It’s been a year since we moved into our new home and we love it! It may still be mostly empty and in need of some serious decoration, but I’m hoping to get to that more this year. It took us a year full of agonizing over decisions and determining what we wanted, needed, and could live without. There are so many choices to be made when you build a home, so I thought I would share some of the decisions I made, that I wish I hadn’t, to hopefully help someone else with their new construction choices.
New Construction Mistakes & Regrets
This Foyer Light
I found this Hundi Lantern at Pottery Barn and loved it, it is beautiful. I thought oh, it will be perfect in the foyer. Our foyer is two-story and I have no idea how I was planning to clean this light. It only took me about a week to realize this light was a big mistake. I mean, like duh. You cannot, not even with an extendable cleaning device, clean this light. It’s currently dusty, has a few dead bugs in the bottom and makes me angry every time I look at it. FAIL. If I’m being honest, I kind of regret the two story foyer in general. I plan to just replace the light, with an open lantern or chandelier instead; something I can just shake an extendable duster at.
Oh how I agonized over our kitchen backsplash. We built our home on a cost plus model, so every decision we made, big or small, mattered to the budget. From the very beginning I wanted a small marble herringbone backsplash. However, I also wanted to finish the bonus room and put recessed lighting throughout the house. So, I had to cut a little bit other places to make all of that happen. When we went to choose tile, that lovely little marble backsplash I wanted, wasn’t in our budget so I had to improvise. I chose a simple white subway tile and asked them to lay it in a herringbone pattern. I went back and forth on gray grout and white grout. I picked white grout because in the store under the light, the tile and grout matched perfectly and I thought it would make the backsplash interesting without being too busy. Oh my gracious I was wrong. What I pictured in my mind and what was actually executed were two different things. The tile I chose was too short to give me the herringbone look I wanted. It’s still herringbone, but I was picturing the look that longer tile gives. The white grout only matches the tile under the under cabinet lighting (or in bright sunlight like in the picture). In the daylight, the grout looks yellow compared to the tile. I regret my backsplash decision. So, one day, I will redo this backsplash, but until then, I’ll live with it! Although it isn’t what I pictured, it’s still pretty overall. In hindsight, I wish I had gone with a classic subway pattern with light gray grout or just sprung a little extra for the backsplash I truly wanted.
Let me start by saying, I love the color of our paint. It is Sherwin Williams On The Rocks and is the prettiest light grey. However, I chose the wrong sheen. When we built our first home I knew good and well I didn’t like matte paint. It is awful. Especially builder grade matte paint. I specifically told the builder how much I hated matte paint and somehow he convinced me to go against all better judgement and pick matte paint. I’m easily persuaded sometimes. He claimed with my kids I would want the matte paint because I could touch it up easier than if I had a sheen to my paint. He was wrong, in the case of my paint. While I love the color of our paint, you can barely breath on it without making a mark. Which means you cant wipe it clean either. You can imagine with two active boys, our walls have already taken a beating. Also, that touch up theory the builder had, nope, doesn’t work. The builder recently came back and fixed a few settlement cracks and touch up painted, you can tell. I will eventually need to repaint the entire house, which isn’t going to be an easy task or an inexpensive one. I’ll go back to my initial theory that matte paint is the devil.
Gel Stain/Fiberglass Door
I don’t know if this is painter error or the materials chosen. All I know is our front door did not turn out the way I pictured it. Our front door was one of those dream items for me. I really really wanted a wooden front door in the same style, but it was twice the price, so I settled for a fiberglass door. I was told by the builder supply that it would stain like wood and would look realistic, he even showed me examples. I then proceeded to seek out more examples of stained fiberglass doors by stalking other people’s homes to see if it was going to be legit. I finally decided it would be fine. When it came time to stain the door, the painter told me to pick a gel stain and I tried my hardest to research the colors to guess what the final product would look like. I don’t know if it was the color I chose or if the painter just put way too much on the door, but the door ended up just looking like a brown door. I was disappointed and after talking with the painter, the process to take the color off of the door was going to be difficult and he wasn’t sure if it would even all come off. So we left it.
I’m pretty sure the lesson learned from the door and something to pass on to someone else building a new home is; show people pictures of what you want. I should have showed the painter what I had in mind. Or in hindsight I wish I had just ordered the door that comes from the factory finished, so I would know exactly what it would look like or just put a little extra into the wooden door I truly wanted. The door is still beautiful, just not what I had in mind.
New Construction Lessons Learned
With every new experience comes lessons learned. This was our first time building a fully custom home and we chose everything down to the doors and door knobs. Although there were a few choices that we regret, our love list is wayyy longer and we are totally thrilled with our new house. I’ll share in another post our choices that were spot on!
Do you have any home building regrets?