Divorced....new house....finally my dream kitchen?

kompyMarch 8, 2013

Hi all,
I got divorced almost 3 years ago after 20 years together. I never mentioned it here. It was a 'friendly dissolution'...and we are still friends as we co-parent our son.

I bought a new house two years ago and am finally getting the kitchen I'd always dreamed of. The house was built in 1930 and is fairly traditional (originally ad for house says Modern Colonial): formal living room has custom white built ins with black marble surround, wood floors throughout

I'm kind of stumped on the flooring. I found this mosaic travertine floor that I really like. The salesperson at the tile shop was glad to see someone doing something different.

But how is travertine to clean and maintain? Tell me what you honestly feel about this flooring put with my cabinets and tops. I'm open to going with a larger tile. My one concern is such a small pattern will be busy.

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That tile is really pretty. I had really pretty, really small tiles on my old kitchen floor. It was a lot of grout. When I replaced them with the large slate-look tile, it was a relief to my eyes. Also, it made my small galley look bigger. My choice is, however, not a particularly original or interesting look. The other finishes in your kitchen are quiet, so you might not mind the interesting floor. Also, it does look like it won't show dirt. Make sure to get dirt colored grout, though.

My before floor:

My after floor:

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 2:05PM
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Honestly, I think you are going to be hating your life when you are caring for that floor. Travertine needs to be maintained, which means cleaning and sealing regularly. Even sealed, the grout will get dirty and will have to be cleaned thoroughly before each re-sealing. As well, all the little holes that are in that travertine will fill up with grout when the floor is grouted.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 2:13PM
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What's with the bowl and spice jar? Are those mood board inspirations for the room? If so, they are very fitting to the era of the house, but the floor isn't. To my eyes, it's not that the floor is a "now" element that you're mixing with vintage touches, which would work. Instead I think the floor evokes a 1990s Tuscan vibe, which doesn't.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 2:21PM
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Do they make that travertine in a larger tile that you could layout in a similar fashion? I like the color/tone of it and it goes well with all of your other elements but that would be an awful lot of grout.

Our kitchen isn't large and we went with an 18" tile and I think it makes it look larger and it was less tiles to lay! I originally wanted a rectangular tile but it was too pricey. Second getting dirt colored grout.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 2:22PM
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As far as the floor, maybe as a backsplash it wouldn't be so maintenence intensive. As a floor, I wouldn't even put it in a lightly used master bath. Now, something in a large format travertine, maybe in some type of pattern. You could even do the pattern that you show, but in 12x24 and 12x12 size.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 2:25PM
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We've had travertine in our garage entryway for years now, Ripped out what we put in, and replaced with new travertine only because we were putting it in the FR and needed to maintain flow/continuity from the entryway into the room. It was easy as anything to maintain and clean.

We also have the same travertine as the original entryway travertine in our guest bathroom, and the new travertine in the FR and guest bedroom. We have a different travertine in the hall bathroom. I wash the floors using a splash (or capful or two) of Marbalex, from SCI, and water. I use a sponge mop, and no rinsing necessary. I sealed the floors using a good quality solvent-based impregnating sealer (STT's SB sealer), and won't need to re-apply it for years. It washes up easily, and looks terrific.

We used TEC's XT grout, which is supposed to be their more stain-resistant (and mold and mildew resistant), stronger, less crack-resistant grout, You don't have to seal it, but can, using a solvent-based sealer. We used almond grout in the hall bathroom (2 1/2 years ago) and it looks exactly the same as it did when it was installed.

We wear our shoes in the house and only mop the floors every couple of weeks (sometimes more often, sometimes less).


    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 2:27PM
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Thank you all! :-)
What I love is the many colors and the texture of this stone tile. I was also wondering about a herringbone pattern with a larger subway tile as a possibility. Or a large brick pattern on the floor. I have wood floors throughout the entire house so I wanted to do something different.

We are demo-ing, starting today. Watch my luck, the wood floor underneath will be so perfectly beautiful, I'll have to reuse it. :-)

I'm attaching a photo of the kitchen right after I moved in.

Marcolo, yes the bowl and spice jar are both things I've purchased at antique stores to use in my 'vintage appeal kitchen'. Also, you really think the floor looks too Tuscan? I don't mind mixing things up as long as they 'blend'.

I also thought about a typical checkerboard....but I'm not in love with anything yet. Linoleum maybe.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 2:38PM
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And this is my design. The other two areas of the kitchen (hutch and REF) will be done over the next year or two as I save to do them.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 2:44PM
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I would SO keep that table! Somewhere. And no, I wouldn't put travertine anywhere near that design. Maybe cement tiles in a pattern.

Like these from Luxtile. They'd be appropriate to the vintage vibe and give you that shot of color without being overwhelming.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 2:51PM
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When I saw your bowl and towel and hardware, I thought classic black and white checkerboard floor. But as I said, I'm not imaginative. How cute would that be, though, a 2013 take on 1930's style.

Would it be too expensive to do a custom inlaid linoleum? My (rich) friend has one, and it's gorgeous.

If you stay with the travertine, I do think you'll be happier with bigger tiles.

Isn't that the same 1948+ stove that someone else recently posted? It's great!

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 2:52PM
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I have large format honed travertine in a running bond pattern in my Hawaii house. The house is currently a rental and the floors have held up beautifully. I think if you have dirt colored grout, it will be a lovely, non slip tile. Looking at your other selections.....I think some pattern and movement will be attractive.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 2:53PM
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Congrats on the new kitchen, kompy. And everything else as long as you are happy and thriving!

I love the look of small pattern tile floors. I think your choice is lovely. My only caveat is to say that the one tile kitchen floor I had killed my feet and back. If you are someone who does a lot of cooking and stands in the kitchen a lot, or is just in the kitchen a lot, it can be awful. And mats people use to offset that effect can stain stone. I had a rug pad stain the limestone in my sun room and it's indelible.

Would you consider reclaimed hardwood? I think it would be lovely with the style of your plan. With a durablesatin-finish or matte sealer or oiled, it's very easy to keep. My floors are oiled and I use a German floor wax 3 or 4 times a year and they are wearing wonderfully. Spills wipe right up.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 3:10PM
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Congratulations on getting at last the kitchen of your dreams. Congrats, too, on the successful friendly co-parenting of your son with your ex, so good for your son.

I second what rococogurl said about how hard a stone or tile floor will be on your feet, legs, knees, and hips. Even if you could take it now, you might really regret it in five or ten years.

There are so many colors of cork flooring that might work, and still allow you to do something a litttle different, perhaps with a border inlay.

Your mood board is fabulous BTW!

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 4:15PM
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kompy, I loved your design when you posted and still love it. There's something just classic about it. I like the idea of a wide plank wood floor. If you're looking for a cement tile/shot of color in the floor, you may enjoy spending time looking at the Villa Lagoon Tile website (wonderful colors).

Here is a link that might be useful: Villa Lagoon Encaustic Tile

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 4:17PM
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I would like that tile as a backspash or shower/bath but I don't think it works for a kitchen floor. I have a preference for larger tile (if I use tile) on a kitchen floor.

I like the new drawing. Just a couple things:

1. raise the lamp over the sink.
2. think about a ceiling fan with a light. One of those hugger types that don't come down too far, like Casablanca.
3. If you kinda like that old table, think about 'reusing' it for your island design. Like the same top and leg design.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 4:28PM
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Love the vibe of your proposed kitchen. IMHO, as pretty as it is, I don't think the old world mosaic travertine tile would blend with the vintage feel of your kitchen.

Nevertheless, here are some pictures of larger format travertine tiles set in a herringbone pattern( one of my favorites) as well as some other options you might consider.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 4:50PM
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Congrats on the new kitchen, on staying positive and keeping things amicable.

I couldn't put that mosaic on the floor -- unless it was an accent (like a "rug", border or something. I would not want all the grout lines in a cooking area especially or the possible unevenness that that many little tiles not perfectly laid could have. Visually, I think it could be a bit much too.

I do love your drawing. Agree with LWO that the table would be a fun keeper and I'd try to give it a home. I hope the old range finds a good home too.

Never would have picked it, but I can see that tile LWO spotted too,. Also like the painted floor, but if you are trying to do something different than the wood you have everywhere, that may not appeal at all. If you plan to use subways on the wall, I think I'd avoid rectangles on the floor. Square seems right to me, but I have been liking a lot of large rectangular tile lately.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 6:18PM
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Kompy - I have travertine in my entry and entry hallway, and in my master bath. I do not like it, and would never, ever, choose it for myself.

You asked how travertine is to clean and maintain - it's the pits, literally and figuratively.

My travertine tile has minimal grout lines, so the grout is not the issue. The issue is the nature of travertine itself which is pitted. Mine has been filled, but over the years, the filling comes out. Mine was also sealed. Sealant is great on backsplashes, not so much on floors. What happens is that if there is just a tiny break in the seal, or a little miniscule bit of sealant has lifted, dirt and grime will get under there. And, because the stone is sealed, you will not be able to get the grime out from those crevices under the sealant, until you remove all the sealant and start over (you can use your imagination on how I know that).

I also agree with the others, that a travertine floor does not go with the vision and aesthetic you have chosen. I think a checkerboard floor would be so great, though not a black-and-white one. You've been on this forum long enough that I am sure you've read older threads from people complaining about black-and-white checkerboard - the black shows every bit of dust, and the white shows every bit of grime, so it's impossible to keep it looking clean.

Marmoleum or wood would be easier on your feet than travertine too. I curse my travertine in my bathroom and entryway - the floors are so ice cold. In the winter, my cats won't even walk on them.

This post was edited by akchicago on Fri, Mar 8, 13 at 18:31

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 6:25PM
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I put in a 6x6 travertine checkerboard floor with epoxy grout. I still love this floor:

I used filled and polished for the "red" and filled and honed for the "tan."

I also used the same "red" tile cut down into 3x6 subways in a herringbone pattern for my entryway:

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 6:39PM
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good luck with the new house! i currently have 18" travertine floors in my kitchen. It is basically no maintenance and my household is pretty sloppy. The beigey/brown color hides dirt really well. I used a dark grout. You do have to make sure it is sealed well. That said, i don't seal it every year and it still looks fine.
My only issue is that a few of the tiles cracked all down a straight line from the foundation settling. Also, i have a few chips here and there because the travertine is quite a soft stone. That said, I wouldn't hesitate to use it again and am planning on using limestone in my new kitchen.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 7:31PM
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Kompy~I love your drawing! That kitchen is going to be so beautiful, and I second what LWO said-keep that table! If you don't I will seriously take it off your hands. I'm going to build a small bungalow type house in a couple of years, and I want it to blend in with some of the 1920's bungalows in the area.

I also love those cement tiles LWO posted. Although I am hoping you find gorgeous hardwood under your floor.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 8:11PM
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I love the bowl and towel (where did you get them?) and the cabs more than the floor. It seems really busy with all the small mosaics.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 8:11PM
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This is a beautiful plan! I can't speak to the durability or potential hassle of travertine. I do think you could achieve that same pattern with larger tiles and that you might be happier in the end with larger tiles. I also think you could achieve a vintage look if the other elements in the room are carefully chosen. Maybe not modern colonial but certainly vintage. In the end, it is your dream kitchen and you should follow your heart.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 11:11PM
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as a fellow owner of a 1930s "modern colonial" I would stay away from the travertine for all the reasons cited above.

I will also add that a black and white checkerboard is a great vintage touch, but a PITA to keep clean. Every speck and scrap stands out -- and tends to stick to each tile.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 11:58PM
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Can I have the old range?

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 2:58AM
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REALLY like that encaustic tile! It would be so lovely with the quiet and calm for the rest of the kitchen.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 9:47AM
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I LOVE that table too! It's been in my family for years. Here's a picture of me (left) and my sister sitting on it back around 1967. Right now I have the table in my basement with my popcorn machine on it....not exactly where it deserves to be. So Maybe I will put that table back in the kitchen.....in loving memory of my wonderful mom and dad!!!

I wish I could respond to each of you....such great comments and advice. I have decided not to do the travertine mosaic. It was a gut instinct and you guys helped me make that decision. I just love the colors in it.

I have always admired Marmoleum....and that was my first thought for this kitchen last year when I started gathering ideas. I have several samples I purchased from them still at my house. Oldbat2be, I love, love, love the concrete tiles you suggested! I quick ballpark is around $2300 for the kitchen area. I wonder what freight would cost to Ohio from California with such heavy boxes.

LWO, I LOVE the Luxetile as well! The Cuban Heritage cement tiles are my favorite. I may have to look in to these cement tiles. (see link below) I love the vintage patterns...and the one I picked as my favorite seems to have some eggplant color in it....I have some eggplant colors in the adjacent living room.

hosenemesis...we are putting the Fridgidaire 1955 range on Craigslist. It works fine and the porcelain finish is still perfect! Such a quality product to last this long! However,...the oven might need calibration/servicing...and one knob (broken, we have it still) needs to be fixed and put back on. If you are anywhere near Ohio and no one wants to buy it....it's yours if you come get it! :-)

Alexx, I got the bowl and towel at a local antique store. I got the vintage spice jars on Etsy.com after seeing them here in someones kitchen on GW.

Angie, your checkerboard and herringbone floors look great!!!! I wonder why some hate their floors and other say they're easy to maintain. Brand? Type?

So, either:
-keep original wood floor if in good shape
-If in good shape but stained...maybe do a painted wood floor (checkerboard?)
-consider marmoleum again
-consider concrete tiles

Anything else out there that's "old house appropriate" that I've not heard of??

Thanks everybody!!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Cuban tile on LuxeTile I like best!

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 11:34AM
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Well, someone mentioned cork, and using cork flooring does date back to that era....for my 1941 colonial, I was just about to order cork when the opportunity to get wood for less than half the price appeared, so I went in that direction. The kitchen salesman at Lowe's told me that his parents have had cork in their home for 40 years and it is still in great shape. It comes in so many colors and patterns now, too.
I also love the soft colors in travertine, the mix of rose, beige, gray green and blue, but did think that in my house it just didn't feel right (even for a backsplash).

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 3:53PM
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I like the checkerboard done in stone in the picture above--classic pattern, unexpected material. You could do a nifty checkerboard in light and dark cork. It's great to walk/stand on. Just make sure you have a good installer who knows cork. Mine was installed over old wood with bumps that wouldn't have troubled a tile, but my cork cracked where it was flexing over the bumps.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 6:19PM
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Hi Kompy,
I am glad you have left the travertine floor behind. It is nice, but I imagine a small tile like that is more for a bathroom or other small room. I will speak in favor of good old linoleum. I have Marmoleum sheet linoleum, and it is very easy to love. As with cork, you need a good installer. Forbo has training, and you should ask if the installer has been certified, if you explore this option for your floor.

We have the color Shitake. We chose it to go with our whitewashed oak cabinets and Wilsonart laminate in Luna Crest. The laminate is a very taupey brown, and the Shitake has shades of taupe and cream, with a warm brown . So it worked well in our kitchen, but also ended up being a good color for the family room (looked good with wood and leather) and the foyer and hallways. When we replaced carpet in these other areas the next year, we were expecting to put down wood flooring, but the Shitake Marmoleum was the bulletproof flooring we needed for our senior dogs, so it is now in all of our public areas.

I could see a beautiful swirly Forbo Marmoleum Grey-dations floor in your kitchen. They have 46 choices in shades of gray, with different undertones and depths of color. Here is Surprising Storm, below.

I must mention your table. It is identical to the one I have that I received from my Great Aunt! My wood has been painted an odd cream color, though, so it is good to see that it really belongs a glossy white. My chrome legs badly need work, as well. Aunt Teresa was harder on her table than your family was on yours, I suppose. I love the table for the memories it brings to me. I just wish I had somewhere to use it. It is sitting in my basement. I loved your photo from the 1960s and only wish it showed more of the chairs that went with the table. Thanks, for sharing it!

Here is a link that might be useful: Marmoleum Grey-dations

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 10:35PM
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I'm so happy you gave up on the travertine - it also said 1990's Tuscan to me. Love your kitchen design...I would stay away from stone...if you like to cook, it will be hell on your legs and feet. I think the cork and linoleum/marmoleum are great suggestions, but to be honest, if you have a great wood floor underneath, I'd go with that - you're saving money, the style is right for the design, and you'll have cohesive flooring throughout your home. That to me is a no-brainer.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 8:24PM
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There are tons of cement tile sources out there -- they are just starting to surface. Right now they're used way more in Europe. I come across sources all the time but haven't bookmarked. If you go in that direction and want some additional ones let me know. We've featured several on AM.

FWIW I love a painted floor in an older house. There's also garage epoxy.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 9:09PM
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Hi Kompy. Congratulations on the new house and kitchen. A bit OT, but I'm happy to see the Griffith's spice jar. I purchased around 50 of them for my spice rack. I replaced the lids with new matching black ones, but kept all the original ones. If you need any, just let me know and I will send them to you.


    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 9:44PM
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Kompy~ I think you said you may use your red and white table in your kitchen. It is so wonderful especially since it is from your parents. It would be very cool if you hung that picture of you on the table in the kitchen. I think that is the ultimate vintage-like yes we actually used this and it's still here!

Good luck on your design, and I am looking forward to seeing your kitchen. Plus I am loving the cement tile idea. My kitchen will be smaller than yours and pretty plain so the floor will be my only real canvas.

Sorry I've been thinking about your kitchen and story since you posted. I wish the very best and good luck.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 8:33AM
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