progress report—tile, cabinets and stress

Hello again! This is what has been happening at the ranch. It's been a long, busy week.

The tile is going in...

And then the grout...


Without the laundry room (we decided to do that later since that would disturb our temporary kitchen area) it was still nearly 800 square feet. It was a big job. Tom swears he will never lay tile again. I'm trying not to remind him that I have big tile plans for our bathrooms in the future.

The grout color turned about a bit lighter than I was expecting. Fortunately it is epoxy grout and shouldn't stain too badly. It is still a gray color, just lighter than the tile. These things happen when you are remodeling. (Which happens to be a phrase I'm telling myself a lot...)

Eva likes it, so that's what counts.


The cabinets were delivered on Thursday! This is a big moment. The guys got out the surveying equipment and it made me chuckle. How many guys does it take to change a lightbulb... I mean, line up a cabinet? Actually, leveling the cabinets is serious business and very important for setting the granite countertops. And our floors are decidely NOT level. They are off more than an inch from one side to the other. 

Here's the deal with the cabinets. When we opened that first box I was expecting elation and excitement. Instead I felt deflated with a giant pit in my stomach. The thing is, the color turned out lighter than I expected.

The sample on the right is Espresso, which is what I originally wanted. As it turned out, I couldn't order that color in Quartersawn Oak because apparently they can't stain that sort of oak grain that dark. (In hindsight I'm glad they aren't that dark). So I settled for the next darkest color, walnut (shown on the left). As you can see, the actual cabinets are lighter. (You can look back at my original design choices here.)

Here are a few more photos, since the lighting effects the color a lot.


The thing is, the cabinets are gorgeous. The color looks amazing with the rust color in the slate fireplace. It just doesn't quite match the picture I've had in my head all these months. Sometimes those expectations are hard to erase.

We have contacted the company and they've asked to send one of our doors along with the sample door we have. It will take several days for them to receive it of course. Then there are two possible scenarios. IF the company acknowledges the problem, they could potentially agree to replace all the cabinets. Which would take several more weeks of course. IF we decide we can live with them as-is, maybe they will compensate us by discounting the cabinets. But right now I have to make a decision if we are going to keep these cabinets and move forward with installation today, or hold up the project indefinitely and potentially until spring farm work completely halts progress.

I've called in a few trusted friends to advise and it looks like I'm going to be keeping them. The guys are not going to sit around and wait for a decision so they are moving forward with installation. Here is my justificaiton: dark dark cabinets have been trendy for awhile and might be on their way out. (I am doing half white, which to me justified the dark cabinets. By the way, the white cabinets are perfect.) The lighter color is more in keeping with midcentury design. It may be more classic in the long run. It looks great with the house. The question is, can I adjust my own expectations?

What would you do?