Renovating: The ditch list, not the wish list

If you wanna get mums talking ask them what they wish their house had and you’ll get an amazing wish list:  soaker tubs, open floor plans,  storage (always more storage), pantries, children who clean up after themselves.  You know all the usual stuff 🙂  But recently I asked the opposite of mom’s on both side of the world.  What one thing do you regret having in your home?   That if you had to redo that remodel you would have said no to now knowing better?  Things that were on that wish list that are now on the just ditch it list?
It was interesting to see how much overlap there was of things families found that just didn’t work well in real world living.  Designers on the home shows may rock them but as one mom said “they should have to live with those ideas for 3 years before they show them to the rest of us so they can see just how awful they really are.”  Personally we’ve rented in old homes and new ones so I’ve had a chance to try out a lot of these so called value add design features in real life.
So before you start that next renovation or look at that shiny new home take a look at the list below to decide just how much you REALLY want that trendy new idea or dream item.
By far the most hated item on both my Chicago mom’s boards and my Sydney one was one thing:
Tile, particularly white tiled and white grouted ceramic floors.  Basically grout lines are a beast to clean, the tiles crack and chip over time, are cold in the winter without heat under them and drop a dish or a wine bottle and kiss it goodbye.  They aren’t kid, accident or family friendly.
Other things that made the most hated lists commonly were:
The Jetted Tub, aka a jacuzzi tub.  They sound like a great idea in theory but in reality they are hard to keep clean because of the jets.  On top of that they are full of angles/curves and they are dust magnets because of the materials they are made of plus they are hard to give kids a bath in because of the height.  So generally just not used. Soaker tubs without the jets seemed to fair better overall in the votes.
Marble counters or tiles in kitchens and baths – they need sealing and stain very easily just with common use.  Beware spilling red wine or lemon juice on that kitchen bench or using normal cleaning chemicals on them for fear of stains and discolouration.
Travertine – it’s hard to keep clean, which spells disaster for a family friendly home
Cream coloured Carpets – no surprise on this one, anyone who’s lived with them knows light carpets and kids or pets is just a disaster waiting to happen.  To make them everybody’s true favorite just feel free to also run that carpet right up the stairs!  It’s sure to be an absolute hit every time you have to vacuum.
Black Counter Tops or Black Appliances – You ever own a black car?  Guess what black shows EVERYTHING.  And so do black counters and appliances, every speck of dust, every finger print, splatter, smudge or water drip, or tooth paste mark.  You will see it all.  And it may just drive you crazy.
Dark wood floors – in that same line of thought, dark wood floors while they are all the rage right now are equally nightmarish to keep clean.  Every spec of dust, every crumb or drop of dirt, every bit of fur and every foot print and every water spot shows.  So once again a recipe for insanity for any normal family unless you have a cleaner handily just sweeping behind you every step you take.  Hmm can I get my kids to do that…?? Nope… 🙂
Ducted Vacuums – this one may be a bit of a thing of the early 2000’s but don’t let this one fool you into thinking it’ll make cleaning easier.  It’s a long cord/hose that’s difficult to maneuver and doesn’t do an amazing job compared to your standard Dyson.  Plus it’s pretty costly if it needs replacing down the road.
Basin/Bowl Sinks – Sure they are all the rage right now but man if you’ve lived with one you’ll quickly get really annoyed by the fact that they tend to splash water everywhere, floor, counters, you name it it’ll be wet, especially if you add kids to the mix.
Shiny Glass back splashes/mirrored back splashes/ Stainless steel back splashes – I’m lumping all these guys together because they all have the same issue.  They show ever drop of dirt, every water splatter or grease splatter.  So if you REALLY like wiping down you kitchen walls daily then great, otherwise you will forever look like a slob.  I know I regularly love spending hours doing that…
Mosaic Tiles/Subway tiles – Wait these are super popular with designers why would they be bad, they’re beautiful?  Yeah they are, until you have to clean all that grout, and de-mildew or de-mold it on the regular.  And whoever puts mosaic tiles on a shower floor or bathroom floor (around a toilet anyone?) should just be beaten, ’cause later they will wish someone had talked them out of that decision believe me.  Basically the fewer grout lines the better, so use larger tiles on the floor especially.
Under bench microwaves – awesome space saver right?  Yeah ’til you have kids.  Then it’s “Look Mom I can make my toys go boom!”  and never mind the constant button pushing and door opening right?
High gloss floors – sure they look amazing the first day, maybe the first week.  But every scuff and every scratch shows, as does every water drop and every foot print.  Matte finish it seems is the way to go unless you are going for the roller-rink look then gloss it up!
Hopefully some of this helps the next would be renovator.  If you’ve got some others to add please comment below and save someone else the time and trouble of discovering how miserable something is to live with.

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