Hindsight, You Wonderful Thing!

Hindsight; “the ability to understand, after something has happened, why or how it was done and how it might have been done better” (Cambridge Dictionary, 2019). Through experience we gain hindsight, together with knowledge, so we can make better decisions and choices in the future.

With a build project such as ours, there has been a lot of conversations around hindsight. We have after all, made some good decisions and some not so good ones…!

In this blogpost I have pulled together a list of 10 aspects that I am glad we did at the house and a further 10 that I am not so glad about and would do differently if we were to do it all again.

10 aspects I’m glad we did:

1. Underfloor heating – it’s a big expense but so worth it. I would advise anyone who is laying stone floors to have underfloor heating as tiles can be extremely cold without it. With no need for radiators, it means our walls are much freer which allows for easier placement of furniture.

2. Hot tap – Absolutely love it! It’s a space saver, it is easy to use and extremely efficient.

3. Exposed brick feature wall – so pleased we added this to the open plan space. It breaks up the Wimborne White walls and adds colour, warmth and texture to the room. I chose our reclaimed bricks from the London Reclaimed Brick Merchants in Buckinghamshire.

4. Bespoke painted MDF carpentry in the lounge and playroom. They say a carpenter can work wonders to a space (well, I may have made this one up..!) – but I couldn’t agree more! Fitted furniture can transform a room, not only aesthetically but also functionally.

5. Garden speakers – and why not?! We enjoy our music so when we have a BBQ on the decking we can listen to the tunes we love. I bought our 2 speakers off Amazon and they were fairly reasonable in price.

6. Sliding glass doors as opposed to bi-folds. This was a big decision for us as it was one of our most costly design choices but we have not once regretted the decision. We love the big glass panes and minimal amount of metal frames on show.

7. Contrasting kitchen island colour – a small decision but one that has had a big impact on the space. The island stands proud in the colour Hague Blue versus Cornforth White and forms the backbone to my colour palette for the room.

8. Built-in coat cupboard with internal light sensor. We used a recessed space to fit a coat rail and added two doors to create a cloakroom. The internal light sensor is a lovely touch to make the space feel high-end.

9. I am so pleased we went with RAL colour 7037 for the windows and doors. Our doors and windows were made out of wood and by a company Poland. I chose white for the internal paint colour and RAL 7037 for the external paint colour.

10. External up-lights on a dust to dawn sensor at the front of the house. It makes such a difference in the winter when you come home and the house is lit. It really welcomes you home.

 10 aspects I would do differently:

  1. Put more money aside for my sanitaryware, in particular the bath. I wish I had opted for a stone bath as opposed to an acrylic one.
  2. Straight edged sinks with hidden wastes are not the easiest to clean! I think I would select slightly different ones next time.
  3. Opt for warm LED recessed bulbs as opposed to bright white ones.
  4. More wall lights. I only put wall lights in my bedroom and I wish I had put more in and around the house. Wall lights are great for mood lighting and for adding interesting detailing.
  5. Opt for a freestanding washing machine/tumble dryer as the doors on our integrated ones make so much noise when the machines are on.
  6. More external up-lighters in the garden – well, you just can’t ever have enough!
  7. Lighting (LED strip lights) within the insides of my pantry and larder units as it’s so difficult to see inside them when it’s dark. Finding the right spice jar can be really tricky!
  8. Have kitchen dresser doors that open and slide into the units as we are forever banging them.
  9. Built in bench, coat hooks and tongue & groove panelling in the utility room. We took this off the list due to costs but I wished we had kept it in. (Although, we can still do it of course)
  10. Wood decking. Never again! Too much work and I really wish we had gone with a wood effect but the money ran out towards the end and we simply couldn’t afford it.

I hope you found this interesting? Let me know if there are any questions you my have surrounding our build project as I would be more than happy to answer them.

Thanks for reading,

SJ x



  1. Susie
    October 14, 2019 / 8:18 pm

    Thank you there area some great points there. We are just going for planning on a renovation project.

    Quick question: what material are your windows? We’ve currently got timber and they’ve been expensive to maintain but I’m torn.

    Thanks Susie

    • Nicola
      October 16, 2019 / 8:01 pm

      And what was the name of the company in Poland that you used for the windows?

        • Nicola
          January 8, 2020 / 10:05 pm

          Did you visit in Poland yourself or do the window manufacturers have a UK base? Thanks!

          • justalittlebuild
            January 8, 2020 / 10:37 pm

            My builders use them regularly so I saw finished houses with the windows in x

  2. October 14, 2019 / 8:23 pm

    Really interesting and also reassuring, we’ve gone for a brick slip feature wall, sliding doors and the hot Quuoker tap – its amazing, the thought of boiling a kettle now seems nonsense! Thanks for sharing your learnings here.

  3. Marie Cribbin
    October 14, 2019 / 8:43 pm

    Thanks for sharing , very honest . Your house is amazing by the way 👍

    • justalittlebuild
      October 14, 2019 / 8:48 pm

      Thank you!

      • Karen Gibbs
        October 15, 2019 / 8:47 pm

        The honesty is the best touch. You don’t always hear the bits to avoid.

  4. Lisa Rooney
    October 14, 2019 / 8:50 pm

    Really enjoyed reading this.
    Thanks for sharing

  5. Clare
    October 14, 2019 / 9:02 pm

    We are in the middle of a building site right now but I’ve got the wall lights. Seriously considering brick slips on one part of a wall again to break up the white wall I will have. I have also gone for a triple slider go similar reasons and the dog. Didn’t want to be opening a door all the time! Contrasting island colour. I just can’t wait for it to be finished! You e helped greatly with some of my decisions!

    • justalittlebuild
      October 14, 2019 / 9:17 pm

      This is great to read! Sounds like we are very similar!

  6. Emily Malia
    October 14, 2019 / 9:02 pm

    Really useful list- thank you. We’ve done a few house renovations now and every time we look back and wish we’d done a few things differently. I’m definitely adding a hot water tap to my Xmas list!

    • justalittlebuild
      October 14, 2019 / 9:17 pm

      Yes, there will always be something!!

  7. Zoe guest
    October 14, 2019 / 9:05 pm

    Completely in love with your house, every room is stunning! Are you going to do a blog post on girls rooms? Would love your ideas for a pink room that suits a 2 year old but will last her years after too! Xx

    • justalittlebuild
      October 14, 2019 / 9:18 pm

      I did actually start to write one and ended up stopping! I might just pick this back up now you’ve mentioned it! X

  8. Cynthia Carswell
    October 14, 2019 / 9:17 pm

    We are planning an extension and some of your thoughts will help us.

  9. October 14, 2019 / 9:25 pm

    Garden speakers are such a fab idea! Xx

  10. Lorraine Craw
    October 14, 2019 / 9:36 pm

    Gorgeous home and interesting to hear what you would change in future. Love the colour palette

  11. October 14, 2019 / 9:49 pm

    This is great thanks SJ! We have started on our loft and kitchen extension (as well as a general entire house overhaul) so all insider info like this is invaluable. Especially as we are first timers at it! However exposed brick in the kitchen was a must for me too. I’ve also started a blog, just to keep a diary of what we are doing. It’ll be lovely to be able to look back on once it is all (eventually) done. Love following your Instagram, you’re house is just beautiful!
    Gemma x
    Instagram – @house_to_home_diary
    Blog – http://www.housetohomediary.com

    • justalittlebuild
      October 14, 2019 / 9:51 pm

      I’ve just started to follow you! Really looking forward to seeing your project!

  12. Steph
    October 14, 2019 / 9:55 pm

    So great to read what you would have done differently! Love your home & your kitchen is my inspiration for our new build. How do you find having two single ovens? I’m trying to decide on two singles or two doubles (which I’m convincing myself I need for a large family christmas dinner once a year!)

    • justalittlebuild
      October 14, 2019 / 9:56 pm

      Definitely only need two single ovens! Rarely use both in fact. I only do for big dinner parties or family get togethers. Xx

      • Steph
        October 14, 2019 / 10:02 pm

        Thanks so much SJ, decision made!

  13. Jackie Helliwell
    October 14, 2019 / 10:01 pm

    Interesting to hear there are things you would have done differently, but with such a big project I guess that’s inevitable. You have such a lovely house, it’s a credit to you. Trying to decide what to have, and make sure it’s the right decision is so hard. We pulled down our large conservatory last October and had a single storey extension built in its place with a tiled roof; it’s just a box compared to your build, but it caused us so much stress, and cost so much. We too had full width, slim profile, metal sliding doors, best thing we did in the project, so pleased with them, but absolutely everyone said “why you not having bi-folds”!

  14. Marianna
    October 14, 2019 / 10:03 pm

    Really appreciate reading this particular blog post.. very informative! I was wondering if you could expand on the point about stone vs resin bath tub. I’ve googled it but I seem to find info on stone resin vs acrylic. I’m not sure what you mean and could you mention the pros or cons why you should have done it differently? Much appreciated!

    • justalittlebuild
      October 15, 2019 / 9:03 pm

      I should have put acrylic (Sorry!)

  15. Jo
    October 14, 2019 / 10:26 pm

    Great to read this, thank you! Just wondering if you have any regrets on having the hob on the island? That it what I was planning but our architect is trying to push us to have the sink on the island & the hob against the wall, interested to hear your thoughts.

    • October 15, 2019 / 11:12 am

      From my experience, a hob in the island is nicer. It’s more social when cooking and you can face and interact with your family or guests. With a sink against the wall, it’s easier to hide washing up when entertaining too 🙂

  16. October 14, 2019 / 10:26 pm

    Such great tips for when we eventually do a house build! Have you thought about the Hue strip lights for your pantry? Then you can buy a sensor too so they strip lights automatically come on when you walk in. We lay these inside out shelves to make up lights x

  17. Vicki
    October 14, 2019 / 10:42 pm

    I’m in awe of your house. So beautiful. Thanks for sharing x

  18. Sarah-Jayne Goodrich
    October 15, 2019 / 9:51 am

    Oh hindsight! Yes!! Ditto. In 2 years now in our self build. Making decisions before living in the space, hasty choices, over spec-ING. Its just so hard to get it all right. Overall it works really well and I’m delighted with the outcome but have learnt a lot.

    The good:-

    Quooker ( just do it- you will never look back!)
    2 single hide n slide ovens.
    Large pantry with second under counter fridge – great for drinks/ entertaining fridge storage.
    Big utility boot area with lots of built in storage
    Laundry chute (yes yes yes!)
    Integral garage–love the ease of access. Gives us a wee gym space, and the loft above is a playroom accessed from first floor.

    The not so good/ learning points:-

    Lighting–pendants vs spotlights ( I debate the pros/ cons endlessly) . I opted for more pendants in this house but it looks cluttered now. Also I installed too many PIR sensors in shared spaces like jack and Jill ensuite which is actually a bit of a pain now!

    Trad patio doors–would def get different openings.

    Too big utility at cost of downstairs lounge. Mostly lounge feels small because it functions as a music room too. Should have either made lounge bigger or had a downstairs music room.

    Not enough wall space–the open plan dilemma. Plus wall lights limits useful available walls

  19. Julie
    October 15, 2019 / 7:56 pm

    Great blog and thank you for sharing as we too did a big renovation 5 years ago and occasionally I wish I’d done the odd thing differently, so it’s nice to know that I’m not the only one x

  20. Kelly
    October 18, 2019 / 7:17 pm

    Such an interesting read! We don’t have plans to renovate but in just adding/replacing things around the house, always wondering what’s the best use of the money 😊

  21. Kate
    October 30, 2019 / 6:48 pm

    I was wondering, I know you previously said you regretted installing marble floor tiles in the kitchen due to an orange juice spillage, do you still feel the same? Have there been more accidents like this? I’m agonising over what to put in my new kitchen, love love love marble but worried I’ll live to regret it?!

  22. Emma
    November 29, 2019 / 8:03 pm

    Really interesting read as we are about to do our kitchen with Tom Howley. Love the look of the island and the colour! Did you find an option for the kitchen dresser doors that slide into the unit? I haven’t seen anyone do them.

  23. Julie
    January 18, 2020 / 10:35 pm

    We are too just about to start our self build…. you have massively helped, our kitchen is practically the same as yours and just wondered….. is there a reason why you did two thirds of the end wall with reclaimed bricks and not the whole length?
    Was it just so it was less harsh?
    FABULOUS HOUSE by the way xx

    • justalittlebuild
      January 19, 2020 / 9:09 am

      Thanks for your lovely words! The wall actually stepped back due to the projection of the chimney breast which is why we had space to fill with the reclaimed brick.

  24. Kelly
    January 22, 2020 / 11:05 pm

    Your house is beautiful! We are about to start an extension, which will include a kitchen/diner/sitting area. Could you please share your area’s dimensions? It’s very hard to imagine what ours will be like so would be interesting to compare sizes and see what we could fit in!

    • justalittlebuild
      January 23, 2020 / 7:47 am

      Hi, it’s roughly 10m in length by 5m depth with an extra 1m of depth in the kitchen area.

  25. Emma Quigley
    January 28, 2020 / 9:28 pm

    I have only just found you. Your kitchen/diner/lounge is my inspiration! Thanks for the top 10s, great to get me thinking. Also, where did you get your front door?

    • justalittlebuild
      February 18, 2020 / 10:59 am

      Thanks! We actually bought our door from the same company that we sourced the windows from. They are based in Poland x

  26. Wendy
    June 5, 2020 / 11:29 am

    Your house and garden look lovely, I’m really in awe and appreciating the inspiration!! I have a red brick house and are having window frame colour dilemmas – what colour grey have you used for your windows? Also, how have you managed your extraction for your island hob? Any suggestions appreciated! I can only hope that my house looks as lovely as yours when we’re finished.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Enter your email address to subscribe to my blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

%d bloggers like this: