Saturday, January 15, 2011

help! i'm making random, uninformed, expensive decisions

Not only are we sorting, purging, organzing and getting ready to move this house, but we are attempting to do a few updating projects in the new house.  We are attempting this from what feels like two worlds away.  I'm about 50% sure I might regret this and my house will never look like the room below (mainly because my furniture - which will not be replaced - doesn't come close to looking good in a room like this) . . . but yet, I continue. 

From Iowa we somehow need to pick out flooring, paint and countertops for a house in Texas that we've seen in person for a total of maybe 40 minutes.  Super!  (I typed that in my most sarcastic typing tone . . . could you tell?)

Now, you might say (like any sane, logical person would) to wait until we are actually in the house to make these major decisions so we can see how the lighting works with our furniture, existing cabinets, kitchen tile, etc. . . . I would say why would I do something like that when I can make ridiculously random, uninformed and expensive decisions from a distance.  (I should mention that "expensive" is a relative term . . . our budget is minimal compared to some, but anything over $250 seems expensive to me . . . yep, I'm that cheap frugal.) 

Besides my desire to make random, uninformed and expensive decisions from a distance, I also want to be able to move our stuff in and unpack right away rather than trying to have all of these things done while we are also trying to settle our kids into their new home. 

So I need some help . . . from anyone . . . at all . . . more experienced than I am.

Here are some random questions:
  1. We will be replacing the very worn carpet with hardwood . . . not the full-fledged nail it down 3/4 inch type though . . . we are trying to choose between click-lock hardwood or engineered hardwood that can be glued down.  Have you had any experience with either of those?
  2. We are looking into Bamboo, but I'm wondering if it's too soft and will scratch and dent with every dropped toy . . . any advice?
  3. Would you just paint all the common areas the same color?
  4. We are wanting a neutralish (that's a word, isn't it?) color of paint for the main common areas, but not boring . . . any suggestions?
  5. I don't want to use a laminate counter top.  There isn't any wrong with a laminate counter top, but been there done that and ready to move on . . . so do any of you have any experience with quartz, granite or any other solid surfaces?
  6. What else should I be thinking about?
I so wish I had an interior decorator in my family.  (I'm adding that to my list of professions I hope my children go into so I can save some money . . . so far, I plan on my girls becoming doctors, lawyers, stylists, plumbers, electricians and interior decorators.  They are going to be very well-rounded adults.)  Like I said . . . I'm pretty clueless, and I would really like to be able to show off pics of my new lovely floors, painted walls and counter tops.  You can help that happen.

Craft on!

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Kristin said...

I won't be alot of help Elizabeth but what colors are your current furniture? You will probably want to pick colors based on them since they are changing. Our living rom is a light sage color that I love and our dining room is a kacki but we had to paint it twice to get a color I was happy with. Browns can be funny - the first one had too much pink in it for me.

Christine @ said...

oh, my, this is quite a project! I understand your dilemma, I couldn't make a single decision in my new house without being in it. I would totally go with bamboo, from what I understand it is extremely hard and durable. Be careful with the engineered hardwood, I put a glue down in the old dining room and I scratched the heck out of it just replacing the furniture. I now have the locking laminate floor, I installed it floating and I couldn't be happier with it. As for paint, I used a Lowe's color called Ponytail (except I had it done with Behr paint). It is darker tan and it is a good, warm neutral. The color reminded me of saddle leather, which I LOVE.
Good Luck!!!

Unknown said...

Not sure how much help I will be but I have heard Bamboo is a very hard wearing floorboard and the best thing is that it is very environmentally friendly. The stuff grows like weeds in the right places :). I would paint all the common areas the same and I always go for a straight white (not slightly off white but plain old white). This way whatever your furniture and pictures etc will look good. You can always add in a feature wall at a later date once everything is moved in.

Tanya said...

If your kids are anything like my boys, it's not going to matter what kind of wood flooring you's going to get marked up. I'm actually considering covering our hardwood with vinyl 'planks' so the kids don't completely destroy it. This is what I have in my craft room and although I wasn't originally happy with the idea of vinyl, I love it now.

TexNan said...

I'd go with a neutral color. The Nester recently posted on choosing wall color--
IMO she chose two excellent colors: SW's Favorite Tan and their Comfort Gray. (The latter reminds me of the wall color in the pic you posted.)

Where in Texas are you moving or did you say and I just missed the post? Regardless, we'll be glad to have you. (Can't help with the floors; mine are stained concrete.)

Jeannette said...

Don't have too many suggestions, but I will tell you... if you want granite you should get it from Fredricksburg. They have an awesome selection and it's pretty cheap as far as granite goes. Granite is pretty expensive though...

Jamie said...

I have granite and feel so-so about it. We always get a lot of compliments on it, but I'd love to get butcher block in the next house. The granite is really durable and you can put things right out of the oven on it. I just find mine hard to clean because it has so much "movement" that it's hard to see crumbs and spots. Just my two cents...

Unknown said...

Good luck! I am so jealous and excited for you and your new place. Except for the decision making thing. That I don't envy at all. :) But I do fully support the get-everything-done-before-moving-in. I think that is the smartest thing. Especially if you're like me and once you're in would say, "Meh, it's good enough" or "It's not worth the hassle to change it now" while actually hating it.

I don't know much but here's my two cents:
1 - my sister replaced her carpet in her front room and kitchen with the click-lock hardwood floors. They look amazing and seem to be holding up really well -- she has 4 kids.

Skip 2 because I know nothing about bamboo.

3/4 - I would say yes, same color. And I would say grey because I am in a gray-loving phase. But only if it will match your furniture/decor. Otherwise maybe tan? I'm boring so...

5 - No comment.

6 - You should definitely be thinking how much fun you are going to have when this is all over. :)

Kathleen said...

My husband and I put Pergo in our old house and I love it. My husband and son just put bamboo in my son's new house and my husband was not impressed, mainly because my son bought cheaper quality bamboo. My husband says if you go Bamboo go with the best because it is a soft wood and gets damaged really fast.
As far as painting goes I would stick with painting everything one color until you get settled in and figure out exactly what you want. Try not too stress. This is exciting stuff you get to do, I still have a 30 year old kitchen! :)

Anna van Schurman said...

2. no bamboo. My mother put in bamboo because they swore up and down how rugged it was. She has a dog and no small children visit. She changed it out within 6 months.
3. Yes, sensible.
4. Grey is the hot new neutral.

Mama Mama Quite Contrary said...

I've heard the same thing about bamboo. It might not be the most durable choice with small children. I'd also vote for the click and lock flooring. When we were redoing a room in our house and discovered lead paint on our original hardwoods (BOO!) we put a floating floor over it and it looks great. Plus, the glue from the other type of flooring is really toxic and can off gas quite a bit. Probably not what you want in your house.

In terms of color, I agree that painting everything one neutral color you like will probably be fine until you are settled. Just do it with the no or low VOC paint then you won't have to inhale the fumes!

Maydijo said...

I'd go for a cool colour and not a warm colour - working on the theory that a cool colour will make your house seem cooler (which has to be important in a place like Texas). As for the actual shade the sky's the limit.

It won't work as well since you're not actually in the house (so things like lighting, etc. will change) but try gathering a ton of paint swatches, stick them all in the room with the furniture you're going to use, and eliminate them as you go. Generally when you stick them on the wall you'll be able to eliminate quite a few more or less immediately; and then it's a matter of looking at the paint swatches as you walk into the room and going with your gut. (Believe me, some of them will just not look right.) Get your husband to do the same, and if you trust their opinion, get your girls to do the same, too. Eventually you'll be left with a few colours that you all like, and then you just sort of choose the best one from there.

Staci said...

The best advice I got 6 years ago was to not choose my color until I was in my house. I wanted to go with a warmer tan - something with lots of golden yellow. Then my mom & stepdad got a few hours with a designer as my housewarming present. Check with some of your home interior decorating stores - some of them offer in home consultations.

Anyway - I couldn't afford to replace my countertops, which are grey. The designer pointed out that going with a tan wall color would clash with those counter tops and my white-washed oak cabinets. She steered me to a more taupe-ish color.

I chose the shade I thought I wanted, and she had me pick up samples of the shade just lighter and just darker. Then I took them home, and we painted 6-inch squares of all three next to each other in multiple places throughout the main living area. DO THIS!!!

The color I thought I wanted was WAY too dark, and I ended up getting the perfect shade for my entire house. I'm a little bored with it in every room, but I can now change a room as we decide to do it.

Sherry said...

When we moved into our house 2 yrs ago, we had a painter do all the common areas a nuetral color .. THEN 6 mos into living here, it was just too plain, SO I painted one accent wall red, and it looks so much better, but my house is SO VERY open and it just looked like a bunch of beigeness going on.
As far as the hardwood, my hubs says for the easy route go w/ snap together wood, but for longevity the glue kind. However we have Laminate bc of 2 small children and hardwood gets all marked up, didnt wanna spend that much money on hardwood just for it to get ruine. Good luck!!!

ellzabelle said...

My friend has bamboo floors and her dog has scratched them completely up, she said they're too soft. I would do walls in a gray, but whatever works with your furniture. I don't think it all has to be the same. We did the same color, but one apart on the color chart, shade wise. Too subtle to tell, next time I would pick colors two shades away from each other, for a little EXCITEMENT!!!! Really exciting I know. No help on the other questions. GOOD LUCK!!!! Might be me soon. Ellen

Maria@BubblegumandDuctTape said...

what we did was roll some paint a wall, like a one foot by one foot square....with our top three colors and left it there for three days. It gave us a visual of what color would look best.....I'm guessing you don't have that luxury?? I'd go with safe that tans but I wouldn't do white. Oh my goodness! good luck, can't wait to see the after pics.

Valerie said...

A few years ago I bought my first house and made some remodeling decisions that I do not regret. Red oak floor. I could only afford the thinnest engineered lock in place flooring. I almost got bamboo but the flooring people said it's not great in Florida.

I have neutral walls in more of the house. A subtle accent wall (does that make sense) in the kitchen-a nice green from the historic color collection. All the other greens made me feel like is was Easter. My bedroom in called "Sand" and the crsft room is "Lime Rickey."

Granite, granite, granite!!! I chop and knead right on the counter top and it cleans up beautifully. The price was comparable to corian and, in my eyes, more appealing.

Not that you need to know about my whole house. But, I am so happy with the choices I made. I had to let go of some "wants" to get the granite-but I wouldn't change a thing!

Good luck with your move.

stephaniegiese said...

How exciting!

We had a nice laminate in our last house and in this house we have gorgeous wood floors, but let me tell you, now that we have two toddlers I miss the laminate! Any kind of real wood scratches much more easily and we have learned the hard time that a bottle of hand sanitizer dumped on the floor by a three-year-old will completely ruin a hardwood floor.

We have Silestone (man-made quartz) counters now and I LOVE them. They are naturally antibacterial and they never need to be sealed, the only negative thing is that you cannot put a hot pot right on the counter, but I probably wouldn't do that anyway.

As for paint colors, like someone else said, I have heard great things in blog land about Sherwin Williams Comfort Gray. We have their Croissant beige color in our living room and I think it's a really nice neutral.

I don't blame you for wanting to have everything done before you move-it's a huge pain to be re-doing everything once the kids are living there!

Good luck with your move! said...

ooh fun!!

- my parents did their house with the click & lock floors and have been happy with it. They are meticulous about it's care though.

-we have bamboo and love it. The kids ride scooters, cozy coupes, etc in the house and it's not scratched up. We have a dog too. We lease though so we didn't have much choice! I like the lighter color we have though.

- hmm not sure what to tell you about countertop. My sister is months away from being an interior designer. I know she had my parents look at several of the "new" options out there and they picked one of them. It's a composite of some sort.

- Our entire main level is one color. It's a dark orangey tan and I love it. It's darker than I'd ever pick on a paint swatch but will use it in my next house too!

Good luck making all these decisions!

valentinegirl said...

I might be able to help with paint color. I have all of the common areas in our house painted the same color. It's Sherwin Williams Favorite Tan (another poster recommended it too!). I just love this color. It is a neutral tan that is not too warm. It's actually got a little bit of a khaki tinge to it. I love it as a great neutral, and my creamy white moldings look amazing with it (they really stand out!). My Mom actually just painted her whole condo this color, too.

Chelsie said...

If you're worried about the dullness of using one color, I would recommend rag painting a darker shade over it. It gives a marble look to your walls that is just beautiful!

Sandi Linn Andersen said...

We built a new house (who would build an old house?) in 2006 so I can offer some info we gathered. First, we installed tile in the kitchen and baths, and carpet everywhere else so I have no advice on wood floors. We did do an interlockingparquet tile floor in our old house, though, and it held up just fine, even with kids and glitter. :-) Now to the walls. We painted the bedrooms in colors but chose a shade of white with blue and black in it for a more bluish white that looks good with our gray carpet. We chose that color for all the common rooms downstairs - LR, FR, DR, and Kitchen - so that we could decorate the walls with quilts, artwork, family photos and have them be the color in the room along with the furniture. I am wishing now that we had done a colored wall some where, though. It's too much "neutral". On the countertops, I can highly reccommend Cambria countertops. They are virtually maintenance free unlike some granite or other stone surfaces that must be treated and sealed frequently. The Cambria product may be a little more costly but in the long run it is so worth it. Check it out on-line plus there are ads in most decorating magazines. If you were building a house, I'd say make sure they put the doors and windows where they are supposed to be according to the plan....but that's another story. LOL!

Amber Sheaves said...

I think we have pretty much had every type of flooring. We currently have bamboo on our entire upper level. The dog has been banned from going upstairs because it is so soft and we don't want her to scratch it. It is the softest "wood" floor we've had. But it is gorgeous. We've done the clok-lock in both laminate and hardwood. It is very easy to install! We'll be recovering our lower level with engineered hardwood soon. The bamboo was just too soft for all the heavy traffic.

We always paint our living rooms a neutral color and were tired of beiges and taupes so this time we went with a gray. It's called Falcon and is a khaki-ish, kohl-ish gray.

We've only ever had laminate or ceramic tile countertops. Husband's too thrifty to upgrade!

All common areas the same color? I guess it depends on the look you want and the setup of the house. It does lend to a more contemporary feel I think. It could also make it feel more open and flowy.

Kaylie said...

Congrats on moving! Sounds like some exciting stuff is in store!

As for painting, a color I really love is Valspar's Oregon Coast. Its a khaki color with a hint of gray in it.

Something I've discovered while painting our current house if you want more than just one color throughout the whole house is to go with neighboring colors on the card. Then you get a little variation but it all works together. Seriously love the feel throughout the house.

As for countertops, we have Corian. I love it and it's easy to fix if anything does happen to it (speaking from current experience as we had a saw cut through while putting a new sink in). It looks great and is easy to keep clean.

Amber H. said...

I have hardwood floors - the gluedown kind. ALthough I really like the look they have been scratched up with kids, moving chairs, etc. so I would definitely not get them again with small children in the house and if you have a dog forget about it. In fact, within the first 3 months my son dropped a snowglobe on the floor, it shattered and I now have huge dents out of the floor - definitely stay away with littles.
Not sure about bamboo because I don't have enough experience.
We painted all our common areas one color, a neutral but I think color is all personal choice :). Then we went with bold colors in other rooms, kitchen, movie room, and dining room as well as bedrooms to reflect everyone's personalities.

I do have granite countertops and LOVE them. I can put things straight from the stove on them, roll out dough, cut, etc. So sturdy and lovely looking too. Definitely recommend granite

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