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18 April 2006 @ 11:01 pm
Plans for the hizzy  
Here it goes. Hours of research and planning distilled into one longwinded post. I haven't touched my costume since last week. Bad G-funk. Bad. However, I have done a ridiculous amount of reading and brainstorming, and I've come up with a pretty good plan for our house redecoration.

The Problem

We have pink wall-to-wall carpet that is starting to show its age (it's nearly 15 years old), foofy curtains mounted right up against the ceiling, an assortment of mismatched college-era furniture, and a fugly, shoddy entertainment center and set of built-in shelves (courtesy of the previous owners). There's also a lovely blocky red brick fireplace from 1965, which is when the house was built.

Living Room Plans

1) Redo the fireplace wall. I'm going to owe zeriel many a dinner out in return for his help. We'll rip out all the halfassed homebaked construction, put up an underlayer of luan plywood, and then decide how to pretty up the rest before installing new shelves. I would like to panel the wall with knotty pine boards. (As in, the slotted and grooved slats of wood that fit together, not the plastic-looking shit. This is not a kitsch theme kthx.) I'm undecided about the fireplace. If it goes all the way up under the boards, I may wish to cover it with rock veneer. But we can worry about that after we fix up the wall. The TV will get moved into this area (where the entertainment center - which does not fit the TV - currently is), and we will rearrange the furniture accordingly.

2) Get and hang new curtains. I'm going to go with pewter-colored 5/8" rods with olive branch finials. The price is right, and they expand to fit any window, even the ginormous one in front. I have a sample of this subtly leaf-patterned sage curtain fabric on its way. If I like it, I'll get those curtains.

3) Fun with furniture. My color scheme is nature-based - mostly green with natural wood, brown, and fall-colored accents. The stupid pink carpet won't clash with this until we can have it removed (much later, which I'll get to). Thus far, my favorite couch candidates by far are the Virginia couches sold by Comfy 1. They're simple, classic, incredibly durable, and designed to be economical to maintain. And they're comparable in price to furniture from the Pottery Barn and other trendy places generally considered to be "good". Until we pick out couches and budget for them, I'll just buy new covers for the two futons. That will be an inexpensive way to enjoy a cohesive color scheme.

At any rate, my front runner for couch fabric is this 100% polyester sage material. I have a bunch of others bookmarked, and I won't know for sure which I like best until I request samples, but I like this best so far. I just hope the weave is tight enough to avoid kitty snags. Chester and Cookie don't have problems with destroying furniture (they're well-trained to scratch posts), but they do dig once in a while, and they tend to vault off furniture with claws out, so it's best to be prudent. Comfy 1 couches are inexpensive to reupholster (they make the covers for you and you can easily install them yourselves), but I would prefer to keep fabric in good condition as long as possible.

Long-Term Plan

Get rid of the damn carpet and replace it with wood. I've always preferred wood. Huh huh huh wood. Cork is my favorite option thus far. It's sustainable (insert Mr. Van Driesen singing about the trees), springy (making it more resilient to dents and pet claw dings than regular hardwood), insulating, and durable if you get a good brand and maintain it (which really isn't tough). The cork is processed into very sturdy tiles (it's not like laying a cork board on your floor). And it can look fabulous. I like Expanko Algarve, as shown here. The company's reputation is top-notch, and the floor appearance speaks for itself.

But good wood floors are expensive no matter how you slice it...so this is something that probably will not be done for a couple of years or so. I am not averse to borrowing against home equity for a major renovation, but I want to be sure that we have a timely plan to pay it back, and it would be ideal to pay as much upfront as possible. (And with the floating planks that I would like to use, we may be able to save by having knowledgeable friends help us lay the floor instead of hiring a contractor. Floating plank is a feasible DIY project. Then again, a contractor's fees might be worth the hassle reduction.)
Current Mood: artisticartistic
Current Music: Katamari tunes stuck in my head
Andreaasd109 on April 19th, 2006 03:39 am (UTC)
If you decide not to do cork, bamboo might be another good option for you. It is also very durable, and also fairly environment-friendly. Not quite as springy as cork, but it also needs less maintenance (cork needs to be resealed periodically). We're thinking about cork ourselves for part of the house, but my coworker's husband who is a flooring guy says they've had a lot of complaints from the customers they've installed it for, so we need to look into it more. But that's a not immediate project so I haven't done too much research yet.
The Heavy Metal Matador: South Park - Happyrydain on April 19th, 2006 03:47 am (UTC)
I've been thinking about bamboo as well. America's Carpet Outlet has some bamboo flooring that looked pretty nice to me in the store, and they do installations at $3/square foot. I can't find any info (pro or con) about the quality of work, but since they're a specialty flooring store that's been around for a while, I'd be inclined to trust them.

Did the flooring guy say what brand of cork people complained about and whether it was glue-down tile or floating? Expanko's floating plank has to be resealed every 4 to 8 years, which doesn't seem too bad to me, and they use a polyurethane coating that is supposedly superior to the acrylic used by many other brands.
Andreaasd109 on April 19th, 2006 11:16 am (UTC)
We didn't have that in depth of a conversation about it, because we're not quite ready to redo the floors anyway. It may be that he hasn't done any recently and it's improved since then, or that they've only done kitchens (where water can be a problem) or something.
The Heavy Metal Matador: South Park - Happyrydain on April 19th, 2006 12:04 pm (UTC)
Ah, OK. I appreciate the info, though.

There are companies that specialize in selling sustainable hardwood, and I've read that deforestation is no longer a problem like it used to be because lumber companies have been quite diligent about replanting (I'm not sure how that relates to exotic wood species, though), so I'm taking another look at the possibility of a domestic species hardwood floor, especially because Randy didn't like the look of the cork installation I posted.
yuda on April 19th, 2006 12:35 pm (UTC)
That's true for more woods than it used to be, but stuff like mahogany is still a problem.
The Heavy Metal Matador: South Park - Happyrydain on April 19th, 2006 12:55 pm (UTC)
Makes sense. Unless I were going with products from a company that sells exotic wood species that they grow sustainably, I'd think that the common North American hardwoods would be a safer bet. I really don't understand the advantages and disadvantages of oak, maple, walnut, etc. though. At least I have plenty of time to figure all of this out.
Andreaasd109 on April 19th, 2006 01:31 pm (UTC)
There's an environmental certification program for wood flooring. I forget what it's called, but one does exist. It also has to do with how they process stuff, what chemicals they use, etc in addition to the harvesting.
necessary evilmeanjunglist on April 19th, 2006 02:24 pm (UTC)
That sounds nifty!
The Heavy Metal Matador: South Park - Happyrydain on April 20th, 2006 12:03 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I can't wait to show you what we have thus far next time you're in town. I'm super excited about the redecoration. It will look pulled together, but it won't be the type of living room that people are afraid to fart in.
necessary evilmeanjunglist on April 26th, 2006 09:34 pm (UTC)
That's awesome because you know that I love to fart and you don't want me exploding when I come to visit.