So the floors started going in today. What an incredible disappointment! After walking in and out the room, trying to adjust and accept what I was seeing, I finally called the contractor's project manager and we jointly decided to halt the project. Stopping the job is always a very difficult decision to make, not only because it has significant financial impacts, but also because it sets us back considerably in regards to the schedule. And construction is almost two months ahead of schedule! So I'm really glad that we all agreed that this flooring choice was a complete miss and I am so thankful to our contractor who was understanding and willing to work on an alternative to what was being put down.
In an attempt to find something to replace the wrong choice of flooring, we decided to look at two options: a lighter version that best coordinates with cabinets and gives the space an overall calming feel, or a walnut version, which would add contrast, and perhaps interest, but also more stimulation for the eye.
The walnut floors certainly look richer, but after a couple of hours of these samples laying around in various locations, we quickly realized how dirty they get. Every footprint shows on this floor! With all the foot traffic this clinical space will get, maintenance would be a difficult thing to keep up with throughout the day, in spite of the cleaning that happens after hours. Our final choice then was...
Armstrong LVT, Fruitwood Natural. The light one!
I know this will be a controversial choice as most people seem to prefer the warmth of the walnut flooring. And I would like to reiterate that, there's really no real wrong choice between the two (and a grey option we also considered). It really comes down to individual taste or, in my view, the design intent. When I look at places with higher foot traffic, such as the original Tate Gallery in London, or the World Trade Center Transportation Hub in New York, where the floors are made of light maple or birch wood, I see no real reason, other than a personal preference, to go with darker floors. So, I'm confident in the design choice to maintain a soothing and calming atmosphere, stripped of heavy contrast put forth by all the different finishes and materials throughout. Our goal is to enhance the lightness and airiness of the clinical environment as a way to calm the mind and bring tranquility to those undergoing medical and surgical treatments. And the light floors do just that!