When we bought our farmhouse, we didn’t think there would be a lot of things to update on the inside, which was just fine for us at the time. Clearly, that idea didn’t stick based on the current renovations, but it was a nice idea while it lasted. 🙂
When we were walking through the house for the inspection, I noticed the black tile on the floor in the mudroom and the second mudroom (because yes, they technically had two) was dingy, scratched and just didn’t seem to go with the rest of the house.
Dark flooring flaws
I’m not a big fan of dark flooring. It tends to show all the dirt and the second you clean it, it is dirty again. Aside from this though, this flooring was just in poor shape. I knew it would irritate me whenever I looked at it.
I considered covering it with rugs but that didn’t make sense for the mudroom. The second mudroom, which would become my office, would need a really large rug to cover it. That sounded expensive and wasn’t really the look I was going for.
My preferred flooring is wood and wood everywhere. It looks gorgeous, is timeless, is easier to clean and lasts longer than most other floors.
Our wood flooring issue
However, this house has three different types of wood flooring. Three, my friends.
The wood on the main floor is pre-finished, very smooth and very dark. At first glance it looks beautiful, but after mopping it again and again and having it get dirty right away, it wouldn’t be my choice. It also gaps more than most wood floors that I’ve seen. I’m nor sure if that’s from expanding and contracting or if it is from being laid incorrectly, but it is what it is.
(My favorite type of wood, the wood you lay and the finish on-site, is only on the stair treads in this house. So odd, right?)
When we decided to change out the tile, I wanted to have the same flooring in both rooms for continuity sake. I knew I didn’t want to continue to wood from the rest of the first floor due to everything I outlines above.
Inspired by the 70’s
When we were on our house hunt, we were looking at a Stone Cottage that had a brick entryway. It was built in the 70’s, the brick work was original and loved it. In fact, there was so much we loved about that cottage that we put an offer in on it – twice.
Even though it was built in the 70’s, the owners had done almost no updates. While that would be a large negative for some people, I found the smaller, cozy rooms inspiring and calming. I love when I can walk into a room and feel calm immediately – usually due to the light but also in large part to the comforting features.
You can find out why we didn’t buy that house, HERE.
When considering the flooring in these two rooms for the farmhouse, I was inspired by that little cottage. I knew I wanted a similar style of flooring in this home.
Bringing back the charm
The old part of this house was built in 1900 and when renovating, they updated it beautifully, but a lot of the character was eliminated. (It may have been eliminated on a previous renovation. I’m not sure it was actually the last one.)
My goal for everything here is to bring back some of that character. I want to do it in a way that makes this house feel cozy and charming but also updated and fresh.
One feature that I love in our farmhouse is a built-in desk in-between the mudroom and the kitchen. It has a butcher block top and it has a brick wall in back that matches the brick on the fireplace.
Selecting the brick
In talking to our contractor, we decided that couldn’t use that exact same brick because it is brick is porous and uneven. This would be a nightmare on floors because dirt and even smells could potentially get caught in it – even with sealing it. Instead we decided on a brick tile flooring that looks like brick but has the positive functionality of tile.
This tile is made specifically for interior flooring and it has a smooth finish, so it feels good on your feet. However, it doesn’t look like it’s smooth and it looks like real brick.
Additionally, and perhaps my favorite feature, 7 percent of the brick tile is stamped with the words Chicago Brick. Being from the Chicagoland suburbs, I love that we can infuse a little bit of Chicago grit into our Michigan farmhouse.
We used a mix of the four different options for the tile to give the floor more character and make it feel a little more aged.
Picking a pattern
I also decided to lay the tile in a normal brick pattern instead of the current popular chevron pattern. There were two reasons for this.
- Neither room is huge, and I figured a portion of the flooring would always be covered by other furniture and/or rugs. The intricate pattern would end up mostly covered and I wanted it to be a more simple and streamlined look for my eye.
- I believe this horizontal, brick pattern is a bit more traditional and keeps truer to the character for a house built in 1900.
Lastly, I decided to lay the tile horizontally in both rooms. The mud room is wider and the office is longer. Ideally, I would have liked to lay it in two different directions to work with the length of the room. However, I knew that would look odd, especially since both rooms are so close to each other. Laying the brick tile horizontally would also match the direction of the wood on the main floor.
It may seem odd that a home we didn’t purchase can be such an inspiration to me when designing the farmhouse. But, sometimes inspiration can come from unexpected places and I’m a firm believer that you can find it in the decisions you don’t make as much as the decisions you do. Sometimes we need things to pass us by to see the beauty in them and learn to apply that beauty to the path we chose.
To find out more about all our renovation work, click HERE. Full Mud Room and Office makeovers to come!