Friday, September 12, 2008

Design Updates: Volume 4

(Brendan)

Again, sorry for the low posting regularity! It's busy as usual, but that does include lots of selecting, selecting, selecting things for the house. This usually involves Molly and I pawning off our wonderful kids on an unsuspecting relative and then furiously driving around to different stores trying to cross some things off our list. So here's a data dump.

One of the materials we've added to our interior "palette" is slate, as there were a lot of suggestions from my brother for "slate gray" color materials. Well, nothing can be more "slate gray" than slate, but the key is cost. Slate is a natural stone, so typically it can cost more than man-made materials, but with our extensive checking we found some good prices. So here's where we are using it:

Kitchen Backsplash:

Tumbled slate wall mosaic blend (Home Depot)
1"x1" tiles mounted on 12"x12" mesh

Master Bath Floor:

Multi Classic Slate (Home Depot) - only $1.49 per square foot!
12"x12" tiles

Master Bath Tub Surround:

Slate mosaic tile blend (Home Depot)
2"x2" tiles mounted on 12"x12" mesh

In the master bathroom, initially the walls will just be painted white to save cost, but the end vision (as suggested by my brother and we loved the idea) is to have a warm beige mosaic tile covering all of the walls (to be installed by me). Mosaic tile is very expensive, so keeping it out of the initial home budget is necessary for such a large scale use. I'll install it later, and the slate will then provide a nice contrast on the floor. In terms of the walls, this is a pic that my brother used when suggesting this idea:

First Level Wood Floor:

For the wood floor on the first level, my brother suggested a dark brown (rather than the lighter wood he initially showed on the rendering of the family room interior) because it has a way of visually grounding the home (plus, lighter wood is so common and widely used, so dark wood is an interesting and different tone). Here were his suggested tones (click to enlarge):
With this suggestion in mind, we're looking at this low-cost engineered wood floor option from Lumber Liquidators ($3.99 per square foot, with a "handscraped" finish that would add a more rustic look). We've gotten samples and like it.

And with the tone of the wood floor selected, this allowed better coordination with kitchen cabinet colors. We ditched the "medium brown" tone cabinets in the kitchen because the tone will be similar to the floor, but almost assuredly just slightly different. So the cabinets and the floor would clash. With a dark floor, my brother suggested a white or blond wood kitchen cabinet tone, such as in these example pics he provided (click to enlarge):
Molly has actually always liked the idea of a white kitchen, and my brother's suggestion gave the go-ahead to make it a reality, so we're going with the Adel White finish in our IKEA kitchen.
Laundry Room:

As we're always looking to contain cost, we've decided to do away with the idea of having built-in cabinets in the laundry room. Instead, Molly is going with this IKEA system that is really cool. If there's one thing IKEA is good at, it's design for organization. An example pic of their laundry system is below.

Upper Floor Bedrooms (Flooring):

Did I mention we're going with carpet tiles in the upstairs bedrooms, that we'll install ourselves? Flor brand carpet tiles are the best and have the most options. The tiles aren't cheap, but the labor cost will be zero, and whenever our kids next spill a can of paint on the carpet (I say "next" because this has already happened in our current house multiple times) we can just take up the affected tiles and replace them. Piece of cake.

Here the floor in the boys' bedroom (shown in this pic being used as an area rug):

And here's the floor in the nursery (a nice, gender-neutral green tone pattern :-). Again, here it is shown being used in an area rug application:

We still are thinking on the girls' room and the Master Bedroom; we've ordered samples from Flor to help us decide.

Well, maybe I'll stop here for now. There's lots more I wish I could show you, but there are not accessible pictures that I could find. For instance, not everything in the Home Depot store is shown on their web site. We've chosen a backsplash and flooring for the girls' bathroom, flooring for the boys' bathroom, flooring for the laundry room, flooring for the first level bathroom, and some other stuff! Sadly, no pics, but you'll see it eventually.

There's lots more to come soon, including my personal favorite: lighting!

5 comments:

Fr. B.J. said...

Wow, aren't you worried about the amount of grout that you will have to clean, with all of that mosaic tile? It is beautiful,... but the grout!!!!

Brendan Koop said...

Aha! Good suggestion, but we did think of it. I didn't list all the grout colors we specified, but many of the worrisome areas (i.e. boys' bathroom) are black grout, and the slate areas are pewter/gray grout. Hopefully that makes more sense.

Brendan Koop said...

Oh, and I'm guessing we'd also have black grout in the master bathroom, when I eventually install the wall tiling.

Joe Clarke said...

Great choices. These colors will really warm up the interior. One caution your probably already aware of is that in comparison to lighter wood floors, dark wood floors show the dust and dirt more readily in the sunlight and any scratches are more noticeable. The last one is probably not much of an issue since you're looking at laminates, and the more rustic floor you showed with plenty of color variation will probably help to mitigate the dust issue. Food for thought.

Brendan Koop said...

Yep, I did have someone mention to me to watch out for dust, and that may be an issue that we'll have to do a regular dust mop chore. But, just to clarify on the flooring, it is real wood floor. Engineered wood floors are distinct from hardwood floors in that the floor is constructed of multiple layers of wood that are bonded together. It costs less and it actually doesn't have some of the expansion and contraction problems of solid wood. And of course from the top it's no different than the hardwood floors, you get the same look and feel. So you might ask why anyone would go with hardwood? The reason someone might is that engineered wood has a much thinner "wear layer" (the uppermost layer, as compared to the whole thickness of hardwood). If you ever have to sand it to refinish, it can probably handle one sanding, but after that you'd be getting down to the next layer. It's not something I'm concerned about though. And as far as the scratches, one of the reviewers of the wood we're looking at actually commented that the handscraped finish on the wood mitigated any scratch concerns they had (they have small kids). Instead of a gloss finish (which definitely would show lots of scratches) the handscraped finish makes it more matte in appearance, and the reviewer actually said that any scratches actually made it look more rustic :-)

Check out the link in the post to Lumber Liquidators if you want to learn more about engineered wood floors.