In explaining this game to people over Christmas, several people independently balked at the idea that the whole house must be upgraded at once.
Is there a strong reason to enforce this rule? After a few games, it seems like it'd be pretty harmless to allow renovation one room at a time. (New rooms would always be of the highest type, and cards requiring a clay or stone house would only function after complete conversion.) The scoring already supports this easily, and I think the major consequence would be increased availability of expansion-after-renovation. Because each upgrade costs a reed in addition to the materials for the rooms, and because actions are always the most precious resource, it'd still be much more efficient to upgrade all at once.
So, given that people felt strongly that a piecemeal construction should be allowed, how problematic of a house rule would this be?
As a bonus, what about allowing individual rooms to be constructed of any material at any time? (With this, unless all of your rooms are converted to clay, new clay rooms would also cost some amount of wood, and similarly going straight to stone would cost additional wood and clay.) This idea adds some complication for not much real gameplay gain, but for some reason people found the arbitrary rules of home construction more jarring to the immersive game story than, oh, say, the idea that only one person in a community can sow a field on the same day.