New $99 rugs in the family and dining rooms

Last week I showed you our brand new kitchen.

You probably noticed a new rug in the dining room. I’m here to give you the low down.

I’ve been searching for a rug for the dining room and living room for awhile. I’ve mostly looked online, but haven’t pulled the trigger on anything for a few reasons: a) rugs are expensive!, b) there are way too many options to pick from and I just get overwhelmed and bored clicking through page after page of rugs, and c) I like to see stuff in person before I make a purchase.

I just happened to be at Sam’s Club with my sister and came across 6 different styles of 8×10 rugs for only $99 each. They had 4-5 styles in a beige tone and one bold royal blue style.

The price was more than right (only $99 for an 8×10 rug? I’ll take two!), but I got hung up on the color. I usually like to go neutral so that it never goes out of style, but I’ve got a lot of neutral going on already (brown floors, brown cabinets, brown table, brown sofa, tan walls, black coffee table and entertainment center), so I just threw caution to the wind and bought two of the royal blue rugs.

So glad I went with the blue. I just love the richness and warmth they bring into my home, and it’s enough color to really make a big impact.

The rugs are pretty darn soft and haven’t been shedding at all, but they are not padded, if that makes sense. They are basically like having apartment-grade carpet without a pad. I may end up purchasing some rug pads to go under for a little added squish.

I ended up buying two of the same rug because my living and dining area are so open. I like that they tie the two rooms together a little more.

That’s the dealio with the new rugs. They are huge 8×10 rugs for only $99 over at Sam’s Club. I’m usually a Costco shopper myself, but after going to Sam’s with my sister and seeing all their cool home decor, I may have to purchase a membership there as well.

Speaking of Sam’s and Costco… Are you a member of either? Which one? Neither? Why? Is it because you like one more than the other, or because it’s all your city offers?

We’ve always been a Costco family because I like buying stuff in bulk and because they do all the weeding out of crappy brands for me. I like that Costco offers one or two middle of the road options on pretty much any home-related product. They’ve done all the research for me and I’m confident that if I purchase a home-related product at Costco it will end up being a good, safe, middle-of-the-pack option. I know if I buy an appliance from them it is most likely a very good brand with a good rating. It saves me from having to wade through tons of product reviews to find the best product. Also, they have great produce, food, and snacks, and are starting to offer tons of great gluten-free and organic options.

Are you a warehouse shopper?


New floors!

The new floors are finally in! I cannot even contain my excitement about this. When we bought this house the common areas had two different types of flooring – tile and wood. Not only was the tile in really bad condition, the combination of the two types of floors really broke up the spaces and made them feel small and choppy.


Our goal was to get rid of all the tile and have wood throughout the main areas of the house.


It’s been a long road to get here. First we had to gut everything, then the cabinets and counters had to go in. One of the last steps in the renovation process was installing the floors, so we basically lived on a cement slab for more than two months. I’m pretty sure I now have plantar fasciitis from walking around on the cement for so long.

But. It was worth it because we now have brand new engineered hardwood floors and I am in lurve love LOVE.

I’ll just give you a quick rundown about the laying process and then cut to the chase with a boatload of “after” pictures. The builder we hired to oversee this entire remodel used his flooring company, Mill Direct Carpet and Tile to do all the work. We picked it out and they ordered, delivered, and installed it. It is such a big space and we are limited on time, so this was the best option for us this go-round.

They started by pouring self-leveling cement everywhere to make sure the slab was perfectly level. This took half a day and then they let it dry overnight.

The next day they came back and started gluing the floor down. The last wood floor in here (it was in the dining and living room only) was also an engineered hardwood but the previous owners had it floated on top of a pad. We opted to glue ours down instead because the last floor just sounded hollow when you walked on it. We wanted this one to feel more substantial.

The crew spent two and a half days installing the floor. They did a fabulous job. I have looked high and low to find any imperfections or flaws in their work but I can’t find any.

Here’s the almost finished dining room. Ignore the cardboard under the table legs. The installers did that as an extra precaution to not scratch the floor while they worked around our furniture.

We weren’t planning on using this room as a dining room when we bought the house a year ago but plans changed. After living here for a year we realized it made the most sense to use it the way it was intended (we replaced the breakfast table in the kitchen with an eat-at island, so this is now our only table). If I had known I wouldn’t have sold our previous dining table and chairs to the new owner of our last house. Sigh. Hindsight is 20/20. So now we are in the market for a new dining table that is longer than this one. Eventually.

The new cabinets and floor color really make our front door look way too red, so refinishing it is now at the top of my priority list (after finishing up all the renovation details at least).

Here’s a good before and after of the door that leads from the living room to the backyard:



We obviously aren’t finished because there are no baseboards yet.

Here’s a before and after of the hallway that leads to the rest of the house:



The flooring looks red in the hall because of the terrible lighting. I really want to put a skylight or something in this dungeon of a hall.

Another shot of the floor. I love how cohesive it is now. The rooms aren’t broken up by a tile walkway.

We also opted to take the wood into the kitchen. People seem very opinionated about wood in a kitchen. I love the look of it and am glad we kept the flooring uniform throughout the house.

I picked up this long runner at Costco, in case you are curious.

The view from the front door. Sure beats a choppy tile and wood combo!

Before the flooring went in I used my dad’s tile saw and cut two marble thresholds for either bathroom, then I glued them down. I purchased the thresholds at Home Depot for about $15 each. When we lived in New Jersey for a year in 2008 our apartment had marble thresholds leading into each bathroom. I was smitten with them and jumped at the opportunity to install them in this house.

We are now in the final stretch of renovation. What’s left:

*baseboards, door casing, doors, shelves, basic finishing stuff
*appliances (went in a couple days ago. I just need to write a post about it)
*Cabinet finishing: shoe moulding, floating shelves, and a few touch-ups
*pendant lighting above island (on temporary hold due to budget)
*under cabinet lighting (already wired, but on temporary hold due to budget)
*tile backsplash (on temporary hold due to budget)
*finish painting all the walls
*paint all trim once it’s installed
*deep clean everything (about 60% complete)

I *think* that’s it for the to-do list. Of course, we also have lots of additional stuff like purchasing new barstools for the island, upgrading our dining table, etc, but that will all come together over time.

Make sure to check back tomorrow because I am taking a detour from the renovation to share a really fun outdoor project for kids!


More kitchen demo & updates

Hey guys! This kitchen renovation is in full force around here. As promised, I’m back with a few more updates so you can follow along in as close to real-time as I can muster.

Monday night the cabinet maker… (and his assisstant? Helper? Friend? I’m not sure exactly who the other guy was. He only spoke Spanish and the extent of my Spanish is “Hola! Como estas? Muy Bien! Y too?”. <-- That's what 3 years of high school spanish will do for ya.) Okay, so Monday night the cabinet guy and his buddy came over to do a final measure for the cabinets. We had to have the entire kitchen cleared out before then, hence the frantic gutting of said kitchen over the weekend.

Can I just say I really really like this cabinet maker? His name is Armando and he runs his own little custom cabinet business. From what I can tell he works pretty much exclusively through the builder we hired, so if you want him to do your cabinets for you you have to hire the builder. He is so nice, and the more he comes over and chats the more Ben and I just like him. Super duper nice guy.

So he measured and drew out our kitchen old-school on graph paper. If you can interpret his plans, you probably will notice that the layout and plans have changed slightly from the first time I told you about the renovation. I will give an update on the new layout and ideas in another post.

Ben works hard at his real job, so he hasn’t been much help in the demo department since Sunday night. I have been pulling up the old wood flooring, and trying to do so in a clean manner so we can salvage the floor and hopefully put it on craigslist. It’s taking longer than I assumed it would though because whoever laid it glued each plank together in addition to their locking click together design. The planks are mostly coming up in one piece, but because of the glue I’m not so sure how salvageable they will be.

Yesterday afternoon the big ol’ dumpster was delivered. It was very exciting to watch and was an entire family affaire for all of us.

The driver pretty much just backed into our yard and then dumped the thing using some hydraulics from his truck. We were mesmerized and I took about 25 photos of the entire production.

The driver showed us how to open the back door, which was a nice surprise for us. I assumed we’d be lifting and dumping everything into the dumpster so we are relieved that we can just use a dolly and a wheelbarrow to move trash directly into the bin. The kids were very excited about this fun new addition to the yard, and we’ve had to remind them multiple times since then that this is not a toy.

I also want to address how we’ve been living, or more specifically eating without a kitchen to cook in. Well, it hasn’t been the easiest, and we’re only a few days into the ordeal, so I’m sure our lifestyle will evolve over the next several weeks, but for now we’ve set up a makeshift kitchen in our dining room. We moved the fridge into the dining room and set up our old microwave on a cart to use until we get it sold on CL. We also have a grill outside.

We’ve got a few non-food items on top of the piano, which has been covered by a sheet to protect it from dust. While we are chipping away at flooring or sheetrock I’ve been covering all the stuff on top of the piano with a sheet as well.

The guest bathroom in the hall has turned into our kitchen dinette area. I wash big items in the bathtub and small stuff in the sink, but we have been trying to use as few washable items as possible. I went to Costco last week and stocked up on paper plates and bowls, and plastic utensils. In case you are a detective and are squinting to see what all is in the photo, you may have noticed two coffee makers. We aren’t that obsessed with coffee – the kids use the Keurig for making instant oatmeal.

John, our builder, also stopped by yesterday to go over all the steps in the renovation. He is going to be scheduling the electrician, plumber, and framers to come out and is helping us get our countertops and flooring selected.

I was going to lower the bar to counter-height myself, but we also need a few other things framed out, so he is going to have his guys come do all this work. I chatted with him about turning the pantry door and also the door to the mud room (which we removed when we moved in) into pocket doors, and he said he’d make it happen so I am very excited about that little project as well. I have never lowered a bar, or turned a normal door into a pocket door, though I am 100% confident I could do it myself with some research and enough time. Well, there is only one of me, and I have a list a mile long of stuff I have to do, so having his framers do it all in a day makes the most sense for us. Of course, this is the plan for now before I’ve gotten a quote from the framers, so if they are too expensive my tune might change and I might be doing it all myself anyways!

On my list for today:
– Finish pulling up all the wood flooring and the underlayment
– dump all the 6 trash cans full of tile into the dumpster
– start hauling the piles of trash from behind the shed into the dumpster
– remove several large areas of sheetrock (the plumber and the propane guy need it removed before they start their work)
– get more organized with the kitchen areas and all the other random crap all over the house
– finish washing all the laundry, and then fold a total of about 10 loads that are currently in a heap on my bedroom floor
– run the kids to all their activities this afternoon
– worry about dinner
– start a post about the new layout plan

Somehow in there I also have to actually mother my children.

On my list for tomorrow:
– I don’t know. I can only think one day at a time.

I’ll try to get that post for you guys by tomorrow, but we’ll see if I have any energy left to write it. Also, when I do lots of manual labor (painting, hauling, hammering, lifting, etc), I start to get carpel tunnel in my wrists (just another fun side-effect of being pregnant 12 and 9 years ago), so sometimes after a few long grueling days of hard labor my hands are too numb to type. Hopefully that won’t be the case, but I’m already starting to feel it, so… ugh.

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