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Thursday, January 30, 2014

picking out our countertops

Now that the floors are finished in the kitchen, and we've saved up our pennies for a good long while...we ordered our countertops! 
But let me tell you, picking our countertops was not an easy, or quick decision. It all started last January when we finished staining our cabinets. We were at Home Depot one night and picked up a sample of LG Hi-Macs Solid Surface in Tapioca Pearl.  As soon as we got home, we knew this was the one.  It was light, to contrast well with the cabinets, but also has flecks of brown and beige to provide a little something.
Then, in about September of last year, I started worrying.  Worrying if it was too plain, too off-white and just plain worrying that we didn't look at enough options (I tend to do that, and I should probably just listen to my husband, because he's usually spot-on with these decisions). So, we ran back to Home Depot and Lowes (a few times) and picked up more samples.  The first time, we picked up more LG HI-MACS colors: Arctic White and Ripe Cotton.  
We decided that one was just too plain for our taste and the other was too grey.  The next round included a mix of solid surface and granite options. 
Top Left - Formica Solid Surfacing in Bleached Concrete
Top Right - Allen + Roth in Mist
Bottom Left - LG HI-MACS in White Quartz
Bottom Right - LG HI-MACS in Arctic Granite
 Top Left - Stonemark Granite - Meteorite White
Top Right - Stonemark Granite - Black/White
Bottom - Sensa Granite - Majestic White

After comparing our options for weeks, we decided that we would go with Stonemark Granite - Meteorite White. It was about $10 more/sf than the solid surface options, but we loved it, and it was still in our price range.

One note about pricing out countertops: Make sure you get an estimate from the person in the store, or on an online tool, like this one from Home Depot.  There are some hidden costs, like an extra charge for an undermount sink, and charges for 45 degree angles in your counters.
Then, when we installed our floors in December/January the whole dynamic and look of the room changed.  We Love our floors, but they aren't a solid color and have a lot going on.  And when we held up this granite to the combination of our cabinets and new floors, it was just too busy for our taste.
So back to the drawing board we went.  We looked at other granite and quartz options, but nothing that we loved was in our price range.  The simpler you go, the more expensive the price is for granite and quartz, it seems.  We decided that we should go with a solid surface, and were back to these options:
We compared all of these in the "new" room with the cabinets and floors, and went with....

Our original choice - LG HI-MACS Tapioca Pearl.
I guess our guts were right on this one a year ago, and we I did all that worrying and running around for nothing.  Well, not nothing, I know we did our best to look at quite a few options and made an informed decision.

We went with this choice for the reasons I listed at the beginning of this post.  The color is simple enough, but has character, and looks great with the cabinets and floors. Not to mention solid surfacing is nonporous, so we won't have any stains, and any scratches we may have can be sanded and buffed out easily.
 It was also comforting to know that John and Sherry over at Young House Love had solid surface countertops in their last house, and they love them.  If I ever have a question about something in our home, they have most likely covered it over on their wonderful blog.
When we decided what counters we were going with, we knew that we would wait until the next 10% countertop sale at Home Depot after the holidays.  Well, low and behold, they had this wonderful sale start on 1/16 and it runs through 2/2.  Plus, Tapioca Pearl was already discounted by $4/sf, so that was even more of a deal! 

Meant to be, maybe?

The ordering process was really easy, and yesterday, they came by to do the templating (measuring) and told me that fabrication should only take 1-1.5 weeks! Woo!  Ooh...I almost forgot! To go along with our new countertops, we decided that we would use some Christmas money and get a new faucet and undermount sink.  

We went with this Elkay Innermost Perfect Drain, Dual-Mount Stainless Steel Single Bowl Sink.  We went back and forth on the number of bowls to get, but decided that we would take a chance on a single bowl because we think it will come in handy so much for washing our pots and pans, griddle and other small appliances that we use so much.  Plus, we rarely use two bowls at the same time, anyway.

Plus, LOOK AT THAT DRAIN! It's the "Perfect Drain", and doesn't have a bunch of rings around it, like most drains, so it should be easier to clean.
Home Depot
For the faucet, we went with the Pfister Avanti in Stainless
Amazon
Making a decision on countertops was not easy, and it's so nice that I can take these samples back to the stores and stop stressing about it!

Monday, January 27, 2014

{another} diy sunglasses and key holder

Over the last few years, I have made a few different sunglasses and key storage solutions for our home and for friend's homes.  The first one was in our drop-zone in the laundry room
It worked really well for over a year, but over time we realized that we didn't really use this basket very much, and during the winter, with our coats and scarves, there was little room for keys on the hook board.

So last week, inspired by this storage solution, I made a new board for keys and sunglasses, as well as a little bit of art. I started out by sorting through our scrap wood in the garage and grabbed some leftover (and already stained!) boards from our headboard project a few years ago. I cut them down to about 21" each and flipped them over to attach them to one another. 
I just took one of those free, thick paint sticks from Home Depot, cut it in half, glued it to each board, and then clamped it for a few hours, to be safe.
 Once the boards were solid and together, I touched up the stain (Minwax Jacobean, if you're curious) and placed my sunglasses holders...aka pipe straps. This pack of 10 was only about $2 at Home Depot.
 I knew I wanted to incorporate a frame on the board, so this 4x6 picture frame was a stand-in until we found the right one.
 I pre-drilled my holes for the screws, and got the pipe straps in place. 
 I mentioned last week that I sang at church, so while I was in the first service, I asked Matt to go to Target to pick out a picture frame for this project.  He has really great taste, so I was really excited when he brought home this frame:
target
This frame is actually way better than what I was picturing originally, further proving that we make a great design team, with so many different thoughts and ideas that come together for a better final product.  When I put it all together, and hung it up in the laundry room, I was in love.  

Notice the key hooks are simply nails? I like that they are functional, but aren't visually distracting from the rest of the board.
 I saw this quote online, so I traced it (by taping cardstock to my computer monitor lol), and then filled it in with pencil. Just a quick, 10 minute project, but I love the result.  

Plus, I love that we see an uplifting message as we're grabbing our coats and keys.  Seeing this message each day will stay with us, as we go out into our community.
 The frame is attached with command velcro strips. 

Note: Be sure to clear the glue from the paint stick where it can be seen through the slats, or you will end up with blobs of yellow, dried glue.  Luckily, this is behind the frame, so no one can see it.
 I just adore the way our laundry room and drop-zone are looking now.
 With this project completed, I'm crossing two more items off my list for this room:

Laundry Room To-Do List 2014
  • Install New Flooring - same as the half bath Completed Last Week here
  • Make New Sunglasses/Key Holder
  • Add small artwork?
  • Update Curtain/Shade

PS...here are the other key/sunglasses holders that I mentioned at the beginning of the post:

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

from one floor to the next

After finishing up the new laminate floors in our kitchen, dining room and hallway, I was about ready to wait a good long while before tackling any other floors.  But, unfortunately, I still have two more floors on my to-do list for this year.

So, before the transition went in between the hallway and laundry room, I decided to tackle that room with the same grouted vinyl tile that we put in the half bath.  There were actually a few sneak peaks of this new floor in the last post about the other new floors.  You can check out the full tutorial here for this new floor.  This room started out with the same linoleum that was originally in the half bath and kitchen.
The best part about this project (besides the fact that I updated this floor for less than $50), was that it only took me about 3.5 hours to complete.  This includes prep work, laying the tiles, grouting, moving the washer and dryer around, laying the rest of the tiles, grouting those tiles, putting back the baseboards, caulking, and touching up the paint,.
Behind the washer, there was a big tear and bubble of the original linoleum, so I simply cut it out and continued laying the new tiles.

An afternoon of work was all it took to completely update this floor, and it's a huge improvement. Everyone always thinks this is real stone tile, but it's a whole lot less moolah, a whole lot easier to install, and a whole lot warmer on your feet!
Here are some before and afters of the view into this room!
Getting this floor done means I'm one step closer to being finished with this room.

Laundry Room To-Do List 2014
  • Install New Flooring - same as the half bath
  • Make New Sunglasses/Key Holder
  • Add small artwork?
  • Update Curtain/Shade
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