Yesterday I hit you with some of the major stuff that I absolutely LOVE about our home, and what we did right when planning/building it. Now let’s talk about what we might do differently if we could go back.
Problem #1: Hickory floors
Those beautiful wood floors that stretch throughout our kitchen, dining, living areas and through the hallway… how could there be anything wrong with these?
Aren’t they just gorgeous? Well guess what? Turns out hickory moves. A lot. When we first looked at it, the sales rep at Lumber Liquidators told us that they don’t suggest hickory in NY because it expands and contracts so much more than other wood. We were really sad because we both loved the look of it, but we started researching other options. We went to a different Lumber Liquidators and explained that we liked the look of hickory but knew that it wasn’t a good option. That sales rep basically told us the other one was crazy, and as long as you let the wood acclimate to the house for at least 72 hours and use a quality underlayment, we shouldn’t have a problem. He even showed us the square of hickory on their floor and said it had been there for 10 years with heavy traffic and something about snow drifts coming through the door, and it was fine. They gave us this chart, the Janka Hardness and Stability Scale, which compares all the different woods to Northern Red Oak.
You can see that hickory is very hard, but the stability is a little bit lower than red oak. After seeing this scale and talking to the staff at Lumber Liquidators, we all agreed that it shouldn’t be a problem. We got the hickory, acclimated it and installed it. Kreig and I were both in love with it. Kreig was more excited about this floor than anything else in the house. It was perfect.
The floor was installed pretty much exactly a year ago, the end of February. By the end of April, we were noticing squeaking in the space between the kitchen island and table. We didn’t think too much of it, but it drive my dad crazy whenever he came over. Early in May, the floor started rising over by the sliding glass door. One night, we got home from one of Kreig’s races at like 1 am and there was a huuuugge bump where the boards buckled because they expanded so much. Long story short (well, as short as my stories get, haha) my dad and Kreig had to pull up 28 rows of the flooring, grind the staples off, and lay it all back down. Neither of them were very happy about this, but the floor is pretty much fine now, although it does squeak in some spots, which brings about a lot of mumbling under Dad’s breath… Something about it being the death of him. It definitely bothers him more than anyone else. So my point… If we could do it again, we may have looked at different wood options. However, everything happens for a reason and we have really cool, beautiful floors that you don’t see in every house.
Problem #2: The Mud Room Door
This one is really nit-picky, but I wish our mud room door swung the other way. This is totally my fault — I thought it made sense to have it swing away from the coat closet doors — but the problem is that when you open the door, you have to walk around it to get to a place where you can take your shoes off.
You end up kind of in the middle of the room, and so does all the mud on your shoes. Calm down, Rachel, it’s a mud room! I know, I know. I’m crazy. It just bugs me that I constantly get wet/muddy socks when I’m trying to get to my shoes. I am constantly brainstorming ways to make this room function better for us, so I’m sure that someday when I’m home alone I will do something crazy. That’s what happens when I’m home alone… I start looking at things and then I go crazy and change them to see how much I can shock my husband when he gets home. It’s a fun game. Ask Kreig about the day I took his truck and bought a king-size mattress, box spring, and bed frame all by myself…. and set everything up before he got home… yup, I’m nuts. So I’ll definitely let you know
if when I have a manic mudroom moment!
Problem #3: The Microwave
We have a built-in microwave above the stove. I grew up with the same setup, and I never had issues with the microwave in my parents’ house. I thought it made sense to build in a microwave (I hate stuff on my counters!) and getting a microwave/vent combination was more budget-friendly than buying a separate hood.
Well, turns out my parents’ microwave is much lower than standard, and my dad even warned me that mine would be higher with the cabinets we ordered, but I still didn’t think it would be a problem. Well, it is. I can’t really see what’s in it and I kind of have to stand on my tippy toes to get food in and out. I also just love the look of modern vent hoods, and I think it would have added a lot of interest to our kitchen. Oh, well, ya live, ya learn. Maybe someday we can do something about it, but for now I guess I’ll just keep tippy-toein’ it.
Problem #4: I Want a Fireplace!
See this nice focal wall with the cool trapezoid windows? Wouldn’t that space be perfect for a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace?
I originally thought a fireplace would have been frivolous and would add too much more time to the construction of our house. A lot of people would see our layout and ask if we were going to have a fireplace between those windows, and I was all like naaahhh, we don’t need a fireplace! We would never use it! Now, I just think it would look beautiful. However, I guess it is something we can add someday…. what do you think, Babe?!
Problem #5: Some General Decorative Mistakes
There’s a few decorating decisions that I made when we were finishing up the house that I now regret. First of all, some of my curtains (the ones you see under the trapezoid windows, above) are too short. They barely reach the top of the baseboard and seriously look like dorky high-waters to me. Whenever I tell anyone how much this bugs me, they say “no, that’s good…then they won’t get dirty’ or “you can’t tell because the baseboard is the same color.” I know they’re full of it. They look awful and they bug me every single day. Luckily, I bought the ones by the sliding doors later on, so I got 96″ panels and mounted them at the perfect height so those ones just barely skim the floor.
Also, the panels behind the couch are hidden by the couch. And I have big plans for eventually replacing the little shorties, so stay tuned
Other than the curtains, the other mistakes involve paint colors. I just kind of wish our main living area was more neutral so I had the option of bringing in fun colored throw pillows and changing them out often. I think I’ll eventually change the paint color. I also hate how dark our purple spare room is. It looks to tiny and dreary. I will eventually change that too.
I also hate the spare bathroom (Sorry, Honey!) … it’s the only color Kreig picked out, so I feel bad, but it just feels so dungeony to me. That’s on the paint list too.
Problem #6: Our Stupid, Stupid Fridge
Okay, I had to come back and add this one! We bought all of our Frigidaire Gallery appliances at Lowe’s on Black Friday of 2011, before we had a kitchen to put them in. We scheduled delivery for a month or two later so we could get the Black Friday price but not have to deal with them in the house yet. Our side-by-side fridge was an awesome deal for $700-something, and I told myself it would be great. What I really wanted was a fridge with french doors on top and the freezer on the bottom. However, one of those in stainless costs $2000-something, so I figured the logical choice was the $1300 less side-by-side.
It couldn’t be enough of a difference to justify spending $1300 more, I thought. I’ve come to the conclusion that we should have bit the bullet and just gotten the fridge we (I) really wanted. In the grand scheme of things, it wouldn’t have made that much of a difference. I am convinced that side-by-sides were invented by a group of anorexic people. You just can’t possibly fit stuff in there in a way that makes sense. I tried baskets, I tried moving and removing shelves, and it’s just always a mess. I have a zillion weird sauces and condiments because I like to cook and try new, different recipes…. and it just doesn’t happily fit everything. Don’t ever buy a side-by-side!
I honestly think that’s it…. for real this time. I can’t think of anything else that I would change about our house. I constantly have new ideas for decorating/tweaking things, but that would happen no matter what. I think having a solid layout and investing in the “important” stuff really makes a difference! It’s pretty cool that yesterday’s list is much longer than this one!
Overall, we really do love this place. It’s like our child, really… we even love the imperfections. We know that we are soooo lucky to have a brand new house at such young ages, and that our awesome families and friends are the reason that this place even exists.
Now if only I could blame the previous owners on the things that we want to change!