Building Our Forever Home Regrets

Sarah Baeumler January 31, 2017 58 Comments

Anyone who has built, designed or created anything in their lives will understand the beauty and the quandary of retrospect. Looking back on a completed job can leave you noticing the things that didn't work out, or the choices that were contentious. Often there are things that I wish had turned out differently, or designs that had to be changed which I wish could have worked out. I never reflect on a finished project with regret, but I from time to time I do regret other aspects of the process.

I have always seen regret in terms of how Michael Curtiz described it "The only things you regret are the things you don't do." And that is how I often look back on projects. When planning and executing a big project like building your forever home, there are numerous decisions and issues that have to be solved. Many are out of your control and more are unexpected, and these can change plans, designs and dreams. Many times an idea of mine has to be altered through practical necessity and building restraints. I can deal with these changes, I have been involved in a number of these projects now and can move past them quite easily. You have to be adaptable when building anything, and I am getting better and better at that.

However, I still have regrets.

These regrets aren't of the design plans that were thwarted by various stumbling blocks, they are regrets of the design ideas that I didn't share. Sometimes an idea can seem too far-fetched, too incredible that you keep them within to save face or ridicule from others around you. This doesn't happen too often for me, and the ideas that I do share are often supported by those around me, but I do regret not sharing some of my ideas or for disregarding them too early.

The creative process is full of error and oversights, that is the journey of so many great ideas. Nothing can be planned in such depth that it can account for every variable, the beauty in creating is that the end result is not always what you planned. Therefore, there is no need to worry about what 'crazy' ideas you may have, maybe that will be the one idea that leads you down a completely different path, one unexplored and unappreciated.

When looking at my home now after so many years of planning, designing, redesigning and so on, I don't regret the choices I made. I don't regret the addition of some 'controversial chandeliers' or some 'stark wallpaper choices', I actually regret not taking risky choices like this more often. These decor picks display a piece of me and my family, they offer an insight into our world and whether that brings ridicule or not, it really doesn't matter. We all need to be brave enough to say what we think, to break the mould and to put ourselves in risky situations (as long as it doesn't potentially harm or hurt another being) because if we don't, they will be the things we regret when we reflect on a project, or our life as a whole.

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Comment by: Bonnie Benson on 2/24/2017 2:04:46 PM

You have an incredible eye and your banter on the TV series cracks me up. Thank you for being brilliant & funny! I enjoy learning things through the variety of TV series you & Bryan are apart of! If only you could fix my house in Manitoba!

Comment by: Steph on 2/15/2017 7:39:24 AM

Wow people are mean! Sarah I'm a big the dynamic you and Brian share. I can appreciate how you have transitioned from design lover and novice ( I've been watching you guys since the first, so I hope you get what i mean) to actually becoming more skilled and technical in design and the creative process and taking it a next step further to enroll in design school ( I believe i read that post much earlier in 2016, hope your still going for it). Anyways I was compelled to write here after I saw all these negative reviews...seriously people need to live their own lives. I GET IT when it comes to your thoughts on regret, trusting your gut is paramount and sometimes it's necessary to take that leap of faith otherwise hence the regret! I'm so curious as to what you guys have planned next on HGTV, good luck with whatever it is! As for the trolls I tend to stay off social media, because I know the hate out there is real!

Comment by: Megan on 2/14/2017 2:40:53 PM

Where are your kitchen cabinet drawer pulls from? I'm looking for the same thing but in chrome with no luck.

Thank you

Comment by: Kelli on 2/3/2017 11:31:30 AM

Hi Sarah,
It's unfortunate that some readers have missed your point, which is simply to take risks, step outside of your box and live with no regrets. Maybe the title of your post was a bit misleading in that people were anxiously expecting you to describe actual details of your house that you regret choosing.
I'm a fan of both you and Bryan and think that you manage to balance a life of family, hard work, lots of play, and gratitude. Unfortunately criticism comes with the territory, which you also manage with grace. Keep doing what you're doing!

Comment by: on 2/2/2017 5:54:38 PM

I think that Sarah should be a bit more thankful for THE VERY NICE LIFESTYLE she has. I doubt she has gone to a homeless shelter or women's shelter recently....or a hospital with Vets missing arms/legs! Sorry My dear you live in your own little fairytale you've created. Youll eventually have to venture out into THE REAL WORLD SOONER OR LATER! Be thankful for all you have and be gracious not always wanting more!

Comment by: Leah on 2/2/2017 12:14:26 AM

So I read these negative comments I feel compelled to say I get your point. The point I believe is to believe in yourself and your ideas. Do not hesitate to express yourself even if others don't get it. Make your environment what you want cause at the end of the day you live with your decisions. I liked your article Sarah. Hey if your looking at a room where your not quite happy cause you didn't speak up just get that Bryan guy to renovate it.

Comment by: Teresa on 2/1/2017 7:59:50 PM

Are all of your regrets in the pictures. As I would be regretting those choices too.

Comment by: Valentine on 2/1/2017 2:40:39 PM

Far too negative for me. Not much positive, graciousness, thankfulness in the article. Far too many words such as didn't, don't, doesn't, can't. Many words starting with 'un'. Maybe that was the whole point of the article and I missed it or I find it hard to believe that someone who seems to have so much can be so negative.

Comment by: Aly on 2/1/2017 1:32:08 PM

You didn't specify what you regret???

Comment by: Aly on 2/1/2017 1:32:02 PM

You didn't specify what you regret???

Comment by: Lesster on 2/1/2017 5:38:37 AM

Ditto .... useless post, no actual insight or info, ended before it began. Was this just a bad dream?

Comment by: Brian on 1/31/2017 11:58:05 PM

What was the point of this? It was awful wast of time post about NOTHING!!!

Comment by: Brian on 1/31/2017 11:58:03 PM

What was the point of this? It was awful wast of time post about NOTHING!!!

Comment by: Kelly Newbury, Grande Prairie AB on 1/31/2017 11:12:21 PM

My husband also builds homes and it was delightful to have the chance to build our own custom house AGAIN. A chance to "tweak" the floorplan and design after living in it. Though, we both agree that the third build would be the charm...think you're up to doing House of Bryan 2 &3?! Lol
We'd watch for sure ;)

Comment by: Colleen G on 1/31/2017 10:34:00 PM

Thought I'd actually learn something... as in don't repeate my designe regrets. Ummmm?? What was this?

Comment by: Adrian on 1/31/2017 10:23:40 PM

This post was a total waste of my time.

Comment by: Jackie on 1/31/2017 9:56:26 PM

First, I want to say how much I commend you for having to deal with Bryan :P

Second, my husband and I are starting to the process of floor plans and designing for our first and forever home since we are building rurally, would love to know some of your actual regrets and design decisions you wish you would have made.

Also maybe some tips and tricks for the design process for us newbies!

Thank you!'


Comment by: Tara on 1/31/2017 9:54:48 PM

I'm not too sure what the purpose of your blog is. It's very impersonal and doesn't even provide much depth to it. Every post is just full of fluff. You probably have great topic ideas, but what's actually written needs to be thought through to capture readers. Your IG has become the same too. Very impersonal and just mirrors your blog.

Comment by: Jr on 1/31/2017 9:42:10 PM

Agreed. I kept scrolling for more of the article. Very oddly structured.

Comment by: Alicia on 1/31/2017 9:34:10 PM

I agree with some of the others, was hoping for more specific examples of when or where in your home you wish you had taken a risk. I felt like I read the intro to an article and was surprised that it was finished.

Comment by: Meaghan on 1/31/2017 8:41:04 PM

In university they teach you in writing an essay to include an introduction paragraph, middle section, and conclusion paragraph. This article is nothing more than five introduction paragraphs.

Comment by: Lynn on 1/31/2017 8:17:13 PM

I agree with some of the earlier comments about the article lacking depth. Sorry! Title lead you to believe there would be more to the article than a few generic platitudes. Please consider "digging deeper" in your articles!

Comment by: Katie on 1/31/2017 8:16:00 PM

All her posts are so short , blase and impersonal. Check out Jillian Harris's blog, way better!!!

Comment by: Mom on 1/31/2017 7:39:16 PM

Very misleading title. This article is not only redundant, but lacking details that are necessary to understanding the topic fully. Should have included specific examples, as they would be very helpful in providing clarity of your topic.

Comment by: Debbies21 on 1/31/2017 5:23:12 PM

Maybe regrets are financial you would have done something different but you couldn't stretch your budget or maybe you couldn't express what you wanted to the person that had to do the work. But I have to say I love your 'cabin' in the woods. I would use in a heartbeat

Comment by: Vanessa on 1/31/2017 3:38:32 PM

Thank you for sharing! My husband is building our home right now and I have been holding back because of things you shared, ridicule and not feeling like I 'know enough of the process'. I think I will take more brave steps because I already feel some regret in not planting my foot down more often in the design of a few rooms and needed additions.

Comment by: Steff on 1/31/2017 2:24:29 PM

Great intro...but still lacking the risk taking. Where is the sharing of the specific risky and exciting ideas? This article could have been about anything - it's relatable, but a bit bland. It would have been great to hear specifics, who know what kind of design innovations they could still inspire?

Comment by: Linda Wilson-Holmes on 1/31/2017 12:55:55 PM

Wonderful article. To me reno's are so stressful and I always question my decisions. After having completed our bedroom and backyard designs, we are cautiously focusing on our living/dining/kitchen designs. Our home is 100 years old with many unique features but it terrifies me to take the risk in the transformations I am leaning towards! You have inspired me! Now can you come and hold my hand?

Comment by: Colleen O'Neill - on 1/31/2017 12:13:54 PM

Great to see some of the finished areas and they are a reflection of your personality for sure...we have involved ourselves in a minute scale of the same - only created very basic, rustic home and I have loved tearing off cupboard doors to create my own look in the kitchen - filled with gifts and memories. Home is how it feels and you have created a home filled with twinkling possibilities for your family...blessings in 2017.

Comment by: Janis on 1/31/2017 11:43:21 AM

Sarah, Twice my positive comments got deleted! 🤷🏼‍♀️ I think God is trying to tell me something. 💞You are an amazing lady and I appreciate all you do for others. Thank you. 🙏

Comment by: on 1/31/2017 11:18:24 AM

The beauty is particularly when do my own homes I will also second guess or have some regrets

I always stay in the neutral zone with core pieces have have fun with wallpapers
Art and small decor pieces
That way I can shop more lol

My clients on the other hand I've found to make design decisions for them a far easier process
I guess it's just the nature of the beast

Comment by: on 1/31/2017 11:18:21 AM

The beauty is particularly when do my own homes I will also second guess or have some regrets

I always stay in the neutral zone with core pieces have have fun with wallpapers
Art and small decor pieces
That way I can shop more lol

My clients on the other hand I've found to make design decisions for them a far easier process
I guess it's just the nature of the beast

Comment by: Bailie on 1/31/2017 11:16:59 AM

Good post! Some really great points made! I do wish there were examples of some 'regrets' or things you wished you would have done on your home.

Comment by: Ami on 1/31/2017 11:08:45 AM

I couldnt agree more. In a time where we raise our kids to become independent and strong I find as adults we still stay within the safe boarders that society places upon us. Standing outside of those boarders usually comes with some kind of comment that makes us reevaluate our first thought. Becoming strong enough to stay focused on what was once originally planned is a huge accomplishment in a world that is so ready to tear it down. Keep continuing to follow what makes you happy and let the others judge from behind their private lives. You will be the one smiling at the end of the day!!!! Adapting this to my own life has been my biggest challenge, although one of the most rewarding as well.

Comment by: Claire on 1/31/2017 11:07:06 AM

Hi Sarah,

Great read, however would you be able to specify some of the actual aspects or designs of your home that you have regrets about? Or would have done differently? By your title, it seemed as though you were going to explain different changes you would have made, but didn't specify anything.

Comment by: DesignMom on 1/31/2017 10:21:48 AM

I agree with Soph. I believe this topic has more depth & insight to offer. After doing a couple projects, regret (to me) is just a part of the learning and growing process with projects-as with motherhood. Simply defending the choices decisions we make doesn't show the deeper picture how we grow-or our true 'regrets' which is natural and just a part of process.
Maybe the word isn't so much regret as it is different choices we'd make in hindsight or what I've learned and would do differently?
Just to understand your written piece Sarah, so are you saying the goal is to have no regrets?
To me with every project there are things I would do differently and that's what makes us grow and evolve. And even knowing that I would do it differently it's still OK to live with the choices we make, we still did the best we could.

Comment by: Cara on 1/31/2017 10:16:56 AM

Two thumbs up Sarah!

Comment by: Angelina on 1/31/2017 10:05:25 AM

I couldn't agree more! I've often been questioned or laughed at for certain design choices in my home. I too love wallpaper, colorful paint choices and have done several things during our renovations that people commented on. Now that it's complete I hear everyone's praise. I cannot imagine if I hadn't don't what I wanted. The way I see it is that paint and wallpaper can always be changed. I regret a couple of layout choices we made in our master suite and unfortunately that's too difficult to change but live and learn I guess. My husband and I enjoy watching you and Bryan and I absolutely love your design work. You have a beautiful home!

Comment by: Dianne on 1/31/2017 9:56:53 AM

Did you give thought to how you are going to maintain, and keep it clean when you get older? People seem to build big huge homes, with no thought of what would happen when you are older or confined to a wheelchair. Stairs are too much for arthritic legs. Life happens.

Comment by: Soph on 1/31/2017 9:49:01 AM

Would have loved to read specifics to make this post easier to relate to

Comment by: Leah on 1/31/2017 9:48:36 AM

Love this thank you! I am currently taking a desig course and feel this will come in handy - your work is beautiful!

Comment by: John Lennox / Hamilton Ont on 1/31/2017 9:48:31 AM

Regrets aside, the project was amazing to watch from start to finish , and the end product was an absolutely stunning home. Love watching and following you and Bryan. :-)

Comment by: Ana on 1/31/2017 9:44:41 AM

Love this!! You are so right!!