Concrete floor – what a great call!

Just back from a fabulous summer in paradise Mölle -(for those wondering where that is, – well, -its a small little fishing village in the south of Sweden). No place like it. I promise. I do not know where to begin to describe how fantastic it has been to spend the summer in this new summer place of ours. Both my hubby and I are fortunate to have roles that allow us to sit and work from anywhere, (don’t think it would work otherwise).

Combining work and vacation in Mölle this summer has worked out just fine! Here a few pics of this little place before I get to today’s topic…

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I should probably do an entire blog post on all the good stuff and beautiful things this place has to offer. I have a ton of pics and “must see” places to share, -promise to devote an entire post on just Mölle.

ANYHOW, -we’ve had the keys to our summer place for only 8 months, and during this time I have only been there 3 times. Not enough (if you ask me) but with every time, I get to know it more and discover all the wonderful things & details. One thing I can say for sure, the moment I put the key in that door and walk in – it feels like home! Its that “pinch-me, love our summer place & I want to be here for ever kind of feel.

One of the many details I love in this house, is our choice to put in concrete floor downstairs. Heated concrete floors I should I add.  It turned out to be a great call and better than expected as well (even our builder said it was the best floor he has done so far ;)).

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I was really set on concrete floors from the beginning but did receive a bit of resistant from different vendors …. (and that due to it most often did not turn out as expected so owners where usually never happy with the final result). Its just not the same as going in to a store and picking/pointing to a specific floor you want- with concrete floor its not the same precision, and there is always a chance it will not turn out JUST as you imagined… so I will admit, I got a bit discouraged and started to look for wood floor.

A few weeks later, I had a conversation with our fantastic builder, Sätofta Gruppen and Lennart who runs it encouraged/convinced me that of course – lets do it! I did my homework, we talked through the process – and Voila, again what a great decision. It turned out better than expected. Its WOW, and everyone comments on it now…

A couple of key items; when we did the actual house concrete foundation, we used a different, slightly finer concrete and many more rebars (armeringsjärn). Once you poor the concrete foundation/floor, it is important that you make sure you push/work and walk on the concrete foundation/ add pressure to try to burst as many “bubbles as possible to avoid cracks. After just one day, we could spot/tell how great it was going to look! Cracks will appear within the first 24h already…

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The benefits are many, – lower cost, more practical and durable! I really don’t have to worry about the kids gang running in & out with shoes or dirty summer feet :). This floor can take it and best of all – the natural light gray color looks so darn beautiful. Love, love, love it!

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I wanted to share some close ups for you to be able to see the final product better. We did not add any color to it, its all “au naturelle”. We polished it 2-3 times and just added a coating that was neutral (no shine) but obviously there is options out there depending on your desired final product and look. One minor crack appeared, but given the large area thats totally fine by me- its expected and nothing no one even notices besides me… :).

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One minor concern I originally had, was that it would appear hard to walk on, stand on – but I have to say that has not even occurred to me. No problemas.

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Just another close up to try to show the details of the floor ….

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Its very durable, easy to maintain and clean. ..And this summer, we really tested it = had a huge welcome party with some 60 people running in & out, spilled a few wine glasses and some other goodies but no remaining stains.  No marks the next day.

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I am sure I have a ton more pictures of our concrete floor, but I hope this was a little inspiring,  motivating for those of you considering, thinking about adding a concrete floor. If you run into discouragement – I say, go for it – just make sure to go over it in details with your builder, explain what you want to achieve, go through pictures of what you like and don’t like. The more homework you do, the better of course…

I am not a concrete expert, but I have done quite a lot of homework around this so happy to answer any questions or concerns that you might have.

Thank you for checking in this fabulous weekend – so honored and happy for all my followers! Will check in with you soon again.

Hugs P

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Eyes on concrete floor

I have always loved concrete floors, it looks cool, interesting and on top of that is practical. Heard that if you choose concrete, you need to be aware and ok that it could turn out a bit different than what you perhaps have expected once finished. Have also heard there are ways to come close to your expected finished product by doing the right prep work…

I have been debating and comparing wood, big ceramic tiles and plain concrete floor for the main level. Pretty sure all 3 would look amazing but after some encouragement from the guy building our house + a new Instagram friend, concrete is now on top of my list.

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Like all materials there are pros & cons. Lets start with the pros and why I love it:

  • super durable, eco-friendly and is easy to maintain, don´t have to worry
    about marks (from fancy high heels) or tear and wear from kids…
  • a nice industrial look, great mix and contrast to all the wood and white. Also perhaps a bit unexpected for a summer house…which I like.
  • if I ever wanted to change, I could easily just put a new floor on top of it.
  • the cheapest of my 3 floor options9f882d5a1e4d22aff02a7c229c810e54

A few cons would be:

  • its a hard surface, if you drop anything a glas for ex it will most likely break.
    if you fall on it, it would hurt…so don´t fall and keep your glass in your hand!
  • always a chance you can get some cracks but there are ways of preventing that.
  • hard to walk on, obviously rugs help with that and I suppose you get used to it or we recommend crawling instead :)…

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You can get the floor in various colors and textures. I am leaning towards a matte light gray color (similar to light natural above) with a smooth polished texture where the `small stones´ show as little as possible. I was inspired by my Instagram friend who apparently did 4 layers of polish. In terms of maintenance, all you have to do is seal or wax it every 3-6 months to protect it and make sure it looks nice and lasts for ever. Below a picture from my Insta friends floor (@funkiset) which I think looks super nice!

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She also sent me these 4 images that show different looks from here floor. Its the same floor but some of it has to do with the lighting but in the 3rd pic from left, it shows a little area where they missed to get the stones down as much as in other areas. The pictures just confirm that it will vary a little but that is also what makes it so unique in my eyes.

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Also love this color and look above…

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We will have heated floors so hope it should help and make it feel warmer and cozy…

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A huge fan of how they continued and took the concrete floor outdoors as well. Big wow!

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The more I think about concrete floor and look at pictures, the more I am imagining it in our summer place. I am waiting for a quote from my builder but guessing it should be a cost save in comparison to a nice wood floor, at least thats what I have been told. Keeping my fingers crossed, cause sure know I need to save somewhere!!

So, tell me – do you like it as much as I do? If you have any tips or recommendations – always appreciate your input! Love reading your emails and comments.

Hugs P

Images from Pinterest, Skonahem. Special thanks to Instagram @funkiset for letting me use her pictures and sharing her experience with the concrete floor!

Update on Options & Decisions

For my new readers, we are building a summer house in Sweden, while living in Seattle. We chose Fiskarhedenvillan as our builder. We have built before but this time we are doing it from a distance. Just waiting for our building permit to go through.

While waiting for the “go or no go” I am playing detective, searching for ideas and trying to make the different choices for our house. Let me just say how much easier this work is when there is a whole world of blogs and Instagram accounts to get inspired by, learn from and share information with. Extremely helpful, and especially for me sitting far away on the other side of the Atlantic ocean (by the Pacific Ocean to be precise).

In my process I start big, pick the things I really want and once I see it all in my excel sheet along side with the cost – that is my wake up call 🙂 and I compromise to get the bottom line number to match our wallet. I know, a boring detail ….

So far, we have decided on the house design, floor plan, window sizes & placements and where to place our house on the lot. Next on the list to decide;  Outside panel – Roof – Floors – Doors – Windows – Stairs

Outside Panel
We have different wood panel options. I like both options below. The wider one to the left gives a more modern look which is super nice but I still feel the more classic style to right suits our house and especially our area more.

Roof
For the roof we are down to 2 colors, granite and black. I was afraid the black roof on top of having black windows would be too much but after seeing a few homes I might end up choosing the black tiles after all.

However, I want to mix materials so for our main roof we will have tiles but for the front entrance and maybe back porch roof we will go with metal roof (similar to below).

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Windows
We have chosen black windows (inside + outside) but the last part was choosing the grids (hope that´s what its called in English/spröjs in Swedish). We started with the right side option, but felt more grids in black might be too distracting for the eyes. We ended up choosing the window option to the left, its simple and lets in more light.

Another detail we chose for the windows is not having any trims around the windows on the inside. We think choosing plaster/white walls all the way in will go better with the black windows. Hopefully you can see the idea on this right bottom image above.

Door
For the front door we chose a solid double door (no windows), however we will have small windows on each sides as well as over the door but nothing on the actual door. I have seen the black color and I like it. I obviously love gray doors but am picky when it comes to the gray tone and getting that just right. Therefore, black doors will most likely be ordered.

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Floors
As you know this is the one thing I still haven´t decided on. The options are basically 1. Limestone/tiles in entry, powder, bathroom, laundry and wood floor in the rest of the house. Option 2. Limestone/tiles in the entire main floor and upstairs bathroom but rest of upstairs wood flooring. Obviously it comes down to cost but also the overall look and feel we want. I wrote a post on floors a few days ago if you want to read that but for now I am still contacting suppliers and checking prices.

Stairs
Beautiful stairs can really make a statement and difference, and you can of course spend a fortune here as well but I am leaning towards a fairly classic style stairs like below. It will be in gray and white (steps and parts of trim in my favorite gray color).

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Doors & Trims
I love having crispy white walls with gray trims, and I particularly want it for this summer house. Being a new built house, I think painting the stairs, built-in book shelves, bunk-beds, trims and doors are details that will help “age” the house. I prefer the look from painting with a brush rather than the factory spray painted look. We decided to get solid pine wood for our details that we will paint ourselves (for those who know me, know I love the paint brush).

We have decided on plaster ceiling and painting everything white, not adding any ceiling moldings. Again, trying to keep the look simple, make the ceiling feel higher and letting the windows be the eye attraction. The spaces where we will have wood details, we will paint them in a gray color – a warm gray code I share with my best friend E.

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That´s all for today (hope I didn´t bore you ;)). Also hope to have a decision on flooring very soon… cross my fingers!

I am heading out for a run right now – usually a great time for me to think things through and make decisions. So running is certainly a win win for me!

Hugs P

Images a mix of Pinterest, Fiskarhedenvillan, Kristofer Johnsson, Alcro Trend.

 

Having second thoughts

Today when I was writing a post about the different choices we have made for our house, I got stuck and thinking about the floor. Now I am sitting here “going nuts” when looking at different images of beautiful limestone/stone slate/ceramic tiles in homes and wondering what to do now?

Originally, I had my mind set on concrete floor for the main level and hardwood floor for 2nd, and that was that. Thrilled to be able to check one thing off the long list.  I have since then run into people advising me to reconsider the concrete because apparently it never really turns out exactly as expected or as seen in fancy magazines. I listened and decided not to complicate things. Reminded myself, we are just building a summer house.

Now, the decision is solid hardwood floors in the house with the exception for entry, powder, bath and laundry room where we will place stone/tile. That´s the current decision..OR..SO..I..THOUGHT..??

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Here´s that fab´ concrete I was telling you about. Cool, chic and timeless. Maybe next time! So then, what am I looking for?

If going with wood floor, I love the solid hardwood floor that is white or gray washed or waxed. The wider width the happier I´d be. I have always been drawn to the warm light to medium gray tone. Feel it would go well with our white walls, light gray trims and black windows. I am avoiding yellow or red tones in the wood. We will have under floor heating which we have to keep in mind when choosing floor for downstairs. Certain wood is more flexible and moves more than others so it limits us slightly. Below is what I have in mind for tile + wood after concrete is off the list. I am really happy with these 2 picks. (now, I am just not sure ;))

Again, being a summer house we know we will not use it, wear on it as much as we would in a regular home. The floor should take a lot of people, kids running in & out with shoes during the summer and over the years (yes, we Swedes otherwise always take off our shoes when entering a home).  Summer life is however more forgiving, as it should be.

Let me share the ideas that have led to second thoughts today. I am so feeling the stone, the big tiles for the entire downstairs. I realize it also comes with a juicier prize (like all other details I seem to pick, why is it always like that?).

Have a look and lets decide together afterwards, shall we?

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Obviously these images are just picks from Pinterest, I would need to dig a little deeper to find the right one that matches what I am looking for and doesn’t require a phone call to the bank. If going with stone or ceramics, I prefer the big size squares/tiles in matte (no fancy shine for me) and most likely with a bit uneven/rough surface (again, more forgiving I would think).

Stone, ceramic tiles is a harder surface than hardwood for sure. Wood naturally looks warmer but also gives a good feel when walking with your bare feet. Some might say that hardwood floor more suits the look and feel for a summer house. But after looking at all the inspirational images today I am convinced that with our furniture, style and the fabrics and rugs I have, I will still create a very warm and cozy feeling… even if we went with tiles on the main floor.

My final sales punch line ;), – the stone/ceramic is low maintenance and lives longer.

What do you think? Should I sleep on it and maybe tomorrow I will realize it was just a one day craving. The hardwood and tile I have found will be super duper. I will chat with my dear hubby when he gets back and hopefully we will come to a final decision. Please, keep emailing me ideas and suggestions!

Given its weekend and all, I want to finish off with this old goodie below I have had for years – love how they mixed the old butchers table now used as a bar, the rustic slate floor with the modern black windows. ´Love it.

Have a fabulous weekend!
Cheers //P

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All images Pinterest