One year later, the outside hasn't changed much, but the inside has come a long way baby, and we're quite proud of it. :) So I got the hubby to sit down with me and talk about some of the upgrades and changes we've made, and how we feel about them now that we've lived with the a little while. We even rated them on a scale of 1-5; 1 being "what were we thinking?!" and 5 being "slam dunk, we would make the same exact decision again!".
1. Hall Bathroom Upgrades: 5
Upgrading the hall bathroom was one of the first things we did after moving in. There was a mold/mildew issue with the floor in front of the bathtub so we knew that had to fixed asap, and since we knew we didn't want to do a major reno job we just did most of the updates we wanted to do then; like restaining the vanity and changing out all the old bathroom fixtures. Even thought the slate flooring was a pain to install (sorry dad!), both Mike and I love it and we think it really looks great in there. We also haven't had any issues with it being too rough on our feet (something that a few people brought up with us when we were making our decision). Sure, it would have been nice to put in a new vanity, and maybe even change out the tub to something a little more high-end, but for the money spent in there we are really pleased with the results and are glad that we saved money there so we could splurge elsewhere.
The only reason this isn't a 5 is because Mike isn't thrilled with recessed lights in here, they kind of create more of a spotlight effect than ambient lighting. Other than that though, I love having a fan in there to cool things off when I'm in there cooking on hot days (and to help clear smoke out when something gets a little too well done), and it's nice having the option for different levels of light, since we put the fan and the recessed lights on two different switches. Yes, we still need to pick out a pendent light for above the sink and I need to finish repainting the ceiling, but it already looks worlds better in there!
3. Front Entry Wainscoting: 5
We love it. Don't really know what else to say about this one. :)
4. Wood laminate flooring: 3.5
Just in case you were thinking that we were in absolute adoration of every choice we've made so far, here's one we're still somewhat slightly on the fence with... maybe. Mike was really struggling between 3 and 4, so I let him pick 3.5. We love the tone of the wood and the handscraped appearance and feel, but this TrafficMaster Handscraped Saratoga Hickory from Home Depot is pretty much the cheapest handscraped laminate flooring you can get. It's only 7 mm and we've already had a couple of issues with scratches/chipping. HOWEVER, we've been able to cover the marks easily and we really feel like we got good value for what we paid. We're also glad that we spent money on a premium underlayment, but Mike thinks he might pick out a different one in the future (this one was a bit messy during the install). The last thing we're not sure about is the decision to do this flooring throughout the whole house (well, other than bathrooms). We're kind of thinking in the future we might put carpet in the kids rooms, but now that we've moved most of the toys out of the family room and into my son's room, it's kind of nice to have the harder floor in there for block building and toy train conducting, so who knows? It's nice to have this opportunity to try things out before we move into our "forever" home.
As far as removing the upper cabinet above the peninsula and moving in the bigger, ceiling height cabinet for our food pantry, we are super pleased. We got tons of storage AND really opened the kitchen up. Mike is a little bummed about the money spent on the new french door and wishes that we had had more time to shop around and check out places like the ReStore and Craiglist for a cheaper one, then replace that door in the future when it needed it. I'm more like, "now it's done, it's a good door that will last a long time, and we don't have to worry about it again."