Sunday, July 5, 2015

Chateau Shields Gets New Floors

Well, we definitely like projects and have had a lot of fun updating our house, but this project was a whole new level of project for us.  We decided to update all the tile on the main floor of our house.  We had two different types of tile one white-ish tile in the living room area and a pinky orange one in the kitchen/family room area.  Lots of people didn't mind the white-ish tile but it was super porous and had lots of divots in it that collected dirt.  The pinky orange tile was really, really dirty (even if I scrubbed hard!) and chipped in lots of places so we saved up and pulled the trigger on new tile.  We chose a wood looking tile because we like the look of wood but love the easy maintenance of tile.  I have no idea how to clean and maintain wood, especially in the dry desert that I live.  We wanted everything to flow between the rooms instead of having two different types of flooring.  We also needed to account for the fact that we have kids which means lots of spills and crummies and we have a pool which means a lot of dripping as we come inside. So tile was our pick.
We looked at wood looking tile at a few places and all were coming in at $5 or $6/sq foot.  Our house is on the smaller side, but still did not have the budget for that price.  Then we went back to the flooring place where we had purchased our carpet for the upstairs and found that they had some tile that we liked priced at wholesale cost. Hooray! AND miracle of miracles- we needed about 900 sq ft and they had about 1000 sq ft left in their entire warehouse.  I guess you could say we were meant to have this flooring in our house!

We started looking at flooring in the Fall and decided to get it finished before it was too hot outside and before our Japan trip.  Then we did the crazy thing and said let's rip it all up and get started on it so that we can have Laila's birthday and Harrison's baby blessing with new floors!  It was a great idea but incredibly stressful since everything ended up taking longer than expected and the floor wasn't even finished by that date.  More on that later.
Michael got bids from a few people that could lay the tile and we ended up choosing someone who had lots of experience and we decided to lower the cost by removing the old tile ourselves.  Michael worked his tail off to get the tile up and out of the house so we could make sure the floors were even.  But he had to go on a business trip so he worked endlessly for about 24 hrs just to finish.  It was the loudest, dustiest, tiring day!  I finally had to have Michael stop at 10 PM because you could hear the demo all around our circle outside.  It was so loud.  To top it off, we did this right before my roommates came to visit which you can read about HERE. Before Michael hurried off to the airport he brought in some basic furniture so we could have somewhere to be and I tried to clean as much of the dust as I could before they got here.  It was definitely a construction zone! I'm still so grateful my friends still willingly came and helped me with my two kids while Michael was away!
The next three weeks, we basically lived upstairs or on the concrete floor with a couch and a table.  Our garage was full of our furniture and our patio was full of our appliances and kitchen table for outdoor dining! It was pretty intense.


^Small example of the enormous amount of dust!

^Living upstairs!

^Trooper number 1 loved her "Stair couch" Cozy, right?

^Meanwhile this trooper turned 6 weeks old!

^Nice kitchen/patio/storage/ work space

^Sure you can paint on the floor...

^My hard working husband getting our appliances plugged back in

^Laila helping her dad cut and paint new baseboards to replace the ones we ripped out.

^ Cleaning carpets and having some people come in and clean the windows and all the main floor felt SOOOO good after weeks of construction and dust!


We are used to projects that last maybe a couple of days but this one had us in construction for weeks and it was happening in our main living areas.  It was exhausting.  Because it was so tiring, I definitely appreciate my new floors that much more!  I think it was worth it. (Even if I hated the new tile -which I don't- I would have to live with it because I do not want to repeat that process any time soon.)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


Before our long journey home, we stayed a few days in Tokyo.  I love Japan because it is super clean, family friendly and easy to get around!  We took the "limousine bus" from the airport to a hotel near ours and then took a taxi from there to the hotel we were staying at which was super nice!  They upgraded us to a corner suite and the view was phenomenal!  We walked around the city that night and enjoyed our yummy tradition at Hard Rock Cafe.  We saw Tokyo tower and the buddhist temple that was on the movie, Wolverine.  It is a beautiful city!

^Laila's peace sign.

^The view from our hotel!

The next day, we were picked up nice and early and taken to the bus depot to board our charter bus that was taking us out to Mount Fuji!  It was a few hours away but what a beautiful destination! We stopped at the visitor's center and even got to see some of the last cherry blossoms!  Then we drove up to what they call Station 5.  It was about halfway up.  Nice little break from the bus ride.  Then we ate lunch at a cute little hotel cafe.  After lunch, we went to a lake and took a ferry to a huge gondola ride.  I have to say our kids were incredible troopers but Harrison did not like being on the gondola.  I think he was hungry and it was squishy.  We also asked Laila multiple times BEFORE we got on the gondola if she needed to go to the bathroom.  She said no, no, no.  However, as soon as we get to the top of the mountain where there are no bathrooms, she needed to go.  I was nursing Harrison in a corner and so Michael took her around the building to go in a field.  It was a classy moment. ;)  We then met up with our tour group again to hussle over to the station where we were going to take a bullet train back into Tokyo.  Let me tell you, those are incredible trains! They go about 200-300 kilometers an hour!  They are right on schedule, clean and you barely feel like you are moving.  So cool!  After a few train rides, we got back to our hotel and enjoyed room service that night as we put the kids to bed and enjoyed the view.

^We found some of the last blooming Japanese Cherry Blossoms!

^Laila loved that every restaurant had darling kid sets of dishes

Wednesday morning, we got out for a few more sites before we needed to get to the airport.  We rode on their completely reliable subway and searched everywhere trying to find a certain restaurant and we failed.  But we saw some amazing things! It was a wonderful trip and I am really glad our two little ones joined us.

^We already miss all their mother's lounges.  Such a great place!