Hey  it’s me again.

Just dropped another episode of Making Our Way Home and this one takes headaches away.

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This weeks read dives into the process of selecting the right finishes when it comes to not only buying a new home, but also if you are in the works of a home renovation yourself.

I am going to break it down for you really quick and show you a easy way to start the process of elimination when it comes to searching through all of those never ending piles of samples.

Get comfy because you are about to learn some epic knowledge.

I think one of my favourite and least favourite part of going along with the whole building process of our home was, the selection of picking our finishes. It hit me like a load of bricks how my past clients probably felt when they first stood in front of a pile of samples and knew that they had to just pick one.

For me, it was not the flooring or wall colour or even the tile selection. It was the cabinet colour and here is the reason why.

As most of you know, we started the process of buying our first home back in March when this thing called Covid happened. I have a really strong feeling that my experience compared to others pre-covid experiences are going to be a bit different and that is the reason why it was a little bit harder than it should have been.

Since a lot of the services were shut down and no one was really allowed to go in anywhere in person, we ended up having to pick up the samples and bring them some. And by bring them home I mean only for the cabinet colour selection.

Usually when I walk my clients through a renovation, I always let them know that selecting the flooring is always the first place you want to start. It holds a lot of real estate in a space and costs a lot of money to change out if you hate it.

For me, its always about how to reuse or repurpose a lot of things and that’s why having a neutral flooring is important because you can make it go with so many different things. This also saves you money because it cost a lot to change out flooring so getting it right the first time is a must.

For us that did not happen. We did not get to choose our flooring first. We ended up selecting our cabinetry colours, hardware, and counter tops for both the kitchen, ensuite, main bath and powder room.

Do I recommend this? No.

Did I end up doing it? Yes.

Did it come out fabulous? Fucking right it did.

AND that is only because I knew the look I wanted and bet on myself that I would make it work with what ever they gave me to pick from.

Was A concerned? Probably, but he never quested it and that says a lot. This man has so much confidence in my skills that he wanted absolutely nothing to do with it.  Was he trying to get out of it?

Probably, did I mind? Not at all.

I spent about five hours over the course of about three days going over samples from the millwork supplier. Usually I can pick out options in less than 10 minutes but for the life of me this was hard.

I am going to have a few people disown me for saying this but for the love of anything with personality I did NOT want anything to do with white cabinets.

I know, I know, they are gorgeous when done right but I will say it now and I will say it again, it has been done and honestly its just not our style.

I have done nothing but white kitchens for the last three years so half the options in the box of about 40 samples were cut out.  This is where the first of three L’s comes in.


Go into this knowing what you absolutely do not want. This will most likely always cut 1/3 to ½ of the options down for you.

For example: we knew we did not want white so that cut out any white painted finishes and any whitewashed wood finishes. Leaving us with a few painted finishes and wood stain options.

By doing this you are allowing yourself to no even give you the option of looking at something you do not want. This cuts down on the overwhelming feeling of too many options.

Then you are going to hit up L number one & two and jump into a hot minute of speed dating with your samples.

Yep that is right you are going to depend on your gut here and give yourself one minute on the clock to go through the rest of the samples.

You are going to place them in piles. One pile for the ones you love, one pile for the ones you like and keep tossing them into that Lose it pile as well for ones you cannot stand.

I mean it, rely on your gut here. I encourage you to do this in a well-lit space. Natural lighting is always a key element in selecting the right one. You will get its truest tone and no surprises when it gets installed after looking at it under what most likely is, yellowed halogen lighting.

I have been known to take samples outside if the lighting in a showroom is bad.  I also encourage you to bring in larger elements of your space for samples via pictures or physical items are better for a truer tone match.

We have a teak china cabinet that is going to be on the main floor along with a lot of other teak pieces and wood pieces. So, selecting the right wood tones was important for the flow of the space and our larger items. I made sure to at least place our cabinet samples against the cabinet door to make sure it was not going to be a disaster.

Now you have three piles of things you love, like and hate. Take those piles and push aside the like and hate.

Yes, that like pile is going bye bye because you clearly are not in love it with so why even give it an option. I say this because I am pretty sure you have more that three samples in that love pile and if you don’t well damn you are either really good at knowing what you love or you cannot decide for the life of you.

Either way you will make this work.

This process can work for anything. It works when you are deciding the design style you like, the paint colours, flooring, carpet, trim the list goes on and on.

Take a minute and look at your samples. Compare them and set them up against any other samples you may have.

I encourage you to think about the space and really try to visualize it do not be afraid to close your eyes or be weirdly awkward and stare out into the abyss like me with a blank face. What ever works for you, do it.

Think about the over all design scheme you want to go with.

For A and I we knew we loved a mid-century modern design with touches of retro pop art and vintage comfort.

We knew we loved wood tones and wanted to continue with that warm tone throughout the spaces. We also knew we wanted our art collection to scream look at me, so wall colour was a no brainier.

I get this said to me a lot and honestly, I am going to give you some cold hard truth here. Just because I am a designer does not mean designing my own house is simple.

For any designer or creative out there, we all know the struggle we must deal with everyday when it comes to not changing around a space after we spent about 4 hours on Pinterest the night before.

Designing our spaces is just as hard or maybe even harder because we being designers have that added pressure of designing a perfect space.

Let me put it this way, A went up to shower about 15 minutes before my parents showed up for a visit earlier this year. Within those 15 minutes I managed to re arrange our living room by myself because I was bored just waiting there.

I do not know If I am the only crazy one who does that, but this is why key spaces in our house are never done because I can never decide on what looks good. It a revolving door around here I swear.

Therefore, having a break down of steps is always the deal breaker for me and that is why its going to help you decide on the perfect finishes and the over all look for your space.

We may have kind of started a bit ass backwards when we went through the process but we got through it and I am totally psyched at how it turned out.

Even though the first option for the kitchen cabinetry was discontinued and we ended up picking all of our flooring and tile for that sample, we were lucky enough to find something just as good that ended up flowing with the other selections.

I remember going to pick our flooring, tile, and carpet options and at first glance picking the same samples in my head that we ended up going with.

Let us just say it took about 38 minutes to drive there and about 6 minutes to pick the final selections. I do not think the gentleman who was helping us knew what just happened. Usually he spends a few hours with people trying to select it.

And that is why knowing what you want and knowing the process of elimination is so important. We had about seven samples of laminate flooring, 12” x 24” tiles and carpet for the stairs.

First thing first, when you walk in the whole main entry is tile up until a step. So, first impressions are important.

We knew the look; we knew the tone we wanted, and we knew we wanted something that would blend in well with fur baby hair. I knew white was out, next came the typical beige tones and low and behold its like they knew I was coming. The perfect black tone tile was there screaming my name.

30 seconds in tile was selected because knowing the look, dark tiles were the only option.

Next, we hit up the main attraction, the laminate floors. Yes, we had the option of upgrading to hardwood, but we have animals and id cry if I saw a bunch of scratches on our new floor so durability won this one.

For me I stay in the realm of mid- darker tones for flooring. It covers a large space in your home design and getting the right flooring that suits your design is key.

You know were fans of teak and of course I am a sucker for some walnut grains so finding a floor finish that did not have too much orange in it but also not too much brown was something to consider. We also had to think about our kitchen cabinet colours, so this took a bit longer to go with.

I eliminated all light wood tones and that included anything with a blue under tone. Our house is mainly warm tones so that just is not an option. That left us with warmer gray tones, red tones, and super dark ash option. To be honest there was really only two options that would work, and I wasn’t wild about either of them.

But I picked and that crisp warm brown and black grain elegant flooring was it.

We finished it off with the carpet selection and thank god the space we were in had the exact staircase we were getting and it just so happened to have the same carpet we selected on it.

This was a hot minute decision as well. We knew light carpet was NOT an option with animals and it a high traffic space so that eliminated about four options. I will say this now I hate carpet so anything we went with was fine because I had the option in the back of my head to re do the stairs later if I really hated it. But we went with a cream, brown and grey tone that brings all the vast variety of wood tones in the space together.

After all of that I sat back and said holy hell that is a lot of warm tone browns in one space and the furniture is not even in there yet. Yes, I will admit it I got a bit scared for a second then I remembered. All the walls are going to be pure white. Its fine, everything is fine and I was right.

We aimed for a very masculine mid- century-modern look and I really think we achieved it with the options we were given. From the dark and dreamy black tones and rich warm wood tones our house is defilingly on the right path of fully making itself a home.

The three L’s


The key to saving your sanity when it comes to those pesky decisions on home design.

Breaking down the process is key to achieving the perfect house pallet. If you have no idea what design style you want, make sure to check out my blog post this week. I am breaking down style options and showing you a few of my favourite options as well. From picking the perfect flooring to the first stroke of paint on the walls I have you covered in an easy step by step guide to finding home.

So that is a wrap on this week’s episode of making our way home. I hope you keep losing it, liking it, and loving your way to the perfect finishes.

Just keep in mind if you ever ever ever have any questions do not be scared reach out to me via Instagram. All you must do is slide into my DM’s an ask your questions because I love helping you guys.

Do not forget to sign up for my mailing list if you have not because there is still free printable for you to get in your inbox. It is a goodie!

Once again, I am Mel you just listened to another episode of making our way home where we scheme the real AF dilemmas of home design in the house buying process.

Thank you so much now stay savvy stay healthy and let’s fall in love with our homes!!

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