Last few weeks have been crazy!! Good crazy, but crazy none-the-less. Keep in mind, Jeff and I have done LOTS of renovations in our years together... several of our own and thousands for others. In 2000 Jeff took a leap of faith and began his remodeling company, DMC Home Improvement- and in 2009, we took another leap when I joined him in the business full time. He is a licensed contractor. I am an interior designer. And together, we make a great team. IT IS SO FUN!! We enjoy creating spaces and working together, but doing our own full home renovation makes us see things in a different light.
Working with about 75-100 homeowners per year we have seen tons of great ideas and designs... and here is where the problems begin!!! We know too much!! We like too much, and if that isn't enough, we both have our own opinions and our own ideas!!
I tell clients all the time, there are a lot of right answers, there are some wrong ones, but lots of right ones... which one can you live with the longest??
This is a question we could not answer for ourselves a few times. The biggest struggle of all for us turned out to be, the floors!! What do we want forever?!?!?! With a tight schedule, three big decisions needed to be made... and quick.
- What will we use? What size and species of wood?
- What color stain? Dark, Light, Brown, Grey, what?
- What finish??? Shiny (Gloss) or Dull (Matte)
First hurdle- The home had 5" pine floors in the foyer, dinning room and kitchen... they were FANTASTIC!! Our question was, do we continue with those knowing they sometimes have a red or yellow tint to them when finished, or do we replace with a rustic white oak?? Budget answered this for us- it was least expensive to continue the pine! CHECK
FLOORS are in!
Notice how they laced in the new and old floors
Second hurdle - what color.... dark, light, grey, brown.... the struggle was REAL!!!!! We spent DAYS talking and looking and staining and researching... even my sweet contractor downloaded Pintrest, searched and created his own "formula" or four... and we tried them all.
Stain Testing Area
We used some of the MinWax stains straight out of the can like Dark Walnut, Provincial, Driftwood and Early American. Then we mixed some of them with Classic Gray or Weathered Gray. We used a PreStain Conditioner on some and not on others. It was a fun family night on the deck... until "someone" kicked a cup of our stain concoction, hitting the wall, staining it... imagine that stain acutally stains?
Just one more thing to fix before we move out.
This exercise did help us to determine we did want a preconditioner... but that was about all. The MinWax Prestain conditioner seemed to soften the grain some and allowed boards to stain more even!! It also helped us narrow down our decision, but we struggled on the color straight up to staining day. At this time we had our flooring guy put down three colors for us to choose from (see, way better than the 42 we had already gone thru, so definete progress).
We would have been happy with any of these three, but we chose A. the custom blend of 50% MinWax Special Walnut and 50% MinWax Classic Gray after the pre-stain conditioner was applied to the pine floors of course.
The final decision was to determine the sheen- we went with a matte finish. This decision was also easy for us. And all in all, we are ecstatic with how they turned out!!!
We are loving the finished project!! I also added some of the "in progress" photos of the floors and the handrails and balusters that were also replaced!! Bonus- you get a sneak peak of the painted the tongue and grove ceiling while keeping the beams as they were. I love it all!!!
Aesthetically, I have been at a stand still, until this decision was made. I couldn't pull the trigger on furniture, floating shelves, the mantel, and many more items until I knew exactly what my floor tone was going to be. You find in designing that there are decisions that affect other decisions and my hardwoods was one of them. Although each room has a different focal point to work with, the floors are important. You want it all to compliment each other, not compete!
Until next time, you can keep up with our progress on instagram #designerwifeandthecontractor or dmc_home