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My Dream Wood Floor

Here’s a quick ‘how long have you been reading this blog’ check. Remember when Brandon and I installed bamboo flooring in a couple of rooms in our first house?

Installing Bamboo Flooring

We were so house-proud. Dark bamboo was especially good against pale pink walls!

It looked equally at home with charcoal gray, too. There are a bunch of options out there for dark bamboo, depending on whether you like it to be almost black, a little warmer with more brown, textured, or smooth. This espresso stain looks the closest to the finish we used all those years ago. Floor & Decor has a bunch of videos on their site, including one all about bamboo flooring.

Dark Gray Bedroom | Making it Lovely

That home was old (built in 1910), but the second floor was a later addition and we felt like we could deviate a bit from the style of the house. The dark floors were dramatic, and they provided the contrast I tend to love in design. A word of warning though — dark floors, be they wood, bamboo, carpet, or tile, need more frequent cleaning because every speck of dirt, dust, or pet hair shows. Still, they look good enough that I would take the tradeoff.

We’ve put in new flooring in the Victorian too. I was very pregnant when we remodeled the second floor, so I wasn’t about to do the installation myself. We did half of the hallway and got to a stopping point, with the intention of taking a break, having a baby, getting the house rewired, and then continuing on. The electrical work is about 80% done, according to the electricians, but the last 20% is going to see us ripping up a lot of the house to access everything. Poor house. But then we can finish the hallway (and a few other projects that the rewiring had put on hold)!

The Hallway's Floor, in Progress

The solid hardwood I chose for the hall is a skinny Gunstock Oak. I tried to match up our existing wood floor as closely as possible, in color and width. I do sometimes miss the drama of the dark floors in our old house, but a medium tone is beautiful too.

In a different house though? I would kill for a chance to install one of these gray wood finishes. I’ve seen a few of these at the store, and I think this one is my favorite. Installed in a chevron or herringbone pattern? It would be so good.

You know, like in Jacques Dirand’s Paris flat.

Jacques Dirand's Home

Sigh. Total dream floor. Does it really fit in a Chicago Victorian? DON’T CARE. But it doesn’t make sense to randomly add it to a hallway, and so we didn’t. Now if we were ever to replace the floor in the main rooms? It would be a serious contender.

An #InspiredStart with Coffee-Mate and David Bromstad

All reviews and opinions expressed in this post are unbiased and based on my personal view.

David Bromstad is an artist, designer, and HGTV host. He has also gotten into the world of product design. Last year, he made a pair of limited-edition labels for Coffee-mate’s French Vanilla and Hazelnut flavors, and now he has designed four new looks — two each for the same two varieties — available exclusively at Target. I was able to chat with David recently about his inspiration behind the designs, what a typical morning looked like for him, and how his home is shaping up these days. Plus we bonded over a mutual love of pink. “It’s just a happy color!” he says.

David Bromstad, shot for HGTV Magazine
Image provided by David Bromstad

This is Bromstad’s second collaboration with Coffee-mate, so I was curious about his inspiration and how he approached these new designs differently. He said that the first round was very painterly and artsy, on the contemporary side, but this time it was all inspired by his mom.

When David was twenty years old and first started drinking coffee, he’d have the summers off, and he and his mom would walk around her garden together. She taught him everything about flowers and gardening, explaining the differences between perennials and annuals, showing him what would come back or die off. The art of gardening is just as much science, and he was fascinated by it. When it came time to create his new bottle designs, he recalled those summer mornings spent with a cup of coffee and the company of his mom, and that led him to the floral imagery he used.

It seems like David is always doing a million things and is involved in multiple projects at any given time, but he still likes to start his day the same way he did when he was twenty! A little breakfast, followed by his morning coffee. Since he designed labels for both, I wondered if he had a favorite between Hazelnut and French Vanilla, but he couldn’t choose. He likes each on their own, but he loves them mixed together too. (I hadn’t even thought of mixing them, but I tried it and he’s onto something there.)

David Bromstad's Designs for Coffee-Mate

I’d seen Bromstad’s new home featured in an issue of HGTV Magazine recently, and it looked amazing but I remembered reading about his initial missteps in decorating it.

“When I first moved in, I tried to create a whole ‘Mr. Color Splash’ look. I painted the living room walls turquoise and put an orange cover on the couch with red pillows. Then I stopped, looked around and said, ‘I can’t live like this.’ It was the ugliest thing I’d ever done. So I returned 80 percent of the stuff I bought, painted the room white and added some ‘Mr. Color Splash’ touches.”

I’m always heartened to know that even the most experienced designers have trouble from time to time, especially since decorating and perfectionism had been on my mind when we spoke. I was curious about whether his home had continued to change, or if he considered it done.

His home, as it appeared in the magazine feature, was a “very fun, poppy house. Very black and white, which is very cool.” It has completely changed since being photographed though, because of a new furniture collection he had been working on. It hasn’t been professionally shot again yet, but he sent some photos over that he had taken with his phone so we could get a peek into his home’s latest look.

David Bromstad's Home
Image provided by David Bromstad

David Bromstad's Home
Image provided by David Bromstad

He loves it, and he loves that he was able to switch it up. Like a lot of us, it seems, David sees a house as an ever-changing thing! His partner is not as keen on change as David is, but he was open to it. He was (jokingly) kind of mad about the pink chairs, but even he had to admit that the texture made them “kind of amazing.”

David Bromstad's Adorable Dog on a Pink Chair in His Home
Image provided by David Bromstad

David describes his home as effervescent, saying that it’s soft, chic, and sophisticated, but with tons of color. It’s a little more mature, more his age now, and more ‘him.’ And he seems like a pretty reserved guy, don’t ‘ya think?

David Bromstad seems like a pretty reserved guy, don't 'ya think?
Image provided by David Bromstad

I start my day with breakfast and a cup of coffee too, and chatting with David had me feeling inspired. I decided to break out my brushes, and I customized that tray you saw toward the top of the post. I’ll have more photos to share with you next week, but in the meantime, I’m thinking about trying my hand at another painting project. I was thinking about what I use every morning that could use a little sprucing up. Maybe a set of coffee mugs or a clock? I’ve got plenty of paint left — let me know what you’d like to see it used on!

Drawing Inspiration

Drawing Inspiration | Making it Lovely

I’ve been drawing inspiration lately. Literally. Maybe a little painting, too.

Here, I was drawn to the color combination in the first image, the masculine detailing of the furniture in the second photo, and the pattern and detail of the antique rug in the third.

A Weathered Wooden Table with Modern Red Chairs from CB2

Campaign Dresser Meets Steamer Trunk

Antique Rug

Image Sources

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