Part of the fun of buying a new house is picking out all the finishes and upgrades. We did that last week.
Some of the things on the upgrade list were unbelievable though. If you want a pullout garbage in your kitchen? The builder will charge you $600.00 to do it. That's right. Six hundred dollars. For just the garbage container (recycling and compost are EXTRA) The same ones you can buy from Home Depot or wherever for $60 are six hundred dollars. We decided to pass on that option.
We had $5000 in upgrades that come with the house, and since we're buying an inventory house (ie partially built already) it already comes with big basement windows, a door from the house to the garage and a few other things.
We upgraded a couple of little things, but the only thing we ended up getting on top of the 5k upgrades was a heat recovery ventilation system, which, from what I've read should make the house lots more energy efficient and keep fresh air flowing through the house and make it more efficient to heat and cool. It's one of the things you need to have your house labeled energy star, and I there are usually rebates for installing them so we got one. It's supposed to dramatically improve air circulation in the house. We also got low E argon filled windows which should also help the energy efficiency of the new house. We'll do other energy efficiency upgrades like better (and more) insulation and a programmable thermostat when we move in (a programmable thermostat from the builder costs $300, whereas us doing it costs $20 when they're on sale). We just got their "standard" fawcets and light fixtures, knowing that it'll be thousands cheaper to upgrade them on our own schedule and our own time.
We were supposed to have two appointments at the decor centre - one to pick out structural upgrades and another to pick out finishes for the house. When we asked about combining them into just the one appointment the lady at the decor centre thought we were nuts and suggested it couldn't be done. After some haggling on our part she said that once we had gone through the structural upgrades if there was still time left we could pick out decor stuff like cabinets, tile etc. She said it in a tone like we were mental institution patients, and that it would be nearly impossible to have that happen, but, in order to appease us she threw us that bone, knowing it would never happen and it was stupid of us to ask about getting it done all at once.
We breezed through where we wanted the plugs and the extra capped fixtures (rather than spending $190 PER pot light, we'll install our own) and were done all the possible structural upgrades within an hour of our 4 hour appointment.
It took us about an hour after that to pick out kitchen cabinets, counter, tile, grout, carpeting, and fixtures and tiles for 3 bathrooms, the foyer, and the rest of the house.
The biggest dilemma, though, came when we had to pick out the paint colour for the walls. We had three options and man was it hard to pick. There were three vastly different shades. Thank heavens the trend has been to move away from builder's beige.
Apparenlty now it's all Builder's White. You'll all be relieved, I'm sure that after hours of arguing that threatened the health of our marriage and many tears shed (the lady nearly threw us out and twice threatened to call the police) that we picked birch white as the wall colour. She said they were all different but I bet that after we left she took the sticker off the "warm grey" sample and swapped it with "cameo white" and probably has a ton of fun doing that to everyone who walks through. I see many painting parties in our future to de-boring the walls.
Sadly, the house still just looks like a foundation with some wood on top, except with less snow than in this picture. Perhaps though it's like a watched pot and me driving by is making it not boil?