Tiles and Smiles

When we walked into the tile store, here’s what we were looking for:

1. Shower tiles: Something simple, easy on the eyes, preferably white with an accent row of color

2. Bathroom floors: Floor tiles to match the countertops without calling too much attention to themselves

3. Kitchen/mudroom shared flooring: Something light to balance with our dark kitchen countertop

4. Professional assistance: Someone who would listen to our needs, know exactly what to show us, help us stay within budget and be patient with two people who think a beveled white tile is ‘way too much’ for our simple taste

We found it all in one visit, thanks to the attentive owner and her helpful employee.

We showed MVP Mom our samples afterward and got her nod of approval which sealed the deal.

Here’s a quick overview:

Shower tiles are white. Accent tiles have a white/gray color palette with a very slight hint of purplish-blue. Vanity will be white.
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We’re going with a sandstone, brown and white color palette. Vanity will be dark brown.
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We think we’re gonna go with the same floor tile we chose for the upstairs bathroom. The downstairs tiles will be much larger than the upstairs ones. Cabinets will be white. Not sure about wall color yet.
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Same tile as the kitchen, which should match our washer/dryer nicely..
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Lesson Of The Day - No Decision Is Ever Final Until It's Final

Cases in point:

#1: Sig Other and I spend hours and hours at the kitchen cabinet place and come up with a plan. Turns out the measurements are slightly off. Now, we have to rethink things a bit.

#2: LC and I go over where the vents should be for the air conditioning. I do my research and we come to a decision as to where to put them in the walls. The house thinks otherwise and the only choice is to put the vents in the floor.

#3: LC goes over where the high hats will be in the kitchen. The plumbing disagrees and the pipes block those places in the ceiling.

#4: For a short and glorious while we think we’re gonna get a second nice closet upstairs. But the air conditioning unit decides to hog all that space for itself.

#5: Excited about all the windows in the mudroom, we plan to put a specific large round table in there. Then we buy our washer and dryer which say, “no way” to sharing that much space.

#6. We decide the one thing we won’t do is put a window in a shower. We now have a window in our downstairs shower.

‘Nuff said.

Everything And The Kitchen Sink

Here’s where we’re at with our kitchen:


We made a slight change to the initial design, taking out the small upper cabinets on one side of the room to allow for larger cabinets and less chance of me falling off a step stool trying to reach up there.

Here’s the layout LC is finalizing (cabinets and trim will all be white):

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This is the style door we chose (imagine it white):

And the countertop:
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We’re liking this handle. We’ll either use it for both doors and drawers, or get a knob that matches and mix them.
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I’m a Sears girl and a Sears Sale was all we needed to get these appliances. I set the tentative delivery date for February 19th, which got a few chuckles from LC and a shrug from Sig Other. I dream big.
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As you can see by the pre- and post-gutted shots below, the kitchen window is quite low. A new, smaller window will be going in this week to sit above the sink. Hopefully they’ll get the size right.
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The kitchen sink comes with the countertop. We were surprised by how small it is. It’s also stainless steel. We’re doing everything else white. Going back and forth on keeping it or getting a white one.

French Door
It’ll go between the kitchen and the mudroom. The door will be white and will match the windowed cabinets in the kitchen.
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Still To Do:
Order an over-the-range microwave
Choose a pendant light
Pick a style of door knob or lever for french door and basement door
Choose a floor tile, and backsplash tile
Anything else LC throws our way that we haven’t thought of

Today's Topics Of Conversation

An example of my notes-to-self prior to talking with LC today, and his answers in red:

Counter-depth vs. standard fridge and design implications. Either will work, but Standard is recommended. You get more for your money and the difference in this case is only a few inches.

Confirm fire-blocking is done. Done downstairs and upstairs.

Discuss upstairs floors - can we keep old floors? Should we keep old floors? We’ll discuss when the time is right.

Central Air - where upstairs will it be stored? The entire length of the eaves on one side of the house.

Countertops going up wall providing a short backsplash? Recommended? Either way is fine.

Washer/dryer - should we put counter over them? Not recommended since they are so deep. A cabinet above them, however, is recommended.

Basin for washing machine? Will look into it.

Plow for the snow we’re expecting? Will handle it, if needed.

Install landline? Just say where it goes.


An example of LC’s agenda for talking to us, my responses in black:

Interior doors. We need to decide on a style soon. We’ll get back to you.

Door handles. Gotta choose those since they match the hinges, and need an answer soon.
We’ll get back to you.

Front and Back doors. It’s recommended they be replaced since they aren’t insulated at all. Gotta decide soon.
We’ll get back to you.

Return vent for Central Air. Where do we want it? It’s gonna start being installed Monday.
We’ll get back to you.

Obviously, LC is much better at answering questions than I am.


Homework From The Cabinet Lady

Turns out the kitchen cabinets can’t be ordered until we get a fridge and give them the dimensions to ensure the cabinets will fit around it. So on a fridge hunt we go.

Due to the tight swing space for the door, we’ll need either Side by Side or French Doors.


The family and friends poll turned out these top choices:

Online Reviews and Consumer Reports research added these:
Liebherr & Sub Zero
Kitchen Aid

Counter-Depth Pros:
Looks nicer since it doesn’t stick out too far from the cabinets
Gives us more of a walkway through the room
No digging around for things in the back of the fridge because there’s no back of the fridge to dig around in

Standard Size Pros:
Costs less
Has significantly more capacity
Has a ‘back of the fridge’ to store things in

Not sure what features we’ll get in the end, but based on comments all over the web, I know what we aren’t getting: An Ice-maker. It seems to be the main reason fridges break down.

Kenmore counter-depth french door:
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Whirlpool counter-depth side-by-side:
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Our Kitchen - A Preliminary Design

Things that can happen when you put in 4 1/2 hours at a Kitchen place:

1. You forget which style doors you chose.
2. You disagree with each over which cabinet name you chose only to find out you’re both wrong.
3. You get a call from someone who is worried cause you went to the cabinet place and you never came back.
4. You give each other silent looks that say HELP, I’M STUCK IN A CABINET STORE AND I CAN’T GET OUT.
5. You finally feel good about the cabinets only to find out you now have to choose the countertop and hardware.
6. Someone says Bathroom Vanities and you want crawl into a corner and take a nap.
7. You see a sample of the countertop you chose and realize you don’t like it.
8. You see a computerized rendition of your kitchen and you start to feel pretty darn good about your progress.

Here’s our preliminary plan:

View from the dining room (the door at the back is the outside door - no door between the kitchen and mudroom in this plan):
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View from the mudroom:
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View of the wall by the basement door. mudroom to the right, dining room to left:
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View of the wall opposite the basement door wall. Dining room to the right, mudroom to left:
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The Kitchen Cabinet Search Begins

Who knew there were so many things to think about when you’re considering kitchen cabinets? The doors alone had us stumped. Do we want inset, and if so - beaded or not beaded? Or do we want partial or full overlay instead? Do we care? All we kept saying was “as long as they look good,” but what if looking good depends on what we choose? Oh, the responsibility!

Our trip to the kitchen and baths store ended with me arming myself with brochures while Sig Other quietly said, “We’ve made some progress.” I like his positive thinking. Now, if only I knew what I liked in a kitchen cabinet.

Here’s a bad pic I found online that explains the different types of doors/drawers:
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