Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Living Room Gets a Floor!

I know you are dying to see our floors -- but I’m gonna save the reveal till I drag you through the “remembering” pictures -- because it’s my blog -- and this has been tons of work -- I want to give you some of the effect of that.

This was our living room before it was ours.

And this was our floor after our final walk through -- shh, don’t tell anyone, we hadn’t signed the papers yet and we were already tearing the place up.

Nice that the carpet pad just happens to match the walls.

We knew there was hardwood upstairs, but didn’t know what was under the carpet downstairs -- we were buying either way of course, but I just had to see.

Nope. No Hardwood. Just subfloor. 

(And some weird boards to smooth the transition from tile down to subfloor.)

Let’s take a moment to just really appreciate the overwhelming amount of bold yellow.
Down the pillars and everything.

Off the living room is the old dining room. It’s a small room for a dining room -- it would not easily house extended family eating with our family. So we have deemed it the reading room. I have visions ranging around these types of things for the space. I’m not sure how much bookshelf action I’d like in there vs. more of a small table and chairs coffee and newspaper kinda vibe. Or a combo in varying degrees. 

It had parquet tiles around a square of carpet -- which I guess was VERY cool in the 80s. It made no sense for that functionality of a dining room because the carpet pad in there was incredibly squishy -- I can’t imagine cutting a steak on a table setting on that thing -- your water glass would fall over.

So yeah, interesting floor, floral wallpaper and, 80’s faux brass and glass chandelier, that was rusting.

Once we pulled up the carpet, tiles, and padding, we got rid of a ton of the bad animal smells (prior bad renters’s fault). But you definitely could smell it on the subfloor. So I lightly covered it with BIN Shellac to try and seal it in.

While we had no floor still, I decided it was perfect time to paint.

Every time I paint a ceiling in this house I have the same debate with myself. I wonder if it’s really worth the effort, and every time, as soon as I apply some paint I think “YES, a million times yes!"

And while the roller was wet, I hit the tiny ceiling in our entryway.

And then, because apparently I hate sleep, I also hit our eating area’s ceiling -- which DESPERATELY needed it. (It’s not the permanent ceiling for the space so I was gonna skimp on the paint here-- but then I couldn’t live with the dingy look for another minute!)

LOOK at that!

Then time to kill off that yellow.

Oh look a toilet!
(Did I tell you, we tore out our downstairs bathroom too?!)

I’m not totally sold on the color I used in the space -- it often looks lavender instead of warm gray. But there are no over head lights in here yet -- so that could be the issue. I’m not thrilled -- but it’s SO much better than the yellow.

Turns out, my light coat of shellac on the floor wasn’t good enough to hold back the smell. So Blake hit it hard. And that did the trick.

While he did that I made the creamy-dirty-white fireplace, white-white. I don’t know what I have in mind for it exactly -- I’m not in love with the white -- but I just couldn’t stand the dirty look next to the clean everything else -- I had to white-white it for now.

So all that stuff was mostly going on the week before Blake’s parents were scheduled to come help us in stall our floors. I spent the time working till the wee hours all week -- I was REALLY tired.

Right around now I just went crazy and super messily painted one coat of white over that left over yellow -- because it was just killing me. So the entry way yellow is mostly vanquished, without any real finesse. You can still see through it -- but it doesn’t hurt me the way it had been.

Anyway, a couple days before Blake’s parents got here I realized, yeah I need to commit to a floor.
I kinda freaked out.
I LOVE to think too hard about all my choices. And this was not enough time to think too hard.
Especially when you have young kids that do not love shopping in home improvement stores.

So I looked online at lot before we hit the stores.

Initially I figured we’d go with oak because that would match upstairs. And I didn’t want to not match. The only things I could conceive of was matching, close to matching, or dramatically lighter or darker. Of those options the only thing that made sense to me was exact match as close as possible.

But then I saw this bamboo online that I really liked. And I thought it might coordinate with our existing floors. Once we got to the stores, I ended up going towards a very similar, but better, one I didn't see online. They let us take three boards home to see it in the space and once it was in the house I loved it.

The lighter tone in it is a spot on match in tone to our preexisting floors.
I was getting very excited at this point.

Part of me worried a bit about trends and how the only safe choice is hardwood in terms of timeless. But surprisingly I couldn’t make myself care. After changing so many things in this house, I’ve very firmly come to terms with the fact that all my design choices will indeed go out of style someday. Even if they are tolerable in the future (read “timeless”) they won’t be cool. And even though floors are much more expensive and harder to change than paint, I didn’t care. I just wanted to go with what we liked because it’s our house. And both Blake and I were WAY more excited about these boards than oak. Plus this bamboo is rated 150% harder than oak. Which means it should hold up much better than hardwood oak. So we pulled the trigger.

Anyway, the day and night before Blake and his dad started to install, Blake’s mom, Blake’s grandma, and I worked on getting the wallpaper down. (My house has been deflowered! Sorry, I’ve been sitting on that one for months -- I couldn’t resist now.)

So no sleep again!








We love it.

Blake and his dad did an awesome job installing it. They got almost all of it done in a day. And finished up the part they had to nail by hand (because it’s close to the wall) the second day.

The big nailer thingy.

Everyone helped. (Well I didn’t really -- I just mom-ed.) Blake’s mom helped put down the tar paper.

Stretching his worn out back, from so much bending.

In between the hardwood everyone enjoyed spending time with the girls.

Much of which revolved around the new sand box papa and granny brought!

It was a nice weekend together. And we were so blessed to get all that fantastic help!! SO BLESSED. I’m not sure how we’d of done it without them.

So, to recap...

Here is before:




And since I’m used to living with a subfloor in this space…I’m still kinda shocked that this is a room. A real room. Now I’m on a mission to get furniture. So it can be a room we use. (Not just set guitars on the floor in….I actually plan to hang the guitars on the wall in here -- but I don’t have it mapped out yet.)

But yeah -- we have officially made it over a huge hump on this house. It’s getting close to being a real house. 
(We can’t forget that we need a downstairs bathroom again. But I’ll show you more of that later.)


  1. Wow! You guys have awesome skills and stamina! Looks great, but looking at all the work you guys have done on the house makes me tired. ��

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