Fixin' the Floors

Our basement flooded on July 11th and today on August 31 we've finally got tile going down on the floors! It feels like we've been without the basement space forever, maybe 'cause we're down to one room upstairs now. Holy crap was this not the time to be at home with a toddler all day.

We chose Interceramic's Oakwood tile in Cherry purchased from bidforfloors.com. Bid for Floors was great with price. As the name suggests we bid a price, including shipping, for the floor we wanted. They counter bid and we accepted. The price was the lowest we could find on first-quality runs of the tile we selected even after hours of searching and shopping. They quoted delivery in 3-5 business days, but it was closer to three weeks. It was out of their control because the tile was shipped from the manufacturer, but their inability to communicate that for the first two weeks was frustrating. They kept saying it would "ship tomorrow" and didn't call back after saying they'd check on the timing and get back to us. Of course that meant it arrived while we were on vacation and we had to arrange for someone else to lug all the boxes of tile off the street corner and into our yard. NBD in the end and we'd use them again.

A local granite and tile shop is doing the install. They're some of the best installers in the area and our contractor arranged for them to do the work. We got quotes from two companies and theirs was the lower of the two. They came out for an hour on Thursday to put a skim coat leveler on the concrete. On Friday they started in the center of the living room and finished 80% of the room.

They're back today to lay more tile, will finish up on Monday, unless their boss won't let them work on the holiday and grout on Tuesday.

We're doing the rest of the repairs ourselves so next week we should be able to purchase baseboards and I'll paint them before we put them down. We have daycare for the month of September so I'll be able to paint, etc during the day. And so the HVAV guys who are destroying the existing part of our house can do so without my freaking out about flying plaster dust coming down on my napping boy. I'm putting the pressure on to get as much messy work done as possible in the next 30 days! Who knows when we'll get our basement furniture back from storage; the HVAC guys, electrician and plumbers have torn up the bedroom ceiling and walls, which need to be repaired before we bring stuff back.

This weekend we have to pick a grout color:

I'm thinking cocoa or chocolate. We want the grout to blend in with the tiles as much as possible. What do you think?

The end of this saga is in sight and I'm pretty psyched to finish the basement...again. Now we just need to start seeing the end of the addition 'cause it's getting tight in here!

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Basement Floors, again.

While chaos continues on the addition (they're going to break down the dining room wall tomorrow while Little M and I sit here in the living room behind the baby gate and watch, I think) we've made some decisions on the basement rebuild.

We got a set amount from the insurance company to make the repairs. That amount would cover replacing wood floors, the repairs to drywall, and replacing all the moulding that was ripped up when the floors came up. Wood floors are much less expensive than wood-look tile floors because of the labor costs to lay tile. We don't have an extra cent to put toward the basement right now so we considered just doing wood floors again.

For like a hot second. We can't do wood again, I'd be freaked out every single time we went away and it rained. I'd be up in the middle of the night when S is away on rainy nights checking to make sure there's no water. I am totally freaked out by water.

So we're doing tile. And despite being up to our ears in stress related to the addition (which would be nil if the basement weren't an issue), we'll be doing all the other repairs ourselves. So a DIY project in the middle of our biggest home project yet. You know what I want to do? Take Little M to Maine and come home to a finished basement. You know what I'll be doing instead? Painting during naps. It should be fab.

You know what I want to do during naps? Run on my new-to-me treadmill.

Going to have to figure out how to squeeze that thing in when our furniture is all delivered again! Side note - I wanted polished concrete floors, but they're so stained from the asbestos tiles that were on them way back in the day that apparently they weren't a good candidate. You can kinda see the mess they are in that photo. Right there next to the lamp laying on the floor 'cause it was submerged and needs to be tossed out....

Last week we placed an order for Interceramic Oakwood in 3" wide cherry. It should be here sometime this week and will hopefully be installed sometime in the next two weeks.

The planks come in 24" lengths,  much less than a length of wood flooring, so the installers have to be pretty good to get it to look like a wood floor and not like some wonky grid. I hope our installers are good. Please let them be good.

We're waiting on the electrician to replace our service panel in the guest room downstairs before we have the floors installed. The last thing I want is for a big ole' metal box to be dropped on our brand new floors. And while we're doing the waiting game, we're also going to wait for the HVAC guys to cut apart the guest room ceiling to tie the duct work into the new living room. And we'll wait 'til that ceiling is repaired. And 'til the giant hole in the downstairs bathroom that the plumbers created last week when they moved our stack and thereby destroyed the only room relatively unharmed by the flood.

Are we done yet?

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Kitchen Counters

We've been looking at and thinking about kitchen counters for a couple of months now. I don't like the granite our home's previous owners used when they remodeled the kitchen just before selling to us. It's busy and has lots of maroon flakes. There is no color I dislike more than maroon.

So when started to think about counters for the new peninsula that we're adding to our kitchen, we weren't so keen on matching the stone. We decided to price out counters for the entire kitchen, replacing the existing granite (which we'd hopefully be able to use elsewhere.) I wanted something white, but marble isn't all that great for a kitchen - especially for one that will likely be used by renters in the future. So we looked at silestone and other engineered quartz companies.

And then we got the price quotes. Woah.

Back to the drawing board. Yesterday we went to a few stone yards to look at granite called White Fantasy and Super White. I liked them, but they were much more busy than S expected.

He pointed to a slab of marble and said, "I want something like that." Yes, don't we all.

At the third and smallest yard where we stopped two seconds before Little M's dinner time with mere seconds 'til meltdown, we happened to see a slab of our current granite. I didn't love it any more in full slab than I do in our kitchen, but I did ask the price. It's 1/3 the price of the engineered quartz and half the price of the lowest price granites we considered. Like several thousand dollars saved if we just match the stone and only do the new peninsula.
Without my having a job right now, we're all about the budget. Like allllllllll about it. All day, every day. Womp, womp, womp.

So during nap today I went over to the granite dealer we've been working with to get a quote on the granite I don't like for our peninsula. And while I waited I saw a black granite with a leathered finish that I kinda loved. 
Of course I got a quote on that too. And what do you know? The black is the lowest priced stone, apart from the stone we currently have, that we've looked at so far. I think it would pretty amazing in our kitchen and I loved the bumpy "leathered" finish.

Yesterday we thought we had a decision made - go with what we have and save money - but today I'm not so convinced anymore. Yesterday I forgot that when we take one of the kitchen walls down we're going to have an area without counters. We thought we'd just leave a bit of wall there, but it's not ideal, it's a make-do solution.
If we replace all the counters, we'd take the wall all the way down to counter height and extend the counters. It would look like the wall was removed before the kitchen was updated. If we don't replace the counters, then the wall will stop about 12" from the top of the counter - just high enough to hide our coffee maker and the glass canisters.
Bottom line is we don't know if we're replacing the counters or not. There is too many options out there. My head is spinning. What's your favorite counter top? Or top 50 favorites out of the 100,000 options out there.

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First Floor, Second Floor, Attic, Roof.

After the delay when we discovered that the bricks on the side of our house could come down before framing and then had to wait two days for the brick guys to come, things started happening quickly and loudly around here.

First we got a floor in one day. Hooray!

Then we discovered an issue related to the brick siding we were going to wrap all the way around the foundation. It wasn't going to work on the side and the back. We lost a day of work while our contractor and architect worked together to figure out the problem and a solution. There isn't enough space to build the brick on top of the footers like there was on the front. So the part of this whole story that matters is that we're contemplating using a brick veneer along the side and the back or instead using a piece of "water board" trim around the base of the entire foundation in lieu of the first two courses of siding. The water board trim would extend along the base of the porch (already planned) and onto the sun room too, so it would tie things together even more. I like the look of water board, but S isn't convinced. So we haven't yet decided which we'll do, which you know means we'll probably do water board. Unless it's more expensive, in which case we'll scrutinize our budget until our eyes bleed even more than they already are.

Floor one and two took two days and then we left for an extra long weekend (because it's a disaster in here and extra long escapes is the only way to manage this situation) to meet Little M's very first cousin, who arrived about three months ago, but made his debut in the States last week. M was curious about the "bay-bay," a word he apparently already knew from daycare. At one point he got cozy on the baby's blanket on the floor and made fake cry noises so his Nola would rub his back. He also tried out the baby's swing, but overall didn't seem to concerned by the little guy.

When we got home we had a roof. 

And by the time I was finished unpacking, we had brick facing on the foundation.

Today the plumbers are moving the plumbing stack so that we can open up the kitchen wall to the new family room. Of course that means ripping out all the shelves in our linen closet in the basement bathroom - the only room that wasn't totally ruined by the floor. Of course they've also had to rip out the kitchen ceiling and a portion of the wall, which isn't supposed to come down for several more weeks at least. I think we'll be eating bananas for snack today.
To make things extra interesting, it's raining today so Little M and I could not spend the entire day at the park as planned. And I did four loads of laundry last night thinking it was going to be sunny today to hang them on the line and can't use the dryer now because it wasn't hooked up after the flood. Oops.

But enough of all this writing and onto the good stuff, photos.

From the front right corner of the mud room looking through the eight foot wide entry closet and into the living room. The mud room is as big as our kitchen. That's what I call "worth the hassle."

From the back corner of the living room looking back toward the mudroom to the left and powder room and pantry to the right. Where the house is wrapped in blue right now will be totally open to the kitchen and dining room. I think adding a breakfast bar in the kitchen is going to make it feel so much bigger. Like bigger than the new mud room.

Just another angle looking out toward the mud room. 'Cause there's nothing I love more than shoes and coats not in the dining room.

Looking at the back corner of the addition. You can see the next side entry door leading to my beloved mud room at the very left. And those two ginormous window holes will be four double hung windows in the new living room. Helloooo neighbors. 

Looking along the back of the addition and where it meets the existing house before the roof went up. Those two single windows will flank the bed in the master and the big hole with lumber and a ladder sticking out will be two double hung windows. There aren't any additional windows along the side because that's where my closet will be. It looks like a really wide expanse of nothing right now, but I think the overhang over the side entry door will even things out a bit.

Aside from the shed, which takes up the space where our patio used to be (the stones from which I was precariously perched upon while taking this crummy photo per my mom's request so she could visualize the yard), we'll still have all the yard that we regularly used. The addition takes up a portion of the driveway and the space in front of where the shed used to be, which was really just an area we walked through to get to this grassy area.

We're planning to rebuild the patio starting in front of the farthest of the two giant window holes, extending to in front of the shed and wrapping around the back to where the new and old house meet, which is where the stairs to the basement begin. The area in the back should be perfect for a table and chairs, should we ever rebuild our savings again or find a nice set on the street corner. Or happen to make a set disappear from S's parents' house. Kidding, Nola, kidding.

There's great progress and Little M's nursery is totally undisturbed and cozy for napping. This is the best entertainment money can buy for the little guy.
Outfit chosen all by himself
Fingers crossed all the house-rattling banging doesn't wake him up, because it certainly disturbed by afternoon siesta today.

Any thoughts on the water board v. brick veneer? Any thoughts on how to break through that plastic sheeting in the kitchen? I'm hungry and bananas aren't gonna cut it.

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