Our home was built in 2016 in a home builder subdivision in Austin. What that means is, all of the homes in our neighborhood were built by the same builder. You choose a base floor plan for your home in a builder subdivision, and the builder provides certain upgrades / changes you can make to the floor plan to better suit your needs. There was only one owner before us,the owner who built the home and chose the upgrades, so here is a list of all the modifications they made that we are so thankful for!
Removing a Column & Half-wall
This sounds scarier from a structural perspective than it actually is. The biggest item, and probably what would’ve been a dealbreaker if it hadn’t been revised, was the column and wall between the ‘Great Room’ and the ‘Flex / Opt. Study’. Rather than having a column and walkway in between these two rooms, the original owner decided to pay to install a deeper beam to span this opening rather than placing the column. By making this change, it opens up these rooms so much more where you could either treat these two rooms as a single room or treat them as two separate rooms and allows for more flexibility.
Adding in Medicine Cabinets in All the First-Floor Bathrooms
This may seem like a very minor addition, but it has come in really clutch, especially in our bathroom. We have a double vanity, and not very much counter space in between the two sinks, so each of us having a medicine cabinet to keep all of our supplies, has been great. The positives of adding it when the house was built rather than later, is that the medicine cabinets match the vanity cabinets perfectly. Of course you could add them later and they still match the vanity cabinets, but having all of the cabinets come together in one package really saves time and money and they provide so much storage.
Adding a Restroom on the Second Level
According to the floor plans from the builder, it isn’t even an option to add a restroom to the second floor, but we are so glad they did. Our ultimate plan is to create a 4th bedroom on the second level and turn the bathroom upstairs into a full bath (adding a shower / tub) one day and the fact that there is already plumbing for a bathroom is such a savings. It is much cheaper to do something like plumbing when the house is being built rather than to route plumbing to the second floor after the house is complete.
Countertop Height with Extension
To me, when a countertop island is all the same level, it makes the kitchen feel more open and helps to connect the kitchen to other spaces. By the owners keeping the island the same level AND extending the island, people are actually able to sit at it. The space between the kitchen, dining room and great room feels cohesive and connected.
Double Vanity in the Guest Bathrom
Again, this goes back to the logic that it's cheaper to add plumbing when the house is being built rather than once construction is complete. The double vanity not only is going to be great when we start having children, but it has already come in handy just with having guests over. Each guest, and future children, are able to have their own designated area for use
As you exit the backdoor to our home, you are immediately protected by a 8’-0” x 8’-0” covered patio, which was a modification that was added by the original owner. If this modification wasn’t added, the builder standard would have been a non-covered 3’-0 x 3’-0” concrete pad outside the back door. By adding this covered patio, the elevation of the back of the home has so much depth and personality and we are able to utilize this outdoor space more often since it is covered.
Leaving the Second Floor Entirely Open
There were several options that the original owner could have made to the second level which included leaving this level entirely open, creating a 4th bedroom or even creating (2) bedrooms on this level (a 4th and a 5th bedroom). They chose to leave it open and this choice fits so well with our current lifestyle. Travis is able to have his area on the second level and I’m able to have mine. For right now, this layout works with our lifestyle, but as I mentioned in one of the previous paragraphs, we would like to add a 4th bedroom to the home on this level later down the road.
Adding in the 'Gourmet Kitchen' Option
Our home builders definition of a ‘Gourmet Kitchen’ is adding a double oven, which we are in no way complaining about. This has truly been a game changer when we have entertained and even cooking for ourselves. We are able to be more efficient and our meals are not limited by only having one oven. It definitely feels like one of those adult upgrades to feel like "you've made it".