Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Floor Score: Who you callin' Travertine?

Ever since Saturday I have been bumbling around in my head about the 170 Sq. Ft. of travertine "noce" or "noche" tiles I picked up at BIG on Saturday morning. They look like this (more or less). 

This photo above is the most accurate photo - the stone is mostly a greyish color but with brick red and a little green muddying it up.
These two are a little over-exposed - the tile is much darker than this (as shown in the photo above), but it gives you a better sense of the structure and design.

So, why have I been bumbling?  Well, a few reasons.  In no particular order:
  • The look of the stone is a little "splashy" (Lou's word, but very apt).  I really like the grey and the movement, but it has greens and reds and looks a little like a tissue sample from something not healthy (although the same could be said of a lot of nice stone).  So, I'm not sure it is really the look for us.
  • I did some reading online about travertine and it seems it is a very porous stone which does not wear as well as marble or granite and requires more care.  Plus, because it is very porous, in order for it to have a polished finish, it has to have been "filled" with some sort of polymer.  Anyway, whatever, it stopped seeming as glamorous.
  • I googled prices on travertine noce/noche 12"x12" tile and, although the noce in the photos online did not look anything like the noce I had purchased, it all came up in the $3-5 @ s.f. range and suddenly my $1.75 @ s.f. didn't seem like such a bargain once you add in the truck and the continuing muscle pain in my lower back.  Yes, I am a bargain shopper and value apparently means as much to me as purely aesthetic issues: as the bargain-margin drops, so does the ease of overlooking the other above-mentioned issues.
MY CONCLUSION: We needed to hit re-set on our floor design process. I made an appointment for this morning at the stone yard a few blocks from our place just so that we could see everything and discuss what we would want if money were no obstacle.  V and I walked down there early for an appointment with Joan, the very nice stone lady, who spent 40 minutes showing us various options, all of which are gorgeous and most of which are out of our price range.  But we got a better sense of what we like: honed statuary, bianco gioia, calacatta gold honed, bardiglio, etc.  We like whites and greys.  We like movement. 

It was a useful exercise and the prices on some of the stuff we like is not prohibitive so we are awaiting an estimate.  

But there is more.  I carried a slice of the travertine noche with me and, at the end of our discussion of her offerings, I showed my "travertine" to Joan and she said, "That isn't travertine.  That's some type of marble."  And, wouldn't you know it, all of a sudden my heart opened up and I began to think, "well maybe I could live with this stuff."  

What is wrong with me? 

I'm still partial to big movement with swirling winds of gray so we are awaiting word from Joan on pricing for the stuff we liked most.  She is also going to get back to me on what type of marble my "noche" is.

[UPDATE: Subsequently found out that this is definitely marble and it is called "Montana".   And, to any reader (family member) who might think, "Wait! You mean this whole post about travertine was just rendered obsolete!", let me remind you that I still have 170 sq. ft. of this stuff in a shed and it will re-emerge someday. And nobody was ever worse off for knowing a little more about travertine.]

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