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Lemons and limes in the kitchen

When the 25 year old lino on the kitchen floor was removed DIY style (with a spade and chisels) the concrete underneath was left badly chipped and dented. The ‘distressed concrete’ was reminiscent of the old tiled and mosaic floors in Mediterranean and North African kitchens. Those tiles and mosaics could be chipped, worn, broken, and randomly matched, yet not replaced because they were valued for the stories they told. They held memories of the family members who had walked on those tiles for generations.

Lemons and limes in the kitchen

The tiles that suited the project could be sourced, but the size of the tiles did not appeal. They were too small and would make the floor look too busy.

The floor was ruled up in to 300mm x 300mm squares using pencil. The tile patterns were transposed into the squares using ‘old school’ carbon paper and a ballpoint pen. Each pattern piece was copied over approximately four times. Each tile pattern was then hand painted. This proved a time consuming activity and led to the decision to have an irregular border around the floor.

The colour palette of the kitchen lent itself to colours that would complement white, grey, stainless/silver and black. The kitchen lacked personality. A bold colour statement wouldn't compete with the décor. A bold colour selection would give the kitchen a good dose of fun and precociousness.

With a preference for pink or yellow with grey, pink was ruled out as it already featured elsewhere.

Painted kitchen floor - photo 1

Yellow can be a difficult colour to work with on walls but as the light doesn't reflect off the floor like it does on perpendicular surfaces it met the brief. Yellow was an ‘all-year-round’ colour invoking many happy memories; summer lemons squeezed on the snapper Dad brought home from his Boxing Day fishing trip, with the bros, Mum’s tequila with lemon at the BBQ, winter warm lemon juice with honey for the sniffles, Nan’s lemon honey on toast for brekkie on frosty winter mornings.

Yellow it would be. It was a simple and natural progression to have lime as the other impact colour. Black, white and a ‘random’ silver were chosen as fill-in colours.

The local Resene ColorShop matched a real life lemon and lime, causing amusement with the colours aptly named Resene Lemon and Resene Citron.

The tiles were painted by hand using a thin stiff artist brush.

The biggest challenge of the project was painting a high traffic area. The best time to paint was at night after dinner, allowing the paint drying time overnight. The kitchen floor had to be protected from the foot traffic of five family members, for at least 24 hours. Kiwi ingenuity made it possible – cheap umbrella style food covers, covered the painted areas on the floor.

It was important to make sure the family could still access the sink and the fridge, even if it was a bit of a stretch!

Painted kitchen floor - photo 2

Thanks to Sally Pulham.

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Colours shown on this website are a representation only. Please refer to the actual paint or product sample. Resene colour charts, testpots and samples are available for ordering online.   See measurements/conversions for more details on how electronic colour values are achieved.