Thursday, October 11, 2012

den decisions

Hello, world! I'm back. A little tanner, a lot more tired, and still with a few bucks in my pocket (just barely).

Disney went swimmingly. I spent a bit more money than I anticipated - maybe about $50 more - but overall, it was good. Buying snacks & fruit in advance definitely helped. By the time we go back for the next race (in two years), I'll be a pro.

Today, I want to talk about our next big purchase: Re-doing our den. Which, actually, will be a series of smaller purchases. Last night, we decided it's finally time to stop procrastinating and start doing. The reason is kind of gross. For the past two summers, Molly has gotten fleas. I don't know how she's getting them because we put the drops on her (and now, she wears a flea collar too), plus I vacuum and wash everything more frequently than I'd like to. I've come to the conclusion that they must be living in our Berber rug and the only way to totally eliminate them is rip it all out and start over.

We don't plan on staying in this house very long (if it were up to me, I'd put it up for sale tomorrow), so we're looking to do some smaller updates instead of spending a large amount of money on a total renovation. Our first objective is to figure out what kind of flooring to put down.

I've been in luuurve with the idea of staining the concrete underlayment since I saw Chris & Julia do it in their basement. The hubs is digging it too, and it's currently the front-runner. My favorite bloggers on the planet, John & Sherry at Young House Love, did it too (& then, they re-did it with an oil based floor paint).

The second option would be to install some kind of hardwood or laminate flooring to match the existing flooring in entryway/living room/kitchen. We estimated we'd need about 300 square feet of flooring; The room is shaped like a wide "L" & is 21' feet long.
rough rough rough sketch

Our design dilemma is how to make the room function. Currently, the TV is mounted on the wall directly across from the sofa,  about 6 feet away, which means you're always kind of staring up at the TV & it can get uncomfortable (we watch a lot of TV). That also leaves a lot of empty space on the other side of the room. We're having a hard time trying to integrate the room as a whole or divvy it up into two separate, but equal spaces.

But this isn't a design blog- it's a money blog. Back to the flooring. Staining the concrete looks like it might be our best bet financially. To tell the truth, I had a bit of sticker shock when looking at flooring prices. Of course, everything I liked (bamboo/cork options) was between $3 and $5 per square foot. Realistically, we need to be under $2 per square foot, plus any additional tools we'd need like underlayment. We haven't set an "official" flooring budget yet, but I think anything over $800 is out of the question (& that's for everything, not just the flooring).

Yesterday, I spoke with our contractor/handyman, Jack, whose done most of the work on our house so far and he's going to email me a quote for prepping the concrete that's already there. While this is a step we could do ourselves, I think buying or renting the tools we'd need might be about the same as paying him to do it. Plus, we can barely hang a picture, so I'm not sure this is the first major project I want to jump into.

We don't have many local flooring places in our neighborhood (in fact, I can't think of any), so we'll most likely be shopping at Lowe's. The hubs has a credit card there and we'd get 5% back on any purchases, which is nice. I'm going to do some Craigs List-ing, too, but I don't know how successful that will be considering the amount of flooring we need.

Any one else have a current house project going on or have any experience with flooring? The hubs and I are definitely not DIY-ers; I prefer reading about it to doing it any day of the week!


  1. I think if you have any friends who are realtors, you might want to check with them. While finished concrete might be financially practical, and you guys think it's cool, it might be something that deters buyers. Or they might expect a lower price because they have to put either flooring or carpeting down. If you had plans to stay there for a long time, then eff it, 'cause it's your house and you should live however you want to for then next 20 years. But if you plan to sell it in the next few years, it might be something to think about, because it could cost you in the long run. We had to put down REALLY cheap carpeting in the house in Smithville before we sold it, because some of it was old, although in good condition. The real estate agent said buyers are looking for new stuff, not necessarily quality, so we had Lowe's install the cheapest stuff they had, and people loved it. At that time, the realtor said do NOT do stained concrete in a living room or bedroom, because it turns people off. Of course, that was 9 years ago, so things could certainly be different. Just check!! ~Susan

    1. You're actually the second person who has suggested that, so I gues we will have to look into the return a bit more. I've read a few places that stained concrete is more "high end" than traditional floorings, but that certainly might not translate in Little Egg Harbor

  2. As much as I love the idea of stained concrete from a design standpoint, I'm going to have to say go with something more traditional if you're looking to sell sooner rather than later. It's a lot easier to sell something that is neutral and generic-looking than something that's more unique, and the more changes buyers feel they have to make to the house (even if it's just because something doesn't suit their taste), the lower that's going to drive the price.