Staircase Reveal

We decided to leave the main piece of glass and the wood slats off until we get our heavy bedroom furniture moved up the stairs. The last thing I want to do is to break a newly finished slat and have to go back to the wood shop and finisher. That will really set us back time wise. So instead we will just need to be a little careful with the kids for a day or two until the final touches are placed. I think it’s a good compromise.

In the meantime, here are the pictures of the hardwood on the stairs. We decided to pick out the walnut in our multicoloured wood for the nosings and I think it looks great!

After the wood was placed, the upper loft area and upper landing got it’s glass wall.


This lets in so much more light and brightens this area as well as the dining room downstairs. I can’t wait to see it with the final aluminum touches and the glass in the middle.

Upper Loft area

Upper Loft area

Then the last step will be to put the ash wood slats on the bottom of the stairs. Not too much longer now. ūüėČ

Hardwood floors!

This is a most exciting day!

We finally see the floors we have been waiting for. I was both very excited and very scared to see what they would look like. ¬†Would I still like the variation in the wood and the colour? Would the pattern fit what was in my mind? Would it look too new? Too old? Too shiny? Too dull? Would I want more dark colours or more light colours? Will it look good with the rest of the wood furniture? I just went on and on in my head about what I was going to do if I didn’t like it that I couldn’t enjoy the anticipation. I just had to see it.

Luckily, most of the questions did not even surface once I finally got a look at the wood itself.

It is spectacular.  I love it!

The flooring guys have done an amazing job. I’m sure they were cursing me as they laid the multiple pieces of wood to try to keep a random pattern going but all the while making sure it did not look like a pattern. The walnut nosings are perfect. It is just the right amount of dark and light colours. It is also just the right amount of shine. We have gotten very lucky.

While I know this wood is a bit unique and not exactly what all the magazines say is “hot” right now (and which I believe, seeing as we couldn’t find it anywhere), I LOVE IT! It is exactly what we wanted and looks better down than I could have hoped. Now to just make sure it stays as pretty as it looks right now, once we move in:)

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Let’s Check in…

I was feeling a bit nostalgic today with all the big changes I saw at the condo this week. I went back to my original post and looked at my “must have” list. Wow, things have changed. Let’s take a look.

Our Must Haves:

  1. Open concept kitchen with an island¬†‚ąö
  2. Replace the hardwood floors throughout¬†‚ąö
  3. Expand to two full bathrooms¬†‚ąö
  4. Have a great play area for the kids
  5. Update the design to suit us ¬†‚ąö

We are slowly but surely ticking things off our list. We haven’t decided completely about the kids play area yet, but we are looking into a few storage options. Stay tuned for a post about their bedroom and playroom. The girls are very excited about it.

But what else has spiralled out of adding a bathroom and tearing out the kitchen?

Our new additions:

  1. Open the stairwell to let in light
  2. Change the glass to a floating glass system throughout the stairwell
  3. Change the glass on the loft balcony to match the stairwell
  4. Add new lighting throughout the house/add recessed lighting ceilings
  5. Add heated floors
  6. Add a workstation for homework and crafts and adult work at home days
  7. Add organizational systems to the closets downstairs
  8. Open up/widen the doorway between the kitchen and living room
  9. Add AV and electrical to make it a “smart home” since the walls are already open
  10. Paint everything!

I always heard that a reno is more like a living organism than a static project but now that I reflect on it, it is really clear.

And we have wood

The flooring was delivered this week as well. ¬†Things are really starting to move at warp speed. I haven’t been able to see the actual wood yet as it is all in two large piles acclimating to our specific moisture level, temperatures etc (that’s really all I know). It appears that we don’t want actual warping of the wood, just warp speed:)

I heard that the construction boys really got a workout that day as the wood had to be hand carried up the emergency stairs. Who needs the gym when you have real weight to carry around! I don’t know how they did that, or how people on the 28th floor get their lumber, but I’m thankful that ours is now in our house and awaiting placement. We have waited so long and looked so hard for this flooring, that all of this hassle is so going to be worth it.

Only a few more steps before we actually get to see the floor in action.

  1. The flooring specialists will start levelling and prepping the concrete sub-floor.
  2. The sub-floor/underlay is completed
  3. Pick the specific colour/pieces and nosing for the stairs and edging (difficult when we have such a random mix of colours I guess)
  4. Lay the floor

Billy thinks all of this will be able to be completed with the heated flooring in the kitchen “L” or “triangle” area and the bathroom over the next week. That is as long as the cabinets get in first. So many steps but all worth while!

The hardwood saga

This has been the toughest part of the reno so far. Brad and I have a very specific vision of what we want to see for our hardwood floors. We want them to be sturdy, durable, not high gloss, sustainable wood and very varied in colour. A long list of requests to start and it seems we want a colour that is not in fashion right now. Everyone wants grey hardwood or at least a very same tone hardwood. ¬†We do like to be different ūüôā


The floors don’t look too bad in the pictures we put up, but when you look at them in person, the heavy traffic areas are just ruined. Also there were drums drilled into the floor. Very cool for the boys that lived there before, not so good for us. Here is the close up picture for memories.

Amber went to her normal suppliers and came back with two samples that met some of our requirements. One was very multicoloured but high gloss, so not so great with the kids and the hopefully lots of parties we will have. The other one was a better finish but was really just two tones. Neither was what we were really looking for. So we asked Amber to check out some other suppliers and Billy said he would ask some people too. Still no luck. We started to think that we were going to have to compromise on our look. The problem is that the floors will hopefully be there for the next 25 years. I don’t want to have to replace them again. ¬†I can compromise on the walls and the cabinets and the tiles, that stuff will likely only last 10 years or so. So when both came back empty-handed again, I have to admit we were both a little devastated. We tried to convince ourselves the walnut high gloss wouldn’t be THAT much work. We could wash it every day to get rid of the fingerprints and dust etc. Hmmm….who are we kidding?

Then one evening we got a cryptic email and picture from Amber. She was at a local Whole Foods. They had just opened a little coffee shop on the second floor. As soon as she walked in there, she saw the floor and had an A-ha moment. Here is the pic she sent. We were over the moon. This is exactly what we want. So many tones. Reclaimed wood. Sustainable. Pretty. Not necessarily in that order. We bundled the kids up after our swimming lesson and went there to check it out ourselves. It was perfect.

Whole Foods Coffee Shop Floor

Whole Foods Coffee Shop Floor

Amber did some super sleuthing. She got the barista to call the manager who figured out the designer firm. Amber had a contact that was able to find out where the floor was sourced. It is a company in Portland, Oregon (Viridian) who specializes in reclaimed floors.

Viridian Look Book¬†– take a look at their products. They are amazing.¬†They even have a reclaimed gym floor for those big sports fans! We were hooked. Then we heard the price. Very expensive for something that is using old wood. Plus it’s from the US and we are in Canada. It’s not that far, but the border would charge duty and taxes and shipping fees, not even to talk about the horrible exchange for the CDN dollar right now. Also it would be a huge delay for shipping, it only comes in solid wood so we would have to put a subfloor down first, and then it has to be finished all site. But we LOVE this floor. If we chose to go with it, we would have to severely cut our budget somewhere else. We could get carpet upstairs, do less in the kitchen downstairs, sell a kidney etc. As well we would have to kiss a May move in date good bye.

Luckily, Amber kept her “Nancy Drew” persona going for just a bit more and spoke to a local hardwood flooring company (Urban Acre Flooring). They had a look at the picture of the¬†floor¬†we liked. They took some time and thought about it and came back to Amber and said they thought they could make it for us. ¬†Amber did try to get the PDX company to sell the local company the wood so it could be made into engineered hardwood and finished off site, but they didn’t want to do that. Not ideal. But luckily, the local company could make the look similar to the one we wanted with their local wood in a pre-finished version for a much cheaper price. Custom but still using leftovers. The best of both worlds.

Here’s the sample they came up with in 48 hours! They sent a whole box of planks so we really got a sense of what the floor would look like. ¬†Excellent customer experience from everyone. We said yes on the spot. After getting to the point of thinking their was no hope for our floor, Amber pulled this one out of her hat. That is why she is the best! She will keep going until her customer is satisfied, no matter what it takes. THANKS Amber! And we get a local BC made wood floor that is truly us.

Flooring sample

Flooring sample