Kitchen Renovation Weeks #4, 5, and 6

Yikes–writing that post title has made me realize just how long this project has really lasted.  So much for everything being said and done in 3 weeks, right?  Well, at least the contractors were done after 3 weeks (see more on what they did here).

And then we did hint at having our new floors installed once the first group of contractors was done (the floors were finished in only one day, and then our home was contractor-free finally).

And while the original plan had been to stop there (for now) and paint the cabinets after the baby arrived, Mr. Bunches and I decided to change our minds (mostly Mr. Bunches made this decision) and forge ahead painting the cabinets.  And so paint the cabinets we did. And did.  And did some more.

I’m not going to go through all the steps here, since there are plenty of great tutorials out there in blog land (one of the best here from YHL), but I’ll make a few points as we go since our process differed slightly.

First up, like I mentioned before, we removed the 1960s trim from the cabinet doors.  I just used a hammer and a putty knife to carefully take it all off.  Oh, and we also removed all the knobs.

We then filled any holes with wood putty; I used Elmer’s Wood Filler.

We then removed all the cabinet doors and drawers and laid them all out in the garage (I didn’t photograph any of those steps since they’re pretty self-explanatory).  Next up–sanding!  We sanded down the fronts and backs of all the doors and drawers with 100-grit sandpaper; we also sanded all the cabinet frames in the kitchen.

Once everything was sanded, Mr. Bunches scrubbed it all with a deglosser (we used Klean Strip Deglosser from Lowe’s–no real reason we chose this one except that it was the only one Lowe’s sold).

Once that had all dried, it was time to get our prime on.  And on.  And on some more.  We opted for Zinsser Bullseye 123 Primer since it had worked so well on my sister’s kitchen.

And while we had hoped to only have to do one coat of primer, turns out our cabinet doors had something else in mind.  The wood grain kept bleeding through, particularly in the spots where we had removed the trim.  So on went coats #2 and #3, much to Mr. Bunches’ frustration.  And guess what?!  That still didn’t work.  So I finally knew we had to switch to oil-based primer (given my current knocked-up status, I was hoping to avoid all those crazy oil-based noxious fumes which was why we had waited so long to try this option; but don’t worry–all the oil-based priming was done by Mr. Bunches in the garage while I was safely inside.  Thanks Mr. B!).  So we used some leftover Kilz Original that I had on hand, and with one coat of that, all was covered.

Up next was the painting.  I took care of the inside cabinets while Mr. Bunches took domain over the doors and drawer fronts.  After two coats of Sherwin Williams Pro Classic paint (color matched to Benjamin Moore’s Decorator’s White), we were left with this:

Major improvement, right?  Oh, and I forgot to mention that we (meaning I) decided that we also needed to paint all the window and door trim.  Needless to say, Mr. Bunches LOVED that idea.

Isn’t it already such an improvement?

Since most of the painting took place over a couple weekends and weeknights, (and we had a little detour to the east coast during the process) it took a while before we were finally ready to put it all back together.  Plus, I wanted to make sure that everything had a chance to cure up well, so once we were done painting we waited three days before getting the doors and drawers back on.

And that’s where I’m going to leave things today, but I promise that before the end of the week I’ll share some actual reveal photos of the kitchen all put together.  Hooray!

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Floor Heaven, a Preview

I wish I could say the kitchen is done and it’s time for the big reveal, but alas, no such luck.  Instead, here’s a teaser post for you of our new floors . . .

To put it mildly, we LOVE them.  As in, this is serious love.  I think if we both had to do our wedding again, these floors would be walking down the aisle with us.  They’re that good.

So that’s all you get for now.  We’re feverishly trying to finish painting the cabinets and get our life back in order . . . cuz let’s face it, this whole chaos-living-thing is getting old:

Next week we WILL finally reveal our new kitchen (either that or I will officially have gone insane and then I’ll be posting to you from a lovely padded cell).  Either way, should be a win-win. :)

Half Bath Mood Board

Can you tell that I’m on a mood board kick these days (see more here)?  I think I’ve just found my stride on Olioboard, so why not, right?

So a long time ago, I made this mood board for the half bathroom (see details here):

Needless to say, things have changed a bit.  But first, let’s take a step back and check out the half bath from the day we moved in:

And let’s not forget the Superman mirror (so named because of its shape) . . .

We started to take the wallpaper off, which you may remember from here.  Of course, like any awful wallpaper that you want to get rid of, of course it was covering up yet ANOTHER wallpaper!

Seriously?  Well, as it turns out, I’m not the only one nesting around here–nope, Mr. Bunches has been succumbing to his own instincts of providing for our soon-to-be-bigger family and so he locked himself in the bathroom one day (that’s usually my clue to steer clear–nothing good happens behind a locked bathroom door ;) ) and emerged hours later looking, er, well, let’s just say defeated.  Why?  Because of this:

And this . . .

Poor Mr. Bunches–he was only able to remove half of the top layer of wallpaper, except for that one spot above where he was able to get down to the original wall (although those stains are the wallpaper glue, so even that didn’t come off).  Oh, and remember what used to hang here?

Yep, Superman has fallen.  Literally.

And unfortunately, Superman was scarred in the process . . .

Oh well.  I wasn’t planning on reusing that mirror anyways.  So good riddance, right?!  Okay, now that you’re all caught up with what’s going on in our half bath (I know it was killing you to not know), here’s our plan for the future:

  • Toilet: Already installed here, but just for poops and giggles (literally), it’s the Jacuzzi Maxima from Lowe’s for $149.  With an American Standard upgraded seat for $35.
  • Sink: The Kraus 19″ ceramic vessel sink combined with a Kraus faucet.  I actually just ordered these this week from Faucet.com–the combo sold for $209, but of course, using coupons and eBates, I’m only paying $194.95.  Score yet another one for me!
  • Floor Tiles: White Gloss Penny Tile from the Tile Shop.  Now, the tile is listed online for $5.59 sf, but I knew that YHL had a coupon code for 10% off (YHL10) if you ordered online, but I was hoping to use the same coupon code at the store.  Luckily, there’s a Tile Shop store in Rochester (unfortunately, the one in Buffalo isn’t opening until May and I couldn’t wait that long) and so I traveled the ~50 miles to the store and tried my luck.  And boy was I glad I did–when I mentioned the coupon code for 10% off, they looked at me like I had 5 heads.  Uh oh.  But then the guy offered me 15% off.  Um, hello?  Yes, please, and thank you!  So I only paid $4.75 sf, and since I needed 20 sf, my total was only $95.  Not bad, eh?
  • Vanity Top: I toyed with the idea of ripping out the entire vanity, but in the end, I just didn’t think it was necessary–like all the cabinetry in our house, my plan is to paint it (go figure).  And instead of replacing it, I’ve opted to just get a new vanity top.  Now, I thought I could get one from Lowe’s or HD, but as it turns out we needed a custom size (45″ x 25.5″), and their prices were off the charts.  So I opted to see if I could find a granite, quartz, or marble remnant that might work.  The marble remnants were all spoken for (boo), but I found a gray granite that had a similar look (you can actually see the sample piece in one of the bathroom pics above).  I forget the name of the granite, but I’ll try and get that for you.  Anyways, it’s ~$55 sf installed and I think it’ll work really nicely with the white sink, white toilet, and likely white cabinets (again, all painting will wait until after Mini Bunches makes an arrival).
  • Pendant Lights: We’ve hired a contractor to not only remove the rest of the wallpaper and tile the floor, but also to remove the weirdo light box above the sink.  The plan is to replace it with two pendant lights–I’m not 100% sold on these ones from Shades of Light, but I’m definitely leaning in that direction.  They are the Mercury Glass Bulb Pendants for $79 each.
  • Mirror?  Taking suggestions . . .
  • Walls?  I have to admit–I’m at a loss for what to do on the walls.  I’d love to do a funky wallpaper, but I’m also game for trying my hand at stenciling (not grandma stenciling, but more along these lines:

Both images from here.

So there you have it . . . what do you think?  Have any suggestions?  Ideas for the walls?

Flor It

Today I will be brief.  Somehow I think you don’t believe me, but that just makes me feel even more challenged to prove you wrong.  Jeez, a bit combative today, aren’t I?

Remember this room?

That’s right–the obligatory room of dark wood paneling that apparently all Western NY homes are required to have . . .

And while the wood paneling completely grossed me out, the built-ins had me feeling pretty giddy.  Even if they were lopsided and a little top heavy (and yes, I’m still referring to the built-ins here and not Snooki).

Plus, the sea of blue-gray carpet was totally awesome too.  But, in the spirit of being brief, let’s fast forward to how that room looks today (of course, you know there will be a post sometime in the next couple weeks with all the sordid details of how this transformation took place, so be rest assured that my brevity will likely be short-lived) :

Not bad, eh?  Here’s some more eye candy for you . . .

Pretty impressive, huh?  Now don’t worry, this isn’t a toot-our-own-horns post.  Nope, that will come later when I detail how we did this.  Instead, this is an interactive post.  And that means you–yes YOU are being asked to interact with us here in the land of Bunches of Joy.  See, it’s decision time.  And for those of you in the know about carpet tile, then you probably guessed from my post title, that we need some help with Flor tiles.

So again, in the interest of brevity, do you prefer stripes . . .

or checkerboards . . .

Easy peasy, right?  And keep in mind that we really don’t have to be married to either since it’s easy to change things around if we so choose, but once we have furniture in the room, I think the likelihood of Mr. B being happy to move all the tiles will probably go down.

So please vote, or please leave a comment below with what you think.  Thanks!

BTW–that post was only 338 words, so basically I rule!

Slip Sliding Away

It’s finally here!  The post you’ve been waiting for!  Drumroll please . . . It’s the FLOOR REVEAL post.  Yes, finally, we’re ready to reveal our recently refinished hardwood floors.  And I apologize for it taking so long, but see, we’ve had a lot of company in town (if you’d like to see who, check out the deets here and here); and, we’ve been busy moving in, unpacking, and also trying to enjoy some pretty fabulous fall weather.

But enough about all that, this post is about our floors.  Which, after ~3.5 weeks of work, were finally finished.  Of course, we didn’t do the work ourselves–we’re not that crazy.  Nope, Robert of James Cameron Hardwood Floors did it for us.  And I’m sure you have some vague memory of me hemming and hawwing about which way to go–dark or light? polyurethane or wax?  And I even posted progress pictures with a vague promise of finished pics soon to follow?  Oops–my bad.

Well, as a quick reminder, we opted to go with the natural look and not with dark.  More on that decision here.  And, since we decided to do a penetrating oil finish plus a buffed wax topcoat (all instead of polyurethane), the floors turned out a bit darker than the purely sanded ones in the picture above.  So, without further ado, let’s just get to some pics, shall we?

And now for some up-close and personal shots . . .

Not too shabby, eh?  They came out great, and overall we’re super pleased.  But (you knew there was a but coming, didn’t you?), I’m still a bit torn on the color choice.  Depending on the light, they sometimes read really orangey, and I’m not totally digging that.  For instance, from where I sit on the couch right now, this is my view:

See what I mean?  Of course, under more direct sunlight, they read lighter:

But every now and then I’m hit with a wall of orange, and I have flashbacks to what was . . .

But no–they’re different, right?  Tell me they’re different.  Please, tell me they’re different!  At least they’re not shiny anymore, right?

Which leads to another added bonus of the new floors–they’re slippery.  Like as in we-slide-everywhere-in-our-house slippery.  And we might also twirl around in circles.  We might do it all the time.

Okay, Mr. Bunches just asked me to clarify that he does NOT twirl; twirling is a strictly Mrs. Bunches activity.  Sorry.  

And yes, I twirl in Paul Frank socks and leg warmers.  Deal with it.

Oh, and just because this post is all about floors, I should point out one more detail: Robert also added oak quarter round.  He did a meticulous job and it looks great.  Luckily, I was able to paint a lot of the base moldings before he started on the floors.

So there you have it–floors revealed!  And for those of you who received our moving announcement and would like to come visit, please do.  Although, keep in mind that with the floors being refinished, there are some new rules in effect: no shoes allowed (we were a shoe-free home before, but now we’re a bit psycho about it), no water or liquids of any kind on the floors, and sliding is highly recommended. :)

Okay, so what do you think?  Was it worth the wait?  Are they everything you’ve ever dreamed of and more?  Did that last question go too far?

Don’t Go Against the Grain

Sometimes it pays to stay in line.  And wood floors is one of those times where going against the grain is bad.  REAL BAD.

So what exactly is that line across the grain of our newly sanded floors you ask yourself in a politely quizzical tone. (Yeah, I’ve decided that today you will be politely quizzical . . . tomorrow you may be something totally different, but I’ll keep you posted.  Don’t you like how I’m controlling all your moods?  I thought you did.)  Well, that is a deep scratch courtesy of the crazy barbarians who installed carpet on at least three separate occasions in our house (learn more about said barbarians and our battle with their staples here).  See, apparently they used a carpet blade (basically a heavy-duty exacto knife) to cut the carpet padding while it was on the wood floors.  So these lines tend to reappear about every six feet or so (since carpet pad is six feet wide).

So what’s the big deal you say?  (Again, in your politely quizzical tone o’ the day.)  Well, since our wood floors are only 3/8″ thick red oak, it means that deep scratches like this can’t be sanded out.  And so they’re there.  For good.  And it means that the decision between darkly stained and natural floors (discussed here and here) just got a whole lot easier.  Why?  Well, turns out that dark stain highlights any and all imperfections in wood floors.  And that means those against-the-grain scratches, if stained dark, would appear as solid black lines on the floor.  And since they’re everywhere . . .

. . . that means that dark stain is a no-go!  :(  And just when I had finally made the decision to stain the floors dark, and I went to my floor guy to tell him too!  Talk about a bummer, huh?  BUT, since the decision was such a hard one to make, it meant that I did really like the natural floors.  And since leaving them natural wouldn’t highlight the scratches, I was definitely okay switching my decision back to team au naturel!  (Plus, that’s the way you guys saw it too–just check out the Bunches of Joy poll results here.)

Oh, and now that the sanding has begun, I had a little sneak peak at how great they were going to look.  Check it out:

Don’t they look amazing?!?!  They’ll obviously be a little darker once they get three coats of penetrating oil and a good wax buff, but they’re so much better already than the orangey-hot mess where they started. 

So there you have it.  A final flooring decision.  What do you think?  Are you so politely disappointed that you can’t bear to read any more?  Or are you thrilled with the decision and waiting on the edge of your seat to see the final results?

Do you prefer Dark or Light?

Do you prefer dark . . .

Or light . . . ?

Images from here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here.

I have less than a week to make this decision and I need your help.  See, I know that dark will potentially show more dirt, dust, and pet hair (of course, we don’t have any pets and we aren’t planning on getting any in the foreseeable future–sorry!).  But I also love the richness of it.  And with the light option, well, considering that our floors are 3/8″ thick red oak, I’m just worried that they’ll end up looking too orange-y over time and I know I don’t like that.  But we had light floors in our old condo, and they did hide dirt pretty well.  What to do, what to do.  Sorry to be going over this again, but it’s a BIG decision, and I don’t want to make it too hastily.

Although, I have made one decision at least–the refinishing method.  Most hardwood floors nowadays get refinished with one coat of stain (if changing the color) and then three coats of polyurethane–that’s called a gym-floor finish.  However, back in the day floors were treated with a penetrating oil and then waxed.  Both are good finishes, but the penetrating oil and wax combo has the added benefit of being especially durable.  For instance, if you have stained floors with polyurethane and you somehow scratch your floors, well, since the stain is only on the surface, you’ll have to have the whole area redone.  However, with a penetrating oil, the stain is soaked deep into the wood, so scratches won’t show.  Plus, if the floors need to be touched up, you just have to buff them with a new coat of wax instead of stripping the old poly and applying new poly.  So, with all that said, we’ve decided to go with a penetrating oil combined with a wax finish.  Sidenote: I wanted to use Rubio Monocoat, a no-VOC one-coat finish from Belgium, but no refinishers in the Buffalo area have used it before, and the Mr. and I are not up to doing something this big on our own.  BUT, with that being said, anyone out there used Monocoat and had success?  If so, do share!

So while making at least one decision is most definitely a step in the right direction, that still doesn’t help me with the color decision.  Luckily, our hardwood guy came over and did up some samples for us:

All three of these were one coat of Duraseal Penetrating Finish with a coat of polyurethane (not quite dry yet, hence the blotchiness and sort of wet look in the dark brown option).  Now, he didn’t have any wax with him (nowadays apparently not many people know enough to ask for it, but he used the stain and wax method in his own home and loves the results), so he just used some poly to show me how that looked (this was before I had decided on wax).

The color on the left is Antique Brown.

The middle is Natural:

And the right is either Golden Brown or Chestnut (I’m not sure which and since it’s definitely my least favorite, I’m not sure it even matters):

Compared to the current shade of varnish orange, all are an improvement.

He also did a patch of just bare wood with polyurethane (instead of first using the Duraseal Natural and then poly):

It’s pretty similar to the current condition of the floor, although not as orange, but more honey-colored.  Still, over time, I’m worried that it will become orange.  UGH!  I can’t decide.  Here are some more angles:

So what do you think?  If you have an opinion, please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.  I need all the help I can get on this one.

Where was Milton’s Swingline Stapler?!

They switched from the Swingline to the Boston stapler, but I kept my Swingline stapler because it didn’t bind up as much, and I kept the staples for the Swingline stapler and it’s not okay because if they take my stapler then I’ll set the building on fire… 

Ahhh–Office Space.  Gotta love it.  Back when I taught Cost Accounting I did a whole lesson on Office Space . . . it was relevant, er, sort of.

Anyways, back on track–what do staples have to do with Mr. and Mrs. Bunches you ask?! Well, lately, we’ve been drowning in staples.  Why?  Well, because that’s what happens when you rip out 1,800 square feet of carpet . . .

You’re left with tack strips (which are nailed down), and carpet padding (which is stapled down).

And, when you live in a 5o-year old house that’s had carpet installed at least three times over the years, well, that means that there are A TON of staples in the floor.  And I mean a ton!

The good news though?  The hardwood floors are in FANTASTIC condition!  The bad news–well, haven’t you figured it out by now?  The STAPLES!  And whoever did it clearly didn’t use Milton’s Swingline since there were a ton of double, triple, and even quadruple feeds on the floors . . .

But, once we were armed with screwdrivers and needle-nosed pliers (or in my case, my trusty Leatherman), we just got to work . . .

Use the screwdriver to lift, then the pliers to grab, twist, and pull.

And just repeat that 332,845 times.  Seriously.  Basically, we looked like this all weekend:

Our backs were killing us!  Carrie–we totally needed a yoga break!

See that bucket of junk next to me in the picture up above?  That’s what we pulled up from the floor.  We filled that at least 4 times over.  Ugh.

But once everything was pulled, then with just a quick sweep . . .

We had beautiful floors!!!!!!  Here’s a quick before and after for ya:

Master Bedroom BEFORE:

And AFTER:

Family Room BEFORE:

And AFTER (clearly, we’ve also started priming the walls in there, but more on that misadventure in another post):

And the biggest room of the house, the combo living/dining room BEFORE (note the dark walls in addition to the mile of cream carpet):

And AFTER (we painted the walls Benjamin Moore’s Decorator’s White, but we still need to paint all the trim):

Such an improvement, huh?!?!  But boy did it leave us tuckered out . . . especially my Mr.!

But isn’t it worth it?  Check out those gorgeous stairs!  (That was a total bonus btw–we thought for sure we would just find plywood underneath the old grungy carpet, but nope–this house keeps surprising us, and beautiful oak stair treads are just the latest.)  Here’s the before to remind you of how far they’ve come:

Up next?  Well, despite looking beautiful in pictures, the floors are kind of a Monet–they look good from far away, but up close they’re a bit of a mess.  So we’re having them refinished.  And that brings me back to the dilemma of what color to have them finished (which I posted about ad nauseam here).  I have until next Tuesday to make a decision (that’s when our hardwood refinisher guy is starting) and I’ll show you the options tomorrow.

Milton Waddams and his Swingline stapler image from here.

Kitchen Mood Board #1

I know I need to focus on just one thing, but I can’t.  Haven’t you learned yet that I’m totally crazy?  Well, if you haven’t, don’t worry–you will.  So I’ve started thinking about our eventual kitchen redesign (in addition to our wood floors, half-bath reno, furniture makeovers, etc.), and I put together one of what could be many kitchen mood boards using Kraftmaid’s Inspiration board tool.  The nice thing about the tool is that you can add your own images, so you’re not stuck with just their choices.  Which is a good thing since I had a hard time finding anything I liked in their options.  Oops–looks like we probably won’t be buying Kraftmaid cabinets.  But their design tool?  Yes please.  Only downside is that you have to add at least 3 images from them.  I found that annoying, and I later used Windows Paint to change out two of the pics (I know, I know–I need to learn how to use Photoshop to make my life easier, but when exactly I’ll find the time, I have no idea).  Anyways, on to the mood board breakdown:

1. Dark wood floors.  What can I say?  I just dig ‘em.  Which means that it’s probably the direction we’ll go in the rest of the house, but the plan now is to at least see what they look like au naturel once we tear out the carpet.  (More on our hard wood floor dilemma here.)

These particular floors are the Congo Floors Bamboo Hardwood from Overstock for $107.99 for 31.09 sf (that equates to ~$3.48 per square foot).  No reason in particular that I grabbed this image over other dark hardwood images, although I do like the sustainability of bamboo, and I’m also a fan of wide plank floors.

2. An industrial chic slash restaurant-style faucet.  I just love the look of this style.  Plus, I think it’s handy to have the sprayer right in the faucet.  And at only $155.99, I think it’s a good deal.  Of course, since we’re not actually in the buying stage, I have to add the caveat that I haven’t done any hard-core bargain hunting yet; there very well could be (and likely are) better deals out there.  But for now, this Vigo Pull-Out Spiral Kitchen Faucet is on my list.

3. Subway tiles.  In white.  Maybe with dark grout or maybe with white grout.  I just love the simplicity of them.  And yes, I know they’re everywhere now and kind of predictable, but I also think they’re classic and timeless.  So there–take that you naysayers!  The particular picture I grabbed for my mood board wouldn’t work as a back splash (since they’re only mini versions measuring 1″x2″ available here), but you can buy the regular-sized subway tiles practically anywhere (here are some for 83 cents each; again–probably not the best price, but at least gives you an idea of what a big box store sells them for).

Anyways, I’m thinking I might like to use them for a back splash, but since this is just the first mood board, that could all change . . .

4. Countertops.  Holy decisions Batman!  There are so many options, so many materials, so many colors, so many finishes . . . my head’s spinning.  But for this mood board, I went with Bianco River Silestone (part of Silestone’s quartz River series).  I like that it’s bright with just subtle variations.  And I like that it doesn’t seem overly shiny, but not totally dull either.  Just a really good neutral.  Now, I have no idea how much Silestone costs, but I think it’s fairly pricey.  And I don’t know much about the pros and cons of it as a countertop surface, so definitely this decision will take some more research on my part, but for now I’m just loving the look.

5. Cabinet style.  Here, I think I’m decided–I want Shaker-style cabinets.  Probably a little more square than this version from Cabinets For Less, but you get the idea.  Simple, simple, simple.

6. And since I like these cabinets too (and plan to have mostly drawers anyways), here’s a good combo of the cabinets with a range top that I’m loving:

The image is from DecorPad here.  I love the six burner gas range (the Holy House currently has an electric range, so we’ll have to get a gas line run for the cooktop), and gas is definitely a must for a range top–it just lets you control your cooking heat so much better than an electric range.  However, an electric oven is the way to go since it’s able to keep a constant temperature much better than a gas oven.  Oh, and see the drawer styles–that’s kind of what I’m thinking about.  See how crisp and clean it looks?

7. Pendant lights.  I foresee multiple locations where pendant lights might end up in the kitchen–at least one over the sink, and then at least two over an island.  And I love the combination of modern, 60s-style, industrial radness that this Mega Bulb Pendant Light by designer Sofie Refer has:

But, at $285 each, and the impracticality of having to buy such a specialized bulb, it probably isn’t in the cards.  But isn’t is beautiful?  Sigh.

8. An apron sink.  Sometimes called a farmhouse sink.  This, for me, is a MUST-HAVE.  I’ve always wanted one, and yes, I know that they’re a bit on the expensive side, but I love it.  And it will make me happy whenever I’m the Mr. is doing dishes.  And I’m sure it will make him happy too–right Mr.?  Of course it will.

Now, I don’t recall where I got that picture from, but needless to say there are lots of places to buy farmhouse sinks (Amazon has one here for only $525 and free shipping–not bad really) . . .

My only instruction from the Mr. (since he usually does the dishes) is that he wants one large sink instead of a split sink.  Oh, and he wants a deep bowl.  Done and done.

9. A range hood.  See, while I haven’t totally planned out the layout of the new kitchen, my thought as of now is that the cooktop will be on the island, which means that we need a good-looking range hood.  And one that doesn’t block too much of the site line or become too over-bearing.  And that’s where this guy comes in:

And at only $483.99, I think it’s a steal!  (We went to a local appliance dealer and their similar range hoods were over $1,500!)  It’s the Contemporary Cidade Stainless Steel Range Hood from Overstock.  Basically, I want something that looks good but that also kind of just disappears.  This one could be a finalist.

10. Like I mentioned above, I’m planning on having a kitchen island.  And I like the idea of it contrasting a bit with the rest of the kitchen, probably with a different countertop.  Maybe a countertop like this concrete one:

Or even this one (yet another concrete option from here):

Again, I’d have to do some more research on how durable a concrete countertop is, but one thing I know: I definitely love the look.

11. Open Shelving.  I know it’s risky–sometimes it’s nice to be able to shut in all your schtuff inside cabinets; but the flip side is that it just makes everything more accessible and allows your schtuff a moment in the spotlight.  And I kind of like my schtuff.  I kind of want it to have its moment.  To have its chance to say to the world: here I am!  And here I shall stay. Okay, too much?  Sorry.

Image from here.

12. Random accessories.  Yep–I had a hole to fill in the mood board, so I chose this:

I think it was the 60s style of this Modcloth mug that made me want to include it.  You know, so it would make the Holy House feel more like its old 60s self.  Of course, the Mr. and I aren’t ones to spend $12.99 on a mug, especially since we aren’t card-carrying members of the Caffeine-Crazy-Club, so this will likely not make the final mood board.  But, alas, a hole had to be filled.  And filled it was.

Okay, so that basically sums it up.  What do you think?  Any countertop suggestions?  Anything that should definitely be stricken from the plan?  Anything we’re missing?  Any kitchen remodeling horror stories you want to share?

Underfoot Dilemma

With the closing on our new house looming in the not-too-distant future, it’s time to make some decisions.  First up: FLOORING. Underneath all that carpet in our new home lies beautiful oak floors, so our plan is to rip out the carpet, and get the floors refinished and all dolled up before we move in.   See those floors peeking out in our master closet?

And all uncovered in our walk-in cedar closet . . .

Well, there’s no sense moving all of our stuff in only to get it covered in sawdust and have it be in the way throughout the process, right?  Right.  And since that ‘s the number one project on our list (besides fixing the garage wall and patio which we mentioned here), it means I have to decide what I want (the Mr. has graciously left all home decor decisions to yours truly) . . . oh, and I have to try to not get paralyzed by indecision in the process.  So here goes: do I go with . . .

White and bright . . .

Image from Pinterest.

Dark and moody . . .

Image from Pinterest.

au Naturel . . .

Image from Pinterest.

or Wacky and wild . . .

Image from Pinterest.

I’m already becoming crippled by indecision.  I can feel. it. creeping. up. on. me.  ACK!!  There are just TOO MANY choices.

So how do I decide?  I’m not sure.  But, lately I’ve been hooked on watching Sarah Richardson on HGTV (she has quite a few shows: Sarah 101, Design Inc., and Sarah’s House to name a few) and she made the point that it’s best to go with a neutral choice when refinishing hardwoods–that way you don’t end up going with the current trends (which seem to be both really dark and really light; basically everything except au naturel seems to be on trend), but instead stay safely in the middle with a timeless look that will outlast the current design mags.  But do I want to stay safe?!  I don’t know!!!!!!  The Mr. definitely votes for safe, plus he just likes the  more traditional look of lighter wood floors.

What to do, what to do . . . hmm.  Well, luckily, with our exhaustive house hunt, we did manage to see almost the whole gamut of styles (minus the wacky and wild).  Want to see a for instance?  Well, here you go . . . For instance (hah!), this house was going to be our runner-up if for some reason our offer wasn’t accepted on the Holy House.

Isn’t it just darling?  I loved how bright and airy it felt–the owner was definitely a minimalist and almost everything was done in a shade of white or pale blue, and that included the floors.  He’d refinished the oak floors in a white wash treatment . . .

Pretty, right?  But I think it would almost be too beachy for us.  And let’s face it, as much as I’d like to dream, Buffalo is most definitely NOT the beach.

So then there’s the au naturel look, which we saw in some homes, although not many (Buffalo seems to be the land of carpet–good for the Mr.’s business, but not so much in my wheelhouse) . . .

(Those are from two different homes btw.)

And then, of course, the dark hardwood option which we came across in only one home along our hunt . . .

But, of course, since dark hardwood floors are all the rage at the moment, there are countless images meandering around the Internet (can images meander?) . . . just check out this one of newly refinished hardwood floors in Dark Walnut stain (almost the same as the American Walnut stain I used on the dresser):

So what am I leaning towards?  Well, I initially was all about refinishing the floors in a dark stain, maybe even one of these (isn’t it nice when other bloggers do the work for you?):

But, after listening to Sarah Richardson’s advice, and my sister’s advice (she has dark hardwoods in part of her house and noted that they don’t fair so well with hiding dirt, pet hair, or children droppings (like Cheerios–not the other kind, jeez–her floors aren’t toilets for crying out loud!)), I’m leaning a bit more towards au naturel.  Plus, with the massive chocolate-brown sectional we have, dark hardwoods might be overkill?  It might make the whole space seem really dark?

To better help me visualize, I found a pretty outstanding flooring tool on Armstrong Flooring’s site, called Design-a-Room.  It lets you pick the room (I chose Living Room), the style (none of them really matched my style, but for purposes of this, I chose Contemporary), the wall color (you can pick almost any color from Sherwin-Williams or Benjamin Moore), and then the flooring (here’s where it became somewhat daunting since there are SOOOOOO many choices).  Here are the images from the Design-a-Room tool, from lightest to darkest (all in oak):

Okay, so now it’s your turn to decide.  Take this poll and tell me what you think.  Of course, I’m not promising that this is a democracy and the winning choice will be what we go with, but you should still vote (I think we all know that this is a monocracy, but don’t let that make you think your opinions aren’t worth anything . . . because they are–really, they are ;) ).  And also because I like seeing how many people make it to reading the very end of my posts (judging from your reactions to yesterday’s post, there are clearly quite a few of you that don’t).

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