Vinyl Floors

The floors are in! And they look great. Dusty and in need of a mopping, but otherwise great. 

As you can tell from the pictures, we didn’t finish painting everything.  But all of the ceilings were done, and just about everything had been primed (the one exception being the wood paneling in the entryway. That paneling is killer and is going to take at least a few coats of primer before it’s ready for paint. Ugh). 

But back to the floors. We decided to install Exalt, a commercial-grade vinyl floor, in Cherry Oak.  It’s actually our own product (Mr. Bunches is in the commercial-flooring business), and besides that, we knew it would be a perfect choice for the space. It’s extremely low maintenance, which is exactly what we wanted since we’re planning to rent the house for a few years before selling it, and it’s waterproof. So no matter what happens (renters aren’t always that kind to their dwellings), we know it will look the same in 10 years as it does today. 

Mr. Bunches and Mini Bunches actually just participated in their first home show this past month and the response to Exalt was awesome.  Mini B was passing out those coupons like she was born to do it!


We had Exalt installed in the entire house except for the bathroom and it took two days (the house is about 1,100 square feet). It’s a floating floor that clicks together and cuts with a utility knife. Here are some progress shots–they started in the kitchen and worked their way around the rest of the house. 

After one day they made it almost through the entire living/dining room (you can see the stopping point in the left of the picture below).

As with all floors, the main tricky things were the transitions (when one type of floor transitions to another type of floor, usually at the entrance to a room), but luckily we had very few. The bathroom transition came out great:

We even had Exalt installed in the sunroom right over the existing tiles (Exalt doesn’t need any type of underlayment and it can go over pretty much anything as long as it’s level). 

We can’t get over what a difference just paint and flooring make to a space. It’s really made us see the end vision start to come together. 

And just for kicks, here are some side-by-side shots to remind us of just how far we’ve come. 

Kitchen cabinets are going in this week. So excited! After a lot of painting and prep, here’s what the kitchen looks like now. Can’t wait to see what it looks like a few days from now!

I cleaned the floors in there too (don’t want a bunch of dust to live forever under the cabinets, right?). Don’t they look great?! Can’t wait to see it all come together. 

Painting an Entire House

There’s nothing like an impending floor installation to really jump start some action. With the install date for our floors only a week away, we knew we had to get our painting caps on. Painting is so much easier when you don’t care about spills and drips. And given that we had to paint EVERY SINGLE WALL, CEILING, AND PIECE OF TRIM in the whole house, we wanted to make it as easy on ourselves as we could.  Now, we thought about hiring it out, but after getting estimates that ranged from $2,500 to $3,500, we opted to just do it ourselves. Plus, that way we knew it would be done right.  So we got our ventilator masks and got after it. 

Everything had to be primed first, including the ceiling (our contractor Steve had patched some of the settling cracks in the ceiling, so primer was a necessity). Here are some before-painting shots to remind you of where we were at:


Lots of green and pink.  And dirt. Hard to believe that those pictures are after we hired a cleaning crew to vacuum and wash the walls. Gross. 

We started with primer everywhere. I did all the brush work and Mr. handled the rolling.  

The ceilings were the hardest part, but Mr. did a fantastic job (I offered to help and I offered a pole but he said it was easier his way). After a couple long days, everything was primed and ready for paint.

You might be able to tell from some of those pictures that a paint sprayer was attempted at one point. I say  attempted because it was sort of a fail. I wasn’t around for it, but I saw the aftermath and it wasn’t pretty–lots of drips and spurts combined with spots of too much paint and spots of too little. In the end, Mr. Bunches decided it was a big time and money suck. Lesson learned. 

After the priming, it was time to paint. After much trolling of Pinterest to find the perfect greige to paint the whole house, I decided on Benjamin Moore’s Classic Gray.  (Image sourced from Jennifer Pacca Interiors.)


In an attempt to save some money, I decided to buy the paint from Home Depot and just get it color matched (I think HD used to have all of BM and SW colors in their computers, but they no longer do. That meant that they used my little paint chip to color match it). 

This was the formula they came up with. And here’s a shot of the paint chip next to our flooring sample. 

It looks a little more beige than gray there, but all the pictures I found on Pinterest, and well, the name itself made me feel pretty confident that this was the warm gray I was going for. And then we started putting it on the walls.  Cue the dramatic music and drumroll . . .  

And Mr. said it looked like a bodily fluid (I’ll let you guess which one). Womp-womp.

Those two pictures make it look very beige, but in real life it read as a very sickly yellow. Totally not my style. And totally not Classic Gray–my own fault for trying to get it color-matched at HD. So basically it was a complete waste of $100 (that’s how much the five-gallon bucket of paint cost) and two hours of precious painting time (that’s the total amount of time it took me to go to a Benjamin Moore store and get new paint). 

With the epic paint fail, I decided to take that opportunity to rethink my color choice altogether. I knew that I wanted it to look gray and not just read gray in certain lights. So I went with BM’s Gray Owl. We used it in our own master bathroom (although lightened by 50%) and I knew it looked great. Plus, turns out it’s Benjamin Moore’s second most popular gray (after Revere Pewter), so I knew it would be good.  (Below image from Fabulously Vintage.)

Despite the delay, we’re so happy we decided to go with our gut and change the paint color. Totally more us. 

I didn’t have time to wait for the paint to dry before snapping these progress shots so there are still a few wet spots in those pictures. Forgive me. And these are most definitely progress shots. Oh, and the paint isn’t 100% Gray Owl. I had it lightened by 25%. Why? Well, the house isn’t that bright, and–let’s be real–it’s also in Buffalo where the sun forsakes us for six months each year, so I didn’t want to go too dark with the walls. I think it’s going to work out great. Now if only we can finish it all before the floors go in . . . 


6 Years

Happy Anniversary to the best husband, father, friend, and teammate.  Love you!


Bathroom Progress

We’re about 85% of the way through this bathroom renovation, so I figured it’s time for an update. Our contractor had to head out of town for a job and, true to form, he wanted to get all of his work in the bathroom done before he left.  So he installed the fixtures, toilet, vanity, floor, and he finished the grouting and painting.  So now we have a working bathroom!

Since he offered to paint the bathroom before putting in the toilet and vanity, we had little time to pick a color. But thanks to Pinterest and Kylie M Interiors, I was able to make a quick decision: Sherwin Williams’ Sea Salt. 


I thought of doing a grey, but I’m thinking of doing some sort of greige for the rest of the house and I just wasn’t ready to make a whole-house decision that quickly. So I figured this would lend itself to the calm, neutral-but-spa-like look that I was going for. And hopefully it wouldn’t clash with the accent tile. 


Of course, then I chickened out. Or at least chickened out halfway. When I got to the Sherwin Williams store, I had them lighten the Sea Salt by 50%. I kept thinking how small the bathroom was and how overpowering the color could be when the light was low and, well, I chickened out.  But I’m glad I did. The pictures make the room look whiter than it is, but it really is a calm green-blue in person. I think if I had gone full strength, then it would have been too much. 





Now the room needs baseboards, the heating vent to be painted and put back on (that’s the big hole under the window), trim around the door, window, and closet, installation of the light and other electrical, a mirror, towel rod(s), toilet paper holder, shower rod, and I’m sure some other things I’m forgetting. 

So what do you think? Look good so far?  Hopefully Mr. Bunches will have some time over the next few weeks to get the rest of the house painted. Anyone ever rent a paint sprayer? Any tips/suggestions?

And just cuz I can’t get enough of these two . . .  


Bathroom Mood Board

The plan for this bathroom came together very quickly. Most people who know me know that I like to research and weigh design decisions forever, to the point that I often end up crippling myself in the process (our fireplace is a perfect example of this). But the nice thing about designing this house is that I’m not obsessing over it because I know I won’t have to be the one to look at it everyday. Wait, that makes it sound like I don’t care, which is far from the truth. I do care. A lot. But there’s something about making decisions for another, as yet unknown, person that makes them easier. Does that make sense? Anyhoo, here’s the plan:


  1. Style Selections Drayden Grey Integral Single Sink Bathroom Vanity with Cultured Marble Top, find it here for $199.  The space is really tight, so we could only do a 24″ wide cabinet. If there were another bathroom in the house, then I might have done a pedestal to make the space feel bigger but since this is the only bathroom I wanted to do something that had storage. I know there’s a closet in there, but I always think it’s a good idea to have a storage spot for extra toilet paper that’s within reach of the toilet.  You know why. 
  2. Moen Caldwell Brushed Nickel Faucet, available here for $89.  This is definitely a more traditional style than what I would pick for my own house, but I think the classic look will work well in this bath. Plus, it’s a Moen, so it’s built to last (or so say the plumbers and online reviewers) and the price was right.
  3. allen + roth 3-Light Kenross Brushed Nickel Bathroom Vanity Light from Lowe’s for $79. I liked the nod to an industrial vibe while still being a pretty straightforward piece. And again, for a 3-light piece in the finish I needed, the price was great. 
  4. White subway tile with grey grout. We bought the subway tile from Home Depot–it’s super cheap (only $1.76/sqft, so the whole shower surround of 70 sqft only cost us ~$123; I actually priced out subway tile from The Tile Shop and they offered me a discounted 70 sqft for ~$450 so it pays to shop around). 
  5. Moen Caldwell Spot Resist Brushed Nickel 1-Handle WaterSense Bathtub and Shower with Single Function Showerhead, available here for $144. This kit came with the necessary valve, so that was a big reason I chose it. From quickly looking at the other options in the store, the valves weren’t included in a lot of them and that would raise the price up another $150-300 just for the valve. No thank you. 
  6. Accent tile from The Tile Shop. This particular tile is discontinued which is why I got it for such a good price. The Tile Shop is great for cutting deals–don’t ever buy anything from there at their sticker price. Just ask for a discount and you’ll get it. Or, more often than not, they’ll offer a discount before you even have a chance to ask.  Because this tile was discontinued, and they only had 11 sqft in stock, they were eager to get rid of it. So they sold it to me for ~$10.75/sqft. I only needed 8 feet but they gave me all of it. Deal. 
  7. GBI Tile & Stone Inc. Aversa Frost Ceramic Floor Tile from here for $1.09/sqft.  Now that we tore out the old floor, we needed something new. I was pleasantly surprised at all the options at Lowe’s,which was really the only place I looked since I knew the vanity was on display there and that way I could do a little mock up in the store to see how it all looked. I also brought a subway tile sample and an Exalt sample so I could get the full picture. I had a hard time making the decision by myself though, although Baby Bunches did offer his suggestions, but thanks to Mr. B and another like-minded-in-design friend of ours, I was able to get some help. 

We haven’t decided on a paint color yet, but I’ll make that decision once the tiling is done (spoiler alert: the shots of the tile in the mood board are the actual shots of the tile as they currently are in the bathroom–so exciting!). 

Progress shots coming very soon, but here’s a teaser:


So what do you think? Did we do alright? Any wall color suggestions? Anything you would change/add/throw out? Do tell!

Bathroom Floor Decision

You may remember that we had originally decided to demo everything in the bathroom except for the floor. There were no cracks in the tiles and it seemed to be in decent to good condition. And the tile itself was fairly neutral. Here’s a shot of what the bathroom looked like post-demo:

  Looks like our demo guy didn’t do a good job sweeping up after himself, eh?  But of course, Contractor Steve swept and tidied it all before putting in the insulation, so when I showed up to take a closer look at the tile, I didn’t have to deal with that disaster.

I needed to get a handle on the colors of the current tile so that I could use them as my jumping off point for designing the rest of the bathroom.  If we were going to keep the existing tiles, then they needed to look intentional and cohesive with the rest of the plan. 


I was relieved to see that the bulk of the tile was grey and the occasional pink ones weren’t overwhelming at all. I thought they could work in a mid-century retro-type of remodel. But (you knew the but was coming), upon closer inspection, I realized there was one major issue: the old bathtub skirt was not straight, but had an extension in the middle. That meant that when we removed the tub, we were left with a not-so-straight line of tile. 




In addition to the cut-out, the new bathtub had a slightly smaller footprint than the old tub. So with the new tub in, there would be a 3/4″ gap near the ends and an almost 2.5″ gap in the middle. No Bueno. 


Contractor Steve and I brainstormed for a while on possible solutions to fill the gap: use mastic to raise the level up and cut larger tiles down to size to fill the gap; use small mosaic tiles to piece together in the space; or even go to a stone place and have a custom piece of marble cut to size. We ended up deciding to get some small mosaic tiles and I offered to do the tedious work of piecing them into that narrow space. 

With the decision made, I knew I needed to take some detailed pictures so that I could find something that would fill the gap in a coordinated, purposeful way. 

And then, I slept on it. Fretted some. Googled mid-century bathroom renovations to see how others had solved similar problems (found nothing btw). Fretted some more. Scolded myself for fretting so much over a bathroom floor in a house that we wouldn’t even be living in. But the scolding didn’t work. I just didn’t feel right about the decision. And then I talked to my sister who raised the very valid point: ‘the bathroom is so small, how much more would it really cost to do a new floor? You’re making everything else new in the bathroom but then you’re going to have an old floor? Just rip it out and start fresh!’

So Mr. Bunches and I talked about it. I remembered that Young House Love had torn out their bathroom floor in their first house, and so I reread their post and made Mr. Bunches read it too. Here’s a shot of their bathroom Reno progress:

 In summary, they recommended renting a demo hammer from a hardware store and said it could be done in a few hours.  And this was one of their first DIY projects so it was back in their green days. If they could do it, then so could we. And thus Mr. Bunches was convinced! The floor was coming out!

He rented a demolition hammer from Home Depot for $60/day (only $40 if you returned it in 4 hours) and he got after it. In the end, he got it done in less than 4 hours and we saved an extra $20. But don’t get me wrong, this was tough, tough work. He was sore for a few days afterwards, so don’t think I’m saying this was all kittens and rainbows. But it was definitely worth the effort. 

We’re both really happy with the decision to take out the floor and I think the final product will look that much better for it. Now that the bathroom is empty, the real progress is underway. Up next, a bathroom mood board . . . 

Insulation is In

Contractor Steve has been busy insulating the kitchen and bath. Hard to believe, but when Mr. Bunches demo’ed there was NO insulation in any of the exterior walls. There was at least some in the ceiling, but come on! This is Western NY for crying out loud! Insulation is a must. So at least now we had the opportunity to do the right thing and add insulation to all the exterior walls, including the wall between the kitchen and the attached garage. 

It’s already feeling warmer in there.  Although, since it’s a brick house, it hasn’t been drafty at all. Sure, we need new windows and that’s on our to do list, but the house feels pretty cozy regardless. 

Things are starting to really come together in the kitchen, and my only concern right now is that the pendant light might not be centered over the window.  See how the light box looks a bit off?

If it is, we’ll just have to figure out a different light option. No big heartburn. 

And still my favorite part of this kitchen–the Dutch door to the sunroom. Can’t wait to get it all painted and cleaned up with some new hardware. 

Now that the insulation is up, it’s drywall time. And again, Steve is all over it–it’s sitting in the living room, ready to hang.

Next time I post pics of the kitchen, it will be looking more like the plain white box we need so that the innards can actually be installed. 



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