August 6, 2014


Meeting with our decorator at the new house 9 am this morning.  Much to discuss / decide upon.  To wit:

For instance, we love this carpet.  But it’s about $14 a square ft. more than our second choice.   Is it worth it, or do we spend the extra $3500 on something else?



Then there’s this:  a 10′ fan that does the work of 28 standard 52″ fans.  Which is absolutely fantastic, but comes at a heavy price tag.  Do we choose this as an entryway centerpiece, or do we go with a fancy light fixture, instead?


What paint color to we choose to go with our choice of flooring (which, when light hits it, takes on a grayer hue) — and do we go with something with better pigmentation like Benjamin Moore, or do we go with a good prosumer brand like Behr premium ultra?



Do we go with nice carpet and padding or high end laminate in the basement pub?  The advances in laminate flooring are stunning, frankly:  the laminate we  picked out looks very close to the high-character wood floors we’ll have running through the main floor and to the eye is difficult to differentiate.  It even uses hand scraping and texturing.    With a new house, you want to be careful installing either tile or wood floor, given the likelihood of some settling.  So it’s a tough call.

More:  We have a very modern kitchen:  white shaker cabinetry with big brushed nickel bar pulls offset by an island the uses kona-colored shaker cabinetry.  We have quartz countertops — slate colored on the white cabinetry, limestone finished on the dark cabinetry — and a white subway tile back splash with a darker grout.  We have a large white apron (farmhouse) sink.   So the question is, how can we introduce other influences into the design?  For instance, pendant lighting:   do we continue along the art deco modernist theme, or do we add visual interest by going with something  more industrial (like, for instance, edison bulbs, which is my preference).

All of these are questions a relative stranger is going to help us decide today.

Fancy yourself a decent judge of design?  Add your suggestions here.  Keep in mind that our fixtures are mostly brushed nickel, and that the overall theme is early 20th-century modern, with lots of clean lines and low slung furniture.

Wish us luck!




Posted by Jeff G. @ 7:02am

Comments (34)

  1. Love the fan. If only it had a remote control for the.. light kit.

    I just installed one w/remote, 3-speed fan with a light-kit dimmer. Had to search far and wide for a fan not equipped with the ‘green’ bulbs that aren’t easily dimmed.

    I wanted this fan, but I’m leery of the sales methodology.

  2. That said, the Exhale charcoal matches your flooring perfectly.

  3. Carpet for the basement. Better, textured stained concrete with nice rugs. You never know when basements will flood.

  4. The fan we got for our bedroom, a Haiku from Big Ass Fans, has a built-in wifi hotspot and uses Senseme technology, which will turn the fan on and off as you enter and leave the room and “learns” your likes and tendencies. The LED light has 12 dimmer settings and both the light and the air foils can be used as alarm clocks. Pretty sweet.

    We bought two more for the outdoor patio, only wo the LED and the Senseme tech. The patio fans and the giant entry way fan can be run wirelessly with a wall mount control plate.

    Love the look of them. Particularly the giant Essence, which is like a big orange octopus protecting the room.

  5. Go with the fan and indirect lighting in the foyer. If you drop a big light fixture in there, you’ll only use it during the holidays and it will be a bitch to keep dust-free.

    Mrs. Cookies and I did the berber thing in our first two houses, it was a total disaster because we couldn’t keep it clean. Only do it if you don’t wear shoes in the house. I have four boys, two cats and a dog; carpet is a wear item, like brake pads. Don’t go crazy.

    Do the laminate and throw rugs in the basement. Seal the concrete well. I have carpet in my basement and wish I had that airspace between the floating floor and the slab, in the winter my feet freeze.

    My wife likes Sherwin-Williams paint, but I found the Wal-Mart paint works just as well, as long as you can find someone to mix it. Buy it in 5 gallon buckets. Because of said kids, I keep a touch-up kit in the laundry room. One quart of each color. I hit the corners, cracks and the staircase about twice a year. That keeps the “we need to paint this place” gremlins at bay. You’ll know it’s time to repaint when you can see the color difference at eye level on a flat wall.

    Make sure your painters prime the new drywall! They won’t unless you check, and you’ll never see them again.

    See about gym coat on your wood floors. It’s shiny, but it lasts and is good with water. I have to re-do my floors (was supposed to do them this summer… ha!) and I want to move out before I have to do them again.

    That’s all my advice… except for this; Hang a half sheet of 5/8th drywall behind your dart board, it may save your marriage.

  6. Re: basement floods. In addition to a sump, our builder puts in standing weeping tiles in addition to the perimeter system. Our soil also tested well — not expandable.

    If you recall CO fell victim to a 100-year flood last year. None of the houses in this development were affected.

    I’m leaning heavily toward laminate w area rugs. We’re doing a reclaimed wood wall w rectangular fireplace as the centerpiece, and the idea is to give the basement pub area a kind of Irish pub feel. Carpet just doesn’t fit as well. We thought about an acid treated concrete or epoxy finish (I’m looking to have that done — or do it myself — in the garage); but because my mother-in-law will be using a basement bedroom for part of the year I want to give her something that feels warmer. Already are set to put heated floors in the basement bathroom and a fireplace in her bedroom. I worry concrete will be too sterile.

  7. I have suggestions, but they’d clash with an early 20th century motif: longhorn head over the fireplace, antler chandelier in the dining room, matching hobo cages in the basement, that kind of thing.

  8. Admittedly, the antlers have to be dusted twice a day during the summer, to control cobwebs…

  9. Good Luck…We put carpet in two rooms of a day lighted basement and I now regret that decision even though we placed it over DRIcore subfloor. Condensation always forms on below grade concrete but in your low humidity environment you may be fine. Considering your young-uns I would go with a good quality paint that permits a easy wipe off cleaning. I dig that fan.

  10. In the fifteen years we’ve been renovating our house, we’ve never been satisfied with any Behr product. Benjamin Moore, on the other hand, has never disappointed and, in fact, has often exceeded our expectations.

    BM’s epoxy paint is superb. We’ve used it in the bathroom and on the interior stairs and it has held-up very well, especially against moisture and cats.

  11. Regarding the epoxy paint: we use it on wood and concrete.

    As for the basement floor: indoor/outdoor carpet works well and now comes in many indoor-like styles. I would also recommend utilizing carpet squares because (1) damaged sections can be easily replaced and (2) if you lay it right, you won’t see the seams. Also, make sure the carpet is floating because it deals with moisture and temperature shifting better [and makes it easier, of course, to replace damaged sections of it].

  12. Carpet – use the money for something else. Fan – for an entry way, use the money for something else.

    Paint – Benjamin Moore, without a doubt, particularly the Williamsburg Colors .

  13. Can’t really help on the decor because we’re Colonial/Federalist lovers, but, perhaps, you could introduce an element of Colonial Revival into the mix.

  14. I’m with Eingang about the carpet and paint.

    You have two boys and a dog. One of the boys is two years old. Save yourself the grief.

  15. Unless the fans are sturdy enough to duct tape young boys to, I’d give them a pass.

    But, that’s me.

  16. The Essence fan is huge and it’ll be hanging from a 20+ foot ceiling. We were looking at a 10′ fan but will likely go with an 8′ instead. I was overruled on that. The other fans are for the patio and our master bedroom, so they’re entirely functional.

    Also, we decided because of the dog and the boys to go with the our second choice for carpet. I really like the other bigger-loop Berber stuff, but even though it won’t be in the most high traffic areas, there’s still a chance it could get pulled and run like an unraveling sweater.

    For paint we settled on Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter for the kitchen and great room, with a shade darker for accent spaces behind the built ins. For our bedroom, Restoration Hardware Silver Sage.

    Our decorator has us thinking about going with a cool, perhaps textured wallpaper for the main floor powder room. And in the dining room, a peacock blue, also from Benjamin Moore.

  17. Nice colors, all.

    For the Pub area [we’re invited, right?], if you haven’t already chosen a color, check out BM’s Montgomery White, which can make a wall look like old plaster.

  18. Word of advice on carpeting in the family areas. Save the expensive stuff for when the boys are older.
    Stain resistant doesn’t mean stain proof.

  19. Jeff, make sure your decorator isn’t decorating the place for him/her. My mother had one of our homes decorated and she gave the decorator free rein. The place was gorgeous, but silk drapes and white carpet with toddlers meant we never got to use the living room except at Christmas or for important guests.

  20. Not to worry, leigh. The carpet is a darker gray and textured — pile and loop — to hide problems. The wood floors are engineered and actually look better as they’re nicked — and the oil finish doesn’t wear off. The entire first floor will be done in wood, save the mud room, which is tiled with heated floor elements beneath it, and the bathroom in my office, which will also be tiled.

    In our current house we have white-ish carpet. It’s now not so white-ish. We also had oak floors in a lot of areas, and they’ve held up very well. The banisters? Not quite as well.

    The best part about the new house is that the kids will have their own rooms off the loft area. Again, the loft will have that darker gray carpet (we’re carpeting the stairs, the loft and bedrooms only) and we’ll be doing a wall in each of the boys’ rooms with chalkboard paint. The loft area has surround sound and will have some funky little pieces — like a games table — but it will mostly be a place for the kids to bound around in or the family to watch a movie or TV in the evenings or on weekends. The walls in there are already painted in a neutral color with a decent Valspar paint.

    Of all the houses we looked at the layout of this one is most functional, and we’ve definitely decorated with an eye toward kids and a dog. But because we’ll each of us have our own space — the boys have their bedrooms and use of a spacious loft, my wife and I each have an office, plus the master bedroom and en suite, and the outdoor patio is covered and a continuation of living space — I think we’ll be able to maintain some separation, even in what is largely an open concept home.

    The basement, with the wet bar, reclaimed wood wall, pool table, etc. — that’s my oasis!

  21. Next up today: have to go in to meet Satch’s fifth grade — fifth grade: where does the time go? — teacher.

  22. On that carpet…hope you don’t have a Dyson vacuum cleaner. Most carpet makers will void the guarantee if a Dyson is used on it. Has something to do with those runs and snags you mentioned. Or at least that’s how it used to be a few years ago on some carpet we installed.

  23. Jeff, I don’t see a bunkhouse for visitors in the upcoming times of troubles. Rustic pine will do for me.

  24. I have my own tunnel system and sniper blind. And of course, bear traps.

  25. We just had wood laminate installed in a house we’re never going to live in again, for no more reason than we’d like to have someone else’s name on the deed before the next tax year starts.

    Sometime before it sells, though, I will park my car in that garage once — just once — after having owned the place 15 years.

    All that time, and the only motor vehicle that ever got in there was a riding mower.

  26. I’m glad to learn that, Jeff. Carpet upstairs, especially with wrassling boy children, is a must have.

    So, when’s the housewarming? We’re all invited, right? Right?

  27. Yeesh, those fans look like real decapitators. They don’t have steel/aluminum blades do they? Fake wood blades fo’ life yo.

  28. Come on, people. Jeff would not want riff-raff like us anywhere near his home.

  29. BM’s epoxy paint is superb. We’ve used it in the bathroom and on the interior stairs and it has held-up very well, especially against moisture and cats.

    But can it stand up to the ultimate destructive force: moist cats?

  30. I figured as much, cranky. I’ll hold off on making the 7 layer dip, then.

  31. Actually, John, yes – if you’re referencing cat urine and poop.

  32. Laminate, laminate, laminate…you will never regret it. Carpet gets stained. Wood floors scratch. Take it from a homeowner who has a 145-pound wolfhound and has raised four kids. The laminate looks as good as the day we installed it…15 years ago.

  33. When life hands you lamins…