Laminate or not?

I heard that signing a purchase / sale contract for a property, especially the first one, is the most emotionally charged event that involves money. It is more likely the case when I go through a down payment and a mortgage: is the interest rate going to be the best in town? How long am I really going to be locked to this monthly payment? And what colours would match the best with the drapes I just fell for at the store yesterday? So now, shall I go for hardwood or laminate flooring?

The laminate is cheap, fast and easy to install: is it durable enough though? Especially for this high-traffic area in the entrance: is it going to “wow” me every time I walk in? The hardwood adds so much more welcoming warmth to the visitors. I can tell: when I visit some older homes, the “real stuff”, nailed to the floor, is still there. Fair enough, synthetic flooring was first invented, and marketed, in Sweden in 1977, therefore durability may not be the best comparison point.

When I start a project, I leave the emotional part out, and I get into a similar thinking process: laminate version or not? Do I go with wide planks? Will the air quality (i.e. the life of the project) be affected in the long run? Unless it is a one-shot event, and depending on my client’s preferences, I would rather plan out and secure a long term commitment with a low maintenance contract. That is the ideal, and I am happy to work around my client’s expectations: if a curvaceous and bold red sofa that won some design award fits better than a plain one from, say, Ikea, then by all means, I will adapt and engage, head and hands down. My responsibility is to create and present the best showroom to suit my client’s desires.

Composing from the essentials, refining them and developing tips to extend their life once applied, that is what I do. I am no DVFJPG or IM. I just design and build options first, then solutions: pleasant to the eye, eclectic and informal or trendy and dramatic. Whatever works, wide planks or not. All I want is continuity throughout, and beyond, the project, where the consensus (for the end-users) invites to a simple flow.

Traditional heritage charm or innovative sleek storage is one of many options that will dictate the final budget, no doubt. Mahogany, marble, you name it. The financial undertaking might be the driver (it often is, but not always, particularly when the selection of cabinet hardware gets considered last), yet, whenever and wherever possible, I go for small-scale changes that drive big impact. Reinventing the wheel is just too tiring, except when the existing foundations need some closer attention, and revamping. Touching the core of a structure can be costly: tailor the most appropriate project plan for my client becomes my ultimate goal, combining the creativity of a professional handcraft contractor with the responsibility of a conscientious wealth manager.