Decisions, Decisions!

And I need YOUR help! Once again I have to apologise for being the worst blogger ever...but I must say that life has been quite hectic lately!!! My sister and her wonderful electrician boyfriend flew out from Victoria to wire our work-in-progress basement for us, but when we arrived at my house from the airport we opened the front door to discover it had rained indoors...yes, my top-floor washing machine had overflowed and all the water had flowed through the ceiling and destroyed our laminate floor. I think for a lot of people this would seem like a huge disaster, but when you have a sweetie overseas I think you learn to take everything in I thought to big deal :) on the down side, our insurance deductible is pretty steep, on the up side, our WHOLE main floor gets new flooring!!!! Since Nathaniel had just recently added laminate to our living room before he left, the existing laminate wasn't ever an exact match to the new laminate in the living room. So I will be honest and say I do think this is a blessing in disguise because now instead of having 2 different laminates on our main floor, we get to have one seamless matching floor!!! Here is where I need your help...opinions and advice and expertise are SO SO welcome!!! Since I have an opportunity to start fresh I have a few questions....
Do I go with laminate, engineered wood, or solid hardwood floors? We have been given a budget of $3 per square foot...anything above and beyond we can pay out of pocket as an upgrade. I know I can get laminate and engineered wood at that price, but for solid hardwood we would need to pay out of pocket. I have heard solid hardwood and especially engineered wood floors do not hold up well with large dogs (big claws)...and that with dogs laminate is the best option. I would LOVE to make the switch to real wood but do you think this would be a mistake with dogs? what is your opinion? real or faux? live with the scratches from the dogs if I choose wood or have a scratch resistant surface with laminate?

My other question is... what shade of flooring do I go for...light, medium or dark?? I do have a favorite shade in mind, but since I'm oh so indecisive and have a habit of changing my mind I wanted to ask what you here are some inspiration photos I love to help me make this decision...which do you like best?

LIGHT~ pros: airy, fresh, gorgeous, and shabby-chic cons: dogs + muddy paws = major prints, and since Toto is of the black variety and sheds like the dickens, I think his hair would show big time!

MEDIUM~ pros: large variety of floors available in this shade, a compromise between light and dark, wouldn't show my white cat hair or black dog hair as much as the other two shades  cons: seems a bit predictable and boring to me, not as much contrast

or DARK~ pros: stunning, rich, love the contrast, wouldn't show dirt as much  cons: if we go with laminate, there is only one dark shade to choose from at the store we have to get the flooring from

I cannot wait to hear all of your opinions!
ps~ I ran it by Nathaniel and I pretty much have free reign on this one :)

Happy New Years!

I just wanted to wish everyone a VERY Happy New Year! I spent the Christmas Holidays at home in Victoria and just returned home the other day! I have been dying to post some pictures but I realised I had forgot my camera cord to upload photos to my laptop back here in Edmonton. So at last here are a few. My sister Jessica, her boyfriend Ian and I all helped my Mom to install some flooring in her home over Christmas and my sister accidentally knocked over one of my Mom's china cabinets smashing the glass in the doors and all its contents. My Mom took it pretty well actually which surprised me. So I offered to paint and distress it and add some chicken wire to the doors and sides to give it an old country kitchen feel! Here is the before picture of my Moms broken cabinet:

And here is the after~

I was on really limited reasources so the chicken wire was the biggest splurge at $19 for a pretty big roll, there was PLENTY to spare.

I used some left over white paint my Mom had kicking around the house and a grey primer so it would look even more aged when I distressed it!

Then I just had a ton o'fun playing around with all my Grandma's antiques! I was so surprised to see that she had this mirror which is the EXACT one (the frame) which Holly and I found at the antique mall here in Edmonton! (same one I painted and put on my staircase wall)

Here are Jessica and I at Christmas dinner! It was so nice to be able to spend Christmas with family! We had a blast playing a bunch of fun games my Mom had planned for dinner.

We had a fun New Years too, we had a fondue night at my Dad and Leah's and then played Rockband until midnight!
While on the topic of New Years, one of my resolutions is to do more bog posts lol!