After a lot of consideration and thought I decided to go with the dark hardwood floors. I appreciated all your tips and suggestions you sent me and in the end you REALLY did help with the final decision. And since I've been living with these new floors for 3 months now I can give my own review:) YES, hardwood does scratch easily with dog claws! On the bright side and like one blog friend mentioned, they look worn and "lived on" and since I love the shabby chic look, I kinda like how much they've "aged" already! Yes, they DO show a lot more dust! On the bright side I got one of those handy ROOMBA robot vacuums and that little guy has alleviated the need to sweep daily...now only once a week! All in all I love them...the colour of the Espresso stain and the warmth and softness of the hardwood under my feet! And as an added bonus Nathaniel saw them for the first time on June 1st and LOVES them too!
Thank you to my good friend Michelle for helping me pull up all the old carpet and laminate throughout!!! That was hard work!! Thank you to Holly for the great tip on where to purchase the floors for a serious STEAL of a deal!
A secret message I painted under the floor planks for my hero ;)
We could have ordered an already-stained stair nosing but a cheaper and readily available alternative was to stain them myself...which I did (with Michelle's help!)!
I also decided on white painted risers...a little extra effort but totally worth it for the final look!
Here are the changes in short order: took the carpet off the stairs and replaced with wood tops and white painted risers (life changing with 4 pets to not have carpet on the stairs! LOVE), got rid of all the 3.25 inch baseboard throughout the house and replaced with 5 inch base (also LOVE), replaced the entire main floor laminate with the hardwood as well as the hallway upstairs (so basically everywhere our animals venture is now hardwood)!
I REALLY love the contrast between the dark floors and all the white in our house...I also took into consideration that in two years time we will hopefully be selling our house and moving home to Victoria and so if the dark floors become too much work then we aren't committed to them for too long. As an added bonus instead of having the insurance company use their contractors to do all the work, I took the payout instead. This meant that I had to organize all the repairs myself(thanks to my friend Tony who laid the floors) and do a lot of the work myself, BUT I wound up with enough money left over for me and Nathaniel to take a vacation somewhere!!