Archives For cork flooring

New Bathmat

October 28, 2013 — 4 Comments

Sometimes when I am writing posts, especially ones like this, I think, do people really care? I mean, I got a new bathmat – alert the media! But then I think about the blogs I read, the ones I read every day or even the ones I skim once a week and I do actually care about all the little things they post. Yes, it is all trivial, there are things in this world that really matter and a new bath mat is not one of them, but yet, somehow it does matter. It matters to me because it is my house and for two weeks I didn’t have one and so getting a new one was sort of a big deal. And maybe it matters to you because your job is stressful and reading blogs on your lunch break is how you lower your blood pressure.

Anyway, enough with the deep thinking, let’s talk about something I bought at Target!

For the last two years I’ve used the same $15 basic grey bath mat from somewhere (probably Target) and it’s worked great.

hex tile bathroom

Then for a while I used a bright coral/pink rag rug that I found at an antiques store (more about it here). I loved how it looked but it was not a good bath mat. Turns out bath mats have that weird plastic layer for a reason. The rag rug just got really wet and took forever to dry which I’m assuming isn’t good for tile?

grey, white, and coral bathroom

So I went back to the grey bath mat until Bob threw up on it a few weeks ago. If you remember the last time Bob threw up, it was on my sheepskin rug which resulted in a come to Jesus moment for me (I learned my lesson here). This time around I just threw the mat away, there was no way I was about to give a bath to another rug! I realize I could have machine washed it but it was pretty ratty anyway so it went in the trash. For a week or two I just put a towel down on the tile until I had a chance to buy a new mat. I thought about buying a colorful one or something unique, but I’ve been too preoccupied to look extensively so when I saw this chunky grey one at target for $19.99 I knew it would work just fine.

hex tile and chunky bath mat hex tile and chunky bath mat hex tile and chunky bath mat

Not earth shattering, but it is the only room in my house that has a neutral pallet so I’m stickin’ to it for now.

If you are curious about where the coral rag rug went, it went here:

cork floors and coral rug and chalkboard wall cork floors and coral rugs

I like it much better in there. I especially like how it looks with the runner in front of the sink (I got the runner here).

I hope you enjoyed this trivial post about my little life ūüôā

Kitchen Photographs

October 23, 2013 — 2 Comments

This is my kitchen as of September 2013, enjoy!
Little House Design: Kitchen with black walls and cork floors Little House Design: Kitchen with black walls and cork floors Little House Design: Kitchen with black walls and cork floors Little House Design: Kitchen with black walls and cork floors Little House Design: Kitchen with black walls and cork floors Little House Design: Kitchen with black walls and cork floors Little House Design: Kitchen with black walls and cork floors Little House Design: Kitchen with black walls and cork floors Little House Design: Kitchen with black walls and cork floors Little House Design: Kitchen with black walls and cork floors Little House Design: Kitchen with black walls and cork floors Little House Design: Kitchen with black walls and cork floors Little House Design: Kitchen with black walls and cork floors Little House Design: Kitchen with black walls and cork floors Little House Design: Kitchen with black walls and cork floors Little House Design: Kitchen with black walls and cork floors Little House Design: Kitchen with black walls and cork floors Little House Design: Kitchen with black walls and cork floors

All photos are courtesy of Ashley a. Photography, thanks Ashley!

Threshold Makeover

September 25, 2013 — 1 Comment

Eight months later and I’m still in love with the cork floors in my kitchen (more on their installation here and here). Seriously, they are amazing. They look great, feel good under my feet, and are easy to clean. If anyone ever asks me how I feel about them, I become a walking infomercial (have you googled ‘cork trees‘ yet? DO. IT. Your mind will be blown). But there was one task leftover from the big install last winter that I never got around to finishing.

This is the threshold between the kitchen and the dining room. While it was installed perfectly and I’ve never had any problems with it, I never got around to staining it to match the cork.

For some reason I was nervous about staining it, which I soon realized stemmed from my last attempt at staining. If you don’t remember, I tried to stain a dresser and it was disastrous (more about that here and here). But after a brief tutorial and pep talk from my friend that helped me install the floors, I was ready to just get it done.

I used my good old Frog Tape (more on my preference for Frog Tape here) to tape off the threshold. Since sanding wasn’t necessary, I just put on latex gloves and used an old sock to rub the stain on. I used Minwax in ‘Special Walnut’, the kind of stain¬†without the poly added in (that was my mistake last time).
My staining coach told me that if I wanted to make the stain darker I should apply the stain, let it dry over night, and then apply another coat. But if you know me at all you know I am the most impatient person on the planet. It’s like a real problem, so after a few coats I was done. I left the tape on until the next day optimistically thinking I might do another coat, but the next day I was satisfied with how it looked (or too lazy to stain it again, take your pick).

It’s a little thing, but it made me happy for a solid week. The transition looks so great now! I should have done it months ago since it only cost $6 and took 15 minutes. C’est la vie!

Antiques Mall Finds

March 1, 2013 — 1 Comment

There is a big difference between thrift shops and antique shops, but they both have their merits. Thrift shops make you work harder but you can get really good deals. Antique shops are curated for you and you pay for it. I’ve chronicled my thrift shop adventures here and here,¬†but I haven’t yet talked about antiquing. A week or so ago I made my way up to the Carmel Old Town Antique Mall¬†and like most things with ‘mall’ in the title, it was huge! Most antique malls are set up so that different vendors can rent sections of the store. For that reason pricing varies from booth to booth. Overall I found this mall to be reasonably priced. I tried to walk out with only one thing but alas I left with two because I’m obsessed with weird things.

Can you spy what is new?

Okay, that is a little too far away to see her. Here she is up close.

Yep, that’s a solid brass Nefertiti. This one booth had a solid brass seal with beach ball on his nose and I was sort of tempted by it because it was brass but the seal was very cartoonish looking. Then my friend spied this lady up on a shelf. She was $10 and I had to have her. Actually, I really debated whether or not I needed her but I’ll get to that in a minute. First let’s talk about how regal Bob looks here:
So serious, as though he has the weight of the world on his shoulders. Anyway, on to the kitchen where the next item I bought is.
I know what you’re thinking… you didn’t even bother to put away the dishes before you took pictures? Yeah, it’s true I didn’t but no what you’re probably thinking is… didn’t you just buy a different rug for under the sink? Yes, I did, good observation! So apparently I’m now obsessed with rag rugs because I’ve purchased two in two weeks (the first one is here). I can’t help it I just really like them. The best part about them is that you can just throw them in the washing machine – amazing. So the pinky coral one that I originally purchased for here is great and I still love it but when I saw this one which is a little longer I knew it would work better under the sink. So I moved the smaller rug to the bathroom which I’ll show you a picture of in a minute but first another picture of Bob who was feeling very photogenic on the day I took these pictures.
This picture makes me really happy for three reasons:
1) Bob is standing still. That never happens, seriously never.
2) The new rug is so pretty
3) The. Floors. Are. Beautiful.
Here is the other rug, relocated.
iPhone picture because I was too lazy to get out my good camera
As you can see I just laid it on top of the bath mat that is already in there. Why did I do that? Because I thought it would add texture and depth to the room, uh, just kidding, I did it because I’m lazy. But I actually like it sitting on top of the other one because it makes me feel like I’m standing on a plush carpet while brushing my teeth. So luxurious. Plus I love the bright color in there.
But back to my big decision, both the rug and the Nefertiti statue were $10 so I was trying to choose between the two but I decided I liked both of them well enough to pay $20. That is the big difference between thrifting and antiquing. Last time I went thrifting (here) I paid $16 for five things and at this antique store I paid $20 for two things.
Do you prefer antiquing or thrifting?

Like the¬†parenthetical¬†subtitle suggests, this is not much of a tutorial. I love blogs that go into crazy detail like YHL and Bower Power, but I am not like that. My posts tend to be on the long side, but being detailed is not a strong point for me. So this is a tutorial in the vaguest sense (now I know you’re super excited to read it). Also, I apologize in advance for the poor picture quality. We did this mostly at night and I am easily distracted so I didn’t remember to take pictures very often. If you want a good tutorial the ones we used are¬†here, here, and here.

Steps to Install a Cork Floor:

1) Hire someone.

The end. Haha just kidding. But no seriously I did hire someone because I had no intention of doing this project on my own. I really wish I was handy enough to do this sort of project but that is currently way beyond my skill set and my tool supply (my fanciest tool is a hand-me-down power drill). So I hired my awesome friend* who has helped me with so many other projects at this house (bathroom tile, medicine cabinet, fence repair, shelf hanging, etc.). Because I am interested in learning how to do this sort of stuff he let me hang around and help him. Turns out I was not helpful at all but it was nice that he let me try.

2) Prep the floor.

Since the linoleum in my kitchen was relatively intact we decided to just leave it down and install the new flooring on top of it. Our first step was to pull up the toe kick around the border of the room.

Like I said the linoleum was mostly intact but around the edge it was pulling up a little so we (I say ‘we’ but let’s be honest I had no idea what I was doing so it was mostly ‘he’) decided to used a blade to cut the part that was curling up off.

Despite the bad picture quality you can hopefully see how the linoleum is curling up around the edges in the picture above. He used a blade to trim the raised part off and since linoleum is so thin we were left with a fairly smooth transition.

We also pulled up the thresholds to the basement and back door and the transition into the dining room. We also went around and checked for any missed nails (if we couldn’t get them out we hammered them down so the floor was smooth). After cleaning up the debris and sweeping we were on to the next step.
3) Underlayment.
The next step was pretty easy and I was still able to help at this point. Because the type of cork I chose is ‘floating’ meaning it isn’t glued or nailed down, the underlayment was very important. I did my research and found that the best one for this type of flooring is the Eco Silent Sound HD Underlayment¬†(someone had a little too much fun naming this product). It was pretty straightforward to lay it down.
Like I said, not good pictures, but that is what the underlayment looked like after it was all put down. We used a combination of this double sided tape and a staple gun to attach it to the floor.
Side note: this is what my dining room looked like for a week…
It actually wasn’t so bad because my dining room is abnormally big. I sort felt like I was in a ship’s kitchen which was cool because who hasn’t dreamed about living on a ship? I think I would like living on a ship if I didn’t get so crazy sea sick… ah well, in another life maybe.¬†
4) Install Cork Flooring.
I chose Lisbon Cork in Rossio from Lumber Liquidators and after a quick look at the instructions we got right into it.
At this point I became extremely unhelpful. I was basically just leering in the corner offering very unhelpful advice. The main problem we ran into, which I did not take a picture of, is that the tongue and groove where the pieces connect was very fragile and one bad tap and the tongue would crack and then not lay properly. But we he figured it out after a few attempts. This flooring kit was really helpful as was this video.
5) Finishing touches.
I didn’t even attempt to help at this point because it involved a lot of measuring and sawing but if you want to know how to install a toe kick… uh, Google it.
Before the toe kick (that black thing is a spacer)
After the toe kick – it makes such a big difference! I didn’t even have to repaint which was very nice.
Another shot before:
And after:
6) Enjoy your beautiful floor!
 
I guess I should have at least wiped up the floor before I took pictures, ignore the puppy paw prints…
This floor is Bob approved.  
Though I’ve only lived with this floor for about two weeks I am 100% happy with it. I highly recommend it! It feels great on my feet and it’s easy to wipe clean when necessary. I was¬†initially¬†nervous about getting water on it but I don’t really worry about that any more because it hasn’t been a problem. Mostly I’m just happy that the beautiful floor further distracts people from noticing the boring countertop and backsplash.
*It bears repeating… this project was managed and executed by¬†Osborn & Stillman. Specializing in custom furniture,¬†Osborn & Stillman¬†also do built-ins, flooring, countertops, and pretty much anything “wood” you can imagine. Being that they are good friends of mine I heartily recommend that you¬†contact¬†them for any home projects you have in mind. They also did my¬†bathroom tile¬†and¬†medicine cabinet¬†which I’m still in love with.¬†Seriously, check out their¬†website, it’ll make you want to burn all of your IKEA furniture.¬†

Yay, it’s finished! I am beyond happy with my latest project. I’ve hated the linoleum floors in the kitchen since I moved in, but they were in decent enough shape that I decided to spend my money elsewhere first. I waited 54 weeks to do this project. That is a very long time for an impatient person like me! But enough rambling, here are my new kitchen floors:

Little House Design: Cork Floors, Black and White Kitchen
Ah, I’m so in love! The old floor was super nasty and it never looked clean (not that I ever mopped or anything). To replace it I chose Lisbon Cork in Rossio from Lumber Liquidators. I love it! I’ve been really intrigued by cork flooring for a long time. The first time I heard of it, I was like wha??? Cork? That’s strange! But after some research I was sold. My favorite feature is how the cork is harvested. Cork grows on trees and the top layer of bark comes off in a big piece. The tree stays alive and over a period of nine years it redevelops the layer that was peeled off, amazing uh? Seriously, Google cork trees. The images are insane. So the environmental aspect was really important part of my decision process, but I also happen to love the way it looks. Another bonus is that it really cuts down on sound pollution (it would be perfect for a house with a finished basement). The only things that sort of worries me is getting it too wet, but I’ve read tons of reviews, commentaries, and blog posts about how to clean it plus it came pre-sealed so I shouldn’t worry.

There are still a few finishing touches left to do (toe kick and thresholds) but I couldn’t wait any longer to share ‘Before’ and ‘After’ pictures. I’ll be back later this week with a little more detail on the how the floors were installed (I kind of helped!) plus more pictures naturally.

Happy day!

*This project was managed and executed by Osborn & Stillman. Specializing in custom furniture,¬†Osborn & Stillman also do built-ins, flooring, countertops, and pretty much anything “wood” you can imagine. Being that they are good friends of mine I heartily recommend that you contact them for any home projects you have in mind. They also did my¬†bathroom tile and medicine cabinet¬†which I’m still in love with.¬†Seriously, check out their website, it’ll make you want to burn all of your IKEA furniture.¬†