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Some things not to forget when building a new house

I work with lots of new clients and help them to decide on floor plans, budget and things they must have when building a new house. A few years ago I worked for a building company, then had a break and went on The Block, and this year I’ve come back full circle to work with a building company again. It’s the best job. I love every bit of it!

But when you do set out to build a new home there are so many things to think about! Today I thought I’d write a list about some things not to forget when building a new house. You don’t have to have everything on this list, but at least it may help you tick off what’s important and what’s not. Plus I bet you have things in your home I haven’t thought of. I love hearing about little tips and tricks people discover which make their lives easier!

some-things-not-to-forget-when-building-a-new-house

Kitchen

  • Soft close drawers
  • Pot drawers
  • Power points in a pantry for jug/toasters
  • Pantry light on motion sensor
  • Pull-out garbage
  • Powerpoints on the side of an island bench
  • Food waste in the sink
  • Position of the kitchen when bringing in groceries

Bedrooms

  • Are they away from noisy living areas?
  • Do you have blockout blinds for sleep?
  • Will you charge devices at night?
  • TV consideration
  • Bed placement

Wardrobes and Linen

  • Think about double hung rods for jeans, pants, shirts. Tall single rods too to accommodate long clothes and dresses.
  • A full size cupboard in the laundry room for a vacuum, broom and ironing board.
  • Consider a walk-in-linen because you can never have enough storage!
  • Where will you store the stuff you only use every now and then? Like the Christmas tree and suitcases? Or the tubs of artwork and baby clothes you’ve been saving?

Bathrooms

  • Powerpoints for hairdryer, straighteners and even one inside a drawer to charge electric toothbrushes or shavers
  • Heated towel racks
  • Recessed niches in showers for holding toiletries
  • Shower-head height
  • Heated floors or ducted heating

Powerpoints

  • Think about the position of your tv (up high)
  • Several near the eaves for Christmas lights (with switch).
  • Exterior of garage (for washing/cleaning tiles or paths with a pressure washer)
  • Charger area for phones (add a USB outlet)
  • Consider a deep freezer
  • Microwave/jug/toaster/juicer (so make sure you have lots in there if you have a walk-in-pantry)
  • Charging station for handheld vacuums

Outdoor

  • Ceiling fan or add ducts on a zone from your inside air-conditioning
  • Speakers
  • Outdoor taps in various locations (you’ll need more than one)
  • Flood light outside
  • Gas connection for a BBQ
  • TV point and power
  • Irrigation system

Lighting

  • Consider ceiling fans with built-in lights and a remote control
  • 2-way switches in hallways (especially for kids outside their rooms)
  • Powerpoints for lamps
  • Pendants over kitchen island or even for over bedside tables
  • Consider solartubes for areas with low light
  • Consider being able to turn off lights once you’re in bed
  • Dimmer switches

Basics

  • Heating/cooling options (maybe in-floor heating)
  • The width of your hallways
  • Ceiling heights
  • Corince (standard or square-set?)
  • Cavity doors vs swinging doors
  • Wardrobe doors (swinging or sliding)
  • You can never have enough storage!

Have you got any other items you’d add?

♥ KC.

23 comments

  • Aranda Crocker

    Love it! Especially the power point for hanging party (xmas) lights. We haven’t started building yet, so we could probably contribute a year or so from now, when we realise all 5he things we forgot.
    There are two that stand out for me now.
    Placement of windows for cross-ventilation.
    Having enough roof expanse in a long, straight line to host solar panels.

  • Aranda Crocker

    Oooh. I nearly forgot. Where to put the toilet roll holder so you do not have to contort yourself into a yoga position just to be able to reach it.

  • Kelly Lowien

    Not to stress to much when you see the slab size! It always looks a lot smaller until the walls are up, sheeted and painted!
    Really take notice of where your northern sunlight will pour in…not positioning your house to take in natural light can make your home very dark and increase the need to use lights through the day… (or a skylight)!

    • Sheridan Anne

      Oh my goodness yes!!!! We are building and I completely freaked out at the sight of the slab!!!!
      Now that the frame and roof are on it looks massive though

  • Gretchen Watson

    Good read.
    So good when someone else in the building industry cares enough about their clients to think of these things.
    People don’t know what to ask for, classic story I hear is, ” We didn’t know we had to ask for a Tv antenna”
    G

  • Jay Kaye

    We are currently building and I’m glad to say I thought of almost all of these (those endless nights of researching until 2am are finally behind me). Power points in the eaves is a good one and one we didn’t think of. A couple of others I’d add:
    * Under cupboard kitchen lighting
    * Laundry chute
    * Power point in the laundry cupboard for the vaccuum and to charge the handheld vaccuum (or the linen cupboard).
    * Bathroom layout and placement of towel rail (the standard layout of ours didn’t even have room for one!)
    * Rebate the stacker doors in to the slab to ensure you’re not stepping over the frame to go outdoors. I thought this would be standard but found out (just in time) it wasn’t. For an extra $100 I think it will be well worth it.

  • Tegan

    We have just started on site but there were a few things in the process I never even though of – stove exhaust being ducted in ceiling or outside, ceiling height (standard is crazy low especially with fans), PowerPoint on the island bench for vacuuming ect

  • Struth Ruth

    Mine is more a pet hate over many years. Having enough room either side of the toilet to fit a mop.

  • Alex McLean

    Kids bedroom sizes versus an extra kids living area. Consider whether your kids are all going to always want to hang out in the one space or whether they’d like more space of their own in their bedroom.

    • Katrina Chambers

      A council building inspector comes with the deal? Is that what you mean?

      • Di

        She means an inspector to check that things are being constructed and finished according the correct standards. They are great for quality control with the site supervisor is not on the ball.

        • Katrina (author)

          Yes, the council building inspector should be doing that 🙂

  • Kim Carson

    Don’t forget to enjoy the ride because at times it can get bumpy. We have just finished building for the fourth time. I’ve loved every minute of it but you will never get everything right, there will always be something you forgot or couldn’t afford to do.

  • Donna

    Somewhere for your tech hub. Where does the router go? Wireless printer?

    Drop zone for kids backpacks and car keys. Even a small one can change your life.

    🙂

  • Courtney

    Love this list and glad to say we thought of these things!
    One extra I would add would be look at the garage size and work out if your cars etc will fit! We extended ours so my husbands ute would fit with it loaded. We also added a powder room so guests wouldn’t need to be near our bedrooms when visiting.

  • Sum

    Awesome thanks so much Katrina and everyone else. Our slab is about to be poured and I’ve thought of pretty much all of these although there’s some significant ones so I’ll be printing this list out.
    One thing when I was in the planning stage was thinking about where the following will go – the electrical box (I don’t like it being on bedroom walls), the hot water system (a gas one which I’ve put closest to 3 out of the 4 wet areas that way don’t need to always run the water for ages to get hot) , return air vent for heating/cooling (see as this can take up a chunk of space out of your storage), water tank outside placement, making the garage long enough to fit our boat (and also helps out with added storage too so hopefully won’t have to stick a garden shed in our yard). I also made sure the eaves on our northern side are slightly larger (without it adding too much cost). I’ve been able to blend it in so it won’t look odd. I also made sure there were very few (only 2 actually!) windows on the east and west sides of our house. Our last house had masses of them and we cooked all summer and the a/c fought against it constantly. Also think about the position of your house on the block – where you want your yard to be. Can you push your house further forward to increase the size of your backyard (sometimes there is some leverage for moving them forward). If you’re having grass what type and do you need a watering system. Also planning out where you’re furniture will go and if it will fit in the space you’ve designed (I like to draw to scale plans of each room). And security lighting outside! Gosh so many things it’s exhausting! I’ve spent many night awake thinking of everything too!

  • Sum

    … oh and forgot that I asked the bathtub to be far enough away from the wall so I can clean behind. And as it’s a slipper bath made sure it was facing the way I wanted (looking out the window). This has needed to be done when the foundations are dug out. And also make sure your sliding doors/stacker doors open the way you want. I think they put the direction in as you’re looking from the outside.

  • Kathryn Smith

    We chose a deep bath that has arm rests and a head rest that make it so wonderfully comfortable to soak in. I had the builder install insulation all around the bath so the water stays hot for so much longer. And I also designed the top of the built-in structure to have enough space at either end of the bath finished with non-slip tiles – so we can dry our small grand children with ease, at the height of the bath.

  • Greta James

    I love your advice on considering where outlets should go to meet all the electrical needs for every season and as your life progresses. My sister is thinking of building a new home in a more rural part of town. I will have to tell her about your tip for electrical work because I think she would love to install security cameras at some point so she should consider what they would need for that.

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