One of the worst jobs we had to do throughout the renovation process was to re-level the kitchen floor by removing the old ceramic tiles. This was a noisy, dusty, back breaking job which was particularly not appreciated by our neighbour below (for some reason…)!
I’m sure you’ve seen in previous photos the retro brown and white tiles we were dealing with. The majority of people felt the same way I did about them and agreed that they be replaced by something a bit more clean and modern. There were however a handful of people who loved them and thought we were mad to replace them. It’s funny how personal tastes can differ!
We removed these old tiles before installing the new kitchen units, as we thought it made sense finishing the flooring while the room was still empty before filling it up with the new units. Originally I had always imagined putting red rustic terracotta floor tiles (or ‘tomettes’ as they are called here) in the new kitchen, to fit with the French country vibe. I had seen this picture below (sorry for the bad quality) in a copy of Marie Claire Maison and loved it! So off we went to the tile shop to have a look around.
We found some lovely classic ones which were just what we were looking for. But there was a problem. The height of the kitchen was already relatively low due to the mezzanine above, at around 1m 80 and the problem with the ‘tomettes’ was that they were 3.5cm thick. Now this doesn’t sound a lot but actually by installing them we would raise the floor level and thereby reducing the ceiling height even further meaning the taller guests amongst us would hitting their heads on the beams if they weren’t careful. Being a shorty like me, this problem never even occurred to me! By doing these things yourself without professional help, it can be easy to miss these types of details which don’t confront you immediately. Luckily my partner has more of an engineering brain than I do…
So we needed to rethink the kitchen. The plan was to install hardwood floors throughout the rest of the apartment (excluding the bathroom) so what if we also carried these through to include the kitchen? In so many interior magazines, wooden floors looked a popular and beautiful option for the kitchen, but was it really practical? After some research the consensus was that at long as you are careful in the kitchen and don’t regularly spill pots of boiling water or smash pasta sauces over the floor, then you should be fine, as long as you are investing in a good quality wood. We thought we could always place a large rug in the kitchen, especially by the sink area where splashes of water on the floor would be inevitable. The other thing that sold us was that we were opting for solid wood rather than engineered wood (the reasons for which I will outline in another post) so we would be able to sand the wood down if ever there was a terrible stain or dent which couldn’t be removed. With the wood at 180mm, it left just that bit more height for future tall guests.
So we were decided, wood it was! So long ‘tomettes’, see you in the next house.
As we had been advised to install the wooden floors right at the end of the renovation process to avoid damaging them, the floor would remain in its bare state while the rest of the kitchen was all dressed with its new cabinets!