We’ve made it to the halfway point of this year’s ORC. Wow! And boy oh boy did things get really real over here this week. But before we get into all of that, if you aren’t caught up with our full project yet make sure to get all caught up!
Also, if you’re finding us for the first time from the One Room Challenge, welcome! We’re Danielle and Michael Gutelli! And together, we’re Clark + Aldine.
Clark + Aldine is named after the Chicago streets where we first met, and was born out of a love for purposeful design and everyday functionality. What we didn’t know then was that our passion and design influence would continue to grow, and we would soon leave our established careers to pursue Clark + Aldine full time. But like they say, when you know, you know! Learn more about us.
This week our space went from a construction site into a space that actually feels like a home. Hello new hardwood flooring!
Let’s get into this subject with a bit more detail, shall we. By far the biggest question we got this week is why did we lay hardwoods on top of original hardwood flooring? Well, the answer here is simple…we didn’t want to tear them up! Yup, super mic drop moment right? Honestly it made zero difference if we tore them up or laid the new floors directly on top. The only area that required a little attention was the stair nosing at the head of our basement staircase, and that was only a few minutes of work, This provided us with additional subfloor and sound barrier for the basement, saved us a lot of time and a little money.
We had contemplated feathering in and refinishing our original floors, but they were in horrible shape. As much as we wanted to save some of the original elements of the space it just wasn’t worth the time or investment, and it wasn’t going to give us the look we were striving for. We struggled on this decision, that is until we found our new flooring. Our jaws dropped, and without seeing it in person, made a decision to go with the Anew Gentling engineered hardwood from LIFECORE Flooring. This was without a doubt one of the best decisions we’ve made in all the projects we’ve ever done in our home. We are obsessed with them…like, truly in love!
When it came to making a design decision for new flooring we wanted it to flow with our overall design aesthetic. LIFECORE flooring comes in 7 1/2” planks which was a major overall selling point for us. The reactive floors have natural highlights in the wood grain pattern and are hand-scraped, wire-brushed and sawn-marked to create the most beautiful design flow we have ever seen. With having two small children, an active lifestyle and heavy traffic from our team and family in and out of our house we are always conscious of what types of products we are placing into our home. Safety comes first followed quickly by the long lasting quality of a product.
LIFECORE floors are certified for peace of mind, meeting the most stringent standards for low VOC, including: Indoor Air Advantage Gold, GREENGUARD Gold, FloorScore and they are certified Phase 2 Carb Compliant by the California Air Resources Board. LIFECORE floors include a nine-coat, UV-cured aluminum oxide finish. Aluminum oxide is a naturally occurring element, present in ruby and sapphire gemstones, and is one of the hardest finishes. Not only is it low VOC, but it’s made to stand up to heavy traffic and is used in higher-end floors, talk about a win win for this family.
We almost immediately landed on the Anew Gentling. The light oak finish drew us in as we wanted to provide a calming aesthetic to our overall space. The Anew Genting is deep wire brushed, distressed and triple stained for a more natural and organic aesthetic. The flooring is created with LIFECORE’s organic reactive process, bringing out natural tannins that penetrate the wood, so the color goes beyond a surface stain.
This area is something we have dreamed about for a while. The ultimate goal with this part of our design was to not only maximize on the space through seating and entertainment purposes but also to make it appear as if it was part of the original architecture. To do this we are lining the builtin with Firehouse Thin- Brick from The Tile Shop and then painting the Thin-Brick with Sherwin Williams Alabaster. The main reason we plan to paint the brick is we want the look, feel and texture element of exposed brick but without the bold color. By painting the brick white all these elements will come into play. We also created a stunning built-in floating bench. You can get a full tutorial on how to create your own bench here!
The back of the nook is lined with Tempaper’s Travertine wallpaper. Guessing now you can see why the brick needs to be painted! This removable wallpaper is where it’s at. The black and gold metallic waves not only catch your eye and draw you in they have this almost memorizing appeal to them. Clearly a showstopper in our space and exactly the element we’ve been hunting for. Some really important things to note when working with wallpaper that has a pattern you want to carry throughout you absolutely have to order extra! We like to start with 20% extra.
Sourcing our cabinets was actually one of the first things we did, you know, since it is a major focal point of any kitchen! We partnered with Lilyann Cabinets, whose main headquarters and manufacturing facility is in Michigan just under an hour away from our house! It was great to hop in the truck and drive out there to get a full tour and introduction to all of their products.
Our decision was easy. We wanted white shaker cabinets with glass front uppers, so we went with the White Shaker Elite collection and added as many custom elements as possible. Every door has soft close hinges and each drawer has soft close slides…this is a game changer for us you guys because our previous kitchen had none of that and the boys would just slam things shut.
We carried the cabinet design across the back perimeter wall of our kitchen, over the walkway leading to our butler’s pantry, and into the dining nook space where our new coffee bar is. For the coffee bar we went with an 18” deep base cabinet as we didn’t want it to intrude too much into the dining table.
But our island, oh our amazing new island is a little different. We had Lilyann custom paint them Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black!!! We have a black island and could not be more thrilled with how insane it actually is in person. And we have a pull out trash and recycling bins. Do you know how happy we are to no longer have those bins sitting out on the floor?!? It’s really important to note we spent a lot of time ensuring we had more than enough room in our space to accommodate an island and one of this scale. You can learn more about our process of how to know if an island will truly fit into your own space here!
We have a ton more surprises to show you with our cabinetry…but you will have to wait a bit for that. Until then we will leave you with our full process on how to properly install and connect cabinets!
When we purchased our home 4 years ago we had to replace all of the appliances, so we had fairly new ones to work with. But the stainless steel appliances just did not flow well with our new design, plus we needed a counter depth fridge this time around which did require us to sacrifice some space, and we’re 100% ok with that.
We decided to go all in on a suite of matte white Café appliances, each featuring brushed bronze hardware. We have been lusting over these for so long and have been waiting to put them into a new kitchen space, but didn’t realize it would be ours! The dual convection gas range is nearly the same as what we had before, just a slightly updated and way more sleek and sexy version of it. But our dishwasher was a bit of a splurge as far as dishwashers go because the space is open and we didn’t want to hear it. It is one of the quietest on the market, plus it has an LCD screen on the front that will show if the unit is in use or clean! Great for teaching the boys to do the dishes.
Well you didn’t think this One Room Challenge wasn’t going to come without a set of challenges did you?!? Overall this project has been running rather smoothly for us given the current situation with COVID-19. As many of you know we aren’t actually doing the project live this year. We started earlier to help balance the workload between client projects and our own personal brand work, as well as the most important job of raising two small boys. But week four has brought a whole new level of challenges for us. During this week COVID-19 made a major impact on our project. In Michigan our state went into a stay at home order closing down all non-essential business, including construction. Which not only meant our business was shut down, all other suppliers and manufacturers were shut down too…and we had quite a few things in the works. While this came as a total shock for us we completely understood the reasoning behind the decisions our Governor made, and respect them 1000%.
Wondering how this made a major impact on us and this project? Well the answer to that question is countertops! You guys all Michigan fabricators are closed leaving us with no way to get counters and putting our project on somewhat of a hold! Meaning here we’ve got these beautiful cabinets now installed and absolutely no way to actually use them. No running water. No place to work on or the ability to have a somewhat functioning kitchen. All while we stay home, homeschooling two kids and trying to make sense of what this new reality means for our business. Stay with us this week as we come up with some solutions for our family to thrive in a home without running water!
You can follow us along on our journey over on Danielle’s Instagram page. And stay tuned because tomorrow we are dropping a brand new podcast series inside our Stay True Podcast with all kinds of behind the scenes insight and interviews you aren’t going to want to miss. Subscribe today on Apple or Spotify and you’ll get the notification right to your phone!
Much Love –