Week 40: Hardwood, Doors, Cabinetry & Countertops

This week the absolute biggest change has been the installation of the hardwood floors.  They were able to install the entire first floor and they look fantastic!  We ended up choosing a hand scraped and wire brushed 8″ European Oak in a natural finish by Plank.  We originally wanted a white oak finished on-site but because the basement is a slab on grade they didn’t recommend us installing solid hardwoods down there. I didn’t want the upstairs hardwood to be different from the downstairs so we ended up choosing an engineered hardwood that could be installed both upstairs and downstairs.  It took us quite a while to pick out the flooring – the colors and finishes really vary brand to brand and so does the warranties.  The Plank brand had the wide planks that Joel wanted, the color I wanted, and with more than 80% of the boards being at least 6′ long (Some brands have little lengths of boards that makes the floors look really choppy).  I really like that the color was a warm almost neutral color that didn’t have a pink or white tint (like some of the others we saw), and I really like that the boards have some knots to add character.  The  finish has a 50 year warranty and a lifetime structural warranty – they were a little pricier, but it was the warranty that sealed the deal for us.  Some brands we saw only had a 2 year finish warranty…no thanks!

More of the cabinetry and moulding were installed this week as well.  My favorite cabinet in the entire house has to be the hood above the range.  The cabinet company (Canyon Creek) didn’t have anything that I liked so I ended up being able to custom design the exact hood that I wanted.  I absolutely love it.  And it will look even better once the crown moulding is installed around the top of the hood (and on top of the cabinets).  The butler’s pantry was installed too – love the upper cabinets with the “X” design!  The glass still needs to be added, but I think they look great even now.  And I haven’t decided yet if we’ll install glass shelving in the uppers too…my mom and aunt caution me against glass shelves because of the dust that will show with all of the natural light in the house.  Downstairs, we ended up deciding to reduce the width of Joel’s bar by 6″, and the backside of the bar was installed with the dark java stained wood.  It’s still missing the trim pieces, but it’s coming along!

The farmhouse sink was also installed this week.  Choosing this sink took me quite a while.  I knew that I wanted a really wide sink and initially I was looking at the 40″ Rutherford Sink from Shaw Sinks, but it wasn’t available in USA so I would have had to drive up to Canada to pick it up or had it shipped directly from the UK.  The sink was actually considerably cheaper in the UK, so shipping would have been affordable.  The problem was that based on reviews online, some sinks have arrived cracked since they’re fireclay.  And since they’re handmade there could be some undulations in the sink bottom that may not flow all the water to the drain.  The thought of having puddled water in the sink wasn’t that appealing to me.  Also, some people have had cracking in the glazing finish overtime.  With raising two boys (plus Joel) I knew there was no way that I could have a sink that wouldn’t hold up to their abuse.  I ended up choosing the Kohler Whitehaven Apron Sink which is cast iron and during demonstrations people took hammers to it.  I figured – that’s the sink for us!  The only downside is that it doesn’t come in a 40″ size…their largest was 36″.  A small sacrifice for big time durability and availability.  The size works great and fits really well in proportion to the center window above.

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Love the farmhouse sink! Now the countertop company can come back next week and template this countertop for the sink opening.  The feet are still missing on this base cabinet, but don’t the floors look good?!?

A lot of the interior doors were installed as well.  And windows and doorways continue to be wrapped and some of the baseboards have been installed in the rooms that are getting carpet (bedrooms + playroom).  The baseboards are 6″ tall, just like the trim above the doorways.

On Monday, morning I picked up 5 bathroom sinks for the house from Fergusons.  Luckily they open at 6:30 so I was back at the house by 8am when Skyline Tile and Marble came to template for the countertops.  I spent about an hour with them to drop off the sinks as well as go over the overhangs and layouts that I wanted in each room.  Most were pretty standard, but it was good to talk about some of the detailed areas – like the kitchen pass through and the eating space on the kitchen island.

Tuesday I met the Skyline guys at their shop up in Woodinville to layout where I wanted the templates to be placed on each slab.  We started with the bigger most important counter areas (like the kitchen islands) to make sure they had unique areas of white and gray from the slabs and we ended with some of the smaller spaces.  We purchased 4 slabs of the Super White Quartzite.  That gave us enough flexibility for the main areas in the house to get the look that we wanted – soft white and gray without the upkeep of marble.  We ended using the slabs for the kitchen, fireplace hearth, master bath and powder bath.  A couple of the spaces – fireplace and master shower bench weren’t ready for templating so we just left spaces for those to be cut next time they come out to measure.

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