I was planning a few little projects until I woke up last week to discover that a neighbor above me had a leak from their AC that came down into our unit, caving in the ceiling in one room, and ruining our hardwoods in 4 rooms.

Currently, the baseboards are removed, the ceiling is still open, and the floors are rippled.  Our estimator has said that we’ll need new hardwoods throughout the entire house, which means that we had to pick out new hardwood flooring rather quickly.  I found a look that I like, but I’m now deciding if I even want to put down new hardwood or perhaps something more moisture-friendly, like tiling that looks like hardwood or a moisture-resistant laminate.  I do know that I LOVE our light-colored flooring.  We’ve had dark wood in the past, and it showed EVERYTHING.  I also know that I want a cooler tone of wood on the floors.  Normally, I love warm wood tones, but these floors tended to make my white walls look very yellow.

Here are a few of my tile choices.  They’re all from here and range from $2-$4 per square foot.  Check out the brass inlay between the tiles on the last image… I’M.IN.LOVE.

Brighton Natural Wood Plank Ceramic Tile

Brighton Natural Wood Plank Ceramic Tile

Cumberland Cafe Wood Plank Ceramic Tile

Cumberland Cafe Wood Plank Ceramic Tile

Salvage Honey Wood Plank Porcelain Tile

Salvage Honey Wood Plank Porcelain Tile

There are many different brands of resilient vinyl “laminate wood” flooring, but I really love Shaw Floors Floorté (Resilient) line.  Their options are gorgeous, and they are especially formulated for areas that can get water damage… ahem… my basement condo.  The price range is a little higher, but they come in two types of quality “better” and “best,” which range between $4-$6 per square foot for the product alone.

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My final (and least preferred option) is to install hardwood again.  I had originally picked out hardwood that looked like my tile and laminate choices above, but I don’t want to go through this process again in a few years.  I know that water damage is a possibility, despite having installed a water alarm to prevent any future major leaks like this one.

Now, onto the GOOD NEWS: Since we’ll be pulling up ALL of the flooring anyway, we’re hoping to make a few other changes to the condo, specifically the layout.  We had discussed moving a few walls when we first purchased our home, but the idea of patching the flooring and hiring a construction crew was enough to deter us.  Construction in the city is NOT an enjoyable task, involving parking passes, LOTS of permits, VERY limited noise/ construction hours, and sky-high pricing on everything.  However, now is our opportunity to make a few changes if we’re going to do it since we’ll already have a construction crew available and the permits/ parking passes, so let me share with you our little plan.

Here’s the current floor plan of a portion of our house (the kitchen, dining, guest room, and living room):

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Used THIS SITE to make this, by the way 😉

Our two rooms that we’d like to change a bit are the kitchen and guest room.  The kitchen feels VERY closed off when you’re inside of it and gets absolutely NO natural sunlight from the windows.  There are two little walls that close it off that we’d like to remove to make it feel like one large room with the dining room.  Also, you can BARELY see it, but the refrigerator on the right of the doorway will barely open with something in front of it due to the tiny opening.  The space would be much more functional without that wall.  We do know that phone lines AND electricity run through that wall though (and possibly an air vent), which means that removing it could be costly or impossible.  Eventually, we’d love to extend our kitchen in the small foyer area and have more of a large eat-in kitchen.  I cook very frequently, so I’d love to have more space to move around and to have space for guests to sit in there with me while I prepare meals.


Kitchen: In this (old) image, I am sitting by the sink and looking out towards the dining room.  You can see how this little wall closes off the space quite a bit.

The guest room, in contrast, is the best lit room in the home, but it’s incredibly tiny and barely has enough room for a twin bed and a tiny dresser.  We’d like to extend it so it could comfortably fit a full or queen bed, a nightstand, and a dresser.  In the drawing above, you can see how long our living room is (you can see the layout better via pictures in our house tour).  Much of the living room is wasted space that we think would be better used as a large guest room.  We had considered chopping up the master bedroom (it’s huge), removing the huge master walk-in closet, and creating a third bedroom.  However, we decided it wouldn’t be the right choice for our neighborhood, which caters to singles and childless couples.  We’ve also contemplated adding double French doors into the guest bedroom to allow some of the natural light to enter the living room.  However, we’re wavering on that now mainly for privacy reasons.  Here you can see how tiny the guest bedroom is.  The pictures make it look even larger than it really is though!

IDEA TIME!!!!  I’m sure there are a hundred ideas that I’ve not thought of yet, but here are a few of my brainstorms in drawing form:

Idea 1:  The kitchen walls are removed.  The guest bedroom wall is extended by two feet to the same depth as the fireplace, and the guest bedroom door is moved to the far right.  The living room is STILL awkwardly long in this choice, but perhaps creative furniture arrangement would detract from that.  This is the *cheapest* option, although I say that lightly…

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Idea 2: Remove the kitchen walls.  Extend the guest bedroom by 2 feet so it’s equal with the fireplace.  Add French doors to allow some light into the living room.  Remove the existing closet, but add a small closet by the French doors.  This idea is large enough to hold a full bed, two nightstands, and a full dresser, although the closet space will be significantly less.  In this idea, I like that the closet might drown out some sound from the living room.  Once we have children, that could be very useful, although we probably won’t appreciate the French doors in that case!

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The 3D view of Idea 2

Idea 3:  Remove the kitchen walls.  Remove the guest room closet.  Extend the guest room out two feet to the fireplace.  Add a hallway with a closet in it to the guest room.  This idea is the most expensive due to the amount of wall removal AND due to the electricity (namely the can lights in the ceiling) that would need changed.  However, there is plenty of space for a full bed, two nightstands, and a full sized dresser.  The living room will be significantly smaller in this version though, which might be a good or bad thing.

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Here’s a 3D image of the smaller living room:

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Idea #4: Remove the kitchen walls.  Extend the bedroom up to the fireplace by two feet.  Add a walk-in closet onto the bedroom AND a small utility closet on the other side for our own storage.  As much as we liked idea #3, a hallway leading to a bedroom seemed like wasted space.  Once we thought about turning that whole area into closets, we realized it would be much more useful.  My friend also recommended that I change up the furniture layout to make sense of the long living room so that’s represented here, as well.

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What are your thoughts on these ideas?  A favorite? A better idea?!  I’d love to hear other people’s creative solutions!