About 5 years ago, I think on this group I read a fascinating, lengthy
thread on what different people would tell to someone planning to plan
and build their own house, basically it was:
What things would you add to a house if you were building it? Things
you normally wouldn't think of. I am talking small, clever things
that don't cost a lot(who doesn't want a 4 car garage, and a 3rd
bathroom), but add greatly to the functionality of the home.
Has anyone seen that list? I'd love to see it again. It was full of
One thing I would add to the list, outlets built into the eves so I
can easily plug in Christmas lights.
I definately would not build a house without some sort of charging
station in the kitchen. Maybe a couple shelves built into the wall
with power outlets, so you can plug in your cell phones right there.
It would have to have lots of outlets available, as we have so many
things that need charging now days, it would be nice to have one
central area that would be easy to use.
I prefer to unplug things when not in use, but a switch on the charging
station bank would be ok & I wouldn't have to unplug.
1. I don't know if it's legal but I've often wondered about using the
upstairs shower's waste water for flushing the downstairs toilet. It would
help cut down on water waste.
2. If you don't have carpet everywhere, a real janitor's mop bucket and mop
are much superior to any "household" mop. But it's a real pain to lift the
bucket & dump it in a sink. So I'd have a floor-level drain, probably
something with a concrete lip around it. The water heater would be on an
"island" in the floor level sink.
3. The water valves for the clothes washer located where someone 5' 2" can
easily reach them.
4. I had to rent a snake a couple weeks ago to clear a kitchen drain. It
was hard to get the snake around the right-angle first corner and the 1.5"
(?) pipe is pretty small. I'd like to have easy snake access ports and 2"
or larger drains.
5. Two sinks in the kitchen, not next to each other. One for washing
dishes and the other for food prep.
6. Design for easy handicap access.
7. Kitchen on the north side of the house (in the northern hemisphere). My
wife likes light but hates the direct sunlight glaring in.
A washer shut-off valve set is made with an electronic remote. It can
be wired on the wall next to the washer, but behind it. It also can be set
to turn off after a set time, like an hour, so you can't forget to turn it
This will be highest on my wish list. I just reached senior status,
am ablebodied and independent for now. Figure I will be good for
another 20 years. I live alone and will like to remain independent as
long as possible.
If ever I build another house it will have a larger bathroom (12' x
12" say) where a wheel chair can be maneuvered easily. The floor will
be tiled and have a floor drain that it can be mopped, washed or
hosed down easily should there be any spills or should I or an
elderly person be soiled in bed and need a thorough hosing down. In
place of a bathtub it will have a large shower stall that can
accommodate a wheelchair or whatever lifting patient device is in use.
A large shower stall can also be used to wash and hang up to dry large
sheets and articles.
The clothes and linen closet will be accessible from the bathroom or
the bedroom - it forms a partition between the two rooms.
Probably it will be a good idea to put a stacked clothes dryer-washer
combo in this washroom too. With a laundry tub next to it.
For the elderly or the disabled bathroom access is the most important
thing in the world and other needs will be quite minimal, just a bed
and a place to eat.
On wheelchair access the current fad for laminated wood flooring is
ideal and easy to keep clean.
I would also plumb the whole house for all the modern electronic
gizmos (phone, computer access, stereo cables) as well as for
compressed air. I love my pneumatic tools and I think I can invent or
put together air powered tools for domestic use when the time comes.
A Google Groups search of alt.home.repair turned up a few threads:
"New house wish list":
and "New Home Wish List Redux":
Have a security system installed while the walls are open. Put a 220v.
outlet outside where you might use a welder or plug in a motor home. Add a
sewer drain in that area. Install thermostatically controlled attic exhaust
fans if you live in a hot clime. Enclose soffits to keep birds and rodents
out. Build your entry so that you can have a security door enclose an
outside foyer. ( You can leave the front door open for ventilation, and not
have someone walk in.) Install a hose bib on each side of the house. Put
110 receptacles out in the yard to power weed wackers, radios, appliances
for entertaining, etc. Stub out power for future exterior lighting. Stub
out a gas line for a bbq or outdoor firepit, whether in the plans now or
Think ahead and stub out with expansion in mind. Digging and installing the
stuff later is a bear.
On 20 Jan 2004 06:44:11 -0800, firstname.lastname@example.org (Rotation
I'd also include:
-Large ducts in the floor for cables/pipework etc and to allow other
stuff to be added at a later date.
-Perhaps artificial ceilings like in offices that can be lifted from
below to allow the routing of cables?
-Built in cupboard with mains sockets, phone sockets etc that will
take router, server, aerial amp and any other bits of electrickery as
-Large loft with decent access.
-Large cellar with decent access.
-Gas, water and electric points in rear garden for BBQ's etc.
-Pit in garage floor for working on vehicles
-Sink/running water in garage. Maybe also a loo?!
-Workshop leading off garage.
-Garden irrigation system.
Laundry room upstairs next to bedrooms. Leave space for two dryers and
include counter space and cabinets.
Outdoor kitchen in yard for cookouts.
Pre wire every room for cable, two phone lines and computer network
Mudroom area near most used entrance with plenty of storage for coats,
boots, backpacks, etc.
On 20 Jan 2004 06:44:11 -0800, email@example.com (Rotation
Nearly every tip I have heard were in those two threads linked to by
the other guy. But i'll just reaffirm some points from personal
experience. Hmmm... most seem to be efficiency and money saving
ideas. I'm on an efficiency/thrifty kick right now.
- Insulate Insulate Insulate. Your largest monthly cost is probably
going to be your heating/cooling cost. Here in Southern ontario it
regularly gets below -20C in winter and above +30C in summer.
Building code is a rediculous R18 in the walls. I wish i'd know that
before building. Investigate environmentally friendly building
methods too. Straw bale insulation is around R40 and actually costs
less than stud/fiberglass construction.
- Laundry room near the bedroom. I didn't see the point and thought
it would just be a disturbance while trying to sleep. Now I see the
light. No more lugging laundry baskets up/down. And front loading
washers are so quiet you don't even know their running, not to mention
they're more efficient. One note, front loading washers have a wicked
fast spin cycle. If your laundry room is going to be upstairs,
consider putting in a few extra floor joists under it to help
accomodate the extra vibration.
- If you want to be energy efficient, plan to use compact flourescent
bulbs instead of incandescent ones in your ceiling fixtures. However,
CF bulbs reccomend that you don't use them in completely enclosed
fixtures. Therefore choose ceiling light fixtures that have airflow.
Something like the type where it's two bulbs horizontal against the
ceiling wiht a piece of frosted glass suspended bleow them to diffuse
the light. I don't like tubular flourescent light but i love the CF
- Rough in the central vaccum at build time if there's the possibility
you might eventually get one. MUCH cheaper this way.
- Extend your garage a couple feet in each direction. Even if you only
want a one car garage, that extra foot or two in width will just make
life so much easier.
This makes so much sense to me - you generate almost all your laundry
in the bedrooms and adjacent bathrooms.
I don't know if this will help or just aid in transmitting the vibration
to the rest of the storey. Better to put the washer and dryer on some
kind of vibration isolation widgets.
As well, there's no reason you can't design the laundry room to be more
soundproof. You'll have to accomodate the air wanted by the dryer and
Unfortunately, around here you can NOT "stub-out" extra "future" gas lines,
connections, capped off T's, valves, etc.
Possible way around is simply a legal gas line with no actual connection to the
live gas main pipe, near a convenient threaded fitting, capped at both ends.
(It's not a pipe for anything)
More and more homes are designed with the laundry "closet" near the bedrooms.
Excellent idea, but how about this:
We love closets. But do we need hallways to be loaded with so many breaks in
the walls? Tiny closet here, tiny closet there?
I''d rather have a larger or walk-in closet in each bedroom and forgoe the
stupid "linen" closet in the hall. Each bedroom's linens can be stored in it's
own oversize closet, and that frees up wall space in hallways for family
photos, antique mirrors, and other nicer things. Bathroom towels can go in
their own bathroom closet, rack, or cabinet.
I'm behind you 100% on the garage sink, toilet and SHOWER. The shower can be a
large corner, waterproof, where large things can be hosed down as well.
Definately design and wire for use of CF bulbs. That means fewer dimmers though
too. but at 13-26 watts a pop, a LOT of lighting can be run from a generator,
so a couple of generator circuits consisting of at least 1 ceiling light in
every room, front door, garage near panel, attic, hall, stairs, geez a
generator with a 15amp- 220 volt output can run 120 compact flourescent bulbs!
(the 26 watt /100 watt incandescent equiv.)
On Wed, 21 Jan 2004 03:41:13 GMT, "Michael Daly"
|On 20-Jan-2004, firstname.lastname@example.org (HA HA Budys Here) wrote:
|> Definately design and wire for use of CF bulbs. That means fewer dimmers
|There are dimmable CFLs on the market now.
Stay tuned, low-cost LEDs are just around the corner and will probably obsolete
CFs and incandescents both.
Rex in Fort Worth
Others have suggested pre wiring areas of the home.
Rather than pre wire, I've made sure I can easily get
whatever comes along in the future to any spot in the
People are pulling Cat 5 or 6 into junior rug rat's
room. May well be obsolete long before the little
&^%$# gets around to using it.
Don't pre wire. Pre pipe or make sure the ceiling
below will always be open.
Sooner or later something is going to come along
to replace fiber optics. Cat 5 will be land fill.
Don't limit your thinking to networks. I said
"whatever" comes along in the future.
In an earlier post someone mentioned pneumatic tubing.
If that's what I want to put in, that's what I'll be
able to put in. I'm doing things today that bordered
on science fiction when I started working 35 + years
- If you don't want to plumb for a full-blown water recirculation
system ( to ensure instant hot water at spigots ), consider using
something like the Auto-Circ pump. It installs under a sink (
preferably at the end of a plumbing run ) and plugs in to an outlet
also under the sink.
- If you will have trees, try to design your roof so that the gutters
have as few right angles as possible. Even with Gutter Helmet and the
like, I suspect that if you have a lot of trees you will still get
leaf build up ( perhaps not in the gutter ) on the roof due to
leaves/pine needles/etc backing up in the corners.
- "Christmas circuit" ( or at least conveniently placed outlets for
Christmas decorations ). These can include, but are not limited to,
plenty of outdoor outlets, outlets in the eaves for roofline/gutter
lighting, outlets under windows ( indoors ) for those candle lights,
outlets up in any nooks or shelves where you might consider putting a
small tree or Christmas lights.
- If you think you might build an outbuilding in the future, run some
conduit to that location to make it easier to pull wire for power to
- "Ufer" ground. I don't how common this is, but from what I
understand ( I am far from an expert ), this can provide superior
grounding for your electrical system than ground rods. At its most
basic level, the rebar in the slab/foundation is tied into the
grounding system. You can probably find out more by searching this
group for "Ufer".
- Quiet bathroom fans. Panasonic makes a very quiet one. Remote
mounted fans ( such as Fantech ) are also a good choice.
- Radiant heating under tile in bathroom, especially if over an
unheated space on directly on slab. This heating does not necessarily
have to provide all heat for the bathroom, but it is nice for taking
the coldness out of the floor. Electrical products are available.
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