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Thoughts on new flooring

Instead of a pets on furniture post this morning, you're getting my thoughts on my flooring situation because I am short on submissions once again (if you'd like to submit photos please send them to kim[at]desiretoinspire[dot]net). I had Friday off so the husband and I went tile shopping AGAIN. Ottawa seems to be very limited in anything renovation related, so I have been having a hard time finding anything even remotely interesting, and every store seems to carry the same products. I am desperate to get the flooring situation in my house dealt with soon because I feel like that should be the next step before anything else I tackle. To recap, we are looking to rip up all the hardwood in the vestibule, foyer, living and dining room, and the tile in the kitchen. I want to tile the vestibule, foyer and kitchen and do a rustic looking hardwood in the living and dining rooms. Here are some photos I took when we first moved in of the foyer and vestibule:

Here is the kitchen which leads to the door to the backyard. In the photo above the dining room is to the left with the kitchen behind it, and living room to the right. 

My tiny kitchen. TINY. 

We would tile down to the back door, and this is the little hallway where our fridge resides in a bump-out on the back porch. Strange, I know. 

The kitchen walls have since been painted in Farrow & Ball's Stiffkey Blue, the hardware and lighting have been replaced with brass and we've been waiting almost 2 months for our freaking brass faucet to arrive. 

Farrow & Ball kindly sent me a roll of Anime wallpaper to line my glass cabinet...but since they sent me an entire roll, I was thinking of also wallpapering the wall with the archway leading to the back door. 

In the living and dining room we want to make our own 'rustic/reclaimed' wood. This flooring we spotted at Orange Gallery was made with Home Depot wood! 

At first I thought black marble would be a good choice for a tile as it would suit the style of my traditional craftsman home. 

But that's a bit boring. And what if it ends up being too vein-y?

Friday we came across these grey dark concrete colour hexagon tiles at Céragrès that I fell in love with. We brought one home to try and it seems really dark, and I'm not keen on introducing another colour to the kitchen. 

Céragrès is getting samples of this gorgeous chevron tile today but the length is 24" and I think that would be too long for the narrow spaces we are working with.

A kind employee at Centura Tile told us about a new line they are carrying next month - including this cool herringbone tile (by Fioranese). 

But again, maybe too dark. And I don't think this would work in the kitchen. 

At Centura I spotted this in a corner and immediately started hyperventilating. (But at about $16/sq ft it's pricey)

After discussing this topic with some family members around my parent's pool Saturday during a heat wave, a suggestion was made to have a different tile in the foyer from the vestibule and kitchen. I had not thought of that. I mentioned my concern for not being able to use a fun wallpaper in the foyer and up the stairs (I have been dreaming about Farrow & Ball's black and white Lotus pattern) if the tile was too graphic. So my younger sister came up with what I think is likely the perfect solution. The patterned black and white in the above photo in the really tiny vestibule and in the kitchen, and solid black and white tiles in a checkerboard pattern but laid diagonally in the foyer. This way we get the drama of the gorgeous pattern which I think is a perfect tile in my rather plain kitchen, and then a solid in the foyer so I can use a bold wallpaper that won't compete with the floors. 

I would love to hear your thoughts/comments before I make my tile purchases hopefully next weekend. :)

Reader Comments (28)

I totally concur with your sister's solution. The patterned tile is charming and reminds me of wonderful old kitchens in Barcelona. Stay away from the black marble however--it's a little too Donald Trump.

13 Jul 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJared Hayden

You still managed to have a few pets on furniture pics though courtesy of your cats:)
But why you want to change the floor? It's so beautiful as it is. The hardwood is gorgeous. If it was me I would limit the change to the kitchen floor.

13 Jul 2015 | Unregistered Commentergabi

Yes, stay away from the marble. It is definitely too Donald Trump. I would keep the tile the same in the vestibule and foyer, they are so close together. I question going with a black and white checkerboard if you want graphic wallpaper in that space. Checkerboard is such a strong, high contrast, and undeniable pattern. It's very bold. I would do the hexagons in the foyer and vestibule, and the patterned tile in the kitchen. If you want some pattern in the foyer I would tile-in a patterned "rug" in the center and keep the edges the large gray hexagon. If it coordinates well, you could the Centura kitchen tile for the "rug", or there may be other colorways and other shapes from the same line as the hexagons that you could make into a pattern. This is a little silly, but you could even do your address as the pattern like this https://www.pinterest.com/pin/265290234276044192/.

13 Jul 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKathryn

honed marble would be less shiny, but not sure if that would be remotely practical for Ottawa winters :) I personally love the hex

13 Jul 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNat

Fellow Ottawa girl chiming in.....totally agree with lack of flooring options in this city....unfortunately they stock what sells and what people ask for. Which in my opinion is typical "builder" style. I think the patterned tile would be amazing in your entry.....but I am loving the dark hex tile for the rest....I think it has a wow factor but blends so as not to take away from your future patterned walls. Just my 2 cents.....looking forward to,seeing what you do.

13 Jul 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJanis

I would do the patterned tile in the kitchen and vestibule and the hex in the hall. I think that the black and white tiles on a diagonal mixed with the patter will be too much going on. The hex really makes a statement but will allow the other tiles to also shine.

13 Jul 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNoemi

The hardwood has got to go. I detest oak with every ounce of my being - especially when it's stained in a bright orange/yellow (it's worse in person than in the photo above). So that's not up for debate.
Now you all have me worried the checkerboard will be too much. AGH! And you're starting to get me liking the hex again. AGH! LOL

13 Jul 2015 | Registered CommenterKiM

just interested, why would you want to rip up the hardwood floors?

13 Jul 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDiana

Why not carry the rustic wood you'll be making a la Orange Gallery throughout? For distinction in the foyer and kitchen, change direction or pattern. Toss down some kicky rugs and, done!

Have you considered demoing the odd wall between kitchen and hallway where fridge is?

13 Jul 2015 | Unregistered Commenteroh Holland

Kim, I love your sister's idea. The diagonal black & white tile will be absolutely stellar with your wallpaper choice. I'm seeing this with an awesome rug thrown over those tiles and your great knack for accessorizing. This choice will be terrific with your rustic flooring plans. It will 'pop' next to the rustic. Even though I'm a huge A. Ahern fan, I do think the grey would be drab against the rustic flooring. The wallpaper? I can't see it with the gray. The only thing I might do is go with a 3rd tile choice for either the vestibule or the kitchen rather then matching those two. Or, even edging the vestibule tile with black would change it up enough. I'm searching for tile today myself. Whatever you decide, you'll make it look beautiful...you always do.

13 Jul 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCyn

Hi Kim, I agree with other commenters that the black and white checkerboard would be a huge graphic statement and likely compete with a bold wallpaper. I also agree with Kathryn that two different tiles in the vestibule and hall would likely look choppy. If it were me I think I would do tile in the vestibule, and kitchen but keep the floor consistent through the living, dining rooms and hall. I might also play with scale in your two tiled areas...I love the big grey hex for the kitchen, what about a smaller black/white/grey marble hex for the vestibule? I know your dead set against it, but I wonder how different your homemade reclaimed wood will 'read' in the bigger picture of your main floor versus refinishing your existing floors with dark stain? Especially, when weighed against time/money/energy of new flooring??? Ooooh and I'm also on team 'paint out your panelling' ;)

13 Jul 2015 | Unregistered CommenterClare

Just an FYI.. I have Black and White 'checkerboard' tile in my kitchen...It is the hardest floor I have every had to keep clean!
The light specks show up on the dark tile the dark specks on the white tile.. It is a constant, never ending battle and the bane of my existence! I am planning a kitchen remodel in about a year, otherwise I would be downstairs right now tearing it out with my bare hands! But don't let my mini breakdown influnce your decision!

13 Jul 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMargaret

Really love your sisters idea - but for the smaller space that you are working with it might be a little too much? Have you considered using the Hex in perhaps two varied shades of grey? Perhaps using the split Hex shown here http://www.piazzatiles.com/hexagon-tiles/cities-paris.html for the entry and then transition into the full Hex http://www.piazzatiles.com/hexagon-tiles/hex-grigio-matt.html in the kitchen - you have a change but still some continuity and the solid large Hex in the kitchen could potentially still work nicely with a graphic wallpaper

13 Jul 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLis Pop

@Diana - see comment above yours. i also detest narrow hardwood. this one is as narrow as it gets.
@oh Holland - we could carry new wood throughout - I thought this would be funner. no, that wall can't come down. on the other side of it is our itty bitty coat closet.
@Cyn - I can't see the wallpaper with grey either. but i can find another wallpaper if need be.
@Clare - I don't think the vestibule having a different tile than the hallway would look choppy. The vestibule is only 6'x3.5' and the door is always closed. I think doing something patterned in there would be a nice surprise as soon as you walk in the house. And I hate the oak so much I'd much rather try and do our own that I might actually like. I need wider planks!
@Margaret - I have 8 cats. My house is always a mess of fur balls. I'm used to it. :)
@Lis Pop - I love that split tile (tumbling block pattern!) but as far as I know no one carries anything like that here. I just don't think grey is ideal in the foyer (bye bye wallpaper I love) and the kitchen is black/white/blue. It seems too random.

13 Jul 2015 | Registered CommenterKiM

Some ideas from Argentina


13 Jul 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAna

So busy lately but had to add my 2 cents-- agree with others about the marble. Too Trumpy but also slippery as hell! Even when not wet! I like a more patterned tile for the kitchen, I've had the black and white checks and they just are too 'organized' a pattern to hide the stuff my kids and dogs leave on the floor.

I can't wait to see how this progresses, Kim! Good luck. (I hate golden oak too- even worse than you, I have a kitchen filled with it- floors and cabinets!)

13 Jul 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAxie

Speaking from experience, shiny marble tiles will etch permanently when kitties barf ! This is something to check out with all those flooring options.

13 Jul 2015 | Unregistered CommenterWanda

You have to decide for one focal point - floor or walls. Both is just too much. I am for great statement floors and understated, subtle walls.
But if you like change, choose neutral floors and change a statement wallpaper every now and then.
I guess, we in Europe are really spoiled with our tile choices...
Herringbone tile - I just don't like a simulation of any material. In this case of wood.

This one is to die for

I would use the same tile for vestibule and foyer - it is almost the same space and different patterns would look like - I coundn't have make up my mind so I took both. And choppy too...just too much for a small space there...

And why does it have to be an wallpaper? I would say here is either or the best solution.

Some more nice ideas


As you can see, one of both - floor or wall have to be neutral, otherwise it is crowd.


14 Jul 2015 | Unregistered Commenterombia

Hi Kim.

Loads of good choices here. I personally think that the black and white diagonal check is very chic and classic. Just a thought: have you considered "insetting" a black rectangle in the centre (ie so that the black and white check is simply a large boarder around a central rectangle of black. At first thought, it may seem "busy" ... but it could really add some drama (which I think you want in an entrance) whilst breaking the repetitiveness of the check pattern. It would even be possible to use the black marble. I think if you are going to go bold ..... go BOLD. Some of the best tiling I have seen in various European salons and mansions is striking precisely because it seems to also involve "too much" .... and in a small space you could really get away with it (especially if either side you have rustic wood boards). For the kitchen, I adore the grey herringbone. Perfect with the brass and dark blue. Classic and modern.

Good Luck!

14 Jul 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Oak yellows, if you strip out the yellow, it takes a grey stain well.

If you lay down tile in the foyer, how will you treat the saddles and what about the stairs?

14 Jul 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBetsy

Kim, I've been searching for patterned tile with some grey tones. Without much hope I searched Home Depot's online and found that Merola has some really nice patterns scattered throughout. The prices are extremely reasonable. Under 9$ per sq ft. (most under 5$) Not sure of the quality with these prices? Yet, I thought I'd pass this along to you.

14 Jul 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCyn

Kim, I think the black and white will be stellar, but if I may offer a suggestion, I would substitute the black tile for a black marble. There will be so much more depth. Black and white ceramic can look "cheap dinner" really fast. The patterned vestibule/kitchen tile will be visible from your foyer, so the tile in the foyer needs to hold it's own. Flat is flat. Also don't worry about the veining in the marble. First of all, marble is a natural stone so every crate is going to have a different background shade and different veining. I use china black 12x12 constantly at work and you would be shocked at the huge (huge!) variety in grey/black shading and veining we've had to sort through. Finding a more subtle veining is completely doable. Not to mention, some veining will pick up on the white check, and the white patterned tile.
One more thought, I'd be sure to match the grout color and width throughout....for some quick unity.
Can't wait to see what you decide!

14 Jul 2015 | Unregistered Commenterkim

Rip out perfectly good wood floors to install rustic wood floors? What a waste of money! Just refinish them. I have oak floors stained a mid-dark tone and there is not a hint of yellow. It's more farmhouse-victorian. If you go too dark they show every little fleck of cat hair and dust, though, so be warned about that. I think I went with a stain called Americana or something. I agree with the above person that said that you have to respect the elements you have and not try to have too much competing. If you want the very trendy black and white tiles do it in the small vestibule only, your tiny kitchen will be too busy and the huge foyer will be overwhelming with anything but a very spartan decor. If you do the darker stain in the main flooring you could then do a porcelain tile that looks like rustic wood planks in your kitchen - just so long as it looks okay with the wood if it abuts it. You can go rough/rustic with that as they make ones that look old/pickled and such. No disrespect, but you are cramming a lit of trends into one place here. The floor can be the star of the show or just a neutral element. I'd make it the star in the vestibule (and forgo the wallpaper) or the star in the kitchen (with tile that looks like rustic wood) but let the rest of it just be floor. Let the foyer space evolve and let the stairs be the star there - or a light fixture.


14 Jul 2015 | Unregistered Commenterholiday

My vote would be to do the patterned tile in the vestibule and kitchen, and carry your new wood floors through the hallway. Since the living room and dining room floors are contiguous with the hallway floor, it would maintain continuity, and keep those spaces from looking chopped up (and therefore smaller). I also think the darker, rustic wood would look great with the Lotus wallpaper (don't give up a wallpaper you truly love, especially not so that you can install a compromise tile in the hallway!!!)

15 Jul 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJen

I totally agree with Jen. The patterned tile is beautiful and will make the kitchen and vestibule feel special. Please do not add tile to your hallway. Carry the hardwood throughout. It will work great with the Lotus wallpaper. I know someone who used that wallpaper with a hardwood floor and it looks gorgeous. You want the focus to be the wallpaper, not the tile. In your kitchen and vestibule, the focus will be the floor.

15 Jul 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJill

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