Category Archives: The New House

The Moving Mambo

If there is such a thing as a Moving Mambo, I think we might be doing it. It goes a little something like:

Clear out dining room area so the table will actually fit…clutter up the kitchen island.

Wash all laundry while painters are upstairs…rewash half the loads when they come out smelling like paint fumes.

Put away all of the dishes in the cupboards…pull them all back out so the cabinet guys can rehang the cabinet because your mixer won’t fit under the cabinet by 1/16″ due to the awesomely chunky nature of your concrete counter tops.

In other words: 3 steps forward…2 steps back.

BUT! Note that that still puts us 1 step farther forward than we started out. I’ll take it.

That said, here are a few things I’ve learned over the past two 1/2 weeks.

1. I raved about what a pretty color Simply White by Sherwin Williams is. And it is! In oil paint. It’s the color of my white upper cabinets and all of the ship lap in the house, and I love it!

week35

See the white cabinets? No yellow! Also, the range hood is huge for a reason. We’ll have two ovens side-by-side underneath because two 30″ was a loooooooottt cheaper than one 60″ range. (Also, I had Della stand by Honor specifically for this picture; I was standing by him at the island before, and at no point was he left alone on there). 

Imagine my confusion, then, when the exact same color on my walls was yellow. Like, a lot. I don’t have a picture, but it was such a jarring feeling to see the point where the wall met the ship lap and realize that they were the same color. Even Shaun, who is red-green color blind and not the best gauge of colors in general, could see the difference and didn’t like it.

2. Sherwin Williams Pure White IS a true white. No yellow at all. We ended up repainting the living room in it, and it’s such a gorgeous crisp, bright color (or lack thereof). Definitely going with it for the white in the rest of the house. I even chose it for the exterior trim!

week3

Woooohoooo! Lookee there at that pretty white trim AND landscaping…which…my mom is doing for me. While I vacuum all of that red dirt inside over and over and over…

3. Not having kids sleeping in your living room will do WONDERS for your sanity. I was borderline twitching the other night, literally feeling like moving was the biggest mistake ever. And, even though I could logically identify my emotions as a major overreaction and just all-around lie, it wasn’t until the kids, my dad, and I took the time to move all 240 (!!) boxes of flooring out of the schoolroom and all of the kids into it to sleep (thus freeing up my living room floors at night) that my brain felt like it could begin to truly relax. Apparently, I really need that hour before bed without little eyeballs on me to recharge.

week34

Something else that recharges me: spending time with this guy. Yeah, that hottie who is happily serving his kids (their oh-so-nutritious special lunch of choice on Father’s Day) on his special day.

4. Prayer has a major effect on my perspective. Duh, right? But it’s amazing what praying for the 7 men who are in every room of my house by 8:30 in the morning does for my attitude about their presence. I still don’t love it, but it makes me feel less like a cat on a sheetrock and power-tool covered porch (I think that’s how the saying goes?).

week36

Another thing I prayed for for YEARS: this piano that fits perfectly in the piano nook we designed in the house long before the Lord ever answered that prayer with this beauty for $100!!

P.S. While I am typing these words, painters are adjusting ladders in rather ear-splitting fashion, there is the constant whine of a saw in the background, and the ever-present soundtrack of my life is blaring Tejano music. #sanctuary

week32

Upside of having painters in your house? The cools toys…like plastic sheeting…apparently. 

5. You can use exterior paint inside. Technically, it’s frowned upon because “the formula’s not the same,” but according to our paint guy, latex paint is latex paint, for the most part. Which is good news, since it means I can use the “fixed” color of our exterior paint goof on the inside. And that’s just what I plan to do.

6. A sink can be life-changing. Or something close to it. Our giant (51.5″) sink from NBI Drainboard Sinks is practically my favorite thing in the house. It’s equally split between the two sinks, but one is deeper than the other (the left is 8″, the right is 11″). I gravitate toward the shallower one for rinsing things–grapes, cups, babies–but I can pile practically anything in the right side at the same time, so there are no dishes on my counters, even if there’s a full load to do. It’s made from cast acrylic, which is durable and super easy to clean. I’ve only been using it for 3 weeks, so but so far, it’s held up beautifully, and–ask Shaun–I’m prone to go off in raptures about it while washing off Theo’s muddy feet or scrubbing an entirely submerged cookie sheet. Just for full disclosure, I did receive it at a discounted price, but I had already asked Shaun if we could buy it outright before I ever collaborated with NBI Drainboard Sinks, and he said yes. Even at full price, I think it’s a good deal because farmhouse sinks that are 40% smaller are going for the same price. There’s just nothing else like it (that I’ve found) on the market, and it has made this mama of many’s life so much easier already. I’m a huge, huge fan. As are my boys. We went with double dishwashers, and they love that they can rinse/load simultaneously without bonking elbows. I’m not exaggerating one bit when I say that they’ve actually thanked me for getting such a nice sink (they’re my primary dishwashers in the morning, so it makes sense for them to be excited by the upgrade).

week31

 I almost feel bad for posting this picture of Honor with all of his rolls hanging out, but, honestly, when else is it just so stinkin’ cute to be this chubby? Never. That’s when. He doesn’t look too enthused about his bath in the awesomest sink ever, but I promise he loved it.

7. Baby sleep schedules + moves don’t mix well.

Honor has gone from being a solid 10-hour sleeper to trying nonsense like waking up every hour and 1/2. And no, it’s not the 4 month sleep regression…because he’s FIVE months now (how???) and his 4 month sleep hiccups were a mere blip compared to the sleep deprivation he’s been putting me through for the past week. Basically, we need to get our sleeping arrangements a little more spread out (i.e. move everybody upstairs once the paint stink from all of the oil enamel is gone), so he doesn’t sense me (from his pack ‘n play all of 2 feet away), and I think we’ll be back on track. Hoping to get there by this weekend.

I’m sure there’s much more I could share, but I’ve already written this post in shifts over days, so I should probably hit publish before it languishes as a draft for another week.

OH! Before I go, though, I wanted to ask: what kind of posts would you like to see me write about this house-building experience?

I’ve already been asked about where I find my deals (I’ve shared a lot of those, but if you have more specific questions, I’ll be happy to share) and how we came up with/went about designing the layout and exterior of the house. I’ve also had various questions about how we took large family dynamics into account when building. I’m happy to blog about any of the above or anything else y’all are interested to know. I’m just trying to get a gauge for which topics interest the most people.

I’m all ears!

P.S. If you want to see more daily pics of our house progress, be sure to follow along on Instagram. It’s the only place I seem to be able to post daily right now.

 

 

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Upstairs Updates

As promised, I’m sharing some of the design decisions–mostly paint colors–that I’ve made for the upstairs of the new house.

The other day in the paint store, I heard a well-groomed woman in designer everything exclaiming to an equally well-dressed lady that, “Picking paint colors is THE WORST. I seriously need wine–or Vicodin–right now.”

And all I could think was, “First world problems.”

So, please know that when I say that picking paint colors is hard, I do not mean hard in any genuine sense of the word.

Maybe “tricky” is a better word.

Those darn color swatches look so alluring, and then you paint them on an actual wall or cabinet, and–tada–they transform from beautiful swans into majorly ugly ducklings. Not exactly what you were going for.

I’ve “agonized” (aka: spent a lot of time carrying painted boards around the house and analyzing them in different light) over various paint colors for weeks now, and I am so relieved to say that–for better or for worse–I’m done! At least with the cabinet paint colors.

In the end, I booted a couple of colors I was considering in favor of the custom paint color we currently have on our kitchen island.

kitchen island1

In case you’re wondering, it’s very close to SW Aloe, but with a less saturated green. We played around with it a fair bit to get it just right, and I like the color so much that I decided to go with it for the laundry room cabinets and the lingerie chest in the master closet. cabinets10

I had been hoping to add some wallpaper to the laundry room (pictured above), but I didn’t have a particular design in mind until I spotted a roll of this  gorgeous wallpaper at Anthropologie on a quick trip to Dallas a couple of weeks ago for Lindsay’s birthday.

floral wallpaper

It was opened and had a few smudge marks on it (obviously a return from an online purchase, since they don’t carry wallpaper in stores), so the manager discounted it 50%. Never EVER be afraid to ask for a discount–even at a high-falutin’ store like Anthro.

I love how the minty colors in the leaves will pick up the color of the paint I chose, and those big pink flowers just make me happy…which is kind of what I was going for in a room where a lot of unhappy (okay, tedious) things take place.

The master bath vanity and the upstairs kitchenette will be SW’s Modern Gray (you might remember I’m planning on painting some walls with this color at 50%, but the cabinets will be full strength). I have enough else going on in these rooms that I didn’t need a competing cabinet color.

This pic has been a longtime inspiration shot for the girls’ bathroom, so I chose SW Deep Sea Dive as their vanity color.

teal bathroom

 

Lots of elements in the girls’ actual bathroom will be considerably different, but I still love the concept of the deep blue-green + the gold accents.

deep sea dive

It’s similar to the kitchen cabinet lowers, but you can see that it’s a bit lighter and bluer in this pic.

paint

(Deep Sea Dive is the far right)

SPEAKING of the kitchen cabinet lowers, I know I’m supposed to be talking about the upstairs, but they got the first coat of paint on the lowers, and–holy wow!–I love it!

teal kitchen

The formula for Weekend (Magnolia Paint) isn’t available yet, so they had to do a color-match at Sherwin Williams. It took some trial and error, but we finally nailed it, I think.

Oh! And one more. The boys’ vanity color will be SW Privilege Green. Their vanity top is stained wood with shiplap behind the vanities, so I wanted something fresh and boyish without being too “primary colors.”

privilege green

And there you have it! Upstairs paint colors DONE. Boom. And all that.

We move 2 weeks from tomorrow, and there are still paint and tile and countertops (the concrete is a definite at this point…can’t wait to show you!) and finish plumbing and…oh goodness. I’d better stop, since I haven’t even gotten to talking about packing.

Which…is what I’m off to do.

Y’all have a wonderful Monday, ya hear!

 

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Downstairs Updates (Paint and stain and wallpaper, oh my!)

Welp.

The big push to move into the new house by May 30 is well underway, and…it’s going…great! Truly. I had to think about that for a second but really only to analyze whether I am missing something obviously stressful. Because it really has gone about as smoothly as it possibly could, all things considered.

When we first sat down two weeks ago and decided to go for it, Shaun wrote out a timeline that involved our (mostly his) doing practically every last thing left on the list. And it filled up every free moment of every day from here til the 30th.

By the grace of God, Shaun found himself standing behind a mill work guy (trim, cabinets, etc.) in Lowe’s about 6 weeks ago, so he struck up a conversation with him, and the guy had time to come see our house and give us a quote on the spot. Considering how spotty our experience with hiring out work has been up to this point, we couldn’t be more pleased with Cesar’s work. He’s honest and meticulous. Not particularly fast but a hard worker who does the job right. And he’s been putting all of the trim in for the past month or so. Which is a huge deal because there’s a lot of it, and Shaun was dreading doing the planked ceilings (he would have done a great job, but it would have been a serious chore for one man and would have set us back weeks).

trim

 

{The wainscoting and trim will all be bright white, but that exposed section of wall above will be covered in Daydream Wallpaper in Green}

Anyway, Cesar has been a lifesaver after subbing out almost nothing else up to this point. Also, Lindsay’s husband, Tim, just happens to have a paint company (we’ve used them in the past), and they just so “happened” (thank you, Lord!) to have availability the first two weeks in May. Which is awesome because we weren’t sure they would, and Shaun was including painting all of the ceilings, downstairs cabinets, and trim on his list of things to do himself before the 30th (because we can’t have all of the oil paint fumes downstairs while we’re living in it).

I decided on stain for the island to ground all of the white in the room, and Tim’s crew did an amazing job of custom mixing a color that killed all of the red/orange tones that I kept coming up with when I was testing stain colors on my own (seriously, after seeing the end result, I am so grateful they were available; I would have gotten it done, but it wouldn’t have been nearly as pretty, and I think I would have made a lot of mistakes).

stained islnd

Of course, having two crews in our house doesn’t mean we’re not in there too. We’ve been out there every evening puttying, caulking, cleaning, and–my biggest job–picking paint colors. We fall into bed pretty exhausted (the kids are loving getting to stay up late…until 7 AM rolls round, that is).

Not surprisingly (at ALL), I’ve been testing out every shade of blue-green I can get my hands on.

paint

All three of these were contenders for the kitchen cabinets, but I’m sticking with Weekend (Magnolia Paint)–far left.

So far, I’ve narrowed it down to these:

Upper kitchen cabinets: Simply White (Benjamin Moore)

Apparently, it was the BM color of the year for 2016. Whatever that means. All I know is that I got a bunch of white samples, and Simply White is the one that didn’t skew too cold (blue) or warm (yellow) and was still bright and fresh no matter what light it was in.

Actually, all of the white surfaces in the house, minus the trim (which will be standard super bright white), will be Simply White.

simply white

(According to Pinterest, the walls of this image are Simply White).

Lower kitchen cabinets: Weekend (Magnolia Paint)

For how popular Fixer Upper is, it’s actually really hard to find a picture of her paints in use (other than stock photos); this is the only example of a cabinet painted in Weekend that I could scare up.

weekend1

I would say that, in my kitchen, the color is a bit deeper and less green, but–you know–everybody’s monitor, not to mention, house lighting, is different, so all I really know is that I love it!

Downstairs bath cabinets – Underseas (Sherwin Williams)

This is such a pretty, moody teal that I want to use on all kinds of surfaces in my house (and I just may), but I’m pretty sure that I want it in the downstairs main bath. It definitely looks a bit lighter/greener in the below pic than it reads in my house (so weird how much color can vary), but I still love it!

underseas

via

I had planned to use my black and white Oh Joy Petal Pusher wallpaper that I scored for $30 in this bathroom, but then I tried this Peonies design in there (a $40 score), and I think it’s meant to be. peonies

 

{Underseas is the bottom right drawer, in case you were wondering}

I’m thinking I’ll probably use the black and white wallpaper on the wall behind the vanity of the downstairs half bath (Shaun told me the other day that I was amassing quite a few wallpapering hours in my future, but I figure if he can, oh, frame an entire house, I can surely paper a few walls).

Mudroom Cabinets – Parakeet Pete (PPG Paints)

parakeet pete

That awesomely chippy mint door leads to my pantry, and the yawning abyss to the right of it would be the mudroom. The cabinets in there will be painted Parakeet Pete, yet another shade of blue-green that will pick up on the tones in the pantry door (if you scroll up and look at the bottom left drawer of the bathroom pic, that’s Parakeet Pete).

Living Room Built-in Cabinets – Modern(ist) Gray (Sherwin Williams)

fireplace

You can see at least a part of the built-ins on either side of the fireplace in this shot (what you CAN’T see is the ingenious hidden drawer that Shaun built into the ship lap to squirrel away all of our cords). Originally, I had thought to paint them the same white as the ship lap, but there’s already a lot of white in this room, so I’m planning to paint them Sherwin William’s Modern Gray (or Modernist…I’ve got a sample that says “Modern” and a sample CARD that says “Modernist”) for a subtle pop of color.

modernist

 

It’s definitely a warm gray.

And there you have it!

The walls will all be Simply White or Modern(ist) Gray at 50% strength, depending on the room.

I’ll share the upstairs colors a bit later this week, but for now, I’m off to teach science. What do you think of the progress so far? I’m beyond excited to see how it’s all coming together, but I only have to consider the possibility of moving in 3 weeks to get a bit of a nervous knot in my stomach. We have a LOT to do in the next 21 days!

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Master Bedroom + Master Bathroom Reveal + a Life Update

It’s been a long time coming, but I finally (f-i-n-a-l-l-y) edited some of those long-promised pics of the house that I took when we were getting it in perfect order to sell. And today, I’m showing you two rooms that I don’t think I’ve ever officially revealed on the blog–the master bedroom and master bathroom. Normally I do lots of detailed shots, but this time, I just went with a few quick wide-angle shots to give you an overall impression because I was literally photographing the entire upstairs in a 30 minute window.

master bedroom

(Are you shocked to discover that our bedroom is colorful just like the rest of my house? Yeah, I didn’t think so).

By the way, in case you’re wondering, although I’m no longer spending 2 hours a day making sure every little house “I” is dotted and “T” is crossed, both the kids and I have been working hard at picking up after ourselves, even in the midst of this super busy season, and–combined with all of the decluttering we did–it’s still pretty easy to keep the house decent with medium-ish effort. It’s giving me hope for the future. Not that I didn’t clean before. I did. Every day. But with extra “stuff” in this room or that, my brain never felt completely relaxed when it came to my house. I could function. I could ignore it. But I couldn’t ever get easy with it.

master bedroom2

(I’m going to be sad not to take that blue beast of a dresser with us. It holds a ton; and that gray tufted chair was an incredible steal from Amazon Warehouse Deals, considering that I got it for $60, and it’s currently selling for $350!)

Which brings me to a question that so many people have asked me: “So, when you say that you sold your house ‘fully furnished,’ what does that mean exactly? Are you literally taking nothing?”

No, not nothing.

I’m taking all of my decor (minus rugs and curtains) because it doesn’t make much sense to leave stuff that is special to me or our family like the pretty books I’ve collected over the years. But I’ve mostly got it paired down to my absolute favorite things–things that make sense in the new house and for which I’ve already mentally picked out a spot. The rest I’ve sold, given to friends, donated, or will get rid of before we move.

master bedroom1

 

(I love curtains. Always have. Because I love fabric. So, you might be surprised to know that there are very, very few rooms in the new house that will be getting curtains, mostly due to non-traditional heights or angles for a lot of the upstairs windows and a desire to keep things as light and open as possible downstairs)

Also, as far as furniture, I’m taking my Anthro clearance dining chairs because 1) only 3 of them are at my current house (the rest are at the new house waiting to be reunited with their sisters) and 2) they are bigger and more substantial/comfortable than any other metal dining chair I’ve managed to find anywhere else. I’m also keeping my (Craigslist) cowhide rug, my (Craigslist) coffee table, a (secondhand, Facebook swap) Anthro dresser, and a cool set of vintage lockers (from a friend) I can’t really hope to replace.

Everything else stays.

In other momentous news, Shaun and I went through a day-by-day timeline tonight for the next month. We close on May 30th (assuming the appraisal goes off without a hitch), and, just tonight, Shaun lobbed the rather preposterous-sounding possibility of moving into the new house as soon as we close by me.

At first, I was like, “Nah ah, honey. Ain’t no way.”  Southern for: “Boy, you MUST be crazy.”

master bathroom1

 

(What does it say that my first thought about this room is: “That’s where I had Honor!”)

But then we literally combed through every task we have remaining one by one and decided that IF we don’t about a) concrete floors or b) exterior paint or c) two finished bathrooms or d) all of the light fixtures being in or e) the stairs being done or…*insert several other totally non-crucial things like–oh–any semblance of grass or outdoor order*…

We could, feasibly–by working really hard from here until May 30th–skip moving into our rental and go straight to the new house.

So, as nutty as it sounds, that’s the plan currently. Lord willing. Because only he knows how this will actually go down. Of course, the nice thing is that, if we totally bomb, or even if we only miss our deadline by a hair, we have the rental house there waiting for us. Even if it is only 1,200 sq. ft., not 1,500 like I originally said (I don’t care, but Shaun was adamant that I understand this so as not to be disappointed if we moved in…because, apparently, his confidence in my ability to judge a house’s square footage with my naked eye is rock solid).

master bathroom

 

(You know your design sensibilities have shifted a bit when you used to worry about the pull on your vanity mirror not matching the rest of your metals, and now, you’re planning on intentionally mixing three different metal finishes in one space). 

So! That’s where we stand. Exciting things like trim and planked ceilings and rad doors and awesome $100 vintage pianos the likes of which I’ve been searching for for 5 years and paint color decisions and other furniture deals are happening right and left, along with all of the regular real life. (I’ll do an update post with photographic proof of the progress soon). And I’m not even sure which way is up sometimes. But it’s good.

The Lord is oh-so-faithfully unfolding this story of ours bit by bit, and–I can’t believe I’m saying this–I don’t even feel overwhelmed, except by his incredible goodness and loving kindness. That’s God, y’all. Because, without him, I would be a stressed mess.

master bathroom2

(There’s a toilet closet to the left there, but I figured I’d spare you that view). 

Oh! And one more little design tidbit. We’ve decided to go with white concrete countertops for the kitchen. I know I’ve talked through practically every single option under the sun here, but Shaun thinks he can do a bang up job (I have utter confidence in that amazing man), and, with the ability to customize our length, we won’t have to lose the foot of island we would have had to with quartz, so–deep breath–that’s the direction we’re headed.

Phew! Y’all would be surprised how many times a week I think: “Man! I need to blog that. So-and-so would love that.” But it just hasn’t happened until now. So, I apologize for the word + info vomit, but I appreciate again y’alls understanding and support.

For those of you praying, please pray for guidance, supernatural energy, peace, productivity, and NO sickness (I’ve had a cold for the past week that has been dragging at me, but I think I’m on the mend). More specifically, please pray that we make our moving deadline. I have utter peace that, whether we do or don’t, everything will be juuuuust fine. But it would be great not to have to move twice.       master bedroom3

 

Because why not end the post with a cute shot of Honor scrunching himself into the bottom of his bassinet as he wakes up from a nap?

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New Kitchen Updates + an Island Quandary

I was going to call this post “An Island Dilemma,” but the English major part of me knows full well that a dilemma is a decision between two bad choices, and I honestly think that all of the choices I’m about to present for your consideration are (potentially) good ones. Hence the “quandary.” (Which, to be strictly accurate, still refers to a “difficult situation,” which…this isn’t. But enough with the semantics).

So, in case you need a refresher (or never saw it), here is the inspiration board I put together for the kitchen in the new house (for someone who names everything, I really should have a name for “the new house” by now…feel free to throw some suggestions my way).

kitchen design

It’s kind of fun to look at this and see which elements have stayed the same and which have evolved. The sink is different (although still a farmhouse silhouette). The lights are different (went with these during a Black Friday sale, and they finally came last week and are lovely). The faucet is the same style but wall-mounted and in chrome. And for the hardware, I’m pretty sure I’m going with these:

knobs

FreestonePull

 

(Except they would both be the satin brass color of the knob from above).

They’re a super-reasonable price for real brass (holds up better; doesn’t discolor as easily as the zinc alloy versions), and they actually carry them locally, which is awesome because I’ve discovered that I’m pretty picky about the shades of brass that I do and don’t like (anything too green or yellow is a no-go), and these are a gorgeous soft gold in person.

Oh, and I must have had that rug embedded in my subconscious because I had completely forgotten that I’d included it on the board, and I still ended up buying this nuLOOM arrowhead design in a runner (on suuuuper sale) during Black Friday.

rug

Shaun saw this and looked confused, since I’m usually a floral girl. Not sure why I’m digging the tribal arrows so much, but…I am. So there.

The subway tile is still in the plan, as are the open shelves and wood range hood. The range actually ended up being rangeS, since I found an awesome deal on not one but TWO 30″ pro-style GE ranges with dual fuel (we wanted a gas stove and an electric oven).

Oh, and the color I’m leaning towards for the lowers is actually called Weekend from the Magnolia Home paint line. But I’ll probably just have it color matched because their paints are pretty pricey.

weekendOh! And not mentioned or shown above…but we’re 99% sure we’re going with laminate countertops in Wilonsart White Carrara with a velvet finish.

Oooookay.

Now that you’re all up to date on the minutiae of my kitchen choices, let’s get back to the quandary (dilemma…decision I have to make…whatever).

And that would be: what color to paint/stain/make the island.

Which, by the way, has turned out even prettier than I’d hoped.

island1It’s just under 12 feet long, so it’s a bit of a beast. But, as excited as I am to put her to work, what makes me a little swoony are all of the fun decorative details like those corbels, the curvy legs, and the carved panels on the ends–all of which I chose/designed not feeling entirely sure that they would turn out well together. Happily, they did! At least, I like them. So, that’s good. (And the base trim isn’t even on yet!)

Here’s a shot back towards the sink/windows.

island2And another from the other side.

island(Those drawers are removed because they forgot to include a spot for an outlet, so that’s getting fixed).

So, now that you’ve seen pretty much every angle of my kitchen island, what do you think?

Should I stain her? (That’s been the plan all along). If so, what color? (My stools and floors are both a medium oak tone, and I don’t want anything tooooo matchy-matchy).

Another good option would be white-washing, which would allow some of the wood grain to show through without committing to an actual color.

I’m disinclined to paint her, although, if I did, it would be white, since we will have white uppers, and there’s enough going on with the teal lower cabinets that I don’t need a competing color on the island.

Whatever I do to the island I’m probably going to replicate on the range hood to keep the tones in the kitchen consistent. So, this decision is a bit of a double-whammy.

Oh! And if it will help you to make an informed decision, if you scroll up and look at the side view of the island, you’ll see the stained hutch in the background, which will be against the wall between the dining room and the kitchen. The color it’s stained is a little more orange than I’m willing to go with the island, but I like the medium range it represents.

Any thoughts? Suggestions? Specific stain names I should test out?

You know I love a good reader poll, so hit me with it!

 

 

 

 

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CABINETS!

I know that I haven’t shared much about our new house process here lately. I’m sure you can’t possibly guess why, since I clearly have nothing else going on in my life right now.

Ahem.

But!

Even outside of the baby-feeding and cheek-kissing that is taking precedence over house blogging, there hasn’t been too much interesting to show. We’ve been making steady progress, and Shaun still spends every spare moment out there plugging away. But, even though sheetrock and garage doors are super exciting to me, they make for fairly lame blog fodder. We have sheet rock and garage doors now. Huzzah! Consider yourself updated.

But! (again)

Cabinets?

Now, that’sprogress.

And we have cabinets, people!

Custom cabinets throughout the house were an item on the “if we had our druthers” list that I had no idea whether it would happen. We knew we’d be using the same guy who did our kitchen cabinets in our current house. He does great work, is reasonably priced, willing to negotiate, and so easy to work with.  We were planning to use him for the kitchen again and for a mudroom with custom built-in wooden lockers.  But beyond that, it was more of a wish than a plan.

Thankfully, because we’re proceeding steadily but slowly–which means that Shaun is able to again do 95% of the work–we’ve saved so much money that we were able to present the list to our cabinet guy, get a quote back, do a little haggling, and get every last door and drawer we’d asked for.

We had him do:

  • the kitchen
  • the mudroom
  • the living room built-in shelving
  • a kitchenette upstairs
  • the laundry room
  • 3 bathroom vanities
  • built-in shelving in the master bedroom
  • a lingerie chest in the master closet

And guess what? They delivered all of those gorgeous pieces last week! They’re still working on finishing the installation, but it’s enough progress that I thought it might warrant a post.

Prepare yourself for a completely unedited picture dump (because if I take the time to edit, the baby’s going to wake up before I’m done, and I’ll never get this thing posted).

cabinets

Okay, so this is not cabinets, but I found this ah-mazing 100-year-old architectural salvage post for a great price on a local Facebook swap and thought I’d share. I honestly don’t know what it was in its former life, but I’m trying to figure out a way to make it our bottom stair newel. It’s just a wee bit massive, though, and doesn’t have a top, so I haven’t quite wrapped my brain around it. I will be using this bad boy (girl?), though, because it’s just too rad to sit in somebody’s garage.

cabinets1

Thought y’all might appreciate a closeup of all of the intricate carving. If you have a brilliant idea for a topper, I’m all ears.

cabinets2

Hooray for living room built-ins! I actually hadn’t intended for that long horizontal shelf to be at the top of the units, but it was my fault because I sent an inspiration picture to Jeff (cabinet guy) so that he could see the way I wanted the trim and failed to specify that the rest of it should be ignored. It’s kind of a happy accident, though, because, otherwise, the shelves would have been really tall, and Shaun suggested using those long ones at the top to house my globe collection (smart man!). I’m not entirely sure the taller ones will fit, but I’ll give it a go!

Oh, and that pic above is basically a zoomed out, straight-on view of our living room (and Nola looking rather vague…told you these weren’t edited). The stairs you saw are just to the right out of the shot. The hallway to the right leads to the schoolroom, the main downstairs bath, the guest room, and Shaun’s office. The door on the left with all of that gorgeous light flooding in from the big windows is the opening to the schoolroom.

cabinets5

 

Turning around to look back into the kitchen, this is what you’d see. To the right are the cabinets that will encase the fridge/freezer, my big NBI Drainboard Sink, and a bank of beee-you-tee-full windows! The spaces below either side of the sink are for, not one, but two dishwashers (which, of course, I managed to score for the price of one!). The big blank wall just ahead is the area behind the range and vent hood. It will have open shelving on either side of the hood as well. cabinets4

This view is from the dining room (which flows into the kitchen) back toward the kitchen. And that island is, by far, the most exciting piece of cabinetry we’ve gotten yet. I wanted it to look like a piece of furniture in its own right, so I designed those decorative panels. And it came out even better than I’d hoped. (It’s hard to tell, but the edges are routed, giving it even more detail and depth).  cabinets6

 

Another view of the island. It’s recessed there in the center to allow for stools and a counter overhang, and those drawers on the end (to the right) are two built-in trash cans (WITH built-in trash bag holders behind them! Oh, the things that make you happy when you’re an adult).

The door that you can see open behind the island leads to the mudroom, which just might be my favorite room in the house besides the kitchen.

cabinets9

 

That view is so purdy, my friends, that just want to kiss the screen. Call us optimistic (or crazy…or over-planners…whatever), but there are 11 (!!) wooden lockers in there, complete with bottoms drawers for shoes and overhead storage for off-season items like hats, gloves, floaties, goggles, etc.

We don’t have anything like this in our current house, and I can’t tell you how excited this organizationally-challenged girl is to have a room that can hold all the things. No more backpacks hanging on the stairs. No more constant struggle to find the best place for coats and shoes. Happy, happy day!

 

cabinets8

 

The main downstairs bath is a fun one. There will be black/white floral wallpaper on the wall you see there. The cabinets will be a moody teal with brass hardware. And we’re going with stained wood for the countertop (we’ll just seal it with Waterlox). cabinets7

Same room, from the entry angle.   cabinets10

A close runner-up for all the heart eyes in the land is the family laundry. This is the view from the door (and also gives you a glimpse into the master bath beyond). The gap beside the tall, skinny cabinet is for the stacked washer and dryer, and the skinny cabinet itself is for all of my detergents and washing paraphernalia. The two large lower cabinet “doors” immediately to the left of the washer opening are actually pull-out drawers, which will hold laundry baskets. Thank goodness for Pinterest and the endless supply of cool organizational ideas!cabinets11

 

This is the “big room.” We have one of these in our current house, with a DIY big screen and built-in cabinets. This time, we skipped the built-ins in favor of a little kitchenette for when we have guests come to stay or are hosting an event upstairs and want to make popcorn or keep drinks cold (I found the cutest little retro-styled mini-fridge in mint online at Walmart, and it will slide right into that gap on the bottom right). The kitchenette was Shaun’s idea, as was the suggestion to not close off the space above the sunroom (to the right…also Shaun’s idea, come to the think of it) and instead leave it open as a loft. I can only imagine how much fun my kids will have as teenagers having slumber parties in the loft, but we’re also hoping that it can serve as a sleeping area for guests if necessary. We definitely intend this to be a house of hospitality, and I’m excited about the prospect of housing exchange students or missionaries who are passing through or just somebody down-on-her-luck who needs a place to stay. cabinets12

This is a view of the boys’ built-in vanity. The girls’ is a mirror image on the other side of the big room. We went with built-in vanities in the bathrooms a) because they look nice and avoid the awkward gaps on either side of a non-custom-sized vanity (how “mom” am I that I care less about the look and more about the fact that those gaps are hard to sweep) and b) they’re actually cheaper a la carte (sink, faucets, countertops, etc. separately) than buying most all-inclusive units would be…but only because we’re not going with fancy countertop materials like quartz or marble. Instead, the bathroom vanity tops will either be wood or laminate. And I am A-okay with that. I will gladly forgo fancy for function (and saving money) every single time. cabinets13

This is the master bathroom vanity, which will have a shiplap accent wall and his/her sinks and mirrors, etc.

If you go out that door you can barely see the beginning of to the left, you’ll be in the master bedroom…

cabinets14

 

…which has big, vaulted ceilings that will be planked…eventually. (My husband is not a fan of my love for planking, but he told me he would do it…if he could take his sweet time :) ).

 

 

cabinets15

The master closet is to the left of the master bedroom and houses this beast of a “lingerie chest,” which is actually divided equally down the center to have drawers on both sides for my and Shaun’s socks and undies respectively. Again, I was super pleased to have a custom piece that was actually cheaper than a lot of the dressers (even on craigslist and Facebook) that I had looked at.

Aaaaand…there you have it. Phew! That was a lot of cabinets!

We tried as hard as we could to make things both pretty and practical. And, so far, it feels like we’ve succeeded. I’m sure I’ll find things I could have designed better, but with this much drawer space to work with, I’m not too worried about.

Yay for cabinets! Yay for progress! Boo for decluttering closets and getting this house ready to sell! But it must be done if I want to enjoy those cabinets.

So, off I go!

 

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Shedding Some Light on the New Kitchen {Help!}

I’ve mentioned several times that my favorite part of this whole building process is when we land on a decision and can just move onto the next.

Which…is what I thought we’d done when we chose this pendant light for our kitchen island.

mercana light

I loved the brass finish and the industrial details. Sadly, they only had one left in stock at the super-sale price I’d found, but we went ahead and ordered it.

When it arrived, I liked it even better in person than online. Except. It was big. Like really, really big.

I knew this. I had paid close attention to the measurements, gotten out a tape measure, mocked it up…the works.

What I wasn’t able to anticipate was just how hefty the cage grill and industrial-style connection on top of the light would be.

gaffert

 

I honestly don’t think this picture does the light justice either in how pretty it is or just how massive it is.

In any case, both Shaun and I were thrown for a loop because we both agreed that–although we like industrial–this one might be a bit much. Of course, we were also grateful that only one had been in stock because, if we’d gotten three of these suckers, they would have completely overpowered the rest of the kitchen. 

Which brings me right back around to trying to figure out which lights to put over the kitchen island. I’m not quite back at square one, since I know for sure what I don’t want, but I am a bit torn between several good options, and I’d love your input.

Okay, so first of all, we have the replacement industrial option: the Dawson pendant light, which is also probably my first preference. I think. Hm. #indecisivemuch

industrial lightI love the pop of brass at the top (I’ll have brass hardware on the cabinets), and I love the weathered look and the cage grill that adds interest without being over-the-top.

industrial light inspo1

This kitchen isn’t so very similar to how ours will be, but the color of the island is almost identical to what I’m leaning toward for our lowers (we’ll have white uppers), and at the very least, the industrial pendants give a similar feel to the one above (plus our island will be about the same wood tones as that pedestal table in the foreground, so the overall color scheme is at least comparable).

I’ve shared Jess’s lovely kitchen before, but one of my favorite things about it is how she manages to marry several different lighting styles in one space.

industrial light inspo2

Crystal chandies + industrial bowls + traditional chandelier. Yup. I like it.

Now, my style won’t be nearly this romantic (I lean toward cleaner lines, but I have zero complaints about what she’s done; it’s gorgeous).

Of course, this “Ursula” pendant could be fun too. It’s an ah-mazing price compared to how much it costs everywhere else.

ursula pendant

industrial light inspo

Again, this kitchen isn’t quite what we’re going for, but it has the same style lights in shiny chrome, and I do like the way they look over the stained island. I’m not entirely sure that the white of the ones I’m considering–even with the aged brass metal finish–won’t be a bit too sleek for what I’m shooting for. I know. Picky. But they’re fun just the same.

If I don’t go industrial, I’m tempted to go with something simpler that you can see through. Like this globe + brass option.

globe light

I love how globes pendants look in this Fixer Upper kitchen, which IS very similar to both the layout  and color scheme of our (future) kitchen. The option from above isn’t as big as these are, but with three of them, I think we’d still be okay.

globe light inspo

I guess the wild card would be this 3 light option. We could hang two side-by-side and get a WHOLE lot of light for $140 (they’re only $70 each!!)

three light

I guess I’ve made it pretty clear that I’m really into the aged brass look, so, if I went with these guys, I’d Rub ‘n Buff them for sure.

And by now, I think y’all know the drill.

Which one do YOU think I should go with?

Just as a point of reference, here are a few more of my favorite kitchens I’ve pinned that will have a similar feel to the look we’re going for.

Similar elements include: white subway tile, beams, teal + white cabinets, industrial + rustic touches, and aged brass.

kitchen inspo5

Tkitchen inspo kitchen inspo1 kitchen inspo2 kitchen inspo3 kitchen inspo4

 

That last one is waaaaay more French country kitchen than I will actually go, but it’s still pretty darn gorgeous.

P.S. All image sources can be found on my “Farmhouse Kitchens” board on Pinterest.

So, what do you think? Any options I haven’t considered that I should? You know I’m always game!

 

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Stylish Lighting Under $150 (Including actual lights I’m putting in the New House)

I almost titled this post something SUPER cheese-fest like, “Lighting deals so good, they’re scary.” But, considering that we are kind of the opposite of the Halloween Family,  I think that’s just the influence of all of the marketing ad banners that keep popping up as I’m doing the research which now brings you said amazing lighting deals.

But let’s back up a bit and talk about my nasal passages for a moment, k?

What? EW, Abbie. No! Why would we want to do that?

It’s a fair question, but I just really feel like I would be remiss if I didn’t reiterate what I said last week (aka: the last time I actually mustered the energy to post…I know…I’m the worst), and that is: this is THEE worst head cold I have ever had.

I’m on Day 12, and, while I would consider myself technically better by this point, certain symptoms (I’ll spare you the details since I’ve already used the phrase “nasal passage”–twice now–in this post) are still lingering. I still sound like death, which is oh-so-fun for my fitness class participants. But I no longer FEEL like I will meet my Maker at a moment’s notice.

I shudder to think what kind of pestilence I would have ended up with if I hadn’t faithfully dosed myself with: garlic, apple cider vinegar, essential oils, honey/lemon, and Vitamin C and Echinacea. But dose myself I did.

And I’m still here to tell about it. And keep on telling, apparently

Okay, I’m done.

So! This post has nothing to do with coughs and sniffles, so let’s just move right along, shall we?

I’ve mentioned several times that most of my research for the new house has consisted of online sources. Which…is tricky, since you can’t see or touch anything for yourself. Still, if you stick to well-reviewed, trusted brands and pay attention to dimensions, you’re fairly likely to end up with what you were expecting. (Emphasis on the word “fairly”).

I’ve had several people ask me about lighting sources–especially of the barn light/industrial variety–so I thought I’d put together a little round-up of some of the best-looking, most reasonably priced lights that I’ve found in my travels across the wild wastelands of the world wide web (sorry, I’ve been grading high school English papers at our homeschool co-op, and I have alliteration on the brain).

Most of these are options that I’m either seriously considering or have already ordered for the new house, but almost none of them have arrived yet. I’ll update when I’ve seen them in person.

lighting collage

1 / 2/ 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10

And just to be clear, all but 3 of these lights are WELL under $150. Most are under $50!

1. I have seen these galvanized wall sconces  from Lowe’s (they come in a medium and a large size and cost $30/$40 respectively), and I have to say that they look MUCH better in person. The picture up there makes the silver look muddy and dull when, in reality, it has a nice weathered sheen. I am using 3 of these in the boys’ bathroom by their mirrors.

2. I’m ordering no fewer than 5 of this Swing Arm Sconce and hoping for the best. The reviews are good. And I haven’t found anything nearly as close to this pretty in this style for this price ($44 with Prime shipping).

3. This seafoam beauty is one of the pricier options on the list for a single sconce at $125 (well, that’s  build.com’s pro pricing, since we have a builder account, so I think they’re a little more normally). But they’re also one of the most unique. I don’t have a specific place in the new house for one of these…but only because I can get such better deals on something kind of, sort of comparable. The shade is 10″, though, so they would make quite a statement if you had a spot for them.

4. I get asked all. the. time where the lights over my kitchen island are from. Well, the answer is Grandin Road, but the BEST PART is that all of three of the glass pendant styles that I have hanging over the island are on MAJOR sale, and there’s a 30% off code (FRIENDS16) you can stack on top of that right now. Which makes them ridiculously cheap! I just bought 5 more to put in various rooms in the new house that need a single hanging light that still creates a decent glow. Seriously, if you’ve considered these lights before, run grab one before it sells out. Especially since you’ll be getting them for $30-$40 when I’ve seen them elsewhere for $120!!!

5. I love the simplicity of this brass/glass globe pendant, although I do wish it cost less than $100. Still, at 12″, it’s a fair bit of light to work with, and I’m seriously considering it for the downstairs main bath.

6. Oh, how I wish I had a place for this seafoam vanity light. At $120, Joss and Main has it for about 1/2 the price of anywhere else I’ve seen it (don’t ask me why).

7. Likewise for this industrial pendant from the same brand that I’m seriously considering 3 of for over the kitchen island. Joss and Main has them for $104 (they’re big!), which is almost $100 cheaper than anywhere else I’ve found it. The white and aged brass pictured here is currently out of stock, but they’re supposed to get it back, and there are other colors to choose from.

8. Contrary to what you might think based on the picture, this over-the-island pendant is BIG. Like 40″ across, with 16″ shades on those lamps! It would make a huge statement for very little money ($100). I actually seriously considered getting two of them for our island and painting them or changing the color with Rub n Buff, but I think I want something with a little more bling.

9. I did jump all over this $35 (!!!!) vanity light like a duck on a June bug, though (to give you a point of reference for how good of a price this is, Amazon has it for $55, and they’re the next lowest price). I got three–two for the master bath and one for the downstairs half bath–and I plan to paint all three. They are 20″ wide, and the shades are good-sized. Even though I’m going to paint mine, if I liked oil rubbed bronze, I would certainly keep them that way because they look much more expensive than they are. (They’re currently out of stock, but it says they’ll be getting more).

10. I’m ordering 3 of this pretty Brass Globe Sconce to go beside the girls’ mirrors in their bathroom vanity. I love that they’ll add sparkle and lots of light without breaking the bank ($50 each). (A similar light from West Elm or Pottery Barn costs 2-3 times as much).

A couple of honorable mentions:

After months of watching the price go up and down, I ordered this blue beaded chandy from All Modern (which is the same as Joss and Main and Wayfair, in case you’re wondering) when I noticed that they had a clearance/returned version (just one!) for $55 less than the lowest price I had ever seen it go.

blue beaded pendant

It’s more for looks than anything, since it only has one bulb, but there are other light sources in the room, so that’s okay. Oh! And just in case you find yourself compelled to order it too, be warned that the chain (which you can’t see in the picture) and all other metal on this light are YELLOW. Like canary yellow. I will definitely be toning that down with a DIY. Otherwise, it’s a really fun, big light.

Also! I have not ordered this light because I have no need for it, but man, is it pretty!

crystal chandy

And relatively cheap at $190, since most of the ones like it I’ve seen in this size range have been $250+.

And finally, we have the dark horse.

ding light

I really love this green barn light for the three spots we’ve designated for sconces  above the kitchen sink. But I didn’t include it in the collage for two reasons. 1) For some reason, Olioboard (the program I use to create inspo boards) wouldn’t let me add the image, and 2) even though it’s an AH-mazing deal (only $32 for an already funky-color painted 10″ barn light…practically unheard of)–or maybe because it’s such an amazing deal–it’s shipping through Amazon from a Hong Kong based company I’ve never heard of. In other words, I’m going to order 3 of these and then forget that I did it because they won’t show up until Christmas…if they ever do. I figure it’s worth the risk for the price, though, because all of the comparable ones I’ve looked at are LITERALLY 10 times the price, y’all! And apparently, our credit card will cover us if we get completely shafted. Or at least that’s what my finance-savvy husband says.

So!

There you have it. I have seen the light(s). And!!! Best of all, between this list and some craigslist/facebook swap finds over the last 6 months or so, I’ve already knocked out 90% of the new house list!

Whoop! I told you figuring stuff out and calling it done was my favorite!

So, now it’s your turn. I still have a light or two to snag. Namely something large-ish for both living room and “big room” upstairs. Hit me with any brilliant (ha) suggestions you have!

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The Twins are FOUR!

Okay, so before we get to that exciting title, I’ll try to put you out of your misery on the wood (and “wood”) samples that I teased you with last week.

I showed you these three options and hinted (okay, flat out told you) that only one of them was wood.

wood floor labeled

It’s the one on the right. Which…was my favorite (BUT I totally forgot to write down the name…sorry). But it’s also over twice the price of the other two, not to mention about half as practical.

It’s actually engineered hardwood (which means only the top layer is real wood), and we considered laying it in part of the downstairs, but ultimately, as much as I love the white-washed plank look, I think I’m better off going with something super durable in the kitchen and dining.

SO!

At this point, we’re seriously considering going with this combo instead.

wood floor3

That would be Option 1 (on the top), which is a Shaw porcelain tile product called Napa Noce in Cask, in the kitchen/dining and Option 2 (on bottom…y’alls fave by far) in the rest of the house (minus the bathrooms). It’s actually a laminate wood product by Mohawk (Rare Vintage Fawn Chestnut), which is supposed to be super-durable (but still is not ideal for kitchens since you can’t wet-mop it, and, boy howdy, do we put the wet in wet-mopping round here. “Flood mopping” might be a more apropos term for what the boys do).

It’s hard to see from this picture with the harsh fluorescent lighting and angle how closely the two tones match, but they really do. They’re a different width, but there’s a cased opening between the kitchen and the living room, so our plan is to run a plank under the opening to create a divide between the two “woods” and then have porcelain on one side and laminate on the other.  (Contrary to what the picture suggests, they will be running the same direction, not perpendicularly). Even the owner of the lumberyard was impressed with how closely the styles and tones matched in person.

Also…remember how I mentioned how consistent I am once I like something (i.e. picking the same paint color we were already considering from across the room at Lowe’s)? Well, I went to a different store the other day juuuuust to see if they had something I liked better at a comparable price and picked out a “similar” look…which…when the sales rep actually looked up the name, ended up being the Fawn Chestnut AGAIN! Just change my middle name to consistent and/or obsessed.

So! That’s the current plan. It could change. But I think, no matter what we finally end up with, I’ll probably go with a wood-look tile in the kitchen, since it gives me the style I want with the price/durability our big, mess-making family needs.

(Unless, of course, some of you have laminate in your kitchens and have had a great experience with it, in which case…CONVINCE ME!).

Oooooookay! So, that was pretty much a blog post all its own, but I couldn’t let the week completely get away without blogging a belated Happy Birthday to the twinsies.

They turned 4 on Saturday, and it’s still a bit surreal to think that it was that long ago that this happened.

twins birth

(Oh man, I look tired…and they’re sooooooo TINY! And look at Nola’s double-chin!! I am suddenly very proud of how much protein I ate during that pregnancy to give a TWIN that level of chub)

Of course, they are tiny no longer.

rockstar twins

(Evy, left. Nola, right. This was from our homeschool co-op’s Nerds vs. Rock Stars day, and the twins were only too happy to, ahem, rock their “wock star gwasses”)

I’ve admitted here several times before the unique challenges that I’ve encountered with mothering twins–especially after they hit age 2 1/2 (up to which point they were actually considerably easier than I expected).

It’s been a constant process of adjusting and tweaking and finding new ways of implementing old tricks. Oh, and prayer. Lots and lots of prayer.

twins are 4

{Nola, left. Evy, right. All the girl cousins on my side of the family, decked out in Peppa Pig gear)

On the one hand, they are some of the most joyful little creatures you’ll ever meet. Smiling and jumping and squealing with laughter. They’re suuuuper snuggly and thrive on attention and loving touch.

But all of that touchy-feely emotion definitely has its downsides, and we’ve muddled through a good 18 months of meltdowns and tantrums the likes of which I would love to say my kids never do, but–um–apparently they do.

It’s been getting steadily better for the last six months or so, but we’re still privy to an impressive display of fireworks every so often (or 4 days in a row, depending on how rested they feel).

Still, I know that the experience of parenting two very sensitive, very quintessentially female  little humans ((who are very different from their mama in this respect) has been so, so good for me.

And seeing their characters develop–their desire to help and nurture and mother (Evy) and encourage, cheer-lead, and comfort (Nola)–has been such a testimony to the Lord’s goodness and faithfulness in my children’s lives.

And mine.

Because motherhood is sanctifying. And hard is not the same thing as bad. (Can I get an amen?).

Honestly, I’m excited about year 5 for the twins. I can’t wait to see their personalities blossom and their friendship with each other (and others) deepen.

I have great confidence that he who began a good work in them (and me) will carry it out until it is completed. (Philippians 1:6).

Praise God for that!

Now, I just need to find someone to teach one how to play violin and the other one to play cello, and I’ll be all set.

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Floor Samples for the New House (WOOD you help me decide? :))

Every Tuesday, the three older kids have piano practice for an hour and 1/2 because our teacher is awesome like that, loves my kids, and is fine with their being there for 3 consecutive lessons.

Which gives the twins, Theo, and me some time to “kill”–which we usually do by heading to the grocery store or dropping off a load at Goodwill + other various and sundries.

Lately, though, I’ve been trying to fill that gap with house-related chores, since we’re to the stage where lots and lots of interior design decisions need to be made.

Unfortunately, neither Lowe’s nor Home Depot are much help to me this time around, since we’re buying our sink, faucets, and quite a bit of lighting online, which leaves the various specialty stores around town to check out–usually a fool’s errand that ends in my having heart palpitations at the price tags.

This past Tuesday, though, as I was wracking my brain for a useful place to visit, it occurred to me that I hadn’t been to see a local flooring company from which we bought our carpet for the house we’re in now.

There won’t be any carpet in the new house, but this place carries lots of tile and wood options too, so the more junior half of my squad and I dropped in for a visit on a sweltering afternoon (seriously; after a surprisingly mild August, we are getting hit with heat indexes of 105..hmph).

Turns out, they’ve expanded a ton since we were last there, and I was a little overwhelmed with all of the choices. Thankfully, I have a very specific tone in mind for the wood floors we’re hoping to install, and they’re not exactly the norm for East Texas, so my job was made a little bit easier by the fact that there wasn’t tons of selection in the range I want.

Not that this will do most of your any good, but if you’re in the East Texas area, you need to check out Flooring Liquidators of Tyler. They are thee nicest people–sweet Christians who homeschooled their kids aaages ago (like when I was homeschooled…ha) and now work together to run their family business.

The owner spent over an hour with me and the kids, navigating us around his packed showroom, patiently weathering my: “Nope, too shiny. Um…too dull” (all right now, Goldilocks) comments.

Until I found 3 that are juuuuust right.

He even let me bring home the giant “sample” even though it was the only one he had on hand. So, so nice.

Oh, and reeeeeally competitive pricing. (He kept calling his distributors to get me better prices until he had gotten them down to their rock bottom).

So, what are these samples of which I ramble?

wood floor

The two planks on the left are actually from the same material, believe it or not. The middle is different. And then the right is the big sample he let me bring home.

Only ONE of them is real wood. Man, “wood” has come a long way since we first built.

wood floor1

Think you can guess which one it is?

I showed my social media folks this shot…

wood floor2

And maaaaaybe 2% got it right. Which tells me that I could pretty easily pick any one of these, and they would work just fine.

Honestly? We’re probably going to use a combo of all three. Probably. But nothing’s set in stone, er, concrete slab…yet.

Which is where, as always, y’all come in.

wood floor labeled

IF we only go with one, which one should it be?

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