For the majority of the renovation project, most product purchases were were made in this fashion:
Spouse and I proceed to nearest home improvement store after laboring all day at house. We are hungry and dirty. Purchase must be completed "now" because it's time to install whatever item we are shopping for.
Spouse: What light fixtures/medicine cabinets/door handles do you want to buy for the house?
Me: Who cares? Just buy whatever is on sale and let's go get dinner. I'm starving.
Similarly, many projects were completed simply because we grabbed something that we liked on impulse and tossed it into the cart. Case in point, the glass tile that now adorns the fireplace.
First, CPM spent a day constructing the mantel, and the frame for our 52 inch flat screen television out of leftover trim boards:
We went to Home Depot for something that evening, I don't recall what. On the way out, Home Depot had set up their "buy this crap" section, which included an assortment of glass tile sheets that were on sale.
Him: Hey, that's neat. Let's get some. We can put it on the fireplace.
Me: Sounds good! I'm hungry!
Thus, the following day, CPM completed his first solo tile job, with me providing helpful clean up assistance. We borrowed the tile saw from the guy who did our bathroom tile work. We used leftover slate tiles (found in our guest bathroom) to line the interior of the fireplace, and the new glass tile to do the exterior. Did you know that tile work is really easy? I write that as if I were the one making the measurements and cuts, but really, I think I could handle the saw if it came down to it.
Voila. Looks great.
We plan to put a vent free gas log set into the fireplace (that is, if our tile work hasn't turned the whole fireplace into a fire trap, in which case, it becomes a decorative item only, where I will stick some fancy candles for show.)
Really, the only advanced "research" that I did during this entire renovation process was for the appliances, and that was really only for pricing. Yes, I spent a lot of time on design blogs, but if you asked me six months ago if I had any idea that the house would look the way it does today, I would tell you "no." I had no idea what the finished product would look like. I knew the layout. Finishes got selected as we reached their install dates. We really just flew by the seat of our pants through the whole process. There are still things that I regret (like what I did to the kitchen layout will annoy me for life), but, in the end, I'm satisfied and looking forward to actually living in the house.
Moving day is this Sunday. (Thanks, impending snow/rain storm, for making me change from Saturday. I hate winter.)