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The power of a crowbar, and a dilemma

This blog chronicles my entire kitchen renovation from start to finish. Greentea Design has provided me with their solid wood kitchen cabinets, and I'm taking care of the rest.

If you'd like to be brought up to date, check out the archive in the sidebar for previous posts. I posted recently about the major purchases I've made for the kitchen, and now it's time for the fun stuff - DEMOLITION. I also have a flooring dilemma to figure out.

Demolition began recently in my kitchen, and it was a BLAST. I have no fear of tools (especially power tools), and love to get my hands dirty. I didn't do it all myself mind you, my boyfriend was as eager as I was to help with this demolition. We started with the wall between the living room and the kitchen. That had to go because the cabinets are ending about a foot into the living room and frankly, regardless of how the kitchen ended up being designed, I wanted that wall gone to open up the main floor. Here are a couple before photos to show you the wall (which I had an architect friend come by to check out and ensure it was not load bearing).

And here are a couple "during" photos. (During the demo of this wall we discovered mouse poop in the cupboard above the closet. Seems mice chewed/clawed a hole through the wall to get into the closet at a bag I had stashed in there of makings for granola. I have a couple pics in my kitchen remodel set on Flickr of this little surprise if you care to see the HORROR).

This is what the main floor looks like sans big useless wall. Actually, it wasn't all that useless. It was one of the few walls available to put furniture against and to hang art on. (The credenza found a new home in my bedroom, and looks really cute up there). This wall also housed the only closet on the main floor, so once the kitchen is finished, I need to start on getting a closet built in my office for coats/shoes/bags.

We have done more demolition since this wall came down, which I will show you in a future post, and the rest of it has to get done this weekend because my contractor is starting Monday. So I will have to create a makeshift kitchen in the living room to get me through the next month or so.

In the title of this post I mention that I have a dilemma. It's regarding the flooring. I had my heart set on painting the floors in the kitchen and living room white. But then I saw these photos on Design*Sponge of the home of Abigail Ahern, and I began to doubt my decision.

Perhaps a light grey could work in the space - it would show less dirt than white would that's for sure. I'm not quite sold on the idea so I thought I would ask you all your opinion. And I'd love it if you have ideas for specific colours and paint brands.

Here are some other spaces with painted floors I found for some more inspiration.

James Leland DayBo Bedre
Shoot FactoryInspace Locations
Judy KingBo Bedre

Also, I had a problem with the painted white floors in my office. I noticed a little while after I had done them that under all the furniture and rugs, the floor had turned yellowy. Anyone ever had that happen? I did 2 coats (BM's Oxford White) and waited 24 hours between each, but maybe it needed time to cure and I shouldn't have put the furniture down so soon after it dried. I don't want to run into this problem when I do the rest of the main floor.

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About the yellowing on the white floors...
I had a similar situation with a table that I sanded and painted white. I believe I ended up putting 3 coats on the thing and still have some yellow spots. I've always assumed that it's something from the previous finish that's seeping through. I'm not really sure how to prevent that.
Also, I think the grey would be lovely.
I think go for the grey...It is still a light neutral color, but I agree it wouldn't show dirt, shoe scuffs, and other things that you don't want seen on your floor. white is nice, but grey I think should be your winner!!!
I vote for the grey or any other color besides white. Seeing the beautiful Lucky in those pictures made me realize you would be dealing with cat hair against the white constantly. The floors would rarely look like these pictures if you chose don't. ;)
Hmmmm..... so far 3 votes for grey. I'm a bit surprised. But yes, cat hair is a big issue against white floors. The stairs that are now white seem to require sweeping about twice a day to keep them clean.

cheryl.andrey, the yellowing is directly under furniture legs etc. so it's not due to the wood grain beneath. I did learn from a previous home that wood with an obvious grain/pattern requires alot of primer or maybe a special one (?) to cover up the grain.
Did you use oil-based paint on the floors? Oil-based paints will turn yellow when they're not exposed to light, which is why you're only seeing it happen under the rugs and furniture.

Using a very good primer (like Zinsser's 123 or BIN) under alkyd/latex-based paint should prevent that from happening in the future.

As for color, I wouldn't do gray OR white with the dark wood cabinets you're using. I think the white won't look grounded enough, and the gray will look dingy. Have you considered black?

I actually prefer floors that are natural - no paint, just the original colour. =)
are you going to paint the tile? would that work? i had the same dilemma when i knocked down the wall b/t the kitchen and dining room. i ended up replacing the nasty vinyl in the kitchen to match the oak floors in the rest of the house. it looks beautiful but i'm wary of how well the wood floors will hold up in the kitchen. as for color, i would lean towards something not so white. what ever will match your cabinetry best.

I'm also having trouble envisioning painted floors--white or grey--against the stained wood cabinetry. The examples above have almost no wood visible, not in the permanent things. I'd lean toward a stain similar to or even lighter than the cabinets. My sister has dark stained wood floors in the kitchen and they have held for 10+ years really nicely. White tiles on the back splashes and/or countertops will keep the small area from getting too dark. Since the cabinetry has an Asian flair, what about bamboo floors?

2 cents!

Good luck! -N.
Anna, I used Porch and Floor high gloss alkyd enamel. I was told I didn't need to prime. With 6 cats in the house, I need to get the floors painted as fast as possible so I was hoping to not have to prime. Might be worth it though if it stops the yellowing. And NOOOO, I have not considered black. Wouldn't that be worse than white in terms of seeing dirt/cat hair? And mt house is so small and narrow that I think black would make it look smaller.

Sinndbrat - if my existing floors were actually nice in their original form, I would consider leaving as is. They are cheap and ugly.

Rick - the tile is getting smashed into little bits tomorrow. It is the ugliest tile I have ever seen and the absolute worst grouting job EVER. And there is not one straight line. The contractor is laying unfinished hardwood. I want the same look carried through the living room so I told him to match the size of the living room hardwood. That way the whole space will look seamless.

Rick and Fledgling, I am not a huge fan of stained floors. Plus, it would be hard to match with the cabinets, and the cabinets arrive after the floors need to be done. I would LOVE bamboo but then I'd have to replace the living room floor too and I'm worried about how much that would cost. Interesting though how many of you think white and grey wouldn't work. Keep in mind though the walls will be light grey or white and the countertop will be very white with specs of light grey.

You've all got me thanks for your input!!!
Have you considered a color other than white or grey, like maybe indigo blue? Also, what are your low-VOC paint options in something that's durable enough for the floor? Beware adding toxic yuck to your indoor air. Also consider what happens if you get a scratch or damage to the floor that you need to refinish in years to come. Will you be able to repaint without too much trauma?
Good luck!
Frith, I'm not sure how indigo blue would go with the cabinets but I'll for sure give that some thought. I am not sure what low VOC paints are available here - I can tell you the BM floor paint was pretty damn toxic smelling. Damage after years of wear is not a concern of mine because I don't imagine I'll spend more than a few years in this house. I'll let future owners worry about it. :)
I think slightly off white would work well with the colour of the cabinets AND be more practical than stark white. I would lean towards a warm tone though (to complement the wood).

In my house I've done the opposite - I stripped and stained the wood floors very dark brown, almost black, and have white cabinets with black countertop. I only have one, albeit longhair, cat, and the dark floors are relentless for showing his dustbunnies.

PS: I live in Ottawa too, and lived through a couple renos, so if you want some local advice, let me know :) Good luck!

sunkissed.monika at gmail
I actually think the grey would look great with the cabinets that you've picked along with the countertop. I love the contrast of warm/cold colours in a room. I don't find the prospect of floors stained to match the cabinetry appealing, I have to say. For some reason I can't envision white floors in the kitchen. Besides, a kitchen floor gets diry SO easily and quickly, I think you'd end up regretting it no matter how great it might look (which I have to say I'm not sure that it would...). Go for the grey is what I'm saying, I guess. Good luck!
monika (from Ottawa, YAY!), I LOVE white cabinets with dark countertop. The main floor in my sister's house is stained a very dark brown and I can't get over how much you can see dirt on it. I don't want cat fur gleaming against a dark floor when the sun is shining in. Thanks for the offer for advice!

sam, I'm pleased you have added another grey vote. thanks!
Grey, gray, grey!

I agree w/ Sam on the warm/cold contrast. Wood on wood is hard to do right, like denim on denim, and I can never remember if I'm supposed to mix or match my denims...

My scanner died, so here's a camera shot: grey floor, wood cabs, white counter, AND your range hood ;)
... also the small backsplash you're considering

and another white, wood, grey pic I had saved, but don't have a source for

and I might have the kitchen that goes with your Bo Bedre

sorry, I can't figure out how to make my links shorter, or linkable.

as for specific color choice, I'd hold paint ships against your stove and fridge, see what you feel marries best with your appliances. Maybe paint some cardboard swatches and set them on the floor to see how the light hits them.

The demo looks great so far!
Brandy, thanks SO MUCH for the links!!! The first photo is perfect, and is really getting me to lean towards grey. I'm usually too impatient to do swatches but I think in this case it would be a smart thing to do. Although luckily I have a chunk of my countertop and a piece of a cabinet so I have samples to work with.
I've been a lurker on your blog for eons but felt compelled to write for the first time. I don't know what to advise on the floor. But what I did want to say was to get rid of the microwave. Think of all the space you'll gain without it. Buy foods which can be cooked stove top or in the conventional oven. Healthier and homier that way, I think. I got rid of my microwave and haven't looked back!
Hi Kim! I don't have much advice on whether to go with the grey or white. I really love white floors, but I know you would choose a beautiful grey if you went with it. I adore the grey you chose for your walls.

This is totally fun watching this. You are taking the tiles out in the kitchen, right? So that you have one floor? I am so envious.

P.S. I'd like to see a pic of the credenza in the bedroom. Did you ever make those lamps?

You're amazing.
Kim - I forgot to ask - is that a pattern on your ceiling in your living room? I don't think I ever noticed it before. Probably overkill since you chose cool lights for the kitchen - but will you be hanging a chandelier. I can't believe I'm getting obsessed about chandeliers. I didn't used to like them.
what ever color you pick for your floor, it seems like having the same color in the living room would be beneficial to make the space seem more open. I'm just mentioning this because the thumbnail of your new kitchen in the top left corner of your site has gray in the kitchen only.
I love your sites! thanks!
beehive maiden, i bought a really small stainless microwave because I occasionally reheat leftovers and make popcorn etc. etc. so I don't know that I could live without one. I'd love to be able to stick it in a cabinet though!

Peggy, the tiles are gone - spent the better part of the afternoon pulling them up. Not fun. And no, you cannot see a photo of the credenza in my bedrooom. I have done NOTHING to my bedroom except rip out the closet so I'm left with ugly yellow walls and chunks of drywall missing. Lamps aren't made yet either. Too busy with the kitchen, unfortunately. And yep, that's a pattern on my living room ceiling. I think it's cool. Check my lighting post to see what I bought for over my dining table.

Anon, I am FOR SURE painting the floors in the kitchen and living room the same for that reason. The sketch in the top left was done by the Greentea guys before they knew what I was doing with the flooring so it's not accurate.
kim, i'd go with white... the pics with the grey flooring have high ceilings and are quite bright with what must be large windows... and can take the visual impact of grey..

your ceiling (while lovely!) isn't so high... so the grey might end up making the room look even shorter...

yeah... i'd go with white :)
thanks for your reply. i've worked it out so leftovers can be heated in a skillet with just a little bit of olive oil (depending on the dish). and popcorn cooked on stove top is easy and delicious. take a covered pot. heat enough oil to cover the bottom. place just enough popcorn kernals to cover the bottom. cover and shake until all the kernals are popped. voila!
I think a light grey, while not as light and airy was white, wouldn't necessarily make the room seem shorter or smaller... I have a friend whose tiny office has wooden floor painted grey, and it looks fantastic, with a warm wooden desk and pops of lime green in art, pillows and such... I love that room. So I'm voting for the grey. A light grey, but not TOO light. I think the grey's gotten the most votes so far, Kim! Good luck... kitchen renos are a pain, but at least you know it'll take a month... I know someone who went without a kitchen for 4 months! eeek.
Ornot, I would do a light grey if I go with grey. I'm enjoying hearing what you guys would choose. I'm hoping it will eventually help with my indecisiveness. But once I decide I'll start freaking out about what colour to go with :) If this reno takes 4 months, I will LOSE IT. I cannot live in such a small house with this many cats and have it in such disarray.
Really? Am I the ONLY ONE who's going to say it? Seriously. OK, well, since you're getting cabinets with a red undertone to the wood, why not do a high gloss red lacquer floor? It's not going to be a GIGANTIC kitchen, so why not? My ONLY reservation regarding doing a red floor is the question of wall colour.

But think: when the red wears off, you'll have wood showing through and I think that'll be extremely elegant.

I am seeing red coral candlesticks and Nigella Lawson blue mixing bowls. Fabulous!

-- Janine
Janine, you're INSANE! LOL! I see where you are going with this, but I really don't like red. I have one chinese red chair in my teal dressing room, and that's about all the red I can handle. I would have to have the living room floor red as well and it would look like someone committed mass murders in my forest (mural).

You say "it would look like someone committed mass murders in my forest (mural)" like that's a bad thing. This is where we differ.

I say BE INSPIRING. Life is a bowl of cherries, Kim. BE THE KNOTTED STEM. Think of the drama! Think of the awesomeness! Think of the uniqueness! Think of the page views.

-- Janine
Hey Janine, I don't recall seeing red floors in your new home. Hmmmm??? LOL Silver fox doesn't screaming inspiring to me. Backatcha. I kid. :P
*clutches chest*

You dare to impugn Silver Fox? Bennie Moore will cry himself to sleep tonight!

-- Janine
I can impugn (had to google that) Silver Fox because I used in my last house and didn't think it was very daring of a colour.
after thinking about this more while trying to sleep last night (counting sheep doesn't do it for me) i was thinking about this... what about a pale pale pink?

it seems sad to lose that pink glow about your kitchen :P
Pale pink? I don't know that pink of any sort would work with the cabinet colour. I will totally consider that for my bedroom though...I think it would be gorgeous! Oh - you were laying in bed thinking about my floors? LOL! Ok, so I'm not the only one.
the floors in my office are painted Benjamin Moore's "Camouflage" they are a light grayish beige. I LOVE the color. I used exterior house paint to paint them, then 2 coats of water-based polyurethane. You can see some of them here:
if you want more info email me and I'll bore you with all the details. :) erikampowell(at)gmail(dot)com
looks great!
erika, LOVE the colour of your floors - and everything about your home! Your kitchen, office, bathroom etc. etc. ROCK! Love how you've done so much with salvaged pieces. Any reason why you chose exterior paint instead of floor paint? Unfortunately because my countertop is WHITE, something in the beige family probably won't work. :(
exterior paint is way more tough right?
I am going to google this today since I'm STUCK IN MY BEDROOM WITH 6 CATS, and question the lovely folks at my nearest BM store.
My vote is for light (dove) grey, seeing as it'll be extending into your living room, or if you want a little more colour in it, an eau de nil. Either will look lovely as it wears, and should complement the cabinets and benchtop. Fun, fun, fun, we're just finishing our kitchen after nearly a year, so good luck!
Wow, quite a number of responses for your floors Kim.

I'm going to have a sketch done in the next couple days for Kim to pull together the final elements so we can have an up to date preview.

As for the Microwave - in the store we have a microwave in a pantry cabinet and it works out really well. Don't use it a lot obviously, so going into the pantry to access it isn't such a big deal. (Though Ruby, the store cat, goes crazy because her plethora of treats are kept in there.)
Can't wait to see your sketch Mike! And I can't believe you never told me you guys have a cat at the store!
Hi Kim. Your blog is GREAT! I was struggling to find images of gray painted floors on the web as inspiration for our own project, but you've done a great job of showing yours from every angle. Now that you've lived with them for a while, how do you find them regarding showing dirt? We have an antique oak stain on our pine floorboards now which we're not too thrilled with because they look dusty and worn out most of the time (a wash seems to only last a day) so I'm more and more tempted to paint them but I'm concerned that they'd show dirt/dust even more than the dark floors. I'd love some insight from your experience...
I adore my grey floors. I think grey is a great colour because it's neutral and doesn't show dirt nearly as much as white. Now, I have 6 cats so I live with constantly dirty floors. But my office being white shows dirt WAY more, and my twin sister's espresso-stained hardwood shows dirt and every little spec of dust. My grey floors do not show dust, just dirt (and in my case piles of cat fur). And I think I chose a colour dark enough that hides alot.

Hope that helps Green DIY!
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