After getting the last of our cabinets, sink, and dishwasher installed by Jeff last week, Andy told me to ask Jeff to finish up the kitchen renovations. Unfortunately, that meant that we were going to need flooring much sooner than I had anticipated...like within a couple of weeks. However, with Andy's and my work schedules, that also meant that we had limited opportunities to go shopping for flooring.
An opportunity opened up on Friday evening for us to go looking. Our first stop was a local discount store that carries discontinued items and always has a lot of flooring. We found three wood laminates that we liked, so we bought a box of each to bring home and test against the cabinets. Our next stop was Home Depot where we found some manufactured hardwood DARK "cherry" bamboo that they were discontinuing for a ridiculously low price. I jumped on that because I thought it would be better than laminate and we bought all that we would need for the kitchen floor.
However, when we got home I looked up the reviews online of the bamboo flooring and people said that not only did it scratch WAY TOO EASILY it SHOWED DIRT way too much! :( Well...since our cleaning schedule isn't exactly what we would want it to be, we decided that this flooring wasn't for us.
That brought us back to the three boxes of flooring that we had purchased at the discount store. Andy brought them and we tried each of them up against the cabinets. We thought we had a winner with one of them when we checked them in the daylight hours. However, when we "checked one more time...just to be sure" at night, it looked HORRIBLE in the artificial light. There wasn't enough contrast between the cabinet color and the floor color, so I felt like I was in a really weird tunnel...or on a boat (you know how the inside of a boat is all wood...ceiling, walls, floor...all the same color?) I literally felt like the walls were closing in on me! :(
My daughter actually has a degree in Interior Design, so she has been my guide and counselor through some of this. When I asked her about putting laminate down in the kitchen, she recommended that it should be at least 10-12 mm thick so that is the "better" laminate and can hold up to more use and abuse. She didn't feel we'd be happy with the way that 8 mm laminate would hold up in a high-traffic area like our kitchen. She also gave me other pointers...like keep an extra box on hand so that if anything happens, the bad boards can be pulled up and replaced. The laminate in the above pictures was 8 mm...so between that fact AND the fact that I felt sea-sick in my own kitchen after the sun went down, I knew that we had to take ALL of the flooring back that we had purchased on Friday and go shopping for more. For the record, Andy was happy with this flooring...it didn't have the same tunnel/boat effect on him that it did on me. But then Andy is the kind that grabs something off the shelf, installs it, and calls it good...regardless of the aesthetics!
We live in a rural area without a whole lot of choice...at least not for us that have limited budgets, so we decided that on Sunday we would get up VERY early (for me, on a weekend, anyway), return the flooring that we had bought, and then head up to Pittsburgh (100 miles away) to the nearest Lumber Liquidators store where, hopefully, we could find some flooring that suited me. The agreement between us was that the next flooring purchase we made was going to be the final flooring purchase, so better come prepared!
This morning, bright and early, we took a cabinet door off of one of the cabinets (so we could put it up against the flooring we were going to look at to see how they would go together) and we returned the flooring to Home Depot. After we did the return, I headed back out to the car to wait for Andy because he had to go to the OTHER END of the store to pay for one little item he needed. When he got back to the car he told me about some flooring that they had stacked near the checkout registers that he thought looked "nice" and was 10 mm thick. I kinda did an "eye roll" because I know that he and I rarely agree on what is "nice"...or even "okay"...but when he said it was 10 mm, I agreed to go back in and check it out.
So, cabinet door in hand, we went back into the store. When we put the door up against the flooring display, I think I almost gasped in astonishment!!! It was PERFECT!!! And exactly what I had envisioned all along...a darker floor to contrast with the cabinets, but not too much grain to conflict with them...and not too dark as to show dirt and scratches!
It is Pergo XP Highland Hickory and we ended up buying what we need for the kitchen, plus extra to keep on hand in case of a water accident, etc.
What is funny is that the cabinets are hickory...which has a lot of grain lines, so I was looking for something that didn't have much grain line so they wouldn't "fight" with each other. However, this flooring is hickory, too...just a darker stain! Totally surprised me that the best flooring to go with hickory cabinets is hickory! Who knew??
Anyway, both Andy and I are extremely relieved that we didn't have to go all the way to Pittsburgh today to try to find flooring! Instead, we went out to breakfast and laughed and joked and had a good time, now that all the "stress" of the whole flooring debacle was over! We then came home and he installed a cabinet organizer under the sink and I proceeded to put my cleaning supplies away in my nice, new, slide-out basket organizer! :)