I spent a number of weeks of driving all over the place, checking out what was available and what was affordable and in the end we made our choice...
Dinesen, Dinesen, Dinesen!
Dinesen floors have entered my consciousness via the vast amount of magazines I have read over the last few years. Utterly gorgeous. Something that I thought was unaffordable and way out of reach. Under Charlie's direction we asked for the catalogue and price list and discovered that if we chose their 'Natural Douglas Fir' product in random length (2-5m), 200mm wide boards, then the price was achievable. This was wider and longer than most engineered products I was looking at.
With a solid wood floor we still have to pay for the additional processes of staining and finishing the boards. After sanding, we will apply lye, to lighten the wood and then finish with either soap or oil. We went through all the costs and decided that we could still manage to get it within the budget allocated.
We were in London for my birthday w'end, so we went to visit a couple of installed floors to check out widths and finishes. I have had a soft spot for their soap-finished floors. They have always sounded fantastic - the soap layer protects the wood and you just wash everything away. But as they require weekly soaping that is just not going to be practical for us, so I wanted to see the difference in appearance of an oil finished floor. We also wanted to see how the floors were doing a number of years after installation. A solid wood floor is a natural product and therefore will shrink and expand, so we wanted to see whether we were comfortable with potential gaps between the planks.
As you can probably guess, we really loved them and in our first incident of 'creep' we have decided to spend more than necessary. The 300mm wide boards were gorgeous. Dinesen were running a special promotion so that the price of the 300mm wide floor boards were just within reach. The sensible thing would have been to order the 200mm boards and save money with the reduction in price. The benefit of not having a huge house meant that the total price for the wider boards increased the total cost by £600 approx, although it was only £200 above what we would have spent had there not been a promotion. We talked and talked about it but decided that for the pleasure they would bring it was worth it. We would only kick ourselves later if we didn't spend that extra money and get what we really wanted. In the grand scheme of what we are spending on this project £600 is nothing, at least that's what I'm trying to tell myself!
The gap issue was not clear, as one floor had no gaps at all and the other did. It really was dependent on the conditions of each individual space. Our house should hopefully see very little fluctuation in temperature and humidity, this should be the ideal conditions to install a solid wood floor with confidence. We also know that we are dealing with a company with an excellent international reputation so the boards will be prepared and stored in optimal conditions. The soap finish is gorgeous, you can see the wood through layers of wash but we are happy with the more practical white oil finish.
I am so excited that we are having this amazing floor. I can't believe it! It meets my Design Rule No. 1 (see here). I can't wait to see it.