Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Siren Call of Hardwood

Time to deal with the huge, orange elephant in the middle of the room.  Yes, I am talking about the carpet in the playroom and master bedroom.

Leftover from an era of John Travolta doin' the disco and mass bra burning in the quad, this carpet is the epitome of 70's style.  Even worse than the color that looks shockingly close to F's diaper this afternoon, there is only about an 1/8" of foam separating the carpet from the plywood floor.
So, after living with the color, smell and discomfort when sitting on the floor to play with the kids for the last year, we decided it was time to tackle this project!  We decided to look at carpet since the kids mostly play on the playroom floor and I am getting too old to sit on a hard floor to play with them!  Andy and I are strictly hardwood floor people, but we decided this area would be a good one to break our rule.  I went to a local carpet store and got some basic information on carpet options.  I brought home five samples to show Andy.

Options 1 and 2:
I just have one picture but the carpets basically look the same; one was $3 a yard cheaper and I wanted to see if Andy could tell the difference without knowing the price (he could).  Just a basic, low shag.  Pros:  Wouldn't show the seam going through the room too much, cheap, won't run (like a Berber), good stain resistance.  Cons: Basic, low shag carpet.

Option 3:
  A small loop carpet.  This is what I probably went to the store looking for.  Pros:  Modern looking, soft, good stain resistance.  Cons:  Would show seam more, huge possibility to snag a loop and run the carpet.

Options 4 and 5:
On the left: a basic Berber.  The cheapest of the five options.  Pros:  Cheap ($18 a square yard), inoffensive looking.  Cons:  Would show seam, possibility of snagging and running, cheaper feeling backing, not as great stain resistance.  On the right:  A low shag with a kind of random pattern.  This was my favorite leaving the store (and of course the most expensive at $28 a square yard).  Pros:  Really soft, well made, modern looking, wouldn't show seam, good stain resistance.  Cons:  Expensive, bad color choices, Andy called this Grandma carpet right away.

Once we brought all the samples home and Andy and the kids did their comfort tests:

We had narrowed it down to options 4 and 5.  I (at this point, Andy really didn't care) leaned more toward the most expensive one since it felt really soft and had a really good stain resistance warranty.  I wasn't thrilled with the color choices but put the board up in the playroom anyway for the weekend.  By Sunday I hated it (and the rest of the samples).  We decided to check out two more carpet places to see if we could find something we could live with.  At the second carpet shop, I fell in love with a REALLY soft nylon Berber that was on sale but still even more expensive than the top carpet I had found at the first place.  The total for the two rooms would have come out to about $2800 before tax (the other sample would have been more like $2000 after tax).  On top of it, the roll they had left was already sold and they weren't sure if they could get more in.  The store was wonderful though, equipped with a playroom for kids, popcorn machine and hot dogs so if the roll hadn't have been sold, I probably would have talked Andy into it and bought it on the spot.

We left and headed to Home Depot just to check their options.  I figured if we didn't find something we liked there, we would head back to the original local carpet store and see if there was something I missed in my first visit.  While I was looking at every carpet option in the racks of Home Depot, distracted Andy wanders over to a pile of rugs on sale.  "Hey!"  He yells across the flooring department.  "What if we just bought 10 of these bad boys and laid them end to end."  Laughing, I humored him and headed to the stack of rugs to see what had caught his attention.  A plush, beige shag 5 x 7 rug.
You can see where this story is heading since this was clearly taken in our playroom.

I thought after 8 years of marriage I had gotten him out of his beige and more beige style.  Not impressed, I nonchalantly leaned my hand against the rug and fell into a daydream of kittens rolling in a pile of cotton balls.  Seriously the softest rug I have ever touched.  Though I was in heaven, and happily surprised by the $120 price tag, I didn't seriously consider just laying a bunch around the two rooms.  Not seeing any carpet options, on a whim I said, "Let's check out hardwood".  And that was the end of carpet.  Right we we stepped down the hardwood aisle, all thoughts of carpet left our brains.  Right away, we found 3 1/4" wide hardwood for $3.40 a square foot.  Since Andy can do the install, that puts us at $1500 for the two rooms! WAY under our pricing for any carpets that we actually liked at all.  One of my initial concerns about hardwood in these rooms was the comfort level of sitting in the playroom with the kids- this is solved by purchasing that amazingly, soft, plush rug.  My second concern was having a hardwood in the living room which shares a doorway to the playroom.  I knew we would never be able to find a match for the living room hardwood and didn't want hardwood in the playroom/master bedroom to look like we tried to match but failed.  I thought that a wide plank (the plank in our living room is really narrow) and a light, natural wood tone would look totally different but still go with the character of the house.  After consulting a really helpful Home Depot employee, we found a perfect Hickory hardwood in the special order section.  I didn't get a picture of the board at the store, so check out this link.  Our total price after check-out for all the hardwood flooring, heavenly rug and a breaker box to replace the fuse box upstairs was just under $2000!  Andy and I are both thrilled with our hardwood choice and happy we ended up spending less on hardwood than we would have for carpet.  We can't wait for it to come in and tear up the orange monster currently living in the two room.  Oh hardwood, you had me at hello.

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