hey friend, 

get to know me

I'm Carrie Barker.

I'm here to simplify the home build planning and design process so that YOU feel equipped to confidently build your dream home without regrets and without blowing your budget!

home build planning

Browse home build tips

Floor plan creation

home build budget

design finishes

get the freebie!

home decor

Browse design tips

design finishes

Follow along:

Home Build prep guide



4 Things I Would Change if I Built my Home Again

Published on:


written by:

Carrie Barker


Over the years, one of the most common questions readers and students have asked me is what I would change if I built my home again.

Honestly, there isn’t much I would change about my house (even after 9+ years of living in it), but you’re here because you want to learn from others’ regrets after building so that you don’t make the same ‘mistakes’. 

So I’m sharing my short list of what I would change if I were to build again and my hope is that something on this list will help you as you prepare to build your own dream home.



Not only am I sharing four things I would change if I built my home again, but I’m also sharing four of my absolute favorite things about my house because I don’t want to just share the negatives :).

Hopefully, both of these lists will inspire you as you create and design your own dream home.


First of all, I can’t stress enough how happy I am with my home. 

Obviously, design trends change over time and I would probably design my home a little differently, but I’m not lying when I say that I still love my home almost ten years after building it. 

However, there are four pretty big things that I would change if I were to build this house again. 

These have nothing to do with actual design materials and selections (although I might change those a little bit) … these are all structural changes that I would make to my floor plan.

None of these changes are necessary because I’ve been perfectly happy with my home layout. They’re just things I’ve added to my running list of what I want to do differently in my next home. 

Psst … If you purchase my FLOOR PLAN, you CAN make all of these changes to the plan … and I will be SO envious of you and your home!

4 Things I Would Change if I built my house again


Ok, let’s get into it … 


The NUMBER ONE thing I would change if I built my home again is that I would have two separate primary closets. 

I even had this on my list of must-haves when creating my current floor plan, but for some reason, I didn’t do it and some days I kinda regret that decision.

My husband and I have always shared a closet; we each have our own side … but this just is NOT the same as having my own closet.

I dream about a beautiful closet with storage galore and gorgeous wallpaper … and most importantly, only my stuff messing up the closet. 

I will DEFINITELY do two primary closets in my next home :).


The second thing I would change is my kitchen island size.

I would LOVE a huge kitchen island to accommodate several people. 

My current island is 8’ x 4’ which isn’t terribly small … we can comfortably fit three people on the island, but I want to be able to fit at least my family of four (and we can’t do that … partially because of the stools I chose).

When I was creating my floor plan, I did consider enlarging the island. However, a larger island would have increased the square footage of my kitchen, and consequently increased the square footage of the second floor above my kitchen.

You have to remember that increasing square footage increases the cost of a home. 

Unfortunately, that large island didn’t fit into our budget BUT I will (hopefully) get that dream island in my next home.



The third thing I would change is my mudroom and laundry room layout.

Our current home has a combined mudroom and laundry room which seemed like a good idea when I created my floor plan. 

However, I don’t love it as much anymore because this is legit the hardest working room in our house. 

It’s always a disaster and it’s always full of a mixture of clean clothes on a drying rack, dirty clothes on top of the washing machine, shoes all over the floors, and backpacks and coats spilling out of the cubbies. It’s a mess!

So next time around, I will have a separate laundry room with plenty of dedicated space for our drying racks AND my future separate(!) mudroom will have plenty of closed cubbies to hide the mess.



The fourth thing I would change is adding windows in our ‘working’ rooms.

In addition to separating my laundry room and mudroom (in my future home), I would also add at least one window in each of these rooms, if possible.

I SO wish I had a window in my laundry room. I see many beautiful laundry rooms on Pinterest that are flooded with natural light. This would be amazing and maybe even make me enjoy doing laundry (haha … not really).

I also would love a window in my pantry and in my primary closet (or both primary closets in the future when I have those separate closets I dream about).

I did have the forethought to add windows in my girls’ bedroom closets but I have no idea why I didn’t think to include this in my own closet!


All right, we can’t talk about the negatives without talking about the positives. So here are four things I absolutely love about my floor plan and would never change.


The first thing I would not change is my small cozy home office.

This room was a MUST when creating my home! 

I wanted a cute little room that was all MINE … and it had to have a door to keep the noise out because my daughters were little (and loud) when we moved into our home back in 2013.

At that time, I didn’t have an online business and I had absolutely zero intention of ever starting a business.

This room started as my ‘Online Shopping Room’ (as my husband called it), but it has grown into so much more as I accidentally started and grew an online business helping people bring their dream homes to life.

Aside from the door (to drown out the noise), the best part of this room is the large window. I LOVE natural light pouring into the house and it doesn’t hurt to have a view of nature when I’m working.

The only thing I would add to this room is a little doggy door because my dog, Lulu, wants in and out of this room all day long :).



The second thing I love about my home is the abundance of natural light.

We did not skimp in the window department. 

I’m not saying that we bought super expensive windows … I just mean that we added as many windows as possible to really take advantage of natural light in our home.

Obviously, we added lots of windows in all of the main rooms of our home, but we also added three large picture windows in our stairway/foyer to allow for abundant light flowing into the foyer and the second-floor hall. 

Similarly, we added a large picture window in our basement stair landing as well as large above-ground windows in our basement to provide natural light. 

My suggestion … add as many windows to your home as your budget allows!



The third thing I would not change about my house is the ceiling height.

Now, let me start with a caveat … 

If I built this home again, I would add sloped ceilings on the second floor in my girls’ bedrooms and the teen room. However, I’m happy with what we have.

When we created our custom floor plan, we originally had a completely different floor plan that included a dramatic two-story family room. 

While I *used* to love the look of a two-story great room, I’m not a huge fan anymore and I’m SO happy we chose 10’ ceilings in our family room and main living areas. 

The 10’ ceilings make our home feel cozy, but not cramped at all.

Also, we had a lucky mistake happen with our second-floor ceilings.

Our second-level floor plan was drawn up incorrectly. It was supposed to have 8’ ceilings, but the draftsperson drew it with 9’ ceilings and our builder didn’t catch the error in time.

Soooo … we ended up with 9’ ceilings on our second floor and it feels much more spacious than 8’ ceilings. That extra foot of height really makes a difference :).

I highly recommend 9’ ceilings on the second floor.


The fourth thing that I love about my house isn’t technically part of the house, but it IS something I want you to think about if you have a similar lot as us.

We built our house on a corner lot so we had two options for how to position our home. We went back and forth (and back and forth again) on how we wanted to orient the house.

We live in a flat area of the Midwest and the views aren’t fabulous. However, we do have beautiful woods behind our home and we wanted to maximize this wooded view from our front door and our main living areas. 

I am SO glad we chose the house orientation really that maximized this view. If we had chosen to put our house in the other direction, we’d be looking at our neighbor’s (drab) vinyl siding on the (drab) side of their house. 


Well there you have it … four things I would change if I built my house again PLUS four things I would never change.

I hope that hearing what I would (and would NOT) change if I built my home again inspires you as you create your own custom home and floor plan.

If you want to dive deeper into really considering how to design the perfect floor plan for YOUR family’s needs, download a copy of my *FREE* Guided Floor Plan Creation Workbook. 

This awesome resource will walk you through 20 guided questions that will help you to *really* consider what is most (and least) important to you in your future home layout.

Psst … if you want step-by-step guidance in creating the perfect floor plan for your family (plus personalized feedback from me!), check out my ‘Create Your Perfect Floor Plan’ course.

  1. Joyce Fairley says:

    Hi Carrie,
    Love your helpful info and content. I was the GC for our home we built 20 years ago & getting ready to build again. A lot has changed in 20 years, primarily, materials, fixtures, styles, etc. If you are ever looking to hire someone to help with your business, I’d love to talk. I live in Quincy, IL, so we aren’t that far away. Could you share how your basement TV is hung/mounted/framed? I love look. Thanks! Joyce Fairley

  2. Eileen Ryan Gaines says:

    Thank you for a helpful and thought provoking article. We just built a new home and after 15 years of two separate closets, we’ll now have to share a large closet. Hmmm I’ll have to see how I adjust!

  3. Deanna Tymochko says:

    OK…I must know what kind of counter top you have in your kitchen? Is it Cambria Quartz in Montgomery?

    Also, where did you get those GORGEOUS island chairs? We have enough room at our island to accommodate 4 people and the chairs we have at our existing home, is just NOT comfortable. Your chairs look divinely comfortable.

    • Hi Deanna! My counters are LG Viatera Quartz. My kitchen island stools are from Restoration Hardware. However, I had the stools recovered after about 5 years of use so they are custom covered now. The stools are nearly 10 years old and have held up AMAZING!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I designed my own custom home from the ground up, inside and out. A home that is cozy, comfy, laid out perfectly for the way my family lives, and makes us happy every single day. Oh, and did I mention I did this all without blowing the budget?! 

Yep, it’s true. I’ve been there, done that, and actually lived through it … and you will too. Pinkie promise!

a.k.a. Caroline on Design

I’m Carrie Barker.

hey there,


Get My free  
Home Build Prep Guide

yes! I need this!