Thursday, January 19, 2012

Condo finishings

Only 6 months until we move into the condo!!!  I love driving by and seeing the building continue to progress, although I do feel sorry for the builders in this freezing cold temperature!

Since I've shared some inspiration photos and details on the furniture we have purchased I thought I should let you know about the finishes we selected for our new home.  I think this will help everyone (including myself) visualize the bigger picture and end result.  

First of all, let me just say HOW FUN this was for me!  I couldn't wait to get into the design centre to see all of my options!  At the last minute Derek was invited to play golf, so I actually attended our first appointment solo.  I think it worked out for the best since I was able to work with the designer and pre-select all of our finishes.  I have a feeling if Derek were there he would have been quite overwhelmed.  Thankfully, since I had a good idea of what I wanted, I was able to sift through and pull the samples I wanted quite quickly.

The designer was certainly helpful, but I would definitely recommend doing your homework before attending one of these appointments.  There are so many options to chose from and working with small samples can be challenging.  Derek and I had taken time together looking through magazines, websites and blogs which really helped.  I brought visuals along to the appointment (magazine cut-outs and photos saved on my phone) which helped me get my point across to the designer as well as keep me focused.

I was able to pre-select most finishes at the first appointment and when Derek and I went back together a couple months later we gave the 100% A-OK on everything.  We made the final decisions together, but I will say I am very happy that Derek lets me take the reins on interior design and decorating our home.  Thank you, honey!

Here are some photos we used for inspiration.

Both of these kitchens were featured here on Everything Fabulous (love that blog).  I lovelovelove a white kitchen, especially one with white counter tops.  They both appealed to me because of their fresh look and clean lines - the look Derek and I were going for.  

The fun and bright wall colour and beautiful hard wood floors drew me to this white kitchen found on the Urban Home Magazine Blog.  Although I knew I wanted white cabinets I was not sure exactly what style we would end up with.  I do love a simple shaker style door front like these ones.

Other than a mostly white kitchen, we were thinking;
  • dark hardwood 
  • gray slate floor tiles
  • light subway tile back splash in the kitchen
  • simple hardware for the kitchen and bathroom

The goal was to ignore the upgrade selections unless we really didn't like any of the standard options.  This meant sticking with pretty basic appliances.  We went with all white since we didn't want the contrast of the black appliances against our white cabinets.  I wasn't too disappointed to have white instead of the stainless upgrade option.  I think it is going to look nice, clean and seamless.  Sort of like this picture found on this kitchen design site.  I like how the appliances blend instead of being on show.

We also planned to carry whatever flooring, cabinets and counter tops we chose in the kitchen into the bathroom.  Since it is a small space and the kitchen and bathroom are basically opposite each other we wanted to continue the finishes/colours to help the flow.  You can remind yourself of our floor plan in this post.

So, without further adieu, here are our final selections!

Hardwood floors run throughout the main living area of the condo except for in the entry, kitchen and bathroom.  We were able to find a beautiful, dark, rich brown hardwood that we loved without having to upgrade (yippee!) and here she is (sorry about the picture quality).  I love the colour and how the wood grain shows through.  I found the upgraded floors showed less grain - I'm not sure why they do that, but I think this softens things up and gives depth to the room.

This is tile we chose for the entry, kitchen and bathroom and it is like nothing I've ever seen before.  The name is Roccoco by San Marco and we went with the large 13X13 square tiles.  It is really tough to describe, but the tile almost feels like textured plastic.  There is a glossy finish that makes it shine depending on the lighting and angle.  It feels great on bare feet (yes, we tested) and I think it's the perfect selection for the kitchen as well as in the bathroom.  I absolutely LOVE it! 

Again, sorry for the quality, however I do find this picture really shows the texture of the tile.

I found more details online, including this picture.

It wasn't an easy decision since we also really loved the look of a gray slate tile found here, but I'm glad we decided to go a little outside the box.  The floor is extremely durable (it can actually be used outdoors) and will be easy to wash and keep clean.  We went with a black grout, so there won't be as much of a distinction of tiles like you see in the picture below.

It was a few thousand dollars to carry the hardwood into the bedroom, and in keeping with our plan of staying away from upgrades we went with the standard (and cheap) carpet.  This is when I died a little bit inside.  I didn't even take a picture of that ugly carpet swatch because I was just trying to hold in the tears.  It looked something like this.  Don't even bother checking out the link - it will only lead you to some tacky wholesale carpet depot.  

I recently came across this carpeted-bedroom-adjacent-to-dark-hardwood-floor photo and I've been feeling much better ever since.  I was worried that with our already small condo, the change in flooring would really break things up.  No doubt extending the hardwood into the bedroom would also extend the eye, helping to visually enlarge the space, but maybe it's not as bad as I originally thought.  And that's $4000 we can put into the furniture/wedding/honeymoon savings fund!

Ok, so that's it for the flooring.  Onto the cabinets, counter tops and back splash!  As mentioned, I knew I wanted white cabinets but wasn't 100% sure on the style.  Well, right off the bat I knew this was going to be an upgrade.  The standard cabinets did not appeal to me at all - their finish looked like plastic and the details were too ornate.  This is when my designer piped in and suggested a high gloss straight front cabinet like these ones:

Ohmygosh I was SO excited and shocked that I hadn't thought of them before!  She took down a sample and I couldn't stop stroking the door and placing it beside my shiny Roccoco tile sample.  They were a match made in heaven!  They both shine and shimmer and are super easy to wipe clean.  I could not be more excited about my cabinets!  The upgrade cost was $570. 

The counter tops were easy.  There were standard granite options which I liked and there were also upgrade options which I LOVED (before I saw the price).  We went with a standard option, Pearl Gray, and although it's not white like my inspiration photos, I still enjoy it and think it will match beautifully with my high gloss cabinets and Roccoco tiles.  

It was an upgrade for granite in the bathroom, so we just chose the closest match in a laminate counter top.

I wanted to do something special for the back splash in the kitchen.  The standard options were pretty boring, and since we have such a small kitchen the upgrade options weren't too expensive.  We were torn between a shiny white subway tile and a white glass mosaic.  In the end we spent a bit more ($573.50) on this beautiful glass mosaic and are so happy we did.

It's tough to imagine the final product, I know, maybe this picture will help?

The small, rectangular tiles will be laid "brick style" and will be varying shades and finishes of white and clear glass.  They are going to be like the jewellery above the dark granite counter and below the high gloss cabinets.  I really think they were the perfect choice.

Some of the final selections included

  • tiles for the bathtub wall - we went with the standard plain white tile (it's all about the shower curtain, right?)
  • grout for in between the floor tiles - we went with black to match, which was actually an upgrade of $160.  Imagine that!  Upgrading your grout!?!?  I couldn't believe it.
  • hardware for the kitchen and bathroom - we went for sleek, chrome finished handles like these guys.  

Claridge is a pretty standard builder and wasn't offering any super fancy upgrades like a built-in surround sound and I'm actually happy about that.  We could have easily gotten carried away and spent too much money, but instead we had fewer temping options and only ended up spending a total of $1330.50 on upgrades.  

Although I believe we made great choices, I am anxious to see everything complete and together.  I think it might be one of the most exciting days of my life, so far (except for your proposal, Derek, that was also very good).

I hope you enjoyed this post.  It was fun going back to my photos and inspiration boards (AKA Pinterest) and remembering how everything came together.  If you have any questions on the process (there are so many details!) feel free to ask!

Good luck to anyone out there who is renovating, redecorating, or moving into a new home.  I hope you enjoy the process!

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