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Never, ever, ever ...

Emily H
6 years ago
last modified: 6 years ago

Redeveloper Apartment · More Info

What are your design NEVERS? Designers, especially ... what do you tell your clients are the worst design no-nos to avoid?

Share your experience (photos encouraged)!

Comments (302)

  • PRO
    dreamdoctor
    6 years ago

    I'm going to disagree a bit about designing aspirationally. You can design in such as way as to change or nurture habits or occurrences. If your exercise equipment is buried in the basement and not used much (spelled never) give it a place of prominence where it cannot be ignored. Place a garden outside a window of the kitchen so you can see the flowers, veggies and herbs etc growing and make it convenient and you will more likely use it. If recycling is convenient it will more likely happen. If there is a comfortable place to entertain you will more likely do that.

    I have seen plans that looked more like hotels - there is no reason for the family to be together. A plan can be designed to encourage and accommodate family activities. Design can accomplish many things.

  • fidela
    6 years ago

    tebixby "1 escalón: 1 tropezón" = when you have only one step, you can fall down (Sorry ! I not speak english)

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  • tatts
    6 years ago

    redoredone: My reasoning for not painting bricks is based on the wise words of a friend, "Never turn a no-maintenance item into a maintenance item."

    There are many other reasons (the moisture one already mentioned), and I think a plain color with a grid of seams telegraphing through looks awful. Brick has texture and color variation; paint doesn't.

    However: there are times (very few), when painting/staining is the last best solution (bad patches, truly horrid blends, etc.). But to paint brick just for the sake of it is a big mistake. And never, ever paint brick with nail-struck joints (where the mortar is deeply recessed). that will always look awful.

  • Tribbletrouble44152k7 Trek
    6 years ago

    Me too.

  • emmarene9
    6 years ago

    DJSamson, I think most of us knew what you meant about a house being a box.

  • redoredone
    6 years ago

    tatts...Thanks for the feedback. We'd like for our house to have attractive maintenance free brick with mortar that matches, but since it doesn't, painting / staining seems to be our only option. The location and view make the house worth it!

  • PRO
    dreamdoctor
    6 years ago

    The nice thing about stain vs paint in general is that there is no prep - if you have to you just put another coat on. If you are using latex though at some point it becomes like paint and holds moisture - but this is decades away and the latex kind of wears off - at least on the south and west sides. Only reapply stain where it is needed.

  • Tribbletrouble44152k7 Trek
    6 years ago

    Well it's good to see this thread hasn't been flagged. ;);)

  • Tribbletrouble44152k7 Trek
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    expand this image:


    Guys, I think we should post a dilemma on Houzz about those two niches behind me. I just don't know what to do with them. I think the symmetrical Holy Grail look we have going on is so matchy matchy.

  • PRO
    Cleveland Designs
    6 years ago

    NEVER, EVER, Buy a Townhouse that is not in Town, and Never buy a Condo Period!

  • PRO
    dreamdoctor
    6 years ago

    I remember taking the tour of the timeshare for our "free vacation" - I did a little number crunching - "That comes to over $600/SF in a basically economically depressed area." "You're thinking too much.", was the reply.

  • wwood123
    6 years ago

    Never put a sliding patio door in a bathroom, and then add a sunroom (nothing yaks like drapes in the bathroom). And think twice about mosaic tiles on the bottom of a sunken tub. The edges are like a cheese grater on the keister. And finally, don't buy a house with these features assuming you'll remodel in the near future.

  • adware
    6 years ago

    @dreamdoctor.. Where were you on my brickstaining thread a few weeks back? Do you have experience staining brick yourself? Tips? Pictures?

  • PRO
    dreamdoctor
    6 years ago

    adware - brick staining thread? Experience yes, brick and concrete for that matter. It's been awhile since I've done that. The pictures are analog and I'd have to dig them out - this is a very busy time of year. I rough board formed a bird bath for example and used oil based wood stain on it - looks/ed good, lasted a long time. When it fades put on another coat. Opaque latex stain on brick - I specified it and saw the results and have not heard anything negative about it (twenty years ago+/-). I have suggested in other cases and some often do it but do not have pictures of it. Not portfolio material. I always recommend doing a sample and if possible let it weather for months or more in as close to the actual conditions as possible for the application. Not absolutely necessary but if time allows. I suggest mock ups of anything you re not sure about or familiar with. I have a saying, "Do not learn to stucco over the front door". Or similar. That could be a never, ever.

    Never, ever take someone's advice that is not qualified (or does not have a financial investment in the outcome) - I don't care if they are your best friend and a great plumber, that does not qualify them as a structural engineer, general contractor/building envelope assembly expert or as a designer. If this is to be your final consulting source please do us both a favor and don't ask me to work with you on your project - my name is still attached to the project you created with your "friend".

    What I designed:


    What they built on the advice of their friend:
    One of these things is not like the other - one is worthy of being published and possibly internationally.

  • adware
    6 years ago

    I started a thread about staining my one-toned red brick a few weeks back and got all the "don't touch the brick!"-ers advice and none that had done it. Thanks for the input, we are adding some windows so I will save some of the brick and give it a try.

  • PRO
    dreamdoctor
    6 years ago

    Staining brick is a last resort - not anywhere near my first choice. If the brick is reasonable I would change things around it to help it work first. Some of the blends are hideous. It would be VERY hard to take it off so don't do it casually. Best wishes.

  • hauzzhunter1
    6 years ago
    Don't think everything needs to be new or on trend! Look for pieces with a soul. Don't shop without a tape measure:)
  • oracca
    6 years ago

    Although I would encourage most DIY's I will say never, never undertake an important house project yourself if you do not have the neccessary knowledge and skill to do it properly! I've seen far too many horrible jobs and heard of ones that have caused serious structural and safety issues. You can ruin your house if you don't know what you're doing.

  • PRO
    dreamdoctor
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Never, ever ask your wife for her opinion unless you are prepared to follow it to the letter! Or plan on designing and living in a nice dog house for some time. "Why did you ask if you're not going to do it?"

  • Ben Hart
    6 years ago
    1. Take no for an answer. There is always a way, a work around, another possibility.
    2. Fear mistakes. They are a fabulous way to learn. :)
    3. Be negative. People react to well to being shown solutions, not problems.
  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    6 years ago

    Never mistake a dog's watering fountain for a urinal . . . and vice-versa for dogs.

  • Mark Brunner
    6 years ago
    Never put two door frames so close that you can't get a paint brush between them.
  • Tribbletrouble44152k7 Trek
    6 years ago

    What about those brushes they use to paint your name on a grain of rice? You could even sign your own work afterward.

  • scforme
    6 years ago

    I don't understand the empathic "Don't put the kitchen sink in the corner". We built 2 homes with that feature and LOVED it. Now we purchased an existing home that does not have that and I really miss it!

  • kim8640
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Painting brick is fine IF the brick is good quality, there is no water damage and the color is hideous. My first home was a solid buy, except the previous owner decided on flamingo pink brick, including the interior fireplace wall. After a few years hating the color - I painted the fireplace brick first and,after research on painting exterior brick, hired a painting contractor to spray a very good quality exterior paint. The shade of gray was neutral and made all the difference in the world. Accent color shutters gave the house an entirely different look that no longer shouted "1970's ranch .. Yuck". Just wish I had done it right away!

  • PRO
    dreamdoctor
    6 years ago

    I like using a 90 degree "corner sink" in the middle of the counter. It provides a little "V" niche to work in and gets you out of the way a little more in a small kitchen.

  • Sheryl Brower
    6 years ago

    I completely agree on the no twin sink, side by side frig also soap dispenser with faucet ends up not being used much as its easier to just use the original soap container.

  • luvourhome
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Never under-estimate how much natural rock material you will need to build a water-feature! Wow. If you want to discover why you have to pay someone so much to have one installed if they do everything? Just try lifting all that stuff by hand yourself...

    I have a new respect for landscapers that work with boulders!! We put in more than 50% of the prep. and labour, but still...crazy amount of weight! And we had a huge pile of rocks and we still needed more from the quarry.

    Trying to copy nature is really hard work, lol.

    Never give up! The sweetest rewards come from patience, persistence, perspiration, and determination.

  • Alechia
    6 years ago
    Never settle for only a shower in the master bath if you like to soak in a bath at the end of the day--do a shower/tub combo, even if your contractor thinks you're nuts. And never tell yourself you can just take a bath in the other/guest/kids` bathroom because it won`t happen. I said that when we moved into our house eight years ago, and only done that twice, with the kids.
  • Hope ForBest
    6 years ago

    Never use bright colors or mismatched pieces as a pretense for creativity. It's easy to slap some purple paint on a bathroom and call it innovation.

  • PRO
    Gallo Paint
    6 years ago

    Never paint your entire room without testing the color for at least a few days on a chunk of the wall. And never ever paint without primer.

  • Love Infinity
    6 years ago
    never paint a brand new house before planning and buying matching things to go along with those colors. learning this Tehran hard way by completely redecorating and painting my house
  • Becky Harris
    6 years ago

    Never mix a litter box and a thick pile carpet.

  • PRO
    dreamdoctor
    6 years ago

    When unexpected guests show up and you want to offer them something to drink never, ever, ever tell them that it is the same beer you use to kill slugs and it's the cheapest you could find. My mom doesn't drink beer so it's all the same to her.

  • Tribbletrouble44152k7 Trek
    6 years ago

    Dreamdoctor, as long as you fish the slugs out in the kitchen, before you give the guests the beer. Bad luck if it's open plan.

  • PRO
    dreamdoctor
    6 years ago

    A little off topic but very good advice - never, ever put something in a storage container before finding the lid AND making sure it really fits - especially if it messy, sticky stuff.

  • Margaret Hornady
    5 years ago

    Well we painted the exterior of our brick house about 14 years ago. It looked great then and it looks great now. We live in a neighborhood with lots of brick homes that tend to look alike. Ours doesn't. Don't understand the bias against painting the brick

  • PRO
    dreamdoctor
    5 years ago

    It is destroying the south wall of a client of mine's building. The moisture moves through the brick, condenses on the back side of the paint while still in the brick and then freezes which explodes the face of the brick. If no freezing or moisture migration, not a problem. I have used permeable STAIN on really ugly brick. We will be cleaning the building wall, insulating/adding 4" of rigid insulation and stucco. It doesn't help that the wall used to be an interior wall.

  • orangecamera
    5 years ago

    Never ever go out and buy something for the house before looking at what you have in other rooms, garage, basement, attic. You may already have the perfect piece.

    Never ever let mean people into your house.

  • Margaret Hornady
    5 years ago

    Ok, I didn't think to add that we worked with a genius painting contractor who has more color sense than anybody in the world and who knows the right kind of paint to use on a stand alone home. According to him, "You can paint anything, as long as you use the right paint." We could go through town and count the number of brick homes he has painted and to my knowledge none of them have had a problem. And I am friends with most of those people, so I'd know if they were upset; you'd hear the whining all around town.

  • jenwen
    5 years ago

    Generally, I agree with the buy the best quality you can buy. But, seriously, there are people out there who don't get paid much - and I do mean NOT MUCH at all. Do they not deserve to live in a space that is as nice as they can achieve? Perhaps they have a leak under the kitchen sink, and they have to get it repaired/replaced. What if they can't afford the high quality faucet from a plumber's supply but can go to Home Depot or Lowe's? Do they do without a faucet? Do they go deeper in debt? Just because you can't afford the high end things doesn't mean you don't want design advice and want your house to look nice and cohesive, despite the quality.

  • Nidnay
    5 years ago
    Never, ever, EVER purchase acreage or pick out a building lot without first investigating thoroughly what will eventually be built on the adjacent lots or acreage. Check out all the surrounding zoning laws. If there is any question, purchase enough land for a buffer (if possible), or don't purchase. That beautiful wooded view might just turn out to be another subdivision or industrial park.
  • Brenda Waggoner
    5 years ago
    When you get older and need to downsize, don't overprice the house because of the memories. Ask a fair price and call it a day.
  • PRO
    dreamdoctor
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    nidnay - the people down the road bought the property and built in a dry year - the next year they couldn't get on to their property because of the small lake at the front of their property - it has been on the market for two years. We had to build a "bridge" to take the place of the drift that formed from blowing snow - the snow was like Styrofoam.

    Margarete - what part of the country do you live in?

  • Margaret Hornady
    5 years ago

    Nebraska

  • PRO
    dreamdoctor
    5 years ago

    Oh, practically the tropics. I'm impressed - I can't help but think the paint is permeable or the brick cavity is well vented. Thank you for the response.

  • PRO
    Loribeth Clark
    5 years ago

    To Peggy Tupper Not necessarily. Just because it comes from a parent or a grandparent, it doesn't always mean it's a family heirloom. It could be that they paid what to them was a lot of money and they feel that it should be passed down even though they no longer like it. I stand by my original statement, if you love it, then by all means take (even if it's your cousin giving it to you), but if you don't love it, then let someone else who does have it. Don't try to incorporate things you don't love into your design, because chances are you won't grow to love it, and it won't bring joy to your life.

  • PRO
    Hicks Heating & Air
    5 years ago

    I think children should be very honest with their parents right from the start on what they like or don't like.

    Certain children of ours would be thrilled to receive any of our antiques, and others have indicated that they "are not into" them. That's ok with us, We'd rather know up front so if we wish to pass something down, we don't have to worry about passing it to someone who does NOT love it.

    Also, by open and complete honesty, then you can also say, "I would love for this to stay in the family, so if at one point you don't want it anymore, would you at least offer it to all of the other family members before giving it away to someone else." Of course, once you give it away, it's theirs, but the mere fact that you are giving it to them with a simple request, gives them the option of refusing the item if they don't want to be burdened with the request, or understanding that you are not just giving them some generic present, but rather, an item that you loved and felt was representative of you and you want them to enjoy it as much as you did.

    Also, the best thing you can do when passing down a family heirloom is to write a short note about it and place it somewhere inside, taped to the back of, etc the item. Often, memories start to fade, details get lost, and often, the recipient down the road would love to know a bit more detail about the history of the item. Even if the story is, "well, we were driving down the road and stopped in this little antique store in XXXXX", people really want to know. I would KILL to know more background on several of our antiques, especially our old Belgian confessional, our murphy bed, my dad's great aunt's dresser (all involved are long dead). . . . what a gift it would be to know the history of those pieces!