How’s That for Color?

Me & the MR went shopping for carpet last weekend.  We went to Haight Carpet in Woodinville where we’ve had good service in the past.

We’re not looking for anything fancy, since it’s just for the master bedroom, the guest room, and the sewing room. We made the big commitment to the faux concrete floors a few years ago, so we really don’t have much in the way of wall-to-wall carpeting.

We’re looking at a medium-gray tone for the master. We’ve chosen the top sample from below—Stormwatch.


And then for the guest room, which is really dark, we’ve chosen a gray-beige (Morning Mist) that matches the floor color well. We’re hoping it will lighten the room up a bit. It’s the sample on the far right.


That’s the same color we’ll use for the sewing room. I’ve been in a bit of a quandary as to whether to go light or dark up there. The room gets plenty of light, so we could choose the darker gray, but darker carpet shows lint. I always have strings and threads, bits of fabric and yarn scattered on the floor. I’m not sure which would hide that the best. We’ll go with the light and pledge to vacuum more often.

Our sweet dog followed the man from the carpet store around as he measured the rooms yesterday. We could have it installed and looking bright and new in just two weeks. I haven’t made the call yet. I was hoping for a sunny day to check the colors one last time.

Cocoa also tried to help me photograph the samples. Sitting on the floor is an open invitation to dogs.


She hates to be left out of anything.

What are your carpet buying tips and tricks? Light or dark?



Color Me Happy

The designer we’ve been working with ventured out to our house early yesterday bringing with her samples and joy. OK, so mostly she brought samples, and I supplied the joy.

It’s exciting to be at the point where we’re actually making decisions on furniture. For the last 20 plus years, it’s always been buy one piece of furniture, wait four or five years, buy another piece of furniture. Of course that was after we replaced the old sectional from his parents with the old couch from my parents and added in a few chairs from his grandparents.

Then we moved here and we threw together the furniture from our old living room, family room, and a few chairs from the girls’ hangout room, and we can’t forget all the furniture the last owners left behind. Let’s just say, we’ve been living with a hodge-podge for the last three years.

And now we have a plan, direction, colors, fabrics, and even a vibrant carpet–at least on paper we have all those.


I placed the order with Room and Board for a couch, a chaise, two ottomans, and five easy chairs. Sadly, they won’t be here till almost January, but these are exciting times. Our designer did all the hard work with the store talking sizes, colors, fabrics, finishes, and I just called to pay.

Here’s a preview of one of the new chairs that I’m particularly crazy about.

I can see snuggling up in the Boden leather chair with a book and a blanket. We’re keeping the pieces fairly neutral and planning to add color with pillows and accessories. That being said, the carpet is going to add a strong punch of color with its orange and green stripes.

The MR and Little Buddy have both given the plan their stamp of approval.

Bogart on sample

How do you go about buying furniture? Have you ever redone a whole room at once?



Down the Rabbit Hole

Why can’t life be simple? A seemingly straight-forward tasks can take all sorts of twists and turns leaving you all in dither.

That’s where we found ourselves recently. After living with crazy emerald carpet faded to teal (read all about it here), me and the MR decided it was time for something new. With a trip to the carpet store, that sea of green would be gone–if only it were that easy.

We wound up at the carpet store we used ages ago and had a lovely, illuminating chat with the owner.

We have really ugly mauve tile bordering the carpet that we’d like to get rid of.
Tile work is really messy, so you’ll want to do that ahead of time.

We have radiant heat floors.
Demolition will take longer, so contractors don’t damage your pipes and heating system.

Do you know what’s under the carpet? Are the pipes in thin set? How deep?
Uh…Errr…We have no idea.

Here’s another curve ball, we have a sunken area around the fireplace that we’d like to fill in. Is that something you would do or have contractors that you work with complete?
Well, I do have people I recommend, but all of the remodeling needs to be done before we can begin work.

What about adding electrical outlets in the middle of the carpet?
Again, that’s something you need to have done by an electrician of your choosing.

We left the carpet store with way more questions than we started with. The owner did have a tile guy that she recommended, so I took a picture of our situation. Walked through the house counting the tiles and emailed it off. Crossing our fingers, we were hoping her guy could take care of all 104-feet of ugly tile.

Mauve tile

Of course, we had to replace the tile with something else, something new and beautiful without even a hint of purple. The MR picked up a few tiles for the bathroom remodel and checked out some samples. They were gorgeous, wood-grain tiles in dark brown and gray tones, and I told him they were all wrong. I thought we were going for subtle after all that mauve.

So I dropped off one set of samples for another. I decided creamy, beige-y tones would do the trick. I brought them home and was ecstatic–they blended in perfectly.

Beige tile up close

I thought the tile on the far right was too yellow, and the tile on the far left was too gray, but the two in the middle were both quite lovely. And just imagine what it would look like if the carpet were a neutral beige instead of crazy green.

Tile and carpet

I know the samples are woefully small–they’re just a few I picked up at Home Depot, but I know you’re getting the gist. I was aiming for a soothing neutral palette. It was all well and good until the MR came home and tripped on the tiles. Now, that’s not the reason he hated them. We don’t want people to think we couldn’t find a matching tile, or that the tiles along the edges are smudged or dirty, he told me. He was right, but I didn’t want it to look like the great room was outlined with a giant marker in some hideous color that we’d hate just as much in a few years.

We were at a bit of standstill. And then the owner of the carpet store emailed to say her tile guy wanted nothing to do with our job and the radiant floors. She said it nicely, but it was still a blow. So I went to the internet. Maybe I could get a few ideas on borders and tile removal. I’m sure they have wonderful ideas on Pinterest or Houzz.

Sunday afternoon, I spent an hour or so going through tiles, looking for subtle border tile, something that would look intentional without being too in your face. And that’s when I stumbled upon something wonderful in a totally different direction. A professional or DIY tile coating that turns gaggy into gorgeous. Just take a look at some of their photos.

Photo by Semicore Remodeling

While I’m not into the yellow fireplace, I like the industrial vibe of that floor. Just take a look at what they can do outside.

Photo by Semicore Remodeling

What I found most intriguing was that the tiles don’t have to be removed, my house doesn’t have to be covered in dust, and it appears to be quick and easy. The representative from the company assured me this is a green process with very little in the way of off gassing. We can even stay at home during the work. Maybe this is the answer to our tile problem.

Kenji from the Seattle office is headed out later today to check the lay of the land and put together a quote. Me and the MR are hoping to make the trek into Seattle later this week to visit their showroom and see some samples. Just from the the website, I’m leaning toward the Polished Bond in Sandstone or maybe Modern Gray.

In as little as two weeks, those old tile floors could look totally new.

So what do you think? Are we totally crazy to go from a 104-square-foot job to a 2,000-square-foot job in the blink of an eye? Anyone tried tile coating before? Ever remove tile from floors containing pipes that heat your whole silly house?

If you’d like to check out Semcore Remodeling click here and imagine all the floors they can redesign for you.

A Magic Carpet

While it’s not a flying carpet, I was over-the-top excited to find a rug I’d pinned months ago back on sale at Joss & Main. It was colorful and fun–perfect for the girls’ hangout room. It’s truly magical how a rug can set the tone for a room giving it direction and new life.

In all honesty, the girls’ wing is a bit of a hodge-podge. We haven’t bought any new furniture. All our money and energy has been spent on maintenance with a little bit going to knick-knacks and pretties–I just can’t help myself. But when I saw the rug I’d hankered for months ago, searched for unsuccessfully on the  web, and mourned the loss of back on sale once more, I couldn’t let it go.

Let’s take a look at what we’ve got upstairs.

Holy cow!! It’s a big sty.

I love those girls, but they certainly aren’t neat and tidy. Along with the brown loveseat, we have the white futon/couch, a large black entertainment unit, beige-y bookshelves, and one bright red one.

How do you bring all those things together in a believable way and perhaps cover up some of that stained gray/blue carpet? This rug is magic.

We have the red, we have the blue, we have the black, we even have the brown. I made some funky crocheted pillows and covered a table for the old hangout room. I figured they’d go by the wayside, but they actually work with this carpet.

Yeah for Mom. Next on the to-do list is to get a slipcover for this little couch. All those white cushions are looking a little shabby after years of snacks and sleepovers.

Cost Plus used to sell these red slipcovers. Here’s hoping I’ll find them in stock.

I think a chalkboard wall would look great and mimic the dark background and vibrant colors of the rug. Teenage girls love to draw and write messages to their BFF’s.

We’ve talked about moving our current dining table upstairs when we get a new one. Well, we’re still waiting on that, so I have a folding table that would look great in their kitchen area and lots of chairs that they can gather round. And these paintings need to find a place on the wall.

I may be dreaming, but fixing up their space a little could encourage that latent neat and tidy gene I know they must have inherited from their father.

Have you purchased a carpet that magically transformed your space? What have you built a room around?

These Floors are Awesome

A week ago, we had 13 people spend the night. My sister-in-law and her Bible quiz team had a meet nearby and needed a place to crash.

While we have a guest room, a futon and some couches, we don’t have nearly enough beds for all those people. The girls slept upstairs, my sister-in-law got the guest room, and the boys had the main floor–I do mean floor.

The next morning, when I headed to the kitchen for my coffee, one of the boys told me “these floors are awesome.” Now, he wasn’t crazy, and he wasn’t talking about the beauty of the carpet or how cushy the floors are. Our floors are heated; and he’s right, they’re awesome.

My sister-in-law noticed when she hopped out of the shower her feet felt warm tiles instead of the usual cold. Just the day before, some workmen who took off their shoes at the front door were surprised to feel the warmth. On chilly days this winter, Baby Girl would find a good spot and just lay on the floor and soak up the heat.

I’ll say it again, “These floors are awesome.”

Now you may be thinking that we’re totally decadent to have heated floors throughout the main level. I might agree if radiant floors weren’t our only source of heat. We get a lot of solar heat from all those windows, but sunny days in November and December are few and far between. Let’s be honest, it’s the northwest. We get a lot of overcast and rainy days 10 months out of the year.

We also have a huge fireplace, that puts out a lot of heat. It helped us through those four days without power in January, but we aren’t in the habit of lighting a fire.

So while technically we have options, our heated floors are what keep us warm.

Unfortunately, the boiler that heats the water that flows through the copper tubing that in turn heats our floors is heated by oil. You may not have noticed, but oil’s a little expensive. It cost me $73.99 to fill up my car the other day. That’s nothing compared to filling up our oil tank twice since January. We have been looking at options.

The girls’ upstairs wing is heated by radiators. They are old, inefficient and make me a little nervous. Teenagers can be messy, and we don’t want a fire. It’s been cold in their wing this winter. That encourages them to spend more time with us, but I don’t want my girls to freeze.

A heat pump seems to be the answer. We’d pull out the radiators upstairs and heat and cool the girls’ wing with the heat pump. We’d upgrade the old boiler to one compatible with the heat pump and continue with the radiant floors on the main level. That leaves a cooling issue during the summer months, but we’re working on that.

Eventually, we’ll replace the carpet with something a lot lighter in color to avoid dramatic fading like this.

It looks like someone spilled something, but it’s just the difference between the original emerald green color that’s faded to teal. This is usually obscured by our furniture. I do vacuum occasionally.

While I like the softness of carpet, it blocks some of the heat from the floors. We’ve talked about replacing it with wood or more tile. We don’t want it to be too sterile or cold in here. I’d hate for it to echo.

The MR bought some retractable screen doors that are helping with the excess heat on warm days. The screen doors aren’t custom, so he’s been having some issues with getting them to fit properly.  But cross-ventilation makes a big difference. I know with a trip to the hardware store, he’ll have them working great.

We are still waiting on Buzz–the heating guy–to give us a final quote on the upgrades, but I thought I’d let you in on our first major project inside.

Have you had good luck with heat pumps? Should we replace the carpet with wood, tile or just less obnoxious carpet? Do you have big indoor projects coming up?

And now on a personal note, Sweet Miss had a wonderful time at prom. She looked beautiful and her dress was great. Note to self: even a short train gets stepped on a lot, and things don’t always look quite the same as the picture–neither of us thought mid-riff would be bare…oh well.

My Beautiful Girl on her special night.