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Hardwood to luxury vinyl plank transition

Looking for some design advice for our kitchen floor.

We just bought a home and have embarked on some renovations. Its an old character home - 1914 original build, renovated over the years, last time extensively in 1998.

Long story short - our plan was to tile the kitchen/mudroom - they share a space and are covered in this horribly tacky sheet-like linoleum that tries and fails to replicate tile. But an unforeseen issue makes it impossible without a major floor overhaul. We'd have to tear out the material thats there - install a new ply subfloor and build it to height and then use self-leveller in quite a few places. So the prep is extensive and costly. My contractor quoted me $5,000 CDN to do the tile originally, but with this new issue - he said it would likely double.

So we're entertaining a few options. Our contractor suggested luxury vinyl plank - since it can float over the old floor, handle a certain amount of uneven-ness and is a good choice for kitchen/mudroom due to water. The floor that transitions to the kitchen is maple hardwood stained dark, narrow plank. We started testing some LV wide plank against the hardwood to see if the transition worked and felt it looked best when it was a lighter colour with similar undertones. Too matchy-matchy and it looked wrong. Already the narrow to wide plank is a contrast, trying to hide the contrast by matching the shade of wood just called attention to it.

Now the LV plank is a fantastic deal through our contractor - he's a friend of mine and can get wholesale prices on high quality stone composite LV - it'll cost us around $900-1000 to do the entire floor. But we also don't want to do it if we're committing a design sin that we'll later come to regret. I know there is much debate about going from dark to light hardwoods - or using two different types of wood materials. Its not an open concept space, so the transition isn't seen from the living room. Its the space that moves from the front door, down a hallway (living room to left, staircase going upstairs to right) and opens into kitchen.

Another option - to avoid a wood to wood look - is luxury vinyl tile, click n' lock style. We're open to that just everything we've found so far is very fake looking. It's like they've nailed the wood look in vinyl, but stone seems to be lagging behind.

Engineered hardwood or laminate aren't likely an option due to the floor level issues. We could do radical things like LV plank our entire main floor, but then you're covering up real hardwood that's in excellent shape.

Or of course, we could do the labour ourselves and attempt to tear up our kitchen floor, replace, level and do the tiling ourselves - but that's a whole lot of work for already busy people.

Any thoughts, design advice or suggestions would be much appreciated!

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