samsung - can be a beer drawer later on)
-Lid maid lid holders (spacesavers.com)
-Kitchen Nook with hinged seats for storage
-Free-floating shelves above nook (ikea)
-Routed drain channels in solid surface
-Shelf for cookbooks/wine rack - end of island
-Toe-kick drawers
-Plan for where trash cans in all rooms will be stored

Laundry
-Window!
-Ikea Octopus Laundry hanger
-Retractable Clotheslines inside and outside where any wet clothes may gather
-Polder Wall Mount Accordion Drying Rack
-Dog/cat area with built-in bowls under folding table

Mudroom
-Cork board for family calendar
-Wall hanging folders each kid
-Hook Nook
-Mail slots
-Full length mirror
-Shoe cleaning mat
-Stone tiles (quick dry)
-Umbrella stand

Attic
-Walkin above garage through external steel door
-Can finish later if needed space

Garage
-Parking guide
-Utilatub low to ground for washing pets
-Shop light
2 Likes   November 15, 2014 at 5:25PM
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PRO
Custom Home Planning Center
Get the overhangs out to at least 24" I go 36" on mine : protects the windows and sidewalls
This is a shelter not a doll house
0 Likes   November 15, 2014 at 8:08PM
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TanCalGal
I just bought a one burner induction cooktop to try and I would most certainly have an induction cooktop in a new kitchen for the ease of cleaning + hi & lo controls for heat.
0 Likes   November 15, 2014 at 9:36PM
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Sandra
aredinger those are all wonderful ideas and I will incorporate many into my new home. Thank you.
0 Likes   November 16, 2014 at 5:38AM
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