Part of the artfulness of envisioning a space is knowing when to keep rough and aged areas and let them be themselves, a subject we’ve written about before. Here, patched brick walls painted white, and a rough concrete floor are a lovely backdrop of elemental REAL that works well for modern furniture.
After demolishing of the space that would become the Laboratory, we looked closely at the concrete slab covered with soft gypsum leveler as a possible design element. It had a strange beauty we loved, though we wondered at the practicality of living with it.
We remember the old painted wood floors in our friend Maxime Defert‘s apartment in Paris. Strips of wood were missing, but Maxime didn’t try to fill them in. His patterned paint job still allowed the building’s ancient history to show through, which worked curously well with the mashup of art and Pierre Chareau furniture and lamps.
First we researched estimates for having the concrete leveled and polished; it would have cost a fortune we didn’t have. Next, we contacted a number of flooring experts in the tech departments of various surface hardening products we’d read about. We were assured it would be no problem to harden the gypsum to keep it from crumbling and make it liveable, and seal the floor so it didn’t exude gypsom dust.
Then we went and tested this information out, to find, that the experts were wrong in their optimistic assessment.
Even applying the sealer and then painting the floor wouldn’t make it hard enough. (Not to mention the fact that walking on concrete proved hard on our legs.) Although the floor might look interesting for a while, leaving it as is proved too impractical. We cast about for flooring solutions, and settled on painted plywood.
It was a big lesson in not believing all the advice we got from experts, rather, to research what they said and test it out if is possible. And still, keep our eyes attuned to possibilities in aged, messed up beauty.