{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Husband and I are getting ready to build a custom home. Any suggestions on things you have / wish you had? We have our first baby on the way so I’ve already identified that I’d like a separate nursery/play room on the main floor.", "post_id": "5ee50b985a0d9b0024168861", "reply_count": 32, "vote_count": 3, "bowl_id": "59e88be7e2808e00149b0443", "bowl_name": "Women In Consulting" }

Husband and I are getting ready to build a custom home. Any suggestions on things you have / wish you had? We have our first baby on the way so I’ve already identified that I’d like a separate nursery/play room on the main floor.

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We just moved into our custom hour 6 months ago. Here are my thoughts. - every quote is going to come up higher - pay close attention to what they are giving you in the base price (do they give you a garage door opener for each garage door, yes even high end custom builders will try to get things past you) - think about how you will use the space and where you won’t cut corners - built in cabinets are only 10% more expensive than buying cabinets and furniture, so do the built ins. - think about your and your partners height; we wish we had the stove hood higher bc my husband hits his head when he is cooking - plan out where your lamps and things like Christmas trees will go, get the right number of outlets accordingly - put an outlet in the closet for a handheld vacuum to clean up hair in the bathroom - we LOVE our shower, we built it to fit us both very comfortably and it is our little heaven - white really does get dirty (I didn’t listen to my mother) - if you live in a cold location, having a big mushroom and closet for tons of coats is so important; also having a front closet so your guests have a place to hang their coat - dining rooms are not necessary unless you REALLY will use it - have a place to workout, it will encourage you to do it more - when your wood structure is up, go write on the wall / floor where your bed will be, and leave yourself good thoughts and wishes - take pictures of the electrical wires for future improvement - built in speakers in the ceiling are AWESOME - wide staircases and hallways are the best - dark wood shows so much dust and every crumb - your house color should fit in but be different than your neighbors - a loft at the top of your stairs is a waste of space (in my opinion at least) - plan out where things will go to make sure you have the right amount of space (kitchen cabinets and drawers) - look at the water hardness for the city to determine what kind of water softener you need - plan for offices

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So many great tips here. I especially want to call out the built in speakers in the ceiling! We had volume dials in each room (built before smart homes — I’m sure it’s much more high-tech now), so it wasn’t a problem to play music at night when kids are asleep.

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Heated floors. Work with a lighting designer. Built in closed storage cabinets, non-white cabinets. I know they are the rage right now but they show allllll the dirt, dust, splatter, etc. a mud room. Skip a master bath tub unless you are really a bath person. Also agree with wide hallways. Solar. A 50 year roof (looks like dark slate but made of recycled tires. Hail resistant. Can lower insurance premiums). High quality siding. Dark-skies compliant outdoor lighting. If you have room, a garage that is one more than the # of cars you have (or a garage that is extra deep) for allll of the gear that comes with kids: bikes, bike trailer, strollers, baby pool, sleds, skis, etc. I have one kid and between the 3 of us we have 8 bikes. 😳 An office somewhere away from the home’s hub (kitchen/living room) with a door that closes. If you both wfh then 2 rooms that can be used as offices. Have fun!! Exciting!

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Love all of this. Reminds me to call out your windows, too. Double-pane for sure, and be thoughtful about levels of energy efficiency and how much light / heat they let in. We wound up putting in the same windows everywhere, but I wish the ones that are north-facing and/or the ones in the darker corners of our house let in more light. The ones on the south-facing side are great, but then it’s too dark in other areas. Also, re: white cabinets (or whatever color) — consider a metal strip / ‘guard’ on the bottom level of the mud room where it gets particularly dirty/ splattered.

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One of those skinny pull out spice racks in the kitchen, and do LOTS of those big pullout kitchen drawers vs cabinets (we have 2 and they’re amazing), don’t put the tv over the fireplace, giant windows, really solid doors on bedrooms so they’re quiet, shaded outdoor space

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Also... totally agree with the pullout kitchen drawers! Our big ones are hidden behind cabinet doors. Would do drawers for almost anything instead of regular cabinets (on the bottom under counters, at least). Our slow-closing drawers and doors are also pretty nice — very quiet and convenient. Happy with them!

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Mud room - place to take off dirty shoes, hang bookbags and coats, suit up for playing on snow/rain Office space (who knows what will happen with wfh) In-law suite if you expect to ever want long term visitors, au pair, etc.

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100% a mud room!!! Seriously the best thing we added to our house. We also keep our house clean by taking off our shoes in the mudroom and keeping all of them there, and wearing house-shoes / socks / barefoot in the house. So in our mud room, we built low-down drawers for shoes under a bench for sitting (to put on and off) with open hangers / closet space on top for all the coats (and we live in the south, but we still had need for space for rain coats, light jackets, etc. in addition to the odd winter coat) — best room ever.

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Separate offices

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Heated floors! Love them.

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Tankless water heater so that water actually gets hot immediately and stays hot. Second freezer. The rounded shower curtains that get more space and light. 

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And a second refrigerator (ours is in the garage), for extra drinks, milk, etc.

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Pre-wire network drops to every single room before the drywall goes up. Everything is networked these days and having a port in every room allows for better connections and speed versus relying on WiFi for connecting smart TVs, video game systems, AppleTVs, etc. - and if your house is large enough, it ensures that you can have coverage everywhere instead of dealing with WiFi weak or dead zones.

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Don’t forget to consider landscaping! My mom is a master gardener and she helps people in her county figure out good plants to grown based on sunlight, weather zone, colors, etc. A lot of builders will put inexpensive plants that eventually can cause you problems down the road or force you to re-do.

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Think about your laundry room — placement in the house, and what goes in it. Ours is upstairs near all the bedrooms, which I think is very convenient, because the bulk of laundry is sheets, towels, and clothes weekly. Only laundry coming from downstairs is kitchen items and occasional clothing/ towels that get taken off in the mud room. If you have the space for a full laundry room, add a sink, large countertop / table space, cabinets or drawers for keeping piles of dirty clothes out of the way (we had large “open” drawers that fit nice-looking baskets on top). Front-loading HE washer and dryer both have been great for us.

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Kids won’t use a separate play space... just make a bigger living room

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In our last house, we tore down a wall between a small living room and a small office to make one big living + dining space. Once we started moving out, we sold the dining table and for a while had a big carpeted empty space next to the main living area... it was perfect for our kid space!! Wish we had done that sooner, because we only ever used that dining area 2-3x/ year (had a smaller table off the kitchen we used for every day). TL;DR — make a bigger living room with a plan for a ‘separate’ (but still part of the big room) play space

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Start following various designers on Instagram and get some inspiration there. Personally, I’d love a large wall of storage so that everything has a home - but have seen friends who have designed a huge butler’s pantry for the house instead, and that worked. Make sure you’re balancing classic choices with trends, so you don’t feel like there’s much to continually update as they change. Look for opportunities to bring light and nature in, naturally - like a wall of full retractable sliding doors. Explore environmental efficiency options - heated floors, tankless water heater, gray water system, etc. If I was really going all in, a cut out at the top for hot air / natural heating/cooling, and a dry sauna on the roof with a small green space.

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Yes! I wish we had a gray water system! Our tankless hot water heaters are awesome. We also put in a whole house fan that we use to cool the house in the evenings when it isn’t hot enough to run the A/C but still warm. It helps us save $ and energy.

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I never ever thought to myself that we needed a first floor powder room but the house we bought did indeed have it and it is amazing for the nanny as well as when we have any guests over

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For sure!! And also, make sure it’s off to the side or in a hallway or somewhere else private. Due to our tearing down a wall and making one large room, we lost the hallway and privacy for the powder room, so now it’s just sort of ‘in’ the main area for living & dining... exactly the space where we have guests. It’s horrible and not private at all :( (But still better to have a toilet & sink downstairs than not at all)

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If you’re in a tornado prone area, consider storm shelter If you have pets, consider their space (places for hiding litter box, areas to contain dog if they should roam house while you’re gone With little ones, consider childproof plugs (instead of those plastic plug protectors) LED light fixtures will last decades longer than LED bulbs on a regular fixture 9’ ceilings, not 8. 10 is too much except in grand entryways and fancy window spots. Screened in porch? Agree on above Rec for powder room in private area of first floor. Off that mud room would be a great choice.

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Yes, LED light fixtures everywhere!

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If you have kids and are having bedrooms upstairs, think about a laundry room upstairs as well for the kids to use.

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Cabinet door knobs. Steam shower Heated towel rack Toilet in a separate room with a door is a must.

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FWIW: I own a 3-story townhome and the kitchen & living room are on the second floor. A large pantry and I really wish I had a small closet (and/or space in the pantry) for the broom, vacuum, etc., coat closet on the main level (aka second floor). Buy flood insurance if you are in a flood zone or area prone to flooding. Also, look at the neighborhood set up. The area in front of my house is higher and the land behind lower. I bought flood insurance because I was afraid a heavy rain could cause flood damage. Also, when you close, invest in a home warranty. They may cover things that homeowner’s will not like your AC system.

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Thanks for all the tips - I really appreciate it! So many great ideas 🙂

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Panic room

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Ha! I have one! Honestly we just use it to hide Christmas presents and meditate

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Whats a custom home? Are you guys building it yourself?

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