Dream House

I am in the fortunate position of being able to afford to build myself a new house (well...perhaps myself and the bank). Having been to several 3rd world countries and knowing that there are lots of people in the world who don't even have housing, I felt a few pangs of guilt about this. I had a decision to make: rehab the old or build new. The cost to rehab my old house was going to be substantial. It was October of 2009. My husband had passed away in August from liver cancer. I was in the depths of grief and sorrow. I needed a project. I decided that if I had to plunk down a lot of money anyway, it was better to build new. I also decided that if I was going to build new, I was going to build green. My new house will be both beautiful and "green". I will share the journey and the adventure with you.

Monday, December 5, 2011

My Travertine Stone Flooring

Pre-grout stage, bathroom
Front Foyer (with grout, mosaic border)

 I also love my travertine floor. Being a neophyte to the house building arena, I had never heard of travertine stone before. I had started to look at tile for flooring almost a year ago now. I had some good possibilities, but none that I was totally sold on. At one point, I decided I should just use what Lowe's or Menard's had in order to save some money and to dress it up with some type of special tile or mosaic border. That brought me to Ann Sacks which is a specialty tile store that they have in Kohler, Wisconsin. I was visiting Kohler one weekend and decided to stop in. There I met Todd Graf, a salesperson at the store. Ann Sacks has some very expensive tile and I wasn't even thinking that I could afford it. However, I figured that I might be able to find some interesting mosaic tile border that would be more affordable and match with a low priced Lowe's tile. Todd showed me a beautiful mosaic, but at the same time he said, "I know the perfect stone that would go with this." He pulled out a piece of cream colored stone that was about 4"x 4". I thought the two looked great together. I showed him a copy of my house plans (which I always carry in my car during this house building process). He loved the house plans and asked who was building the house. I told him, "James Mathusek, from Gallery Homes." Well, lo and behold if he didn't know Jamie and Billie Jo and thought highly of them. He also knew the feng shui person I had consulted, Jackie Patricia. Its a small world. He offered me a great price and I decided to buy the mosaic and the travertine stone that went with it. This was maybe in January or February with the idea that it would be done in April. 
     After a few weeks, I ordered a couple of larger pieces and was quite shocked at how different it looked from the 4"x 4" sample. I wasn't sure how it would turn out or even if  I would like it. Travertine is a soft limestone that is formed underground by rivers and hot springs. It is known for the pits and holes in its surface.  I did not know this until I had already purchased it!  My first thought when I saw it was, "It looks like it has a disease!" It had been a spur of the moment purchase, and I was having some buyer's remorse.. When I brought my concerns up to Todd, he assured me that they would fill in the pits and the holes with grout. There was a choice between gray and brown, and Jamie showed me a finished tile with both colors. I chose the gray. Below you will see the tile in its natural form (which my friend, Kelly, loves and wants to do her kitchen in the travertine after seeing mine in it unfinished form), and you can see pictures of the finished floor. Since it is a natural stone with a porous surface it will need to be sealed periodically in its lifetime, but, on the other hand, it should last a lifetime too. For trivia buffs: Travertine stone was used to build the coloseum in Rome--look how long that has lasted!

The natural state of Travertine stone

Natural Travetine stone

Travertine with grout

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