There are many house building mistakes you can make, especially when you design your own house. Design mistakes are common which is why blueprints are so important when building a house. It's your opportunity to see how all the pieces fit together. These plans enable you to identify and fix problems more cheaply than moving walls after the house is built.
It's my hope that by sharing my story, I can help others avoid some of the house building mistakes I made.
Builders Won't Make House Building Mistakes
My husband’s family owned a modular home construction company, so it was always the plan that we would build a house. It was just a matter of time and finding the land. When the time came, I created the floor plan.
Okay, full disclosure. I sketched out the design for our house on a piece of 8.5 x 11 paper.
The design department at the construction company converted my scribbles into usable blueprints. After 11 years in the house, I am still very happy with the overall design. Mistakes were made though, so here are the things I would do differently if I were to design another house.
Design Mistake #1: Floor Plan Mistakes
Like most American families, we use the side door near the garage, most of the time. The door opens into a tiled space and a mudroom. The theory was that we’d come into the house and go into the mudroom to shake off muddy shoes and wet gear.
Somewhere you don't even know where house building mistakes happen. My original plan got changed and the half bath next to the mudroom had to be extended to accommodate the washer and dryer. This moved the door to the mudroom about 18 inches to the right. Now, when you come in the door, instead of a doorway inviting you into the mudroom, your path is partially blocked by a wall. Visually it’s easier to walk into the kitchen.
So now instead of everyone leaving their outdoor gear in the mudroom, it gets dumped on the kitchen island (get tips on conquering clutter at home).
Design Mistake #2: Inadequate Kitchen Lighting
I love my kitchen. There are miles of counter space and lots of cabinets. Other than the oversized island being a clutter collector, it’s perfect – well almost.
There are gaps in the kitchen lighting. We were shown the plans with the lighting design. Unfortunately my non-spatial brain didn’t make the connection between the end of the recessed lighting and the pendant light fixture over the table. If I’d been paying closer attention to the drawings, I would have realized that there needed to be at least 2, and probably 4 more recessed lights installed to provide adequate lighting throughout the kitchen.
Design Mistake #3: Electrical Placement
I didn’t pay enough attention to the minute details of the floor plans. Rooms were where I wanted them, windows were in the right place. We requested lots of electrical outlets and dimmers on many of the light switches. I thought we were good.
I love the look of candles in the windows at Christmastime. I wish I had ensured there was an outlet under each of the windows on the front of the house. Despite having an abundance of outlets, it is still necessary to utilize extension cords for many of the candles.
In our bedroom, the switch plate that houses the light switch and the controller for the ceiling fan is BEHIND the door. Can you say awkward?
None of these design issues are insurmountable. We’re definitely here for the long term. Eventually we want to add a garage. When we do, we will be modifying the mudroom space and can address the door alignment issue. I suspect we will eventually want to update the kitchen and we can address the lighting at that time. The outlets and the light switch issue are harder to fix, but in the overall scheme of things, they are minor inconveniences.
What design mistakes would you change in your house?