Thursday, April 23, 2009
Time for the second installment of selecting options on the new house. If you missed the first installment, you can catch up HERE. To view the layout for the new house, go HERE. The major upgrade we decided to spring for on finishes was flooring. Both Dave and I have a strong preference for wood floors over carpet or tile and with my allergies to our two cats, hard surface flooring is a necessity and not just a luxury. We ended up selecting an engineered oak floor in the stain pictured above. The sample is in 3" planks but we decided to go for 5" planks (at no additional cost...shocking, I know). I think wider floor boards are definitely more modern and, given our experience with our current pine floors, the fewer gaps and seams the better. Of course, engineered wood has the benefit of locking together, so I anticipate much lower maintenance on these floors than those in our current house. The wood floors will be installed in the entire downstairs, save for the kitchen/breakfast area, the utility room, powder room and master bath.
For the master bathroom, I really wanted to go for a very light backdrop. While I always envy those all-white bathrooms found in so many magazines, I inevitably get bored and end up painting the walls in something less neutral. For now though, the intention is to go with a soothing, all-white space save for the vanity, which will be in the same English Leather finish as the kitchen cabinets. I think the contrast between the dark cabinets and light tile floor (pictured above), which we'll be laying on the diagonal, will be nice, don't you think?
For the vanity counter, I decided to go with Silestone, which is something I've been wanting to try in my own home, but never had before. This Silestone (Mont Blanc) has flecks of mahogany, black and gray just as the granite in the kitchen does, but is far lighter than the kitchen counters. Here's a side-by-side comparison:
I think these "go" together without being overly matchy-matchy. What do you think? I also thought using the same granite in the bathroom would just make the vanity look too much like it belonged in a kitchen. Plus, it's always fun to try a different (and new to me) material.
For bathroom fixtures, we just went with the builder's standard, which are the Monticello fixtures by Moen in oil-rubbed bronze. They're nice, but definitely nothing spectacular.
In the upstairs' bathrooms (there are two full baths), I went with a slightly darker gray 13" tile for the floors. On the shower walls, we're using the same tile, but in a 6" size for contrast. It'll be a nice neutral backdrop for whatever I decide to do with them. Cabinets will be basic contractor-grade white cabinets and the vanity tops will be white cultured marble. I'm really not a fan of cultured marble (kind of plastic-y looking and overly fussy for my taste) or the base cabinets, so I may end up removing/reselling them and upgrading at some point. Fixtures are the same as the master bath.
Having blown most of our options' budget on the hardwood downstairs, we decided to stick with builders' grade basic carpet upstairs. Carpet has the advantage of being easy to replace anyway, should we decide to do something else down the line. For now though, I think this basic greige carpet works just fine. For some reason though, it looks a lot more brown in the shot above than it actually is (it's actually more in line with the picture below, which shows the carpet sample behind the paint samples). The slate-like tile below will be the floor on the upstairs' porch. Dave really loved this one, but I'm a little nervous that it will clash with the brick we've selected. I guess we'll just have to see.
Next to the lack of options for backsplash, our choices for paint color were the most frustrating aspect of the selection process. For paint, we had our choice of 4 colors (including white). We were able to select one color for trim/ceilings and a second for the walls. And that's it. One wall color for the entire house. For those of you who've read this blog for a while, you'll know how big I am on colorful walls. I hate the idea of repainting freshly painted walls as soon as I move in, but I know that, at least in some of the rooms, it's inevitable. What's particularly frustrating is that a gallon of gray paint costs just as much as a gallon of blue, though perhaps they buy these colors in such bulk that they get a substantial discount. Our lack of options may also have something to do with the effort of instructing the crew what color goes where. In the immortal words of Kurt Vonnegut, "so it goes". On the plus side, I actually rather like the greige "Caravan" I selected for the walls; it'll be a nice base for the family room, hallways and upstairs (which I suspect will go undecorated for quite sometime). I'm a bit concerned that the white I selected for the trim and ceilings is a little too yellow, but we'll see how it ends up looking once it's painted out.