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cate1337

Flooring and cabinet symmetry mess

cate1337
15 years ago

Tales from the Tape Measure

Although measurements were checked and observed by multiple people, there was an error. Nothing we can do about it now. The island ended up about 7" more towards the dining room than expected on one end.

Results: The island and its opposite line of cabinets are no longer symmetrical. The island no longer sits just on the kitchen floor but straddles the kitchen and dining room floor.

Questions/Options:

1. Should we order an additional 12" cabinet to go opposite the dining room side of the island (by the sliding doors), to create symmetry? [Side effects include crowding dining room, crowding sliding door, and making our sliding panel window treatments, with which I was very happy, no longer work.]

2. Should we tear out some of the oak floor in the dining room and fill in with cork floor, so that the island no longer straddles the the line? [We would have to cut perpendicularly along the planking. Visually, this would also make the dining room appear smaller. That wouldn't be a problem save that we have huge dining furniture.]

At this point, the island isn't moving; and the sink isn't moving; so we're just talking fixes. Hopefully relatively cheap fixes. We're not upset; in fact, I like where the island is except for slight dining room cramping. Overall, this project's going well. DH and I are stymied here, though; and when we do have ideas they're definitely not the same.

Thanks in advance for your help and opinions,

Cate

What the situation is now:

{{gwi:1566896}}

Mock-up of kitchen, + actual dining room, but imagine island 7" towards dining room:

Comments (24)

  • Jon1270
    15 years ago

    I don't get it. What is the axis about which you're trying to make things symmetrical? The pics make it seem as if there is asymmetry everywhere, so I don't know exactly where things went wrong.

    Also, though it's hard to say for sure because your drawings don't show dimensions, it looks as if things might be a little crowded in there, especially around the dining table. It seems unlikely that adding more stuff (another cabinet) could be a net improvement.

  • weissman
    15 years ago

    I don't think symmetry is the issue - it's the fact that the island extends further into the dining room than the cabinets opposite it. I'm not sure that's a big issue - the only thing that might look strange is the island straddling two kinds of flooring - would need real pictures not drawings to see how that looks and whether or not it's worth changing. I agree with jon1270 - I probably wouldn't add more cabinets.

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  • cate1337
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    Thank you for your thoughts.

    The island extending further into the dining room than the cabinets opposit it is what I mean by symmetry. Sorry I wasn't more clear. Originally the island and the cabinets opposite were to end on the same plane.

    I'm glad to hear that adding more cabinets to even up that line goes against your gut, too. I want everything to look neat and line up but don't want to lose a workable dining room space. Hopefully this is one of those things that I just won't notice after a while.

    I'll see what I can do with pictures. The cabinets aren't in, but the walls are framed up. I'm not sure seeing the framed walls will help much without the actual cabinets.

  • rosie
    15 years ago

    Cate, I admire your sensible attitude. It seems like the best way to make the issue just go away might be to do the same flooring in both spaces--if that's an option.

  • cate1337
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    Rosie, thank you for the encouragement. It's a nice way to start the day!

    Did you mean tear out the wood dining room floor and replace it with cork or just have the kitchen cork extend a bit further to be under the entire island?

  • rosie
    15 years ago

    One floor for kitchen and dining room. Cork's such a nice floor.

    It seems like if you just pushed the kitchen floor forward in a straight line, people pushing chairs back would find themselves "in" the kitchen because the floor creates that definition you want to avoid in this case. Arcing or angling the cork from front-cabinet-corner to front-cabinet-corner might work nicely, tho.

  • weissman
    15 years ago

    Is all the flooring in? It sounds like the oak is already in - what about the cork? If not, you could go oak everywhere. If so, I would extend the cork under the entire island.

  • susan4664
    15 years ago

    Maybe I am missing something here, and maybe you are a bigger person than I would be under the circumstances, but whose mistake was this, and why did you accept something that was so off, as to straddle two rooms??

  • cate1337
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    Rosie - Thanks for the clarification, and you're correct that there might be an intrusion issue from the dining room into the kitchen area. Not sure angling the floor would work, though, as that's more contemporary to my mind than the rest of the house.

    Weissman - The oak flooring is original. The cork is replacing old vinyl. I don't want wood floors in the kitchen, plus it'd be a bit expensive for us to try to match new and old oak.

    The flooring guy is measuring now, and recommends not tearing up parts of the oak. Fairly strongly.

    Susan, I'm not sure whose mistake it was. Not sure if it was the KD's, mine in relaying some numbers to the contractor, or (least likely) the contractor's. There's been some general confusion with having old copies of plans. The column closest to the DR (part of the island structure) is load-bearing. We're not moving it - and part of the error involved the width of the path over by the flagstone foyer and refrigerator, as you go into the kitchen - so that's just the way it's going to be.

    Need to get back to flooring man.

  • dekeoboe
    15 years ago

    Are the oak and cork floors going to be the same height? Will they just butt up against each other or will there be a T-moulding?

  • kaypeakay
    15 years ago

    I know you said you don't want wood floors in the kitchen, but i don't know why not. If you go with wood in the kitchen, that takes care of the issue in the least expensive way, IMO and there should be no problems "matching" the new and old floors - as I have seen it done and the differences are negligible. The only expense would be the difference between oak flooring and cork flooring, if any. I think there's a post or two on the GW forum that actually shows the difference between old and new oak floors - I think I found it searching for Minwax stain, so maybe you can try to locate the thread? I have wood in our kitchen and I love it - although I love cork floors too. But I agree that it may look a little strange to have the isalnd straddle the two spaces, especially if the flooring under the island is different.
    How far deep are you into finalizing the island? I.e., do you have the countertop already? If not, maybe you can eliminate a cabinet in the island space to shorten it?
    Good luck!

  • cate1337
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    Dek - We were going to try to match the height of the oak and cork as closely as possible, but it probably would have called for a T-molding or something similar.

    Kay & Weissman - I'm looking into going all wood now. Visually, it does make the most sense, even if the match would be a little off. I'm emotionally invested in the cork. It was our last standing tribute to trying to do this with some environmental responsibility, anti-static, anti-microbial, comfortable to stand on, and interesting visually. For some reason, wood in a kitchen has never made sense to me even though it can look very nice. I suppose I was taught that kitchen floors need to be able to take abuse and that wood shows that abuse.

    At any rate, I have a call in to our cork saleswoman to price out the wood; and our contractor has some connections who do wood floors. If we do that, we wouldn't refinish the whole room right now. Our children are 3 1/2 and almost 2 and would just scratch it back up again.

    Kay, I'll do a search on Minwax. I'll try to get some pictures up, too. (It's already dark here, so we'll see how they turn up.) The support column limits any changes on the island; and, really, I'm not upset about the change relative to the rest of the kitchen. It won't be exactly the way we planned and visualized; but it'll still be a vast improvement in aesthetics, functionality, and equity.

    Give me half an hour or so on the pix. DH took the little ones to the store, and I'm going to have an uninterrupted hot shower! Now THAT's a luxury!

    Here is a link that might be useful: Pictures of Construction Progress (also links to plans)

  • cate1337
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    The area with the red ladder is the dining room. POV is from the basement stairs/kitchen door. The column you see on the middle right is a support column. There is a second, decorative column just out of sight on the right side of the photo. The half wall running between the columns will support the bar. The rest of the island, with the cooktop, extends 36" intot he kitchen, at a normal counter height. If you look just below a coil of blue wire (center), you can see three stacked boards. They mark the edge of the island. They're resting on the existing oak flooring. New flooring needs to start just where the stack of boards ends, closest to our POV.

    Hth with visualization! Thank you all for your time, energy, and thoughts.

    Postscript: I had some trouble with resizing the picture. It's done on Photobucket but isn't displaying correctly here. I sure hope it's a temporary problem.

  • jejvtr
    15 years ago

    cate
    Hats off to you for taking this so well - I don't think I would be -

    - I would rec really pushing back on the person/people responsible for this error - I doubt it is you - KD's are responsible for the final plans when they are sent to cabinet maker/manufacturer -
    Yes, you still have the issue but you should NOT have to be the one who finds the remedy nor the one who foots the bill for the remedy.
    - I can feel your sense of excitement w/having a new space - however would caution you , that does wear off and you don't want to be regretting what you decide/do now next year.
    - I would do a mock up w/blue tape, cardboard boxes whatever you can find to see exactly what this layout means - what is going in the dinning room - will that effect how people get around the table, in and out etc...I see a rendering for a small round table pushed way in the corner - but I'm sure that is not the intent irl

    also in kit that 7" could be adding other problems w/clearances etc (I didn't closely examine your plans) but i do see the range/cooktop is really in the DR now - which I find not a good idea
    - the point is don't let the excitement give the professionals latitude for serious mistakes - the have certifications, license, insurance and a reputation that they should uphold. This is a serious error - please take it up with both the KD & Contractor they are enjoying the laurels of your excitement right now, that will wear off soon when you ask them what they plan to do about their mistake.

    On another note - I did post pics of 75 yo oak flooring (in DR)that is butting up against new oak in the kitchen - I can't believe how well the floor guy matched them - so if you'd like I would post pics

    Please do push back on the professionals - lay people are simply NOT responsible for measurements in final plans/layouts/orders period

    good luck

  • alku05
    15 years ago

    Wow, cate, that's a heck of an error. To be honest, no one but you will EVER notice that the island ends at a different place than the cabinets across from it. That's a pretty common situation to accommodate doors etc.

    HOWEVER, it will be very obvious that an error was mad if the floor changes before the island's edge. To me, bringing the cork out 7" or matching the wood for the kitchen floor would be the only options.

    I agree w/Lascatx and others who have said that the KD or whomever is responsible for fixing this at no cost to you.

  • cate1337
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    Jejvtr: Thank you for the advice and reminder that I'm lay - all nicely said! You're right, too, that in the excitement of such improvement it's easy to let some things go, with 20/20 hindsight/regret.

    I would love to see a picture of your flooring. Our contractor's flooring contact came by today and was lovely, flexible, and fast. Unfortunately, I'd been working with another terrific person - with another company - and had a difficult phone call later. The consensus really seems to be that matching the floors is the smartest move.

    Alku, thank you for the assurance that no one other than me (and, I guarantee, my equally if not more picky contractor) will notice the offset island/cabinets. Now, the question is, do I have the new oak floors meet the old at the current edge or rip out the old to the edge of the island and add the transition strip there? (Transition at current point saves a little money and visually extends DR but makes kitchen look a bit haphazard - although, again, maybe only people from this board and I will notice!)

    The issues with the KD fixing this at no cost to me is how to fix it? He's coming over tomorrow morning, as is the contractor. We'll see what happens. Over the phone, I clarified some measurements from the KD. The biggest difference is that he said the bar wall is to be 88", where we put it at 93". The island, which I thought was only a smidge shorter than the bar wall, is actually 84 1/2".

    To my mind, this means we have 8 1/2" of wiggle room (~4" on each side of the island), although, as jejvtr pointed out, clearances are an issue. [Maybe this means I'll be forced to get a counter-depth fridge - hee hee. The IRS won't mind if I skip taxes this year, right?]

    Before I meet with the KD and GC tomorrow, do any of you have any suggestions or advice?

    (I'm trying to restrain myself from fantasies of shifting the island towards the fridge and popping an angled cab onto its DR end to give visual transition.)

  • chinchette
    15 years ago

    I like the idea that you are trying to restrain yourself from.

    I have an island that sits on two different flooring types but it was deliberate- the working side is on tile and the seating side is on wood. That works out well. T-molding to connect the two floors in this situation is not going to be pretty. My tile floor turned out to be a half inch higher than the wood floor due to the fact it got layed on a mudbed at the last minute. The cabinetmaker had to solve the problem of an island hanging out a half inch up in the air. The island has base molding, and he scribed it out on the smaller side. The tile angles down- a piece of tile 2.5 inches wide angles down and connects to the wood floor with an 1/8th inch gap that is filled with sanded calk to match the wood. No T-molding. Much cleaner look than T-molding. Try to avoid it! That molding will always catch your eye and dust.

    {{gwi:1566900}}

  • rmkitchen
    15 years ago

    cate1337, first I want to say it's so nice to see your name here! Many months ago (I think it was last summer, actually), not long after I joined GW, you v. kindly answered a question of mine (which some others labeled as "stupid"), and I've always appreciated you and your kindness. You have a special spot with me!

    About your floor -- first, let me agree with everyone who thinks you are amazing the way you are handling this. Me, let those curse words fly!

    I love cork -- it's a beautiful, comfy surface, and I totally get why you'd want it in your kitchen. What color were you thinking of having the cork (since you can get in so many shades)? Would it be similar to your existing floors? If yes, and I'm just picturing this in my mind's eye, I honestly don't think it would be a visual problem having the island straddle two different materials. If they're different heights then clearly that's a different matter altogether, but I'm going to keep my fingers crossed. If you're going to add new oak floors, then I think you should have them laced into the existing. They can do that without having to refinish everything -- they'll just sand a small area of the old floors and do that along with the new (so it'll all blend in).

    We, too, have oak floors throughout the first floor of our house and next week, maybe?, oak will be put in our barren kitchen. (previously it had vinyl) For me, wood works in our kitchen. BUT, I have children the exact same ages as yours, and we just had the main level floors put in February 2007 (so we moved into this house in March with these floors brand-new). Holy cow you are not kidding about the scratches! One pass of a firetruck with a piece of grit stuck to a wheel and it is curtains.

    My mother was particularly ugly about why we didn't get a glossy finish on the floors (I begged the flooring guy for as matte as possible, foreseeing this v. thing), but boy am I grateful I didn't (get any sort of sheen). As it is, all the floors are going to be refinished (the flooring guy and I had a "miscommunication" on the color I wanted [I was in another state so didn't oversee the process]) when the whole remodel is done, and you can bet I'll be doing the most matte finish again!

    I'm okay with the scratches but I'm infinitely more laid-back than my mother ... different story. (I swear lots more than she does as well!) My point being, I think you are smart to think about the littles' impact on the floor.

    I'm really looking forward to seeing your space progress!

    GOOD LUCK with the flooring, cate.

  • jejvtr
    15 years ago

    Cate
    keep the faith! You'll get through this and be better for it - that said, don't let those that are resp off the hook - if a CD fridge is warranted 2ndary to this error -than the cost difference of reg vs CD is on their dime, as is the flooring fix

    Here's a pic of new & 75 yr old oak flooring can you tell which is new?

    I have more pics if you like -

  • cate1337
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    Robin, thank you for the warm fuzzies. You made my day! (Actually, you made my eyes -ahem- water.) I'd love the see your flooring once it's in. I'll ask about lacing (suspect it's much more expensive, but maybe not); and, Chinchette, I'll get more specific about transition options if we do that rather than lacing. Your space is beautiful, Chinchette (was it on one of the cabinet-maker's sites, with a woman standing at a cookbook?); and I like the way your island straddles the wood and tile. What kind of wood do you have?

    Also, Robin, the cork we'd picked out was a bit of a patchwork pattern, same tones as the existing red oak floor. We needed to try to integrate the red oak, flagstone "foyer," and kitchen floor. The patchwork was stippled (for lack of a better term) and had some waves that picked up on the foyer but echoed the richness of the oak well.

    I really get what you're saying about one grain of sand stuck in the fire truck. And that's the least of it! One of my smartest decisions when we bought some new furniture was to get a scratch-and-dent leather recliner: 1/3 of the original price, and I didn't freak out when the kids got near it. Or DH. Or cat. As for the mother, one very sincere offer to accede to her wishes and get high-gloss as long as she redoes the floors by hand should either get silence or permanently nice floors!

    Chinchette, good to hear you like the shifting + angled cab idea. DH likes it, too. I'm trying not to get invested in it because there really isn't much space, especially for angles. Maybe just the countertop... with a paper towel holder under it? Somehow concealed? Hmmm... don't have a place for my cookbooks... don't want more open shelves to have to dust... We'll see what the KD says tomorrow.

    Jejvtr, I have no idea which floor is the original! Each time I look at the pic, I choose a different side. My current guess is the kitchen side, because of the striped board in front of the refrigerator. It has some nice character. Do you have any thoughts on transition strips to add to what others have said?

    I'm going to practice the phrase "warranted secondary to this error" for tomorrow. Boy, would that be nice!

    I'll check back in after the morning meeting, storytime at the library, the electrical inspector and, with luck, a full night's rest tonight! It's great to have all of your support.

  • socalthreems
    15 years ago

    What a bummer!!! Just to let you know, we had our floors laced in (when we removed the old cabs there was nothing underneath them. We had existing wood floors and intended to keep them, so they laced new oak in, then sanded and stained everything (the whole floor really did need it). We have 3 kids (7, 5 and 3) and a big dog, so our floors get alot of wear. Here is a picture of the laced in wood before it was stained. As another alternative if you really wanted to stick with cork, couldn't you do some sort of interesting curved intersection of the two so it almost looks sculptural? Just a thought.

  • jejvtr
    15 years ago

    Cate - there is no refrig in the pic - the flooring closest to you in pic is the new - We had a total gut in the kit -
    I had a great crew working on the remodel who were very adept at meeting challenges in an old house. I was always happy to see what they had completed after a days work. However when I came in one day had placed oak saddles on both entry ways into kit - I knew we had equal floor heights so I asked them to remove the saddle - very glad I stuck to my opinion on that -

    Saddles are sometimes necessary - but if you have = flooring height then worth the effort of coping in. I would agree w/the majority above - one type flooring in your case where there is no "natural" break in the kit/DR - it will be less busy, more uniform, easier on the eye and highlight what is important in the remodel -Whereas if you try to straddle or intermix flooring it will be complicated and complicated looking - and the details of the design will be lost imo

    Good luck

  • bayareafrancy
    15 years ago

    Cate: I vote for wood in the kitchen. I've had wood in the kitchen most of my life. My mother was probably more uptight about it than I am, but I don't recall getting yelled at for scratching it.

    I had marmoleum in my last kitchen. I think it behaves similarly to cork. I loved it, and I would use it again, but boy oh boy did it scratch like crazy! My little boys would push a plastic laundry basket through the kitchen (they used them as "walkers"), and white trails of scratches would follow. The scratches didn't bother me, and they blended in. My point is that the marmoleum scratched more than the oak in the rest of the house (tho the oak was 100 years old, and very hard).

    I currently have 80 year old douglas fir in the kitchen. Tho fir is technically a soft wood, the age makes it much harder. It scratches like crazy, but they don't really show. Oh, the first scratches show, but after 2 years, the floor is beautifully worn! Here is a pix from during the construction. It is very scratched and dented. Most visitors ohh and ahh over the floor.

    Jej: no way! I cannot believe that I got it wrong! I immediately looked at it, and said the one closer to me is obviously original (the grain is longer, the spaces between the boards are wider, and the planks themselves are longer). I can't believe that is the new floor! Wow!

    Francy

  • cate1337
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    The KD came by this morning, although our GC had something else come up. Everything's looking positive. We were able to shift the island cabinets about 5" towards the refrigerator. It sounds like a small difference, but it helps. Shifting the cabs also helped with a possible problem with the vent hood and a rafter.

    Since the floor will be replaced, the KD drew everything out with a black marker. There isn't room to add an angled cabinet at the DR side of the island, and I'm not sure it's necessary on the sink side. Things line up much better now.

    We are going to do the wood floors for continuity. We don't have the budget to interlace them but will be stripping the existing floors past their plywood base. Maybe we can do cork in the next house! Not that I want to think about THAT right now.

    We just passed the first electrical inspection, will have a plumber out next week, then on to drywall and insulation. Then cabinets - although I have to say, here in Michigan, I'm much more excited about the insulation.

    Socialthreems, thank you for the picture. I wish we could do interlacing, but that money can be better spent on counters or backsplash. I like the sculptural idea, too; but just want to have the decision made at this point.

    I know how big dogs can tear floors up. My grandmother had a couple of medium-sized border collies, then a lab mix in the house; and that floor looked like confetti. They gouged the front door, too.

    Oops, Jejvtr, I saw the dark wood furniture as the fridge! So glad that Francy had it backwards, too. It really is well-done.

    Francy, your floors are beautiful, too. I didn't notice the scratches until I went back and looked carefully. I love how comfortable the wide planks feel. Is your floor original to the house or were you able to buy reclaimed wood? Looks like you're almost done...

    Nice to know that marmoleum scratches, even though it's been off my list for a while now. I love the look (Durocord? or a similar company has an amazing gallery) but would want it to stay looking smooth.

    Thank you all very much for your help!
    Cate