So apparently there is a Windows horror video game called "Wooden Floor." The creators describe it on their website (http://www.indiedb.com/games/wooden-floor) in this manner:
For those of you who are renovating an old house, this sounds a lot like the way you might feel after several months of discovering that the simple wood floor you had in mind just does not exist, or is so painfully expensive to source and ship that you have to surrender. We've been in a Catch 22 situation for awhile now because we could not find the flooring we wanted, and we could not begin to buy materials for the kitchen or bathroom until we had the floors down.
First, our builders obtained a quote from a local wood mill, but the price for unfinished wood planks was just too much, because we would still have had to have them stained and finished. Even then, we could not be sure that they would be the color we wanted. Our next hope was to look online at the flooring available from Leroy Merlin, Castorama and the other big box stores in France, but they had no flooring that we liked.
The problem seemed to be that what we like is not fashionable at the moment. The flooring that is trending at these popular venues falls into three categories: light yellowish wood, dull grayish wood, and wood that appears painted over in white or black. The grayish and whitewashed woods are all right if you have a specific design scheme, but I could not see living with them, nor with a black floor, for decades. Not terribly versatile.
The lighter colored wood is nice, but we had that flooring in our place in California (above).
For Lonlay l'Abbaye, we wanted something warmer and more traditional - in a medium brown stain like the Parisian floor in the photo above. Why was it so difficult to find?
In the U.S., we found flooring we liked that was acacia wood (known as robinier in France), and shipped a sample to our builders, but it was not readily available from any French supplier (sigh).
What else could we do but move to France to sort this out? So we did! I retired at the end of March, and we moved to Paris in April.
Can you tell I'm happy? Living here is a dream come true. And in Paris, we finally found a flooring store that had the type of wide plank, warm-toned flooring that we wanted.
Ground Floor: This is the flooring that we have ordered for our downstairs "rez-de-chaussée*." The store we have purchased it from is called "Carrésol." They already have this flooring in stock. It is what Americans call "engineered hardwood" (a thick veneer of hardwood on top of a compressed wood base). Supposedly it is more resistant to moisture and can be fitted together and glued directly to our floor base.
*For those of you who are academically inclined, Joseph tells me that the term "rez-de-chausée" has Latin roots. The "rez" is from Latin "rasus," past participle of radere - which meant "to shave, or plane or run against closely" - referring in this case to the level of the house that was evened out to the level of the "chaux" (lime), from the Latin "calciata."
Upstairs flooring: This will be the flooring for the upstairs bedroom level (premier étage). Because they need to be nailed directly to the beams, these will be solid oak planks, just a bit less wide than the downstairs flooring, but in a similar color. Unfortunately, this flooring has to be custom-made, so we will have a three-week wait for it. Once it has been delivered to the store, we can arrange for a date certain to have both sets of flooring delivered to Lonlay l'Abbaye. We hope to visit around that time to see that the product is what we expected, and to find out more about how the floors will be laid.
There seems to be no way around a certain amount of delay in building projects, but we are very hopeful that our builders will be able to make our tiny house habitable in the next few months. We would love to spend some time there in the fall and winter this year.
Meanwhile, we've already been to Ikea for some kitchen inspiration!