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Posts Tagged ‘hardwood floors’

I found this DIY project on Sunset’s website. It seems easy enough. It just takes paint, a design, and time. And I’m sure patience. I’ve painted on canvas with acrylics many, many times so I’m sure this would be a piece of cake and I have all of the supplies. I’m just wondering if anyone has done this. How durable could this possibly be? How would one clean canvas covered in paint used as a rug?

I found online that there is a Fredrix Floorcloth. It’s pretty much a pre-primed canvas pre-cut in popular rug shapes/sizes. I’m unsure of the retail price because the Fredrix website isn’t helpful for that. I did find 6 yards for about $120 online. If I remember correctly, I thought one could get about 6 yards of “regular” pre-primed canvas for about $50. It has been sometime since I’ve stretched my own canvas. I think the Fredrix stuff is thicker and made for being stomped on. I would love to do a simple zebra print rug or even a nice gothic silhouette. I’m sure this a floor canvas isn’t very durable, many of the rugs in my budget aren’t. I don’t really see a rug as an “investment”. I see it as something to keep my feet warm, something to protect my aging hardwood floors, and something for Frink to try to tinkle on when my back is turned. I would like to give this a try when I have less renovating to do and more information on floor canvas care.

*I’ve been thinking of purchasing a round floor canvas to put in the dining nook. Remember our groovy wallpaper from the kitchen of all of the mod faces? I’m thinking of putting that print on the rug. It’s a nice reminder of how far we’ve come along.

-Victoria

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Go to Lowe’s or Home Depot and ask someone about where to find floor waxing supplies, or worse yet, for advice, I dare you.  Waxing floors is “old-people” knowledge.  To figure out how to do it, ask somebody old how their mother did her wood floors.  It was lost as a common practice decades ago, supplanted by cheap polyurethanes and the desire for a tough, resilient finish.

Restoration of houses is so often plagued by lack of knowledge of historical methods.  Rather than do the real thing, lot’s of renovators would rather use a contemporary method and try to fake the antique look.  Plaster work is another fine example of this.  You’ll never match the real thing.  Ask a remodeling contractor how to do plaster repairs, and the answer is: “tear out the wall and dry wall it, then spray it with texture.”  Which, by the way, typically looks nasty compared to actual lathe and plaster with texture.  As if the builders had a job-site compressor with a hopper full of goop in 1935.  I still haven’t been able to figure out how they actually did it, but I’m guessing they sponged it and did the entire house by hand.  Labor was cheap in the 1930s, and materials were expensive.

When we bought our house, we pulled up the nasty light blue shag carpet to find mostly perfect old growth white oak floors.  According to contractors, hardware stores, neighbors, and the internet, the only option was to sand it all the way down to get all the wax out, and then apply a polyurethane or aluminum oxide coating.  Then the  bids on that came in at nearly $6,000!

But we didn’t even want “perfect floors,” we wanted “antique” floors.  Floors that showed the age of the house, and that had the same beautiful warm glow that these originals had.  I spent hours trying to figure out how to do this myself.  I could rent a sander and try to get the floors refinished myself- not that much of a stretch for me, because I’ve done a little bit of furniture finishing.  I estimated the cost of that process at over $1000- if I ignored all the time and energy that would be spent on cleaning up the unbelievable mess created by sanding 1500+ sq. ft. of wood down an 1/8 of an inch.  I’m not one of those people who thinks that I’m Donald Trump and that I can’t be hassled with doing work or spending time- but getting that much sawdust out of all these textured walls and trim would be an absolute nightmare.

So I took a risk and I pursued waxing the floors.

It's a finesse game, so I never got it.

It’s kind of inherent in my personality to distrust most of what people tell me not to do- especially when they don’t appear to have a good reason.  I’m happy to say that we almost have our entire house done with wax now, and I anticipate cost will easily be under $200.

Here’s what I learned:

1.  Wax: to wax a wood floor, you need a paste wax.  SC Johnson makes a good one for about $5 a can, and a can will do about 400 sq. ft.

2.  Restoration and Cleanup: I used Howard’s Restore-a-Finish and Howard’s Feed and Wax. They’re the highest cost items I bought, but a little goes a long, long way.  Both of these products were absolutely magic on the “golden oak” color of our floors.  Rub your stains and paint splatters out with steel wool and soapy water.  Let it dry.  If the stain lightened the wood, apply the restore a finish- in small amounts.  If it didn’t, then apply the feed and wax.  Always rub with the grain of the wood, and try to stick to one board at a time.  If you don’t, you’ll run the risk of the steel wool catching on a splinter and fraying.  Not a huge risk to the floor, but when you’ve got a lot of floor to do, don’t waste your time trying to pick #0000 steel wool out of splinters.

3. Applying Product to the floor: Apply Feed and Wax to the entire floor with a wide lambskin “stain applicator” on a long pole.  Use the pole to quickly smooth out any uneven application of wax.  Do this enough, and you might achieve a nice shine- but it’s not really important at this state.  Leave the floor alone as much as you can for a few days.  Then, using a rag, apply the SC Johnson Paste Wax with the grain and let it sit for a while.

4. Buffing:  we paid about $30 for 24 hrs. of renting a commercial buffer and buying the wheel.  This thing is like wrangling a roid raging rodeo bull.  Start the buffer in the middle of the room the first time- because it will pretty much tear your arms off.  Go slow, and cover every area you can with it.  Use the lambskin application on the corners.

In general, you should remember that the house you’re renovation may have really “thirsty” floors because it’s been poorly (or in our case: not) maintained.  So don’t rush into just paste wax and buff.  Clean the floor thoroughly and apply a feed and wax and wait. Give it two weeks if you have to.  You’ll probably find that your feed and wax sinks right in and looks like it was never applied.  Apply it again, and repeat a couple times before you apply wax and buffing.  Our first round with the buffer was disappointing because all the wax soaked in after we buffed it.  It looked awesome for a month.

The end result of all this is a finish that I absolutely love- and one that you can repair, not just replace.  Any time the floor gets damaged, I apply steel wool and feed and wax.  Once or twice a year, we’ll have to reapply wax and rent the buffer again.  That’s a lot of work.  But at 10% the cost of the alternatives, and when it looks this good, it’s hard to want a poly finish now.

Just look at how “worn” these floors feel.  It feels like every single board is a slightly different shade of gold.  I didn’t buy an old house to try and make a new house out of it- and if that’s your goal, you’ll find yourself frustrated at every turn in a home renovation.

This project was just another confirmation of our philosphy for the renovation: work with the house, not against it.

-David

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Living room from Real Simple

Living room from Real Simple

The world already knows that I love animal prints. I do love zebra print. It’s graphic and adds and nice contrast to any room. I feel that this living room found in Real Simple magazine really shows that. It’s a pretty simple room, butter cream walls and white trim with a rich wood floor (boy is that flooring nice). The colors are very neutral. There are many nice accents in the room creating some contrast: that dark kettle, wrought iron, black and putty furniture, and even the twinkling of glass is nice. It’s a nice room, not super exciting but nice. That one zebra pillow really adds some fun to the room. I feel it makes it less stuffy and a bit more fun.

This other room is more a study or a library/living room combo. (Sorry, I forgot where it came from.) This room is very sophisticated. It has walls in a herbaceous green and the built-in looks fabulous in that tea stained white. I love the masculine leather chair and that awesome crystal globe/orb. I feel that zebra rug really adds a certain something to the room. Once again, I feel it keeps the room from looking too formal and stuffy. It adds some fun and makes the space a bit more Ernest Hemingway.

Zebra rug in library

Zebra rug in library

This room also makes me think of our built-ins in the great room or the soon to be formal library sitting room. I don’t know if I should paint the back the same color as he wall or the same color as the built-in? All of these choices are really getting to me.

-Victoria

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woodfloorsOK, so we have to move into our “mess sweet mess” next week. We’ve been working really hard to make it “acceptable”, but what really matters is that the plumbers and electricians can finish so that the place will be “working” and “usable”. Initially our plan was to rid the home of its ugliness. This means removing wallpaper, prime, paint, remove carpet, tile a few floors, and refinish the floors. Last Friday we came to our senses. This was going to be too much work. We realized that we only had a week of prep time and refinishing the floors would take all of our time. Plus, the “team” hasn’t finished and rumor has it they want to cut up some floors, walls, umm, destroy. After feeling overwhelmed and researching wood floor refinishing online and at every home improvement store in the area (no help at all), we talked to a few neighbors. Many have the same “batch” of floor as we have. A few have refinished and this was time consuming and expensive. Others have done nothing and just live with it, rugs do so much. And another waxes their floors for that hand-rubbed shine. We realized that we can live in a floor that is less than perfect for the time being. We have to prioritize expenses and our time. David sanded down a closet and put a poly coat over it. This looks awful! I really dislike the look of poly and the sanding took the lovely patina out of the floor. We were not going to do this throughout the house.  I bought a can of Minwax Paste Finishing Wax because I always liked the sheen it left on my parent’s Shaker furniture reproductions. I practiced in a closet and it looks “revived”, yet still very rustic. (Hey, I’m working with what I have here). So, our plan is to do this before we move in: wax the floors. We plan on renting a buffer and going to town with this task. We have almost finished all of our painting upstairs and half of downstairs! The place already looks soo different. (I’m working on creating an album). I think clean floors will make a difference, haha. The floors aren’t in the best condition. There are scratches, looks like somebody has been shooting off fireworks in one room, and horrible kitty stains (the worst!). But, we are looking at empty rooms and to be honest most of our furniture will cover this up, rugs, etc. And really, as you can see from the pic, the floors aren’t horrible. I think sometimes we strive for too much perfection. We’ve decided to live with it and eventually have a pro do it in the future. Refinishing floors that are over 70 years old and have had zero maintenance is too much for us right now. We are stressed and have decided to not take on such a big job on top of our other big jobs, well, at least for now. I better go and finish painting over black trim…

-Victoria

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will not be called that anymore. Dig if you will a picture: 10 ft+  silhouette of your girlfriend, black trim, red shag carpet tiles laid out in a checker board pattern over hardwood, blue faux fur king sized waterbed, and mirrors on the ceiling. This is what I called the “porno” room.

DSCF0457

Really it is a master bedroom and it will not be called this anymore. I was getting too many stares at home improvement stores when I would ask David, “Well, we need some scrubbers for the Porno Room”, etc. Sweet David called this the “Blue Room”. There are other blue rooms so I found this too confusing. Yesterday the confusion has ceased. The red carpet tiles have been removed. They left behind the craziest black rubber mess. We scrapped it off and vacuumed up the rest. Beautiful white oak, ready to be refinished underneath. To my amazement and disappointment, the mural was painted over wallpaper. This meant we had to remove it with the Wagner Power Steamer (which disinfects too, haha).

A room with a view.

A room with a view.

This was my project yesterday. She is no longer there. Instead there is a plaster wall painted mint green under the mural and 2 layers of lovely painted over 1940’s and early 1950’s floral wallpaper. This was an unpleasant surprise. I thought we would just have to prime this room, not remove wallpaper too. However, only one wall had wallpaper. This one wall took over 3 hours of removal. She was stubborn and it was almost impossible to remove her silhouette. But, we did. We should be able to prime and paint in the next few days. We need to remove the tape/ sticky stuff from the ceiling and repair a few plaster cracks.

The trim and doors in this room have been painted black. I kind of like that. But, I am sure we will prime over it and paint it white. However, I want to leave the door as is. It’s strangely goth and menacing and looks like it belongs in a classic Bela Lugosi flick.

The door.

The door.

I wanted to paint a few doors black anyways. I do plan on painting the trim white.I think I am painting this room a sea pebble taupe. David and I are using this as our studio. It would make a grand master bedroom but I like cozy, small bedrooms. We would get much more use out of this larger room if it was a working studio space and not where we crash.

This room looks very different now and we haven’t even started. I imagine this entire home will look very different in the next few weeks. You won’t believe what removing a larger than life babe mural does to your space. You should try it.

-Victoria

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junkroomhouse

We think there is a room under this...

We now realize that we did make a risky purchase. When we made an offer on the house many of the rooms were cluttered, some you couldn’t walk into. This house was literally filled with junk. We had an inspector come through. He did the best he could do but he had to note that many of the rooms you couldn’t walk through. One room downstairs was overflowing with stuff. I could see a king size mattress, two couches on their side, bags and bags of kitty litter, a faux fur covered 8-track mini bar, huge moose antlers and tons of other overwhelming messes. This room could of had no floors, no windows, no walls. For all that we knew, it could of had a huge opening to hell. The realtor informed us it was a bedroom. Somehow we looked through this mess. I wanted to make this a “media” room. We have no need for 3 bedrooms and I don’t want a TV junking up my formal living room.

Well, the last time we inspected the home, it was pretty much cleaned out. Not all the way, but I could see the floors. They actually don’t look so bad. They are old growth hardwoods. Dirty, dirty, but Murphy oil soap works wonders. It has a nice reddish glow from age. I don’t think they will need refinished. And look there is base trim! I didn’t know if the room had it or not.

Cleaned out, sort of, but it's a room!

Cleaned out, sort of, but it's a room!

Seriously, we didn’t know if the windows were there. Ends up it is a bedroom. It has a nice size closet for an older home. The trim isn’t very wide but it will look nice painted white, for now. I hope to add some crown molding around the top to jazz it up. Maybe, one day I’ll add wider base trim. Oh, and the curtains come with the place. What a deal! I really wish he left that 8-track mini bar…

I plan on painting this room a neutral taupe and the trim white. It will house the couch that I so badly what to get rid of, which is an icy light blue. I wanted to keep it the walls this icy turquoise but that couch won’t go. It would clash. Not that I am planning my room around a couch I dislike, it’s just that all of my accessories, painted furniture, etc. is painted in this shade. I do have a love affair with this vintage color. This room will have the TV, stuff like that. This is my plan as of today. We’ll see what I want to do once I get it cleaned and primed.

-Victoria

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But, I’m just worn out and need a break. Even if a break means sticking to the computer chair while the vintage fan blows scorching hot air from outside into my face. Our inside thermometer reads 95. It’s misery and I get to load, pack, carry furniture and David’s Talentmaker  into a beat up U-Haul. Oh, and I get to singe my nose hairs with the vapors of bleach in hopes of getting a security deposit back. What a great day!

A perfect living room

A perfect living room

Anyways, enough of my whining over a miserable heatwave here in the Pacific Northwest. I’m from the Southeast. I’ve seen these temps before but never without the modern marvel of a/c. So, while I sweat out pounds and pounds of liquid, I would like to share a room that makes me happy. I love this vintage modern living room. When I think of all of the hard work that I am doing now and all of the misery of the renovation ahead of me, I think about how it will all be worth it in the end. (Geez, I hope so. Talk to me in 6 months and still see if I say this stuff.) I like this simple room. I love the architectural details, the robin’s egg blue walls, the not so frou-frou chandelier, the wide planked wood floors. This room would be lovely in the nude, but it really looks great with help of the mid-century modern furniture. The lines are simple, the colors muted. And it looks like what we already have in our possession. It’s a nice way to make our 40’s-60’s furniture work with our mid-30’s house. I really can’t wait until we get to transform the place. Rumor has it we close tomorrow, but we’ve heard this before so it is hard for me to trust anyone. Until then I’ll be working hard, working on developing the ugliest heat rash ever, and working on keeping it all together. We still don’t know officially where we will be living. That being said. If you don’t hear from us in a while we are either homeless sleeping on the park benches by the ferry terminal, hiding in a remote cabin around Mt. Baker, or in our new house working hard and waiting for it to be internet ready.

-Victoria

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