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We are nearing the 4 month mark since we completed the construction and subsequent renovation of our new house. Like most humans, we have a limited supply of funds but an unlimited supply of ideas. We couldn’t splurge on every last thing and had to stretch our budget and use our funds wisely. Thankfully, I am basically the master of stretching a dollar.
For some splurge means opting for a higher quality item. In other cases, it meant choosing something extra special for visual impact and happiness factor. Here are the 8 areas where we splurged on our house that left me with ZERO REGRETS.
WOOD FLOORING DOWNSTAIRS
Although we did have a major ordeal with purchasing them, I have zero regrets about spending extra on these floors. Our last house had laminate wood floors, and while that is still a major upgrade from carpet in high traffic areas, I never loved the sheen coming off of them. These floors are thicker and feel nice underfoot. Not only do they look gorgeous, the matte finish and light color don’t show much in the way of dirt or dust, meaning my house looks cleaner without me having to try as hard! Having one singular flooring material running throughout the downstairs gives great continuity room to room. And it’s just PRETTY.
This was the only major splurge in our last kitchen renovation, and let me tell you, it is SO worth it. We get the beautiful look of marble without the staining, scratching, or etching. You might hear people say that these are zero maintenance, which is mostly true, but it’s more accurate to say that if something does try to stain it, you can get the stain out using Barkeeper’s Friend or regular old multipurpose countertop spray (Mrs. Meyers is my favorite). Worth every penny.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, lighting can be the difference between a ‘blah’ space and a jaw dropping one. Adding recessed lighting and dimmers throughout the house gives us the ultimate flexibility and control to make these spaces look and function at their best. Often during a build or a remodel we’ll see our clients try to skimp on lighting, but resist the temptation. Especially in a bedroom, you just can’t get good quality lighting from a single source, especially if that source is a ceiling fan.
In addition to the recessed lights (we call them Can Lights in Texas, but I’ve heard northerners call them Pot Lights?! It makes no difference but I felt compelled to note this) we upgraded every single decorative light fixture in the whole house. The ones the builders try to sell you are just awful. Most of our fixtures were super budget friendly, but we did splurge on these Rejuvenation Pendants in the kitchen (they’re on sale now!). When it comes to lighting, and most things really, splurge in the places where you’ll either see them the most or they will get the most use! I kept it simpler in the kids and guest baths because we don’t spend a ton of time in there. But we live in the kitchen.
Since this is our home’s only dining space, and neither of our old tables would fit the space well, we wanted to maximize this dining area and be sure what we picked could seat lots of people and last through all of these kids (boys are destructive). This solid white oak beauty was designed by us and built by on of our favorite local craftsmen. It seats 10 people day-to-day and 14 in a pinch. Hosting is incredibly important to me, and I love that we have the space to hold a crowd and we don’t have to baby the finish on this table. Oh, and if you’re not local, here is a very similar option that is expandable if you can get by with a standard size!
Cabinet design and cooking are basically my life, you guys. Adding tons of drawers, spice pull outs, glass fronts, extra uppers, and vertical storage dividers made our kitchen leaps and bounds more efficient and user friendly than just basic cabinets. I also love that I now have a place to display my collection of vintage Pyrex and Barware. This brings me endless amounts of joy every single day. Here are our all time favorite cabinet upgrades!
QUALITY PLUMBING FIXTURES
Upgrading from the builder basic brushed nickel curvy faucets to more modern brass and faucets in our kitchen, master, and powder bath gave us more style and a longer lifespan in those high use areas. Here are the exact fixtures we used in the kitchen and master bath.
Tile is the spot where I really went for it in this house. Custom patterns, adding wall tile around the room, and extending the shower and tub tile surrounds up to the ceiling all elevated these rooms way beyond builder basic. I also splurged on some specialty tile at our kitchen backsplash with a handmade zeliege tile which has so much more character than what you can get from a factory made ceramic tile. We have a how-to blog post that walks you through how to mix in affordable tile with higher end tile to get a custom look.
Last but not least, cabinet hardware. It’s the icing on the cake, the jewelry, the finishing touch that adds that last little bit of sparkle. More than just good looks, though, high quality, heavy duty hardware is a functional luxury that will extend the life of your cabinets and serve you for years to come.
My list of splurge-worthy items likely looks different than what your priorities might be, but by and large this list overlaps with where we encourage our clients to opt for quality and wow factor. In short, splurge on things that will get the most use, that you’ll see most often, and that will bring you the most joy.
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