Sunday, March 17, 2013

BUILDING A NEW HOUSE, what you need to know!

Building a new home can be a daunting task.  Show much so when I had the opportunity to build new or renovate, I chose to renovate.  We took four years and only had to deal with a portion of the house each time.  But when building you must decide on everything in a relatively short period of time.  What design do you like, what size, what profile, where will the plug-ins go?  And there would be nothing worse than after moving into your new home to find out "gee, I wish I had thought of that" or "why did we not think of that"?  So here is some help, garnered from the web and talking to people who built.  Some are must have's and some are just great ideas.
Having a house wired properly from the start is a lot easier to do before drywall goes up. All rooms, even the bathrooms, should be wired for internet, phone, satellite, cable and surround sound. This is helpful if the function of a room is changed down the road, for example, turning a bedroom into an office.  You might want speakers on the back deck too.Consider a humidifier on the furnace.  Most houses are too dry in the winter.

Be pro-active when it comes time to place the plugins, light switches, and thermostats.  I have been in homes where the electrician put them in the middle of walls or two feet from door jambs.  This can be frustrating when trying to hang artwork.  They should just be approx. 6 inches in from edge of wall.
Extra exterior outlets near the roof line are great for Christmas lights.
Make sure you have outlets near the decks and one on either side of your front door for Christmas lights.
Do put a plug in in your pantry, in the attic, in the electrical room, under the stairs, in the powder room, in every closet.  This might seem excessive but think of all the tools one has to recharge and now they can be hidden away.  Oh and especially in the broom  closet.
A plug in the fireplace mantel is also a nice idea.
A plug at a stair landing is also a great addition.
One under the kitchen sink is handy if you want a filtration system.  Putting them under bathroom sinks are great if you are the type to hide electric toothbrushes or hair devices.
In floor plugs can be a plus. Running cords across the floor to plug in table lamps isn't safe. However, placement of these plugs should be well planned.

Dimmers on most light switches is desirable.

A nice idea that my daughter and her husband did in their new home was to have small lights along the stair wall going upstairs close to the steps, much like deck lights , that are on their own switch and act like a night light.  Great if you have children but heck great for me , too.

If you are building a two-story, then a laundry shoot is wonderful but a better idea is to put the laundry room on the second floor.  After all, the majority of the laundry will be there for a family.   I have mine on the second floor and can attest to it's usefulness.

If you are building a 2 storey,  windows for the upstairs that can be cleaned from the inside are a must.  We didn't do this and now we are older and find cleaning them difficult. Should have, could have.

If not finishing your basement right away do put in the rough-in or for a toilet and shower you'll be glad you did.

Reinforcement at the top of windows and to the side will make hanging drapes or blinds easier.

Pull out spice racks on each side of the cook top are wonderful. I have a shallow drawer  on the left side that I put in a slanted spice insert that I bought at Home Depot and there they are, all the spices looking up at you.

A large kitchen pantry is great especially if you have a large family, or love to cook.  If you have the budget and space, don't scrimp on this.  Larger ones can store little used appliances and such.  Or space for your recyclable bins so you don't have to go to the garage every time.

Consider having the cabinet over your refrigerator designed deep with removable partitions for baking pans and cookie sheets. Better yet have a spot for this in your new large pantry. 
Now this suggestion is strictly a matter of personal preference on my part, but I LOVE extra deep drawers for pots and pans instead of it being only lower cabinets. They have saved me so much back breaking digging for stuff.  In fact deep drawers are much more practical for lower cabinets than cupboards. 

When installing the garberator make sure it goes in the side of the sink where you will wash dishes.  This keeps it smelling fresh if you turn it on while you are draining you water.

Don' forget to have a light over the kitchen sink.

Consider an in house vacuum, in house intercom , and alarm system.

Again, for a large home, consider a second door chime located in an area where you make otherwise not hear the door chime, such as basement , back deck, and garage.
Consider putting porcelain tiles in front and back entries and then installing in floor heat.  This ensures warm feet underneath as well your wet boots will dry quicker.  Just don't use latex backed mats as they hold in the heat and create hot spots that might burn out your floor heat.
Talking about in-floor heat, I have it in the master bath and really regret not putting it in all the bathrooms.  It is sooooo nice.

Another idea that you will enjoy after it is done is putting ceiling fans in all bedrooms.  In this climate there are those seasons where we don't want  the  air on but a cooling breeze would be comfortable.

Many homes come with two outdoor faucets, consider installing a third so you don't have to drag that hose all over the place. One in the front and one in the back are a must but consider putting one in the garage with a hot and cold faucet. Saves running in the house for hot water for cleaning the car and all those other jobs that would be nice if you had hot water. And make sure you put a drain in the garage for when your car is covered in ice and snow and melts all over.  

Line your garage wall with white metal or vinyl vertical corrugated siding. I have seen this done and it looks clean and fresh.  It will never need painting and is more durable than drywall.
Cobwebs or dirt can be hosed down.

If you are having cement, brick or stone driveways or walkways installed have the electrician put in conduit to the far side of them so if you want to install extra outdoor lights in the yard or a shed in backyard you don't have to dig up the finished walk or driveway.

Install an in floor safe somewhere in the home during the slab construction.  Having an alarm system and intercom is a great safety item especially if you have a large house.

One last note, and this comes from being in the blind business, unless you have the income for it, stay away from really large or odd shaped windows.  They are much more expensive, sometimes thousands more, to cover with blinds or draperies.  Multiples of smaller standard sized windows are more economical.

Lastly, speak to people who have built and ask them what they wished they had done.