So we have been on the hunt for a new house in LA for our growing family, which saying out loud makes me super excited but scared to death at the same time. In this city, in this market, buying a home seems like a far off pipe dream, but we're staying positive, have a great realtor, keeping realistic expectations and we're not in a huge rush, so low on the pressure scale. No doubt any home we do choose is going to need some serious renovations to get it where we need it to be, so I have been collecting some inspiration of what we both would love in our forever home.
We put an offer on a house in a really great neighborhood with tons of midcentury architecture, got beat out unfortunately, but one element of the home that really got us excited were the polished concrete floors in the sunken living room. I had always regarded concrete as too sub floor looking, too cold, too industrial, not really the warm bohemian feel I like to build off of. I also had flashes of pop tripping and knocking her two front teeth out on them, but I guess that could happen on any floor, greeaaat. But seeing it in this one house with the brick fireplace and warm wood beam ceilings, I thought, this is really something special. So I started to look for other polished concrete spaces that were still reading warm. Here are a few I'm dying over.
With this discovery I feel the bones and architecture of our future house would have to be one with taller ceilings, open spaces, lots of light and we would just then add organic warm tile and wood accents to compliment and balance this modern cement flooring but together its super clean, contemporary and 100% DOPE. I'm still torn between the dark vs. the light grey vs. the speckled. The speckled is very midcentury, a little terrazzo feeling so I'd feel more comfortable with a mellowed out version of it, less trendy. I'd also keep to a more matte polish, I'm not a high gloss kinda girl, in any form of those words. Layer some boho home decor with my signature pretty bohemian rugs for some color, texture, comfort and warmth and I think we're right on target style wise.
Then I looked into how expensive they were to install and how is this logistically gonna go down if we want to make this a reality. From what I read about cement flooring, it's durable, low maintenance, not super expensive ($4 to $5 per sq/ft) and totally having a moment, all of that I like to hear. You can't however just pour wet cement onto the sub floor and call it a day. This needs to be done by a super specialist. It can take weeks to complete since it is a very technical dance of timing, working through the stages, lots of waiting and it definitely can't be done while living in the house. So we're homeless for a few weeks. Worth it!?? Perhaps less daunting with a new build as compared to a reno, but killer home style is high on the priority scale so worth the blood, sweat and tears it takes to create. It's also recommended to instal radiant heat in your cement floors because on their own they can be chilly, but it is a great conductor of heat, just need a heat source. Does a big old sleeping dog, or ten, count? No? OK, well then, cha ching goes the radiant floors.
First up in the process of creating your perfect concrete flooring, you'll need to install expansion joints so that as it heats and cools with the elements it won't crack, but it still will crack a little, so don't be nit picky. The wet concrete is vibrated as its poured to get all the air bubbles out and then leveled with a special trowel to make sure its evenly distributed and compacted. Check! Check! Once poured and set several times, it's to be protected with a densifier and a sealant, to fill in all the pores so that it doesn't absorb every spill and spew that comes with having a family or deteriorate with every day wear and tear. These floors have to be resealed every 3-4 years, so be prepared for a little maintenance. From there, you let set and dry and then polish to your desired finish. Voila, bad ass seamless modern flooring with plenty of sex appeal. Definitely not a job for a first timer. So basically you need a killer contractor and I'm sure labor will counter act the money we would be saving on materials but damn its cool.
Let the dream house check list continue because I think we have the floors nailed.
Ciao for now!