Thursday, October 24, 2013

Unpacking: Making Progress and Dreaming of Floors

I am finally nearing the end of the cardboard boxes. YAY!!  By this time next week the artwork will be hung (I hope), and I can post some finished pictures of our home here in Oman.

The house has a few quirks, like who thought it was a good idea to put the kitchen light switches BEHIND the fridge, seriously.  But what FS housing doesn't have quirks? It's beginning to feel like home, quirks and all. And so far I haven't found a single spider  large or small, so it's all good!!  By the way karma, this is not the signal to send hordes of giant spiders heading my way. Nope I am really good with no spiders!

Unpacking an entire house can be mind numbingly boring and tedious.  While I am unwrapping the bazillion and one dust collectors we seem to have accumulated I am only half focused on finding a place for them here in our new home, mostly I am thinking about flooring options.  Hardwood, or tile, or natural stone?  Polished concrete, or acid stained, or painted? No the house here isn't getting a new floor, our floor here is all shiny, slick marble.  I am thinking about my little vacay house in the 'hood.  When we bought it the floors looked like this:

But then just before we left Malawi for home leave this happened:

I know right? What a mess.  All total we lost 24 tiles in 2 rooms. 24 oversized 15 inch tiles.  That is a lot of floor.  We had the foundation checked, it's fine.  Apparently what happened is that there was a heat wave that lasted for about a week and with the house unoccupied at the time and not air conditioned the tile expanded a lot faster than the foundation.  That combined with a bad DIY tile job and POP exploding floor.

Dave and his brother Paul chipped away all the loose, broken tiles and mortar, cut plywood to fit the holes, threw some carpets over it and called it done for the summer.

It looked good, really good actually, but at best it's a very temporary fix.

The plan is for me to head back to the states ahead of the rest of the family and take care of the floor so that the summer would be relaxing and fun. There is not much relaxing and fun about living in a construction zone.  Originally we were thinking I would just supervise the contractors, that plan was great until we started getting some quotes. OUCHIE!

I really want black slate tile but the quote to get that done rules out the possibility of going to Thailand, or Zanzibar, or China, or pretty much anywhere really.  And you know one of the major benefits of the FS is the chance to travel.  Why would I give that up for a floor, even a really pretty floor? There is time for that slate floor when we retire and by then I will probably want something different anyway.

So began the search for affordable flooring options.  First thing that came to mind was laminate. I don't like laminate floors.  They feel fake.  Probably because they are fake. And it's a lot more expensive than I thought it would be.

I really like the look of this plywood floor, and it wouldn't be that expensive.  That really is plywood. Gorgeous isn't it? I might like this better than slate, maybe.

Plywood Floor
But this is out my skill level, and since the new plan is for me to head home early and do the floor by myself, what ever we choose has to not only be cheap, it has to be something I can handle as a solo DIY.

Enter the painted floor. Do a quick internet search and you come up with some really cool looks.  I love the way this floor looks painted solid robin's egg blue.

Blue Floor
Simply stunning, and I would imagine it shows every blessed piece of dirt that comes by. With 3 boys who spend the summer roaming from house to house with their pack of friends, that can be a lot of dirt.  So maybe not for me, not right now anyway.

How about faux bois?  I may have to do this just so I can say I have a faux bois floor. Isn't it fab?

Faux Bois Floor 
I thought about simple diamonds in grey and white.

Diamond Painted Floor
It's classic, and probably not too hard to do.  Sounds like a winner, BUT if I am going to go to all the trouble of chiseling up all that tile, scraping, sanding and painting BY MYESLF, I think I want something different.  Something fun and maybe a little funky.

So I looked at stencils.  Wow are there some cool stencils out there.

Stenciled Floors
Check out this all over floral stencil from Royal Design Studios.

Lace Stencil by Royal Design Studios

I love this!!!  It's a little funky.  It's fun.  Done in grey and white it will make a lovely background for my rugs and furniture and brighten up the room.  BUT I live in a house of men.  I showed this to my husband and the boys. Four men looked at all those flowers and simultaneously broke out in hives. I'm guessing door to door flowers are out.  Of course I will be in the states and they will be in Oman, so it's not like they would know what I was up to until it was a fait accompli.  Would that be too mean?  It would, wouldn't it? I thought so. Darn it!

I like the organic look (exactly what does that mean??) of acid staining, but doing it professionally is not cheap, albeit a whole lot cheaper than slate, and it's out of my DIY range.  Plus it seems like 99 out of 100 acid etched floors are brown.

Acid Stained Floor
Not a big fan of brown.  If I wanted brown I would just leave the plywood and broken tiles there for a few more years.

I have a freind who's the queen of DIY and faux painting who tells me I can totally get this look with paints, and it's cheap and I can choose my own colors!  Cheap is good. Colors are better. Mottled floors are good for hiding dirt. With 3 boys and their pack of friends in and out of the house all summer hiding dirt is a very good thing.  I am thinking something like this

stained concrete floor
Mostly grey with hints of blue and green and touches of brown.  Nice and bright and fairly neutral, but still fun and funky.

And then I found these really cool stencils.

Fossil Stencils
I am not sure exactly what I want to do with them but they do seem to suit our family to a tee.  The boys are forever dragging home skulls and bones and rocks, shells and fossils and feathers. In fact right now there's a goat skull on the front steps, a cat skull on the book shelf, what we think might be a fox skull in the display table, and sea shells everywhere.  Somehow stencils of long dead critters seem entirely appropriate, I just need to figure out what to do with them.

I have months yet to figure out, and research exactly what I want to do. In the meantime I am having a ridiculous amount of fun day dreaming about all the possibilities.

Does anyone else out there day dream about DIY projects?


Connie said...

I love the bluish stained concrete!

Shannon said...

I do too. It has color but not too much so it won't clash with my giant lime green wall hanging. I want the floor to be cool but not necessisarily the focus of the room.

rosell lobo said...

Cleaning concrete beforeAcid Stained Concrete is the most important step. You want to make sure there is nothing on the concrete that will prevent the acid stain from soaking in the concrete.

Nancy Jorden said...

I have a friend who is remodeling their home. They want stone tiles in the kitchen area. Stone tiles are great for cleaning messy messes.

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