I am a mom of 4 so far. We are getting ready to build and was wondering if you had any advice for a growing family? I know big everything and more cabinets. But is there something you really wish you had?
That’s a recent question from the older post Four Moms Open House!
As I said in another more recent post, I wish I had given the girls essentially a dorm room instead of private bedrooms.
We have several places where we put outlets midway up the wall instead of down near the floor. I *love* this.
We have a bathroom in our large laundry room, which also has an outside door. I really appreciate this. It’s great to funnel all the comings and goings through one doorway. In the spring and summer, this keeps the mud tracked in the house at a minimum.
In the winter it doubles as an arctic entrance, so all the heat doesn’t leave the living room every time somebody goes in or out. I wish we had made the coat closet deeper and longer.
I wish all of our closets were deeper, but you should understand that for some reason, our builder barely made them as deep as the width of a single coat hanger- and, in fact, in the coat closet in the living room, he didn’t even give us that much space, hence, the removal of the door altogether.
In the kitchen- I like my island, and I like having electrical outlets at the island. I like my super hot water dispenser. I love my magnetic knife strip for hanging knives out where I can see them but up high out of reach of grandbabies, and not in drawers where rummaging is a health hazard or in a knife block which takes up counter space.
I like my cork floors, although aesthetically, they aren’t holding up well. I did not stand my ground on giving them a good coat of some sort of laminate, and I wish I had stood my ground and insisted on two or three coats. Neither the builder nor my husband thought it was a good idea, but I disagreed, and now I disagree even more strongly. The floors are holding up best in the kitchen and dining room for two reasons- we bought the lowest end for the rest of the house because it is so big. I bought a higher grade for those two rooms. And we keep the dogs out of the kitchen. We also went with tile entry ways in every outside doorway- and for the entire laundry room.
I let a salesperson talk me out of the metal sink I wanted, and the finish on ours was ruined and ugly within the first month that we moved in. It’s important to remember this when choosing things for your kitchen- kitchens and their fixtures are designed by and for people who do not actually use them, and they are sold by people who get their information about kitchens from the promotional material from those companies. They will think you are stupid and that they know better than you. Thinly veiled contempt is apparently an effective sales technique that is calculated to make you second guess yourself. Before you let a salesperson talk you out of a feature you want, ask him how many kids he has and how much cooking (or laundry, or hospitality) he does himself, personally. Ask the size of his largest cooking pot, and ask him how much oatmeal he buys in a month.
I let my salesperson talk me out of my metal sink because out of all the other salespeople I talked to, she was the only one who didn’t argue with me about the depth of my sink. The others wanted to sell me a sink that was a ridiculous 9 inches deep, at best. And when I said that would never work, I received pitying smiles and was told that ‘studies show women only fill the sinks to 9 inches anyway, so you don’t need a deep sink.’ I tried pointing out that if you fill the sink to nine inches, then obviously, you need a sink at least 11 inches deep to keep the water from spilling out onto the floor when you put dishes in that water, but they just looked at me like I was a backwards child. I also pointed out that studies show most women do not cook in five gallon pots, but I did, and I needed to wash those pots, and I think they just didn’t believe me.
I found that there were many areas where quite often people with no idea about our lives and lifestyle wanted to tell us we had no idea how we really lived. Just about everybody in the area kept telling us we didn’t need a house this big because the kids would be gone as soon as they were 18- not true. And anyway, I still needed room for my ridiculous number of books and bookcases.
One builder we considered kept telling us we needed either a family room OR a living room, not both, that ‘studies showed’ we’d only use one of those rooms, not both. We told him that we were pretty sure those studies were not done on people who had gatherings of fifty once a month, or who might have a dozen different overnight guests in any given month, and he’d quietly erase it from our plans anyway, and I’d put it back in. Others tried to talk us out of a separate dining room. Even the builder we went with wanted us to leave off the wall between the dining room and kitchen- making it all just one giant room. He kept thinking he’d talked us into it and I’d have to keep telling him no, put the wall up. I need to be able to keep the Cherub out of the kitchen, though, and I dislike eating in the midst of dirty dishes, and my kitchen is always looking like a land mine exploded in a bag of flour by the time we finish cooking a meal.
I love my pantry, although I do wish the sliding doors with magnetic whiteboard surfaces were actually on the pantry instead of taking up space in the garage. I measured to make sure the pantry was deep enough, and the space below the lowest shelf high enough to accommodate my five gallon buckets.of grain.
We still have five children at home. By the time we get down to three, I probably will not need all this space, in which case, maybe we will remove the shelves and turn this into a coat closet, or push a small table against the wall and have a breakfast nook (a very nooky nook), or find an old church pew to slide in for guests to have a comfortable seat.
You can look at other pictures of the dining room and kitchen here, and I talked a bit about what I did and didn’t like there as well.
One idea I liked but didn’t go with because of the expense, is a wall mounted toilet. This would make clean up so much easier. I wish I’d cut back on the number of bathrooms and done wall mounted toilets instead.
What about you? If you were building your house today, what features would you want?