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Home Sweet Home
I'm the Decider 
17th-Jul-2007 06:16 pm
land
or How CPAP Changed My Life

Once upon a time when I was young and the grass ran green, I was an hour and a half late to work (my first employer) because I simply could not decide what to wear.  (I literally tried on everything in my closet, and ended up leaving all the strewn clothes wherever they fell when I discarded them -- only for that to be the day my so-called landlord decided to tar the roof and then come in and fix something I had asked be fixed a year earlier!)

That was depression and stress (during the 5 years my father lost his legs in pieces, one at a time) but ever since, I've had trouble making decisions.  Oh, I can make dandy decisions (and usually very good ones) for anyone but myself.  I'm too terrified to make 'em for myself -- I might get stuck.

Then we decided to build a house. 

My builder, the plumber, the electrician, my kitchen designer, the door supplier, the window supplier, the butcher, baker and candlestick maker all want me to make easily 100 decisions each.  Today.  There will be more tomorrow.

Ok, I speak hyperbolically, but it ain't too far of a stretch.

In the past two weeks, I've decided on:
  •  outside doors
  • inside doors
  • hardware for the two above
  • roof shingles (color)
  • decking materials for the three different "deckish" obtrusions on the house
  • basic wall color
  • kitchen cabinets
  • future design of the basement
  • skylights - how many, where and what
I now face the unbelievably difficult choice of faucets.  Erik (I found out yesterday that I've been mispelling his name) steered me towards a website called 'faucetdepot.com.'  There are literally thousands of choices -- and that's just for the ones that come in chrome.  There are also steel, satin chrome, brushed nickel, copper ...

I had an inkling about this going in:  I told Clif that this would either teach me to make decisions, or it would break me.  So far, I'm making the decisions.  I attribute this to all the sleep I'm getting now that I wasn't getting before.

Thursday I also have to start addressing fireplaces, wood burning stoves, kitchen floor, bathroom and kitchen tiling.

Problem:  I can't decide what color to make my kitchen.  Husband vetoed green.  He didn't think it would make food look too appetizing, and I agreed.  Now I'm leaning towards yellow on white.  Whatcha all think?

Yeah, yeah.  I know.  My decision.
Comments 
18th-Jul-2007 12:37 am (UTC)
FWIW, we just finished having a lot of work done on our house. We settled on a yellow & blue color scheme (Walls yellow, carpets blue, ceiling sky blue, kitchen counter blue fake stone laminate). Our kitchen floor is still natural stone, although it is now sealed. Unfortunately, some of the stains went deep into the stone, so they are now sealed in, too.
18th-Jul-2007 10:02 pm (UTC)
uh huh. This is exactly why I turned my nose up at the granite everyone else is so crazy about. It's brittle, stains easily since it's so porous, needs annual maintenance ... I think only people who don't use their kitchens want granite counters.

I DO like the engineered quartz, which takes the best of both stone (beauty, resilience against heat) and the polymers (flexibility, stain and water resistance) for a counter
surface. Unfortunately, it's just about the same cost as
granite. Here in MI, it's actually a bit more expensive than granite -- granite is quarried right here.

So, eventually I would like to get the engineered quartz, but we're going to start with laminate.

For the floor, I 'll probably go with a fake hardwood like
Pergo, et al. But I'm not completely sure I won't just go with the hardwood, after all.

Color -- no idea, yet.
18th-Jul-2007 10:50 pm (UTC)
We were going to have the contractor put Pergo in for the kitchen floor (in fact, we'd even paid the deposit), but he ran out of time. We had mixed feelings about it, though, because of the fact that it's not compatible with our Scooba floor cleaner. I think we're now considering Atmosphere flooring (made mostly of recycled tires). It doesn't look as nice, but it wears great and is VERY easy on our feet, legs, backs.

We wanted to shift to stainless steel for our kitchen counter. The contractor wouldn't even give us a quote for that because he knew it was out of our price range. So we redid the laminate (which was probably last done in the '60s). He tried to convince us to go with tile, but that has most of the same issues you mentioned with quartz counters. At least when I drop something on the counter, nothing breaks (unlike the floor!).
19th-Jul-2007 02:25 am (UTC)
Oh, I would definitely stay away from tile for a kitchen counter. It's gorgeous, but easily cracked, and difficult to fix. And, as with the granite, heaven help you if you put something down too hard. Not to mention that it can get extremely pricey.

I hadn't thought about Atmosphere. I'll have to look at that. I DID look at cork flooring, which is great on the skeletal structure, but I'm not sure it's great for a water area, and, again, it's out of my price range.

Actually, the only issue I have with the engineered quartz is the price -- it's my favorite of all the options. Someday, maybe, I'll replace the counters. But there are other projects we're not doing right away, because of price, that would take priority.

And yes, I'm quite impressed with the new laminates. This is definitely not my mother's laminate!

Good luck on your project.

Steel was surprising expensive. I will go with stainless steel sinks. But I had to give up on the stainless steel appliances (which was my fall back once I saw the price of the matching cabinet facing for the fridge, and found out how it limits your choice of appliance) when I was quoted the price.

I figure "biscuit" is just fine, thank you.
19th-Jul-2007 04:13 am (UTC)
Our hardwood floor in the kitchen is holding up fine after eleven years, FYI.

Also, we've got a forest green (dark) laminate counter that actually looks quite good and -- as you might be able to tell by looking at me and daisy_knotwise -- hasn't made the food look unappetizing. :) We hadn't initially thought of green until we saw a large counter in this color at Home Depot. So my advice would be to walk through your local Home Depot and Lowe's and look at countertops to find the kind of thing you like, then figure out which laminate countertop looks the most like it.
27th-Jul-2007 11:29 pm (UTC) - decisions and green
Anonymous
Hi Carol, this is Joanie from he Dream Homes NYT blog. I finally found you. What an absolutely gorgeous lot you have.

I love to make homebuilding decisions! I am your polar opposite. Guess that is why I have built four homes.

Our beach kitchen's counters are a medium tone of green Corian and I don't think it affects the look of food at all. I think the color is Spruce....and it shows EVERYTHING. Every single little fingerprint, elbow marks if you lean on the island, etc. A lot has to do with the way the light hits it.

You might look at a fairly new duPont product called Zodiaq, which is purported to be fantastic.

29th-Jul-2007 06:15 pm (UTC) - Re: decisions and green
Welcome!

Yes, I know all about Zodiac. There are other companies that do it, too. It's called engineered quartz. It has the beauty of stone (like the granites and marbles) but not the brittleness, and with more flexibility. It's a compound of quartz with just enough plastic that it takes dyes really well. It's actually sturdier than granite, equally heat resistant, and considerably less porous, so it doesn't stain as easily, nor does it need the upkeep of granite. I absolutely LOVE it, and was looking forward to using it since I first found it, long before we finished the plan for the house.

Unfortunately, it's right up there in price with granite. In fact, here in MI, granite is a bit cheaper, since it's quarried here. It just didn't fit my budget. It wasn't what I call a "bone."

In fact, (and I'm pretty sure it was Zodiac) at least one company offers an elite line of engineered suface made from semi-precious (quartz) stone. I loved the rose quartz! But they're
even MORE expensive.

I'm going with a laminate (which are MUCH better than I remember from growing up) for now. Someday, when the mortgage is paid off and we have built up our savings again, then I'll consider replacing it with the engineered quartz.
20th-Aug-2007 07:34 pm (UTC)
I think that yellow is a fantastic color for a kitchen. It makes the room look cheery. (Of course, the fact that I've lived in several places with yellow kitchens may be making me biased. But a light, buttery yellow is lovely.)

My recommendation if you do a lot of cooking is to try to find a floor surface that is somewhat forgiving on your feet and knees. I've found that some kinds of tile make me ache much faster than other kinds of flooring. (This will also probably depend on how the underfloor is sprung etc.) And I strongly recommend against tile for counter tops unless you *enjoy* spending your days cleaning grout. My parents' current kitchen has tile counter tops and I think the grout gets dirty just by having someone walk past it. *Everything* sticks in it.
20th-Aug-2007 11:52 pm (UTC)
Yeah. I had a house with tile counters once. Once was more than enough!

What I would have liked was cork flooring - it's heaven to walk and stand on. I don't know what I'll end up. Clif has decided on hardwood. Erik wants to "talk" before we make any decisions.

That's the next problem on my list. *sigh*

(Yes, I'm having the time of my life!)
19th-Sep-2007 02:33 pm (UTC) - Kitchen colour
Anonymous
Carol. I am Eva from the nytimes blog. I just waltzed through your blog because I think you are just such a nice person and because you seem to build in the forest where I also live. (Finished our house 2 years ago).

In any case, yellow is a wonderful colour for lots of situations such as when you need the same colour in kitchen, living, dining great room arrangement. I used Benjamin Moore Barley which is a supersoft, nice yellow in a forest environment. I struggled with colour. All the other decisions I could make easily, but not colour.
19th-Sep-2007 05:48 pm (UTC) - Re: Kitchen colour
Hey, Eva -- Welcome!

I ended up with green for the kitchen (I posted about it later on) but am considering yellow for other places. I'll give the Barley a look-see.

And thanks for the compliment. What a nice way to start my day!

Our house is definitely in a forest -- or at least a wood. We have 25 acres, of which about 80% is wooded, and we're building on a hill smack dab in the middle of the wooded area.

I think husbandry of the land will be our biggest challenge living there, but it is also the one we're most looking forward to! Any hints/tips?

Hope to read more of you, both here and at NYT!
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