There She Blows!

We have a hole in our kitchen floor! It’s taken 3 separate formal application processes, 3 formal approvals and a phone call half way around the world, but we finally have approval to cut through 8 inches of reinforced concrete slab. Here is the result. I’ve never so happy to see tubes coming out of my floor. It’s starting to feel real! Wait until the cabinets come next week…

Our new island sink plumbing

Our new kitchen island plumbing

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 🙂


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