Monday, June 23, 2014

Flooring be Damned!

Long time no post!  If anyone out there is still in the selection / design phase of the Milan or similar Ryan homes design, this post is for you.

When we walked through the model, we were impressed by the open floorplan.  There is a hidden price to pay for this design.  It takes some explaining so bear with me.

The only way to get from the kitchen to the front & or stairs is to walk through a small section of the family room.  This causes a high traffic area which is devastating to the carpeting in the area.  Even with a steam vac there was a wear track from the kitchen (tile) to the hardwood in the foyer.  We also spent money upgrading the carpet in this area so we were especially disappointed in how fast it wore out.  We have been in our house for less than 3 years.  Several of our neighbors (even some in the Florence) have expressed the same issue and have either replaced carpet already or are considering doing hardwood as well.

Because we have pets, we were looking to get a high durability stain-resistant carpet such as Stain-Guard or Pet-Protect.  We'd be looking about $1,400 to put a high quality carpet in the area.  The sales rep told me no carpet would last in the high-traffic areas, and no manufacturer will warrant that area of carpet.  When I asked the sales consultant what could we do to avoid replacing the carpet every couple of years, he gave us good suggestions:

  1. Plastic or Carpet Runner - The old plastic style runners don't look attractive at all.  Also, being this isn't a perfect square between the doorways, any runner would look awkward.
  2. Hardwood just the section - More economical but creates an awkward connection between the rooms.  Didn't feel this would look good.
  3. Hardwood Entire family room - Most expensive option, but should hold up the best and require the least maintenance.  While up-front cost is higher, over the course of years, it will be cheaper than replacing carpet every 3-4 years
We were able to find the same material, color & texture hardwood at Lumber Liquidators for $3.79 sq/ft.  The room is 320 sq/ft and contractor labor was under $1,000.  I have to say, it came out wonderfully.

There will be an area rug around between the TV, fireplace & couch area but that isn't ready yet.

Some of the Family Room carpet was salvageable.  I was able to replace the basement stairs carpet with 'like new'.  The dogs seem excited about it!

You can also see the flooring in the basement.  I'm not going to blame the destruction of the carpet on the floor-plan.  Here it was simply the dogs and their many issues.  (Don't let them near a 500-ct bottle of chew-able Vitamin C, the orange colored vomit piles doesn't come out).  

Since we have pets, we fear they would find ways to ruin new basement carpet as well.  We decided to put in the tiles that look like hardwood.  They have texture to them and look amazing.  Most people don't realize it's tile unless they look close or are barefoot.  The tile will be much easier to maintain from a pet standpoint as well as durable in case there is ever a water issue.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Backsplash Installation

Hey everyone, it's been since July since I last posted so I apologize for that.  I guess I'm finding many of the projects I'm doing a little too standard to bother posting them.  Have some stuff on the horizon so I'll try to keep everyone in the loop.

We are finally getting around to painting the first floor, so we decided it would be a good idea to put the back splash in before we painted.  I will forego posting the pictures of the many options we considered and skip to what we actually did.  One of the biggest considerations when choosing the tile is that the grout completely changes the look.  Look online for sample kitchens with similar colors to yours before going ahead with it.  We would buy 10 sheets at a time, put them against our color scheme and rule them out one by one.  It was tedious but we wanted to be sure.  Lowes was great about returning them, just don't mess up the packaging.

One of the reasons I'm specifying granite & cabinet types is so that hopefully these pictures will come up in a Google Search when people are looking to do something similar.  I found it difficult to find good pictures as samples online.  You can also tell how the same tile looks entirely different depending on the lighting.
  • Materials & Colors
    • Granite - Santa Cecilia
    • Cabinets (Timberlake)
      • Style - Wyoming Square
      • Color - Cherry Bordeaux
    • Applicances - GE Profile Stainless Steel
    • Back-Splash
12"x 14" Cranberry Glass Stone Strip Mosics before Installation

The Kitchen before Backsplash
Cranberry Glass Stone Strip Mosaics
Cranberry Glass Stone Strip Mosaics Closeup
Images from the tile packaging:
12"x 14" Cranberry Glass Stone Strip Mosics (Sample image from package)

12"x 14" Cranberry Glass Stone Strip Mosics (Package Barcode)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Trex Deck

Hi All,

It's been quite some time since I've posted & hope everyone is doing well.  I've been busy for a flurry of reasons.  There have been various projects around the house and outside, but the big one is our new Trex Deck.  We went with Trex because the HOA mandated the deck be built of composite material.  A patio would have been just as costly and isn't permeable.

The original concept was a little different with the upper deck even with the house.  This was on the cusp of needing a railing which would have been $1,000 along (just for the top section).  Original plan also had built-in benches and a more elaborate step.  To get back into our budget, what you see below is the revision that got us there.

  • Notes
    • Height - The height of the deck is under 30" from grade to the house (I may have said that wrong) so it doesn't require railing or fence.  We plan on putting bushes around the lower areas.
    • Grill - We took the wheels off the grill and bolted it to the deck.  Our contractor put extra blocking for this reason.  The idea is to at least slow a theft attempt.  They'll likely have to make some noise or spend some time getting it loose.  Hopefully it's enough of a deturant, I don't want to haul another grill up there!
    • Lighting - The lighting is your basic low-voltage kit from Lowes / Hope Depot.  If you have any thought of putting additional fixtures in, run the wire just in case.  It will make life much easier.  We would have probably put a 2nd row of lights on the step down if we had thought of it.  By the time I did it was too late (to do it easily)  Overall I highly recommend the lighting, our neighbors have the Timbertech version on their railing and the light caps look awesome.  They give just the right amount of ambient light without attracting bugs.
Overall we're very pleased with the final product.  It was completed on time and the quality is excellent.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Basement Shelves II

Sorry I've been away so long, lot going on!  My wife asked me for more shelves in the basement.  The pantry in the kitchen was quickly filled to capacity and we need more bulk food storage.

  • Design Notes
    • Top and Bottom Shelf
      • 3/4 in MDF w/ framing
      • 2x8 ft
    • Middle Shelves
      • 7/8 in Fiberboard w/ framing
      • 2x4 ft
    • Supports
      • Right: 2x4's
      • Left: Studs on back side of finished portion of basement
  • Usage
    • Top & Bottom shelves fit standard bins for normal basement storage.
    • The 3 smaller shelves on the left are for food surplus such as cans
    • The open section on the right is good for bulk storage such as a dog crate or stacked bins.  I can always build in the same premise as on the left if needed, but this is good for now.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Eve

My wife & I hosted my family's Christmas Eve get together this year.  We had 16 people coming so we had to get creative with seating for the main meal.  My Aunt & Uncle let us borrow their backup dining room table so we put the leaves in ours and butted to the tables together to make an oober table.  The table stretched into the living room.  We put a long table in the hallway for the chafing dishes and buffet service.  It worked out really well.

I'm really pleased with the way the house handled the crowd.  The open floor plan really made a difference.  We do not have a morning room and I do not regret that decision.  We have the 'normal' island which is different than the boomerang island some of you have. At one point everyone was gathered in the kitchen and it fit everyone just fine.  The family room was perfect for gift giving / unwrapping and that included the giant 8-ft tree (we have 9-ft ceilings).  We put the tree on the kitchen side of the family room next to the breakfast bar.  We had planned on putting the appetizers on the breakfast bar, but the gifts sprawled out pretty far and made the breakfast bar less accessible.  My wife called an audible and relocated the bulk of the apps to the family room coffee table.  This also freed up space in the kitchen as she helped prepare dinner.

The whole event was a great success and I'm proud of our house.  Maybe that sounds weird but I'm glad we did it.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hardwood / Carpet Trim

I called Advanced Flooring to get a quote on a custom runner for the main hallway.  When I was on the phone asking about it, our rep from AF (not Ryan) asked how things were or if there were any issues.  I had noticed the carpet at the bottom of the stairs was already beginning to fray a little bit, a few strands of thread were starting to pop up.  Not a big deal but he asked.  I also noticed a patch of the carpet coming off, probably not enough glue.  He wanted to send someone out to take care of it.  I asked how they would take care of the fraying so it doesn't happen down the road.

After some discussion it was decided they would put a piece of trim, similar to the footer piece along the rest of the wall.  The guy came and trimmed off the frayed carpet.  He then cut a piece of trim and installed it.  I think it looks better.  What do you guys think?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Basement Shelving (Mechanical Room)

Who doesn't need more storage space?  The design was from a friends who did something similar.

I took two 4x8 sheets of MDF, built a frame around them.  Also built smaller supports in the middle to keep the middle from sagging (picture 3).  Support posts are designed to basically set the framed shelving on top of it.  The load bearing portion of the shelving is bolted tight with the frames resting on the bolted supports.  The posts are simply screwed into the frame to hold the whole thing together.  I could put another bolt in but that would probably be overkill.

As you can see the design is very simple and very large.  The 1st shelf is 2ft off the ground and the top shelf is 5ft.  This two 3ft tall storage areas and the lower section will be for storage bins.  If there is flooding, the bins on the floor stand a chance and everything above should be fine regardless.  I'm not expecting to get flooded out, but who knows anymore.

Future plans are for smaller shelves in the other unfinished portion of the basement.  We have a freezer there now and unorganized storage on the floors.