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Subject:  Re: Open question: What to put into a new house? Date:  3/8/2004  5:49 PM
Author:  MurrayS Number:  47407 of 137208

I'm kind of late to the game, but here's a few suggestions that I'm surprised weren't already mentioned:

* A layer of Styrofoam insulation under the cement foundation (standard with radiant heat, but useful if you finish the basement).

* Ok, radiant heat was mentioned, but I wish we had it.

* Someone mentioned a humidifier. Actually, you will probably find you need to dehumidify the house simply from showers, cooking, breathing, etc. A central dehumidifier is especially important in the basement where the AC isn't required.

* Related to the previous, a heat exchanger to bring in fresh air since modern houses are well sealed. This will help control the humidity in the winter when a dehumidifier doesn't work as well.

* Green, energy saving stuff was mentioned, but there are many green, energy saving techniques that shouldn't cost much extra like properly sealing the vapor barrier, caulking outlets, etc. Quiz your builder and Google the web.

* If you get a fireplace, make sure it is properly sealed and insulated. Our fireplace leaks cold air like an open window and has been covered up for the last 3 years.

* COLOR. Paint the walls to add color and character. Pay someone to help select colors if you need it; a few hundred dollars in paint and advice goes a long ways to making the house look better. You can also save a lot of money by painting the walls your self. Paint goes on really quickly when you don't have to worry about trim or spills.

* Nine foot ceilings in the basement so you have enough room to put in a drop ceiling. This keeps your options open for all of the wiring stuff mentioned.

* Don't finish the basement until you've lived there a couple years so you better understand your requirements (ours changed significantly as did our available funds). OTOH, it's probably cheaper to do it at the same time as the rest of the house.

* DO NOT put recessed lights in the top floor (into attic). These are a major source for air leaks.

* Go to some parade of homes or similar house shows. Take along a digital camera to record ideas.

* A good architect should cost less than the realtor...which one do you think adds more value?

And my personal favorite, a home theater prewired for 7.1 surround sound. It sounds expensive, but it can be done for the cost of a nice fireplace installation (see my comments above for my opinion of fireplaces).

Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.


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