Patterned floor can accent dining area

DESIGN LINE

January 24, 1993|By Rita St. Clair | Rita St. Clair,Contributing Writer/ Los Angeles Times Syndicate

Q: I plan to create an informal eating area by removing the wall between my kitchen and a small dining room that's seldom used. What's delaying the project is indecision about the type of flooring to be used for the combined space. The ceramic tile in the kitchen is no longer commercially available.

A: I hope you're not thinking about tearing out the tile. That's sure to be an arduous job and probably an unnecessary one as well.

Assuming that the dining area has a wooden floor, you have a choice of several surfacing materials that can be integrated with the existing ceramic tile in the kitchen. A painted canvas floor cloth is one possibility for the part of the new room where the table and chairs will be located. A number of flat woven rug designs could also provide the pattern and color needed.

Painting the wooden floor in a stencil-like manner would offer another colorful but more permanent solution. This time-honored technique, currently experiencing a revival, is a particularly smart and attractive option in situations where decorative carpet designs are too expensive or impractical.

You should be able to find a floor painter skilled in applying either traditional or contemporary geometric patterns. Make sure, however, that this person is equally well-versed in the proper use of polyurethane or other protective coatings.

Alternatives to the hand-stenciling approach are also available today. You can learn about these possibly less expensive techniques by consulting a local flooring specialist.

My other suggestion is to consider installing complementary sheet vinyl on the portion of the floor alongside the ceramic tile. Armstrong has recently introduced such floorings in designs that make a strong statement. The examples shown in the photo are from the company's new "Designer Solarian II" collection.

This "Petaluma" pattern, reminiscent of Pennsylvania Dutch decoration, is distinctly floral though geometric in form. As its name implies, a design like this will look especially attractive in a Southwestern-type interior. But it can also work well in Victorian or sleek contemporary interiors.

Such a simple and colorful pattern can easily be used as a border at chair-rail height, as shown in one of the photos, or on a folding wooden screen, as seen in the other. Bits and pieces of the same pattern might then be applied as additional ornamentation on the walls or furniture.

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