Sunday, October 17, 2010

Remodel Update

Though it was difficult, because I felt guilty about the decision, I wrote a very complimentary email to Green Hammer informing them I had decided to hire another company to remodel our house. They graciously accepted our decision. Then a couple days later we signed a contract with Craftsman Design & Renovation.

I hope we're making the right decision, but it "feels" right to me. I just really prefer the work they show in their portfolio. Our only lingering worry is they'll be too expensive and we won't be able to stay in our budget, but I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it...

Last Tuesday, CD&R came out and made the first pass at measuring the rooms in an effort to put together an accurate floor plan and elevation. Then, they'll be out in another week or two to add more detail to their completed drawings of the existing space.

I've spent several hours during the last week trying to make decisions about materials to use in the kitchen and bathroom. Last Thursday, Jeff and I dropped by EcoHaus to look over some of their Eco-cool materials.

We were pleasantly surprised by the Paperstone; in the evergreen color, it actually looked a bit like soapstone, which is a "stone" that would have been used in period. Though, it's a pretty new product and we're not sure we're prepared to go with an untested new product that may have a short life span. Though, we could also consider soapstone as well; it's still available and looks like a reasonable option.

We also like a product called IceStone which is made from recycled glass. We really didn't like the TrinityPacific or ShetkaStone, so they're definitely out as options.

We're still favoring stone. The new products, made from recycled materials, are nearly as expensive (or sometimes more expensive) than stone. We LOVED our empress green marble counters in Forest Grove, and it's going to be sorely tempting to just go with what we know and love.

I have spent hours researching "period" tile. My goal is to select a backsplash material for the kitchen. Our current options:

1) Go with something a lot like what we had in Forest Grove. We would use stone in a subway tile shape (probably 3"x6") and probably this mosaic border. If we go with this option, it is VERY likely we would buy larger travertine tiles and cut them down ourselves into the 3"x6" size. It would save us something like $15/square foot to cut down the tiles ourselves. And I think it is a job we could handle. We'd obviously have to rent or buy a tile saw.

2) Our next option is to just do a plain stone backsplash—like the above picture—and a nice mosaic mural for the backsplash behind the stove. I really like this picture, but it may not be appropriate for the period look. But it appeals to me because it looks a lot like the Pacific Northwest—our home.

3) The next option, and probably the "best" option for the look we're hoping for, is to go with ceramic subway tile with reproduction accent tiles. But, amazingly, that option is by far the most expensive. The company that makes these amazing reproduction tiles charge an absolutely insulting amount of money for them. That cool dragon tile is $65 each for the 3"x3" tile. While I'd love to be able to do this option, I think it's just going to be too expensive if we really intend to stay in our budget.

4) Finally, my least favorite option, is to just use plain colored ceramic subway tile and don't add any reproduction accent tiles. That route will also be somewhat expensive, because we intend to use Fireclay Debris series ceramic tile, if we go the tile route. It's made from recycled materials and looks quite nice in person.

We obviously don't have to make all these decisions right away, but I am trying to be prepared for when we have a layout plan this winter and we have to figure out the finish options. If we've already picked a few design ideas, it will make it easier to compare the cost of the different options.


  1. If you can make a mold from one of the dragon accent tiles, or carve your own, you could see if my SIL could show you how to cast slip tiles yourselves and fire them in her kiln. Or take a class on ceramics and make your own. :) I'm a terrible influence, aren't I?

  2. PS - I'd go for the tried-and-true real stone rather than risk having to replace something in 5 years. And go with what you love, especially if it's for the long haul.