And the results are in…

and I have to admit, you all really surprised me with your favorite choice for our potential new kitchen counter tops.

Polished Concrete Countertop Readers choice

It turns out that sample #1, with nearly 50% of the vote, was the clear winner. Here’s how the results breakdown:

Polished Concrete Countertop Poll ResultsNow when I said you surprised me with your favorite pick, what I meant was, how did you all pick the one that wasn’t my favorite? It’s just not possible. 😉 Don’t worry, I’m slowly coming to terms with it.

With that being said, we haven’t made any final decisions, but we’re thinking we like the darker shade of #1, combined with the browner tint and greater prevalence of stone pieces in the concrete of #2. Many of you said you liked the darker concrete with our new lighter cabinets, and I have to say I agree. See, we’re all about compromise over here. 🙂

Now about that blue glass…well, that’s still up for debate. Jeff likes it (and so do many of you) and I don’t, so we’re working on finding a happy medium. The perils of a young couple (madly in love, of course) renovating a home!

Here’s a refresher of what the four samples look like:

Polished Concrete Kitchen Countertops SamplesI’m really looking forward to the next steps in the process, and of course keeping you all in the loop. Jeff’s warned me that making the actual counter tops will take some time given the amount, size, and time it takes for everything to set and dry. So I guess I’ll be working on my patience too.

Happy weekend all. Thanks for your feedback. We appreciated it!

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This is where you come in…

and I meant to ask your opinion sooner, but with the excitement of last week I kind of got sidetracked.

You may remember that Jeff and I are setting out to re-do our kitchen countertops on our own, not only to save money, but because Jeff really likes the polished concrete look and he’s slowly convincing me I like it too.

So over the past few weeks, he’s made four samples with the four different color pigments he ordered from Direct Colors. In addition to the different colors, Jeff’s varied the type, size and color of broken glass in each concrete square.

Polished Concrete Kitchen Countertops Samples

Here’s exactly how the samples breakdown (Jeff thankfully weighed-in on this part of the post):

*All samples were polished using diamond polishing pads starting with 50-grit and ending with 3,000-grit.

1. The concrete was pigmented with Direct Colors pigment #649 with a concentration to match their color “walnut”.  This was the first sample where we played around with different color glass and different size pieces. This sample contains blue, brown, clear, and a little bit of dark green glass.

2. This was the last sample completed, using pigment #653 and is supposed to be a “cocoa brown” per Direct Color’s chart.  This has mainly brown and clear glass pieces (we invested in a tile nipper to help make the glass pieces even smaller). The aggregate, or stone pieces in pre-bagged concrete are more prevalent, because we made sure to vibrate the concrete in the form really well.

3. Made at the same time as sample #2, this one was created to match Direct Colors’ “deep bronze” #680, and turned out much lighter than the color from their color chart. Again this one has smaller glass pieces, (mainly brown and clear) and more pronounced aggregate.

4. One of the first samples we used, pigment #500 is the “wildwood buff” color. This has varying sizes of glass in clear, brown, blue, and dark green.

Since these are just the samples, once we complete the actual counter tops there will be more consistency to the amount and sizes of the broken glass in the final product.

As a reminder, this is what our kitchen looks like with our newly painted cabinets.

Kitchen After 2

Now, this is where you come in (finally)…tell us what you think.

I have a favorite and I’m really hoping you share the same opinion, but I’ll try not to hold it against you if you don’t. 😉

We’re taking this roadshow to the chapel…

aka we’re getting hitched!!

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This past Friday, Jeff really surprised me on date night and you know, proposed. No biggie really. 😉

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Loved that a few of my friends dragged me to get my nails done a few days before. Smart thinking!

Not only did he pop the question, but he went above and beyond with the help of some of our best friends. It was perfect. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Engagement 1

Without boring you with too many details, I thought I’d share the quick(est) story of our engagement.

It started out as a date night with dinner at a favorite local restaurant. Jeff told me ahead of time that since I complain (only occasionally) he doesn’t plan enough dates in advance this date was his opportunity put it all together without my help. I tried my best to play it cool all week, but I was skeptical anything was being planned. Little did I know what was yet to come.

I’ll be honest, Jeff had been acting a little nervous and weird, both before and during dinner, so I’d be lying if I said I didn’t suspect something. In fact, during dinner I think I asked Jeff no less than ten times if he was feeling okay. He was sweating a lot! Poor guy.

So as we left the restaurant to head home (though he hadn’t admitted yet that’s where he was taking me) Jeff made me slip on a blindfold. I got pretty nervous and excited at that point! As we parked at our house, (by that point I’d figured out where we were and Jeff confirmed) he led me out of the car and down the stairs to our patio.

Engagement 13

As Jeff opened the fence and we stood on our patio, he took a few seconds and then told me to take off my blindfold, and when I did, there he was on one knee, ring box open, and all of our friends snapping photos in the background! I was shocked. I screamed and then stared at him in disbelief. I may or may not have dove for the ring too. 🙂

Proposal

After proposing and me answering “yes, of course!” all of our wonderful friends cheered and popped open the champagne.

Engagement 14 Engagement 16

Little did I know that Jeff had coordinated this proposal with our friend Grace (the one that just had a baby) a few weeks ago, so she could help plan and decorate. Let me tell you, she did a great job. The patio had lights, balloons, paper flowers, and pictures of us on clothespins everywhere. It was so romantic and thoughtful.

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Not to mention that the same group of friends we’d just hung out at the lake with the weekend before knew the whole time we were there and didn’t slip any details. Also, they all were able to make it to the celebration and it meant so much to us.

Engagement 7

It really was such a shock to learn how many people were in on the secret for over a week!

Thank you to all of our friends and family for their love, support and well-wishes this past weekend. It truly meant a lot.

Engagement 15

Had to make all the phone calls to family telling them the good news!

And at the risk of sounding super cheesy, a huge thank you to Jeff for making the evening perfect. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world!

Engagement 2

Engagement 4

Next up, just a little wedding planning and home remodeling. But that’s nothing, right?

I’m still not totally convinced…

about how we should do our new kitchen counter tops, but Jeff’s worked up a few samples of polished concrete and I have to say that I’m liking them more than I thought I would. Who knows, he may be right for a change. 😉

Concrete Countertops 8

After kicking off the kitchen renovation a few weeks ago with our newly painted cabinets, we decided to take the next step and tackle the old laminate counter tops currently in place.

Kitchen After 2

To be honest, I came into this part of the renovation with the idea that I just wanted to spend the extra money and pay for someone to install granite, with the hopes that we could be done quickly and moved onto the next project (the list is long my friends). However, Jeff’s had other ideas in mind. He’s been really eager to try polished concrete, and since I was very hesitant (kind of still am), he decided to work up a couple samples to see if we can find one we both agree on.

Concrete Countertops 2 Concrete Countertops 1

So far, we’ve stuck with Direct Colors concrete dyes, and we’re liking all the options they offer. While we originally ordered two colors to test out, we’ve since tested two more to see if we can find the perfect color for our kitchen. All of them are in the brown(ish) category.

On top of the pigment, we’re adding pieces of broken glass in hopes that it adds another level of customization and variety. Drinking beer and wine to ensure we have enough glass? I guess I can handle that.

Concrete Countertops 3 Concrete Countertops 4 Concrete Countertops 5^^Someone else was curious to see what Jeff was up to. Luckily, he’s the cutest spectator around.^^

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I hope not to keep you in suspense too long (I know it’s rough), but I’m learning this is not a quick process and we need a few more days before I can show you the samples.

Stay tuned!

It’s just like that movie “Couples Retreat”…

except, minus the tropical location and the whole talking about our feelings part. But hey, Lake Anna is not a bad substitute for meeting up with great friends, enjoying the sun, and drinking a few adult beverages (just a few).

CR 2013 1

What, you don’t have a wine koozie? You should probably get one.

So in this small world we live in, my best friend from high school, who also lives in D.C., happens to date Casey (pictured above) who’s good friend from high school Brandon, is one of Jeff’s good friends from college. Still following me? Basically, we have a little circle of friends from several walks of life, and having all that in common we decided to turn this get together into an annual thing! Second annual, to be exact.

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Seriously, how cute are these ladies? My high school friend Amanda on my left, and Brandon’s sweet wife Lee on my right.

We met up at Jeff’s parents house on Lake Anna for the weekend and spent lots of time on the water,

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They’re basically Simba and Nala.

CR 2013 9CR 2013 10indulging in great food and drinks,

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Nothing like making a good S'more!

Nothing like making a good S’more!

and of course spoiling the dogs, Piper and Cosmo, and Amanda’s collie Wynter.

CR 2013 4Oh and because we’re all getting old, there was a nap or two in there.

CR 2013 5Love spending our summer with great friends, but it wouldn’t hurt if time slowed down a little bit. Now, it looks like it’s back to more home repairs. I’ll clue you in on a little project we’re working on later this week!