Things to consider before building a house

Having owned a few houses and condos, my dream in life is to build a house from scratch. There’s a lot of shit to consider before you build a house as many cool stuff are hella expensive to add after the house is complete/if you buy a developer house.
I’m trying to list out all the stuff you might want to consider if you want to build a house from scratch

  1. Laundry chute (from master closet/upper floors into first floor laundry room)
  2. Wall sconces wiring
  3. Wall art lighting wiring
  4. heated floors
  5. media center (including built-in speakers throughout house)
  6. ethernet wiring throughout house
  7. any hidden rooms/storage (murphy doors)
  8. central air
  9. gas wiring (if need fireplace in other rooms)
  10. bidet piping/wiring
  11. wet bar piping/wiring

feel free to add


I would add some :

ICF construction. (House is made of concrete not 2x4’s or 2x6’s) Expensive, but highly energy efficient and solid.

NG gas generator backup, complete with wiring and sufficient gas line.

Large 4 car garage with attached workshop (240v wiring, of course). Also, pre-wired for EV charging.

In ground pool. Pool house.

Forget laundry chute. I’d want a laundry room upstairs where the bedroom are. And if I am dreaming, I want room for 2 washers and 2 dryers.

Pre-designed for on-demand water heaters.

Showers with multiple shower heads and >24 s.f.

Abundant closet space. Closet organizers.

Solar panels.

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7a. Secret Passages


my dream house definitely will have lots of secret hallways/rooms/stairs

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oh how can I forget, elevator. Since I’ll be old

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Landscaping. Please don’t bulldoze all the trees, drop in a big house, and then throw up two 10’ trees and a few shrubs and call it a day.

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If energy independence and/or green standards are important to you that will heavily influence your options. Solar PV/geothermal/solar thermal HWH are options for low external energy usage. You can investigate net zero building concepts for ideas. ICF has some benefits, but producing concrete is generally CO2 intensive. Prefab modular designs (factory-built walls assembled on site) can also be very efficient. Efficient windows are also quite expensive. Climate where you will build also makes a huge difference.

Adequate wiring for EVs is a good plan too.

Speaking of being older, an extra large shower with a seat in it for when ur old

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When they built our subdivision, they built it on a bush. And for once, they did exactly what they should - carved the bush back far enough to get the house in, and leave the bush alone. So we bought a brand new house but with a mature forest in the backyard. Spouse and I had some disagreement on the house we were going to buy but this one had mature forest in the back, and a great kitchen so we finally both agreed.

Over the years all the neighbours have cultured all their bush. Cut down trees, stripped out the undergrowth and put in grass, etc. I’ve left mine all natural, so in the summer my backyard is great - everything grows back there. I’ve pulled puffballs (mushrooms) out of there, we used to have trilliums.


I’d be fine with plants next to the house if I’m not so afraid of bugs.

Eh, then it’s noisy if you’re doing laundry at night. I would prefer the laundry room not be especially close to the bedrooms.

I like the laundry chute idea, but look into building codes as they are sometimes not allowed due to the infinitesimal increase in fire risk. (Stairs are already a conduit for fire, so this regulation seems dumb-da-dumb-dumb-DUMB to me, but my thoughts on the subject don’t change whether it exists or not.)

If you want one and it’s not allowed, talk to the architect as he/she may be able to design something that IS allowed that could have minimal modifications to turn into a laundry chute after the construction is complete and occupancy permit issued.

Also, kitchen must have considerable counter space and storage and a wine fridge and a pantry and 42" cabinets and double ovens and did I mention lots of storage?

I have actually owned a house with a laundry chute, and it was no big deal and I wouldn’t bother with another one. Right now, my laundry is in the basement of a 2 story house, and carrying laundry up 2 flights IS a big PITA.

Ah yes, a butler’s pantry would be nice too!

Remember to call it the Homer

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You can never have enough electrical outlets. NEVER

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I have played at sketching out dream houses ever since I was a kid. (For a while, growing up, I wanted to be Mike Brady.) To this day, my wife and I have fun sketching out concepts for our dream home.

A few ideas from our list:

  • More electrical capacity than we currently need, to support EVs and who-knows-what
    -comes-next. (I need to upgrade the electrical service at our current home…)

  • Solar power and backup generator.

  • For hobby purposes, I wish I had a few 240V outlets in my office/hobby room.

  • Communications wiring run through conduit, linked to a central networking closet, with pull strings in the conduit to support future wiring needs (the old phone wiring in our house is redundant, as is almost all of the Cable coax; running CAT7 or CAT8 ethernet would require drilling, and my wife is Not OK with that). Note that the conduit should contemplate that potential future fiber optic cabling is less flexible / requires bigger “turning radii” than modern ethernet.

  • Pre-plan location of wireless network access points for optimal coverage.

  • Laundry and primary bedroom on the main floor (getting older, I’m less in love with stairs)

  • Entries, doorways, hallways, and layout of kitchen and key bathrooms designed with potential future accessibility needs in mind (again, getting older)

  • Rather than just one ensuite with the primary bedroom, have separate “his” and “her” bathrooms

  • A “cat room”, where the cat box and cat food can be set up, with appropriate ventilation, and the potential to confine the cat as necessary without undue cruelty (service calls, during Teams meetings…)

  • Office space, properly staged/lit for best possible appearance in Teams/Zoom meetngs.

  • Office space should have a wet bar (sink, fridge, etc.)

  • Large pantry and mudroom, close / easily accessible from primary garage.

  • Greenhouse easily accessible from the kitchen

  • Patio, pool, outdoor kitchen

  • Separate man-cave and she-shack

* An (ahem!) adult recreation room, located such that any guests won’t accidentally stumble upon it

secret room!! hidden entry!

Did build a house once, remembered some things, forgot others.

  • Cat room is good we took a small closet in the laundry/mudroom and made it a walk-in which doubled as the cat litter box room.
  • If you happen to have purchased a 2600 sqft bungalow and decide to finish the entire basement, try to remember to put some of the lights on separate switches and not have like - the entire basement light up with one switch.
  • Put a god dang electical socket in your pantry (had one in prior house, don’t have one in current and my pantry runs the entire length of my kitchen).
  • If the ceiling is cathedral, use potlights instead of a single weird light where they have to put a box in the ceiling to hold it.
  • You can’t screw anything into the wall where a pocket door is - this is especially annoying if this is the optimal wall for your towel bar.
  • Window furnishings are expensive and annoying when you don’t have them and/or your bedrooms/bathrooms have a lot of windows.
  • Builders don’t paint your walls nice colors.
  • Builders may do stupid things like put an electrical socket behind your bathroom mirror and then the walkthrough lady may make you guess what’s wrong in the bathroom before telling you about it. You won’t be friends with that lady.

Whoever built my current home felt that way about phone jacks. Got a phone jack on the wall next to the toilet in the master bathroom. No electrical outlets in the water closet, but they made sure they could talk on the phone while on the throne.

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M_S is right. I forgot about that one. Big one here with outdoor kitchen.