2/6/10

HOME DECOR: KITCHENS - let's start with the floor.....


CREATING A FABULOUS KITCHEN

If kitchens are the heart of the home, then special care should be given to the planning of them. 
I'm currently working on a few kitchens, so they have been on my mind a lot. 
I've been thinking of all the elements that make a kitchen functional,
and all of the materials that make a kitchen beautiful, elegant or charming.

The 'heart' of the home needs to be both warm and beautiful, and extremely functional. 
If that definition doesn't include your current kitchen, what are the things you would change?

Kitchens can be formal or casual - just like any other room in your home.
It's simply a choice of materials.

Kitchens can have warm woods, beautiful stone and gleaming appliances.
A kitchen should have heart, warmth and invite you to linger a while - as well as be efficient.

I had planned to do a post on kitchens... 
But when I got down to organizing the elements that go into making a kitchen....
I had way too much information for one blog.

So, let's start from the ground up... flooring first -

WOOD
There is nothing like the richness of wood to bring warmth into a kitchen. 
For a time, wood was considered a bad choice for an area that was prone to spills and moisture. 
With the quality of engineered woods, moisture is less of an issue. 
Engineered hardwood floors are manufactured in layers glued to a plywood base and are more durable and less likely to warp if they come in contact with water. 

Engineered and hardwood flooring come in a wide range of plank widths, wood types and colors. 
The actual top hardwood layer of engineered flooring is thin but can still be refinished once or twice in the life of the floor.  Solid hardwood usually has a durable protective finish and can be refinished many times,  if that becomes necessary.
 
Wood flooring comes with many color and application choices



Colors range from very light to ebony and can have prominent grains or be more consistent in color.  Some have a polished clean lined look, others look handhewn, rustic or antiqued.

There are many creative applications
stained into a classic checkerboard pattern

creative inlays
painted finishes

stone inlays

 tile or stone insets

 parquet (making a comeback)
(this is actually Tori Spelling's kitchen floor)

LAMINATE
A budget friendly flooring with the look of wood is laminate (pergo) flooring.  It is actually a photograph of wood on a laminate material.  It is moisture, pet and kid friendly.




GREEN ALTERNATIVES - CORK AND BAMBOO

CORK
Environmentally friendly and from a renewable resource, cork is a durable, thermally insulating and water resistant choice.  It's rich colors add warmth and it is easier on the feet.

kitchen-flooring-cork-flooring-mahogany-floors
and can be applied as a solid surface plain floor or in patterns.





BAMBOO
Bamboo flooring is a popular choice.  Water resistant, sustainable and renewable, it also comes in a wide variety of colors and styles.





NATURAL STONE - NATURE'S GIFT
A flooring material with endless variety and application, stone is a beautiful choice straight from mother nature.  I can't possibly show you here all of the different material that is available, but I will give examples of the most popular.  With all the choices available, it's no wonder we sometimes get 'stuck' when trying to select materials for the kitchen!

Limestone

Slate

Travertine

T
Travertine with inlays



Travertine bordered in wood (basketweave)

Stone is beautiful, rich and durable.  It withstood mother nature for hundreds of years.  It will last for decades in your home.  With any stone, a good penetrating sealer is a must as stone is porous and therefore not naturally stain resistant.  No cleaners should be used other than water and when necessary a very mild soap. 
Other than the reapplication of sealer each year (a mop-on process) a daily dusting or dry mopping is the only care required to remove the dirt and grit that can cause scratches.

TILE
Another choice with endless possibilities. 
From the antique style saltillo terracotta tiles with their warm glaze to the new, strong as iron porcelain tiles that mimic stone, tile is a beautiful and durable choice. 

Stone and tile have similar care requirements.  Tile doesn't have to be sealed, but its grout should be sealed to keep it clean - and that sealant should be reapplied from time to time.  With both products, a dropped pot can cause a chip or break - so it's good to keep some replacement tiles on hand for repairs.

CONCRETE
Yes, concrete...  and you won't believe that is the material used here
A good choice for large expanses.  Again, endless possibilities - are your creative juices flowing yet? Very easy care.  Susceptible to other concrete issues, such as cracks.  The floor is sealed and polished and needs minimal care.

THE OTHERS
VINYL
The old standby is still as realiable, and more durable than ever, and if you are looking to save money you can still make a beautiful floor with vinyl tiles.





CARPET TILES
What?  Carpet in the kitchen? 
Ordinarily I would strongly advise against carpet in the kitchen.  But, carpet tiles allow a good deal of design for a low price - and if you do spill or soil an area, that tile can be pulled up and replaced very quickly.    They are an excellent choice to create a 'rug' , and an excellent choice if you are updating a kitchen and cannot afford to replace the outdated flooring you are currently living with - not to mention the comfort under foot.

I have tried to show you a wide range of options available in a kitchen, with a range of styles from contemporary to traditional.  Each has its advantages and disadvantages, but I hope you have been inspired.  I would love to hear your comments and I am happy to answer any questions you may have!

Next post:  Cabinets
You will be amazed at the possibilities!

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