I stood half way up the stairs as the installer released the gigantic roll of carpeting. It spilled across the bare floor, revealing a wave of swirling texture in shades of brown and beige.
“You don’t like it, do you?” the man said.
“I have to like it,” I said. “I’m going to live with it for a long time.”
For sure, anyway, I had to convince myself that the carpet was likable. I mean, we picked it out, didn’t we? And paid a large chunk of money. There was no turning back. The truckload of berber was cut and ready to go down in three bedrooms, one family room, the upstairs bonus room and the staircase on which I was standing.
That was a dozen years ago.
Our main objective in selecting that carpeting was that it “not show dirt or stains.” The secondary goal was that it “not be the pinkish-off-white color” of the flooring it replaced, inherited from the previous homeowner.
And while we accomplished both those goals in spades, we failed in another matter. The installer was right: We didn’t much like it.
A sample, even a big one, like the one we borrowed from the store, was nothing compared to an entire house full of the stuff.
Now there are worn spots that I try to hide with strategically placed throw rugs. There are stains that won’t come out with a cleaning so are treated with more throw rugs.
“I hate throw rugs,” Brian says. “Let’s get new carpeting.”
So today we shopped. We’re steering clear of sculpted swirly patterns, avoiding berber or a color scheme that resembles pebbles on a park path.
Brian says all carpeting is brown: “Dark brown, light brown, medium brown, mixed brown.” He’s kind of right. There are token additional colors for show but 99.3 percent of the samples are brown. Good thing that's what we want, anyway, as does apparently everyone else.
Of course, there are many other decisions to make concerning weaves, weights, nylon or polyester. Nylon wears and cleans better, we’re told by two different salespersons in two different stores, but one says that the exception would be a higher grade poly. I haven’t even touched on the topic of pads. There’s a lot to be said on that issue too, but I’ll save it for some bedtime reading if I can’t sleep tonight.
After much consideration over every tone and tone variation, we narrowed the search to one group of about 600 on display.
“How long will it last?” Brian asked the saleslady.
Perhaps 25 years came the answer. At least for one group we considered.
“I’ll be in the ground by then,” he replied. That will definitely cut down on foot traffic.
We’ll probably order it on Friday.
And it will be a brown. Somewhere between medium and dark brown -- really more of a mixed brown, when you get right down to it.