Pushing through decision paralysis


The countdown to our closing date is finally beginning to feel real and as a result we are finally making some design decisions and committing to them. We have been all over the place when it comes to interior design, and while that might sound like we’ve been arguing about it, we’ve honestly been traveling all over the design map together; we just couldn’t get past the fear of making the wrong decision (well OK, I couldn’t) and every time one of us raised a potential concern it sent the other one into a fit of doubts. Kristin has been to a wholesale flooring place so many times that when I dropped by last week I got the sense that they know her almost as well as their contractors.

For flooring we started at laminate, and then decided that we wanted real wood, which started at hickory and then maple and then a variety of grey stained maples and oaks, followed by teak, and finally we landed at the most basic of basic: natural red oak. We’ve been to the paint store twice with different flooring samples, asking the awesome design specialist there to choose a paint palette based on our flooring, and now we’ll have to return again with this new floor but we don’t care: we’re excited about it. We both wanted something with more of a matte finish, and while neither of us has ever been a huge oak fan, we loved the almost invisible finish and lack of shine on this particular flooring. Plus it turned out to be the cheapest thing we’d considered, which was a huge bonus. Our flooring guy told us that given the age, location, and design of our house, he would have guessed that either red or white oak would have been original to the house, so we’re feeling good about a choice that works with the house instead of trying to force it to take on a different look. The wood will be going in the formal living room, the kitchen, and the great room, in addition to the hallway to the bedrooms.

We’ve decided to put down fairly inexpensive carpeting in the bedrooms because they won’t be high traffic areas, and because it feels warmer. I honestly never thought that I’d put in carpeting by choice; I’ve never liked it, but somehow it felt like the right move in this house. Plus it’s way cheaper than putting in wood floors and then buying area rugs.

We also finally decided on bedding for everyone. Sally at Douglas and Son told me that she wouldn’t even talk to me about bedroom paint colors until I brought her the bedding. The only problem was that we couldn’t make up our minds about bedding, and Kristin disagreed with the whole idea of choosing bedding in order to choose paint (my dad is with her on that, but I still think they’re both wrong) but she let me do things in that order anyway. We’d been in a bit of a stalemate over Vivi’s room, but the dust finally settled when we realized that the design she liked wasn’t available in a twin duvet cover, so we came to a bit of an eclectic compromise: I got the quilt I wanted and she got the dog patterned pillowcases as an accent piece, even though they don’t exactly go together. Vivi’s bedding is coming from Land of Nod, the boys are getting bedding from Hanna Andersson, and ours came from West Elm. I’m sure that we could have gone way cheaper if we’d wanted to, but it felt important to me to try to pull these rooms together from the start in the way that I want. We’re inheriting a bed for Vivi from the seller, so that saves us some money, and both the wood and carpeting ended up cheaper than we’d anticipated, so I think it will all shake out. We’re excited for things to arrive so that we can take a giant pile of blankets to Sally and ask her what colors we should paint the walls.

And while some of the main area paint colors might change, we think that we’re pretty much there at this point. We’re using a greige in both the great room and living room, but painting a dark blue accent color on one wall of the great room and painting the drab limestone fireplace in the living room a dark grey (probably also a greige if I’m being honest, but we both hate that word). We’re probably using one of the medium blues in the kitchen, and leaving the cream colored cabinets alone (for now). So lots of cool paint colors but warm floors, so we hope that it will balance out.

I ordered the flooring today, we have paint and flooring and repair guys lined up for mid October. We close on the 10th, so it’s finally beginning to feel like a reality. I’d originally hoped that we could have everything pretty moved-in-looking by Thanksgiving, but now we’ve decided that we’ll probably hold off on buying any furniture for the great room, so I’m expecting it to look kind of haphazard and unfinished for awhile. As wise friends have reminded me, our friends will be coming over to see us not our perfect house, so I just need to accept that something will always be incomplete.

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