Decision number one: tiling. Overall, the kitchen is nice, but it's very pink. The cabinets, backsplash, floor, and counter all have a pink tinge. Pink is possibly my least favorite color, so this is certainly problematic.
The upper cabinets will be taken down, the lower cabinets will be painted white, and the counters are mainly brown with little specks of pink so they're fine. What's really bad are the floor and backsplash, so I went on a hunt to change them. Since the walls will be golden/yellow, I figured that the only thing that would look good with the counters would be travertine or something that looks like it--beige and simple.
The first place I went had tons of tile and stone. One option for the backsplash was the beveled subway travertine in the bottom right.
I was worried it would be too boring though, so I also considered the beveled diamond in the bottom right.
I didn't really love that either, though. The issue was that I didn't want a plain/simple shape, but there just aren't that many shapes to choose from.
As far as flooring, I decided I wanted tile rather than stone. Not only is stone way more expensive, you also have to seal it every year or two. Those two things sold me. The best tile option was the Avorio on the right, but it was a little more busy and marbled than I wanted.
With no clear winner from that store, I stopped by another place which seemed to have a lot fewer options, but I actually found exactly what I want! The floors will be the beige tiles on the left. They come in 13"x13" and also 20"x20", so my plan is to get the 20" ones and cut them in half, giving me 10"x20" tiles that our tiler will lay in a brick pattern (meaning one tile will be laid and the tile next to it will be laid half way down the first, rather that being completely lined up with the first one... make sense?).
The backsplash will be the 5" hex travertine. See how much less pink there will be between the backsplash, floor, and white cabinets? The hexagons will be tiled with the points up and down like they are in the picture above, not sideways like they are in the picture below.
So, tiling decisions are done. Whew. I think the hexagons will add some fun but the travertine will keep it nice and neutral.
Decision number two is on carpet. The previous owner had a dog, so we included that she'd need to get a professional carpet cleaning in the contract. Unfortunately it didn't seem to help much. There are still stains, still a doggy smell, and now that her furniture is moved out I can see that there are spots where the carpet doesn't even go all the way to the wall. Very weird.
I searched for "carpet" in our neighborhood's Yahoo group to see where people had recommended in the past. What came up was Flohr, Carpet Stop, Fashion Floors, and Lander's Premier Flooring, plus I figured I'd check out Home Depot. Here is the summary of an extremely long and exhausting day's worth of work, so if you're not in the market for carpet/not interested, skip past the bullets.
- Carpet Stop--best pricing (even when comparing the exact same product to other stores' prices), knowledgable and seemingly honest salespeople, worked with me a lot to stay within my budget.
- Flohr--reasonably priced, got a little more of a sales pitch than I would have liked, but good overall. The price they tell you right off the bat is the "installed" price, meaning that it's the final price (carpet, installation, old carpet haul-off, carpet pad, tax, etc.). That was helpful because you didn't have to calculate ($3.29 carpet +$.50 pad +$.79 haul off)x(1.0825% sales tax)x(your square footage). Knowing the installed price makes it a lot easier to compare.
- Home Depot--found one knowledgable guy but also had to deal with 2 others who didn't have a clue. Not super expensive but also couldn't work with me on the price since they're a huge chain. I was worried that if anything went wrong it would be more of an unsolvable bureaucratic nightmare since they're so big.
- Lander's Premier Flooring--a little more upscale than the other places but still reasonably priced. The sales guy seemed to know what he was selling, but he didn't seem to care about me much which made me not want to give them my business.
- Fashion Floors--over 2 times as expensive as everywhere else I visited. I was absolutely amazed. From what I've heard, they work with interior designers a lot, so their prices have to be higher so they can still make a profit after cutting the designer a portion of the sale. I'd avoid this place unless you're loaded and looking to throw your money away. The man I talked with also said he'd call me after he looked at their inventory but he never did.
In the end I decided to go with Carpet Stop. They were able to offer me the best deal on the same combination of carpet, pad, and old carpet haul-off that I was looking at at the other places. We're going with a very plain beige nylon carpet, because my philosophy is that it should feel nice and draw zero attention to itself. They have all of these crazy patterned carpets or multi-colored ones that look like you're walking through a jungle. I just want my carpet to be very quiet and low profile.
The carpet will be installed everywhere upstairs (excluding the bathrooms, of course), so I took some options up to compare to the paint. I considered doing a very light grey carpet, but it looked too monochromatic against the grey walls. The other option was a light beige. I didn't want anything super light because it would show stains that much more, but I also didn't want anything dark or on the yellow side. In the end we decided to go with the one on the left, which is called Pearl Glaze.
Carpet was even more work than tile was because there's a lot more you have to understand about the material, the pads, the stains, the texture, etc. etc. etc. I'm so so glad to have it over with. Getting the carpet installed will be the very last thing we do before we move stuff in, so we have a long way to go. We wanted to get it all set in stone before the new year to lock in our pricing, so at least that was incentive to get it done.
The last decision for a while: couch upholstery. One of our neighbors was getting rid of an old love seat, so John and I got it with hopes of recovering it. I went to a the Interior Fabrics looking for some options in the light yellows, greens, or blues, but they didn't have any yellows. Once I was home I held them up to the paint swatch to get a sense of what they'd look like.
The one on the left was a dark navy, and the fabric itself didn't seem great. It was soft but I felt like it would catch on things too easily. The next one over was a little too light and washed out, and was also the same fabric as the navy one. The next one over was a nicer fabric, sort of a very thin chenille, but it also seemed washed out and like it may not hold up well. Lastly is the green microfiber, which is the same material our sectional is made of. It's really durable, and John and I both feel good about the color. It's actually a little bluer and less olive in real life.