Archive for the ‘flooring’ Category

back in the sacks

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

I was looking through my snaps from Ann Sacks and thought maybe my fellow tile lovers might like to see some more —  they don’t work in our entryway but deserved to be ogled.

Like linen tiles. That actually feel like woven fabric…

fab linen tile

I’ll just shut up and show you the rest…

angela adams

crazy hexagons

river stones


horizontal bands

dimensional circles

pixie sticks

raised elliptical

striated glass

porcelain dots


Glad I got that out of my system! Just a taste of tile to come, I’m sure. I’ll get more serious about exploring our options when we start looking beyond the entryway.

visit to ann sacks

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Happened to be in New York City and made a special trip to the Ann Sacks showroom on East 18th today. Soooooo glad we went. Tile in person is so different from tile online — as you might imagine.

ann sacks nyc

It’s hard not to get distracted by the possibilities for the kitchen or bath…

too much to look at!

But we focused on looking at using concrete tile in our entryways, which was our mission in coming here in the first place. Some beautiful choices in concrete, mostly patterned…

concrete tiles

The Andy Fleishman Neo Terrazzo was particularly beautiful with a lovely matte finish…

concrete terrazzo

Up close, you can really make out the mother of pearl and stone pieces — the aggregate comes from the North Carolina coast…

concrete terrazzo closeup

The Paccha tiles made in Morocco (by Popham Design) are amazing, especially to the touch. They have a very handmade, artisan look to them, which makes sense since they are, duh. But the… hmm, what word to use? if we were talking about fabric I’d say the hand of the tiles is very warm and matte to the touch. Really beautiful with a lot of depth…

rings closeup

We saved our favorite for last: the Angela Adams Argyle concrete tiles (sorry, the lighting in this part of the showroom, not so good)…

angela adams argyle concrete

They’re huge! 16″x16″. Way bigger than I imagined. Available in nine colors by Angela Adams or, get this, customizable in any Benjamin Moore paint color. Nice. The color goes all the way through the tile…

angela adams argyle closeup

so even with wear and tear, just sand them down, refinish the top and you’re good to go. Made in America. $23 a sq ft. Good thing we don’t need much.

No final decision yet, but I think we’ll go home, look at our BenMo color chips and maybe order a sample. Before any decisions are made I want to see some Fritz terrazzo tile firsthand. Stay tuned! Like you care, ha.

and yet another tile idea

Friday, April 9th, 2010

Just got the April Anthropologie catalog in the mail and of the many wonders it contains, the one that makes my heart flutter the most is something they don’t sell…

anthropologie, page 5, april 2010 catalog

The tile! It just reminded us that to trim costs, we could always create our own unique mosaic tile pattern in the two entryways rather than buy something readymade. Would be fun to take one of Irving Haynes’ paintings, for instance, and turn it into 8’x5′ and 4’x2′ tile “rugs.”

tile closeup

I know, I’m clearly obsessed. I made that obvious here and here. Just wait ’til we get to the bathrooms. Consider yourself warned.

reaching entry entropy

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

Outside: moving. Inside: going nowhere until we settle on finishes. We finally agree on the flooring. Except that we’d both like to see something different than cork in the entryways. What we’re loving: concrete tile.

It’s gorgeous, ridiculously durable and generally an eco-friendly choice. Thus far, I’ve come across three styles of concrete tile:

  • something monolithic that resembles poured — these range from plain to colored to terrazzo
  • patterned
  • and dimensional or relief, meaning it has raised bits — doesn’t make sense in a high-traffic area

Whatever we choose, we’re not going to need much. The front entry is roughly 8’x5′. The back entry maybe 4’x2′. The tile has to go with the cork flooring we think we’re going to use…

edipo cork tile in bleach white |

edipo cork tile in bleach white |

So considering that, I’ve found a few options that catch my eye…



In a modern house, you can never go wrong with terrazzo. The drawback to polished terrazzo in an entryway, of course, is that when it gets wet it may get slippery. But it is a modern staple and who knew you could get it in tile?

marble mosaic in honey onyx |

marble mosaic in honey onyx |

custom marble in twilight white |

custom marble in twilight white |

Both of those from Fritz Tile and use marble in the aggregate. Pretty. We’d need an inside doormat no matter what kind of tile we choose, so maybe slippery won’t matter? Hmmm.

Fritz also offers two lines of LEED-certified recycled glass terrazzo tiles set in aggregate, but I’m not as fond of their look. For glass terrazzo, I prefer this…

recycled glass tile in riviera |

recycled glass tile in riviera |

or this…

recycled glass tile in swiss alps |

recycled glass tile in swiss alps |

from Wausau Tile, which also uses an aggregate base. Some recycled glass terrazzos are set in resin rather than aggregate (like countertop materials) — Enviroglas is a popular, environmentally friendly source. If we order samples, I’ll share.


Here’s a tile from Ann Sacks that’s not only concrete with a pattern but terrazzo as well…

neoterrazo by andy fleishman |

neoterrazo by andy fleishman |

Less glossy than the all-terrazzo choices above. I’m not one to shy away from pattern but I’d have to see it next to the cork to know if it would work. Maybe too… traditional?

Just to funk things up, Angela Adams has a few subtle but very modern patterned concrete tiles at Ann Sacks…

argyle by angela adams |

argyle by angela adams |

manfred by angela adams |

manfred by angela adams |

Nice matte finish. A hint of the ’70s there, am I right? Might be good in a circa ’72 house. Anything by Angela is a class act.

In case my design aesthetic isn’t all over the place enough for you, how about these Paccha concrete tiles, also at Ann Sacks…

zigzag by paccha |

zigzag by paccha |

Would the pattern overwhelm the rest of the room? Maybe. Popham Design who makes Zigzag also makes lots of other styles not carried by Ann Sacks — some that might go better. Although Zigzag doesn’t have to look like a quilt. Their website shows you how you can change things up in layout…

zigzag, zigging |

zigzag, zigging |

zigzag, zagging |

zigzag, zagging |

Does crazy things to your eyes after a while, doesn’t it?

Here’s another Popham style completely covered in awesome sauce…

popham squarish |

popham squarish |

Called Squarish. Simple yet arty. Probably my favorite by Popham for our entryway. Just love that so much.

Another configuration of Squarish, more vintage looking…

squarish, yet againish |

squarish, yet againish |

I emailed back and forth with Popham not long after we moved in. At the time they were only in Morocco and had no U.S. dealer. Not sure if the ordering deets have changed since ’08 (may well have and if we decide to pursue, I’ll double-check), but this is what Popham shared with me about ordering through them at the time:

We sell the tiles for $15/square foot and can ship via air or sea. For air, which takes about a week once the tiles are dry, you’ll add about $12/square foot, for groupage (marine), which takes about a month, the cost is about $5/square foot. Or, if you want a container’s worth :), about 6,000 square feet, the shipping cost drops to about $1/square foot. Our production lead time is 2-3 weeks depending on the size of the orders.

So maybe $20 a square footish. Not cheap but also not out of the realm of possibility given the small footprint. Not very “green” ordering from Marrakech, I know. On the other hand, it does employ local artisans in a very low-tech process. Conundrum. Nice video, btw.


I dream of a statement-making entry floor but my gut tells me this house wants something sleek and simple. We’ll see. For me, tile is a must-touch, must-ogle item. This means a visit to Ann Sacks, for sure. And I located Fritz Tile’s terrazzo at a few shops in MA and RI. Field trip!

my cork finally popped

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

I thought it might never happen but I just laid eyes on cork flooring I’m pretty smitten with. Just unboxed some samples of DuroDesign’s Edipo cork and, yes, it would actually complement this house nicely. Guess you can consider my cork POPPED.

Edipo cork flooring from DuroDesign

It’s made up of strips of cork, so it’s very linear, just like our house. No swirls. And yet not so uniform that it looks like a corkboard. Neither of those are styles I’ve disliked in other people’s houses — I just think they wouldn’t be the best choice here given our straight lines and hard angles. Perhaps this linear style has existed and I just somehow missed it in other flooring lines? Dunno.

Here’s Edipo in a range of neutrals, from bleached to darker…

Edipo in shades

I like how the linearity makes the cork resemble its original form: tree bark. In fact, the lighter shades remind me a lot of birch bark. Here’s a closeup of the darkest sample…

Edipo closeup

It comes in 12″x36″, click-together planks that would be easy enough to float in…

Edipo 1/2" plank edge

And they have thin, very light cork tiles that could work well on the ceiling (we want to contain our popcorn ceiling)…

Edipo tile edge

They’d need to be glued and/or nailed to something else first in order to be installed overhead, but that seems do-able.

As far as I’m concerned, the Edipo is a strong contender, assuming it’s in our price range. And of course, if we go with this we get all the sustainable, LEED-certified benefits of cork. As I mentioned in my last post:

… composed of 100% post-industrial recycled content from wine-stopper production.

Luv that. Lots more info and pictures of DuroDesign’s cork flooring options here in their PDF brochure.


Monday, March 8th, 2010

We think this house was recently swathed in floor-to-floor carpet, including the stairs. Ugh. The last owner ripped out a good deal of it…

particle board floor

But not all of it. Which leaves us with flaking particle board. And splinters in our feet. So you can probably understand why we’ve been collecting flooring samples. A few days ago, we woke up to a new box of samples on our front step. Wanna peek?

Duro Design sent us a ton of eco-friendling flooring samples for free (nice), including cork (available in 54 colors)…

duro cork

But why does cork leave me so… meh? Honestly. I love the idea of cork — that it’s completely renewable and easy on the feet. But I’ve yet to come across cork I love the look of. Duro’s cork comes from “post-industrial recycled content from wine stopper production,” so there’s a lot to be said for it.  And some of the patterns are pretty interesting…

duro cork closeup

Maybe too interesting? My discrimination is completely unfair, I realize that. David loves this stuff.

I do like the look of their strand bamboo

duro strand bamboo — spanish leather

No PVCs. No formaldehyde. Low VOC-finish. More durable than hardwood or regular bamboo floors. And I’ve long preferred the look of the stranded.

duro strand bamboo — miel

Available in 22 colors, although for us there are really only a few that could work.

duro strand bamboo — country

I’ve noticed that lately I’m drawn to lighter finishes… that clean, airy Scandinavian look must be appealing to me.

Which leads me to something I hadn’t considered before…

duro fsc oak — oyster

FSC oak, from environmentally and sustainably managed forests. I normally despise oak but for some reason I’m liking the look of their extra-wide engineered oak planks in the lighter finishes. Above, Oyster.

duro fsc oak — pastis

And this is Pastis. The difference is subtle but if you put them side by side you can see…

side by side duro fsc oaks

The Pastis on top has a little more pink in it. I prefer Oyster.

Ultimately we can’t settle on flooring without taking into account kitchen cabinetry and countertop materials, as they’ll all be visible in the main living space once we’re done with the remodel. I see this calls for a future post of some possible combinations.

Guess that means I better start gathering countertop samples.

jazzed about this tile

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

tile in peoria

This is not about me, it’s about the tile. The glorious, glorious vintage tile. Doesn’t it look fantastic with the bright orange seats? That pattern makes me ridiculously giddy.

Where: Peoria International Airport

When: The terminal was dedicated in 1942, so there’s a chance it dates to then. Not really sure. Just read they’re expanding. I hope they don’t touch the tile!

Why: On our first trip to the Bix Biederbecke Memorial Jazz Festival and its companion Bix 7 race in Davenport, Iowa, in 2005. Every year about 15,000 come for the music and more than 20,000 run the race. Crazy.

I’m posting this for my friend Steve, who’s on his way to Peoria. Say hello to the floor for me. And if you see that awesome hat of mine, bring it home. It went MIA.

the beginning of the end-grain

Friday, February 12th, 2010

end-grain bamboo cutting board

Off on a tangent — an end-grain wood tangent I began yesterday. Forgive my obsession and just play along.

If the term “end-grain” leaves you thinking, huh? don’t worry. If you’ve seen a butcher block table or countertop, you’ve seen end-grain. That’s my own end-grain bamboo cutting board above.

It’s called end-grain because all those individual blocks of wood in the butcher block are turned on end rather than set longways, so you can see the grain of the wood where the saw blade sliced through it. Think of a pepperoni sausage… laying on its side, that’s long-grain. But slice it into discs and lay those face up, that’s end-grain. If you still don’t get it, watch this.

End-grain cutting surfaces are traditionally maple, because it’s a hard, durable wood. But end-grain lends itself to other woods and other applications — like flooring! Really gorgeous, incredibly pricey flooring. I only know because I’ve been looking into flooring options for our remod and have been hoarding samples of things that catch my eye. Okay, I’ll show you a few end-grain samples but no touching….

end-grain oak flooring

bamboo end-grain flooring

plywood end-grain flooring

End-grain bamboo flooring you can find from a few different sources, Plyboo on the West Coast being the leader (also end-grain ply for furniture). Kaswell Flooring Systems in Framingham, MA, makes end-grain wood flooring from scads of different species, some more sustainable than others. We prefer the more eco-conscious options but they’re all pretty awesome to behold…

kaswell ash

kaswell ash

kaswell cerisewood

kaswell cerisewood

kaswell hemlock

kaswell hemlock

kaswell teak

kaswell teak

kaswell mesquite rounds

kaswell mesquite rounds

kaswell white oak

kaswell white oak

Eyes buggin’ yet? My personal favorite… strips of plywood end-grain! Plywood! (Scroll back up to my flooring samples for supa-dupa extreme closeup.)

kaswell plye

kaswell plye

God I love how a material that seems like such a throwaway can create such an amazing pattern. Just look at it in some lucky bugger’s fabulous New York City apartment:

It is to sigh. There are waaaay more species to choose from here and here. Want to see a few more installations? Hopefully Kaswell won’t mind… I’m on a roll.

mesquite floors and walls

hemlock used as tile

stairs with rounds

nyc standard hotel

As much as I love them, I have to admit that most of those choices are too busy design-wise for our space even if we could afford them.

But I’ll always have the samples.