Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Kitchen floor vision-shifting

So now that you're all caught up on what went down with our kitchen floors, let's get to the fun part... how we'll change them. But first, we should talk about how we originally wanted to change them.

The original floors that we uncovered in the bathroom seemed to be in decent shape. Definitely in need of some major cleaning and TLC, but solid. Because the kitchen runs right into the dining room and the length of the house can be seen in one view, we knew that for the floors to shine, they'd need to be brought up to the condition of those in the rest of the house. That felt like a big challenge... notice I didn't say the floors were in great shape. At this point we were also under the impression that we'd be able to finish this project before we moved in (ha!), so we didn't have weeks to spend cleaning, sanding, and refinishing the kitchen.

That's when I remembered one of my original loves: painted kitchen floors. I love the rustic look that painted floors can immediately provide a room, and also love the interplay between a rustic floor and more modern touches everywhere else. But as much as I love the look, the idea of pure paint didn't feel quite for this room... until I stumbled upon whitewash.

It occurred to me that if we cleaned the floors and then whitewashed them, we'd be camouflaging their condition a bit but unlike solid paint, still be able appreciate the grain of the wood. I love the softer, gauzy look of whitewash, which immediately makes me want to put on beach music and stir up a gin and tonic.

I've lost all the sources for these images, sadly... but if they're yours, I'll be happy to credit you!

At this point in the game I was still wrapping my head around how to paint the kitchen walls. I hadn't yet discovered Benjamin Moore's Azores, but I already knew that my standard kitchen palette of bright red and yellow wasn't going to fly in this room. The kitchen seemed to want lighter tones, using my bright cookware and dinnerware as accent colors. It occured to me that adding a layer of color onto the floor, on top of the whitewash, might give me that pop of color I love while respecting the softer look that the kitchen seemed to want. I decided to do a diamond pattern in red, much like the second image below:

I was beyond excited about that plan. But then, the whole there-are-no-floors-here thing happened. And so for the past couple of months, we decided that our options were:
  1. Buy untreated wood planks, try to match the flow of the rest of the house, and do our whitewash/paint design anyway.
  2. Put in another flooring material altogether (I do love saltillo)
  3. Put in laminate flooring that looks like wood, and perhaps like whitewashed wood
Price and labor comparisons being what they are, combined with our desire to have something in place in a few weeks when our toddling and crawling nephews come to visit, helped us make a decision. Here are the notes:
  1. Real wood feels like a permanent solution - either with the original vision or something that matches the rest of the house as much as possible - but it seems like a lot of work for us to take on right now, and a bigger job than we have in mind.
  2. The non-wood/"wood" flooring options I love are costly, and I don't want to put in anything that I don't love.
  3. Easy to install, easy to maintain, available in tons of looks... and not so expensive that it prevents us from doing something different in a few years if we want to upgrade.
So here's what we ordered over the weekend: a laminate that looks like whitewashed pine. I'm ditching my red pattern dream, for now. We've had the samples on the floor for over a month, and finally decided it was time.

I'm excited about the rustic vibe this floor will give the kitchen, which will work with the old white cabinets we have now and the new white cabinets we hope to have one day. Between the Azores on the wall and the bright accents everywhere, our kitchen has been developing a bit of an island vibe, and I think this flooring will suit that perfectly.

We're hoping the installation will go smoothly. We're doing it ourselves to save money, and are a little worried about the general unevenness of this old house and all the cuts we have to do between the island/built-ins/pantry/bathroom. Folks who've Pergo'd their own houses have told us we'll be fine, so our fingers are crossed. The flooring should get here in two weeks, just days before my sister's fam visits, so the pressure will be on to get moving once it arrives.

Any whitewash fans out there? Any laminate success or horror stories? Send us your tips!


  1. Love the new plan for whitewash floors! Can't wait to see how they turn out with all your colorful kitchen pieces - it's going to be gorgeous.

  2. You are totally living my home decor dream Maggie. I can't wait to see how you finish this.

  3. sweet! you are making me want to rip something up/out of my own house. can't wait to see how it turns out!


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  8. Also choose a product that has a repeat of at least 6 planks - that means 6 different grain photographs that repeat around the room - and in random lengths, to disguise repeats. find out here

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