The Lettered Cottage Layout & Our Flooring Dilemmas

When Kev and I bought this place back in October of 2007, we had to tackle a couple of projects just to get the place livable before we could actually move in.

First project- the floors. The carpet in the living room, hallway, reading room, office and guest bedroom was buckling up in several places and there were big black, moldy stains on it too. It was a dirty job and Kev even discovered several of the tack strips holding it (somewhat) in place were still soaked with “the markings of previous owners pooches” ifyaknowwhatI’msayin.

I remember thinking, “How is that possible? The house has been vacant for almost 8 months!

Grizzity-oss!

Once the carpet was out- and the horrible “houstench” was gone, (yay!) we had to make a quick decision about what to do with what we found underneath it.

At one end of the living room, we found a 14′ x 5′ concrete foundation that was 1/4″ – 1/2″ higher than the original hardwood flooring that covered the rest of the room…

The kitchen, master bedroom, master bathroom and laundry room were all added onto the house in 2003.

Here’s a (rough) floorplan that shows how everything is laid out…

According to our neighbors, the living room used to stop where that concrete foundation starts, and there was a screened-in porch on that side of the house. (Sure wish I could’ve seen what that looked like!)

Other flooring dilemmas included, a really bad tile job in the kitchen, laundry room and master bathroom, baked-on yellow linoleum in the pantry and hallway, and plywood flooring in the reading room. We didn’t have the time or money to deal with it all, so we just decided to cover it all up with 800 bucks worth of laminate flooring from eBay instead. Since it was all gonna be temporary, Kev just laid it right up and on top of the concrete in the living room, right up and over the bad tile job in the kitchen, right on top of the plywood floor in the reading room, and right on top of the yellow linoleum flooring in the hallway and pantry.

Unfortunately, that means our floors slope up and down, here and there and everywhere. And as of today, we’ve got some major plank poppage goin’ on around here.  Not good, and super embarrassing when we have company over and one of the shorter planks actually flips up and outta place because someone thinks our flooring is actually securely attached to the floor and they can walk around wherever they want. Silly visitors! (Think: Me and Kevin repeatedly assuring them that “it’s just temporary flooring” and that “it happens all the time“, and our guest repeatedly apologizing for “breaking” our floor. Semi-funny/nightmarish)

Anywho, this is what we’re thinkin’ these days…

The homestudy process will begin sometime after the 1st of the year. Probably in the Spring.  That means a social worker is going to come over and tell us if our home if fit for a child to live in.  We’d love to have more stable/less booby-trappish floors by then, so we weighed our options, and decided on the latter:

Option 1-

- rent a jackhammer,

- break up the concrete at the end of the living room

- scoop out the broken up concrete

- pour in new concrete that’s a little lower than the original hardwood flooring that covers the rest of the room

- lay new, similar-sized/grained hardwood planks over the newly poured concrete

- sand the entire floor

- coat the entire floor with polyurethane

Option 2-

- carpet the living room, hallway, and reading room and use a little more padding on top of the original hardwood floors than we do on the concrete part so that everything is nice and level.

As much as it pains us to cover up the original hardwood floors in our hallway and living room, we just don’t have the extra funds/skillsets to deal with the all the unlevel probs right now, and with our upcoming adoption plans, option 2 just seems like the easier/faster/least expensive route to go.

We do, however, plan to refinish the original hardwood floors in the office, guest bedroom, pantry and dining room in January…

And then we’ll have a friend help us re-tile the kitchen, laundry room and master bathroom. We’re thinking we can get the tile from a place called Total Liquidation in Montgomery. It’s a great, big builders supply warehouse, and we can probably find some nice 12″x12″ tiles for under a buck a piece.

After the flooring business is all taken care of, we’re going to move our office into the room we’re currently using as our guest bedroom. (My Mom is really the only person who stays over night with us, and she said she didn’t mind sleeping on the twin-sized mattress in the reading room.) Then we’ll begin Operation: Kids Room in the room we’re currently using as our office.  It’s nice and big, so he/she will have plenty of room to rip & roar. That room actually used to be the master bedroom back when the house was just a wee little thing.  And speaking of wee little things, check out its *closet

It’s the same shrimpy size as *the one in the guest bedroom…

It’s crazy how tiny they are! I’m talking 18″ wide, 18″ deep. Maybe.

We’ll definitely have to use a lot of free-standing storage pieces, and we’ll probably have to build some built-ins too.

(PS- We do have two, nice-sized closets in our master bedroom, but like I said, these drawings are really rough and I seemed to have left them off and shown a shortened version of the kitchen & laundry room. Oops!)

So. There ya have it.

Not all parts of the plan are 100% ideal, but it’s the way it’s gotta be for now.

The big question is, what kind of carpet should we go with? It’s gonna have to be super tightly-woven or Max will be tempted to go into shred mode.  Except for his “buddies”, he’s never been much of a chewer, but he absolutely can-not resist plucking a hole into a sea of cut pile. I’m afraid he’d freak for frieze too, so that’s out as well.

Something like this might work though:

I’m not sure about the pattern, but it looks pretty tightly-woven, and it’s neutral in color (but lighter than our sofa and chair-and-a-half) which would be good.

Here’s another photo I came across while Googling hardcore carpets today…

I don’t think we’ll go with anything this visually “loud”, but what a cute room, huh?

Maybe we could go with something that looks sort of sisal-ish…

Then we could use a big area rug under our coffee table to ground our furniture arrangement. Choices, choices.

We’re gonna try not to over-think it when we go out to look at our options. We’ve gotta get this party started soon.

And, who knows, maybe one day we can have the concrete part fixed, and we’ll be able to restore those original hardwoods after all.

For now though, we’re just hoping for level floors and that Max doesn’t pull a “Toby” on us…

(Stanley Steemer commercial)

Have you had carpet installed in your home recently? If so, what brand/color did you go with?  Has it held up? Do you love it?

Any info you could pass along would be greatly appreciated!

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Comments

  1. says

    I think you are wise going with the carpet because it is so much easier on little crawling knees! I really liked the “loud” room, Layla. I it is cheerful, and I like the pattern and texture. It is interesting! I would actually choose that for my home. We moved in eight years ago, and the first thing we did was replace the carpet. It is almost time to replace it, and I wish you would share where you found the “loud room” carpet :D

    • Kathy says

      Layla,
      I love your site and ideas but I’m writing to you about your upcoming adoption, which WILL happen. Layla, I don’t even have to know you to know that you will have no problem adopting a child. When they come to look at your home for “suitability” you will do great even with your silly floor as it is. People renovate all the time but I understand that you want everything to be perfect, no one expects that. Put an area rug over it or do whatever fits best economically because they will look into your finances and it will be beneficial if you have $$ in your savings for your new child’s basic needs (food/shelter/medical care/clothing) If they are worried about anything they will tell you and ask you to fix it. They’re looking for hazards, broken railings, holes in ground, exposed electrical outlets, get the idea….
      You are already one of God’s angels for even thinking about adopting a child, don’t worry-it will all work out.
      You and Kevin are a warm and loving couple, that’s what they’ll see and your home is a dream….

      • Kevin & Layla says

        Thanks for the sweet comment Kathy!
        I’m embarrassed to admit that there are SEVERAL spots throughout the house that ARE unsafe because of the “booby trap” flooring we’ve got right now, so we definitely want to get it fixed before we get the adoption ball rollin’!
        :-)

  2. Beth says

    Any kind of berber, which looks like the ones in the pictures that you posted, is not good for pets or kids. Some salesmen will try to tell you that they are high-traffic, but don’t listen. The berbers are a continuous thread carpet, and once a thread snags, it will pull up a whole ‘line’ of thread and be very noticeable.

    This is a great website that will teach you about carpet and help you find what is best for your family. It gives lots of info and details that most salesmen from Lowe’s or Home Depot don’t even know.

    http://www.howtobuycarpet.com

    Good luck.

    • says

      I second this comment! We replaced the faux wood paneling and trim from our family room and in doing so, exposed the rough edges of of our carpet. We’re waiting to add in trim until we have the funds to replace the carpet with wood, but I have a several areas with a long line of thread. For now I just trim it with scissors, but any time I vacuum I heard a loud ROAR and more unravels. It is a huge pain.

      I didn’t know what type we had since it was existing, but if it’s the kind the PP described (it looks like it), I would really advise against it. It’s a huge pain, scares the crap out of my kids any time I hit it with the vacuum, and a magnet for little fingers who want to pull the string. It’s like a pair of panty hose… once you get a run (or a thread in this case), it just gets bigger and bigger…

      Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, good luck with your decision!

      • LaPriel says

        So true! Here’s what i did to stop the running in the berber once it is pulled. I glued the end down with hot glue and cut any fuzzies off. I did this at least 3 years ago and it is still holding even with vacuuming and having had the carpets cleaned.

        I had the carpet shown in your first picture in my master bedroom a few years ago. I thought, no problem, it’s the master. Not true! There was a visable traffic line after a couple of years. Esp. on the parts that are raised up. I had it cleaned and scotch gaurded. It looked bad again in a very short time. I replaced it. Our house is all solid surfaces (tile, wood, linoleum) on the main floor except for the bedrooms. I have rugs at all of the entry doors. But, what I noticed is that some of the dirt tends to stay on your feet until you reach the bedroom carpets. So, the entry of the rooms are dirtier than the rest. Does that make sense? I also have a small dog who wanders in and out of our room alot. She brings in a lot of dirt. I replaced my carpet with a darker carpet and am much happier.

  3. Jillian Mitchell says

    Oh the stress of home ownership, forgive me if you already knew about this, but there is a floor leveling compound you can buy and poor to fix concrete issues. My dad used it in our bathroom and then tiled right over it. Lowes and Homedepot can hook you up with that. Good luck.

    • Cindy Logan says

      I agree with Jillian. Layla, you would put the leveling compound over the original hardwood floors. Although it would mess up your dream of finishing the hardwood floors, it would be a permanent solution to a crazy problem. You might be able to pulll the hardwoods up, lay down subfloor, put down the leveling compound then reinstall the original hardwoods and refinish them. This might be an area that would be good to get some professional advice. May-be even just get some estimates to see how a professional would handle it.

      Personally, I don’t like any carpet with pets.

      Good luck. I can’t wait to find out what you do.

  4. says

    Hi Layla,
    How exciting! You must be over the moon dreaming of holding your very own baby!
    The first thing I thought of when I read your post was a crawling baby…I had 3 kids in 3.5 years, and we used to live in a house with ALL hardwood floors. Although it looked great , it was so rough on their little knees, even with area rugs. it just wasn’t the same. And the babies didn’t know where the carpet ended and the hardwood floors started…so there’s my 2 cents.
    We just moved and choose a tightly woven sisal looking carpet and love the look, but it does show the dirt more than I’d like.
    Anywho, what ever you chose will be fab, I’m sure.
    Keep up the good work! ,
    denise

  5. says

    I completely agree with your option 2 route. Baby Palmer will be here soon enough and you will want to spend your energy getting the kid’s room to “Layla-fied” perfection for your little boy or girl. Plus…kids fall all the time. We have hardwood throughout the great room and while Thurgood was in “learning” mode…there were some bumps and falls that make a momma throw out what is pretty for what is safe.

    We still have carpets in the bedrooms. I am actually glad we have yet to change it only because Thurgood has yet to NOT fall in his room while playing. I would love to change it up now…but he loves wrestling these days. See? You always have the kiddo to keep in mind…but oh what a frame of reference to indulge in.

    Cheers~
    e

  6. says

    Layla please don’t carpet those hardwood floors – simply carpet only over the concrete section (area rug or carpet piece cut and bound to fit) and refinish the hardwood in the Living Room as long as you’re doing all the other original hardwood. It really makes sense. I have 3 little ones very close in age and believe me they spill, bottles leak, throw up, pee and poo everywhere so the carpet will get trashed before that baby is 1. Also I believe that walkway in front of your fireplace is a main throughfare so I can only imagine the dirt track (that greyish – brownish hue all carpet turns to in the main walkways). STAY WITH HARDWOOD!!!!!! Just my opinion of course.
    Good luck!

  7. Sarah W. says

    I love your blog and appreciate that you’re including us in your journey to parenthood. We have an 18 month old (and large dog) and before she was born we had a lengthy debate about floor coverings. We chose a low, tight, cut-pile carpet and LOVE it. It’s so cozy and fun to play on and worked well with the uneveness we had going on. Carpet has a gross factor, for sure, but if you are a shoe free house it’s not bad with frequent vacuuming. We have hardwoods in other parts of the house and by comparison i definitely prefer the carpet in our family room.

    On another note, as a new mommy I really like having our room across from our daughter’s and don’t foresee that changing for a few years. You probably considered it already, but making the office your bedroom and putting the kiddo in the guest room would make middle of the night wake-ups easier.

    • says

      Sarah W I second your concern about the proximity of the master bedroom to the baby’s room. I didn’t want to rock the boat but being so far across the house with a little one who’s likely to wake multiple times nightly (mine all did until about 1 year old) just isn’t logical. If anything you’ll be getting lots of exercise up and out of bed walking back and forth! I would definitely switch it – office becomes your bedroom, your master becomes the office / playroom!!! Before you know it you will want that playspace to confine all the toys and stuff. Good luck.

      • Alisa D says

        Even if your child comes to you at a younger age than you anticipate, it’s totally do-able. I did it and have no regrets about not moving to a bedroom that was closer to our girl. It’s not THAT far. So excited for you guys.

  8. says

    I have to say I love the low/tightly woven/pattern carpet alot. We put some in our family room about 3 years ago and it has held up so well! I almost think some sort of pattern helps hide things too – and you don’t have those “vacuum lines” !

  9. Tina Fleetwood says

    O.K. folks…I made myself crazy over a homestudy and, believe me, the social worker is not going to care one whit about your carpet…nor your closet organizational skills…nor anything other than gross danger/negligence issues…we successfully adopted the most gorgeous baby girl in the whole world.

  10. says

    I would definatley try to get the new stain resistant carpet if you are thinking of going that light because girl red kool-aid is not your friend! I have actually looked at some of it, I took a sample home and ground ketchup and chocolate and playdoh in it and it all just rinsed out under the faucet so I think it will be pretty good stuff.

  11. says

    Hey Lay, Wow I’m tired just from reading all you have to do in January! We had to put carpet on the other two levels of our home and I chose a tightly woven sisal type that I LOVE. It has held up well after 3yrs of hard abuse. It has endured every kind of human and dog excrement SEVERAL times and still looks great. It’s by Stainmaster and it’s there Canyon Road.

  12. says

    How exciting that you are getting ready to bring a little one into your home! My favourite of the three carpets is the sisal-ish one! I think it would look fantastic!

  13. says

    When I first seen your layout I thought “Wow that is a big office!” Glad to hear that it’s going to be the future Mini-Palmer’s room :-)

    I like the last style of carpet, but then again I like simple things

  14. SheilaG says

    We had to pull up all the carpet in our house- previous owners had 2 cats and a dog- I think they all had “mark your territory” fights- the smell was horrendous. (It was covered by candles, flowers, plug-ins when we looked at the house- boy, do I still feel stupid!) Anyway, we used a carpet similar to your first pic. One problem with geometric patterns- if your walls aren’t straight or you’re trying to match the lines from doorway to doorway, it will drive you crazy (that is, if you’re anal like me)! Go for a carpet with variations in the color to hide stains. Ours doesn’t do that very well, either.

  15. says

    Ugh..I hate covering up original wood too! But I’ve been in the same boat and had ot do what you can do with the money and time you have!
    If i had to do it again, I would go the sisal look. It looks clean, yet casual. Not so stuffy.
    Good luck going through your choices! Can’t wait to see what you come up with! Whatever you do, there is no doubt you will make it work fabulously!

  16. says

    I know you are stressed a bit about your homestudy, but I want to tell you it will be fine! I don’t really think your social worker would even say your home was unfit because of the uneven floors. :) I’ve been in your shoes and just wanted to reassure you and tell you to not get overly worried about it. As long as you have your smoke detectors and a bedroom for the kid(s), you’ll be good!

  17. says

    I LOVE the look of hardwood floors throughout a home, but, having a toddler, I think it is important to have carpet. My in laws house is 100% wood or tile, and it is SO stressful to know that if Jack falls, and bumps his head, more like than not, he WILL get hurt. Its a harder to keep clean, and we have a dog so UGH the hair, but I just feel so much safer letting him toddle around on our carpet. I wouldnt trade it for beautiful hardwoods until I know that the time of little babies is past.

  18. says

    Too bad you can’t grind down that one slab that’s too high. I have read about grinders that will take down and polish cement, I just don’t know by how much. I’m a hard wood floor lover!
    But I also know what your other “commenters” are saying… we have a 9 month old crawling grandson and I think he’d like the carpet better too. Home Depot is carrying a new Martha Stewart line that is supposed to be super-duper stain & pet odor resistant.

    • Laurie says

      Yes, Martha Stewart has an amzing line of carpet at Home Depot. Friends of ours just installed it at their beach house and it’s amazing!! Very sisal looking and super soft. I would seriously consider her line of carpets. Not to mention the fact that there are no chemicals sprayed on top of the carpet.

  19. Kim says

    Makes me so sad to hear you say you’re going to have to add carpet… I absolutely hate having carpet. We have very thick, expensive plush carpet.. couldn’t even tell you the name, but when my dog decides to puke on it or when my son spills a can of hot pink slime, it has to have a hair cut or some huge cleaning job… I would DEFINITELY suggest you go with the carpet that looks like sisal. It’s beautiful, and hopefully wouldn’t soak up as much. Can’t wait to see the progress! On a side note… in Florida, home studies are only good for a year, so our adoption attorney has suggested we wait till our profile has been looked at and possible matched before we go any further into that… at the moment I’m making an appointment with the foster care system to see if the home study they perform is transferable.. if it is, that’s a couple thousand dollars in our pocket! Praying for you along your journey!

  20. Sherri Langford-Farrell says

    We were having trouble finding flooring for bedrooms that was affordable. My suggestion is to go to a carpet place and check out their remnants. We got some high-end carpet in really big pieces for less than we could find anywhere else. I don’t know the names or colors since they were remnants but, they were in a mossy green and cream color which worked well for our house! The place we went was in the boonies of north TX…sure you could find something like that in your area. Family run/owned businesses are the best to bargain with!!! Good luck!!!!

  21. Julee says

    Okay so this is the first time I’ve posted a comment on your blog! Anyway…I am the mom of two teenagers now but I just wanted to add I would definitely go for a patterened multi shaded carpet. Something extremely stain resistant. Babies leak….and on light colored carpet those leaks will show up like crazy!

  22. Shannon says

    I love the look of sisal, but it just wasn’t the most practical solution for our large family. We opted for a frieze, which is a loop carpet where the loop is lifted and cut. The color we chose actually had “dirt” in the model name. Seemed like a good choice for a household of children. When we sold our last house, the realtor mistakenly checked “new carpet” on the listing form because she thought it was brand new. It was actually five years old! We loved this carpet so much that we actually put it in our new house too. It is also very affordable too.

  23. SheilaG says

    Oh, something else: You might want to use something other than extra padding to level out the floor. Maybe a thin layer of plywood? I’m just thinking that as the padding starts to compress, the different thicknesses will start to show. Just a thought. :)

    • says

      This is the same thing I was going to say. You’ll definitely notice the difference in height–especially since you are planning on having a piano span the space. I have a spot in my basement that is a bit concave. I really thought the padding would make it level, but that spot makes me crazy now. I wish I had filled it. If you put the plywood in the living room and hall, then thresholds at the doors of the rooms would make the slight step down virtually unnoticeable.

  24. Rachel says

    We have berber carpet in our home and my dog has been destroying it- stinks bigtime! Not sure if you guys are considering it but it’s not something I’d recommend unless you get the teeny loops. Once they get a hold of one loop they can take out a whole strip of carpet by just pulling, it’s a nightmare! Too bad because it is easy to clean and doesn’t leave those awful just vacuumed lines all over it :) Good luck on your carpet hunt, can’t wait to see what you choose- we’ll be replacing ours soon enough lol

  25. Sherri Langford-Farrell says

    Layla,
    I was showing my husband your post. He’s in construction, has been for years. He said if you had any questions or would like him to give you some advice, to call him. His name is Vince and he’d love to help you guys out. I’ll send his number on your facebook as a message. How far are you guys from Mississippi?

  26. stephanie says

    absolutely carpet those floors. i would save every penny you can for that sweet baby that is waiting for a loving home! i would go with a solid, tight carpet with low pile that looks sisal but might even be more of a commercial grade or even builder grade…whatever is most economical but doesn’t look heinous! You can get your hardwoods whenever in your future but right now you need your sweet baby!! Best wishes & prayers as ya’ll start your adoption journey!!!

  27. says

    I have to second what Beth and Sherri said. My parents had a berber (snag free) and, boy howdy, the cats made a mess of it. They didn’t claw it on purpose but they would catch it running around. Also Sherri had a great idea to check for remnants. There are a number of carpet places that just have giant rolls of nice carpet that is the end of what they are selling. It will just depend on how much square footage you need.

    I totally feel your pain about the different flooring heights. Our previous home was from 1913 and there wasn’t a level floor in the place, plus various rooms were at different heights. We eventually ended up having an engineered hardwood floated over the original hardwood and various other surfaces. In a few places we had to “break” the floor and basically put a thin threshold through the room. This dealt with the major height/slope changes. Not the perfect solution, but older homes have that “character”.

    BTW, if you do go with a harder surface your baby will be fine. My son crawls/walks on hardwood all day. However, the carpet would be warmer in the winter.

  28. says

    we did carpet in our old house {we just moved 3 months ago}, and if i had to do it over again…i would have sorted out our floor issues to have hard wood {which thank goodness we have wall to wall in our new abode}. sure it’s easy on little knees, but that’s what accent/area rugs are for. and, bonus, many accent rugs can be washed or replaced all together when they’ve become too dirty/dingy. carpet is just dirty. it made me feel like we were in a constant germ parade. we are even a ‘no shoe’ house, and i just felt like it was never truly clean. in the end, you have to do what is the best fix for you and your family. but, i learned the hard way. good luck!

  29. susan says

    Interesting post and something we are dealing with right now as well. We bought a cute fixer upper in another state that our son is renting from us. The first project was to pull up the old tricolored sculptured shag carpet in one of the guest rooms. It had tile from the 50’s underneath. My first plan was to simply paint the floor a crisp white and get on with the decorating. Alas, the tile was crumbling in areas so we decided on plan B which was laying a vinyl plank flooring.We then scrapped off all the tile and glue to find that the concrete foundation had heaved and was raised about 1/4 inch just like yours. After trying to level it out, we realilze that it will always have a dip to it and have finally decided on carpeting with a great pad. I am definitely going with a tight sisal/berberlike nuetral. The room itself is only 8×11 and what I thought would be a slam dunk has become a huge project. Oh well, such is life when you buy a fixer upper. I will be looking forward to seeing what you choose. Good luck!

  30. says

    Hi Layla & Kevin!
    We had the frieze in our home in GA…HATED it. It held onto stains…there’s my input on that…
    I love the carpet in Picture # 1…LOVE it.

    Okay..and here’s the thing about your homestudy…our daughter is from China so we had not one homestudy but had to have a repeat b/c the time lapsed during our long wait for her.
    *The homestudy was only “good” for a year when we were going through our adoption 3-4 years ago*

    I double, pinky promise that the social worker will not over analyze your home. It’s beautiful…It’s clean…I haven’t SEEN your floors where they flip up, but I really don’t think anything would be said.
    I guess I’m just saying this just in case you want to work on the nursery and save the floors until you can do what you really, really, really want to do them.
    Unless, they really are unsafe and your child might get hurt. Then, I totally get it! :)

    I just wanted to offer you this info just in case it isn’t as bad as you think it is.

    Can’t wait to watch your adoption process from blogland….your lives will never be the same.

    • Kevin & Layla says

      They are both really unsafe AND really ugly. We’d like to take care of the prob now…while we have the energy!
      :-)

  31. Katie says

    We just got some stainmaster installed. Loses had a $37 for the house deal – as long as you move all the furniture. It looks really good. We had a similar issue (only the concrete was in the master. You can’t tell at all.

    Oh andempire today sucks. They mismeasured, misquoted and were nasty when we went with lowes. Horrid customer service.

    Finally, Berber is not good

  32. says

    hi layla and kevin!
    we just finished recarpeting our living room and a couple bedrooms. what a tough decison!
    we settled on martha stewart (from home depot) winterthur pattern
    (http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1vZ1xg1/R-202507455/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053)
    it is really low pile and super soft and plush. has a nice pattern (like in your pics above) but very much like a sisal type rug. i have to say it instantly made our rooms look so new and fresh!
    i think it might be what you’re looking for!
    best of luck to you both!

  33. says

    Carpet will be just fine as a temporary fix for your floor issues. :) Besides the bumps and bruises little ones get on hard woods, they are also very cold, so carpet is a great idea! You won’t be sorry. Love the idea of the sisal look, but would def get a stain resistant one….it’s amazing the stains that kids can bring that you would never think of in a million years! lol
    Whatever you decide to do, I know it will be lovely.
    Have a great week!
    HUGS!
    Missy

  34. Carrie-Lee Hurzeler says

    There is a site called Sisalrugs.com and you can have any size or shape of rug made. There are different weaves, and they look really nice. And if push comes to shove and baby or pets make a mess, you can clean not only the top but you can fold back the rug and clean underneath, but still have the allover look of carpet. Just my two cents.
    Carrie-Lee

  35. says

    Hi, I read all the time, but don’t comment

    In my last house (about 3 years ago) we installed a deep, chocolate brown carpet. We LOVED it. And we got so many compliments. Most people don’t think to go dark with carpet, but it was gorgeous. It would mimic the look of your hardwoods too.

    Something like this http://www.carpetone.com/shared/pages/product/product.aspx?ItemId=734785&ChildItemId=734403&CategoryId=32169

    Look at me…telling the design gal what colors to pick *blush*

    We really did love it though (hid everything!) and I think a dark chocolate would look amazing with your walls.

  36. julianna says

    You don’t have to jackhammer the concrete and pour new — just grind it down. I’m sure you can rent a grinder, but since it’s not too big of an area, it might not be that expensive to hire it done. At least get a quote — that way you’ll know your options.

    Instead of poly, have you considered an oil finish, like Osmo? It won’t yellow over time, like poly can sometimes do, it’s easy to apply, and if a section gets scratched or dinged from a dog or a small child, you can repair just that section (with poly you’d have to sand down the whole floor and reapply the poly). Best of all, an oil finish will give you a beautiful look that will go better with your style.

    • says

      Unfortunately, “Option Grind it Down”, isn’t an option. :-) Too much destruction, and too dusty!
      Thanks for the tip about the Osmo…I’m off to Google it now!

  37. Kate says

    Layla, If you are moving the office into current guest room and making the bigger room into a childs room, do you really need a closet in the office? Why not use the space occupied by both closets to make a larger closet opening into the kiddo’s room?

    With regards to carpet, I love the ones you have photos of, but my suggestion is whenever there are pets, go for a cut pile rather than a loop pile. Some of the modern synthetic carpets are so beautiful and soft, and solution dyed which means you can even scrub them with pure bleach and they never fade or stain. Very important when kids and animals are involved :)

    Kate

  38. says

    Hi guys! So excited about your adoption! Hope your little one arrives quickly and safely and you both stay sane while you wait. An idea on the closet situation – What if you block off the closet on the “office” side and open up the closet on the guest room side, making the guest room a somewhat reasonable but still not large closet. THEN, build in a new closet in the little one’s new room. Not sure of your window configuration but if it’s a single centered window on the front side, you could build closets on either side of that and then put a cute window seat with toy storage between. We did something similar in our house remodel last year. Definitely something we could have handled ourselves but we had our contractor do it since it was a mere drop in the bucket at that point :) Hope you’ll stop by my blog and check it out – http://www.houseography.net

  39. Jennifer says

    Pull a Toby. Ha!

    Sisal-ish would be perfecto-mundo! I’m super duper excited for ALL of your upcoming plans!

  40. geri says

    Oh Lordy Layla.
    I read these posts and I am more confused than before.
    Actually it doesn’t take much to confuse me. hehe
    I am in the same boat you are in.
    It is alsways about how much money you have
    to do it and what would be great looking without just settling. OYE!
    I am between laminate and not having a clue.
    I do know that I have never had a rug of any kind last longer than
    1 year with my kiddies when they were home, the dog, the
    very busy car hubby , and friends with kids going in and out.
    I love the way your floors look now.
    My dream is to get my upstairs all matched up like yours.
    Having said all this, I saw a Candice Olson show where she was designing for a shelter
    in a private house.
    She rocked it room after room.
    She used a vinal wood look a like flooring in a beautiful rich color
    that was so durable to traffic and kids and pets.
    Her style is so beautiful that it worked and looked amazing.
    Seemless and went on top of louann(?) flooring to level all the floors that were either carpeted
    or old tiles of very worn bad wood.
    The other suggestion was from Empire carpet to use this bionic type carpet, gaurunteed for life, you can pour bleach on it, red wine, etc, and nothing will stain it. There is a special pee resistant pad now also that won’t let the carpet get penatrated. WOW!
    Wasn’t crazy priced either.
    Just an idea.
    What ever you choose will be stunning and right for you.
    Can’t wait as always. geri.
    P.S. so sorry this is so long.

  41. Andrea says

    We recently had Stainmaster carpet installed over terrazzo (not the pretty kind) in a color called Reserve, sort of a paprika color. Very pretty this time of year especially. Lowe’s did the installation and did a fabulous job, not one complaint. Certainly not a neutral, but it works with my mechanic husband who refuses to take his shoes off, and for that matter, me when I come in from the garden. Good luck with your decision. And I just wanted to tell you we adopted our first child..good for you!

  42. says

    We loved the frieze we had in our last house (for 7 years) so much that we just replaced our carpet in our “new” house with it. I ADORE it! We also had berber in our last house thinking it would hold up to pets and it was AWFUL! In addition to people mentioning how it “runs” it also got super fuzzy looking and our dogs didn’t dig at it or do anything crazy. NEVER again!

  43. says

    Layla,
    Is there a company that can just come in and chisel/sand that concrete down a bit? I hate carpet…shows dirt so easily. Y’all can’t be the first folks to run into a situation like this. Call a few flooring companies and pick their collective brains before you commit to buying carpet…just to be sure. That’s my 2 cents worth.

  44. says

    Ahhhh, I can SO relate to all of your dilemmas. We ripped out all of the ugly, stinky, stained, beige and pink carpeting that was all over our house when we moved in but we’re left with hardwood birch that is in desperate need of refinishing as its just coated with wax. The wax has worn off in a bunch of places and we’re left with pretty much bare wood in some spots.

    Our.Floors.Need.To.Get.Refinished.Asap.

    I can also relate to the whole homestudy thing. We were so lucky that our social worker was so laidback. She didn’t even mind that we had oleander plants and exposed electrical outlets n’ other reno stuff going on. Of course we promised we’d have it all taken care of before our adoption was finalized….. :)

    I really like the look of the sisal carpeting in your last picture. It’s got that natural feel and it might also be more forgiving than a light coloured carpet (paw prints and smooshed goldfish crackers, heh heh heh.)

    Good luck!!!

  45. says

    Layla,
    Whatever you choose, I’m sure it will be fabulous. To be honest, carpet is my nemesis but that’s because I opted for a very light neutral cream…with a very messy husband & 7 year-old. That carpet needs to go to Jesus as soon as funds allow. I’m sure you’ve thought of this but I’m gonna throw it out there anyway…if you worked with the existing hardwoods in the LR, could you add matching unfinished hardwood to that concrete section with 1/4″ shoe molding/trim nailed to the the “lower” flooring to keep the wood on the concrete section from “popping” and shifting? Does that make sense? Once everything is stained the same color, it would help break up the visual line that the piece of shoe molding would create. Carpet is better on the babies knees but when the twins were still crawling last year, I put Baby Legs on them (love em’!) as we have hardwoods & tile in most of the house. Actually, I still put them on them because I think they look adorable. (Nice tanget, Jami.)

    Good luck!
    Jami

    • Kevin & Layla says

      Hey Jami!
      I think I know what you’re saying- but unfortunately our piano would sit lopsided if we went that route.
      Oh the design dilemmas!!!! :-)

  46. says

    Didn’t mean to seem like a Debbie Downer with the carpet idea. To make you feel better, I do have the same light, neutral cream in the nursery & office/craft room and it still looks great. It was just a poor choice for OUR family room.

  47. Nana says

    After living with a tightly woven “berber” carpet, and a deep pile carpet, I’d caution you that the berbers show stains much more than the pile carpet, and are VERY hard to clean. I love the look, but will never go with the berber style again.

  48. says

    Okay, this is totally off topic, so forgive me for that ;)

    But have you considered swapping the laundry and pantry? There’s plumbing there from the guest bath, and it would just make more sense to have the pantry right off of the kitchen I’d think. Anyway………no suggestions for your floors – our subfloors are warped because the previous owners “rigged” every.single.thing they did………..ugh, nightmares! We’re trying to figure out how we should go ourselves! Best of luck to you!

    • Kevin & Layla says

      Oops…should have clarified- it’s a paint pantry. Only tools and home improvement supplies…no canned goods.
      :-)

      Layla

  49. says

    I’m dealing with a similar (albeit wood) subfloor issue where our old house meets the addition, but I’m not trying to save anything under the floor so it’s less complicated. Here’s another option for you to consider as well; You could grind down that section of concrete a half-inch with an industrial concrete grinder (my fam owns a concrete company and “oops we poured that floor too high” does occasionally happen, grinding it down is always the way it’s handled as opposed to tearing out and repouring.) The downside is dust containment!

  50. says

    Layla – not being a mom to a human baby – but to many cats and dogs — have you considered indoor/outdoor carpeting? I just purchased an in/out rug for my kitchen in a warm dark oak sisal-look and it doesn’t show a spec of dirt with 5 pets in the house. It’s also very soft underfoot! Just a thought….. :)

    xoxo laurie

  51. says

    Layla, we’ve been exactly where you are, with a scarred floor that would be crazy expensive to fix. We did exactly what you are planning to do. In the same situation, I would advise a client the same way. That wood floor will still be there down the road, when you are ready to deal with it. Also, carpet is so much warmer a softer for a little baby.

    When you are ready to attack the concrete, a hammer drill should do the trick (wear ear and eye protection!)….

  52. Sandy says

    Layla,

    Be careful with carpet…it holds a lot of germs when you have little ones crawling around. My niece’s boy got sick after he had been to my Dad’s house because he had just cleaned the carpet a day earlier and he was crawling on it (I guess it was the chemicals) Also John Travolta swears that Jet got his illness when he was 2-3 yrs old because he was a normal boy when born because he was constantly cleaning the carpet for the baby so he thought he was doing good. JUST A THOUGHT !!

  53. says

    Hellllooo cute and happy couple of TLC. :) i cannot tell you how much i can relate to this post. about a year ago the hubs and i had our entire house (all 2300 sq. ft. of it) recarpeted. did we “want” carpet? no. we wanted dark hardwood. but was 2300 sq. ft. of dark hardwood in our budget for a house that is NOT our “forever home”? no. soooo, we chose a “special buy” carpet from Home Depot. it’s a silk blend sort of carpet that is soooo soft to step, or lay, on and it was a great price because it was a “special buy” and Home Depot has amazing installation specials. not to mention they got it all done in under two hours! anyhow, when we ripped out the old carpet that we already knew was permanently stained (lesson learned AFTER having it professionally cleaned only for gross stains to reappear) but nothing could have prepered us for what we were to find once we started ripping up old carpet ourselves. we’d rented a dumpster and ripped out the old carpet and padding ourselves to cut down on cost, and boy was it DI-SCUST-ING. the stains that were on the carpet (from the previous owners pets, {we hope}) had gone through to the subfloor and tack strips. *lightbulb* so thaaaaat’s where the constant “weird” stench came from. we were appalled. and kinda (ok, really) upset and sad that we’d let our toddler crawl around on such filth for two years. :( so i know exactly how you all feel on doing whats best and practical right now to fix the situation. and, just think, that lucky little boy or girl will be worth not having hardwood throughout. :D best of luck choosing a carpet! and thanks for sharing the “drama” you’ve had with your flooring too!!!

  54. says

    We’ve looked into carpet and I will tell you, in an effort to have a greener home, I am trying to get as natural a material as possible. All petroleum/glue based products products i.e. nylon carpet, MDF, vinyl, laminate etc. off gas VOC’s. urea formaldehyde and other chemicals that makes a home’s air not so healthy Some of those stain resistant carpets are treated with HORRIBLE chemicals and if a little one is crawling around and putting things in their mouth… With our kitchen remodel, I tried to go as green as possible for this reason and my oldest child is special needs, so the less I can expose her to the better. You really have to shop around though. If the sloping isn’t too bad,Why not use a concrete based floor leveling agent and then do subfloor wood flooring over the top to level it? Just don’t use OSB or press board. If you carpet try untreated wool or a sisal/jute based. We love our wood floors and they are easy to clean and the kids can lick them and I don’t care. I have a wool area rug in the other area. Just along winded thought here! :)

  55. says

    go for a berber. they do not show “traffic “marks and are really sturdy. we have a rescue greyhound who weighs about 100 lbs. i did a bit of researching carpets that were animal proof. lol
    ours has flecks of brown, taupe, navy and cream. it does have a diamond pattern to it if you really look. its been down for 3 tears and loos like new. :)
    i think carpet would be your best bet in an area that a child will be spending alot of time. carpet reduces the noise and is warm and cozy to walk on for little feet. :)

  56. Misty says

    Have you had a professional re-finisher give you an estimate? There is a concrete sander that would level your floor. You could have them splice in to the existing hardwood and re-sand and finish the whole thing. I live in Canada, and used to manage a flooring company. It is worth getting a free estimate, before you cover up that beautiful hardwood with carpet ;)

  57. Danielle says

    Hi Layla,

    We have hardwoods in our living room and tile in our kitchen. I have used sisal / sea grass area rugs in our living room which have been fine for our growing family. We have a 5 year old and a 15 mos old. We are actually having berber style carpeting installed today in our lower level which includes a guest room, my husband’s office and kids’ playroom. The previous owners put linoleum down there but it is just so cold so we are putting the carpeting in to make it more warm, cozy and soft under feet.

    Good luck with the flooring and the adoption!

    Danielle

  58. says

    hi, layla! i read all the time but i hardly ever comment. i wanted to second what another commenter wrote. as long as you lay that carpet down the right way (which i know you will!), the hardwoods will be there later when you’re in the position to address all of their issues. my husband does some home staging on the side (not the decorating kind, the pull up old carpet/clean up the yard kind) and he can usually get carpets up in a day or two including working his full time job. i don’t think it’s an obstacle.

    now, onto the virtues of the carpet. we have hardwood in all of our living spaces (den, dining, office, etc). it’s beautiful but we don’t really have a choice. we live in a rectory as my husband works for a children’s home and we live on campus here (hooray for adoption!!!). my parents gave us a sisal-like rug. it was free and simple and i like it. but do you know what? when we are all watching a movie and want to lay on the floor, it’s kind of uncomfortable and hard. plus! are y’all having a cold snap like we are? that hardwood is cold! that’s when i dream of having nice, plush carpet! you do what you can do and don’t feel like you have to apologize or explain. in the end, it’s the living and memories that you’ll remember!

      • Sandra says

        Yes, it is. Layla, I live in Prattville too. I have a 2 and a 6 year old, both boys. We have hardwood, vinyl planks in all of our living areas. Both of my boys love to get on the floor and race Hot Wheels cars. There are times when they want Mommy and Daddy to get on the floors with them and race with them. The hard wood even with an area rug on top is uncomfortable. In our bedrooms we have a refined cut pile carpet by Mohawk. Very good with boys! The berber we had in our previous house really was hard on the knees, but held up well to stains. The good thing is that you will still have the original hardwood under the carpet to refinish at a later date and time.

  59. says

    You guys are going to be great parents! I remember feeling SO anxious and nervous about our homestudy, like every single thing in our home (well, our whole lives actually) was going to be judged, and it really wasn’t that bad…though I agree that if you’ve got unsteady/splitting floorboards you’ve got to address that to make things safe for Baby.

    We were told that berber was an excellent option, but both our dog and cat pulled threads constantly, without meaning to! One “snag” was at the top of the stairs and the kids would trip up on the long thread…talk about a heart attack! I had to put a small area rug on it to conceal the thread, but then there was an awful lump to contend with, grrrr… We were also told that berber would clean up nicely. Yeah, it did not. Gah-ross! Stains, ground in dirt, anything! Don’t worry, I’m not bitter or anything. :)

    We switched to a low pile carpet from The Home Depot- their service was great and the carpets have held up well for over 6 years now. Carpets don’t have to be long term, and we saved a ton of money that way. We have plans to install wood floors someday, but to be honest, I loved having something soft and warm under my babies’ tootsies when they were very small. I vacuumed a lot and learned the magic of ice to get out stubborn stains- ice cubes even got out fresh latex paint from our dark carpet! Wow! We chose not to chemically clean our carpets when we had crawlers, so we relied on good old common sense to try to avoid mishaps and baking soda for freshness.

    There’s my two cents, ha! Good luck with the decision making! :) ~Bethany

    • says

      “I remember feeling SO anxious and nervous about our homestudy, like every single thing in our home (well, our whole lives actually) was going to be judged, and it really wasn’t that bad…though I agree that if you’ve got unsteady/splitting floorboards you’ve got to address that to make things safe for Baby.”

      Exactamundo!
      But we’re actually anticipating the adoption of a toddler- so there might not be as much crawling going on, as there is running! :-)

      Layla

  60. says

    We got berber when we first moved in 9 years ago. We thought it would be really sturdy and last a long time. Within 2 months my daughter snagged it with a spiral notebook. We tried gluing it down, but that’s been hit or miss. We still have the carpet and I can say it absolutely looks 9 years old – horrible. We finished our basement a couple years ago and went with “Empire Carpets”. They were awesome. BUT…before we had them come out to give an estimate we had an estimate from Lowe’s and HD. The Empire people (come to your house with samples) came and gave us a quote that was far above Lowe’s. When we showed them the quote – they not only matched it but beat it by 10%. PLUS…their carpet was far better quality than Lowe’s. We went with the Frieze. We have a small dog and two kids (11 and 9). It’s held up really well, is easy to vacuum and super comfy. Good luck!

  61. says

    Carpet?? really , I say no way , it is pricey for a temporary fix, you might as well fix the wood , maybe engineered would be a good solution ? carpet does NOT HOLD UP with kids or pets , crawling is a very short stage of life , trust me when a kid pukes on carpet you will be wishing for wood floors not to mention spills , pee accidents shall I go on , get an area rug that is wool that can take a beating ….carpet is a very temporary fix , wood if for a good long time…

  62. Denise says

    How much more dust would be created by grinding down the concrete than ripping out drywall on ceilings and walls to reveal/install horizontal boards? I think you could contain concrete dust just as well as drywall. I’m going to rain on the carpet parade too. We ripped ours out and water based stained our concrete. Almost immediately our bulldog threw up on it and we just wiped it up. Our daughter was a champion dead-of-night puker and all I had to worry about was doing 100 loads of sheets the next morning, not how to get the stains and smell out of carpet. I think it helped with our allergies tremendously. Sincerely, Party Pooper Denise

  63. says

    Layla, we had new carpet installed in October. We used Carol’s Carpet and LOVED them! We got the Queen high-stepping carpet, which is like frieze. We wanted something super comfortable and soft since we have a baby on the way :)

  64. Joanne B. says

    Layla & Kevin,
    Carpeting looks great the day it is installed and from there it is down hill. It will never look the same again. Most carpet today is great on stain resistance, but they have yet to address the flattening issue. It is all nice and fluffy when new, but after use (especially in the most walked areas) it flattens and looks horrid. And we haven’t even touched on dog smells! I’d rather have my baby crawl around on wood or laminate that you know is clean than to lay and roll around on a carpet that “Toby” has laid on! (Don’t get me wrong- I am a dog lover- we have a Golden- but we also have over the past 15 years of living in this house worked on getting rid of all the carpeting in the house. That is easy for us to live with because we happen to live in south Florida so the cold is not an issue. Here’s my idea: Fix the uneven cement issue once and for all, because let me tell you, after a child, if you think you live tightly now $ wise, you are in for a shock. You will never get to getting it fixed the right way after the baby. Spend the $ now and be done with it. Even if you carpet just the living room for now- when you have extra $ (ha ha ha) you can always do all the wood over (with real wood or laminate) all over through the hallway, dining room and LR. Tile the kit, laundry and BR when able. Why are you wanting to remove the laminate now in the hallway? Is it popping there too? I would imagine the LR is the big problem with popping. Can you glue down the popping pieces everywhere else for the inspection and fix the cement and carpet just the LR? The home inspection is to be sure the home is clean and safe (ok- so fix the safely issues with the popping planks) but don’t worry about how everything looks as much as letting the inspector ge tot know YOU two and what great parents you will make even if your house is less than perfect now. And while WE all may LOVE your house (and we do!)- you will score no extra points for a wonderful mantle display and the perfect accessories (or at least I’d like to think so). SO! Do it right now and forget about it. Idea here- can you ask for “free” do-it-yourself supplies at Lowes/Home Depot/Lumber Liquidators in return for free advertising if you document your project on your blog? You guys are big enough now to have quite a following… Good luck! (sorry so long!)
    Joanne

  65. Rachel Carey says

    For short term, just go with the carpet. Make it inexpensive though as the mini-Palmer is going to do some barfing on it, and do some major peanut butter smearing and leave crayon on it! When he or she is a bit older and funds are *looser*, fix it.

    Been there and done that!

  66. says

    Hey Kevin and Layla!
    This is a COMPLETELY different route than you talked about and asked for suggestions with…

    But, my husband and I just ripped out some carpet to reveal nasty subfloor. We bought finished pine plywood, cut it in strips and laid it like hardwood. It looks like farmhouse plank flooring. I originally planned to paint it, but it looked so good, we stained it instead. We just did this in our living room that was 533 sq feet and did it for less than $500 (including the wood, liquid nail, stain, nails, all the tools, and 4 coats of expensive poly). We love it so much that we are going to do this in our kitchen too and paint/whitewash it in there.

    Here is a good before and after (I thought a lot about TLC when we were redoing, picking paint colors, and painting that plank ceiling!)

    http://quarryorchard.blogspot.com/2010/12/busy-little-bees.html

    And here is a closeup of the floor and more of an overview of what we did. I’m planning a tutorial soon!

    http://quarryorchard.blogspot.com/2010/12/hindsight-is-2020.html

    We had a slightly uneven place along one wall. The plywood is flexible enough that it bent with the slight change in difference. We used Liquid Nail and “cut” face nails (So they would show up and look like old nails). You can’t even tell that there is a difference in height there now. It was seamless the flooring is secured.

    It might not work for you; you would have to cover the original flooring…It was planned to be a cheap, temporary fix here but we love it so much I think it’s a keeper!

    Shannon

  67. Rachel Carey says

    And P.S. After having all hardwoods on our main floor, all 1700 sq down here, vacuuming upstairs is a pleasure!!!

    And staining them dark?/ Ha Ha ha, with 4 very furry cats, 3 of them cream, I can see every piece of cat hair. I’m sweeping these bad boys sometimes twice a day. Fun..not so much.

    From now on, I’m going to do my floors to match my animals!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    • Kevin & Layla says

      I totally hear ya on that one Rachel! We’re dealing with the same issue now. We’ll be leaving our hardwoods a lighter, natural color when we refinish them!

  68. says

    Option 3? I would get plywood as someone else said, however thick you need to reach the height of the concrete (sounds like 1/4″ to 3/8″) and then nail (or staple – probably staple is good enough since the plywood would be thin) that down to the hardwood that way the hardwood is still there and can be finished later should you want to. Then lay the laminate floor back down. If the concrete height issue also exists going into the dining room kitchen area (leaving the living room), I’d then put a transition molding there – reducer strip.

    my two cents.

  69. says

    Layla,

    No carpeting in the Fairfield House but in my previous home I opted for berber because it can take a fair amount of abuse (lots of traffic and kids!) and resisted stains.

    We have the exact teenie weenie closets in all our rooms. Remember people had small wardrobes — work and Sunday’s best.

    So excited to watch another TLC dream become a reality! Just think your child is somewhere right now dreaming about their future mommy and daddy!

    Your Friend,
    Deborah

  70. Renae says

    Wow, how familiar this sounds! When we bought our house in June there was a slate floor in the foyer separating the north portion of the house (bedrooms/baths) from the south part of the house (the rest of the living areas). What was under that slate? Concrete. 4″ thick. No jack hammer. Sledge hammer. My husband, my dad, me on occasion (insert my dad saying, “It’s not a man’s world anymore!). What to do with the huge drop off? Fill it with 2×4’s of course! We laid 2×4’s on their edges because the measurements couldn’t have been more perfect. My husband screwed them together in different sections and laid them down over the plywood subfloor. Then we laid 1/2″ plywood on top to level everything out. Almost. There was a slight (we’re talking 1/16″ max) lip between the living room and the foyer. We did the self-leveling compound to smooth that out. Since then we’ve managed to lay wide-plank, hand-scraped laminate flooring (Quickstep Country Coffee Bean Merbeau) and it’s truly beautiful! This was inspired by your laminate (which is supposed to stand up to our boys and our future animal family). Cross your fingers! BTW, we did everything ourselves.

    However…we have carpet in the bedrooms. My boys have your everyday-run-of-the-mill carpet. We went a little more uptown. First of all I must say that Mohawk SmartStrand carpet is nothing short of amazing. We had it in our old house and I kid you not, you can spill ANYTHING on it and it cleans up with water (or if necessary a small amount of stain remover like Tek). We had blood, grease, mud, ketchup and it all came up. The strands are soft and stand up incredibly well even in our high traffic area from the front door to the kitchen. This time we went with the SmartStrand but with a pattern (sort of going for the upscale hotel feel): http://www.capricarpet.com/p-850-council-gardens.aspx
    (This is not where we bought it but I wanted to give you an idea of what it looks like, we went with Mocha Shine)
    Happy to give more thoughts if you’d like. Good luck, I think carpet sounds like a great idea (especially since i’m sure a bunch of your readers have carpet and will like seeing that you don’t have to have hardwoods to have a beautiful home!!

  71. Renae says

    Also wanted to point out that the SmartStrand carpet (which of course is in my boys’ bedrooms as well) is made from corn! Read more about it here: http://www.mohawkflooring.com/smartstrand/default.aspx

    And nope, there’s no affiliation here but i’m a forever buyer of this stuff. Honestly, it’s the best! My boys are 3 and 6 and they have yet to make a stain I can’t get out.

    Hugs,
    Renae

  72. says

    Whew! Did you ever think you’d open up such a “can of worms”?? All you asked for were carpet CHOICES:) Unfortuanately, I don’t really have any good tips…we had both carpeting(former home) and hardwood floors(current home) and there are pros & cons to each. What I do think is that you two (and only you two) know what’s best to suit your home, family and lifestyle. Whatever you choose, I’ll bet it’s pretty, practical and perfectly safe:) Thanks so much for sharing your journey to parenthood with all of us…it’s such a joy! Wishing you all the best, and hoping you hear the pitter-patter of lil’ feet on…whatever floor you choose…soon!!

    • LaPriel says

      Definately a matter of opinion! I’ve read most of the comments and am exhausted! I totally agree with Leahc. Both have pros and cons. Can’t wait to see all the changes you have in mind.

  73. Pattie says

    I think what every you go with will be stunning, you have great taste, I can’t wait to see what you do.

  74. says

    Hi Layla! We had the EXACT same issue with our hardwood floors. Original hardwood under carpet and then this 2 foot by 12 foot raised concrete section against the sliding glass door. We contemplated putting tile over it all, putting tile over just the concrete part or doing your Option 1, jackhammering the concrete down and re-pouring concrete to the right level. Ultimately that is the best option and the option we chose and we are SOOOOOOOOOO happy we did. Money is a huge concern for us and this was not the cheapest option, but didn’t end up being as $$ as we feared. Probably $400 total for the jackhammering and the concrete pouring. So not too bad. And in the end, we are SO happy the whole floor is hardwood, that’s how it really should be. I would encourage you to do option 1 and skip the next project for a while since it will cost you a bit more. It’s worth it! Let me know if you have any other questions cause we really went through the same thing and contemplated the same options with cost as our #1 concern.

  75. says

    Hey Layla,
    Just wanted to share a link with you to my FAVORITE flooring place. Bought all of our hardwood there and they also sell carpet and hardwoods. The site has a calculator, so you can type in your dimensions and it will tell you exactly what you need. Even with shipping, we were able to install hardwoods throughout most of our house for under $4000. The customer service was exceptional. In transit, some of our boxes fell over and 8 were damaged, they simply shipped new, no questions asked and no hassle of returning the damaged flooring. Just a suggestion, if you know someone who can install your carpet. Good luck with the carpet. My ONLY advice for you is to invest in a high quality vacuum with good filters, we have carpet in one room and our dyson is a Godsend sometimes! I look forward to that perfect little one to find you two! Oh and don’t forget about carpet tiles, at least if one spot gets ruined, you can always replace just one tile.

    http://www.builddirect.com/Carpet.aspx

  76. Misty says

    I would do anything and everything possible to avoid carpet. You will regret it after you have your kiddo and with pets. I promise. You can never really clean carpet. Ever. And it really is filled with nasty chemicals. I am not overly paranoid but the more stain proof kinds you get…the more chemicals involved.

    I would go with option 1 but don’t redo everything. Get the one area in the entry leveled out…I would pay a professional concrete person for that. You will have a hard time getting a skim coat to level well over something that has been jackhammered. I would do skim coats or use quickrete or shims in the other places you have wobby boards. Spot fix them as needed and then use something like liquid nails to adhere them down at the corners so they don’t move. if you just dot the corners, they should be able to scrape up later on if you want to remove everything to start all over.

    Option 3….can you offer to highlight a local flooring contractor??? With your level of readers…I think many places would be willing to do something for you for almost nothing. And then you can get it all done at once. No redo in the future.

    I have 2 kids and 1 dog. I love real wood floors. We have had all dark tile or all wood. Our next house will have all dark (espresso) huge tiles or distressed wood plans (dark) or espresso stained concrete. The latter is my preference. I love the dark plank floors but out dog and kids gouged them and I was always filling and restaining spots.

    We had used carpet only in bedroom but kids still find a way to get it dirty AND it holds dust and mold and all kinds of other nastiness and you will be there in that room breathing it in 8 hours a day. Now we will always have a solid surface in all bedrooms with an area rug that can be well cleaned/switched out.

    And if you want carpet…look into the carpet tiles that can be switched out in sections if messed up.

    Good luck.

    Love your blog!

  77. lee ashley says

    Hi Layla!

    I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now for design inspiration…and wouldn’t you know it, I just had carpet installed! I’m in a top-floor condo, so hardwood wasn’t an option for me, but I also wanted a low-pile, clean look (with a cozy feel). I got a “patterned” (loop and twist) carpet from Shaw. I think it’s called “City Charm.” It is super-soft but doesn’t show traffic. It also cleans up exceptionally well (I tried to clean out my fireplace last weekend…ouch). Here’s the link:

    http://www.shawfloors.com/carpetDetails/Pattern/City_Charm_18397-Summer_Blond

    Other commenters are right — you don’t want to go with all loop, which will pull up pet’s nails, high traffic, etc. Good Luck!!!

  78. says

    Oh, I feel your pain! Our house had an addition put on and our floors oar and inch apart in heigh in some places. We had bare unfinished wood and exposed plywood on our floors through one baby and finally refinished them before baby #2. I know how much it pains you to cover up the wood floors, but it’s only temporary and it’s nice to have a carpeted floor for “tummy time” with little ones. Don’t worry. It’ll be wrecked with spills and crumbs in a few years and you’ll “have” to replace it a finish the wood floors! :)

    It’s true…a baby changes everything.

    Just wait until you can’t accessorize for about four years of your life. Stage the picture, snap the shot, and put it all away. Sigh.

  79. Brooke says

    I am so excited for you all! Somehow I’ve missed the part about the adoption until now. I have three boys and one dog, but have had three dogs total during the kid period so far. We’ve had every stain, spill, etc imagineable, have lived in three different houses with three kinds of carpet and hardwoods during kids. Plus, my hubby sells building supplies and hardwood flooring. That said, here’s my two cents: Don’t waste your money on carpet. It is not cheaper than hardwoods if you really hunt. I’ve had plush, berber, and freize most recently by Stainmaster with the through and through stain protection that doesn’t wear off. It still stains. Berber is great for not soaking up messes, but like others mentioned, unravels. Plush just pulls out and pills. All are a nightmare when potty training! If you must go with carpet, invest in the sealed padding which keeps any “spills” from soaking into the subfloor!

    Yes, hardwoods can be pricey, but if you get the solid board (not lamininate or engineered-which I have had), have it sanded, stained and polyed (satin – shows less in sunlight) in the house, it’s sealed even between boards and nearly indestructable. Plus you can refinish countless times. It’s more upfront, but when you consider the cost of installing “temporary” then again dumping more into the “permanent” later, you might actually be spending more in the long run. If you like character, you can go with the lower grade floors with wormholes and they are actually cheaper! Knowing what I know now, I’d have put it all over instead of just in the main living area and installed the FLOR carpet tiles as area rugs (these would also make a great option for a carpet!). You can pull up the one tile and wash or replace it as needed.

    Best wishes! Sorry so long. Brooke in SC:)

  80. says

    Oh, and I know what you mean about the pet soaked nasty carpet. Our house was vacant for over a year from human inhabitants, but not from cats. Gross. There are claw marks on some of our moldings too where they climbed up the doors. I really do hate cats.

  81. Julie Ann says

    Sounds like you are settled on carpet, happy searching for the perfect carpet! I did want to say that I’ve had 4 kids learn to crawl just fine on hardwood floors. Really, littles are tough and their desire to move will not been hindered in the least by hardwoods. Of course, I have/had several vacuum phobic kids, so having hardwoods and being able to sweep the inevitable messes rather than dragging out the vacuum and doing it w/ a kid on the hip has been a lifesaver!

  82. says

    We installed dark brown carpet in our last house for two reasons: 1) We have dogs and kids and the carpet matched the dirt in the back yard and 2) we hoped to eventually install wood floors and wanted to be used to dark floors. I can tell you that I never regretted putting in the dark carpet. We lived in that house for 6 years and never did put in wood and (this may be gross) we never had to shampoo the carpet. It was probably dirty, but it didn’t show. I had light carpet in the house before that and wouldn’t do that again because it always looked dirty no matter how much I had it cleaned. We’re building a new house and are doing the dark brown carpet again.

    When you decide to do something with the uneven concrete, consider that it’s probably part of the foundation so taking it out could undermine the foundation of the house. There are companies that can actually grind the concrete down with something like a big sander. It makes a huge mess, but then so does a jackhammer. If you mask off the area using plastic, you can minimize the mess in the rest of the house. You might check the cost to have this done as it may be more reasonable and might make it possible to do right away.

  83. says

    Hi Layla

    First let me say, I LOVE your blog and your style and if you go with carpet, I think the sisal one is the nicest looking (so long as it’s not too scratchy). Secondly, I thought I would throw in my two cents about the carpet/wood plan-sorry.

    I don’t think anyone has mentioned here the idea that the wood should boost your resale price whereas carpet may not. Doesn’t everyone ask (when they buy an older home) “are there wood floors under the carpet?”… and then go around peeking around the edges of the room for any glimpse of wood? OK, maybe not, be we always do. I know you plan on possibly refinishing the wood down the road but it also seems possible (from one of your posts above) that you might not? Investing the extra time and effort now might make you some good $$ down the road.

    Also, I’m not a carpet expert but I think what someone else mentioned above about the line showing up again after a bit of wear and tear is valid. To have a perfectly level floor might involve putting plywood down over the rest of the wood floor (which would be really unfortunate).

    Here are a couple of anecdotes from my experience as a mom of 4 yr old:

    1. When my son was potty training, friends of ours came over with their little one. One of the thoughts about potty training is to let the kids run around naked to get used to their bodies. No problem, fine with us since the parents were there. However, in the play area where I had a runner rug, he left a nice little “present” for us. I could never bring myself to use this rug again as an area for my son to play on (luckily it was just a cheap one).

    2. Last month my 4 yr old had the flu. I had been thinking about getting an small 4 x 6 rug for the landing at the top of our stairs but hadn’t gotten around to it yet. During this flu, he managed to get a bit of barf on the little rug in his room (one of those ones with all the roads and buildings on it) and a TON OF it over about a 3 x 6 space at the landing. Cleaning up the landing took about 5 minutes. For the rug, I had to borrow a carpet cleaner from our friends and go over it several times-took about 1/2 hr. Man, was I glad I hadn’t bought that rug for the landing yet (although I still prob will, just cause it will really finish that little area nicely.-LOL)

    3. In our old house, we put carpet (berber) in the basement similar to what you have in some of the pics. I have to say that it was definitely nice and cozy and looked great (for a while). We used it as a guest room/play room and before I knew it, my friend spilled some Oil of oregano on it which was impossible to remove. Not the end of the world and I still liked the carpet, but a bit disheartening when you’ve just invested your money. I know, wood floors can get chipped too, but I think it adds to the character (and they can always be refinished).

    It’s definitely nice to have the feel of carpet underfoot. It’s warm and comfortable and nice for breaking the falls of little ones. On the other hand, when you’re a mom and somebody pukes, spills, poops pr pees on the carpet, you’ll want to make sure you invest in a good carpet cleaner and don’t mind spending the extra time it takes in a day to clean it up-also, hopefully there are some good eco-friendly carpet cleaners around (I’m sure there are).

    As you can see, I’m clearly on the wood side (LOVE it) but can see why you would consider carpet. Either way, I’m sure you’ll pick something that looks FAB!!
    Sorry this post was so long…

  84. Leigh Garza says

    I haven’t replaced the carpet in our house yet, but I sure need to! When we bought our house the carpet was fairly new, but super cheap so it hasn’t worn well, and though it’s neutral, there’s a bit of a pink undertone that is NOT what we would have picked. I can’t wait to see what you choose – I too have a dog who, ever the industrious little adventurer, would totally pick apart the pile and make an all day project of ripping it to shreds and scattering it all over the house. As it is, he broke into – and consequently locked himself in – our guest room and tried to dig out. When that didn’t work, he went for the windows. Now I’ve got ripped up trim around the door, a big carpetless patch with exposed subfloor, and chewed up blinds that hang crooked. Not the most welcoming sight for our guests, but oh well. I still love him. :)

  85. Jackie Brown says

    DO NOT under any circumstances use Smart Strand. It sounds too good to be true and you know what they say about things like that! It wears poorly, snags easily, shows dirt, is expensive, and I have HUGE customer remorse. Oh, and despite their advertisements about it being stainproof, it simply is not.

  86. says

    I really like the idea of the sisal carpet! I think it would look amazing and according to Lauren at Pure Style Home it’s great for spills and such.

  87. Wendy says

    I really enjoy reading your blogs. You have such a fun sense of humor and your home is so beautiful and peaceful. Regarding the carpeting, keep the following in mind if you’re looking at textured carpets (with loops in the pattern) – it snags really easily (especially around pets). Several years back we had a berber carpet and our dog snagged it so badly once that she pulled out about a 2 foot length of one row. Sadly, it was not repairable and we had to replace it. Best of luck with your latest project! I can’t wait to read your next blog!

  88. says

    You might want to check out some of the indoor/outdoor carpet. It’s not what it used to be! Some of it looks a lot like sisal or some other natural substance, but it would be super practical and inexpensive to boot!

  89. Jenny B. says

    Wow – looks like you’re getting a lot of mixed reviews! So goes blogging, I guess. ;) I just wanted to pop in and say that we have wood laminate in our entire house and two little boys. I love the look, and the boys have done just fine with learning to walk and playing – there’s certainly ample space to roll cars! However, when we visit friends who have carpeting, it just feels cozier and more relaxing to sit on the floor and play with them. So, I love the look of wood, but I miss the comfort of carpet. I don’t think you’ll be doing your house a disservice by putting in some carpet, and if it solves some issues for you, then go for it! I don’t have any great suggestions or tips on carpet buying, but my first thought was a wall-to-wall natural fiber type covering (sisal or jute), layered with area rugs. I don’t know if that would work with your dog, but it might go with the style of your decor and be plenty neutral. Have fun shopping!

  90. says

    Don’t worry too much about your homestudy and house visits! They just want to make sure you have space for a kid, in your home and in your hearts. The interviews are much more about you as a family and not your house. Just remember that they have houses, too and theirs are not perfect either. They don’t expect that. : )

  91. KK says

    I’d suggest Berber preferably something near the color of dried dirt especially with kids & pets. I think it’s near impossible to keep any carpet looking fresh & clean. My first choice would be either the Flor brand or Martha Stewart’s peel & stick so you replace individual tiles if carpet as needed when those unfortunate life events occur. No Toby here but let me tell you about the projectile stream of red jello episode…

  92. Martha B. says

    Dear Layla,

    Love your site and that you’re adopting. As an adoptive mother of a CPS child, let me assure you that the social workers aren’t coming to your home to run a white glove across the top of your refrigerator – they’re making sure that you HAVE a refrigerator! Let me also assure you that my home was a “model home” once upon a time – and those days are long gone. The social worker even commented on it during one of her post-placement visits! Whatever you do, make it easy to maintain. Projects will never happen as quickly (if ever) after children are in your life.

  93. Lindsey says

    Layla & Kevin,

    I only read some of the comments so please forgive me if I repeat something!

    I really can’t stand carpet! Our current home has all carpet with beautiful hardwoods underneath! I would love to have the carpet removed and refinish the hardwoods. We had to move in quickly so we couldn’t do it before we moved in. We have 3 kiddos running around so the carpet has been good! If you go with a lighter carpet, I would suggest having everyone remove shoes before entering. The kids do it automatically now at home and when we go to other people’s homes!

    This may sound totally crazy but my in-laws have a small dog, and my MIL keeps baby wipes by the back door and wipes the dogs feet and bottom off (#2) before she lets him loose. I don’t wipe his bottom, but I will wipe his feet. ;) They have hardwoods and rugs. It’s not so crazy when you think of everything they bring back inside, and you can’t shampoo your carpet everyday! Wish I could. And we don’t have any pets right now, just mice that like to come when hungry and cold.

    I can’t wait to hear about more of your journey with baby/little Palmer!

    Lindsey

  94. says

    Hey Layla,
    I’ve been a fan of you guys for quite some time! A thought came to mind about your higher cemented flooring. You could stick with the flooring you have, all you have to do is:

    …have the floating floor you have now end at the cement, ( you can even create a border around the cement area laying one row of floating floor along the sides of the cemented area, then have the floors meet up to that border.

    …then you lay floating floor on top of the cemented area as a separate floor then make it like it was on purpose by laying some quarter round trim around the edges. It’ll almost make it feel like a little stage.

    You sound like you already have your heart set on carpet but I thought I’d throw that out there!-) Keep up the great work!

  95. Camille says

    Since it’s pretty clear you are going with carpet, I can tell you that with potty-training twins and a barfy cat in my carpeted house, these two items have been indispensable:

    1) The little Bissell handheld Green Machine. It gets used weekly.

    http://www.amazon.com/Bissell-ProHeat-Compact-Multi-Purpose-14259/dp/B002KCMH6Q/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1292281269&sr=8-4

    2) Eureka Quick Up cordless vacuum. Works great on carpet. I use it every single day as an alternative to lugging out the hated heavy vacuum and struggling to plug it in all over the house. (Be sure to get an extra battery pack.) Nice for Cheerio crumbs in the kitchen too!

    http://www.amazon.com/Eureka-Quick-Up-Cordless-Vacuum-96F/dp/B000QV3SMK/ref=sr_1_1?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1292281414&sr=1-1

    Good luck with the carpet hunt and with your adoption process. I’ve so enjoyed your blog and am using your before and afters of the kitchen to convince my landlords to let me paint!

  96. says

    Layla,
    I chose a commerical grade carpet that my friends and family call possum gray…it is virtually dog and kid proof. While having our home painted, the painters left a styrofoam cup of green paint (Shore by Martha Stewart) in one of the rooms they were working on. Our little white dog, Izzie, couldn’t resist dragging the cup of paint to a comfortable spot on the carpet and well…it was a mess. She was GREEN and the floor looked hopeless. $99 dollars later….the fee from the carpet cleaner…it looked as if nothing had ever happened. Every bit of the green tint came out of the carpet…in all honesty, it took us longer to get Izzie back to normal! So, all that to say…don’t rule out a grayish blue commercial grade…less expensive carpet for durability. And…it look nice too!

  97. Brandy Howard says

    Ugh – don’t you hate all of this multi-phase stuff!! We are in the same boat – can’t do permanent flooring until we move some walls, so we’ve used porch paint to paint the family room floor. At least it’s better than the stained, teal carpet!

    Anyhoo – if you are going to go with carpet, one of our recent houses (have moved WAY too much!!) had a similar carpet to what you’ve shown here. Very short, almost berber-ish with a bit of a pattern to it. LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was mostly neutral, but with a tiny bit of speckle so spots blended well (2 dogs, 2 kids – u see what I’m sayin..).

    You may keep an eye out on Craigs list to see if anyone is pulling out carpet to install hardwoods – happens a fair bit in the Charlotte area. For buying carpet, be sure to check Carpets of Dalton or the other manufacturer’s places in Dalton Georgia. We’ve ordered from there 3 times and it’s always saved us about 50% off local prices.

    Good luck!

  98. Linda says

    I have a house full of hardwood floors with four kids and there are times I would LOVE to have a room with carpet. it’s much softer when kids fall and much warmer on colder days and nights! We have a couple area rugs and that is where the kids want to play. It’s not very comfortable to get on the wood floors to play with dolls or trucks. Plus, I’m a freak when I see new scratches and dings on my floors and it happens A LOT with kids. I’m sure whatever you decide will be great.
    I’m excited to read about your adoption journey. We’re foster parents and have been through the home study process. It really can be very nerve wrecking! I look forward to reading more about it!

  99. Kim says

    Agree, no to the Berber. I have young boys and hardwood in the main living area – I love it. The carpet will get vomit and pee on it- sorry, but I am keepin’ it real. You will be so much happier with the hardwood! However if you go with carpet, I loved that sisal look. Another option would be a tone on tone pattern, like a wavy vine pattern. My neighbor used a dark sage vine patterned carpet in her home and it looks fab! Patterns do help hide the inevitable stains! I am so excited to hear when you are blessed with a little one.

  100. Sylvia says

    Layla and Kevin,
    You will be marvelous parents. I have no recommendations re: carpet choices, but do highly recommend using Capture to spot clean ( or clean entire rooms for that matter) carpet. It is amazing. No water therefore no wet carpet and no special machines required. Blot up any excess moisture or pick up any solid stuff, sprinkle on, brush in, leave to set for a bit, then vacuum. Easy, peasy and it works.
    May God bless you in your adoption journey.

  101. Sherrie says

    Love your site. I have four children (7, 6, 4, and 6 months) all came to us through adoption. In our home we have hardwood floors, carpet (similar to what you are looking for) and ceramic tile. I LOVE hardwood floors, but I am so glad my living room, playroom and bedrooms have carpet — it so nice for the little ones and all their bumps and topples. Our carpet is a very light beige with a tight weave, it has really been a great choice, very durable (wish I could tell you where it is from and what kind but the previous owners put it in). I have had no problems with stains or maintenance (I simply spot clean as needed, and have not had any unraveling at all). Another advantage little parts of toys are easy to see before my toddlers would find them. As much as I like hardwood floors my boys have been a little rough on them, over the years that we have lived in our home. I would not put hardwood in high traffic areas now (travertine or slate would do much better).

  102. sue says

    I am a huge fan of hard flooring surfaces, but I think carpet is your best choice. We used carpet with a fiber called tactesse (sp?) and it was super soft, had a woolish feeling – it looked sisal-ly, but showed everything. It was a berber, we only had the carpet for a week, when my son had a buddy sleep over, and his sleeping bag zipper caught a loop. By the time I noticed, it was five feet long – oh well –

    My other two cents – when choosing babies room, consider the natural light, temperature of that room, etc – babies are small and don’t need much – besides, they never actually play in their rooms until later -

  103. Michiganhome says

    Wow — a lot of comments! I will admit; I read only about half of them, but I wanted to add my two cents anyway. I know hardwood floors look great. But I am telling you that if you have kids, YOU WILL BE ON THE FLOOR PLAYING WITH THEM, or at least we are, all. the. time. Our son is 12, and our daughter is 5, and we have had poop accidents, pee accidents, and LOTS of food and drink spills. Our carpet is ivory, and eleven years old, and it still looks awesome. The difference is the quality of carpet you get. I don’t think you have to spend that much more, (ours is just the first level of upgrade offered by the builder), to get one that CLEANS well. So… what I am saying is that I think it is a great decision to get carpet, even if you get a child that is already walking. Because they will probably be fine, but it’s the adults, with our heavier weight, that will have a hard time getting down on the floor, even one covered with an area rug with a rug pad underneath, and finding it comfortable. Good luck! With everything!
    Love,
    Michiganhome

  104. Cindy Chapman says

    Be sure to look at the commercial grade carpet when you’re out shopping. It’s really sturdy and a lot less expensive than regular carpet. We used it in a former house in a color that was sort of a “heathered” brownish gray. Ours didn’t have a pattern or texture, but it did the trick: inexpensive and hid dog and kid dirt well.

  105. Michelle says

    Hi Kevin and Layla,

    First of all congrats on your pending adoption!!! That is the most exciting news for sure! You are the sweetest couple and will be great parents!

    I’ve not had time to read through all the comments to this post, but we experienced a similar dilema when we installed a floating floor (AKA laminate) in our master bath and dressing area. Like you, we didn’t want to destroy the original hardwood floors that were in place, but had a substantial height difference between the areas. Luan (sp) plywood to the rescue!! If I remember correctly the thin luan underlayment comes in 1/4″ thick sheets. We used it in layers to level out the floors. The luan is quite flexible which helped ease the transitions enough to allow the laminate floor to float and flex without any issues. The best part is it won’t damage the original floor and we can refinish them at some point and add more as we can afford.

    Your laminate floors look so good in your home! The luan (sp) solution might fix your problem and allow you to reuse your laminate and save the wood underneath??

  106. says

    I second the MS carpet at Home Depot. I was there looking at samples and it’s very nice. Sooo, I’m not on FB or Twitter, but a little bird told me that you featured my living room! I was wondering where all my new visitors were coming from :) thank you so much!! my prayers are with you and Kevin with your adoption process. I can’t wait for the day to see a little bum scooting across your floor…whatever you choose. xxoo

  107. kay says

    Layla,

    It definitely sounds like you are on the right track as far as carpet pile, etc. I love the textured looks you’ve chosen! Here’s my 2 cents: What if you chose an even darker color of carpet? (Not like gross 70s brown, but something darker than even that sisal example, like maybe a few shades below caramel) Here’s my thinking: You’re absolutely set on carpet at this point in time, and I totally pity you having to cover up those hardwoods, even the laminate is gorgeous in your house. You already have dark floors and your decor is already geared around it, so keeping the carpet dark makes sense. PLUS..let me tell ya, I’m an Army wife and we are constantly moving into homes with the standard (I call it Rental Beige) carpet. We have 2 dogs. It lasts about a week without some sort of mud or dust being tracked in and making dark spots on the carpet. Usually the only way to get rid of them completely is a steam clean. You’ve got a dog and you’re about to have a toddler…for your sanity, pleeeeeeeease consider a darker color. I’m sure that you’ll find a gorgeous one with your shopping skills! Yes, I know you will totally vacuum and keep it clean but I’ve made friends with our carpet cleaner and even he says that many home solutions (Resolve, Bissel cleaners, etc.) simply cover up the stain or move it into the carpet padding, and often times they show back up without pro cleaning. If you went darker, you would have a little more wiggle room! Nothing is more embarrassing than having guests over and playing “guess that stain”, lol.

  108. says

    Definitely a sisal or sisal-like option to fit your great decorating taste. Then add an area rug to the living room when it fits the budget or you find an awesome deal!

  109. Erin says

    I have a berber-style carpet that is woven to look like a sisal rug (same color as a sisal also) in our bedrooms and basement. It isn’t super “cushy” soft, but it is carpet and not scratchy sisal. I love the more tailored look & I feel like it goes well w/ the wood I have throughout the house. It has help up amazingly well to my young boys and dog! It was a higher quality, so it cleans really well. I’ve had this style in two different homes, and the current home almost 7 years. It still looks great and I’m not tired of it. (My sister has a pattern similar to your first example, but it really shows the traffic patterns after a time.)

  110. Sunny says

    I read through nearly all these comments with interest that only one other person mentioned carpet cleaners. Yes, carpet is much warmer than hardwood or tile. Years back we rented a townhouse that had just been carpeted –and in an off white color. Who does that?! Anyway, four years later when moving, the realtor was stunned that it looked good as new, even with two active Goldens. That’s because I used a HOOVER STEAM VAC carpet cleaner monthly! And it’s amazing even w/no shoes how dirty your floors get. Cleaning carpets is very very easy, if you can vacuum, then you can steam clean. And I don’t like chemicals so we went green, especially with using a white vinegar rinse. If you Google, you will see there are so many green/economical cleaning solutions. Best of all, you can get one for just under $150 at Walmart, and they’ve had the highest satisfaction ratings over the years. Just don’t get cheapo carpet which will flatten in a few months time, and a denser underpad is money well spent.

  111. Allie says

    Hey Layla
    This is a bad time to ask me about carpet. My dog just had a HUGE accident and it wasn’t number 1! Part on the carpet, part on the hardwood. Needless to say, go with the hardwood. What a mess on the carpet. YUCK!
    I have a question about that gorgeous wood stainless steel stove in the picture above the dog. Any source on that. We are looking for a contemporary woodstove for a little shack we have and this would be awesome!!!
    Any help would be great! :)

  112. says

    About 10 years ago we got Pin Dot and good padding for one room – the Family Room, from Home Depot – very light neutral color. It has been abused by Kids, Dogs, Food, Parties, Tires, Muddy Shoes and Paws, crafting, furniture dragging, vacuming, you name it, and it’s still great. My house is all wood floors except for this Family Room, I have contemplated flooring it, even polishing the cement, but we play on this carpeting, we eat on it, we sit and sleep on it, we like it. Area rugs on wood or cement would be more work – wall to wall softness works for us – vacume one room coupla times a week, done. It’s been professionally cleaned maybe 5 times, and I spray clean on spots.

    I’m so happy for you and your first step into building a family –
    Marsha

  113. Ruth Baumgartner says

    Layla and Kevin, I am thrilled you are tackling this, because we too are facing a VERY similar dilemma right now and it makes me CRAZY! :) Life is good, if this is what makes me nuts right? Anywho, please know we eagerly anticipate learning your well choosen decision! :)

  114. says

    Hi Layla thought I would tell you about our carpet we had installed right before we moved in. We checked a few stores from local to major retail stores. Got tons of estamates. The empire today dont believe them…lol They charge you for those free rooms. We went with Carpet One which they had good deals on carpet they beat all the others but we did not get a major label carpet, it still has a good warranty which was our main goal. We had all the bedrooms done plus the living and hall. Its ran us about 2100 for thick pile we had a really tight budget like you we did not have alot to spend. My only regret I have is I am a very nurtral color person and I did not want really light but not a tan color. Those small smaples they give you dont give you the true look, I picked a like mushroom looking color and it turned out very light, to light. It shows so many little stains there is no forgiveness. If I could do it again I would chose something darker better half is electrican and we have two cats. So with a little one coming into the picture I would go dark as you can stand. And carpet would be great for the little one, mohawk has a great new product called tigressa its super soft I would have loved to get that but we had a whole house to install. They have it in low pile and even patterned if that is what you like. You can spill a drink on it and it will just pool it wont soak in. Now for my most important tip…lol Do not pay for the carpet in full up front! I leanred a lesson. We had a issue with a istaller using my vac and he sucked up painters tape and it damaged my dyson. I payed to get it repaired and still have not got my money back. And that was june we had it isntalled. So pay half up front and when the job is complete and everything looks good and you are happy then pay the other half. We had to get our guys out a few times after install. So that is was how it was for us so I hope that helps you some. Most important is to shop around and look at the BBB which I never did look at the BBB and come to find out they were not BBB rated. Good luck and you guys will do great on your home evaluation your home is so pretty and full of love and care they will see that.

  115. Joy says

    Just wanted to add that I even cleaned out the dishwasher prior to our homestudy. I laugh about it now, but it is intimidating to have someone come and evaluate you when you want nothing to come in between you and the child you want so badly! Lots of prayers for your adoption and I am appreciating the carpet advice. Thanks!

  116. missy says

    Oh my goodness!!! All the comments! Good stuff. My house is a lot like yours (added on to numerous times, 1/2 of the kitchen has concrete, different types of hardwood, etc…) I did a tile in my kitchen on the diagnal (it does cost a little more) so you couldn’t tell the room wasn’t square. I HATE the tile and so wish that I had done a hardwood in the kitchen. Grout is my worst enemy. I HATE grout. I’ve had someone come in to professionally clean and it still looks dirty. OK, now for the carpet. I have a one-year old and we decided to cover the hardwood in his room and our den and he is SO happy about that. He can roll around in his room and be happy playing. I’m not a fan of carpet but the hardwoods are just too….well, HARD! My house is old and drafty and the carpet helps the room feel warmer, too. Do not get ANY carpet that isn’t Stainmaster!!! Pay a little more for a better carpet. I know it’s hard when you are on a budget, but trust me! If you get the cheapest carpet you will be ready to rip it out in 6 months. I got a carpet that looks a lot like your first picture for my den and I love it! Just make sure the carpet is nice and soft so the little one can play! Sisals are nice, but usually very scratchy. I had one for a little while in my living room and we couldn’t walk in there without shoes because it was so scratchy!!! Good luck. I look forward to reading more about your journey!

  117. Stephanie says

    Operation Child’s Room is about to begin in our home in the next two weeks also! And we are also renovating our home office too! All of this is in preparation of our home study which we hope to complete in early January. We are pursuing a foster-adoption and still have mounds of paperwork to complete and several things around the house to get ready like locks on the cabinent doors, etc, etc. Its SO exciting and I can’t wait to welcome that little one into our home. I’ve been following your blog for quite sometime now and love all of your creations…you give me inspiration. Every time I see something you do it makes me want to paint, which in turn makes my husband say, “oh gez…um…how about let’s do some laundry first!” Laundry…who wants to do that?! Anyway, I’d love to send you some before pics and get your thoughts on how to create a warm, light and super-fantastic kids room….and one that is gender neutral since we aren’t sure who will get first…a boy or a girl :)

  118. Carol says

    It’s obvious you have researched all your options and decided on carpet. Sure, everyone likes hardwood floors, but I understand totally why you are going this route. The hardwood floors will still be there under the carpet like you said for possible future changes.

    I really like the look of the third carpet you showed. A sisal look seems to go with your style. I’d like to get a wool sisal style for my upstairs bedrooms (only my first floor has hardwood). So if you go with that, I’ll be counting on you to tell us how it is holding up! :-)

    I’m sure you plan on having a nursery monitor which will take care of any proximity issue. My only suggestion would be to make sure a child can’t unlock the front door — it’s amazing how clever little ones can be!

    I’m so excited for you both. From what I can tell, any child would be very lucky to have you for parents.

  119. says

    when we needed to install carpet in our last house (1950’s era) we used Shaw brand. I really loved it! it was a low pile, and held up beautifully. It felt great on our feet (only put it in the bedrooms) and had great resilience.
    The previous owners had Berber in the family room which held up great as well. Kinda like the flat style you are looking at. Not super soft, but it definitely holds up well in high traffic areas. It was the 90’s style with a cream background and brown flecks- nice because it also hid any dirt before the vacuum came out! :)
    We had uneven flooring issues there too thanks to a weird remodel. We never fixed it since we were only in the house for a couple years. Hope you get it all worked out!

  120. Diane says

    Have you considered actually making a “stage” a few inches up for the piano? Could be an option. Would be beautiful w/ matching hardwood on top. We had a family room remodeled from our attached garage and the little ones loved to sit on the steps. They were the right height and they used them for all kinds of things when playing. In my remodeling experiences, some of my most hated features in a house turned into favorites if you don’t try to cover them up but turn them into something else. That is why I love the quirky character of old houses! Just my humble opinion. I love your blog and your home.

  121. says

    NO to the carpet. I just ripped out all of what you are planning to buy out of my place & did the inexpensive faux maple flooring – I love it, easy to clean w/pets. Berber will pull up in strings when you vacuum & it is all kind of bad for kids & pets. Just say NO! Pick some spaces to even out with the float cement or go with a cool rug …

    Go to Dooce’s web site. She made some changes in one of her houses. She has kids & dogs.

    BTW, I love your blog!

  122. Laura says

    I can not believe how many comments/opinions there are on this post! Wowzers!! I read them with interest though because I’d like to tear out the dirty, stained Berber in our old house and refinish the floors. BUT my husband likes carpet, so I am contemplating my choices there somewhat too.

    A comment for those considering Berber carpets: our carpet cleaner guy told us that Berber was terrible if you went barefoot in your home. Who knew??! He said you should always wear socks or slippers because the oils in your skin react with the plastics in the Berber and attract stains. I though that was interesting. I thought we were doing well by going barefoot, but he said even shoes would be better than that. Bare feet were the worst on Berber.

    I too like the sisal option you showed. I really like that look right now. I’d be interested to hear about the comfiness of it from anyone who has it. Do you “need” area rugs to cozy it up? What about in a dining room? How does it fare under the table?

    You guys are gonna love being parents! I’m excited and happy for you to start that journey.
    Can’t wait to see how you ready your home.

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