marmoleum, linoleum, schmanoleum

We finally went shopping for marmoleum.

Okay, I’ll be honest. I had no idea what marmoleum was a couple weeks ago. If you’re in the same predicament as the two-week-ago me, I’ll try to help you out a little. I cringe when I hear myself use the word “green,” but it is creeping more and more into our vocabularies, especially as we try to work on our house. In general, we’d like to have a “green” home. As we decide what to put in our house, there are all kinds of green options available these days. Most of you who read this know us; we have both been little granola vegetarians since we were kids. You can be pretty passionate about the environment and still have a lot of room for improvement, and we are far from perfect. It is challenging to put your money where your mouth is when it comes to purchasing things that cost hundreds or thousands of dollars and you are trying to just do little DIY projects here and there over time. It is even more challenging to wade through the mass marketing of “green”. How do you tell what products really are good for us and the planet in this day and age, when you can buy USDA certified organic pancake batter in a pressurized can?

Anyway, to put it simply, marmoleum is like environmentally friendly linoleum, except what we know of as linoleum today is actually polyvinyl chloride. The real, old school linoleum was made out of stuff like linseed oil, rosin, ground cork dust, and wood flour. So I guess the stuff we call marmoleum is true linoleum. Jess snapped this handy photo of the display at the fancy flooring store downtown to show you the marmoleum ingredients:

Pretty simple. The idea of having something in our house that is natural and less likely to offgas toxic crap is appealing. And my allergies are only getting worse. This week I had an insane allergy attack that my two prescription medications couldn’t tackle, and I ended up home from work for two days in a Benadryl stupor. I really hate missing work. So this stuff is really appealing to us for the kitchen floor. We heard you can even get “click” marmoleum that snaps into place without glue and is pretty easy to do yourself. We’ve both been really drawn to the idea of good ol’ checkered floors in the kitchen.

Image from apartment therapy. Here’s just one of their posts about checkered floors.

We had in mind some variation on checkered with charcoal, light gray, and off-white. Then we looked at the samples up close, stepping all over them and sitting on the floor with them for over an hour. It didn’t take long to learn:

– we were drawn to the nostalgia of the linoleum we remember from our school years, and DO NOT WANT marmoleum that looks like faux granite, faux marble, or practically like it has been sponge painted

– while some of the bright colors were appealing, we didn’t like any of the limited offerings that come in click

– this means we either have to get pre-cut 13″ square tiles or sheets, both which have to be installed with glue and (preferably) by a professional

– we also didn’t like any of the offerings that came in 13″ tiles, so no way in hell will we be able to try to do this project ourselves

Honestly, we didn’t care for almost any of it, but I spotted a Dutch Design line and both of us fell instantly love with a bright green (???). There was also a red I really liked, but red just isn’t going to work for what we have in mind.

The patient employees let us take home the samples we settled on: Scrabble (white with black flecks), Galentine (dark gray flecked, looks less granite-y from 5’8″ above the floor), and Painted Fields (that amazing green by Dutch designer Kiki van Eijk, with flecks of pink and dark brown when you look at it up close).

I really believe in putting stuff we love in our house, and the rest of the kitchen is going to be almost entirely white. So we could get away with accents of bright green on our otherwise gray and white floor. I think it could look really sharp, but will it look insane five or ten years from now? And do we want to pay someone lots of money to install this, especially considering it may need to be touched up when we replace the cabinets that are currently touching the floors? Stay tuned. I think the next step is to shop for polyvinyl chloride “linoleum” and see how easily we could install that ourselves and exactly how much money we are talking about.

In the meantime, I have been playing with patterns in Photoshop:


chain links!

I think Jess is leaning toward this:


Filed under goals, home

3 responses to “marmoleum, linoleum, schmanoleum

  1. The checkered pattern you came up with is fantastic!

  2. nico's mom

    I particularly like the checkered yard.

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