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Modern Hardwood? (aka save our marriage)

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Joined: Apr 17 2003

My wife and I are torn between what natural colored, sand-and-finish, solid hardwood flooring to put in our open air living room/dining room - red oak vs. brazilian cherry.

Each thinks his/her choice is more modern and believes the other's choice would make our place look too "country". The area is 37' x 16' and has an exposed beam ceiling and a wall-of-glass with a wooded/canyon view the entire length of one side. The wall-of-glass runs east-to-west (faces south), so their isn't really extreme, prolonged "direct" sunlight in either the AM or PM.

http://mike.acosta.net/hrdwd.html

Since each of us is adamant about his/her preference, we've agreed to let the consensus on this forum (and maybe another) determine which way we'll go. So any input on which wood flooring of the two is more modern and would be a better fit in our home would be greatly appreciated .

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

Why not light birch - that's modern and not country. Or concrete, or....
Red oak and cherry both sounds a bit old, although I believe cherry is more country of the two.

/Gloria

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

As long as you're going with simple streamlined hardwood--no textures or those filled in holes on the planks--then I think either is a fine choice and one wouldn't seem more "country" than the other.

But, given that I have had these similar type of disagreements, even if one of you "wins," it may always be a sore spot (i.e. the "loser" will always look at the floor in disatisfaction). SO! My vote is to nix both and pick a color that both of your can agree on even if you both have to compromise.

I guess that's not the choice you wanted to hear, but you asked!

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Joined: Jul 1 2003

I vote for the darker of the 2 woods.

We just moved into to a 1973 Eichler, and the previous owner re-floored with an Italian sealed tile that looks & feels like slate. My wife loves it (I just hope the radiant and water pipes don't give us problems that would cause digging into them). They look modern, feels cools during hot weather and holds warmth when the radiant heat is on. It's expensive but my wife wanted this house for the tile while I wanted one of those cookie-cutter faux-Spanish, 2-story houses; she won, of course.

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Joined: Mar 22 2003

I vote for the lightest wood you can find, which is not either of the ones on your list. And, be sure to get something with as little graining as possible. Absolutely plain. The only dark floors I have seen in Eichlers have been slate or terra cotta tile. Both looked beautiful, but for some reason, I have never seen a dark wood floor in a modern home. Dark wood, to me, screams country. Of course, I am not an expert by any means, and could be completely wrong...

Also, all wood and cork fades when exposed to UV light, so be sure your windows are UV protected. If not, the floors will fade, even if the light is indirect.

One final suggestion: go to the bookstore and look through all the books and mags on modern design for photos of a modern home with wood floors and a similar look to what either or both or you are trying to achieve. This may help you bridge the visualization gap. A favorite of mine is Metropolitan Home Magazine. It's a great place to go for ideas. They show a lot of urban loft designs, which are quite similar in concept to Eichlers, with the open floor plans and all. I still believe the safest thing to do is to find a photo you both like and copy it.

If it is any consolation, hubby and I found the flooring decision the most difficult of all the many remodeling decisions we faced. It took us years to figure out what was "right" for us. We did 12x12 light beige ceramic tile. It is great.

Cathye

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

I think the wood species is of lesser important than the color of stain your going to have applied to it.

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

I have to second the notion that you should use very light colored wood. We went with a very light maple with very little texture and we are very happy with it. Of course we neede something to contrast our fairly dark mahogany walls, so your results may vary :wink:

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Joined: Apr 17 2003

Thanks for the helpful posts.

I've shared the replies with my wife. As it turns out, she's more flexible about wood color than I thought, but what is more important to her is something with as little visible wood grain as possible! (Communication, what a novel concept!) That's what she doesn't like about the red oak - too grainy for her taste.

I'm the one that prefers the lighter wood. While also looking at cherry and other dark species, my wife told me she pointed out a light-colored maple with minimal graining while we were at a showroom last week, but I guessed I was so locked into the red oak and not wanting to hear anything about dark wood, I probably tuned out some of what she was saying at the time.

She's totally agreeable with the maple, and it's even lighter than the oak, so it looks like that is what we'll be going with, and a natural/clear stain, of course.

Thanks again for the help!

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

red oak and brazilian cherry floors are really popular in most McMansions today!

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Joined: Mar 22 2003

Congrats on reaching agreement. Good luck with your new floors, and be sure to take a look at the whole moisture issue. With wood over slab, most recommend some kind of moisture barrier.

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Joined: Apr 17 2003

Thanks Cathye. We're covering a plywood subfloor, but a moisture barrier will be used just the same.

A few months ago, I picked up the book, Classic Modern - Midcentury Modern at Home, by Deborah Dietsch. I now notice that in addition to pictures of very light, maple-looking hardwood floors, there are pics of homes with darker hardwood, including red oak, and others that are even darker, like cherry. And Charles and Ray themselves had dark, parquet flooring in the studio of their Pacific Palisades home.

So maybe all wood flooring isn't necessarily light in both color and texture in modern homes. I still don't care for the dark stuff, but I guess it can be pulled off if the rest of the room is decorated accordingly.

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Joined: Mar 25 2003

While it looks like a decision has been made, I just wanted to note for the record that the new, hip modern wood floor is bamboo. Comes in a light color and a caramelized version that is darker.

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Joined: Apr 17 2003

Bamboo, huh? Oh, Honey...

I'll admit, it's not something we've considered, but from what I've seen online, bamboo looks real nice. Oh well, we're just relieved to be one step closer to moving in. That still won't happen until Sept., four months after our purchase closed! Thanks anyway.

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