5 Remodel Changes from a General Contractor

Welcome to my home! Today, I’m sharing with you the top five things I would change about my remodel. To give you some background, I bought this property in 2020, gutted the entire house, redesigned it, and added an extension to create our forever home. Here are the changes I’d make if I could do it all over again:

1. More Can Lights in the Dining Room

Our home features an open living space with a large kitchen and dining area, perfect for hosting guests. However, we weren’t sure what type of light fixture to use in the dining room. My wife found a beautiful handmade light fixture from Nepal, but it only has one bulb and doesn’t provide enough light.

In hindsight, we should have installed can lights in the corners of the dining area. I always advise my clients to put in more can lights than they think they’ll need, and I should have followed my own advice. Proper lighting is crucial for creating the right ambiance, and additional can lights would have made a big difference.

2. Better Placement for Light Switches

We have some unique Danish mid-century modern light fixtures that my wife found, but the switches for these fixtures are not conveniently located. We use these lights in the evening for their warm glow, but it’s a bit annoying to walk across the room to turn them on and off. Ideally, I would have placed all the light switches together in a more accessible location. This small change would greatly improve the usability of our lighting setup.

3. Expanding the Mudroom

The original idea for our mudroom was to have a bench seat and hooks for storage, but we quickly realized we needed more space. We added some IKEA units to see if that would help, but the area is still too cramped. If I could redo it, I would extend the mudroom by an additional two feet in one direction and three to four feet in another. This would provide ample space for storage and make it easier to move around.

4. Creating a True Pantry

Our kitchen layout lacks a traditional pantry. We incorporated some storage into the brick chimney area, which looks cool but isn’t very practical. The cabinets are only a foot deep, which limits their storage capacity. Ideally, I would have found a way to bump out the wall and create deeper cabinets for a more functional pantry. Unfortunately, the stairs on the other side of the wall prevented us from doing this.

5. Choosing a Different Carpet

I love the look and feel of our wool carpet, but it does have its drawbacks. Wool carpets shed fibers when vacuumed and stain easily, which isn’t ideal with two kids in the house. On the plus side, wool is a natural fiber with low VOCs, so it doesn’t off-gas harmful chemicals like synthetic carpets. While I appreciate the health benefits, I would likely choose a different carpet material if I had to do it again, something that’s more stain-resistant and easier to maintain.

I hope you enjoyed following along with the things I would change about our remodel. Let me know in the comments what you would change about your remodel!

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