I have been engaged in your blog for the past two weeks and have made my way through your archives in an attempt to learn as much as possible abut good design. THANK YOU! I have many questions, but one in particular concerns a product you mentioned: Amtico. I think this blog entry was from YEARS ago, but I found the company and some corresponding product pictures on Houzz.com and I am really interested in their line. The thing is, friends and family have thought I was crazy for thinking of vinyl tiles, but the product looks good and I think, if done right, it would be amazing. Interested in your thoughts and how I can make it work.
The house is a rental in California's wine country. I am doing wood (or laminate) throughout, but don't want to do it in the one-room kitchen/dining because it is connected to a pool outside and because I am (really) scared about trusting weekly renters. I am interested in doing the Amtico Linear Chalk Vinyl Tile, probably in the one that has "sage" accents. There is a nice picture on Houzz and also on This Old House. The kitchen would be modern in design, mostly white with stainless steel appliances. Pictures of the room- which has been completely gutted by my dad- are attached. The room- which is a 30 by 11 rectangle- will include the dining area and an L-shaped kitchen with a vertical island.
Looking for tips on how to make this kitchen seem high-end- given that some people think Vinyl tile is not!
First of all, I want to say how much I love Amtico. I have NEVER had a client NOT be thrilled with it. It truly is a fabulous product. It is not only incredibly durable, but also very good-looking. I like to describe it as a high end resin material, I would never use the word "vinyl" in describing Amtico. It really isn't correct, and it's sort of a slap in the face.
I especially love their wood planks.
I think it's hard for some people to accept manufactured products. For example, there are some amazing counter materials out there that are far more practical than natural stone, and equally as beautiful, (and equally as expensive) and yet, there will be many people who only want natural stone.
Personally, I think there are lots of places for lots of different surfaces- depending on the home, the style, the needs of the client, the budget, etc. If you have an open mind, you are more likely to have an end result that is perfect for your place.
(photo from the Pleated Poppy- counters are Ceasarstone)
I have a concern. First of all, you mentioned that you were doing a wood or laminate throughout the house. I want to say that Amtico is far more high end than any laminate floor. I think you might have hurt Amtico's feelings by saying that you are willing to put in a laminate, but question the status level of Amtico.
I personally really dislike height changes, and there is a big one between wood or a laminate, and Amtico. There would be a pretty significant step down to the level of the Amtico. If this is just in 3 foot doorways, that's no big deal, but if you have larger transition areas, I don't think it would look good. You could overcome that by using a wood look Amtico- which I think is fabulous, or if you were doing real wood, I would lean toward a travertine or limestone floor. There is not only a change in flooring height, but then you also have the difference in baseboard height. Again, some floorplans would not have this problem, like if your kitchen were really separated, (which your's looks like maybe it is...) but more open floorplans could have some awkward changes.
There are times when awkward transitions are a necessary evil, but when you are replacing all of the flooring, it can be avoided. How? You simply have the wood floors installed first, and then you tell the tile installer to have the stone the exact same height, so the transition can be grouted instead of using a "transition strip" which is really just another word for "trip hazard". (as a landlord it might even be a liability. ) I once did a job on a raised foundation, where I was putting in Amtico, meeting up to real wood floors, and we added a layer of plywood under the Amtico to bring the height up to the wood floor height. However- doing things like that can cause more issues, like now your dishwasher- does it have the height it needs to go in and out- etc.? (we had a brand new kitchen going in, so it wasn't a problem, but if there are already existing cabinets, 1/2 inch can definitely be an issue. )
I just had my travertine floors professionally cleaned a few weeks ago and was amazed at how perfect they looked. I thought to myself, these would make a good floor for a rental, as they would clean up perfectly in-between renters. If it were me, I would consider the travertine throughout. A careless renter could really hurt your hardwood or laminate with water, but travertine is pretty indestructible, and yet has enough of of a "high end" perception to attract good renters. You could also avoid changes in flooring altogether, carrying it through your bathrooms and laundry. For a more modern look, I would stay away from chiseled edges and use a nice square edge product. A vein cut travertine in a long shape (like a 12 x 24), brick set, would be very cool. I used that on the walls of a modern bathroom before and fell in love with it. You can get it in very light colors, like the Amtico that you like. It comes matte or shiny, warm or cool, light or dark.
Here it is on a fireplace:
(design: Frank Roop)
Here it is (my favorite) in more of a gray tone:
(photo from houzz)
In short, I would combine Amtico with other Amtico, or real wood with travertine, or all travertine, or all wood plank Amtico.