Monday, March 25, 2013

The view from my living room couch

Our floors are here! They have been "acclimating" for the past few days. I use quotations because I don't know what they're actually doing. All I know is that hardwood acclimation has to do with moisture levels, and if you don't let them acclimate for at least 2 days or 3 days or 90 days depending on what website you check, your floors will explode and your husband will never let you get hardwood again. So right now, we're waiting.

As I mentioned here, we have big ol' plans for this hardwood. We are going to be laying it in a herringbone pattern, and just about everyone has made sure to tell us that it would be easier to lay them straight. I argue that it would have been even easier to not rip out our perfectly fine ceramic tile in the first place. But we did that, so here we are.

Just in case the process of laying herringbone flooring didn't seem daunting enough, we've also decided to stain the floors in three different colors. We'll be doing a light, medium and dark stain, mixed up throughout the flooring. My goal is for it to look like this:

but since we have no experience with laying flooring of any kind, let alone complicated patterned hardwood, I'm open to the idea that this all may not work.

We'll be starting the whole process on Friday, and I will definitely keep everyone updated!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Kitchen floors - the beginning of our saga

So we've been VERY busy these past few days.

It's a silly story. We were moving along so well in our kitchen. We had almost everything finished (with the exception of finishing details). We knew we wanted to replace our floors, but were holding off until the Summer to get it done. We were able to live with our ceramic tile - it wasn't pretty, but it wasn't offensive either.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, while sitting at my desk at work, I had a brainstorm. What if there's HARDWOOD under our kitchen tile?!  It could be possible, right?

So I rushed home and checked underneath the heating vent. This is what I saw:

I just about lost my mind. Hardwood!! Hidden under our tile flooring!! This was a must investigate. Even though I hadn't wanted to change our floors right then, I couldn't resist the hardwood. I told Joel, and he reluctantly agreed that we could check it out soon.

A couple of days later, I came home and found this:

 It seemed that Joel couldn't resist the lure of the hardwood either.

Since we hadn't planned on ripping out the floors, Joel just used a hammer and a pry bar that first day. It took forever for him to get the tile off but seeing the progress kept our little hearts going.

My job was to find the screws in the subflooring and remove them. Each time we removed the plywood and found hardwood, I wanted to squeal.

 Some patches were unstained. We started to piece together that there had been a wall closing off this part of our kitchen, and that there was some kind of china cabinet or something here.

 We weren't concerned thought - we were happy to stain them again. You can see where the wall used to be below.

By the next day, Joel had a much better system going - he borrowed a hammer drill and was able to knock the tiles out so much faster. It was wonderful.

We removed all of the tile and subflooring in our eating area, and were just amazed by the beautiful hardwood we found underneath.

But it was around this time that things turned... questionable.

For this to make sense, I'll start with a diagram. Keep in mind I made this in about 2 minutes, and it's not even remotely to scale!

What was the problem? Well, we found a spot where the hardwood abruptly stopped, and instead of any flooring, we found what used to be a wall.

All of a sudden, it occurred to me what was going on - our kitchen had likely been two separate rooms at one point, a small kitchen, and a formal dining room.

I freaked. It was SO likely that only the dining room would be covered in hardwood. Who knew what we would find once we moved over the threshold and reached the old kitchen?

We eagerly cut away the tile, making a space big enough to remove a piece of plywood.
 And at that, it was time for the moment of truth... removing the plywood that lay over the old dining room and the old kitchen. And we found...

Awful, awful laminate tile.

I was so disappointed. On one side, we're looking at this:

 And on the other side... this. (Don't mind the mess - we were in the midst of floor removal here so our kitchen table was in the dining room and our kitchen was upsidedown.)

Our dog even came to show her dismay.

So, what now?

We have a few options:
  • Live with the floors as they are
  • Recover the tile with hardwood and try our best to match it
  • Go with something completely new
After lots of talking about it, we've come to the conclusion that we will do something completely new. I had fallen in love with hardwood floors in the kitchen, so we aren't going to stray too far from that. But we will be doing something...different. Something that's going to involve an incredible amount of effort and cutting... but that will hopefully be AMAZING!!

More to come as we get started! 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Hexagonal tile makes me smile.

Did you see what I did there? I rhymed.

This post is lonnnng overdue. About two weeks ago, we finally installed our kitchen backsplash. 

I won't get into the nitty gritty of it, because installing a backsplash is fairly straightforward (especially if you buy your backsplash in sheets.)  We bought our hexagonal tiles from amazon, which I was a bit worried about doing, but they arrived in great condition!

It took us about 4 hours to install the tile. Joel used a tile nipper to cut the tile to fit around outlets, windows, etc.

Here's the tile up close - I love the little hexagons!

We did the grout about a week later, which was another fairly simple job, taking about an hour and a half. It made a huge difference in the look, but unfortunately, I don't have pictures post grout. Why can't I just go take some now? Well, we started ripping up the floors (not really planned - more about that when I make the floor post!) and now our kitchen is a huge, very dusty mess.

Here's our kitchen list:
  • rebuild the cabinets under and beside the sink
  • paint all cabinets 
  • change out all hardware
  • install shelves where the open cabinets are
  • remove old backsplash 
  • install hexagonal backsplash
  • paint walls
  • remove old floor 
  • install new floor
  • remove the panel in front of sink window
  • new tiles in greenhouse window
  • some kind of window covering for the greenhouse window
  • put up some beautiful artwork

To view the rest of our house posts, click here