From a renovation standpoint, we aren’t completely finished with this house. We have another bathroom to tackle. The garage is a mess. We’d love to do more outside: new driveway, more landscaping, a small kitchen garden, new garage door and mailbox upgrade. Among other things. But the light at the end of the tunnel is getting a little closer and brighter every day. It feels good.
Still, we can’t help thinking about the things we would have done differently knowing what we know now. Fortunately, there aren’t too many things we would change if we had the chance to do it all over. Can you guess our biggest renovation regret?
It has something to do with this room.
Okay. I’ll tell you.
We wish we would have installed radiant floor heating under the tile in the mudroom / dining room / laundry room.
At the time, we were feeling the pressure to finish things up so we could move out of our interim apartment and into the house before our third baby was born. We seriously considered installing an electric radiant floor heating system in this room but, in our haste, decided against it. HUGE REGRET.
We didn’t move into the house until baby #3 was two months old so taking the extra time to install this upgrade wouldn’t have been that big of a deal in the whole scheme of things. If you’ve ever survived a full-on renovation, you are probably familiar with the pressure to get things done in a timely manner. Every added project pushes subsequent projects out on the already lengthened schedule. Sometimes you make decisions in the heat of the moment that aren’t the best decisions long-term. Choosing to forego radiant heating in the mudroom was one of those decisions for us.
The wall on the left is a cinder block wall. On the other side of it is the original garage. It’s one of the few walls we didn’t insulate during renovation. Thus, on cold days the tile in here is frigid. Seeing as how this winter is one that will go down in history (crazy cold, tons of snow), we are realizing the consequences of our hasty renovation decision for sure. Our piggies are freezing whenever we step (bare)foot in this room!
I guess if you want to look on the bright side, the cool tile feels refreshing in the summer?
We’ve resorted to using a small space heater in the room when we spend longer periods of time eating meals or playing board games at the table. It’s actually a very affordable, effective lil’ heater with many nice features (remote control, programmable thermostat, timer, oscillation, small footprint, overheat protection, etc.) and if you’re in the market for one, we’d highly recommend it. It’s quiet and heats the room quickly and evenly. But, of course, radiant heating would have been the better solution here.
Yeah, we’re kicking ourselves.
One thing we don’t regret is the tile floor. From a design standpoint, I was on the fence about using tile in this room. We have engineered hardwood throughout the rest of the house and I was afraid that having a tiled room (besides the bathrooms) would look out of place or feel less cohesive. But I can’t imagine having anything else.
We normally enter / exit through this room and it’s a dumping ground for shoes, coats and bags. It sees the bulk of dirt, mud and snow that our house is privy to. The travertine is the perfect “dirt” color and super easy to clean. The light gray grout still looks new two years later. No regrets there.
Keepin’ it real so you can fully appreciate how hard this tile works…
…complete with tennis shoes, un-hung coats, un-zipped backpacks, laundry in-progress and library books stacked in the laundry nook waiting to be returned. #lifewithkids
So there you go. Our biggest renovation regret. Maybe you can learn from our mistake. We have. Next time (ha!), we’ll install radiant floor heating. Or we’ll move to New Zealand.
What is your #1 renovation or home improvement regret?
images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking