A Few Random Updates — Porch Ideas, Studio Update, Etc.

Happy Monday, y’all! I have no progress on any home-related project to share with you because…well…I haven’t done anything for several days. And I’m okay with that. 🙂

Last Friday was Matt’s birthday, and the one thing he wanted us to do was watch the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy. The entire thing in one day. 😀  The trilogy is about 9.5 hours long. All I can say is thank goodness for laptop computers. There’s no way I can just sit and watch that much TV (even something so good as LOTR) for that long without having something else to do. Let’s just say that I got plenty of time to search and mull over about a thousand new ideas I found on Pinterest, Houzz, and Instagram. That actually might not be a good thing. 😀

Anyway, I wanted to keep you updated on some things.

Our weather has been less than desirable lately for doing any outdoor work, but today it’s finally supposed to be sunny and in the 50s. So my brother is going to come help me today, and hopefully we can make some progress on the front porch. My main goal for the day is to get those risers…

…(the ones I described here) attached to the concrete so that I can get the actual porch boards installed soon. I don’t anticipate that it will be a hard job to do, but it does require the use of a Ramset, which is a gunpowder actuated nail gun that I will never use when I’m working by myself. (FYI, the person who said he’d do this for me for $2000 came back with a price of $1000, which in my mind is still too much, and by that time I had decided to do it myself. But I guess he wasn’t trying to overbid because he wasn’t interested in the job. He just overbid.) Anyway, once those risers are installed, I can then install the porch boards (the ones that will be stained) and then wrap the columns.

Speaking of columns, my mom came over the other day and we chatted about some different ideas for the porch. At the end of our conversation, we both agreed that the porch would be better in the end without a balustrade. So I’ll just have three columns, and I want them to look very similar to the ones on this house…

I love how the columns are bigger on bottom and smaller on top. I also chose that one as my inspiration because even though I won’t have a balustrade on my porch, I will have a handrail on my steps, which will look very similar to those steps. I like everything about those columns, the steps, the handrails…everything.

And one of my big projects for the front porch will be building a porch swing. I’ve become a bit obsessed with looking at different designs and planning exactly how I want mine to look. I’ll have to make it myself because of the size (and that whole “loving DIY” and “saving money” thing). Since my porch is only 5.5 feet deep, that means that once the column on the end is wrapped, I’ll only have 40-45 inches of space for a swing. And I want the design of mine (not necessarily the color) to look pretty much exactly like this one.

via Lowcountry Swing Beds on Etsy

If you’re looking for a porch swing, the Etsy store where I found that one — Lowcountry Swing Beds — has so many different and amazing styles. It’s a great place to start your search if you’re in the market for one. (And they didn’t even have to pay me to say that. 😀 I’m just genuinely impressed with their designs.)

In completely different news, Matt has been chomping at the bit for me to get going on the studio. And by that, I don’t mean he’s wanting me to actually get in there and do stuff. He’s just wanting me to find and hire someone immediately to do the electrical, the insulation and the drywall so we can get things moving in a forward direction again. That studio has been at a standstill for far too long.

Once all of that is done, I’ll be ready to install flooring. And oh my gosh, the flooring decision is driving me crazy.

Y’all, there’s no perfect answer. I want there to be a perfect answer, but there’s just not one. I change my mind on flooring about twice a day…at least. And I’m kind of at the point where I either want to put the options on a dart board and just throw a dart, or draw an option out of a hat, or just let someone else decide. There’s no perfect answer.

At first I thought I would just go with hardwood floor. It would be beautiful, that’s for sure. And I love carrying one flooring throughout most of a home because it just opens things up, where different floorings can make the house seems chopped up and smaller. So carrying the same red oak hardwood from the breakfast room into the studio would be beautiful.

But as I was getting all of my mess cleaned up from the hallway when it was finished, I was reminded that tools and beautiful hardwood floors really don’t work well together. And while I won’t be using saws and stuff like that in the studio, the floor needs to be hard wearing. I don’t want to worry about scratching the floor or maintaining a beautiful finish. I don’t want to feel like I have to spread out a drop cloth to do a painting or paint a small end table. I want this to be a work room.

So these last few weeks, I’ve had in my mind that I want tile. I know it can be hard on the feet, but I can use gel mats around my big work table for comfort. But over the last month, I’ve been concerned about putting that much tile in such a big room. Y’all, this winter, for some reason, has been hard on our house like no other winter has been since we’ve moved here.

Our house is a pier and beam house, so it naturally moves and shifts with the ground. Generally those moves and shifts are so slight that they’re not really noticeable. But this winter, most of the joints in our moulding and trim — baseboards, crown moulding, etc. — have cracked. I’ve never experienced this before. And it’s not just affecting the moulding and trim. Two of the subway tiles on the upper part of my kitchen wall have hairline cracks in them as well.

So now I’m concerned that if I put tile in a big 19.5 x 22 room, at some point the house will shift just enough for the tile to crack. And what a pain (and a huge disappointment) that would be.

So that leaves me with LVT — luxury vinyl tile — flooring. That’s what I had in the condo, and really, I loved it. It’s a groutable peel-and-stick vinyl tile, and while (in hindsight) I didn’t really love the particular color I chose for the condo, I loved the product itself. When it’s grouted, it looks just like real tile, but it’s not cold like real tile. You can drop stuff on it and it won’t break. And if it does get scratched, you can just pop up that one tile and replace it quite easily.

But the options are so limited, and that makes me hesitant. I want tile in the back mudroom and half bath regardless of what I choose for the studio. And I had planned on doing some interesting tile design with a combo of a couple of tiles. But if I do the vinyl tile in the studio, the option for a fun mosaic design in the mud room and bathroom goes away since those options aren’t available in the vinyl.

*Sigh* This shouldn’t be this difficult. Matt’s going to want me to make a decision soon and get it ordered, and it stresses me out. Can’t I just choose paint colors and fabric and skip over the floor? 😀

I really do want to hear from any of you who have pier and beam houses that shift throughout the year. Do you have large rooms that are tiled with real tile? Has it been a problem? Have you had any tiles crack?

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  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 12, 2018 at 11:08 am

    Have you considered some of the alternative flooring products out there? Maybe something designed for commercial installations or recreation type rooms? Here are just a few ideas:

    – I believe they make a rubberized product that’s often used in basement home gyms and rec rooms. Might be nice and durable and soft on the feet.
    – There are lots of snap-together laminate products that don’t look like hardwood. For example, faux tile that looks convincingly like tile. Plus, you could put a thicker foam underlay instead of the typical plastic underlay, again, making it easier on the feat.
    – There’s a product that Behr makes that’s designed to “refinish” outdoor patios and decks. They make one to go over wood and one to go over concrete. The end-result is supposed to look like either a textured rubberized surface or Trex decking and it comes in all kinds of colors and patterns. I wonder if you could have someone pour a thinset base or just use a good plywood base and then use one of these products to give an interesting finish.
    – Garage epoxy. The same stuff you put on your countertops. What about putting it over a thinset base or plywood base where the seams are sealed with something flexible like silicone? Could be hard on the feet and not sure how it’d hold-up.
    – Have you considered doing different areas? Maybe you could have your “office” area and the hallway, mudroom, and bathroom area done in wood but then make a section of the room that’s tile or something more durable for your work table. For that matter, maybe one section could be a durable, stain-treated commercial rug that’s set even with the surrounding hard material.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      February 12, 2018 at 1:03 pm

      These are some really creative yet practical ideas, Justin. Cheers, Ardith

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      February 12, 2018 at 2:07 pm

      I work for a nationwide commercial construction company and 2 years ago we moved into our new corporate headquarters. Our kitchen and 2 coffee bars are tiled in a commercial vinyl tile in 12×12 that are so nice and honestly, I bet it took me 3 months to realize the tile was vinyl-and I’m very into decor so I notice these things. The seams of the tile is not grouted. It’s just beautiful and hasn’t marred at all in two years, with lots of daily traffic. I’d consider some of the new vinyl myself if I were you, it’s not going to crack or shift. At home we recently replaced a laminate floor in the basement with vinyl planks that look like wood and it’s so much nicer than the laminate. I’m loving the new vinyl.

      • Reply To This Comment ↓
        February 12, 2018 at 3:42 pm

        My friend has the vinyl planks in a lower family room. I couldn’t tell it was vinyl at all and it’s a soft surface to walk on. But if you want a true work surface, couldn’t you just do concrete?

        • Reply To This Comment ↓
          February 13, 2018 at 9:15 am

          Her studio is raised off the original concrete floor. It’s plywood.

          I also have a room with the vinyl planks and I love it.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 12, 2018 at 11:11 am

    Is the studio floor currently concrete? As another possibility, have you considered the Rustoleum Pro Series Garage Floor Epoxy? Thicker coating one. Saw this on a blogger site once and it looked interesting.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 12, 2018 at 11:19 am

    I was really impressed by some of the vinyl roll options at our local flooring center. It’s the expensive stuff, but the expensive stuff looks so real these days! I wouldn’t be surprised if you could find a vinyl floor that looks like your hardwoods. The kind my local showroom had also is really easy to patch. You couldn’t even see the patch in their patch sample. Worth checking out.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 12, 2018 at 11:24 am

    I agree with you that the tile would be way too cold. I live in a very small (992 sf) pier and beam, 2 story house. We have been very lucky and have not had any cracks anywhere in the 13 yrs. we have lived here. We are going to remodel one of our bathrooms and use the luxury vinyl flooring that is 100% waterproof, easy click, adhesive, no glue and no grout installation. It looks a lot like laminate, but softer on the feet. We have never had any ceramic tile flooring, so I can’t comment on that, but my parents have a house on a foundation and their tile flooring is always cracking. What about a cork flooring? Anyway, good luck with your decision. Can’t wait to see your finished porch.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 12, 2018 at 11:46 am

    For all the reasons you stated, tile is not going to work for your situation and you are right to be concerned about wood flooring. In the end it wouldn’t match the rest of your house anyway because it will get more abuse. If you’re concerned about cohesiveness between rooms, I would suggest you NOT chose something different for the mudroom and bath. Maybe you can do some cool tile on the walls instead. The vinyl plank floors that are out now are so beautiful and more “friendly” to the use of your room. Don’t try to “match” your beautiful wood floors; something entirely different, yet complimentary will work. Don’t be afraid to go with a lighter color! For the size of the room, I’d likely chose a large format tile. Many look wonderful without going through the work and upkeep of the grout also.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      lorin small
      February 12, 2018 at 12:19 pm

      Yes with some hot water running through it for those chilly mornings.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      February 12, 2018 at 12:19 pm

      I just put vinyl plank flooring throughout my whole ground floor, living room, dining room and kitchen. (I have Saltillo tiles in my entryway and powder room.)

      I love it. Love it. Love it. Looks great – like real wood but it is warm to the foot and tremendously easy to keep clean.

      Did I mention how much I love it?

      • Reply To This Comment ↓
        Gilmer Gal
        February 12, 2018 at 12:57 pm

        My brother put this in his Man’s Cane and it works great! I even put it in an old RV that I gutted and renovated. Looks good and feels good.

      • Reply To This Comment ↓
        Candice S
        February 13, 2018 at 9:37 am

        This is what I was going to recommend, too. Vinyl plank wood looking flooring. It will give you the warmth of the wood look but be super durable and non fussy. It would also be easier on your legs and feet than tile flooring.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Bobbi Jo Thompson
    February 12, 2018 at 11:51 am

    What about stained concrete? I have seen some amazing results.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Debra C Robbins
    February 12, 2018 at 11:51 am

    Have you considered bamboo? I’ve been told it is very durable.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 12, 2018 at 11:51 am

    We don’t live in a pier and beam but just regular slab home, but we have experienced a lot of shifting. Either from weather conditions or earthquakes (in Oklahoma). But I’ve noticed many rooms the trim/crown/base have cracked/pulled. Its frustrating. Even a new crack in the drywall.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 12, 2018 at 11:52 am

    Vinyl would be easy to install, maintain and durable. Lots of patterns and options out there. The other thought I had if you really want wood, find some reclaimed wood with defects already in it. stain and poly it but leave the marks and wear/tear in it as it will be durable forever.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 12, 2018 at 12:03 pm

    I agree you should check into a more commercialized idea for the flooring in the studio – something durable and flat – no grout that will crack or discolor or have to be re-sealed.

    There are some cool pictures on the web of how people transitioned from hardwoods to tile between living rooms and kitchens, etc. Using the same concept you could do a border around the room that brings in the hardwoods from the rest of the home, that then transitions into your work surface. (My personal favorite is using hexagon tiles for an irregular transition: https://www.dorisleslieblau.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/P%C5%82ytki-heksagonalne-a-wyko%C5%84czenie-restauracji-pubu-Ragno-1000×1347.jpg.)

    I’m glad you have a supportive husband who encourages you in your work. Good luck with your decision.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Dolores Reese
    February 12, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    Therer are a lot of beautiful linoluems now. Its inexpensive & if you tire of it its easy to replace!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      February 12, 2018 at 9:08 pm

      Kristi, I was thinking linoleum, too — REAL linoleum, like the kind made “back in the day.” You can get it in tiles, and giant sheets for full-size rooms, AND they can do all sorts of really neat designs in it. I’m in So. California, and I think there’s a place in Los Angeles or the Inland Empire area (which would be around the Upland or Claremont area) that does traditional linoleum tiles and lino sheets where you can customize the design. There’s also a place in Santa Monica, CA, Linoleum City, that’s been around since 1948 http://linoleumcity.com/ but because they’re in the coastal area of L.A., their prices are likely very high. Take a look at their website if you’re interested. I’m sure you could get real linoleum in Texas at a far better prices though!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Jane Davila
    February 12, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    What about an LVT in a herringbone pattern? You get some visual interest and the durability of the vinyl. I’ve been researching this for a commercial project I’m working on and it comes in different wood tones.


    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      February 12, 2018 at 1:08 pm

      Wow, love this idea. We have LVT in our kitchen, office and entry. IT looks great and has been very serviceable. We went with a product that was commercial grade.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      February 13, 2018 at 8:34 am

      Glad someone suggested Karndeen. We had these vinyl planks installed on the lower level of our home (some parts are “walk out basement” graded). We love them!

      Planks have a rubberized backing and essentially go down on the concrete slab by static electricity-no glue, or other adhesive necessary. Fun fact-when you move you could remove the planks and take them with you 🙂

      The Karndeen barnwood planks are what we have. They have a texture to them (though not enough to trap dirt, etc). I scoot future around on the floor without worry or scratching or tearing the vinyl.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    lorin small
    February 12, 2018 at 12:17 pm

    Now you’ll have to watch all the special features of LOTR and that’s like a zillion hours.😄 Then that will make you want to travel to New Zealand and then watch the Hobbit trilogy. …back to LOTR….😊

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 12, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    Have you looked at vinyl that has cement tile patterns. The vinyl is tough as nails, easy to clean and that pattern hides a multitude of sins. It is current right now so could look very stylish.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 12, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    We put vinyl plank flooring throughout the entire main floor of our house, except the bathroom which we put in tile. This means that it is by the front and side door, where it routinely gets wet from rain or snow, in the kitchen and under the washer & dryer. It also withstands our english bulldog…which trust me makes plenty of a mess with his water dish and drooling!

    The best advantage about this flooring is that it is not affected by water. The second best is that it was perfect for going over our subflooring in a house built in 1900…so it wasn’t level. The third best is that it looks great. We always get compliments on it!

    With all that being said, I have two suggestions that we have learned from using it. We used the kind that is suppose to “float” over the subflooring and clicks together. You’re suppose to leave some space around the edges for when it expands and contracts during the different seasons and temperatures (we live in Iowa). That is a great concept, but when you have a couch and furniture sitting on it in different spots, it doesn’t shift in that one area so it leaves gaps in other areas instead. Lesson learned – if you use vinyl plank flooring – use the kind that glues down into place so you don’t have this issue!

    My second suggestion is to not use a dark stain color for it and have some variance (grain) in the design. We have a dark color that is pretty solid and it looks dirty instantly (dust, dog hair, wet spots that dry from our dog, etc.). We have a friend that put down a grey version that has a lot of “grain” look to it and they do not have this issue that we do.

    As far as durability, it has done pretty good. It does have a few marks in it where we had some tools dropped during our renovation when the flooring was still completely covered in paper for protection. It also has some light scratches here and there from moving furniture that the protective feet had come off. However, overall it doesn’t have any scratches from our dog’s nails which is pretty big!

    I hope this all helps you! Overall, it has worked great and I would suggest it for your studio project! 🙂

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Jackie Pratt
      February 12, 2018 at 12:51 pm

      Can you tell me what brand of glue down vinyl tile you used please?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 12, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    I have a pier and beam house and we have tile in our entry way 42 inches by 12 feet, we have had many of our tile crack and we have replaced some of them twice. Such a pain! It is not only the house settling but also things that have fallen on them. I do love them for cleaning purposes but over all I will be getting hardwood next year. I also have vinyl in the kitchen and it does have spots where the fridge and dishwasher have scratched and made cuts in it. I am going to replace it next year too with hardwood. My 2 cents is go with hardwood and get the rubber mats that go together like a puzzle. They are very easy to assemble and easy to move around or disassemble. and feel good on the legs. Will you be using the room to entertain at all? Large family gatherings?

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      February 12, 2018 at 7:16 pm

      If we have more than eight people for dinner, we would have to set up a table in the studio. I do want it to be versatile like that, so I need to consider that when choosing flooring as well.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 12, 2018 at 12:48 pm

    I hear you about cracking. I have a 1950s New England cape (built on a cement basement foundation) but the extreme changes in temperature we’ve had this winter made all my caulking done this summer on my kitchen cabinets crack. (I added trim molding and crown molding to standard wood stock cabinetry and painted it. Now I have to recaulk along the ceiling line and around some of the molding and touch up the paint. I noticed all my hardwood flooring (some original, some added by us) has more noticeable seams (which will close up again in hot weather when the wood swells). New England weather is rough on homes.

    How about the vinyl plank click flooring that mimics hardwood. I want to eventually put that in my finished basement in place of the current wall-to-wall carpet. It looks like wood, had more give underfoot than tile, but the planks can be easily clicked into placed and replaced if damaged. Plus they already have rubber backing built in for moisture protection and added cushion. The planks would be less apt to peel up than the peel and stick tiles.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 12, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    Perhaps do a uniform vinyl throughout the whole former garage, and save the mosaic tiling for the walls of the bathroom and mud room part? Or just the bathroom floor? Seems like the vinyl would be practical for the mud room as well as the studio.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Elizabeth A
    February 12, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    Not sure on the installation process on a non-cement subfloor, but I love my vinyl school tiles (Armstong VCT) in my craft/ laundry room. Pinterest has great options for plaids or multicolor flooring. Since it is meant for schools and commercial spaces it is hardworking and it is easy to order from Home Depot and lots of colors for around $1/ sq ft.

    This was my inspiration: https://pin.it/e4yecqcgi7gdvt
    This is my craft/ laundry room: https://scontent.ftul1-1.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/26733355_796002967273250_1915933507903911448_n.jpg?oh=0711bb012bdb94d2c6dabbb82a3ea37c&oe=5B0E1199

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      February 12, 2018 at 4:35 pm

      Your room is gorgeous! Love the floor!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      February 12, 2018 at 6:39 pm

      That is beautiful, Elizabeth!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      February 12, 2018 at 6:48 pm

      Your craft/laundry room looks AWESOME!! I was already pretty sure that this was the type of flooring I want to use in my new craft room (which I should be finally getting this year!), & now I’m convinced! My remaining BIG concern is how cold the floor might be…would you mind sharing your thoughts on that? Also, is your floor sealed or left natural? Thanks for sharing!

      • Reply To This Comment ↓
        Elizabeth A
        February 13, 2018 at 7:44 am

        Thank you! We left the tiles natural, but have talked about making them shiny with sealer (I have issues with shiny floors though). Super easy to clean and because there are colored flecks the mess I make doesn’t really show up. I do not notice the floors being super cold especially compared to the ceramic tile in my kitchen. Let me know if you have any other questions.

        • Reply To This Comment ↓
          February 13, 2018 at 8:54 am

          Thanks for the info, Elizabeth! I’m leaning towards not sealing mine, mainly because the sales rep said that once you seal it, it will need to be resealed “periodically”. She said you can use chair mats, etc to reduce how often you have to reseal, but that seems to take some of the fun out of having a floor like this…at least it does for me. My DH says they’re just trying to find ways to complicate something that’s not meant to be complicated ; ) ! Well, as Kristi said, there’s not a perfect answer! LOL

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      February 12, 2018 at 7:22 pm

      I’m so glad you posted the links! I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve stopped and looked at those tiles. There are so many fun things you could do with those, and they come in so many different colors. I’ve wanted to find a project to use those on for years.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Rebecca Neustel
      February 13, 2018 at 2:59 am

      That’s a showstopper and would go beautifully with any color of cabinets!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 12, 2018 at 1:01 pm

    I googled large tile linoleum and page after page of pictures came up. What I’m thinking is that you would enjoy something fun and colorful like you. A huge room with miles of tile and grout does not sound like fun and neither does wood. I think I’ve mentioned before I don’t get putting faux wood next to real wood- one or the other but not both! Good Luck and can’t wait to see what you choose . BTW, what does DH think ?

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      February 12, 2018 at 7:25 pm

      He really doesn’t have an opinion on the details. He just want it done so I can start using it. 😀

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 12, 2018 at 1:13 pm

    Hi Kristi-
    My first thought is if you’re not going to use drop cloths when you paint, them any flooring option you go with is going to have paint splatters and stains. I say go with the wood and embrace your paint outlines and drops and smears… just like a real artist’s studio! Don’t think if it as a living room… think of it as what it is…. your loft-like *work* room!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      February 14, 2018 at 12:04 pm

      Yes I would agree! You just can’t beat the beauty of wood, no matter how far vinyl tiles have come. Embrace the dents and paint splatters in the room :).

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 12, 2018 at 1:16 pm

    I have pier and beam, the caulking around my baseboards has cracked and some of the boards have separated. My 48×8 porcelain plank floors haven’t suffered any damage (2 yrs) but, I did get a great tile Pro who did all the prep work; another layer of plywood screwed over the entire face of the boards and extra care paid to leveling. I’ve been told “shifting” is just inherent in P&B construction. As for the studio, if you’re going to use gel mats I’d just go with polyurea over concrete. Your “consultation area” could be delineated with a rug.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 12, 2018 at 1:16 pm

    This probably sounds crazy… but what about solid linoleum? I think it can be comfortable to stand on and so very durable and comes in a wide array of colors.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 12, 2018 at 1:17 pm

    If you are going to tile the mudroom and bathroom, which will separate the workroom from the rest of the house, why not use a luxury vinyl plank in the studio that looks good with whatever tile you use for the two smaller areas? If you can’t find one that is a good match to your hardwood, go with something that contrasts enough so no one thinks you are trying to match the real wood. A lighter wood might actually be pretty and keep the space light and bright.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 12, 2018 at 1:34 pm

    I’m another one that would suggest LVT. I had Karndean planks in my Coffee Shop and even after a fire burnt the roof down causing huge amounts of damage and then being open to the British winter elements for 6 months (it took a long time for the insurance company to sort themselves out and they wouldn’t pay to cover the building) the flooring was in incredible condition with only a few scratches and no visible water damage. The floor had to be taken up to let the concrete below dry out but we took the time to take it up a plank at a time in the hope that with a bit of work to remove the remaining backing adhesive we can put it into my house instead! We replaced it in the Coffee Shop with new Karndean as after that I wouldn’t have anything else.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      February 12, 2018 at 6:42 pm

      We used Karndean large squares in a house that we built. The “grout” is sort of like spline that then gets shoved in between the tiles. We loved it’s durability and beautiful coloring.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 12, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    I have always loved vinyl, even when vinyl wasn’t “cool,” but the selection of luxury vinyl planks available today is astounding …and AWESOME. I just had waterproof, click and lock, floating vinyl planks put in a kitchen I am selling and granted, I haven’t actually lived with it, but I was extremely impressed. The installer I used told me he pulled it up in a house that flooded, let it dry out and then reinstalled it! I picked the Driftwood Oak and besides being beautiful, it is also soft underfoot and quiet to walk on. I want to have it installed throughout my house!


  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 12, 2018 at 2:05 pm

    Wouldn’t paint from projects be a problem on *any* of the floor options? If you don’t want to put down drop cloths? I’m confused. Why not just keep concrete?

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      February 12, 2018 at 7:32 pm

      In my experience, paint comes off of LVT floor much easier than hardwood floor. But the current floor isn’t concrete. It’s a pier and beam floor with plywood subfloor.

      • Reply To This Comment ↓
        February 13, 2018 at 9:29 pm

        Oh, okay! I forgot that! Good to know about LVT. Good luck which whichever you choose!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 12, 2018 at 2:05 pm

    Hello! I just want to warn you away from cork flooring for a studio. A working artist friend recently put cork in her studio. In less than two years, it has sustained scratches, scrapes, dents, stains, and other assorted ills, even though she swears she’s careful with it. I saw it recently, and it looks old and tired. She loves the comfort on her feet and back, as she mostly stands to do her work. She hates the way it has worn, so much so that she is reluctantly thinking she will have to install something else.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 12, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    I have a pier and beam house with tile in my entry way. Since I used a large tile (16×16) I put down SCHLUTER DITRA to help prevent cracking. Five years later and no cracks yet, if you do decide to do to tile I suggest you look into it.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      February 12, 2018 at 7:34 pm

      I’m glad you mentioned that! I had come across that in my research about a year or two ago, and then completely forgot about it. I’ll have to look that up again.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 12, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    I have seen a couple installations of beautiful “linoleum”. I just googled “marmoleum” images. It comes in amazing colors and textures.

    Marmoleum, Forbo’s brand of linoleum, is made from 97% natural raw materials and contains 43% recycled content. It contains no phthalates, no plasticisers and no mineral oil. The key raw materials used in the Marmoleum production include linseed oil, wood flour and jute.

    Might be worth a look

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      February 12, 2018 at 7:36 pm

      I remember Candice Olson using Marmoleum in one of the kitchens she designed. If I remember correctly, she used two different colors, and they were in some sort of swirled or curved design. It was very nice!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 12, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    Just an idea…have you thought at all about linoleum? I have become a huge fan of “Restored” and have secretly always liked linoleum (even though no one really uses it in my area). He has had some really pretty patterns and colors on his show. Plus, you cannot mess that stuff up! P.S. We love LOTR, too, but that IS a long time to watch the television! 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 12, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    Here’s an article I bookmarked about “best flooring for artist studios.” The article assumes one is setting up a painting studio. I imagine that the wear-and-tear issues might be similar for other kinds of studios, too.


  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 12, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    You can buy a special grout additive that allows tiles to flex and reduces cracking.

    Not sure what it is in the States but in Australia the brand is Davco.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 12, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    Why not stain your concrete? Stained concrete would look nice and you wouldn’t stress over expensive flooring as you do your wonderful projects.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 12, 2018 at 2:33 pm

    My artist studio, that doubles as laundry room, has linoleum. I can peel off paint and have fixed dings by blending on acrylic paint of the same color to disguise. My floor is over 30 years old and I hesitate to get a new one because it is so practical and still looks good. Mine is a brick pattern. I recommend a pattern to disguise damage.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Marianne in Mo.
    February 12, 2018 at 2:43 pm

    My opinion varies. My 1st thought is garage epoxy. They say it’s hard as nails, withstands abuse/tools etc. and I personally love some of the colors they have. 2nd thought is the high end vinyl plank flooring in a tile look. We did this in our basement bathroom to avoid cold tile. It has a cushioned backing on it to help a bit with the coldness and uneven surface. Went down super easy (none of that click lock stuff – unlike our laminate in the rest of the basement!) If a tile is damaged, we can pull it up and replace it in minutes. Wish we had used it for the entire space. Since we have not finished the spaces yet, I can’t comment on the wear, but for your office space, I think the epoxy is the smartest choice. You can even do a solid color for a classier look.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Sarah V.
    February 12, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    How about using cork? It’s warm and relatively soft and can be stained to coordinate with the hardwood.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Carrie on
    February 12, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    Check out Home Place Interiors in Waco. They have tons of LVT options. I don’t work for them or anything – we just got bids from 3 local places for LVT in our house and they were the least expensive and seemed very competent. My friend used them and was very happy with their work.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 12, 2018 at 3:41 pm

    My parents put 12×12 tile in their bathroom (pier and beam) and it was noticeably cracked after less than a year. Lesson learned, you need a lot of floor strength to put down tile, like at least two layers of 3/4″ plywood.

    There are some very attractive vinyl options, like this travertine-style click-together LVT: https://www.houzz.com/product/79050824-shaw-industries-rock-creek-quarry-tile-0314v-00275-traditional-vinyl-flooring, and there are some great stone-look pergo laminates, though I’m not sold on tile-look 5′ planks: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Pergo-XP-Vanilla-Travertine-10-mm-Thick-x-5-1-4-in-Wide-x-47-1-4-in-Length-Laminate-Flooring-13-74-sq-ft-case-LF000855/206879471

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 12, 2018 at 4:08 pm

    My inner Civil will come out here… but the house settling has part to do with all the (awesome) work you are doing. Once you “finish” with the major add-os and exterior work it’ll not be as drastic for season changes.

    Working on siding gave the old house a good shimmy. excess moisture in the soil, from all the rain increses settling. If you want to reduce it over time, grade to soil next to the house to make sure the water flows to pool 10’+ away from the foundation piers.

    The anatomy of the shimmy: The exterior walls that have the new siding carry the roof load to your piers. All that construction on the walls while carrying the roof causes them to settle. Also you changed the material vs one to one replacement in a variety of ways in different places.
    As you take away or add dense objects (stone siding, ramp) it will cause the house to flex as you work on it. Re-framing things or re-structuring trusses will cause stresses to shift to new paths (or different piers) which may cause uneven settling.

    A way how the Pro’s avoid it:
    Long phased commercial projects pile dirt where they plan to put buildings later, so the newer/later construction is on compacted soil and resists settling. A small scale example is, If you left a tall cinderblock stack out in a single spot for a number of years. Then picked it up and did nothing to “the dent”, the soil under may start to spring back up if it’s in a low spot as water fills the dent and moves the compacted soil. If the blocks were in a a high spot that water runs off or away from, the ground will stay in that dented shape and be stronger there until you disturb it with a shovel.

    On tile cracks…the surface you lay tile on is key to keep cracks from forming, if it’s just applied to drywall vs a backer board the tile will take and show the stress from flexing over time. Your tiles on the kitchen wall are like little bricks and they carry stresses easier than the drywall it’s adhered to.

    Your foundation changes at both sides of the breakfast room so a material transition from breakfast to studio isn’t bad to have. Cracks from the two foundations settling are more likely to show there, because the two foundations carry the load differently, so they’ll settle differently.

    If you do a hard tile, a backer board or membrane (orange sq dimpled stuff) can reduce cracks especially at transitions (from studio-to-mudroom). Overall your wood joists you chose for the raised floor with their spacing seem beefy enough to carry any tile stress with little movement.

    Flooring ideas
    – If you want to go with a warm, light, & flexible surface, the grout able peel and stick tiles are great. My in-laws have it in their RV with a “fancy” pre-mixed grout that can flex, there’s other DIY-ers that cut the tiles to do a “mosaic” with. My in-laws at their previous home (before RV-ing), tiled the halls and a 3′-5′ perimeter of large rooms of their finished basement with the center not done. They fit a carpet rug pad in the void (for Matt’s roll-ability fill with gym floor tiles) and covered with a decorative rug. Less cost, and made the flooring appear continuous without the cost of tiling the whole the area. When you have a messy project, roll up the rug, and you still have a floor you can be rough with under.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 12, 2018 at 4:56 pm

    We had floating vinyl planks installed in our 125 year old farm house. This is the second winter for it and with the severe fluctuations in temperatures we have a several major cracks where the ends of the planks abutt each other. I am sure when summer arrives those cracks may be narrower but will still be obvious and of course the locations are in the main traffic areas. Love the floor otherwise and it is a medium colored maple.

    I might suggest the use of plywood and if I had it to do over, I would go that route and itt would have been a heck of a lot cheaper. I have seen several stained plywood sheet floors and find them attractive in a rustic and no non-sense way. One favorite is where the sheets were laid in a patchwork pattern and the grain created a visual variety worthy of a fancy parquet hardwood. Here in northern Missouri many hunting cabins use this type of flooring over cement slab or post and beam construction.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 12, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    I had the luxury vinyl installed in my kitchen and it has a crawl space underneath rather than a basement. The grout between the tiles cracked. Therefore, if I were to do this over again, I would not use grout.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 12, 2018 at 6:28 pm

    Don’t do tile!!!! We put it in our bathrooms only and I have cracks the full length in one and a large area in the other which we have repaired, but judging from the gaps we are seeing in our molding and even some drywall areas throughout the house, we feel it is just an exercise in futility for the tile. We are going to pull it out and replace it with some type of vinyl. I am sick about it because it’s beautiful.

    As far as the wood floors, I have wood in my craft room. I havent had any issue with it at all. Paint and glues clean up pretty well from the gloss finish we put on the wood. If it has scratches I guess I just haven’t noticed. Mine is not a large room though. Now granted I am not a diy’er to your level by a long shot, but I do some serious furniture refinishing, sign making etc and my wood floor is holding up well. Whatever you decide, since your house has some shifting issues like mine, i would suggest wiping tile off your option list because you will be ripping it up in a few years anyway. That’s my 2 cents worth of advice. Lol

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 12, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    I don’t have your kind of house, but I do have LVT tile in my hall, kitchen, entry and pantry of my condo, my only option besides carpet due to noise restrictions. I too was bummed about the limited options in LVT. What I ended up doing was installing a cream tile and a charcoal tile from the same manufacturer in a diagonal checkerboard. It looks great! The salesman had never heard of such an installation in the history of their store, but it references a classic black and white floor.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 12, 2018 at 6:40 pm

    I would do the vinyl. Looks good, lasts, won’t crack. If you are painting though in your workroom you could look into staining the concrete or an epoxy. I think those look good in a workroom area. All houses settle and crack, unfortunately. And if I am recalling didn’t you have something done to your foundation. Leveling or raising or fixing it? Maybe it has had some time to do that settling which is why so much cracking last year. I am not sure if I remember that right though on your house.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 12, 2018 at 6:57 pm

    I’ll throw these out there, even though I probably also would do some sort of LVT.
    http://www.skimstone.com/ This does take some training, but you’re smart, I know you can figure it out. Nice inspiration photos.
    https://www.ambientbp.com/benefits-of-bamboo-flooring.php You’ve probably already read up on bamboo and eucalyptus, which are 3x harder than hardwood, but this is a good reference. I ordered bamboo recently. It sits in boxes here while I work on ripping out carpet and padding.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 12, 2018 at 7:41 pm

    We just put this in a bathroom and it came out gorgeous.


    It’s very tough – it’s 100% waterproof vinyl laminate – no underlayment needed, and it’s not easy to cut, because it’s fairly thick, and seems very durable. It would be great for a work area. Easy to lay, and the seams literally disappeared. We love it! (I am normally a laminate hater – it echoes too much for me, but this doesn’t seem to). We were going to do tile, but my husband’s knees aren’t the greatest and this went down with a lot less work and super fast too.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 12, 2018 at 8:47 pm

    What about a vinyl that looks like wood? They even make them so they lay like wood!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 12, 2018 at 9:05 pm

    Funny you mention the cracking. I’m in North Carolina. My crownmolding caulking has cracked also. It’s never done that until the winter. So strange and I hate it.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 13, 2018 at 1:16 am

    I have to say Kristi that unless you are going hardwood and let it get all artsy and dinged up and paint splotched I would go laminate wood look and match it with the oak hardwood you have now
    There are some really nice flooring options in laminate nowadays and it would give a nice warm base to your vaulted room and keep your flow going throughout the house so it doesn’t feel like you are stepping into a converted garage
    As an artist who knows what it feels like to stand all day on laminate it is much cushier than tile and or linoleum and cleans up very easy ( even paint) and that stuff is hard
    Nothing dings or scratches it that we have found
    Ours is by Armstrong
    Also you can put a nice cushy barrier layer under it for added temperature comfort and noise control depending on what you buy then just float the planks over it
    A lot more forgiving than tile I think
    I can just see dropping a big drill or lumber and watching a 12” tile crack egads!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Candace H.
    February 13, 2018 at 1:59 am

    Real linoleum, either sheet or tiles. It is a “green” solution made of biodegradable/renewable material, wears like crazy, color is through out not surface, is considered resilient flooring with a natural give and return, easy to maintain, scratches can be buffed out. SOO much better than vinyl.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 13, 2018 at 5:52 am

    http://www.homebunch.com/hamptons-inspired-single-home/Saw this,thought of you

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Tiffany Bush
    February 13, 2018 at 6:48 am

    Could you do the hardwoods and just embrace the fact that they won’t look perfect after projects? At a quick glance, they’d give you the flow you want. Yes, up close there you’ll be some blemishes, but could you look at that as just part of really living in your house?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 13, 2018 at 7:39 am

    Have you see the products at atrafloor.com? Amazing! And they may appeal to your color-craving soul. Just the other day, I discovered that ZazousOnline is selling some Atra Floor options (or something VERY similar) on Etsy.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 13, 2018 at 8:33 am

    Vinyl tile that looks like hardwood? more “seamless” from room to room, but with ease of replacing pieces if/when needed. love all of your work. always, always, always intrigued, inspired and impressed with your work!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Lisa E
    February 13, 2018 at 10:01 am

    I vote for vinyl planks. Have it and love it. Everybody thinks it’s real wood when they first see it. More forgiving than wood and not cold and hard like tile. More quiet than laminate which we had in our last kitchen. Thinking of putting it in hallway bath, too, when it gets remodeled.Thanx for posting Etsy shop because I am looking for designs to build a porch swing as well.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 13, 2018 at 11:33 am

    I HIGHLY recommend Metroflor LVT! I have 18 years experience with their products and am beyond happy! I used the first application 18 years ago in a sunroom (my selection was in the stone family) and it is still beautiful (I’m told since we have sold the home). When I moved into this house I used this same product and did my entire downstairs and used a woodgrain LVT panel. It is gorgeous, warm and still looks brand new after just several years. It was designed as a commercial application so you know how it will wear. If you scroll about 2/3 down the page, almost the exact wood selection is the second photo from the left! Beautiful!
    I am sure there is a dealer somewhere in the WACO area. BTW — LOVE YOUR BLOG!


  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 14, 2018 at 9:44 am

    Just wondering if the caulk you use contains “elastometric”. I was told this ingredient reduces the chance of cracking.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 14, 2018 at 1:12 pm


    We have hardwood floors in our house, heated tile floor in master bath but put DuraCeramic tile in spare bath and laundry room. You can pick grout color and if gets damaged one tile can be removed and replaced. Ours is so pretty, I really love it!!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 16, 2018 at 7:49 pm

    Hi Kristi,
    I have12 x 12 tile in my (quite large) kitchen and foyer, bathroom and laundry room, as well as the area that connects them. It’s quite a large area. The house was built in ’96 and is over concrete. Unfortunately, basements were then, and still are quite rare in these parts. I DO have a few of tiles that have cracked over the years, but well, I guess you have expect SOME settling in that length of time.

    LOVE that porch swing! Can’t wait to see the finished product on that. Knowing you it will be spectacular! The rest of the porch looks like it’ll be fab also!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 20, 2018 at 7:50 am

    Hi Kristi. About the swing bed. I see people using crib mattresses but what do you use if the swing needs to be shorter?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 28, 2023 at 4:22 pm

    These updates are gorgeous! Going to try some of them with my own home!