Tuesday, April 10, 2012

What Did You Give Up? What Are You Going To Do About It?

     I studied realtor.com so much for so many years that I knew what houses were newly listed, which ones had changed price, which ones had been dropped for a while then listed again so they showed as a 'new listing', etc. I had a bunch of wishes floating around in my head. Some of them we were able to meet or exceed, but some of those wishes fell by the wayside, even in building our dream house. What things did you give up during the process? What are you going to do about it?

Big front porch or wrap around porch: The builder only offered a porch like mine is now (miniscule) with a roof over it or a sort of half a porch. I want something much bigger and deeper. I am also more than a little nuts meticulous and I needed my roof line to be the way it is. Then my husband insisted on stone and the way they lay out the stone on different options left this elevation as the only one I could live with. Maybe later I will petition the HOA to allow me to build a gorgeous front porch. In the meantime, we plan on doing some great landscaping in the back to make it a great sit.

Maximum privacy: We have a small conservation area on one side of the house and pastures in the back. I guess we'll all find out once the leaves are full on the trees how much privacy the green-space allows. We can definitely see everything other people do in their backyard. We'll try to adjust, I guess.

Big mudroom: Nothing to be done about this one but whine constantly get over it. We have a garage, so in some ways I guess we have a giant mudroom.

Architectural character: I wanted interesting doorways, pocket doors, full hardwood floors downstairs and in the upstairs hall, hardwood stairs, crown molding, chair rail, board and batten, built in bookshelves, etc. We got hardwoods everywhere except the bedrooms, full bathrooms, and basement. I insisted on the hardwood stairs during the building process. Everything else will be a series of DIY projects. I will turn this house into something lovely and interesting. Thank God for bloggers who are willing to share their expertise.

Great Big Kitchen Island: The builder refused my reasonable request to have a big kitchen island with cabinets on both sides. They offered me three foot square islands for my great big kitchen. I will be doing this myself and loving it!

No HOA: I always swore I would never live in a neighborhood with cookie cutter houses and an HOA where the space between houses wasn't even as large as the houses themselves. I mis-swore. (Wouldn't be the first time) It was a smart sacrifice to get the house of our dreams. I'll get over it until we can buy land and build our family compound. No, seriously.

Fence for the little dog: Nope. Have to ask the HOA.  Insert eye roll. I hate asking permission for every little thing on property I own. Somehow it makes me feel like less of a homeowner. I'll petition the HOA for it and hope for the best.

Giant walk-in pantry: I got one of those tiny pantries which are sort of wasted space. I would have preferred extended cabinets in that spot. I might change it at some point, but it's not as terrible as I thought it would be. I still maintain a large food store room in the basement. I would have had to do this anyway,  unless the giant walk-in pantry was a ten by ten foot room. I'm over it.

I know there were other things I wanted, but honestly, I can't remember most of them. It's kind of funny, because at the time they seemed so critical. After living here a few weeks I am so satisfied those little items, whatever they were, are forgotten. So I didn't get architectural charm - I got full hardwoods and beautiful, fantastic bathrooms and a laundry room on the floor with five of the bedrooms. (Goooooooooal!) I got a big kitchen with gorgeous cabinets and a beautiful fireplace and a warm and inviting dining room. My husband has a nice home office and the guys have a very comfortable man cave. We have a guest suite. If we need to one day, the basement can easily be a separate area for someone to have a lot of fairly private space. (Large bedroom, full bath, stove, fridge, already in place.I got my cousin and her wonderful little family across the street.

What about you? What did you give up and what did you get?

I'm already planning our next house. When the kids all leave and have families of their own I plan on having a grandma house - much different than this one. That one will have a door at the bottom of the stairs to block the noise, and a giant room with lots of bunks for grandkids!


  1. Interesting Post.
    For years we perused builders and almost went through with it twice. And both times the covered front porch went by the way side due to cost. With this one, we had no choice as the other elevations were taken by neighbors to the left and across. So I am glad Ryan didn't give me an opportunity to be cheap...it happens.
    So I got the porch.
    If given the choice, I am not sure which I would have decided between a natural log fire place and a gas. I can say we use our gas all the time and I don't have to gather, chop, stack, burn, clean, repeat. So, it's good.
    After seeing the model, I wanted the stone fireplace. I got it.
    I would have liked a 3 car garage, but costing what it did, there was no choice. A dolly for the Harley will allow me to push next to wall and park my shitbox car in the garage next winter. So that works.
    I would have preferred NO deck but to get that nice basement walkout, it's worth it.

    You know, as I write this I can't think of much that I missed. My wife and I built this as our "forever" house. Who knows, we thought the last house was forever.

    and as a side note, the slope in the back yard I think will make installing a zip line possible. Now who doesn't want a zip line in the back yard!!??

  2. We have no children and asked for a model with a first floor master. We ended up with the Esquire. Elevation B has a full brick front and interesting angles to the front and the roofline. We scored on that one. We got a two-story great room which was an unexpected bonus, but gave up an office, and the master closet and bathroom are pretty small. We couldn't get the porch because the porch elevation could only have siding and a flat front, which we didn't want. Nothing is ever as we dreamed it would be. But this is as close to heaven as we've ever been. It will probably be our last house, and having half acre lots and surrounded by a forest preserve offset the things I didn't get. I want to whine about the lack of mudroom too, by the way!

  3. We gave up the 3 car garage. The Verona is too wide to have a 3 car on our lot and we wanted the cul-de-sac lot, so there it went. We will see how we adapt to a 2 car after having a 3 car for 8.5 years. The advantage to having the 9 ft. ceilings will be the availability of overhead storage.

    We wanted a walkout, but that wasn't an option on the lot. Though it would be nice, since we've never had one, we don't know what we're missing.

    We opted not to go with Ryan's island and have the peninsula only. We'll see how long it takes to do an island since I'm so used to having one.

    I really thought my next house would have granite and stainless. However, during the process, I found out that DH doesn't like either. So, we went with upgraded laminate and black. These will probably be fine.

    I would have also appreciated more architectural elements and less "squareness" to all the rooms. I also imagined crown molding, cased openings, built-ins, etc., but those are all items that can be added later.

    I guess the garage is the biggest thing we are giving up. We are increasing our sq. footage by almost another half, increasing our lot size by another quarter and decreasing DH's commute by 2/3. I really can't complain.

  4. Since our house is almost done, I like to reminisce on a daily basis about all of the items I still dream of having:

    (1) 3 car garage - Although I think we are still a ways off from a "summer car" my husband keeps bringing it up :)

    (2) Obnoxiously large walk in closet - I own a lot of clothes and even more shoes. Although we have a his and hers walk in closet setup, I still plan on finishing the attic and converting it into a dream closet worthy of MTV Cribs.

    (3) Larger back yard - Due to the slope of our back yard and the decks, we don't have a whole lot of room back there.

    All things considered we got MOST of what we want in a home. I don't anticipate this will be our forever home unless we can work miracles with future renovations (see #1-3)but I must say the James Joyce has charming details and great features to keep us happy for a long time :)

  5. I gave up a two-story great room, second floor laundry, front porch, and a 3-car garage.

    I can't complain too much. A first floor laundry is still better than having it in the basement. We plan on having an elaborate back patio put in, this will probably make me forget all about the front porch. As for the garage, our house is just too wide for the 3-car. We only have two cars but the extra storage space would have been nice. We will probably end up getting a shed to store our riding lawn mower (we are on half an acre) even though I think sheds look tacky.

  6. I really like my house but feel I gave up plenty. I gave up a wrap around porch, a covered back sitting area, a deck, brick all the way to the top in the back, hardwood on the 2nd floor, reverse floor plan, tiled shower and tub, crowne molding wainscoting, chair rails, colored walls, and a level lot all because they did not offer these things. I also gave up data ports in the office, an intercom system, and more through house speakers, because it was too costly. There's more but I can't think of them now. But like I said, I really do like my house.