Welcome Home

The past two weeks have been a little nuts! Within 8 hours of closing on our new home, we began the renovation process, as we had 2 weeks to do all of the work, clean, pack and move. In the meantime, Scott had to take off for 5 days to compete at the Tae Kwon Do World Championship tournament.*

With both kids, a puppy, a bum knee, broken air conditioning, hired crew and amazing girlfriends, we got it done!

The house had 18″ ceramic tile throughout the main areas. I’m not a big fan of tile, while it’s a cinch to keep clean, it’s hard on my feet and knees. I wanted wood laminate instead of the tile, and after consulting with my friends on Twitter, we decided to remove the tile completely and then laying the laminate.

The alternative would have been to lay the laminate on TOP of the tile, but then we’d have an awkward 3/4″ tall transition to the carpeted areas of the house. It’s a lot of tile to remove, over 1,000 square feet!

All the bedrooms would get brand new carpet and I decided that the bathrooms and kitchen would stay as-is for right now. We’ll renovate those areas after we settle down a bit.

Our family room is quite small compared to our old house – and this built-in entertainment center/fireplace thing was not really placed in the ideal location. There was no way we could center a couch directly in front of the television without blocking access to the patio. Simply put, I’m the gal who arrives extra early, counts and measures out the movie theater seats and rows so that I can sit dead center in front of the screen.

Plus, who needs a fireplace in our area of Florida where a “cold winter day” is 50F?

Within days, the floor was smashed in pieces. How do you do this? With 5 muscular men and several handheld powerful, vibrating machine chisel thingies.** I absolutely recommend hiring people to do this.

After the tile was out, they had to come back with more powerful, vibrating machinery to chip and sand off the adhesive on the flooring.Β 

Coco supervised, as usual.

As for the fireplace, it’s gone. Our contractor, Brett came over with his son and knocked that entertainment center down.

Then the wall was patched.


Because of my busted knee, I couldn’t be on my feet too long and couldn’t climb ladders. My friends Kelly and Wendy came to the rescue and painted the trim where wall meet ceiling and where ceiling meets even higher ceiling.

You know when you have awesome girlfriendsΒ when they’ll climb ladders for you to vacuum.***

I loved the floor crew – it’s a family business, Kevin Hasett and his team stayed an entire week to do the job. I fed them Gatorade, pizza and frozen delicacies like White Castle burgers and Hot Pockets.

The wood laminate we chose was a darker, walnut-y color with a smooth surface and glossy sheen.

After sweeping 82 times and Swiffering 53 times, the floor looks fantastic.****

Our first three pieces of furniture: Dakota, a massive 125 pound pit bull makes a comfy beanbag. His sister, Nakita, a 60 pound pit bull makes an excellent footrest. Skinny, scrawny Coco would make a great coffee table, except she’d probably eat your snacks and drink your beer.

New furniture arrives and then the moving begins.

After 3 days and nights of moving, unpacking, organizing, we finally had the chance to explore the edges of the property. We hadn’t walked the perimeter yet, so last night was the perfect to see the view from the tree line.


On our walk, I discovered a shed I never even knew existed!

And a concrete platform. Perfect for FIREWORKS!!!!

And the perfect spot at the second fishing pond for our housewarming party – a pig roast.

As Ty Pennington would say, “Welcome home, Steamy Kitchen family, welcome home.”*****


*Scott came home with BLING from his Tae Kwon Do tournament! He won 1st Place for Sparring, 2nd Place for Creative Weapons and 2nd Place for Traditional Weapons!


**My mom reads my blog, keep it clean guys, keep it clean.


***I’ll show you their pretty faces another time, the three of us were dirty, grungy, dusty and sweaty.


****Have pets and kids?! DO NOT GET THIS KIND OF FLOORING. It scratches and shows scratches like crazy — you look at the floor the wrong way and it scratches. (_____________) Β <–obscenities deleted. This subject will have to be for another post πŸ™‚

*****Those boots? Last month. Austin, Texas. Troublemakers.

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Comments 57

  1. Kim Beaulieu

    Congrats on a job well done Jaden! The house looks amazing. Loved all the photos and must say your gf’s rock. Not everyone would climb a ladder to vac! I really enjoyed watching the progress at the house. Thanks for sharing with us. May you and your family have a lifetime of happiness in your new home! xx

  2. Kelly

    I thought laminate is supposed to be pretty scratch resistant? A friend of mine has laminate that survives 2 labs and a kid without a scratch. Is it the type of laminate? Are there different types that are more resistant than others? I’d been considering it for a while now because my friend’s held up so well and so easy to clean compared to my real hardwoods (which I’m starting to dislike.) Now I need to reconsider. :\

  3. Coralee Hines

    I’m looking forward to seeing posts from your beautiful new kitchen, congratulations!

  4. Coralee Hines

    I’m looking forward to the posts from your beautiful new kitchen, congratulations!

  5. Tiffany

    You must be so relieved to finally be moved. Gorgeous house and yard.
    I love those boots! Made my little Texas heart skip a beat! Who makes them?
    Can’t wait for you to post recipes from your new kitchen.

  6. Barbara | Creative Culinary

    What a magical place to raise a family. Sorry the magic didn’t translate to the flooring. I personally love good old fashioned hardwood oak flooring. With three coats of hard protectant on top! I did order some laminate to put on a table for food shots though…does that count? Congrats on the new place!

  7. Ilke

    The place looks peaceful, outdoors and indoors…
    And you are lucky to have girlfriends like this… That is some tall ladder and she did good job balancing herself on the ladder!

  8. Sally

    Oh Jaden, what a week! So happy for you in your new house. I’ve lived through many renovations–how soon we forget. Loved seeing the pics! p.s., In one renovation we had to rip out the whole kitchen floor as soon as it was installed–it was cork, a bad idea, looked hideous. Luckily it was a small kitchen, but it looked great later with pre-fabbed hardwood (?) can’t remember, it was light oak something, not hard to install. Live and learn. Live and learn. πŸ™‚

  9. Debbie

    Congrats on the new house! I have bamboo flooring & will never get it again! It scratches, dents, etc with minimal effort & I thought I was doing the right thing by being environmentally conscious & replacing my flooring with bamboo when we renovated our kitchen. BTW, love the silhouette pics of the boys & CoCo!

  10. Kalyn

    Good luck with all the renovating. My house is a lot smaller, but I think I have changed pretty much every inch of it, so I know what you’re going through. Trust me, it will be worth it!

  11. Sherri M

    Congratulations! Everything looks amazing. Can’t wait to see it come together for you! I have laminate in my house and love the look, hate the way it wears. Don’t let your girlfriends on it with their stillettos, either. Mine’s full of high heel marks, dog paw prints and scratches. When I really clean and shine it, it still looks great, right up until the sun hits it and you can see all the divots in it.

  12. Jen da purse Ho

    i can’t believe you broke up all that tile!! it was so pretty! but the wood floors are waaaay prettier. πŸ™‚

    congrats on the move! everything looks so beautiful and im’ so excited for you πŸ™‚

  13. diane and todd

    Congratulations to our favorite family!!!! We’re so frigging happy for you guys. What an amazing place to start the new chapter of your exciting life!!!
    and congrats to Scott, what a rock star!!
    d and t

  14. May

    Congratulations to you and your family. New home and Bling!!! What a way to start the second half of the year. Love the back yard! Enjoy your new castle.

  15. Ching

    You deserve it! Enjoy the house, am sure you’ll love every bit of it, including the inevitable ‘characters’ that would be added to laminated flooring, congrats again πŸ™‚

  16. rita

    CONGRATS!!! love your new kitchen and house! not to mention your boots. they’re so adorable! CONGRATS to scott! nice bling he got there. indeed, a fantastic way to start the next chapter of your lives.

    we will celebrate for you guys next weekend at the bierfest. woohoo!!

  17. Carrie

    What a saga! All your hard work paid off — it looks fantastic! What fun for us getting to follow along and see each step by step. πŸ™‚

  18. Maureen

    Sorry about the scratching – same thing at our house but I had to let it go and not worry about it. I ended up worrying about all the cat hair that would show up with the late afternoon sun. πŸ™‚

    The new place looks fantastic.

  19. Kim in MD

    Wow…you have been busy! Your new home is gorgeous, Jaden! I am so happy for you and your family! As soon as I read that you installed laminate, I was concerned. I went with 5″ oak flooring when I renovated my home. It can be re-screened when needed or sanded completely if ever needed (I have children and pets). Did you choose laminate over wood because of the heat and humidity in Florida?

    Also, I just wanted to add that I am SO the girl that gets to the movies early get the seats in the center of the theater, too! I would have ripped the fireplace out, too! πŸ™‚

    Happy Independence Day!

  20. Joan

    Health and happiness in your new home. And thank you for sharing the work with us – wouldn’t think that the beautiful, shiny and dark new flooring would scratch right away. Ah well – have everybody look up!

  21. Helene

    So happy for you guys! The house is looking fabulous!
    Hope your knee is on the mend!
    Oh I wish I had seen your question about laminate. I would have told you to keep the tiles… They may feel a bit harder on your feet but when the AC is running, the tile also feel cooler under your feet. A plus int the South πŸ™‚
    We have 2 dogs and after using laminate and ending with a very scratched floor at our first house (and only one dog then) we decided to install the very cheap lamininate stuff this time. It actually does not show scratches and Lord knows these 2 dogs run and slide a lot on this floor. I still want to do tile on day though.
    Call me nuts but I do love the look of the bare floor, tile removed and sanded…what an incredible textured backdrop for pictures – lol!

  22. Maryann

    Congrats! Enjoy this new home. Seems like a great place to raise a family. Agree with you about the fireplace! We have one and use it just to use it about twice a year. Florida homes just seem silly with one. The granite around the fireplace is a good place for tchotchke though : )

  23. Soyon

    Love your new home! Wooden floors and dogs don’t go very well I’ve found, even real wooden floors. Look at it as your house getting character?

  24. Dee

    Woohoo! Congrats! The new home looks gorgeous. Being asian, I always wear slippers/house shoes anyway and prefer laminate. ;p I am so envious of your pond! Can’t wait to see pics from the housewarming party!

  25. Howard

    Beautiful Home and its coming alone fine. Congrats to a Beautiful and Peaceful Life in your new home.May your Family and you always be Blessed in every way. And the views are Fantastic. Peace and Blessings Jaden….

  26. Lana

    We had a lighter-colored wooden laminate all over the house, but we also had girls and cats, instead of boys and big dogs:) And my husband is a writer who would not know what to do if faced with a guy in martial arts uniform. So, I thought the laminates were the perfection:)
    I love the smell of fire in the fireplace, but I would have gotten rid of mine also, if I were in Florida (we are in SoCal, and I don’t want one here, either), because it really disrupted a flow in that room.
    Your property is gorgeous, and I would be giddy (as I am sure you are) with all the possibilities that expanse offers. Enjoy it!

  27. KarenLana

    Such a beautiful home: house and grounds! =)

    We have real hardwood floors but they scratch too (thanks to misinformation from the floor refinishers and the polyurethane they recommended). Our 80 pound yellow lab now has to wear “Soft Paws” nail caps which help considerably.

    Love your new digs and wish you lots of joy there!

  28. Jan

    Best wishes to you and your in your beautiful new home. You too are blessed with wonderful friends. I have been in the same spot and really appreciated how friends were there to help.
    Blessings to you and your family. We enjoy your website.

  29. Olinda Paul

    Congratulations on your new place. Yep, the scratching on the floor was a problem for me too. I just said, well, too late and we can change it out later. Your right, easier on the tootsies and love the easy clean up on it though. Absolutely no high…high heels. You WILL have puncture wounds in the floor. Keep it a flip flop house and you will be fine.

    Hope your knee heals well. Hope to see some “pig” treats come out of the new kitchen. I love roasted pig.


  30. Susan Newcomb

    I live in the desert, and tile is a necessity! We don’t have the dogs, because we are too old to want to have anybody tying us down. Happy for you and your new home! Simply Gorgeous!! The word, “Carpet” only exists as an area rug… Thanks for your usual sharing! Enjoyed the tour.

  31. Susan

    You have wonderful friends Jaden. Congratulations on doing so much in two weeks! You must be exhausted — especially given your poor knee. Enjoy your new home!

  32. Kiki

    Wow, everything looks amazing! Congratulations on the beautiful new home! I get a little homesick looking at pictures of Florida – I was born and (partly) raised there and now live in the Netherlands.

    As for the laminate, we have the cheap stuff from Ikea and it’s held up beautifully through both the previous owners and almost three years of us/our girls/bunny/horrible cat. Then again, I’ve never been one to care much about floors. To me, the color matters and I like something that looks like wood, but I really couldn’t care less if there are scratches – it’s just what I walk on =)

  33. Nancy

    Love your website and the way you write.
    Yes, Congratulations on your new house. I am still working on the defects of my condo after a year of moving in. So for you to accomplish all that in 2 weeks ,, wow, you must have worked really really hard !
    Thank you for sharing pics of your new house, I really enjoyed it.

  34. Lenore

    Your new house is such a HOME. I love it. And the new floors are gorgeous….I’d never thought laminate would make that much of a difference on the feet and knees compared to tile.

  35. Tammy

    WOW! It all looks amazing! I’m sure you must feel a bit of a burden lifted. So happy for you guys! Thanks for letting us into your life! You’re so personable! I just love your blog! Thanks again!

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