Back in 2007 we bought our house from a local builder and got to make numerous choices, but the basic house design was fairly set and didn't allow for many changes. This means that our house has very little built-in "character".
The good part about that is that we got to create our own "character" as the years went on, but the bad part is that it sometimes takes a decade to make my visions come to life. Some stuff was easy, like having the builder agree to do wainscotting throughout the main floor or adding a simple pressed tin backsplash instead of learning how to lay tile. But some things seemed easy and instead became a project... like my mantle I had been dreaming of since we first moved in.