For our new entry way addition, we had originally planned to install oak flooring and have it finished on-site to match the existing wood floors that are under the carpet in the rest of the house.  Last Thursday, though, when the contractors were discussing where to place the opening in the basement wall for the access to the crawl space, they discovered that the floor for the existing entry way and powder room – and probably the landing for the basement stairs also – is actually poured concrete.  From the basement, it looks like it’s wood framed, but there’s actually concrete that’s been poured on top of the wood framing.  The upside is that the floor is really solid … the downside is that the new wood flooring can’t be nailed to concrete.

In order to install wood flooring, we’ll have to build up the floor by at least 2 1/4″ to accommodate the nails used for installation and that would make the steps to the basement and the step up to the rest of the house have an odd rise, which would be unlikely to be approved by the inspector.  It would also reduce the ceiling height in a place where it’s already lower than the rest of the house.  So, to avoid those problems, the best solution seems to be switching to a flooring material like tile, which can be installed directly on top of the existing concrete.

Whether wood or tile, it’s pretty important to us that the flooring look like something that might have been original to the house, so we started researching what might have been installed in 1915 when the house was built.  I found a lot of really great posts about what others have found in their old bathrooms and kitchens and it seems like 1″ hex, square, or round unglazed porcelain tiles in black and white probably would have been the norm around the time our house was built.  I also found a great website ( with all kinds of ideas for patterns and pictures of other installations to provide some inspiration.  Here are a couple we really liked:

We stopped at a tile store yesterday and found a couple of different options that we think might work well – American Olean Unglazed Mosaic and Daltile Keystones.  Right now, we’re thinking of going with some kind of a border (probably made from square tiles with an accent color or two) and use hex tiles for the field .  We’re also playing with the idea of maybe incorporating the address numbers into the border somehow.  We’re trying to decide if it would feel like the right thing to do in the entry way of a house or if it would feel too commercial.

Here’s a picture we found online where the house numbers are included in the entry way tile:

We’re thinking of maybe doing ours in gray rather than black and working the numbers in to a border, maybe something like this:

It would be a pretty simple look, but I think that might be what we want considering that it will be kind of a small space.  I’m not sure.  I’ll go back tomorrow to see if we can borrow the sample boards for the American Olean and Daltile tiles and maybe make some color selections for the entry way.  I’m a little concerned about how long it will take for the tile to come in, so I’m thinking it’ll be best to get the order placed as soon as possible.

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