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Subject:  Re: Open question: What to put into a new house? Date:  3/2/2004  7:07 AM
Author:  CAPThomas Number:  47027 of 137320

I had a custom home built about five years ago. Most of the ideas listed in this thread are things we either did, or wished we had done.

One big item that we missed, and now really wish we had, is outside access to the basement. In the last few years builders in our area have started offering casement style windows that open into a large graded or stepped window well. These provide light and air for a basement room, as well as emergency access.

Also, we did provide for a straight in entry to the basement from the garage via a second door. I got tired of having to wrestle 8' lengths of wood around bends t the basement in my former house. You enter from the garage into a short alcove, and then straight down overwidth stairs to the basement. From inside the house, you enter the basement from a door on the side of the same alcove.

After our house was built, we had the window in the kitchen ripped out and a larger one installed. The opening looked ok when it was just a cut in the framed wall, but once the actual window got in it just didn't provide enough light and view of the outside when in the kitchen.

When prioritizing upgrades for a new home, I would concentrate on the things that either could not be done a year after you were in the house, or would be very expensive to do afterwards. This means basic room layout, HVAC, concrete floors / walls, etc. Much of this thread deals with wiring, which while interesting, can generally be added without a lot of extra cost, versus the cost of adding a split bathroom, increasing the height of the basement, or having the garage doors face west instead of north.

The one other thing I would suggest is DON'T make changes in the design during the construction process. Even if your contractor does the changes at cost (and that is very rare), or you are building it yourself, there is still a tremendous cost in added time to get the plans modified, communicate it to all the involved trades, obtain any added / different materials, and change the construction schedule.

Also, if you are having this build, check progress daily. Remember, builders think your detailed plans are only suggestions.
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