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If you were building a new house, what would you put in it? Please recommend anything from boilers to lights to appliances.

(163 Posts)
Apatite1 Sat 28-Mar-15 13:47:08

The title says it all. Looks like we are building from scratch. House will be about 2500 sq ft. I now need to make a zillion decisions.

If anyone can recommend anything from their insulation to their furniture, I'm all ears.

In particular, we really need guidance on:

Underfloor heating
Engineered wood flooring
Ventilation systems
Lighting plans
Joinery for dressing room and library
Stair makers
Kitchen companies and fitters
Bathroom companies and fitters
Granite suppliers
Aluminium window suppliers
Sliding door suppliers
Burglar alarm systems
Fire alarms

Really, any tips are very welcome. There are so many companies, I've no clue who is good and who isn't. I don't mind expensive services, as long they are worth it, we will try to budget them in.

Thank you all!

RunsWithScissors Sat 28-Mar-15 14:34:07

Try looking at Houzz

Great site, with lots of ideas etc.

They have a section Find a Pro, which has loads of recommendations. I think you can even search them locally.

Sounds exciting, if a bit stressful

BloodyAwfulPoet Sat 28-Mar-15 14:37:07

loads and LOADS of wall plugs. can never find any when I need them in my tiny C18 cottage. not built for modernity.

instead I have a complicated mass of extension leads and strict rules around kettle/toaster prioritising.

PoisonPension Sat 28-Mar-15 14:38:44

I like porcelain tiles as if they chip the tile looks better than ceramic with a chip.

ImperialBlether Sat 28-Mar-15 14:39:48

Sorry, I'm too jealous to post on here. I think it was the "dressing room and library" that did it!

CaptainHolt Sat 28-Mar-15 14:42:26

We have a nest central heating control which is nice. They also do a smoke/CO alarm.

meandjulio Sat 28-Mar-15 14:43:09

I'd choose between one of these:

Someone I know has a Huf Haus. It is simply awesome.

Apatite1 Sat 28-Mar-15 14:45:42

Aw, it's a very small dressing room and library, imperial! I've poached a bedroom for it.

I might have a nervous breakdown by the time we finish...

I'm on Houzz but didn't know about the pro section, thanks Run!

Sockets, got it Bloody! I thought nine for the kitchen at least. Or is that still not enough?

I've never even put up a shelf before. I'm going to get fleeced aren't I?

Albiebee Sat 28-Mar-15 14:49:03

If you are all at sea talk to your architect and get a decent building firm who can recommend subcontractors and suppliers, if you haven't already. Your architect will most likely have a shortlist of contractors they recommend for projects.

My DH is a builder and we have renovated many properties for ourselves, although never done a self build. It's a huge learning curve with enormous amounts of research to do if you have no experience, you can get unstuck pretty quickly with budget and time overruns if you manage it yourself. You may think managing it yourself will save you money but in the long run it generally doesn't IME.

My DH recommends subcontractors to his clients for many of the things you mention, a good building firm will be able to do all of this as part of a quote. Get your architect to produce a tender document, and then put it out to a few recommended firms.

Good luck, it sounds like fun!

Apatite1 Sat 28-Mar-15 14:50:35

Poison, I didn't know that about tiles, good tip thanks!

I'd love a hufhaus, meandjulio but the house has to fit the rest of the surroundings but there are some restrictions on exterior facade. Hufhaus won't be allowed sad

CO alarm. Didn't think of that, thanks captain!

Apatite1 Sat 28-Mar-15 14:57:12

Albie, we will tender and get a project manager as well. I'm not brave or foolish enough to do this ourselves.

Would it be worth employing any of the contractors ourselves, or best to go through our builder?

Also, our project manager comes from the architect firm. Is there a potential confect of interest there do you think?

Apatite1 Sat 28-Mar-15 14:58:04

Conflict not confect!

MehsMum Sat 28-Mar-15 15:13:28

I have just counted and I have 12 plug sockets in my kitchen (6xdouble) plus one each for fridge, cooker, microwave etc. That is, tbh, more than I need, but it means there is never any arguing over sockets if someone is making cakes, someone else is making a smoothie and a third person is cooking a meal. I reckon a good number would be one each for dishwasher, fridge cooker, microwave, washing machine, radio, kettle and toaster, plus about four spare.

Smoke alarms: I think they're called RF systems, and they are radio-linked with battery back-up.

I did once have to juggle cabinetmaker, sparks/plumber, tiler and flooring man and it did my head in. And then I went and did it again.

Madamecastafiore Sat 28-Mar-15 15:16:03

An airing cupboard big enough to have a couple of hanging rails in and one of those vacuum cleaner things that you just plug a tube into the wall.

Id have an ensuite on each bathroom too and a boot room/shower room downstairs.

ShyGirlie Sat 28-Mar-15 15:56:49


I'm in the same position as yourself and feel UTTERLY clueless! Have never even owned a house before!

Sorry to hijack thread, but what stage are you at? We have put in outline plans which were declined but were given solid advice on where a site should definitely be permitted so are going to submit full plans for the new site soon. So far have decided on 2 storey with 4 bedroom upstairs and one downstairs, upstairs bathroom, no ensuite (dressing room on master bedroom instead), sunroom, sitting room, downstairs loo, kitchen and utility room. Still trying to decide whether to include a "good" sitting room or not. House will also probably be about 2500 sq ft.

One thing that is essential for me is having a large garage which can be directly accessed from the house without going outside - essential for wet and windy days!

poocatcherchampion Sat 28-Mar-15 16:05:07

Dimmer switches

Apatite1 Sat 28-Mar-15 16:53:25

12! Thanks Mehsmum, I was putting in fewer, but we have lots of gadgets, so 12 sockets it is. RF systems smoke alarms, got it.

Airing cupboard, forgot that too, thanks Madame. We have a cleaner and getting a meile cat and dog, so have decided to forgo the inbuilt vacuum system. There's a family bathroom and master ensuite upstairs, and cloakroom, utility and a boot room downstairs. There's only two of us, so that'll do I'm sure I can't afford anymore bathrooms anyway

ShyGirlie, no problem, jump in! We have applied for new build permission but if we don't get that, we will get permission for complete renovation which is almost a complete rebuild anyway.

We have open living downstairs but the garage space will be taken over by the build (space is a premium in zone 2/3 borders of london) we would put an underground garage in (I've seen a few in our area, very nifty) but we have plenty of off street parking for several cars so I can't justify the expense.

We haven't gone for a separate formal drawing room as we would never use it. We live quite informally.

Adding dimmer switches to list, thanks poo.

MyFirstName Sat 28-Mar-15 16:55:52

Haven't built new but did a major renovationThink carefully about where you want things like

Room thermostats. A couple of ours were put in duff places next to the landing window which is opened every day Also be wary of wireless ones. We had them in our old house and were a total pain everytime there was a power cut or power surge - the thermostat and the controller would stop talking to each other and you would come home to a roasting hot house until you reset it. Wired in ones do not have this problem (and my plumber agreed he is often removing them and replacing with wired.

Airflow - trickle vents/ability to have securely "cracked" windows
Extracotr Fan - particularly for the kitchen - make sure where you want it put is close enough to an external wall.

Water softener (luffs ours - we planned for it going in the utility room cupboard so it was out of the way.)

Laundry chute (god I would love one of these - not possible in our layout though.

YY to sockets. We have 4 double sockets where our television/media stuff is. Still have ended up with 4 was adaptors there too. DH prefers surge protection ones for these bits so that is one reason.

Telephone sockets.

Underfloor heating - brilliant. No ugly or stylish for now but will date at sometime radiators downstairs. Steady, even temperature. No cold floors. We are engineered oak for the whole of downstairs. Love it.

Paint - we did white everywhere. Could not face decisions of colours. 3 years in still love it and several friends have copied. Could not face deciding which white to do so did "white" Crown Clean Extreme Matt White. Not got the blue of pure brilliant white but no faffing with grey white/creamy white/greeny whites etc. It is just white. Looks stunning and dead easy to touch up the odd mark.

Bathrooms. Think about your flooring as you are planning the tiles etc or the wall. Otherwise you may end up with a major dilemma to work out what goes with walls but is still practical/has the look you want. Do not go for a white floor if you have a black labrador bitter emoticon

Engineered wood. There are some good deals on line. But you do need to get samples to check quality. Depending on what it is going on you will need to think about the length of each plank (long is good) mix of lengths in each pack (best if all the same length) width of plank and depth of the engineered layer and sub-layer. It will depend on where it is going. In our converted garage/office we got cheaper stuff. No underfloor heating and is a room on its own. For the ground floor we went for longer/wider planks which were deeper - and probably 50% more expensive - but is going on the UFH and throughout several rooms.

Try and enjoy bits of it.

chocolateyy Sat 28-Mar-15 17:03:41

I have a floor socket (like in offices) in the middle of my floor in my dressing room. I have mirrored doors on the wardrobes, so I can plug in the straighteners & do the back of my hair from the middle of the room.

In the rest of the house, definitely as many sockets as you can squeeze in.

mateysmum Sat 28-Mar-15 17:13:30

For underfloor heating thermostats, get the clever ones that allow you to program timings and automatically vary temperature according to the time of day for each room so... you can have the kitchen warm in the morning and the sitting room warm in the evening. Useful as with u/f heating you don't want to be switching it completely on/off all the time as you would with conventional.

Re the kitchen. If you have an island make sure it has power to it and possibly water as well.

Remember, you can never have too much storage!

BooChunky Sat 28-Mar-15 17:25:38

Definitely agree about storage!

Also an acquaintance built a house and had a music system, light system and tv points throughout. It's like a wireless paradise!

hifi Sat 28-Mar-15 18:21:05

ethernet sockets, and usb sockets.

Apatite1 Sat 28-Mar-15 18:34:00

Gah, so many good ideas thank you thank you MyFirst, chocolate, matey, boo and hifi!!

I'm busy taking notes, I'm not even sure what an Ethernet sockets are for...

haggardoldwitch Sat 28-Mar-15 18:37:03

A really decent wood shed. I love ours.

Apatite1 Sat 28-Mar-15 18:38:15

MyFirst, would you recommend your engineered wood flooring company at all? And what thickness of wood and sub layers work well with UFH please? Thank you so much for your very informative post!

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