Our Tiny, Carpeted Kitchen

>> Friday, November 20, 2009

Some of you who join us from my METHOD days have already celebrated our kitchen floor transformation. This project still has us grinning from ear to ear. So, I just have to share it with the new crew. First, I know you all don't read the blog to marvel at a picture of Stephen's dirty feet . . . or a dirty floor. BUT that dirty floor just happens to belong to -- yes -- our beloved kitchen. Shortly after this photo was taken, we tidied up a bit . . . vacuumed, mopped, etc. . . . and for the first time ever enjoyed cooking in our carpet-less kitchen.

That's right! Our kitchen was carpeted by the previous owner. When we bought the house last June (2008), we had grand plans to gut the little room (which is only about a 10' x 11') -- foremost on the to-do list was hard-surface flooring. Here's a glamor shot of the old, low-pile carpet that was impossible to clean, ??? years old, and probably full of funk, gunk, and countless allergens.

Sexy. Now, here's a shot of what was beneath all this . . . (the carpet was glued to ancient vinyl flooring, which we lifted up to expose a smoother, less-sticky underlay).

Initially, we wanted to replace this mess with hardwood or tile. We also wanted to buy new cabinets. New countertops. Oh yeah, and a sink, etc. We wanted a lot of things, really. I have a food blog, for goodness sake! Kitchens are important! So, we planned to start this work this summer . . . paying for it all with my teacher-husband-camp director extraordinaire's summer money. Enter swine flu -- which canceled his camp geared toward Tiwanese exchance stduents -- and we're not doing so well, at least not renovate-your-entire-kitchen well, financially right now.

Plan B: We prioritized. The carpet just HAD to go -- and ASAP. But we didn't want to spend lots of money installing a temporary hardwood or expensive tile floor (because we do need new cabinets when we can afford them). We've used some of those vinyl flooring tiles in our tiny bathroom, so my first idea was to find two colors of that (thinking like a beige and lighted beige . . . or just two variations, slightly, slightly different colors) and create a subdued checkerboard style -- with class.

When we got to Home Depot, we discovered a product that still blows my mind: Trafficmaster Allure Resilient Flooring. It's vinyl plank flooring that looks like wood (or tile). Now, I'm as skeptical and picky as all get out, but honestly . . . there are several "wood-types" in their collection that can trick even a discerning eye like mine. Not all are created equally, so if you go and check it out, keep this in mind (yes, some look very tacky, I'm sorry to say). We decided to go with the Hickory color, because it was relatively close to the other real wood floors in our house. Planks come in boxes that cover 24 square feet, and each square foot is only $1.99! We snatched six (heavy!) boxes, changed into our working clothes, and spent the next six hours on the floor.

Result: It was the perfect solution for our temporary flooring needs (I see us keeping this down for maybe 2-3 years), it looks GREAT (see photos below), it's extremely water (dropped eggs, milk, random sauces, etc.) resistant, and it was easy to install! The tricky part was finding a good staggering effect, but thanks to some crafty internet searching -- we went with 1st plank was full length, 2nd was 2/3 length, third was 1/2 length, fourth was 1/3 length, then back to the full length, and so on.

Here's one last before photo:

And some pretty afters:

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