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Old 01-23-2012, 11:10 AM
 
7,292 posts, read 8,131,285 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MckinneyOwnr View Post
Didn't read the entire thread, but I'll add a few things I wish the previous owner had added as options to my house.

It was a pain to run Cat5 cable to several rooms of the house. My house is large enough that using a wireless router doesn't do an adequate job of transmitting a strong wireless signal to all places, so I hardwired some rooms. Would have been so much easier if there were outlets for that already.

Garage door. We had a cheap, thin metal garage door with a 1/3 hp opener. Last summer, when it was over 100 degrees for weeks on end, the garage was a toasty 98-100 degrees as well. That heated up the rooms above it (guest room, media room.) We swapped out the door with a heavier duty, insulated door in late summer. Temps in the garage never went above 85-86 then, but we also had to get a more powerful opener, as the new door was too heavy for the old one. It's also done a great job keeping the garage from being cold this winter.

Circuit breaker/control panel. We have a 200amp system, and it has no more available spaces to add additional circuits. I want to add a couple more outlets in the garage, and an extra outdoor outlet to install a hot tub in the future, but to do that, I'll need to buy and install either a larger main panel, or a smaller secondary one to do that. Much easier and cheaper if that had been done during construction.

Automated lighting systems. We installed one of these in our media room and one by our front door to control the outdoor lighting. They are pretty pricey, but I'm sure a builder could buy in bulk and get a discount, not to mention, I now have a few wall switches that we removed that we will never use again.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head.
FYI - I had to add a sub panel last year when we built our pool - it wasn't especially expensive and took the guy about an hour. 100% not a dyi thing though.
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Old 01-23-2012, 11:23 AM
 
1,256 posts, read 3,181,362 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loves2read View Post
I wish this house had a solid front door or maybe a speak-easy type of window--and then had closed circuit security camera to see who is at door...
we have large glass panel that you can't really see through that well--but anyone on the other side can tell if you come to the door--can't see who is there w/o opening the door--
not very security friendly...

our neighbors have the setup like I would like and think they can check who comes to the door via monitor elsewhere
Don't know about the speakeasy door... but I do like the monitored entrances. I saw that on Little Couple on TLC and they could monitor the door via camera on an iPad anywhere in the world. I thought that was fantastic!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lemonegg View Post
I have a two car garage with two doors. If I could I would change it to one door like my previous house. That way I could park in the middle and have shelves along both walls.
Oooh... good point. My brother near Keller has a split garage (2car) and I HAAAATE it. It makes parking so much more tedious.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PlanoGirl View Post
Have a good "drop zone" for where you regularly enter the house. Whether that be the utility room off the garage, or a desk area in the kitchen by the back door, or a wall big enough for hooks and a bench by the front door...whatever. It just makes such a difference to have a place that all the "stuff" (mail, backpacks, purses, briefcases, books, electronics, etc) can land..and not end up scattered about everywhere...ESPECIALLY when you have kids! In our old place...the garage went straight into the kitchen eating area...so everything ended up on the kitchen table. Made in a nightmare cleaning it off for dinner every night.

And just wanted to add...this is a GREAT thread! Not just for people building...but also for things to look when you are buying a previously owned home. Thanks, pinipig, for starting it!
That is an AWESOME suggestion... I need a good drop zone. I am saving this thread btw... I will need this when it comes time to start building.

Quote:
Originally Posted by loves2read View Post
One feature we saw in house when we were looking was a "dog room"--small room (large closet size) that was tiled to shoulder level probably all the way around--it had dog door to outside back yard--

some people are also building in an electric generator powered by NG to use when power is out after big storms / tornados / hurricanes--depending on where the house might be...
it would not run all the power needs of home but special circuit for like one fridge and certain outlets to use electric heaters and to keep cell phones charged or WiFi up and running for communications...
that is a great idea IMO--
people with gas cooktops can usually cook but w/o electricity the fridges go out and so do lights except for battery powered ones...
1. The dog room is cool.... we did think about making a doggie shower in the laundry room where I could hose down the dog without it getting everywhere.

2. I like the idea of a generator. When I was younger and we were not in the US, I distinctly remember not having power for 1 month after a huge hurricane. We had a generator and it was awesome.

Though I'm not sure how many times DFW loses power.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MckinneyOwnr View Post
It was a pain to run Cat5 cable to several rooms of the house. My house is large enough that using a wireless router doesn't do an adequate job of transmitting a strong wireless signal to all places, so I hardwired some rooms. Would have been so much easier if there were outlets for that already.

Garage door. We had a cheap, thin metal garage door with a 1/3 hp opener. Last summer, when it was over 100 degrees for weeks on end, the garage was a toasty 98-100 degrees as well. That heated up the rooms above it (guest room, media room.) We swapped out the door with a heavier duty, insulated door in late summer. Temps in the garage never went above 85-86 then, but we also had to get a more powerful opener, as the new door was too heavy for the old one. It's also done a great job keeping the garage from being cold this winter.

Circuit breaker/control panel. We have a 200amp system, and it has no more available spaces to add additional circuits. I want to add a couple more outlets in the garage, and an extra outdoor outlet to install a hot tub in the future, but to do that, I'll need to buy and install either a larger main panel, or a smaller secondary one to do that. Much easier and cheaper if that had been done during construction.
1. Why do so many people advocated extensive Cat5 wiring? Isn't wifi tech good enough nowadays?

2. I like the idea about the garage being beefier.

3. I will keep extra circuits in mind in the breaker.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PlanoGirl View Post
A random one...think about where in the house you would go in case of a tornado. In that situation, you need to put as many wall between you and the outside as possible. If you are under stairs, or between walls with plumbing...even better. In the size home the OP is looking at, this probably wouldn't be an issue. But for smaller homes, sometimes finding an appropriate and safe interior space to fit the whole family can be tricky.
1. A tornado room... I had already discussed this with one of the builders. They told me that for them to dig out a cellar and strengthen the walls (due to the earth in this particular area of Southlake), it would cost me $100,000. I did discuss the possibility of a tornado room and Providence builders suggested we build a small room surrounded by multiple 2x4 plywood and steel for a fraction of that price.

I think I'll go for the tornado room. I'll probably add to it and make it the panic room.


Quote:
Originally Posted by TurtleCreek80 View Post
We are also in a 1950's house. I would snap my fingers & change the following today if I could-->

-bigger master bathroom & closet. If this were our "forever" house, we'd be pushing out into the back yard to add on a real master.

-more & better storage in the kitchen -> cabinets are too shallow for today's big plate & serving piece sizes, no pantry

-rework where all the power outlets & cable jacks are.

-a bigger formal dining room. One that fits a table for 10-12 + china cabinet is on the "must have" list for our next home.

I would also move two walls if I could- close up the opening between living room & family room and open up the space between kitchen & family room. Personally, I like my formal rooms (non-negotiable in my book, both formal living & dining) clearly separate from my informals (kitchen & family room).
I'm going to build my wife the biggest and nicest walk in closet she could ever want. That's my gift to her. Custom cabinets and a nice island in the middle with a little chandelier. Cubby holes for her shoes and bags. A little nook for her jewelry and a little dressing station. A full length mirror as well.

I'll take the smaller and more utilitarian closet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by loves2read View Post
good point about the "safe room"
we have big closet under our stairs that is pretty strongly framed and has no windows---
it is full of boxes old photos and the vacuum right now but still has room for us...

reason not to use exterior wall/room is that wind force can thrust lumber and other debris through a brick wall--since in this area brick is really just facade over framing--lots of vacant wall space--not like cement block homes built in FL...

article in todays FTW paper about state funding for people who want to build a tornado shelter--
does not have to be in-ground although the picture of one done with funding was
you get partial amount needed to build--not 100% and there are qualification--think programs runs out in April of this year
I hope they extend it... though I'm not sure if I'll qualify with my income, house cost, or area (NE tarrant county or flower mound).

Quote:
Originally Posted by EDS_ View Post
My little bro is an architect so I hear all manner of things.

1. Consider using an AIA architect if for no other reason than E and O insurance. All licensed architects have E and O and most builders have nothing similar so if your home gets built in a place that mysteriously floods or shifts or sinks etc. E and O will be of great comfort.

2. Rooms that are too big are a mistake as are tiny secondary bedrooms so it too little closet space.
3. Having someone other than a full time pro decide how much or how little AC tonnage is needed. Too little and the house is hot. Too much and the AC short cycles all the time ruining equipment too soon and wasting power.
4. FORCE electricians and helpers to "J-hook" wire around the screws terminals on all electrical switches, receptacles etc. instead using the wire clamps on the back.
5. Around here a second floor master in a new home is a big mistake. Don't do it.
6. Consider placing the utility room near the kitchen.
7. A $900K home needs a pool.
8. The formal living room is a catch 22. They are about useless but some people will not consider buying an expensive home sans one. Decide with your builder and architect.
9. If you can swing it put a small bath by an office/4th bedroom including a shower. Trust me.
10. Plenty of old school tanked hot water capacity.
11. No Pergo etc.
12. Pick your paint colors from specific paints from a paint store - keep those color numbers safe somewhere for later use. Don't not allow paint contractors to mix colors on sight. You'll never be able to properly replicate those colors later.
13. Kitchens are interesting. Some friends are building a new home in Dallas right now. They are installing two sinks, two separate fridges, large and small ovens separately and two cook tops. They entertain a lot and she is a FABULOUS cook so all this makes sense. My brother just built an uber-million dollar home for a guy in Wyoming. His kitchen is big but only has a microwave and oven combo, one sink a giant fridge and a cook top.
14. Wine storage. As we can't usually justify going underground here wine storage not thought out in advance is a problem. I'd suggest considering a big room that can be segregated into an office and a wine room and guys hangout.
15. Consider a full fence and sliding back gate combo. We have one now and LOVE it.
16. My bro. just built a home for his family and a pool at the same time so it can be done.
17. Use the best windows and doors that you can afford. My brother specs. casement windows quite often they look great and work well.
18. As mentioned talk to security and AV folks early. Wiring a killer home automation/HiFi/alarm/security system just after framing is a snap that one guy can do in a few hours.
19. Spec. copper power wire.
20. Don't let the electrical guy leave until all arc-faults work perfectly. After you move in have him come back and test them. They are a huge pain in the butt.
21. If you have an aV room run at least 4 dedicated lines from your breaker box.
22. Make certain that your breaker box has lot of unused space for electrical add ons later. Multiple panels are common.

A big one here:
Whomever your builder is make him/her prove up some level of financial where-with-all before selecting him/her. Like it or not in a way you will become his/her business partner to a degree. If he fails to pay the subs they WILL put liens on you home etc.
Great points.
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Old 01-23-2012, 11:29 AM
 
Location: North Texas
2,487 posts, read 5,579,737 times
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I wish I had a kitchen window right above my sink!
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Old 01-23-2012, 11:30 AM
 
1,256 posts, read 3,181,362 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LQQKOUT View Post
I wish I had a kitchen window right above my sink!
YES!!! That's a great one! My wife says "thank you for reminding us".
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Old 01-23-2012, 11:37 AM
 
Location: North Texas
2,487 posts, read 5,579,737 times
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My old two story home had a media room above the garage- trouble was our ceiling were the extra high ones and the up stairs was not closet off to the bottom. You could look down stairs from anywhere up stairs. The media room was large- loved the fact that is was over the garage but when people are in there playing games, watching TV etc the acoustics that would echo through the home due to the ceiling and the openess was horriable!

High ceiling are not all they are cracked up to be- nor is having a media room with no door.
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Old 01-23-2012, 11:43 AM
 
Location: Prosper
6,268 posts, read 12,122,402 times
Reputation: 9325
Quote:
Originally Posted by pinipig523 View Post
1. Why do so many people advocated extensive Cat5 wiring? Isn't wifi tech good enough nowadays?

2. I like the idea about the garage being beefier.

3. I will keep extra circuits in mind in the breaker.
Cat5 is the best way to run data signals over long distances. You can even buy a converter to adapt them to HDMI/DVI connections, and Cat5 is incredibly cheap compared to HDMI cabling. (If you plan on using a projector in your media room, take a look at how expensive a 20-30ft HDMI cable is vs a similar length Cat5 cable.) You also won't suffer from interference from other electronics/power wires nearly as much as you will with a wifi connection. Speed will almost always be faster with a wired connection vs wireless as well.

Getting an insulated garage door has been a great purchase. Last summer, we could walk barefoot in our upstairs guest room and feel the heat from the garage through the floor. The floor in front of the room would stay cool, as it was over part of the kitchen. That room and the media room were the hottest rooms of the house, now with the garage temps under control we can't tell a difference anymore.

We were quoted $1400 to have another panel installed and wired, I asked my cousin (a contractor) what it would have cost to have added it during construction and he said about $100-$200, basically just the cost of the additional panel.

Good thread!
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Old 01-23-2012, 12:03 PM
 
1,256 posts, read 3,181,362 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MckinneyOwnr View Post
Cat5 is the best way to run data signals over long distances. You can even buy a converter to adapt them to HDMI/DVI connections, and Cat5 is incredibly cheap compared to HDMI cabling. (If you plan on using a projector in your media room, take a look at how expensive a 20-30ft HDMI cable is vs a similar length Cat5 cable.) You also won't suffer from interference from other electronics/power wires nearly as much as you will with a wifi connection. Speed will almost always be faster with a wired connection vs wireless as well.

Getting an insulated garage door has been a great purchase. Last summer, we could walk barefoot in our upstairs guest room and feel the heat from the garage through the floor. The floor in front of the room would stay cool, as it was over part of the kitchen. That room and the media room were the hottest rooms of the house, now with the garage temps under control we can't tell a difference anymore.

We were quoted $1400 to have another panel installed and wired, I asked my cousin (a contractor) what it would have cost to have added it during construction and he said about $100-$200, basically just the cost of the additional panel.

Good thread!
Thanks for the info! Now I know.

Geez... you guys are all a fountain of information - especially for a guy who has never built his own home before, at least I don't feel like such a newbie when building my home.

Let's hope that I can build the home with all these options/requirements - this might get expensive.
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Old 01-23-2012, 03:07 PM
 
Location: Dallas TX & AL Gulf Coast
6,848 posts, read 9,823,579 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinipig523 View Post
This might get expensive.
Ha, ya think!?! Time to start your Needs vs. Wants list.
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Old 01-23-2012, 03:12 PM
 
1,256 posts, read 3,181,362 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BstYet2Be View Post
Ha, ya think!?! Time to start your Needs vs. Wants list.
I am terrified of what this will bring the custom house price to.

I already made a word document of all the tips I have acquired on this thread and on the DMs I've had.

It's not looking good.
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Old 01-23-2012, 09:27 PM
 
Location: Southlake. Don't judge me.
2,812 posts, read 3,569,444 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinipig523 View Post
I am terrified of what this will bring the custom house price to.

I already made a word document of all the tips I have acquired on this thread and on the DMs I've had.

It's not looking good.
Take what you like and leave the rest. Just like everything else - prioritize. Like you said, it's all about choices. You're fortunate enough that those choices aren't "beans or rice for dinner", but rather revolve around proper insulation for the door to your 3 car garage or sufficient wiring for your internet throughout the house and media room. (I still get excited that I can now afford soda in cans rather than just 2 liter bottles on sale, even given the houses we're looking at). So just roll with it. You can never have "it all", but you can have what you want the most.
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