What to do with the floors? The floors were the first thing I wanted to change. I was faced with brown(ish) stained carpet and cream(ish) nothing tiles. The carpet and tiles were specifically combined to meet in an arbitrary line that split the living area in two, halving the feeling of space. Why? Why?
So I researched many different flooring options. The floors (a) had to fit within the budget, and (b) had to have a certain something (although simply not making me want to curse when I open the front door was a good start). I considered wooden floorboards (delightful but exxy), herringbone tiles (huge labour costs) and even vinyl and reconstituted floorboards (NQR). In the end the decision was clear: polished concrete floors. So excellent. I love the imperfect speckled texture combined with the smooth finish. And it is practical. I have been known to forego practicality for style on occasion … but I did not need to this time.
To save costs I enlisted some help (thanks folks) and ripped up the tiles and carpet myself. It was hard work carting tiles and bundles of carpet up and down stairs and prying each individual carpet nail from the concrete; but it was also quite satisfying. No more brownish/creamish nightmares.
It was a battle to find someone willing to polish concrete in an apartment (it was not an easy job – it involved large machinery and a lot of dust) but eventually I found someone local with a sense of adventure and humour. The floors were polished throughout (including the bedrooms) but unfortunately the bathrooms fell into the Too Hard Basket. This really opened up the space. I originally attempted a matt grey finish, but it just looked, well, unfinished. So I had a gloss topcoat applied and the result was a slight shine without looking like a Mediterranean museum.