Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Our Living Room Plan: Part Two

I've known from the get go, that the blue-gray carpeting in our entire house would have to go. Its underfoot in all areas, less the kitchen and bathrooms. That makes for a lot of blue-grayness up in here. We're fortunate that it's in pretty good shape and ist's well padded. It certainly helps keep our tootsies warm, and has been a nice cushion while Quincy has been learning to crawl and for all of Nolan's tumbles. But the color of it is unfortunate. And the fact that it's in the dining room (to be fair, the previous owners did not have young children), is unfortunate. Luckily, Jon and I were on the same page when it came to the carpeting. It had to go. And going it is!
       The first thing I did was to explore lots of images
of flooring to figure out exactly what I wanted.
I consistently liked the same thing:
Medium warm-toned floors.

Unknown Source, Houzz
With rustic character.
Unknown Source, Houzz
And wide planks. 
Unknown Source, Houzz
I found lots of inspiration of warm wooden floors
paired with whites and neutrals.
Milk and Honey Home
From all of the images I was drawn too,
I found that most (if not all) featured White Oak.
Ballard Designs

 With this in mind, we went and saw our uber knowledgeable friend at a local store and she gave us the low down on all of our various options (we did stop by another local retailer to compare samples, but were under impressed by their knowledge and genuine interest in assisting us). We decided pretty instantly that we wanted real hardwoods as opposed to engineered hardwood or laminate. We're traditionalists like that. From there, we were able to determine what we wanted pretty quickly. We decided on a Character Grade White Oak. Character grade is on the more affordable spectrum of hardwoods, as it receives less processing, leaving it with...character. If we had deeper pockets or if this was our forever house, we might have gone with an Antique or Reclaimed floor option, but those are on the pricier spectrum and we'll be able to achieve a similar look with this. Our 1980's home is dying for some character, so bring it.

 The widths of the planks were actually a harder detail for me to decide on. I was immediately drawn to wide 7" planks, but they didn't have the same magical effect on Jon. So we considered all 5" planks, all 6" planks, or a mix of 3", 5" and 7" wide planks. In the end, I thought the mix of widths was too busy for our small house and so we settled on 5" (apparently the wider you go, the more unstable the flooring can be, and with the variables in our climate we decided to lean towards the safe end). Here's how she was looking in the shop when we went in for one final visit (slightly blurry shot, as I was juggling two kids):

Did I comparison shop? A bit. It's my nature. I was happy to be utilizing a local shop who gave us loads of information and I know will be happy to assist with any questions during our installation process. While I know I could find better deals online (although one of the biggest online retailers had them on back order until 12/14!), I wasn't willing to make this type of purchase online. I needed to feel the product. Stand on the product. See pictures of recent installs done with this wood. I'd rather pay a bit more for a sense of security and confidence, then risk such a big purchase through an unknown seller.

After pricing everything out and talking through the installation process, we decided that it would be best to first tackle the living room, dining room, kitchen and half bathroom. Yep...our whole upper level is getting the hardwood treatment. In another year or two, we plan to tackle the stairs and downstairs hallway. I love the look of hardwood on stairs with white risers, and I can't wait to have a set myself. But while Quincy is crawling and toddling, and while so many of our friends have small kids and babies, we figured a softer and safer set of stairs is probably a smarter option.  
The downsides of all of this is that we'll be installing them ourselves. This will save us thousands but it's going to drag the process out a bit.  And in addition, these hardwoods will have to be sanded and stained in place. Ugh. Are you getting the sense of how long this process will take us? So please, bare with us.

Deciding on the stain is going to be another huge hurdle for us. I'm hoping to pull out the brown undertones, as opposed to any yellow/orange/or red undertones. So that will involve some stain play, in our house with our lighting, once the wood arrives. From what I've been advised, sanding is a messy process, so we've avoided hanging curtains or any additional frames/art/accessories because it will ALL have to be removed when we sand and stain. We've also put off purchasing any furniture until after the hardwoods are in, because all furniture will have to be stored in our garage…in the winter. So the less furniture to move and store, the better.

These beauties are being ordered this week, and after arriving in a few weeks will need 2 additional weeks to cure in our house. So, we'll keep ourselves busy with some other projects at hand in the meantime. This is our first venture into the worWhat about you? What kind of hardwoods are you consistently drawn too? Dark? 2 1/4" planks? Hand scraped? Do tell!


  1. We put hardwood floors in our home by ourselves about 8 years ago. Still love them. We ended up doing pre finished but next time (in our forever home) we will do unfinished and have them finished in place. We also have wood stair treads and since then had our daughter. She did fine on them. Yes there was a couple of tumbles but all in all she was fine. When kids come to play we just make sure socks are off so they don't slip on the stairs.

    1. They are going to make our house look so dramatically different that I'm dying to see them in place. But I'm dreading the process. Delivery got bumped up to this week, so our timeline has been sped up a bit!