I’ve always maintained that paint is the single most easy and effective way of transforming a room. And that floors set the tone. This is why no matter what colour I painted the living and dining rooms, I was never a hundred percent happy with the rooms. The fact is, I really hated our previous white painted floorboards that always ended up looking more shabby than chic. They were not my friend.
Carpet throughout the middle floor of our house (stairs, hall, landings and bedrooms) just under a year ago, massively improved those rooms, and now Amtico flooring throughout the ground floor of the house, has completely and utterly transformed it.
Last week my Amtico floors were expertly and pristinely fitted (by Ceramtile on behalf of Amtico, who cover East London, Essex and Hertfordshire) in the hallway, living room, dining room and kitchen. And they’re the icing on the cake. Or should I say the foundation on which the cake is built? I don’t know, but whatever, they really do change the tone of the room, and have allowed me to achieve the look and feel I've always wanted. We've gone from rough around the edges to really rather smart and elegant, and that's music to my ears.
I’ve had loads of queries about my new floors, so I thought it would be useful to give you a rundown in layman's terms of the unbelievably quick process.
I had done my homework and asked the questions, so there weren’t any surprises during the installation. Phew! I had two main concerns before doing said homework (aside from actually choosing the right colour which is a whole other story!):
1. The most important thing for me was that it could be laid over the existing floorboards, and that there would be no need to remove the skirting boards. I just didn't want that level of upheaval - removing everything from the floors so they could be fitted was as much as I could deal with!
2. As a consequence of not removing the skirting boards, that there would not be a need to have a trim/beading around the perimeter of the rooms.
These points were non-negotiable, as removing the skirting boards would have had a massive knock-on effect and I just didn’t want to go there. Nor did I want the trim, as I don’t like the way it looks.
On Thursday morning two Amtico fitters arrived, and got to work laying a 6mm ply base over the existing floorboards – so the hall, living room and dining room, and the small space outside the cellar door were completely covered. And to be honest, I could barely contain my excitement even at that point to be saying goodbye to the old floorboards.
The cracks in the concrete kitchen floor base (I had removed most of the flooring and trim in there the day before), and all the joins in the ply, were covered with a fast drying cement, smoothed off, and then the real fun began.
By lunchtime, the first couple of rows of flooring went down in the living and dining rooms using an Amtico adhesive. I had decided to go with a classic one colour small Parquet (Herringbone) laying pattern, in Amtico’s Brushed Oak from their Signature range, which comes with a lifetime warranty. Pretty amazing right?!
Make no mistake – I looked at a LOT of samples to get to my choice! I wanted something really classic and timeless, and for me that meant nothing too warm (so out went the redder tones), nor too cold (bye-bye to the greys), and finally arrived at the Brushed Oak (with a little help from Instagram too!).
I’m so pleased with the choice as it’s neither too dark or light, the colour is really neutral so it goes with absolutely everything. I had been a bit concerned that the rooms would feel much darker with the brown wood tone replacing the white floorboards (and replacing the previous grey cement look click-fit floor in the kitchen), but it really hasn’t had that effect at all which is a pleasant surprise.
The Brushed Oak has a lovely, slightly aged look to it, but without looking rustic (which I didn’t want), so it was definitely worth all the hours pouring over samples and agonising over the choice!
Back to the installation... by the end of day one, over half of the living and dining rooms were complete, and a latex screed was poured in the kitchen in the afternoon. This is a self-levelling compound, that dries super fast, and by around 7pm, the screed was dry enough to walk on, and Cleo came out of hiding to inspect the work. She was impressed too.
The next day it was three hands on deck and they got right to work like the well-oiled machine they clearly are. The process of the edges where the flooring meets the skirting was fascinating, and each piece was cut to size to butt right up to my less than perfect skirting.
So don’t let anyone tell you that this can’t be done. And the reason it can be done, is that unlike a lot of flooring, Amtico doesn’t require an expansion gap. It’s solid vinyl, falling into the LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tile) category, and does not expand, even when wet. For this reason, it’s also a brilliant choice for kitchens and bathrooms.
As fascinating as the process was, I didn’t want to distract the guys with too many geeky questions, so kept my distance (kind of!), but I was so impressed with their attention to detail.
They were completely finished by around 4pm on the second day, and left me feeling deliriously happy with the new floors. I knew, the transformation would be major, but quite honestly, it was even more transformative than I thought, and I was actually feeling quite emotional. Yes, I'm aware that's a bit over the top, but this was a long time coming, and really a flooring dream come true for me.
It’s been six days now, and I still feel SO happy every time I walk downstairs and am greeted with this amazing floor. It looks like a different house, and I’m even dreading winter way less, now that I know there will be no ‘natural’ air conditioning (aka icy breeze) wrapping itself around our ankles in the living room through the old gappy floors! There’s ZERO chance I’ll be tiring of looking at these any time soon. Or ever.
Pop back tomorrow to see how it looks all dressed up in the new look Living and Dining rooms – they’ve had quite the transformation! The furniture looks amazing against the parquet backdrop and I honestly couldn’t be more pleased.
This post is in collaboration with Amtico. Giddy, fuzzy, happy thoughts, all mine.