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Top Ten Must-Haves for the Next House

We’re nearing the final stages of designing our new house (almost to the blueprints stage!) and I’ve spent the last couple months reflecting on this house, thinking about what we’ve messed up, what we love, and what we would change. I have a couple of posts coming up relating to all that, and today is the first.

My list is actually much, MUCH longer than this (I’m such a pain), but for the sake of time and everyone’s sanity I’m going to keep all my lists down to top ten lists. So in no particular order….

Top ten things I want in our next house

1. One room, one purpose

I’ve never wanted to have one of those houses with unused space. Having a formal living room and a family room makes no sense to me. Same goes for having a breakfast nook (aka where your family always eats) and a dining room (where your family only eats on holidays and whatnot.) I want one space for each purpose that is designed so that it will function for every way you intend to use it.

2. Reasonable amount of square footage

I don’t want a huge house, but I don’t want to feel smooshed either and regret making things small. Our current plan is three bedroom, 2.5 baths and roughly 2250 square feet  (plus a huge open loft over the kitchen). It’s definitely bigger than our 1650 we have now, but it doesn’t feel like overkill either. All our kids will share bedrooms and one bathroom, and I’m okay with that. If I have to share, they have to share.

3. Usable storage space

We have a serious storage issue in this house. We don’t have a basement, our attic space isn’t usable, the closets are tiny. Our vacuum cleaner leans against the wall in our master bedroom 100% of the time because there is literally no other place for it. We built our carport with an attached workshop a few years ago and it has helped a ton with storage, but it is still far too small for the projects we do.

4. Front door that does NOT open up into a big room

In other words, I want a foyer. It doesn’t to be fancy or large, it just has to be its own defined space. In the plans we’ve drawn up this was actually a challenge, but I think we’ve come up with a solution that works.

5. Large shower with two shower heads

This may seem silly, but Adam and I have wanted a shower with two heads since our first apartment. We usually shower together (is this TMI?), it’s a great time to talk and hang out with no distractions. Plus, how else are you going to wash your back? Anyway, one of us uses that water, and the other stands just outside the water shivering until it’s time to switch. Two shower heads is a luxury, but a non-negotiable one. It’s happening.

6. Open loft made of rustic wood above kitchen and dining, vaulted living room ceiling

This is a layout I have always loved. We designed the entire house around this concept.

7. Fireplace

There isn’t a fireplace in our current house. I want one.

8. Huge garage/workshop

I’m not even slightly joking, I want it freaking huge. Like, “what were you thinking” massive. I’m currently trying to talk Adam into a 30×50 (or even 40×60) metal barn that is a combo two car garage, workshop, and future small guest area.

9. Mudroom

When we come in from our massive barn, I want a designated place for shoes, coats, backpacks, etc. I want a bench to sit on and each person to have their own cubby. I think this would go a really long way in keeping clutter out of the main part of the house.

10. Giant window above the kitchen sink (that looks into the backyard, preferably)

Because really, who doesn’t want that?

So now I want, no…I need to hear your opinions. (It’s not too late to change things in our plan, but we’ll be there soon).

What features do you have in your house that you can’t live without? Which ones would you do away with? What would you change if you were building from scratch? Don’t hold back, I want to hear it all!


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  1. Can I just say that I LOVE your blog?! Wayyyy too many awesome ideas that I have drawn inspiration from. I definitely second the mud room. I am in the process of slowly flipping our laundry room to accommodate a mud room area for backpacks/shoes/storage/etc. And I love the idea of the two shower heads! You probably already have this in mind, but a large island was my non-negotiable. We actually had a small island (2×4) when we move into our house, but the kitchen is long, so we ended up having a mesquite plank countertop made from a mill in San Antonio. We extended it to 7 feet so that the overhang could be bar seating. We LOVE it. Happy planning!

    1. It’s crazy that you mentioned the wood plank island countertop, Adam and I were just talking about this tonight (in the shower, nonetheless). We have a big island in our floor plan, it’s about 8 feet with seating on one side. We were thinking we would do stone countertops for the kitchen, but do wood on the island. We don’t want to do butcher block again, and Adam was talking about making a wood plank top. We LOVE mesquite, but every it’s just so expensive. Maybe we’re looking in the wrong places? Anyway, Adam wanted me to ask you if you would mind sending us a picture of your island? You can send it to [email protected] if you get a chance. Thank you Thank you!

  2. My well-loved last house had TWO ovens!! With 4 boys, and making almost everything we ate from scratch, I still miss them after almost 21 years. And a real pantry – one with moveable shelves, plenty of light, room to turn around…Plus make sure you put two sinks in the kids’ bath – and a linen/towel closet there, also – you will never regret either. Also, I found that having a peg rack or two in the boys’ bath made it much easier for them to hang up towels. Another suggestion is ceiling lights in the bedrooms – I grew up with these, and we had them in our wonderful house, too. A cedar closet was very nice for us, also. In that house we designed 5 ft deep closets – plenty of hanging space as there were two guys in each room, plus the shelving at the back of the closet was handy for extra bedlinens, books, and games. Less mess and really practical. We also designed wider hallways than normal – makes moving furniture easier – and a wider stairway. If you have a pretty property you will be building on, check your sightlines so that you take advantage of the views and the angle of the sun. Factoring in energy-saving items now will make a home you can afford more easily in the long run. Better to have a smaller, more efficient home that is easier and less expensive to maintain. My opinions only, after 3 houses. BTW – a loft looks great. Just remember that warm air will rise and the big open space below that high ceiling will be chilly in the winter, depending, of course, on where you live. We have an overlook and cathedral ceilings in this house. Never again. As in NEVER again. This was a new house but poorly designed, and not by us. The next house will be practical again!! It is quite possible to have those items you have listed, and the ones I listed, in an easy-to-maintain, efficient, happy floor plan. Good luck!

    1. Thanks for this comment Ruth, this is exactly the kinda response I was hoping to get. And two ovens! We bought a double oven when we remodeled our kitchen, it has a tiny one on top and a bigger on bottom. I love that, I pretty much just use the small one (it preheats so fast!), but when I’m cooking a big meal having both is great. The kids bath has two sinks planned, I figured that if they’re sharing a bath two sinks is necessary. It also has a separate door leading to the toilet and shower so that multiple people can use it at the same time. Our hallways aren’t actually very wide, about 3.5 feet. Four would be ideal, but theres just not room for that. Fortunately the only actual hallway in the house goes to the master, so it shouldn’t be a problem. As for the loft, I thought about that, but we live in South Texas so winter isn’t really an issue (and if the heat would rise in the summer that would be great!). Also, we have the house situated on the lot so that all the big windows are facing north/south. Our house now has them facing east/west, and the sun just beats in constantly. Our electric bill is really big considering we keep our house cold in winter and warm in summer. Hoping to make this house loads more efficient and save us money in the long run!

      1. RE: enough outlets

        1. My son and d-i-l remodeled their ancient kitchen and they were recommended to put in “strips” directly on the underside of the upper cabinets, on the rear wall side. Hope you can visualize that. This way, no matter WHERE they want to plug in something there is one available. I have cooked in that kitchen more than a few times, and it is worth the money for this!!

        2. I just came back from visiting another son. I noticed that his apt had the outlets about 2-2 1/2 FEET off the floor!! At first I said to him – whatever for? WELL – all I can say is – this way they are up so you can just plug in a vacuum easily – which I did; I also easily plugged in my cell phone, no stooping; behind a desk or next to a couch it is MUCH more sensible!! I did not have to get down on the floor or bend over with my bad back – this does not cost any more, either.

        Also, may I suggest putting in the type of on/off switch which is a “rocker” style. Easier to use if one is young, or has arthritis, or a broken arm or hand. Think ahead so that, if you all wish, you can age in place – make the doorways into at least the master bed and bath, and any rooms on the first floor (which is where you should have at least one bedroom), wide enough for a wheelchair. We never know what is going to happen in this life, and this way you won’t have costly changes down the road. Look for door handles, again for at least the first floor, which are the lever type – these are easier to use if one has limited use of the hands. I grew up in Dallas myself, and I am a Texas-Ex (Austin), so I know about the sun there! Deep overhangs will keep your windows cooler thus the inside will be cooler. If your architect who will do the actual plans (a registered architect is normally required to draw up final plans) can give you guidance on the angle of the sun at different times of the year, then you could fine-tune the depth of the overhang of the roof, and also confirm that facing north-south is what you want. Wind patterns will also make a huge difference in planning window placement, not to mention siting the house optimally. Energy will only get more expensive, so aim for the best/most wall insulation that you can – and for the attic area, also. Keep in mind that often a slanted high ceiling is insulated very little, if at all, by the builder/contractor. Unfortunately, I live in a house in the Denver area with that lack – and my cathedral ceilings(which I personally loathe – waste energy, cannot clean or paint easily, sound goes all over, etc) are frigid in the winter, and unbearable in the summer. We live above Denver, over 6000 feet, and the upper floor gets very hot during the day, even if there is snow on the ground. And get the best windows you can – Mine are triple-pane insulated glass, vinyl frames that are insulated, and they look great – we have replaced them all and they have made an incredible difference in our fuel bills.
        And I must agree – it is nice to have a living space for the whole family; but it is also great to plan ahead for when your kids are in their teen years, and they can be noisier than toddlers!!
        Also – don’t forget to check out any kind of possible flood plain – it affects your insurance. I personally prefer a house which has crawl space NOT slab!! The latter shifts and cracks, and if you get a clog somewhere, which is inevitable as the home ages, it is very expensive to fix. My sister spent a fortune having to remove floors, concrete, pipes etc. Not worth it to me.

  3. My dream house has a huge pantry. I also want a spot in the garage or off the kitchen for food storage. That jam I canned, the Costo-sized TP and paper towels I like to keep on hand as well as the big bags of dog food. Also, there needs to be that extra space that is easy to access from the kitchen for the freezer and extra fridge. Also, I’ve always thought back yard access to my garage would be really handy. If that is where I am keeping the gardening stuff, I’d like to not have to walk around the house for stuff.

    Can you tell I’ve thought about this a lot?

    1. I’m not sure if the pantry in our house plans is considered huge….it’s about 3.5 feet deep and 6 feet wide. Sounds really big to me after living with my 2×3 one for 6 years. Hopefully everything will fit in there no problem, including mops, brooms, and small kitchen appliances.

      1. If you can, I would suggest going larger on the pantry. We converted a 10×8 “nook” in our garage into a walk-in pantry, and I couldn’t be happier with it. It stores all our food (we have 3 kids), all my kitchen gadgets, all my nice serving pieces, all my cookbooks (those alone take up an 8′ shelf), and has a sort of island in the middle. It’s wonderful to be able to walk into the room, and walk all the way around it, and reach everything.

        1. Wow, 10 X 8 is huge…bigger than the master closet we have planned! It sounds completely amazing. I don’t think we can make ours any bigger, it’s under the stairs. I could probably go wider, but the ceiling will just keep getting shorter and shorter. But hey, storage is storage, right?

    2. Laurie,

      I’m in complete agreement with you regarding having a door from the garage that leads to the back yard. I had that growing up and my parents always used that one for gardening, etc.

      My current garage only has a door leading to the kitchen which is good for food storage (I have a deep freezer and extra fridge in the garage) but is a bummer for gardening. I have to open the garage door and go around the back of the house every time I pull stuff out…definitely a pain!

  4. Girl, you nailed it! I agree with everything, except the dual shower heads, but whatever works for y’all:) I love that you mentioned not having formal areas, that is definitely on the next-house list. And a huge barn/shop? Absolutely.
    I just think anyone building/buying has to do what you did- incorporate changes for the top 5 or so pet peeves of your current home and make a list of non-negotiables.
    For my current house: I love having separate bathroom vanities, open concept kitchen/dining/living, one floor, plantation shutters, split bedrooms, and a laundry room really close to the master bath/closet.
    From our last house, I miss having separate closets in the master bedroom, 3 bathrooms (2.5 would be perfect), the seclusion of not having neighbors so close, and ohhh how I miss our ginormous shop.
    Good luck and can’t wait to see the progress!

    1. Thanks girl! I have a lot of things from your list in the plans….separate vanities (well, separate sinks, does that count?), open concept, one floor (besides the loft, but nothing is up there), and split bedrooms. Although our laundry room is actually on the other side of the house than the bedrooms. My very first drawing had it near the bedrooms, but Adam vetoed that really quickly. We don’t have separate master closets either, just one…and it’s not that huge, 6.7 X 10. There just isn’t anymore space to give it, but I figured with an actual closet system (rather than the one dumb rod we have now) will make it more than functional.

    1. I LOVE the idea of a secret room (though I’d probably just use it to hide from the kids and eat secret Oreos). We don’t have space for an actual room, but that one that is cut out of the extra space above a closet might be doable. I know the kids would love it!

  5. Completely agree with your list! The 2 things I really want in my “dream” home would be a laundry room inside the house (mine’s in the garage) and a walk-in closet in the master bedroom. These were the 2 main things I wanted when looking for my current house, but it was so competitive that I “settled”. Ultimately, it’s not the end of the world that I don’t have these, but wish I had them. Can’t wait to hear more about your new home.

  6. A pantry, large closets, laundry room, dishwasher & LOTS of outlets. More outlets than you think you’ll need.

    1. Outlets, yes! We have an outlet shortage in this house and it drives me crazy. There are no outlets along one of the two walls in the kitchen, an the boys/guest bath currently has NONE.

  7. Your plans sound good! You mentioned facing North and South…if you have any kind of wind at all you definitely don’t want your front door facing into it or you’ll be cursing the dirt that blows in! Also keep in mind that a south-facing back yard can be really hot – at least in our area.

    1. Our backyard will face the south…can you explain why that makes it hot? I mean, it will be hot no matter what, cause it’s Texas, but I’m curious. I would have figured west facing backyards would be the worst.

      1. Have you read anything about passive solar heating and cooling, Ashley? It’s all about the angle of where the sun comes in at different times of the year, specifically summer and winter. I don’t know the exact angles, but it is effective. We live in San Antonio and the back of our house faces southwest and it is brutal. You know this heat here. I wish we had overhangs on the windows. The only other thing we wish we had is outlets in the floor in our living room. The couches are in the middle of the room away from the walls and there are always tripping issues with the extension cords, etc. But maybe your new house isn’t laid out that way. Outlets in the floor is a big dream of mine. :) Your plan sounds great. It’s so wonderful to have something to look forward to with the house and a new baby on the way. Fun!

        1. Passive solar is something we have thought about. Our backyard will face directly south, and the backyard is more of a courtyard, surrounded by house/barn on three sides. I would say about 80% of the windows on our house have a large overhang over them, either and eight foot deep porch cover, or one of those individual overhangs that are a few feet deep (the builder calls then California sunshades). The sun here is brutal (as you know), and in our current house I feel like I have to have the blinds closed all the time to keep my house for boiling. Also, thanks for the tip about the outlets on the floor, our living room will be set up like yours with the furniture away from the wall. Extension cords don’t sound like any fun!

      2. Our Southern facing windows let in the most ambient heat (which is a good thing in Minnesota because most of the year is colder than room temperature). We get sun for a few hours in the morning on our east windows and a few hours in the evening on the west windows but the south windows get sun ALL DAY LONG! I wish we had more southern facing windows. Maybe it’s different being that Texas is much further south but I doubt it cause it’s still well above the equator.

        You and I are very alike in that we are very practical. We see extravagance as wasteful. Sometime I am too practical. I think it sounds like your plan strikes the balance between having everything you need without being excessive. Some of the things you could live without, but it’s practical and functional and better to have.

  8. Double shower heads!! So want this when we remodel. :) I think the separate entry space would be great. Right now our front door opens into one end of our living room and I can’t wait to add a wall.

  9. I love everything except the boys sharing a room. Also, what if this next one’s a girl? While under the age of 13 this might work but I’m sure after that it could get awkward. Maybe a room with designated partitions like massive open bookcases giving them their own space?
    Hope Adam’s better x

    1. I think I explained that weird in my post and made it sound like everyone will be in the same room. The two extra bedrooms are both for the kids, a boy room and a girl room (if we ever have a girl). I agree, boys and girls sharing a room is a bad idea. No matter what the kids will end up sharing, but girls and boys won’t be mixed.

      Adam is doing well, thanks for asking :) He is still in some pain and has restrictions, but he is back at work on desk duty until he is 100%. It will likely be a couple months, but at least he’s back at work… he’s nearly out off leave and we still have a baby coming!

      1. Hmm, I shared a room with both of my brothers (at separate times) and FAR PREFERRED it to sharing with my sisters. Different strokes, I guess. (My brothers were older than me, 6 and 10 years older, and my sisters were my same age (twin) and 18 months younger…and I still preferred sharing with my brothers. We had bunk beds. Bunk beds are awesome.)


        1. That’s really interesting actually. Do you know why you preferred sharing with your brothers? I’m guessing they were just more laid back? Just goes to show that you can plan for things but never really know how they are going work out!

          1. Yes, much more laid back, much less concerned with whether or not I made my bed (my twin was a nazi about this, she wouldn’t let me SIT on her bed after she’d made it because I’d wrinkle it), they played their music and that didn’t bother me. I was not really girly, and both my sisters were. As we’ve gotten older, however, my personality is far more in-line with my older brothers’ than with either sister, and ultimately I think that is why I preferred sharing a room with them. Our schedules were so different we were hardly in there at the same time anyway.


  10. I really love my friend’s mudroom/laundry room/half bath area that connects the garage to her kitchen. They typically enter through the garage after parking the car. It has a window in the laundry section to provide natural light and keep the place from being dreary. There’s a long counter for folding and general work area next to the machines. The half bath is convenient to be able to wash up first thing coming into the house and last thing leaving the house. No more taking off shoes to run back upstairs to use the bathroom at the last minute.

    1. We have this EXACT thing planed, a mudroom between the kitchen and the barn (garage) that has a small bathroom and laundry. Glad to hear it functions as well in real life as it does in my head!

  11. Hi Ashley!

    I know this probably isn’t the comment you’re asking for, but if it were my house I would add an office and additional bedroom. If you keep having babies (and I hope you do ;), it will be great to have enough bedrooms for many more kiddos! And if you don’t use it for babies, you can make it a playroom/classroom. :)

    1. Adam and I went back and fourth for a long time about 3 vs 4 bedrooms. Ultimately we decided on three, but the loft is really large (almost 400 square feet) and will be able to accommodate an extra bedroom and bathroom if needed. We plan on roughing in the plumbing and leaving it in the walls, just in case we ever need it. Until then it’s going to be a giant office/craft room :)

  12. I would suggest some sort of window (north or east facing) in the vaulted ceiling so you can open it and let the heat out. This is a natural way to ventilate and cool your house in warmer climates.

    1. I was going to say the same thing about a venting window in the ceiling. Also, I’m glad you cleared up the shared bedroom situation Ashley! I thought you were keeping 1 bedroom for guests while all the kids slept in another room. My son and daughter share a room now, but they are also only 5 and 3. We know that we will have to move to a bigger house within the next few years in order to get them their own bedrooms. I agree on the 1 eating area and 1 living area situation too. What’s the point in extra space you aren’t going to use. Currently, I just wish we had more space in our house. We have a pretty large kitchen, but the layout makes it awkward and there is very little counter space and the upper cabinets are so low to the counters that you can’t put any appliances under them. It also doesn’t help that there is only 1 outlet on the wall with counters and it’s at the section of counters that is the smallest. There are many many things that I am adding to my must have wish list for our next house!

  13. How fun for you to get to design and build your own home! That’s what we are going to do next time. My vacuum is stored exactly as yours is. Clutter annoys me. I will have tons of closet space and make sure that we can sneak in extra storage anywhere we can. I actually like the idea of having a dining room, but I love to entertain. One non-negotiable for me is a huge pantry. Like, a whole extra room off of the kitchen with plenty of shelves, and a counter area with a sink. I’m a canner and need somewhere to keep everything. I also like to make ferments and bone broth. That would be a great place to keep things like that that need to be on the counter for long periods of time without me having to actually see it. Did I mention I hate clutter? LOL Another thing I really want in the mudroom is a little half shower when you come in. It would be awesome for washing dirty dog paws (and the whole dog) before they get the rest of the floors dirty when they come in. It would also be great for muddy garden shoes. Something like one of these: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/2533343513105348/ or https://www.pinterest.com/pin/2533343513105282/. I also agree with you about having an actual foyer. I’ll have one of those, too, next time! Looking forward to reading the rest of your lists.

    1. Pam, I love the idea of a half shower in the mudroom! I live in the Seattle area and the amount of mud is mind-blowing, although I’m sure the dogs would find it even in the desert. What an amazing idea!

      I used to live in Phoenix, and the pet peeve in that house was that the AC unit was on the roof. There’s nothing worse than having to do repairs on the roof in the hot summer. Newer homes started to be built with the AC units next to the house on the ground level in the shade. I highly recommend that. Also, double-check your door swings (and types of doors) to make sure everything opens the direction you want and that makes sense for navigating the house. I have a couple spots in my house where I literally get trapped in a corner if all the wrong doors are open. I’m fixing one by converting a swing door into a bifold door….when I get around to it. Good luck, I’m excited to see your new home unfold!

      1. I’ve never heard of anyone putting an air conditioner on a roof before…I wonder what the reason for that is? Ours is on the ground next to the house. I’ll have to check the floor plan for door swing, I haven’t really thought about that yet. Thank you!

        1. In the house I grew up in, we had two doors in the basement that overlapped a bit when they were open. (On two walls in a corner, they boxed in the actual corner.) I can see in some ways it might be less than ideal, but I have to tell you it was an AWESOME hiding place for hide and seek! I won many games with that bit of insider knowledge…

    2. We actually have a small shower in the mudroom laundry area! I would have NEVER put it in there on my own, but the architect added it when she moved the half bath (because I put it in a terrible location on my sketches) and I think it makes a lot of sense. Plus, we will have a house full of kids sharing on bathroom, so having a small extra one for shower emergencies isn’t a bad idea either.

  14. Definitely a laundry room. Mine is very small but I love that I am not just opening closet doors off a room that is for another purpose (master, bath, hall, etc). I also store my mop, and broom on the wall in the room. It is just a narrow room between the kitchen and garage. A large pantry. I too have a 2×2 and it is in the corner so it is very hard to get into not to mention not much storage. We have an attached garage which I love, but I would love love love to have a basement to store and work on projects in. It is hard to share all that with the cars.

  15. # 6!!!! I too would LOVE a house like this!! When you have a houseful of people everyone can still hang out and interact! Can’t wait to see your blueprint plans!! Love your blog!

  16. I LOVE the loft idea! You are definitely right to not want to go too big. We just bought our first house about 6 months ago and we went a little crazy with the size. We’d had five people in 900 square feet, so when we had a chance to buy a giant house we jumped at it. And I know complaining about too much house is such a first world problem, but when we move again I will definitely want to go a bit smaller.

      1. We have 2500 sq feet plus a huge finished basement. It’s so much work to keep tidy and we find ourselves buying stuff to fill the space that we just don’t need! Next time we will go for a happy medium.

  17. I would be mindful of the doors and entry’s in your house. My sister just built a house and in some rooms like the foyer and a bedroom the windows walkways and doors make it almost impossible to put some furniture in them. The foyer has no place for shoes or even an entry table and with one room it’s windows and doors make it hard to find a good place for the bed and dresser. As for me I would have to make sure there is usable cupboard space. I have an idea of my kitchen with hidden areas for toasters w/ outlets ect. the other thing would be functional space. I can’t handle having rooms that really have no purpose we have a laundry room now on base that’s about 9 x9. Sounds amazing but the way they have it there really isn’t anywhere you can use the storage exept the middle of the floor.

    1. I have a good friend that just built a house, and when I was picking her brain that was the first thing she mentioned….that her kids rooms have windows or doors on every wall and there is no place for furniture. That would be very frusterating!

  18. Love your list and your blog! The thing I would like to add is a counter top/table to fold clothes on in the laundry room and a large utility sink for rinsing out/off large items, filling buckets, etc, so I don’t have to lean over the bathtub, or do it in my kitchen sink.

  19. A friend told me to put drawers in your lower kitchen cabinets and she was right! So handy for pots and pans, all the millions of tupperware, plates, you name it. No more avalanche of leftover container lids. No more squatting down and reaching way to the back, just pull out the drawer and everything is visible. We’ve been in our new house only since Thanksgiving and I cannot say enough about the drawers!

    1. I’ve gotta agree with this. My parents have drawers, and it’s so much easier to access things from the back!

    2. That is a fantastic suggestion, thank you! I’ve seen cabinets like that on pinterest but have never heard an actual review. It’s going on the list!

      1. I have all drawers in my kitchen, too. They are excellent. There are no strange corners for things to get lost in. But definitely soft-close drawers so you can accidentally slam them shut and they don’t bounce back open.

        1. in the house i grew up in, we had cabinets where you would open the doors and then pull out drawers with all our pots and pans. i always loved it and someday hope to have something similar.

  20. I have two teenagers and they NEED their own space to hang out with their friends. Luckily we have a finished basement for that, and it’s all theres. I know it’s a long way in the future for you, but you will have three teenagers in that house, and you do not want to have to share one living space with them and their friends (and they get really loud too). Have you thought that far ahead? Where will be their hang-out space – because you know it’s all boy/girl thing as teenagers, so hanging out in a room with beds is not an option. ;-)

  21. Regarding the “rustic wood” loft. We moved into a barny old lake house 13 years ago. I thought the rough hewn beams were absolutely gorgeous. But, alas, get something you can dust! If you use a dust cloth or duster on these babies, they just snag and hold on to the beams. The bottom line is that every few months, my poor husband has to climb up there (they are 12 feet up) and sweep each beam with a wisk broom. So get something smooth enough to dust.

    1. That thread is amazing (and terrifying!). I’ve been mainly thinking about floorpan stuff, but there is so much to think about after that. Thank you for posting it, I have a feeling I will be reading it many, many times before we finish the house.

      Also, Isn’t Houzz the best? I’ve found so much great info on there, not to mention all the inspiration pics for our house.

    2. Years ago I saw a kitchen in some magazine with two ovens and two dishwashers. I did have 2 ovens for 6 years – sigh – but I sure could have used the two dws!! We are a “cooking at home” family and I love to bake, so that would have been heaven.

  22. How wonderful!!! My top advice to offer is make sure areas are spacious enough (not cavernous, just room to grow) – our house/rooms seemed HUGE when my boys were toddlers & young, but now with gangly teens & preteens, it seems like they bump into everything. Get 5-6 adults to move around someone else’s similar sized kitchen/eating/living area & see what you think? Also, plan for an end/side of your house that you could add on to if you need to add another bedroom/den/teen room, etc. – know how you might do that later, now. (I know you are fortunate to use outdoor space year round – that will make things easier too.). Good luck – so happy for you!

    1. Thanks for the tips Lily! It’s hard for me to imagine having teenagers, and I hadn’t really thought about them being full sized people being all up in my business one day. I’ve been measuring rooms like crazy for the last few months (both in our house and friends houses) trying to make sure ours will be big enough without wasting too much space. I know our kitchen is big enough, the only room thats a little iffy is the dining room, but I’m not sure how to make it bigger without expanding the footprint of the house. It’s about the size our our dining room now (but more open) so fingers crossed it will be okay. Also, the loft is about about 400 sq ft and is enough space to add a bedroom and bathroom and still have some loft area left. Hoping we don’t have to do that, but knowing it’s an option makes me feel okay about just making it three bedrooms for now.

  23. My 2 favorite features of my house aren’t actually in it. The first is our sun room. It has huge windows (that close) with screens, so we can usually start using it a few weeks before it’s warm enough to hang out outside, and a few weeks after it gets too chilly to be outside. We eat dinner out there almost every night from April-October. I love that it has screens, so it keeps bugs out. It’s the best. My 2nd favorite is our front patio. I would kill for a porch, but the patio will have to do. I like to sit there and drink coffee in the mornings, or wine in the evenings, and just relax.

    1. Both those spaces sound amazing! Outdoor space is high on my list and we have both front and back porches planned. Nothing screened though…screens would be great (I’m irresistible to mosquitoes).

  24. I’m not sure my feedback is going to be that helpful, because I read along with your list saying, “Agree. Agree. Agree.”

    Some of what you want, we have already (one room, one purpose and reasonable amount of square footage–both such a good way to make sure you use your whole house), and some we’re working on.

    We went 7 years without a fireplace and finally redid ours in December. We use it pretty much every night now. I love it. We went with wood-burning, which I love, but you have to be prepared for the work associated with it (firewood, ash). Our living room is vaulted, and I would have said my whole life that a vaulted ceiling doesn’t matter. Now that I have it, I really like it. It adds a little bit of drama and specialness.

    Mudroom is absolutely essential for country living. It’s basically a transition space that catches the dirt. Think about all the odds and ends that you might possibly someday store and make sure there’s a space for all of them. Your garage workshop will probably help with that too, but I find there are some things you want inside, but not quite all the way inside. My dream is that the garage be attached to the house. Battling the rain and snow to bring in the groceries or take out the recycling isn’t fun.

    For the foyer, I would say make sure it’s big enough. I completely understand not wanting the front door to open up into a big room. However, opening up into a tiny hallway isn’t helpful either. When you have more than 4 people over, it’s just too crowded. In my experience, dedicating a bit of extra space to the foyer isn’t a bad thing. (My plan is to relocate our front door and take over a small bedroom to get a proper foyer).

    Giant window above the kitchen sink is a big yes please for me. Ours overlooks the pond, but it’s way too small. A giant window gives you a) a great view and b) great light for your kitchen. Until I upsize mine, I’ll be living vicariously through your build!

    Good luck!

    1. Right now Adam and I are trying to decide between a wood burning or a gas fireplace (both would be inserts surrounded by stone, for efficiency). They both have pros and cons. Did you ever consider gas?

      Also, the foyer we have in our plans is about 4.5 feet deep and 7.5 feet wide, not including a closet on one side and a built in bench on the other. How That sounds good, right?

      1. I didn’t consider gas because I knew I wanted the authenticity of wood. Our is mainly for atmosphere, so we don’t worry about efficiency. If you’re doing an insert regardless, I’d say go with gas for simplicity.

        The foyer dimensions sound pretty good. 7.5 is a nice width for the floor space. I was going to say think about what you want to put in there (bench, etc. because they all take up floor space). It sounds like you’ve already thought out those details.

      2. This is so exciting, but please rethink the size of your foyer. Mine is about 7 feet by 4 feet, and it is way too small. Guests bump into each other and we can’t open the coat closet, and that is with the front door closed! There is no room for anything there.
        Also, make your laundry room as large as you can. My washer and dryer are in my tiny mudroom and the setup is terrible. Happy planning!

  25. First off- THANK YOU ! I feel like I’m the lone ranger when it comes to “one room, one purpose” plan. Searching for a house on the east coast, it was littered with ‘formal dining’ spaces… (ie- giant walk thru space or unsightly laundry folding space!). Sounds like fantastic ideas you’ve got – esp the shower- (we have same freezing dilemma). A bonus on our current house is the additional storage. I’m not exactly sure how it was done but they created storage closets on unfinished spaces either side of the play room and off of one the bedrooms. It is magnificent to be able to have easy access to seasonal decor and rotating toy bins. Know you’ve got many amazing ideas and can’t wait to see them come to fruition!

    1. Almost forgot – also years ago I saw an article on what one family did – they had this big space that was so multi-purpose – bookshelves floor to ceiling on most of the walls – french doors at one end/windows 2 of them – at the other. Fireplace on one wall with downlights where they put two comfy chairs for reading. Most of the time their dining/library table was pulled to one side to use as a homework/study center, with lighting above it. When they wished to use the room as a dining room, they pulled the table to the center of the room, and had lights in that section of the ceiling. So – a combo dining/library/study/cozy reading area in front of a FP room. That has been my dream…We have had as many as 27 bookcases in our home – that is not a typo!! – and everyone in our family reads constantly. This kind of room would have been a great use of space for us. Perhaps someday…

  26. I have one potential change/suggestion and another straight-up suggestion (not sure if it’s a change or not).
    First, what about making that third shower outdoors instead of in the mudroom? I’m infatuated with the idea of an outdoor shower and I would only be able to use it about 4 months of the year. If I were in your climate, it would be non-negotiable!
    Second, the outbuilding needs windows and probably an attic fan, too. I’ll leave that up to you since my climate (Kansas) is a long way from yours. My 30’x30′ garage only had one 3’x3′ window for the whole thing and it was on the north (darkest) side. I immediately added two more for the sides that didn’t have garage doors on them. There could be more. There’s definitely a happy balance between functional wall space and natural light. The attic fan does an amazing job of keeping the garage cool in the summer, especially in the evenings. I added a screen door on the walk-in and when you pair that with the windows, you get a really nice breeze just about everywhere. My husband (who I acquired several years after the house and garage) and I spend loads of time in our garage. He has a lathe and a milling machine and I have an entire leatherworking shop in the garage, plus we do park vehicles in there from time to time. The garage is a bit snug now that I have to share it, but we make it work since it was pre-existing and really isn’t that small. We just have lots of goodies! lol

    1. You sound like you have some really nice goodies in your garage! I bet it smells amazing, being a leathershop and all. I remember going into saddle shops as a kid and thinking they smelled fantastic. Thanks for the garage tips, we really haven’t planned the barn much yet. I know one thing that is a non negotiable on that is to have roll up garage doors on opposite walls so that the breeze can blow through.

      1. I’m told it smells good (like leather) in the garage, but, sadly, I don’t notice it anymore. Apparently, I’m too accustomed to it.

        Love your blog and here’s to hoping that everything happens when and how you want/need it to in the coming weeks. :)

  27. I know someone mentioned tons of outlets in a previous post. Don’t forget the outlet in the center island (if you decide to build one). There is nothing worse than running an extension cord to your island to run an appliance. :) Good luck and I can’t wait to see the finished house!

    1. We do have an island planned, I’ll definitely have to add outlets! So many readers have talked about outlets in their recommendations, and I really hadn’t even started to think beyond “floor plan” yet. These so many details that go into building a house!

  28. My next house must have a wrap around porch and a huge deck. I know this isn’t an inside feature but it is my must have. I think outdoor living space is just as important as indoor living space. I want it deep enough to shade for coolness and eaves that extend far enough that I can sit out even when it is raining. And a porch swing. The deck is for the husband. We love to entertain and we need the outdoor space on nice days. We live on the east coast so we only have a few months of the year to take advantage of being outdoors so we have to make the most of it. I may be a city girl but I enjoy country and coastal living. What can I say?

  29. As a mother of 3 kiddos myself (ages 10, 7 & 4) my non-negotiables are: 2 living spaces, a dedicated playroom/craft space/workstation for the kids & shower wands in the bathroom versus a “permanent” shower head – this makes for cleaning the bathtub and surrounds SO much easier. It also makes for giving any pets a bath a breeze. What we miss desperately from our previous house is having a large 3 car garage (26 feet in depth), amazing under stair storage and a large back patio that extended under the deck. We spent countless hours on the swing and around the chiminea.
    My biggest dream item for a future home is a tiled, doorless, walk-in (I think they are called euro) shower!

  30. The things I wish I would have had done when I built my house…..Laundry room-Larger …Kitchen-drawers and wiring for under cabinet lights…..A dining area-I had a breakfast bar but really didn’t leave room for a large table. I had floor space but no division if that makes any sense. I will never have that open- open floor plan again. Master bedroom-pocket doors (I ended up with 5 doors in my master)….We had a 32×36 shop/bunkhouse we lived in while building-Did not use the bunkhouse much after house was built. If you build a fireplace and would like to use it for heat don’t forget an insert. I truly miss our wood burning stove. Hope this helps and congrats that is a beautiful lot. Don’t forget road maintenance and running utilities to building site.

  31. I am wrapping up phase one of a pretty big reno here. I have a huge house (over 5000 SF), bigger than I would have preferred, and there was no laundry room, no pantry, no mudroom, not even a closet by the front door! Anyway, I took a large bathroom and divided it to use as a pantry, a laundry area, and took the old laundry and turned it into a mudroom. I LOVE it! Here’s a look at about where I am: http://hedengrens.blogspot.com/2015/02/some-before-and-currents.html

    So I totally agree on usable storage and would love if there was more storage designed into each room. These are probably things you thought of and just didn’t list as you only included ten, but I love having a places for games, crafts, a closet for linens, cleaning supplies, etc. And if you haven’t planned a pantry area, they are so great!

  32. Definitely storage: pantry and cold cellar if possible, like under a porch, in the basement. But the thing I love most about my home and that will be necessary in the next home, in the spring, is a nice tree or bird friendly bush and bird feeders right outside the window I spend the most time in front of.

  33. I think your ideas are wonderful and hope it all works out for you. That said, the one thing I would NOT have again if they were FREE and came with a maid to clean up after them is a fire place. What a mess. I hate it. It is not used much here. (not at all in years really) as I live in central TX. But the fire wood is a hassle. Where to keep it, (not too close to the house, termites, yet, when it is cold and wet who wants to walk to the back fence to get it? Also the fire wood itself is expensive unless you have trees near by that you can harvest. We are lucky enough that we do, but it is so much work to do, along with a garden, the basic yard area, and doing general things around the house who has time left to cut and split and stack wood? Just think about it. I know it is a ‘romantic’ idea. WE loved our fire place 30 years ago when we brought this house, but now I would give a lot to replace the darn thing with a nice window to let in some light.

    1. It’s great to hear your perspective on fireplaces. Adam and I have been debating woodburing vs. gas (both insets, for efficiency), so I’m wondering if you would feel differently if it were a gas fireplace and no wood was involved?

      1. We actually did put in a gas log insert into our fire place a few years ago. We have not used it much because of the cost. The thing puts out almost NO heat into the room, it goes up (heat rises) and with the cost of gas we just don’t use it. It is pretty. We turn it on for holiday time, etc. Otherwise it is not used. I know now there are blower units that will put the heat into the room. That would be different. Now at our stage in life we just don’t use it. WE go to the son’s house for Christmas etc.

  34. A covered back porch large enough for a table & chairs for eating outside plus a small sitting area. Our Texas weather is nice enough to enjoy being outside lots of the year. And while you’re at it, place a door to the back yard (covered porch area) into your design from the kitchen. This is where you’ll want to place an outdoor grill. We were fortunate enough to live in a house for 20 years with direct access to the back porch area, where our grill was located. Our first home (and many other poorly thought out homes) only have access through the family room. How awkward to be hosting company only to make multiple trips through the family room with large plate of burgers destined for the grill. Best of luck on your new home and new adventure. Can’t wait to follow along.

  35. we have three childs and we just finished our house. each child needs it’s own room. when they get older it is much more relaxed, when they have a space where they can go “alone”. same with bathrooms, nothing is more annoying then a 16 year old boy hammering on the bathroom door, because his sister locked it from inside ;-)
    outlets: take a virtual tour through your house, with your vaccuum cleaner and a short cord, do you reach every corner? is there an outlet beside every! room entrance? computer network and tv, everything wireless? if not: cables everywhere. do you want/have lamps on the outside?
    try to plan the future: photovoltaic cells (matching roof pitch, cables, direction of the roof), enough insulation, low energy heating system.
    Where do you put the “service entrance room” is it big enough for the future (maybe basement?!)

  36. In one of the houses we built we had a large pantry with electrify in it so we could house the microwave in there. We really only used the microwave for heating up food or popcorn. If I had to do it again I would do it the same way but make the space big enough for all of the seldom used appliances, stand mixer etc. and all pantry items. It doesn’t have to be a walk in space but it needs to be relatively deep and wide. Also, make sure you include a utility sink in your garage for paint brush cleaning, dog washing etc. Building and designing a house is so much fun, we’ve built/designed 2, getting feedback is a great way of making sure you haven’t forgotten something! Have fun!

  37. My house has 2 shower heads (a must have on the husbands list) and we LOVE it. I couldn’t agree with you more, a great way to hang out and talk about our day without distractions.

  38. My Mom had just a stove top on counter and the oven was on the wall nearby. You can get into the oven without disturbing whoever is at the stove cooking. Plus having the oven up high was great- no stooping or bending.

  39. One thing I could not do without is our screened porch, we use that thing constantly! In the spring and fall I keep the doors to it open all day and in the summer we eat breakfast and dinner out there. It has a ceiling fan that helps when things are too muggy and hot. The doors between the porch and the living room are huge french doors and are flanked by almost floor-to-ceiling windows. Basically that whole wall in the living room is glass and it’s awesome to have such a great view of our very wooded backyard from the couch.

  40. If it were me, I think I’d throw an extra bedroom in there, even if it were small. The kids might be completely fine sharing rooms, but it could be an office or guest room. I just wouldn’t want to be kicking myself down the road about not having it.

  41. Gotta love a girl who knows what she wants! I had a list of must-haves, or demands as my husband called them, for the house we just designed and built as well. We implemented them all, and now that the house is done my husband totally gets why I was so adamant about them. My main must-haves were: all bedrooms on the same level, a laundry room on the same level as bedrooms (this is one he fought me on, and now loves), a half-bath on level with kitchen/living room (because obviously), and walk-through master closets leading to master bath (a la Carrie’s apartment on Sex and the City). The walk-through master closets just might be my favourite thing in the house. One thing he insisted on was a “toilet room” in the master bath so the other person can still use the shower and/or vanity. We do have a foyer, which I love, but we have no where to put a bench because there’s either stairs, doors or closets on every wall – FAIL.
    Also, start thinking about outlet placement now. We didn’t think of this until the electrician said he needed to know that day, so ended up picking the spots on the fly, and now we’re stuck with two outlets that are behind where the doors swing open so they are basically unusable. But, we did think to ask for outlets under the eaves that are connected to an interior light switch for Christmas lights, outlets above the cabinets for the same purpose, and an outlet in the living room connected to a light switch for the tree – and these things rock at Christmas!
    Your plans sound amazing – especially that loft area!!! Can’t wait to see your house come to fruition!

  42. LOVE your blog, and all the fun ideas! I’m a little jealous that you get to build a home from scratch! We purchased our home pre-babies, so if I could change it I would in a heartbeat! Our house is the gathering space for all family holidays, and I wish we had more of a division between public and private areas, as well as room for a much larger dining table. I love your idea of the loft… kid zone but not too far away! For clever storage ideas to maximize small spaces, check out http://www.perfectlittlehouse.com Looking forward to reading all about your home building adventures!

  43. My husband and I just moved into our new house we had built at the end of November and we absolutely love the extra long window above the sink. It has a beautiful view and is totally worth all of the cabinet storage we had to lose to have the big window!

    We also asked for a large shower with two shower heads, but our plumber made it so that only one can shower head can be used at a time. So be SPECIFIC when talking to your builder! I am really happy that we went with a gas tankless water heater/stove top. If we had had the money for a fireplace, we would have done that gas too. I like wood fireplaces, but they really are huge hassles.

    My father-in-law built us a bench for our laundry/mudroom and made it tall enough that when we sit down to take our boots off, we can fit them underneath the bench and out of the way. We don’t have a door to this room, it’s just at the end of the hallway, so I don’t have to fight fitting laundry baskets between door frames. The washer and dryer are a little loud because of this, but I am planning on building large cabinets around them to muffle the sound.

    When thinking about doors and the direction they are swinging, sometimes it helps to just put in a pocket door. We did this for the toilet in our master bathroom and it just makes the room more spacious! Also, plan ahead on where you will put the beds, night stands, couch, etc. so that you can adjust where along the wall a door will be. It doesn’t hurt to measure your beds and other furniture to check beforehand!

    I am only 5 feet tall, so I had our kitchen island built a few inches shorter than the rest of our counter tops to make chopping, slicing and mixing easier for me.

    I also have french doors leading outside from our bedroom. I plan on planting a small garden patio area out there. Just waiting for the weather to warm up!

  44. I love your ideas for your home. It is so exciting to start from scratch! We entertain a lot of church folks in our home and I would say a big big patio for a big table and a fire pit area. My kids love this and just imagine the fire pit going the kids roasting marshmallows and playing guitar and singing songs. My idea of perfection! Also, programmable thermostats and they make them now with apps so you can control from your phone. Also get some electrical outlets that will allow you to plug USB into them. AMAZING! We are installing some where we store our electronic devices so you don’t have charger box using an outlet. The thing about the closet, my husband and I share a small closet but like you said if you put in closet organizers, you will realize how much space you have!

  45. I hear you on the double shower! We love that alone time to chat (and scrub backs) at the end of the day.
    I have a long specific list of house needs and wants – we have teenagers so we do need 2 separate living areas. I have no need for formal dining, but we need 4 bedrooms (decent sized ones too – we have seen so many houses where the kids rooms would barely fit a twin bed, bedside table and a desk) and a study/office. Plenty of storage is a must – I have lived in homes with zero built in closets, to the house we are in now that has more wonderful storage than you can poke a stick at. I have a bad hip, knee and back from a car accident, so no stairs tops the list for us. I am very specific with my kitchen wants – a big island, a wall oven (or 2) as it is hard for me to get things in and out of a lower oven. Walk in pantry with narrow shelves – I hate pantries with deep shelves where everything gets lost and you find jello from 2003 when you have a clean out. I want lots of big drawers in my kitchen, rather than cabinet doors. It’s easier for me to find and access stuff that way, as lower cabinets are another issue for me. There are plenty of other specifics – just too much to share here. I am open to some flexibility, especially if we buy move in ready, but I am wondering if I am clutching at straws with that option!
    We are looking to buy and are still keeping our options open between move in ready, minor renovations, major renovations or building. The problem is, where we live (Adelaide, South Australia) houses are very expensive – ugly ugly small houses for over $550,000. We have a good budget of $750,000 but are struggling to find anything that suits, as the market here is really slow. Even land is expensive starting at around $350,000 for a tiny suburban block. I can’t believe that we are finally ready to buy and the market is near its worst. We need to stay in this general area for the next 4 years until our youngest finishes high school.
    I still look at listings every day though and drag Dillon off to opens every now and then when something with potential pops up. I am totally believing that the right place will come alone in the right time… Meanwhile I’ll just have to keep dreaming and working on my list :-)

  46. Wish list? Huge pantry with shelves and maybe room for a deep freezer. My dream kitchen has an island with a hanging pot rack (maybe made from upcycled ladder/garden gate). Something big enough and strong enough to hold all my pots and pans including the cast iron.

  47. Hi! Started reading your blog tonight and I’m really enjoying it! Had to comment on this post because my husband and I did an addition and put two shower heads in a 5′ shower and we LOVE it! The way you described the switching places & the shivering were the EXACT words I used when we were planning! Cracked me up. I’ll tell you some other things we did I love:
    1-A large (10×10) closet with a rectangular ottoman
    2-A folding table in the laundry room with a shelf under it. 3 laundry baskets fit on it and 3 more on the floor underneath. One for each load type. The laundry is always sorted and I tied washing instructions to each one. Not that anyone reads them…my husband shrank our jeans and turned something pink recently…
    3-built in shelves where our plan allowed
    4-A utility sink n the laundry for muddy/nasty stuff or soaking stains out
    5-we used patio doors in 2 places where we wanted big windows because it was cheaper. Who knew?
    6-pocket doors keep areas where doors are usually open from having a door awkwardly in the way.
    7-for $30 I got a mirror that attached to the wall by my sink that folds in and out like at a hotel. No more sitting in the sink to get a close up! And I can see the back of my head and have both hands free for updos.
    Enjoy the process!! Hope this helps. :)

  48. Some great ideas here in the comments. I love your idea of the double shower heads – brilliant! As my kids grew I definitely had two living areas as a must-have in my homes. Not that we always hung out separately, far from it, but there are times when being able to have adult space versus yard-ape space was crucial to my sanity. Your kids are still small enough to need supervision all the time, and haven’t started bringing other children home, but believe me, as they get bigger when they all get together it gets SO loud and crazy! It’s good to be able to go in and out instead of being immersed in it all the time.
    What are your plans as to a guest room? I know you have space to develop one, but what will you do in the meantime? Do you get many guests?
    If I was able to choose and plan a home (maybe someday?) I would want large windows to bring the outside in, smart storage (but not so much that it encourages my hoarding proclivity), a large craft area/workshop, an office area and a studio for my business. I’d also like more space in the kitchen, please! My kitchen is organized to a T, but believe me it has to be, as it is TINY. T for TINY. I second all the ideas above about having a pantry and room for a deep freeze, maybe even a cold room. I wouldn’t have thought of a cold room, but at one of the homes I work in they have one, and use it for buying extras of many food items. That way, when you run out you can quickly “shop” in your cold room rather than run to the store all the time. It’s so handy! Emergency supplies are all there, too. Something like that could even be part of your garage/workshop rather than in the house.
    It’s going to be fun to follow along with you and see what you build and what you do with it afterwards. :)

  49. I don’t know if you mentioned a one or two-story plan, but we have a cape and our kids’ bathroom is conveniently situated above our laundry room, which made the antiquated laundry chute a viable (and I’m saying now trendy) idea! We love it! We installed cabinetry below the chute so that their laundry falls unseen into the cabinet. I wish I were disciplined enough to transfer my laundry into their cabinet, rather than having a laundry basket in my bath! Best of luck with the build! We did ours ourselves and it was well worth the two years it took. :)

  50. If you do Christmas lights outside, ask about putting outlets in the eaves. Our builder only charged us $35 and now we don’t have to mess with extension cords running into the garage. It’s not a huge thing most of the time, but it was so worth the relatively small cost.

  51. In no particular order of importance. They are all pretty important if you ask me! There was a whole post on it in the local moms group with so many excellent ideas!
    1) Water softener. I will never again own a house that does not have one. Our hard water is absolutely ridiculous!
    2) Outlet placement. We have had to change where switches are and add so many switches and network jacks it’s crazy. It’s a great thing my hubby knows how to do that stuff. We actually put all the network cable in the walls during the building process but next time we will put jacks on every wall! And an outlet in the middle of the wall for the TV. It looks so much better on the wall than in an entertainment center. And wires hanging down is a definite NO in our house. :)
    3) Outlets under the eaves of the house for Christmas lights would be awesome.
    4) On that note, we want a one story house because getting the lights on this one is not ever going to happen apparently. No idea why hubby won’t just climb up on the roof and hang over it. I mean doesn’t he love me? LOL. Totally just kidding. I wouldn’t want him to do that. Not really anyway. :)
    5) I would like a walk in pantry. It doesn’t need to be big but we added a big cabinet in our kitchen to serve as the pantry and it is too deep. I can’t organize all pretty. My cousin’s kitchen has the best pantry! It is walk in but the “door” looks just like a tall cabinet to match the rest of the cabinets. LOVE IT!
    6) I definitely love the huge shower with two shower heads idea! That is a must in our next house as well. My cousins have one and they made sure it has a “lip” so they just use a curtain instead of the doors. The doors are NEVER going to be in my next house!
    7) Definitely a laundry room that is just a laundry room and not a junk and everything room.
    8) A huge wooden deck porch in the back would be amazing if it’s done right. I just read your next post so that’s why I thought of this. We have a wooden one my hubby and I built but it was only for the purpose of having something out there. We had so many plans for it but it hasn’t changed one bit since we built the main part of it.

    There are so many other things but I can’t think of them right now. I’ll add more later if I think of them! It looks like your list is awesome though!

  52. When my husband and I bought our first house (the one we are currently in) the master bathroom wasn’t very “master-y”. It was a regular tub/shower combo, one sink, and boring. The previous owner had also put the Formica flooring into the bathrooms (I’m assuming to make it look nice before she sold the house) and I guess no one told her that those floors aren’t supposed to get wet. The floor started to buckle near the tub, and the quarter-round started turning black. So as soon as we got a chance, we remodeled the master bath. We took out the tub completely and turned it into a big shower with TWO SHOWERHEADS. Showering together is a great time to bond, isn’t it? :) We also put in a seat with a built in pocket so I can store my shampoo and stuff, and the seat not get cluttered. We did have a bit of an issue with getting the plumbing correct for the shower heads, because they have individual controls, so the guy had to do some interesting engineering. Our controls are backwards AND sideways (He said it was because of the plumbing, I think he didn’t know what he was doing) but they work, and I love them. And I don’t feel wasteful if I’m showering by myself since I don’t have to have both of them spraying at the same time. Anyway, we still haven’t changed the sinks two double sinks, so my husband just uses the guest bathroom every morning while we get ready.
    There isn’t much more that we can change in the house, due to the layout, but there are plenty of things I would change. We don’t have a laundry room – it’s more of a closet that holds the washer and dryer in the breakfast area. We don’t have a mud room, so the breakfast table is our place of throwing our junk when we get home and always looks cluttered. I would love to put own wood floors in the rest of the house but we have Judge’s Paneling in the living room so that would just be too much wood (I can’t bring myself to paint that entire room of real wood Judge’s Paneling. Also, I painted the kitchen when we bought the house, and the color came out much more Jungle Green than Sage Green (I was going for more like your living room, and I got much more “Fresh Spring Leaf”. But there are so many corners in my kitchen, I don’t plan on painting it again.
    I’m so glad you get to design your house the way you want! I’ll be sure to take lots of your ideas for my future house ;)

  53. If I could change only one thing about my house, I would make sure the stove was on an exterior wall so the vent would go straight out. Mine is on an interior wall and the vent doesn’t work worth boo. I even upgraded the vent so it’s more powerful and it still isn’t efficient enough given the distance it has to pull odors, steam, grease, etc. Never again.

  54. Love your blog! re your new house, have you read any of Sarah Susanka’s books? Her first is The Not So Big House. I think that you might like what she has to say…

    We have bamboo flooring and I love it. It is the “click” bamboo and my husband installed it as “floating” so that we didn’t have to do the glue-down. It is beautiful … light and airy (we have the natural color) and two kids, two dogs and one husband run around all the time and no scratches.

  55. Great ideas! The only thing I would suggest is more bathrooms. I’m a few years ahead of you and with 4 children the bathrooms are always in high demand (why do kids always need to poop at the same time?!). If I could design my own house I would do at least 3 full bathrooms.

    1. Oops that should say 3 full bathrooms (because there will be lots of showering going on as the kids get older- a waterless hot water tank is awesome too!) and another half bath.

  56. I absolutely LOVE the deep drawers in my kitchen. And all of the shelves in my kitchen are “pull-outs”, so I can see everything. I also have big Lazy-Susan cabinets in the lower corners, so there’s no wasted space and I don’t have to get down on my hands and knees trying to find items that have gotten skooched way back in the “dead space corner of darkness”!! One of my upper corner cabinets is also a Lazy Susan, so underneath this cabinet was built a corner cabinet that houses the coffee maker and toaster. It has a door, so they are hidden from view, yet easily accessible because we use them so often. One thing I wish I had was a little sink in my island. Often times, if there are several of us cooking at the same time, somebody is washing a big pan in the main sink when I just need to rinse my hands. A 2nd sink sure would be handy for this and other purposes. I also have an outlet in my island and use it a lot. If you think this is going to be your forever home, think about what your future may look like, or that you may need to care for an elderly family member. I know somebody mentioned previously about making 1 room and bathroom with 36″ doors. Even an accident can temporarily cause the need for wider accessibility to these rooms, especially the front door. Just something to think about since you have the opportunity to build your home. Cheaper to do it now, then to retro fit it later, should the need arise.

  57. Wish I had a separate laundry room with a door to close off the mess, and I wish it was on the same floor as our bedrooms – I hate lugging laundry baskets up & down the stairs!

  58. Hi, I realy love your blog, lots of great ideas!
    I m about to renovate the basement and add a big a* new bathroom. Soak tub, vertical shower, two sinks and a urinal… yes a urinal! In a house full of boys, I decided that we would have one. Once it is installed the new rull will apply; If you want to pee standing up, us the urinal, otherwise sit! Mom being the only women in the house Don’t want to see boys (and man for that matter!) pee standing up with the door wide open No More! Is it only me? Well anyway, I’m realy looking forward for that to happen :)

  59. Thank for your suggestion. I havent try anything in this list, maybe i will looking for when get a new house, or just try to fit my own house now ^^

  60. If I could change only one thing about my house, I would make sure the stove was on an exterior wall so the vent would go straight out. Mine is on an interior wall and the vent doesn’t work worth boo.

  61. Great ideas! The only thing I would suggest is more bathrooms. I’m a few years ahead of you and with 4 children the bathrooms are always in high demand (why do kids always need to poop at the same time?!). If I could design my own house I would do at least 3 full bathrooms.

    1. Loved ‘kids sharing a bathroom’ completely realistic.
      The only one that I would disagree on is the high ceiling/ loft area in the kitchen 1. It’s going to be a drain on your utility bills (heating/ cooling)
      2. Keeping bugs out will be a struggle
      3. Smoke / odors rise

  62. We put a covered deck on the back of our house a few years ago. I love it. It looks out over the yard & garden. And on rainy days it’s a lovely place for a cup of tea. Or a glass of wine in the evenings after a long day.

  63. I know this isn’t everyone’s idea of a must-have, but where I live somewhere cold I really want to build a energy efficient home! It is amazing how much money you can save. And also, yes please to the window looking out to the backyard! Cleaning up lunch/making lunch and being able to watch the kids is so important.

  64. A couple things I would want in my dream house.
    1. Big kitchen with huge pantry (so I can organize everything)
    2. Huge Landry room with cabinets/counters (double washer/dryer) (big family)
    3. Walk in closets in the master bedroom
    4. Mud room/with cubby system
    5. Bonus room for when children get older (movie/game room)
    6. Outlets EVERYWHERE. But also the ones where you can just plug in your charging cord for phones and it doesn’t need the box (iPhones)
    7. Huge garage for 2 cars/husband work space to work on cars with door leading to the back yard.

  65. We no longer have children at home, so I nixed the mud room and increased the size of my laundry room – adding a sink, folding area and a built in dog kennel. We lived in a small home with almost no extra storage for close to 25 years. Storage was a must for me; coat closet off small entry way, walk-in pantry with counter tops, build in wine chiller and adjustable shelves. We nixed and upstairs bonus room when lumber increased during covid and turned the stair area into a large closet for Christmas storage. We also added a hidden safe room, off my husband’s master closet for gun storage and other items we want to keep safe. I also put walk-in closets in both quest bedrooms and a small walk-in closet for my office, so technically the office could easily be a 4th a bedroom. Another most for us was a large outdoor area/patio with a fireplace. Right there with you on a large window over the kitchen sink looking into the piney woods! Enjoy your new home!

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