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Old 01-25-2016, 10:17 AM   #41
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We designed and built our dream home in vermont 10 years ago. We will never get our money out of it but it has been a fantastic place to raise our kids. It is too big and expensive to keep so we will be downsizing next year which is sad.

Based on living here for a decade with our three boys here are my glad I did and wish I didn't list.

Glad we did
- separate offices since wife and I both worked from home
- radiant floor heat and hardwood floors
- super insulated and efficient home (live In Vermont with propane which costs a ton but was our only option)
- hanging swinging chairs at the breakfast bar so no tipping or scraping
- room for dog with a dog door so self served potty breaks
- in law unit above three car detached garage ( now used to generate income)
- fantastic mountain views
- solar electric (just wish we had put in sooner)
- open plan but with a library where one can escape to read, study, or watch tv if public space is too loud
- great mud room with cubbies for everyone
- backup generator (we lose power a few times a year
- covered breezeway between garage and home
- chose a fantastic builder

Things I wish we did differently
- ducts for ac (don't need it often)
- sports court as kids didn't use it as expected
- don't use some of the porches as much as I thought
- lofts above each bedroom. Cool but not used much
- kept so many trees. Would be nice to have a bit more cleared



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Old 01-25-2016, 11:00 AM   #42
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Radiant floor heating where we can
Split ranch design
Pot filler spigot on the stove backsplash
Touchless spigot for the kitchen sink, either on floor or by swiping hand
Extra large pantry in kitchen (with door)
Garage level with house. I always thought this was code but a neighbor just did it.
Large screened porch
Built in safe/gun room in basement.
Outside starirs to basement.
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Old 02-25-2016, 09:59 PM   #43
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One thing I do not know if anybody has mentioned: a central vacuum.

I never have one, but often wish I do. I have severe hay fever and dust allergy. So, I do not dust but always vacuum not just the floor but also the furniture and shelves so as not to stir up the dust. If I could just move from room to room with a long hose and a brush instead of lugging a big upright, I would be able to do that cleaning job more frequently.

Perhaps all I need to do is to buy another vacuum for the upstairs, so as not having to lug it up/down the stairs.
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Old 02-25-2016, 10:09 PM   #44
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I installed central vac systems in two prior houses and liked them very much. There was a lot of measuring involved to get spots where one outlet would be good for an entire floor, using a 30 foot hose. In the last house I had to settle for two outlets for the main floor. It wasn't as hard as I expected, and worked very well.
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Old 02-26-2016, 01:02 AM   #45
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We've had central vac in two houses. Love it.

Our unit is in the garage. A friend has his unit in the basement.

I recommend the garage - just in case of a repeat of "The Year of the Stinkbugs."

We have a hose for each floor.
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Old 02-26-2016, 09:14 AM   #46
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This isn't a design feature, but is worth doing if you are building:

Take pictures just before the drywall is hung. If you ever need to locate wiring or plumbing after the house is completed you have pictures that show where everything is.
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Old 02-26-2016, 09:42 AM   #47
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Long central vac hoses are a PITA and generated more of a groan from those employing them than pulling out the upright. Hard to know in advance if furniture will be in the way of the connection points (whereas electrical outlets must be all over the place, by code). It's not something I'd put in my dream house unless I had serious allergies.

If I had any kind of heating season at all, my dream house would certainly include a whole-house humidifier. Since I added one, it has added so much to my winter quality of life!
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Old 02-26-2016, 09:47 AM   #48
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Inside tornado safe room (closet). Also, we never seem to have enough storage, so design for more of that. Epoxy floor in garage. Prewired for video surveillance at key locations (eg outside entry doors). LED lighting throughout. Spray foam insulation and high seer AC. Hail resistant roof.
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Old 02-26-2016, 09:55 AM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Music Lover View Post
This isn't a design feature, but is worth doing if you are building:

Take pictures just before the drywall is hung. If you ever need to locate wiring or plumbing after the house is completed you have pictures that show where everything is.
On the one home we had built (likely the last time we'll do that) I did just that. I don't remember where I got the idea, possibly my own brain but it really did come in very handy. I wired my own CAT5 cable through the house, as well as some audio/video. Always nice to know where to create a hole for a wall plate without worrying about hitting a pipe or electric wire...
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Old 02-26-2016, 12:25 PM   #50
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Long central vac hoses are a PITA and generated more of a groan from those employing them than pulling out the upright. Hard to know in advance if furniture will be in the way of the connection points (whereas electrical outlets must be all over the place, by code). It's not something I'd put in my dream house unless I had serious allergies............
I put in a central vacuum per DW's request. On the plus side it is really powerful and it is nice that it blows the fine dust outside (in the garage). On the downside, as mentioned, hauling around a 30 foot hose is no picnic and you have to be careful not to scrub the corners by dragging it across.

There is an option that stores the hose inside the wall that might be an improvement, though I've never used one. Videos
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Old 02-26-2016, 06:10 PM   #51
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Is it much trouble to install a vacuum inlet? Seems to me one should install enough inlets so that he does not need a long 30' hose to reach all corners of the house.
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Old 02-26-2016, 06:18 PM   #52
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2" Schedule 40 pipe... a bit laborious to install the you would need to buy numerous fitting that go in the wall so it would probably be quite a bit more expensive, even in new construction.

see
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Old 02-26-2016, 07:41 PM   #53
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Is it much trouble to install a vacuum inlet? Seems to me one should install enough inlets so that he does not need a long 30' hose to reach all corners of the house.
Would not be that hard in new construction. Retro fitting can be a chore.
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Old 02-27-2016, 08:03 PM   #54
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Cedar lining in all clothes closets.

Clean electricity source. All electric appliances and heat. Gas only at fireplace.

Keyless door entry. Not electronic, just mechanic. I've been house sitting for a friend and I love his.

Towel warmer / heater in the bathrooms.

Safe with mechanical lock in hidden location.

Low maintenance landscaping with NO grass.

Elevator - since my knees are decades older than the rest of me. (Too much fun in my athletic youth.)

"MIL apartment" for visiting friends now and semi-retired RN later.

LOTS of storage.

Bookcases with glass doors to lessen dusting.

Central HVAC with HEPA filters.

Long and deep soaking tub.

Bamboo floors.

No more carpets! Washable rugs only, even on stairs.
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Old 02-28-2016, 12:09 AM   #55
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Being OCD, I'd like to design the innards of the house, with electrical, plumbing, and HVAC installed with efficiency, repairability, and expandability in mind.

My current house is a good example. The master bath is about as far from the water heater as it could be, and still be in the same house...

The HVAC is in the attic, where it's about 130 or so in the summer. It's also not centrally located, so some long duct runs. One good thing in my current home is adequate intake, with return ducts in the living room, hall, and all three bedrooms.

I would definitely err on the side of excess when it came to cable/ethernet/phone drops, and plenty of power outlets.

My sprinkler system was poorly designed, with spotty coverage from using fewer but larger sprinklers. Would be nice to have a central valve box, too, with some allowance for valve repair/replace, rather than impenetrable boxes buried in random locations throughout the yard.


My next house will have a den of iniquity... ;-)
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Old 02-28-2016, 04:51 AM   #56
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In Texas (and likely elsewhere) they are building many new houses with that expanding foam applied under the roof (in the attic space) above the house - there are no vents or airflow from the outside. There is no insulation needed between the living space and the attic.

This allows the HVAC to be up there with virtually no loss of efficiency. and seems to make a huge difference in utility bills (half the cost).

Maybe someone who is familiar with this design can comment on the pros and cons (if any). I'd like to learn more about it.
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Old 02-28-2016, 05:41 AM   #57
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We have a master bath where the entry, sinks, and linen closet are flanked by the large walk-in closet and the other part of the bath. There's a pocket door for the closet and a pocket door for the area that has a deep soaking tub, large tiled shower, and toilet.

We like to sleep in a cool bedroom. Still, it's quick and easy to have a bath or shower in warmth because it can be closed off with the pocket door and the heat contained.

The only thing missing in the master bath is a bidet. If I'd known we were going to live in this house so long... I would've added it.

Of course, if I'd know we were going to live such a short time in a house we built years ago, I would've left it out - ha!

Master closet: Nice to have full-length mirror, shelving units for shoes and more, seating, and hanging rods at different heights.

Down the hall, a cedar-lined closet has high shelves, hanging rods, and enough space to keep an ironing board set up as well as a sewing machine set up on a small table. We added the outlet for the iron and DH put it with the light switch - so when the light is out, there is no power to the iron.
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Old 02-28-2016, 08:49 AM   #58
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Quote:
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In Texas (and likely elsewhere) they are building many new houses with that expanding foam applied under the roof (in the attic space) above the house - there are no vents or airflow from the outside. There is no insulation needed between the living space and the attic.

This allows the HVAC to be up there with virtually no loss of efficiency. and seems to make a huge difference in utility bills (half the cost).

Maybe someone who is familiar with this design can comment on the pros and cons (if any). I'd like to learn more about it.
We have that in our house and detached garage with attic loft but we are in a cold weather climate. It is called a "hot" roof. Spray foam is applied to the underside of the roof sheathing between the roof joists.

In our case all the outside walls are spray foamed too so we needed to install a whole house air-exchange system.

DW has often wondered why they don't insulate better in hot climates... (we are in Florida now and it seems that very little insulation is used).. and your post is the first I have heard of spray foam insulation being used in a hot climate.

We don't have AC so I can't comment on that but it is very efficient for heating... out propane usage is very modest.
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Old 02-28-2016, 09:13 AM   #59
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- one floor living
- 80/20 kitchen sink that allows big basin for washing & yet disposer to avoid so much organic garbage.
- hot water on demand with a flow sensing recycle loop to avoid continuous pumping. We were able to retrofit the line due to access to unfinished space between longest water run & water heater.
- radiant floor heat seems inefficient to me.
- need to store latex paints well above freezing to avoid separation & ruin.
- non-detached garage to avoid inclement weather.
- paddle fans to even out air temps.
- whole house fan to reduce AC reliance.
- hardwood floors over tile to provide more give for old knees & feet.
- we're finding counter depth fridge providing more effective use of shelf space since not so much stuff hidden in the back/reach around, but you pay a premium.
- soft close cabinet drawers & doors are sweet. Can get plastic springs to insert in door hinges to stop them from over opening & banging into walls/other cabinets/fridge/etc.
- love the varied look of granite counter tops. Can admire over & over.
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Old 02-28-2016, 09:56 AM   #60
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DW has often wondered why they don't insulate better in hot climates... (we are in Florida now and it seems that very little insulation is used)..
That may just be a Florida thing. The houses I have lived in here seem well insulated for the climate. I don't know (or really care) how they do it but the houses here are quite comfortable to live in, IMO.

Also, the use of ceiling fans is common here and they help to even out interior temperatures.
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