Interior Finishes: Floors and More

As we moved into mid-August and approached our plan move-in deadline, interior finishes continued. Shaun handled a lot of it, since we didn’t have much in the way of budget left for a crew. Budget-wise, that was good news. Timeline-wise, not so much.

Engineered Hardwood Floors

Back when we were buying up interior finishes, we found a pretty solid deal on engineered maple hardwood floors from Floors To Your Home. As far as I can tell, they’re a liquidator that tends to handle specific lots of hardwood flooring, and handles a lot of lower grades of flooring. Generally, lower-grade floors have shorter boards and more knows/sapwood/imperfections than higher grades. We had narrowed things down to either hickory, which tends to have quite a lot of color variation, and maple, which doesn’t tend to have much at all (think basketball courts). So the lower-grade maple would actually give us more of the variation we were looking for.

Installed, we were happy with the choice:

It had enough color variation to be interesting but no so much to be overbearing. Installation also went relatively quickly, since outside of the kitchen area our rooms are basically just big rectangles, without a lot of complicated cutwork.


Carpet installation was something Shaun left to the carpet guys. Like a lot of things, it turned into slightly more trouble than we expected. Delivery was delayed once or twice, and then once they did show up, they didn’t install the carpet. They just dropped it off in the garage. When Shaun called to figure out what was going on, they told him that we needed to do a lead paint test before they would do the installation. Shaun explained that it was a new build and lead paint has been outlawed since 1978. Didn’t matter.

Unsurprisingly, we passed the stupid lead paint test. And we finally got carpet in the first floor. We had considered hardwoods there too, but with two young kids who spend a lot of time playing on the floor, carpet seemed like the more comfortable choice.

Quartz Countertop

We were also excited to take delivery of our quartz countertop. It had taken a bit of shopping around to find somewhere that had things in stock and could fabricate something on a reasonable timeline. We ended up going with Stone Tops 4 Less. Most countertop places have slabs from a subset of quartz manufacturers. They have different patterns but generally the same product. We ended up going with MSI’s Blanca Arabescato – a veined marble-look quartz.

When the installers got it in, it looked great! Particularly against the grey walls and blue cabinets.

There was just one teensy, tiny problem: it was about 10″ too short. The stool overhang on the near side is supposed to wrap around the end of the island in front of the fridge to allow for stools along the side of the island. But somewhere along the way things got messed up, and they gave us a standard 1-2″ overhang.

If this had been a minor cosmetic issue we would have let it go. But it was a functional problem – as fabricated, we could only get a couple of stools around the island, which wasn’t going to work for a family of four. To his credit, Shaun got it taken care of and ate the additional cost. If you’re in the market for a big slab of quartz, I expect he can give you a deal on one.