5 Things I Would Do Differently when Building my Home
We recently had a couple drop by to tour our home in real life! It was so fun to show a peek behind the curtain of building our home, and reminisce on the process from start to finish. They asked us lots of questions including, what would you do again, and what would you never do again? I recently shared on instagram my top five features of our home, and today I am going to tell you five things I would do differently if I could start all over on #thehuntershop
5 THINGS I WOULD DO DIFFERENLTY WHEN BUILDING MY HOME
Let me start by saying it was not easy to come up with this list! Andrew and I did a lot of planning on the front end so we were able to make informed decisions that didn't lend to much regret. If you haven't read about our decision to build backwards I encourage you to start there! Understanding the why behind our home will make this all more sensible. You can read about how we landed on our layout here. The bulk of this list is about things that have proven to be more inconvenient than expected. Take a look!
1. Storage Space
When we moved we traded a 3 bed, 3 bath house with a garage, laundry room and three ample storage closets for our 1 bed, 1 bath tiny house. We have an extra small storage closet that is mostly full of the water heater, the washer and dryer are in the "kitchen" and we will get to our parking situation in a minute. Needless to say, we downsized! While we have learned all over again that minimalism is freeing, I wouldn't mind a few extra nooks and crannies to hold things like flower pots/cleaning supplies/shoes. I also wouldn't mind if my vacuum cleaner and mop bucket weren't stored in my closet... We have been really creative with our space, and 90% of the time aren't bothered by our lack of storage. On the days when we have each made several trips to the attic (we have a really large attic space above our living space that serves as storage/andrew's workshop) to grab "one more thing" it can get a little bit taxing. On the plus side, we have so much less stuff, and spend a lot less on decor because there just isn't anywhere to put it!
2. Indoor/Outdoor Transition Space
One of my favorite features of our home are the concrete floors. We have them throughout the house and they are easy to clean, keep the house cool and add interest. While they are easy to get clean, they are impossible to keep clean. I vacuum or sweep the house three times a week, and could easily do it more often than that. Our gravel driveway leads right up to the back door, where we park in a gravel lot. This means that every time we come in and out of the house dust, grit and gravel from the driveway comes in with us. Yikes! I don't know exactly what a "transition space" looks like, but if I could go back I would consider somehow trying to guard our most traveled door from the elements a little better.
On a similar note, our parking situation is not ideal. We have a long, skinny, curvy driveway that is lined on one side by trees, so it has low visibility. When you get to the end of the driveway it expands to allow three cars to park side by side. It works okay when its just Andrew and me parking, otherwise its like a game of tetris to park, much less back out. We have mastered the skill of backing down the driveway pretty well (along with the mail man, who backs down our drive at record speed nowadays!), but often jump in our visitors cars to back for them. Andrew and I also host people in our home every week, so we have lots of cars moving up and down the drive, battling the parking lot. We have plans on expanding parking and creating a space to turn around. In the mean time we will just keep sharpening our backing skills!
4. The AC Units
We use a ductless mini split system for heating and cooling from LG (dual zone inverters). We have one in our bedroom and one over the front door (in between the living and kitchen areas). While we wouldn't stay away from mini splits altogether, we would go with a different brand. Andrew's pick would be a Mitsubishi Hyper Heat Split System. These are more money, but work better in extreme temperatures than the ones we use. We ended up purchasing a heater over the winter to supplement the mini splits on the extra cold mornings. In my opinion, the mini splits have been trouble from day one with installation issues and freon leaks. I was worried they would be a major eye sore because of the size and placement, but they are actually very sleek, I don't really notice them in the house. Side note, we also have 10' ceilings (another favorite feature!), so they sit pretty high on the wall, making them less noticeable.
5. Know when to contact a professional
I have mentioned before that Andrew and I are blessed to have an army of knowledgeable, willing family members behind us. From framing, to pulling wire, putting on siding and grading our dads/uncles/brothers/family friends pitched in so we had to hire a professional for very few aspects. In fact the only things we hired help for were pouring concrete, insulation, Sheetrock, laying foundation block and the septic system. Like I said, this is the biggest DIY project we have ever tackled! While it was an awesome experience overall to learn literally so much about our home, we learned a few things the hard way...
I can still vividly remember the week the insulation was supposed to be installed. At this point we were planning to do insulation ourselves. I think it was almost exactly one year ago, in the summer of 2017 that I found myself standing in our current day living room with stacks of Sheetrock and rolls of insulation towering over me. It was one million degrees and I was wearing long sleeves, pants, gloves, safety glasses and a bandanna around my mouth and nose. We were behind schedule by one month already, which doesn't sound so bad now but in the midst of things its a big deal. Everyone else was at work and I was standing in the house wrestling giant rolls of insulation with a tape measure and a box cutter. We had already stayed at the house until midnight the night before trying to get insulation up before our next inspection. I could go on, but you get the picture, right? We were tired, stressed, rushed and literally in over our heads. After a few more stressful hours we called it. With a little added expense we could hire a professional to install both the insulation and the sheetrock in a fraction of the time.
While much of this is "live and learn" experience it turns out our dads, who also built most of their own homes, hired someone to install insulation and sheetrock as well. We thought it would be worth it to save on the budget, but it turned out that spending the extra money was a much better choice!
Are you building a home, or planning to? I would love to hear your plans or questions! Leave a comment below!