For me, building was a dream come true. I have a passion for interior design and was one of the many people who had a subscription to Domino magazine back in the day. Pinterest is my jam and I had sooo many inspiration pics pinned for my “someday” home. We lived in a home that was over 35 years old for almost 9 years to make this dream come true. Older homes can be beautiful for sure, but I wouldn’t say that the bones of our first home would be considered quality construction by today’s standards. We had a budget when it was time to pick out our finishings and determine our upgrades with our builder and designer. There was a long list of things I’d like to upgrade, and a shortlist of our “must haves.”
We rotated our island from the original floorplan. This actually didn’t cost anything. At the same time that we did this, I asked if we could make it deeper to accommodate a trash drawer and storage underneath. I’m so glad we did because this is where we store all of our small appliances (which frees up space in the pantry).
I love to cook, but had never cooked on a gas range or used a convection oven. Switching to gas isn’t something that would’ve been easy to do later, so we opted to have a gas line installed prior to tile and drywall. We purchased a dual-fuel range, meaning it has a gas cooktop and an electric oven. I love both because they both cook faster and more evenly.
Builders give an allowance for builder grade lighting for your entire home. Honestly, this allowance is shockingly low for every single light in your home. We decided that we didn’t want to replace them one at a time over the years and that upgrading during building would have almost no impact on our mortgage in the long run. We focused on the lights for the main floor, master bedroom, and master bath. We selected lighting we loved for those spaces at a local lighting store and found lighting for the kids’ rooms online. I believe the easiest ways to impact a space are with paint and statement lighting! They shouldn’t be an afterthought because they instantly elevate the look and feel of your space. The effect replacing a builder grade light has on your home is similar to the effect putting mascara on your lashes has on your face.
Inspiration for the Island Light:
We upgraded our flooring in a few different ways. We added hardwoods throughout the entire first floor and went with hickory instead of oak in a slightly wider plank than what was standard. I love the variation in the wood! Next, we used high traffic stair carpet on the stairs. I love how much more durable this carpet is in heavy-traffic areas. Lastly, even though we built in 2016, vinyl was still the standard flooring in the laundry and secondary bathrooms. We upgraded to tile. It’s nothing fancy, but I love that it’s porcelain and is super resilient and low maintenance. It looks like stone but carries a less expensive price tag!
Inspiration for the Master Bath Tile:
Black Window Moulding
We’d already added a third interior paint color for the island, so we decided to use this color on the moulding of our wall of picture windows. The color was Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black. This shocked some people initially, even though I showed them inspiration pictures, but it is easily one of the things people comment the most on now. I loved the way black window moulding added character and a modern, architectural vibe to the big city homes in my inspiration pictures. I’m watching so many people paint theirs black now for a modern vibe and am so thankful that mine are already done!
Inspiration for the Windows in the Living & Breakfast Rooms:
Extending Cabinets to the Ceiling
We live in a two-story home and the ceiling in the kitchen is just one-story high, so I was eager to make the best use of the space and take our cabinets to the ceiling. The cost was minimal to do this to our built-ins in our living room as well, so we decided to do both areas. I love that it added concealed storage in the kitchen instead of just another space to collect dust! I need a stool to get onto the counters to reach the top because I’m vertically challenged, but it’s fine. Ha!
Of course, budgets exist. So what do I wish we could have done? Quartz or Soapstone counters, doors on our mudroom storage, and an enclosed and extended patio. Thankfully, we’re not going anywhere anytime soon, so time is on our side and these are still things we plan to do to invest in our home. Despite learning the price tag of every single thing you put into your home, I would build over and over again if I didn’t love my neighbors and kids’ schools so much! What’s the one thing in your home you would upgrade if you could?