...because home doesn't happen overnight.

Since I’m on a flooring kick…

…here’s the tile I’ve chosen for the mudroom/dining room/laundry nook.  This is the space I’m talking about if you need your memory jogged…

How could you forget the green carpet remnant, window A/C unit, hideous ceiling fan and dryer that vented directly into the attic?  Ick.

As I’ve mentioned already, this room has direct access to the backyard {through the sliders seen above} and to the garage {through the man door seen above} and thus will see a lot of traffic from dirty, muddy, wet shoes.  Even though keeping flooring consistent throughout a small space is essential to achieving a cohesive look, I felt that a durable tile floor {versus engineered hardwood} would better suit our family and our daily activities in this area.

In essence, this space will serve as a mudroom, extra dining space, laundry room, storage room and craft room all in one.  Whew.

So back to that tile I chose…

It’s a natural stone.  Travertine to be exact.  Also called limestone sometimes.  When considering tile for the mudroom, I was immediately drawn to natural stone tile versus ceramic/porcelain tile.  The subtle pattern and color variation of the natural stone felt and looked organic and, well, natural. Unlike all the other flooring I’ve had to choose {bathroom tile, engineered hardwood}, it took me about 20 seconds to find this tile and name it ‘the one.’  Quick, easy, painless.  All I had to do was get Handy Hubby on board.

Guess what?  He LOVED the travertine!  Yippee.  One easy, agreeable Underdog decision under our belts!

Travertine comes in several different finishes:  tumbled {like what you may see as a kitchen backsplash with lots of grooves and pits}, chiseled & brushed {which has a natural but high end look}, and honed & filled {where the naturally occurring holes and pits are filled in and the tile is given a satin finish}.  The tile I chose is honed and filled.  Why?

Because it has more of a natural matte finish and looks a lot like concrete.  Here’s an image I snapped with my phone in-store at The Tile Shop that shows a better real life perspective…

I love how each tile has its own individual color variations and patterns running throughout.  Not one stone is the same as the next.  The gray, mocha and tan tones go along with the rich Texas Brown birch {seen at bottom right in the image above} I chose for most of the rest of the house.  Rocks, mud and dirt should hide on this tile nicely!  I also like the large size of the tile.

The non-polished, satin finish gives it a rustic look.  Much like concrete.  HH and I really like this effect as we plan on DIYing concrete countertops in most of the kitchen.  Having this concrete-esque finish in the adjoining mudroom will keep things flowing nicely and feeling cohesive even with the floor changing over to wood in the kitchen.  At least, that’s how we see it.

{kitchen of Jenna Lyons – complete with concrete countertops, black lower cabinets, light walls and hardwood floors – sound familiar?}

To warm things up in the mudroom/dining room {since tile alone can lend a sterile look}, I’d like to add a small area rug and a round/oval wood table.  {I’ve secretly been hunting for a table and just found one yesterday in a surprising place!  More on that next week…}  Yes, you heard me right, a wood table.  As in a wood tone table.  No painting it white.  I told you I was feeling a little more masculine this time around.

{sadly, that’s not the table I found but it’s great, isn’t it?!}

Although we’ll most likely eat regular family meals at the future island in the future kitchen, I’d like a small table in the mudroom to serve as a craft area, sewing table, family game night table, homework surface, laundry folding surface and extra dining space.  I think a round one {that possibly extends to an oval} would be perfect for the modest room.  It can’t be too big because we’ll need to fill one wall with tons of storage.  Because a dining room that doubles as a mudroom needs storage, right?

Anyhow, it feels great to have flooring decisions made.  As overwhelmed as I felt in the beginning, it was fun to consider all the options out there.  There are soooo many!!  Getting the floors nailed down {figuratively speaking} has helped me pin an aesthetic for the Underdog.  Floors can have such an impact on a home’s style.  Have you recently made a decision on new flooring?  Do you have a favorite floor in your house already?  Are you contemplating new floors?  What’s your dream floor?  Just keep talking floors since I’m already on the subject.

Happy weekend!

images:  1) The Tile Shop  2 & 3) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking  4) The Tile Shop  5) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking  6) Ken Levenson  7) Style Homes





We just chose our flooring as well! We went with natural oak hardwood, we have a subfloor and were able to find a great local company. We chose narrow planks and a natural finish because our ceiling are low and I felt that a dark floor would highlight that.

I think for your Underdog your choices are really perfect! With cathedral ceiling in the great room (do you call it that?) the dark floor will really ground everything and work with kitchen cabinets.

Love all your progress and really looking forward to seeing more! :)


I love that travertine! We decided on a filled and honed travertine from The Tile Shop for one of our (currently demolished) bathrooms too. And I’ve clearly spent WAY too much time in that store because I recognized the tile samples in the wooden frames from your post yesterday immediately.


I love seeing all the coices and can’t wait to see it all come together!

Not sure if you guys are planning on DIYing the tile installation or not, but as the daughter of a second generation tile contractor I would mention that when you are dealing with natural tile/stone like marble, granite, limestone, etc… make sure you/they open all the boxes and alternate which box they choose from as they are laying it. Tiles tend to be boxed in groups, so each box might have been cut from the same piece and therefore have similar coloring, but the box next to it may be significantly lighter or darker. If you lay everything from one box, then everything from the next you will have groupings of similar colors rather than a more random pattern of varying colors and textures. Does that make sense?

Can’t wait to see the progression!


Love it – beautiful choice. Where are you going to put the dividing line between the tile/wood?


I will only say make sure you research how to clean it. We put Travertine in a second floor bathroom and I would never do it again especially in a bathroom. I like to use heavier cleaners for the bathroom, but you can’t use them because of the sealer you have to use. I feel like I still don’t know exactly how to clean it best. I use dish soap which seems to work fine in the shower. It’s definitely gorgeous.


Love that tile and the color. Not to mention, the finish you chose will be much easier to clean (less grooves and pits to capture dirt.) I too am curious about how you’ll transition between the floors. :)


Love all your choices! :) We recently put travertine that looks almost exactly like that into our master bathroom this past summer and I really love how it looks. Something worth mentioning though- I am finding as we move into the fall that it is really cold underfoot (like, shocking in the mornings)! But, nothing some area rugs cannot help with and I would choose the same tile in a hearbeat- so pretty! :)


I’m trying to decide on new flooring for the basement. The gross carpet left from 2 owners and 1 unpotty trained dog recently got a small amount of water damage in 1 corner so I need to decide if I want new carpet (easiest choice for the free installation), pergo/laminate, engineered hardwood, or tile. Have no clue where I’ll end up!


Monica – The transition between the tile and wood will be right at the end of the short hallway from the mudroom to the kitchen. So, hopefully it will make sense and not be too much of jump.

Love the tile! My hubby and I were just looking at tile last night and I love the look of travertine. Can’t wait to see your kitchen too! We DIY’d our own concrete counters over the summer and absolutely love them! Here’s a link to ours if you want to check it out: http://imperfectlypolished.com/2011/07/08/diy-concrete-counters-sand-seal-wax-and-enjoy/

Good luck with everything!


Jessie – Don’t think I haven’t seen your DIY concrete countertop tutorial! I even have it saved as a reference when we get to ours! Love it.


Hi Dana,
I LOVE your blog, I’m a big fan. Check mine, there’s a little something about you in it. The Underdog is looking great — well, better and better ! We just did the opposite of you : in order to change career (from journalist to Bed and Breakfast), my sporty hubby and I just got an XL house (vs a small apartment) with 8.000 sq. meters of land. Well, it’s kind of hectic — and we don’t have kids.
Good luck !


Love that tile! We desperately need to replace the carpet on our entire main floor, and I’m leaning towards a dark wood or laminate (wood would totally win if it weren’t for the $$). We’ll do the same flooring all the way through with the exception of the back entryway from the garage, which will be tile. I am SO ready to get it done, but hubby keeps telling me to wait…always waiting…


I love your flooring choices! We just made a flooring decision for our house the other day. We are renovating an old ranch…turning a closed off floor plan into an open great room. We were going back and forth between continuing the original wood floors that exist in our house into the kitchen, or tiling it. We decided on continuing the wood floors. If you ever want to take a look at our renovations my blog is http://retroranchrenovation.blogspot.com/ .
Keep your posts coming! I love seeing the Underdog evolve! :)


This is a little off topic. I want a duvet and window pannels from west elm for my grey bedroom. Do you haev any good ideas for a pleasant comibination?


Lisa – Is your bedroom a dark or light gray? Feel free to email me a pic so I can better help you!


Gabbi – Ooooooh, I’m a sucker for pics of demo’d spaces! So much potential!

I love travertine! It always reminds me of old, warm, well-worn spaces– exactly how I want our home to feel!

travertine is absolutely amazing! My parents had 18″ travertine tiled floors set on the diagonal with “tight white” grout! They loved it and so did everyone else that went over to that house! It’s beautiful and easy to clean!!! You’re going to LOVE IT!


Although we didn’t do them ourselves (we’re not *that* handy), we have concrete counters in our fairly newly renovated kitchen and pantry/hallway. We lovelovelove them. I blogged about them here: http://www.stillpluslife.com/bluerainroom/2011/06/come-and-see-the-kitchen-what-it-is.html

One of my favorite parts is that we embedded tiles from our kitchen backs plash into the counter of the hall to tie the two rooms together. Love seeing how your home is coming together, and oh, how I envy the downsizing!


Lauren – I’ve never seen tile embedded within concrete countertops…how creative!


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