Five Upgrades You Should Consider When Building

To upgrade or not to upgrade, that is the question… But seriously, it’s an important question. When we began the process of building our home with Skogman Homes, upgrades and customizing were a huge part of our process. One of the major factors in deciding to build with them was the fact that we could customize our home to fit our taste and needs. I’m certain we would still be looking for a home if building with them was not an option. You hear a lot of people “poo poo” builder grade homes and features, but what a lot of people don’t realize is that you can customize and upgrade to your heart’s content to make your home fit your own personal style. Today I’m sharing five upgrades you should consider when building a home. The sky really is the limit, but they do an excellent job estimating the cost of each upgrade/customization along the way so that you can stay within budget. Unfortunately for me, I’m a “champagne taste, beer budget” kind of a gal and therefore had to really focus on where to allocate our resources. We have lived in our home for almost three years. I can’t even believe that as I type it. When I think about it, I have a lot of work to do in terms of decor. Three years later and I still have many blank walls. Well, that’s embarrassing…

I have given the subject of upgrades and customization a lot of thought. As I think about our home as a whole and the upgrades we put into it, I can honestly say that I do not regret a single one. Not one. Now, let’s get on to the fun stuff and why you’re reading this article!

*Thank you so much to Skogman Homes for sponsoring this post!*

#1: The Kitchen

Finding a white kitchen (in my budget) in the Cedar Rapids vicinity is the equivalent of finding a unicorn standing next to a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow on a lovely spring day. I’ve heard rumors it exists, but have never actually seen it in real time. I’ve read some debate lately on the white kitchen. Even some interior specialists claim the white kitchen is on its way out. I disagree. I believe white is classic and timeless. Not to mention, it has been in and out of kitchens since the 1920’s. Really what it boils down to is personal taste. I realize white is not for everyone, and that is totally ok! White, however, is definitely for me and brings me happiness every single day.

It’s also important to note that we spend a lot of time in our kitchen. My husband and I cook together, chat about our day and have dinner in our kitchen daily – so allocating resources to that part of the house was very important for me. I mentioned the white color already, but also worth mentioning: the exterior of our cabinets are actually a laminate – not painted wood. Therefore, they are incredibly easy to clean if we happen to splatter coffee or food on them. We also chose to extend our cabinets to the ceiling. I hate to clean hard to reach spaces and this gave us extra storage space for things like grandma’s dishes.

#2: The DeckGo big or go home, as they say! We asked Skogman Homes to calculate exactly how big we could go with our deck without having to add anything to the structure. I guess you could say if the kitchen was for me, the deck was for my husband. I’m so glad we increased the size because it gives us so much more space for entertaining and allows enough room to comfortably fit our large outdoor furniture. My favorite time of year is when we get to bring out the deck furniture! I think this next picture speaks for itself and fully conveys my husband’s excitement during the building process.

#3: Living Room Windows

One of my husband’s most brilliant ideas came when deciding on the layout for the living room. Most of the floor plans suggested a layout with the fireplace along the exterior facing wall. The fireplace was often shown in the middle of the wall with a window on either side. He suggested we move the fireplace to the corner and swap out the two smaller windows for one large window. I guess you could say we like things big in our house. *Shrug* As you can see in the photo below, the natural light in our house is incredible thanks to his moment of genius. Thank you, Mr. Chic(ish)! Highly recommend if you are choosing a similar floor plan (our exact floor plan is called The Charleston and linked here).

Another shot highlighting the large window/fireplace combo around Christmas.

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#4: The Fireplace

I mentioned the switcheroo we decided on in #3 of changing the location of the fireplace, but I’d also like to mention that the customization options for fireplaces are incredible. You can do so much! I was not prepared for all the options, but knew I wanted a chunky wood mantel. It turned out exactly as I planned. When I say the sky’s the limit for options, it really is. Stone, tile, planks, the list goes on and on. I recommend making a Pinterest board just for fireplaces. Pin what you like in other homes and pay attention if you start to see trends. It will help guide your decision making in the end.

A shot of the mantel around Christmas. You can see the window (mentioned in #3) on the left and how much natural light we get as a result.

#5: The Tub of My Dreams

THIS TUB. It’s what my dreams are made of! I’m a taller gal, so soaking in a standard tub isn’t the most relaxing experience. Think of how you’d feel sitting outside in your backyard in a kiddy pool. That’s how I feel when I’m sitting in one of those shower/tub combos. No bueno. It didn’t take me long to find this monster and I love her. Many people tried to talk me out of getting a soaker tub, but besides the kitchen and natural light, it’s my favorite feature of our home – especially in the winter. I do not regret it one bit. One thing worth mentioning is that in order to accommodate my dream tub, we did have to expand the size of our master bathroom so she would fit. Honestly, it was worth every penny and when I’m soaking in that baby, it is relax city!

Rub a dub dub, The Chic(ish) Chick in a tub…

I hope this post was helpful and gave you a glimpse into the possibilities when building with Skogman Homes. If you have any questions at all, please feel free to reach out to me via email at: or via DM on my Instagram page. I am more than happy to help you if I can!

See ya on the next post!

-The Chic(ish) Chick

*In case you missed my first post on Skogman Homes or are curious why we chose to build, you can check it out by clicking here.



  1. June 26, 2020 / 9:31 am

    This is a good article. It is a combination of fun and informative. Thanks for sharing this!

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