There is a real benefit to doing the majority of the work yourself in your own home – it means you get to do things that are not necessarily standard that may just make your life better. I was in charge of the plan and I was also the electrician and the plumber, my husband helped, but it was entirely on me. He tackled the majority of the gutting of the home, siding the whole place and building the garage while I was running wire and water pipes! Of course we helped each other along the way but my being directly in charge of what happened and when (because I was doing it) meant I got to really think about things like outlet placement and where I would want lights meaning: I got to do some things in our home that I absolutely appreciate every day and here are my top ten!
#1 Let there be light!
I don’t know about you but I’ve taken many showers in the dark in my life. And it’s not like you need a TON of light for bathing but it sure is nice to have some! Because of this I put a light right in the center above every shower in our home. The lights are recessed and then covered with a wet-environment cover so it’s safe for the bulb. Love it!
#2 Annoying TP holder.
Well, as far as annoying TP holders go I think the ones with the spring action take the cake. This was actually a request made by my husband, “Can we NOT get the ones with two sides and a spring in the center thing? I hate them.” I told him I was already on it. Every bathroom in our home has the simple TP holder where the roll just slides on them.
#3 Not being able to find an outlet.
When our electrical inspector came into our home he brought a measuring tape with him to make sure that every room in our house had an outlet at least every 12 feet. After the first two rooms, he stopped bothering to check. I put probably way more outlets then the average home would ever need but, ya know what? I regret nothing, it is SO fabulous to always have an outlet when you need one.
#4 Outlets in the middle of windows.
Someone explain this to me please because it makes no sense. Why would anyone want an outlet in the middle of a room under a window? Generally that is literally the worst most inconvenient place to put one. Either there will never be a piece of furniture there (because it would then be in front of a window!) or there is a huge piece of furniture there (like a bed) making the outlet uber inconvenient to get to. The outlets in our house are all close to the corners.
#5 No storage in the bathrooms.
I’ve lived with medicine cabinets and the standard vanity you can buy at the big box stores and I can’t say I’ve ever been real pleased with the amount of storage, or the convenience of the storage, of either. (We all know the black hole under sink cabinets become over time.) Using dressers and buffets for our vanities in our house created SO much storage! Joe and I don’t compete for storage at all!
#6 Dark closets.
I know, this makes me extra special spoiled, but I ran all of the electrical in this home (with Joe’s help) and I did a couple of things just because I wanted them. One of those things was a light in EVERY single closet! We use them almost every day!
#7 Refrigerators with no elbow room.
I mentioned this in my design tips for our country kitchen but it is such a big deal to me I’m mentioning it again. I designed and built our entire kitchen and the very first thing I knew I would be doing was building a rolling pantry that fit between our refrigerator and the wall. The pantry is not as deep as the refrigerator so when it slides away it gives ample room for the refrigerator door to open in front of it. MEANING: the refrigerator doors open all of the way!
#8 Book storage in the kitchen.
Yeah, I know, you’ve already heard me talk about my kitchen island that I built out of an old radio stand but it is just SOOOOO cool to have cook book/recipe book storage directly in the kitchen where it belongs! My last house it felt like a mile walk to my book case in my office to grab a recipe now they’re all right here – at my finger tips.
#9 Ample shoe storage
At first I wasn’t entirely happy with our shoe storage in our main closet until I replaced the 1×6 I had for a shelf above the rod with a 1×10 and BOOM it dawned on me that we could put all of the shoes we use rarely up there! Now, we have so much extra room for our shoes that it opened up the majority of the side of my closet now so we can bring in our golf clubs and store them there for the winter!
#10 A closet devoted to being an office.
Last but not least might be my very favorite addition. Because I knew which bedroom would be my office I set up the closet with outlets and telephone lines that were counter height knowing that I would be keeping ALL of my office equipment in there. That includes: my scanner, my printer and my modem! I put my ancient old dresser right in the closet for all of my paper storage and on top of it is all of my office equipment that is NO LONGER on my desk! Yay!
The truth is most of these things were very little cost and time to add to our home but my gosh how they make our lives better!