Saturday, February 8, 2014

Likes & Dislikes, Wishes & Future Projects

We have been in the house for about 9 months already and we've noticed things we really like and things we could change. I probably have more dislikes listed here than likes, but it's minor things. We will most likely change them on our own in time. I'm just being nit-picky. Don't get me wrong though, we love our house and are very happy. I also have some things that I wish we would've done when building.


1. We are really happy with the lot we chose. We enjoy not having any houses behind us and the fact that there is always going to be 5 acres of common space behind us- no houses to be built in the future. We have some pretty cool views too and that is always a nice surprise when you look from the morning room windows! Eventually we will get a deck and that will be nice to sit outside and watch the sunset. 

2. We love our neighbors. We have gotten close with 2 of them and we have tons of fun doing things together! We haven't met some of our neighbors, but the others ones that we have introduced ourselves to seem pretty nice. 

3. We are happy with the open floor plan and we are so glad we purchased the peninsula island. We eat dinner there almost every night. It has become the catch all counter lately, but I am hoping to set up some sort of organization spot for all of the mail and stuff. 

4. The size of the kitchen is great and I enjoy having a walk-in pantry. 

5. I love the light in the master shower. It makes taking a shower much nicer, because you can actually see and it's not dark and dreary in there.

6. Although we don't use the morning room a lot, it is nice to have and makes a big difference with space. That was a must have when we saw it in the model home. 

7. Of course the master closet is nice! So much room. 


1. I really don't like my laundry room. I hate having to pass it to get to and from the garage. It's in the way when I bring groceries in, it isn't really a laundry room to hang clothes, keep baskets, etc. I really wish I had a separate room and it'd be even better if it was upstairs. I could have gotten that with the Venice model, which sometimes I wish we did. A thinks it's fine, but he doesn't do as much laundry as me :) 

2. Our microwave is always freezing inside. And when it rains or is windy that's all you hear. It sounds like it is raining inside of the microwave. I'm going to request something gets done, because it just doesn't seem normal to me. 

3. Our carpet sucks. We did not upgrade, however the carpet we have doesn't seem to have even held up to normal wear and tear…. and it has not even been a year yet! There are spots that are so flat, it looks like 10 year old carpet. It's not fluffy anymore. We take our shoes off always and vacuum every two days to keep it looking nice. I'm highly disappointed with the quality. I'm hoping there is something they can do about that. Wishful thinking.

4. I don't like the noise from the shower upstairs, when you are sitting downstairs. The water sounds like it's in the next room over. That's normal in most houses unless you live in a mansion. A nit-pick, but something that I just don't like. 

5. Why is there one floor vent in the master bedroom and 2 in the morning room!?!?!? Our room is never the same temperature as the rest of the house. It's either too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter. I would think there would be 2 in the master since it's a much larger room and 1 in the morning room since it's not near as big. 

6. And the vent in the master closet….Why is it behind the door? If you keep the door open, the vent is blocked. If you close the door then you're heating/cooling your small closet space. Is that really efficient?

7. I wish we had a porch out front to sit on. That little stoop isn't made for more than two people to sit on. It would be nice to relax on a patio set in the spring and summer. Oh well. 

8. I don't like having only one outlet in the master bathroom. I can't even plug an air freshener in, since I need the two outlets for getting ready in the morning. I don't want to keep plugging and un-plugging things each day to switch out a hair dryer and an air freshener. 

9. Our yard is like a rock garden. I picked up a lot of rocks in a matter of minutes. They said they would pick all of them out at grading, but obviously not. Again, this is usually normal in most houses unless you purchase some premium soil or what not.

10. I can't seem to find a place for the trash can that is hidden. I suppose I could use the pantry, but I'm not sure if I want smelly trash in the same area as my good food. Right now it's just in the kitchen along the wall, but it just doesn't look very pretty.

11. I really think the cabinets above the refrigerator are useless. They're far back and I should have asked to have them flush with the refrigerator. In order to get anything in those cabinets you need a step stool and have to reach way over the fridge. Just seems more of a pain than what it's worth.

12. I really dislike those wire shelves that are in the closets and pantry. I know they're standard, but they're a pain. I did see on Pinterest where someone put those peel and stick tiles over the shelves and it helped with the wiring so things wouldn't fall through. I may try that to make it more of a full shelf than a wire shelf.

13. I don't like the placement of the towel bar and toilet paper holder in the master. The towel bar is right above the TP holder, so when you hang a towel, it hangs right over the TP, blocking it and getting the paper damp.

I Wish...

1. I wish I would have gotten the rough-ins for lights. We are going to pay a lot of money to have some do hardwiring now so we can hang up some lights in the rooms.

2. I really wish we would've chosen to purchase a fireplace. It would be so nice in the winter, make the living room cozier and just a nice focal point.

3. I wish we would have chosen to put some exterior flood lights on the back of the house. It would just brighten the back yard up a bit at night.

4. I wish we would have purchased the two extra windows on the side in the morning room. We don't like that we can't look out to that side of our yard. 

5. I wish I would've asked to have the doorbell chime and thermostat placed in a different area. They're both on on wall and in a random spot that it just looks weird. I'm not sure if they could have done it or not, but it would be nice to have them sort of out of plain view. 

Future Projects

We have a lot of projects that we would like to do. We just need to hit the lottery, LOL :) Until then we'll just keep saving money and completing one thing at a time. 

1. Can't wait to paint! That is going to be first on the list. Only a few more months and goodbye white walls!

2. We want to build a deck.

3. We'd like to put hardwood floor throughout areas of the house and tile in the kitchen.

4. We'd also like to replace the carpet in the living room with a more fluffy carpet. 

5. Replace the standard lighting fixtures.

6. Landscaping in the spring.

7. Put a backsplash in the kitchen.

8. Finish the basement.

9. Put the epoxy kit we purchased last year on the garage floor.

10. Possibly put knobs on the cabinets. We haven't made a firm decision on that yet. 

11. Hang the TV's on the wall in the living room & master bedroom.

12. Create a space in the mudroom for coats/shoes/calendar, etc.

13. Replace or frame the mirror in the master bathroom. I've seen a few things on Pinterest- a simple wood frame makes the construction grade mirror look so much better. 


  1. Hey there! I'm just starting to blog about our building process. Your lot is BEAUTIFUL! We are really happy with our lot too because we won't have a house behind us at any point either, but we certainly won't see a sunset like yours! That's a great suggestion about the shelving in the pantry. As far as the master closet I hope to rip out those shelves and put a closet system so I can push through my clothes to look at them. Little things like that will really make everyday life a little easier! Glad to hear you're mostly loving your home.

    1. I added you to my blog list and I look forward to reading about your building process! Hopefully my blog will help you here and there.

  2. Gorgeous view!!

    I also dislike the mudroom/laundry room in the Florence! I almost wish we'd done a non-standard request to have the laundry room in the basement so we could have a true mudroom and a true laundry room.

    In the winter we always have our master bedroom vent closed because it gets too warm, but a second vent would be nice in the summer. My only guess about two vents in the morning room is that the windows would cause too much temperature fluctuation without the two vents.

    When I first found out that our microwave didn't vent to the outside I was a little upset about it, but after hearing all of the trouble people are having with the outside vent I'm kind of glad ours just vents straight up the cabinets instead. I hope they can do something to fix yours!

    The yard is a major source of frustration for me. I expected a yard and I was given a gravel lot with patches of grass. We complained and complained, but it didn't really get us anywhere. We've spent hours picking up rocks in the yard. So frustrating! And just wait until you try to do anything like plant flowers... we hit rock every time we stick anything in the ground. At our one year inspection, the service manager mentioned that we can get a one time load of top soil so I think we are going to take them up on that offer in the spring.

    They installed our TP holder on the side of our vanity instead of on the wall under the towel bar in our master bathroom. You could always move yours and patch up the screw holes in the wall.

    It sounds like you've got a good list of projects. Our list is very similar. I really wish we had the funding to do it all now, but spacing it out a bit will have to do. =)

    1. Yup, that's our major roadblock for now: money to do it all! But it will be fun doing a little here and there; it will keep us busy with different projects to do :)

    2. My Wife and I just moved into our Florence and are having the most difficult time with the laundry room finding machines that fit. How did you setup you laundry room, stacked machines or side by side, and what machines did you get to fit in the space.

    3. My Wife and I just moved into our Florence and are having the most difficult time with the laundry room finding machines that fit. How did you setup you laundry room, stacked machines or side by side, and what machines did you get to fit in the space.

    4. We actually had our washer and dryer before we moved in and luckily it fit. We have front loaders by GE. We have them next to one another and it fit with only a few inches to spare.

  3. Absolutely beautiful view! I have a few wishes and things like that, though when it comes down to it (aka, money) most of my wishes would not have been done anyway! Always nice to have plans and it sounds like you are happy overall!

  4. I'm jealous of your lot! We love ours in that we have a backyard that borders the retention pond (we call it our "lake") but we have a shared driveway, which has it's ups a downs. Nice in that we only have to snow blow every other time it snows... but frustrating in the fact that we always seem to have tire marks in our yard!

    If it makes you feel any beter, we upgraded both our carpet and padding and we're still disappointed. The basement and upstairs are supposed to be the same carpet/padding in just different colors, but the basement feels so much nicer than the upstairs for some reason. Perhaps just more/faster wear and tear since we haven't really used our basement yet?

    Assuming you have pull out drawers in your kitchen, you might be able to repuporpose one of them for your trash can. We took the middle shelf out of one next to the sink and put our trash can on the bottom so it's hidden away. You lose a little bit of cabinet space, but nice to have it out of sight.

    As for your fireplace, we elected to get one in stone and while it's nice to have on when we have guests over, we've been really disappointed in how cold it gets when it isn't on (presumably because these are "direct vent" and have no way to cut off the outside air).

    We set our thermostat at 73 and put a digital thermometer on the hearth and it read as low as 57. Definitely not good for efficiently heating the house!

    Other than that... your future projects list seems very similar to ours: get rid of that flat paint (terrible in the kitchen!), some sort of outdoor patio area, landscaping and backsplash. We also have considered the epoxy in the garage but I haven't yet decided whether it is worth the cost. We purchased new mirrors for the guest bath and powder room from Kirklands (great selection if you have them nearby) but haven't yet upgraded our master bath. This route ended up being even cheaper than those online kits (only $30-50!) and I think they look nicer because they're actual mirrors, not modifications to the builder plates.

    1. I'm not sure what it is with the carpet. Maybe it's still "builder grade" even when you actually upgrade. We did not finish our basement, so I don't have that to compare to our upstairs. I think you're accurate in saying there hasn't been much traffic on the carpet and that's why it's nicer. I guess this carpet just doesn't hold up well.

      We do have pull out drawers in the kitchen and I like your idea of hiding the can that way. It will be something we definitely look into.

      Wow, 57 degrees on the hearth!? Sounds about like our microwave. I guess it's the outside venting that lets a lot of cold air in.

      We have a Kirklands Outlet about an hour away in Lancaster, PA. After thinking about it, I think replacing the mirror rather than trying to fix it up would make more sense. I will check that route out first! Thanks for the tip :)

  5. Oh I too could go on and on!
    Our carpet sucks also, and has not worn very well. We did upgrade two rooms and I love that carpeting but the rest............not so good :)

    Your trash can, look into Rev A Shelf and convert one of your cabinets into a trash can.

    I wish I had a mud room, you would miss it if you didnt have it.

    Light rough ins, yup we all think, well we can do it after, and we CAN but it costs money, but it's not in our mortgage right? Some things had to give!

    Fireplace I am on the fence about, I love ours, but it makes our living space smaller and I wonder it we didnt have it, would give me more options in that room.

    I agree about the shelves!

    We ALL love your lot, oh my goodness. Be grateful, my neighbors are in our laps, literally!! We should have thought that one through. I really like our neighbors, which helps a lot :)

    I also upgraded our MB mirror, I bought a fancy one at Home Goods cheap and what a diff it makes.

    We LOVE our morning room, but spend very little time in it, I just dust it...LOL

    Overall I love our home, are there things we would change,,,,,yup!!! But who wouldnt!

    1. We sort of have a mud room, but it is a shared mud/laundry room. I wish I had a large designated mud room only and the laundry in another separate room. But, we have a small space for shoes and coats, so I guess I'll use some Pinterest ideas and try to "fancy" up what we have.

      You are SO right, we kept saying well we don't want that in our mortgage so we'll just do it afterwards. If I had chosen to add all of the things I wanted, I would probably be paying $500 more per month just for the options. So, like you said, some things just had to give.

      While we have some space behind us, we don't have much space between the houses next door. But like you, we love our neighbors so it makes things nice !

      I am thinking instead of trying to upgrade the mirror by getting crafty, I'm just going to buy one and replace it. Makes it much easier and saves the hassle of all that DIY work :)

    2. I say forget trying to be "crafty" and go buy the mirror!! I tried to fancy mine up and the cost would have been more than the mirror.

  6. I put my trash under the peninsula island and it's the perfect spot, but we only have 2 chairs there at the bar!

  7. I LOVE your lot! We will have I put my trash under the kitchen sink. We have a stop on can thats big enough to hold about 2 days worth of trash and the lid keeps the smell out. I also use my "food disposal" for all food waste except oils and grease and throw in lemon zest at last to keep it smelling great. That food disposal can even take small bones, but I've never thrown bones in there.

    You are right about light ruff-ins. We almost didn't do it but came to our sensors just on time to pay the electrician separately to get it done before the drywall goes up. Our PM was great at accommodating those requests.

    Get you microwave vent checked. We had the wind from outside blowing in to the microwave (making big poping sounds to the door) so I had it checked. The repair person told me that they did some open vent microwaves in many homes and had to replace most of them. He did something to ours and it's fixed now.

    I would have the master bedroom vents checked too. If it's colder than the rest of the house they probably missed a vent.

    I laid out some vinyl lining from iKEA on the shelves and they are a great temporary fix until better shelves can be installed. have some great frames for existing bathroom mirrors and you can even get free samples before you buy.

  8. Just to echo what I'm sure you've heard a lot already, we have the exact same problem with our microwave. We submitted a work request for it, and the service manager says it's pretty common, but our case is exacerbated by the vent being on the west of the house (where most of the wind comes from). We also don't have any neighbors to the west of us yet, just a bunch of big empty lots, so we get a ton of wind. They came out and put some insulation inside the vent, added some weather stripping to create a better seal, and put some fancy Styrofoam on the vent door itself to try and help. It did make a difference on days where it wasn't windy, but didn't do much good when the wind was blowing.

  9. We experience many of the same issues or dislikes. We can hear every flush or shower from the 2nd bathroom in the living room. We asked for the cabinets above the fridge to be brought out but they refused. We also asked for the toilet paper holder to not be installed but they refused that too.

    We went back and forth on the fireplace and hated the huge cost. What swayed us in the end was a good Realtor who said not having one would put off some buyers if we ever sold the place. It is like the bath tub, totally useless but necessary.

    Unless you upgrade to a very expensive carpet, then it will not make much difference. The low end carpets that are used are awful. We really noticed how bad they were when we put together beds in the kids room and was not able to kneel on the carpet with bare skin. It was sooo rough.

    Our yard was a big disappointment. They buried the roots of the old trees and put sod directly on top of dead lifeless clay with rocks everywhere. They said it was prime dirt!. The sod was not laid properly so when it contracted, it left huge gaps between each row.

  10. We are half way through building our florence. What height stools do you have for your peninsula island? Counter Height 25"? or Bar Height?