Sunday, February 20, 2011

Hardwood Here We Come!

I told you all about our recent experience with water damage and how we ended up doing most of the repair work ourselves because we were afraid insurance wouldn’t be covering it.  What I’ve neglected to mention is that, while our insurance didn’t cover the roof repair because it was a defect in the roof, they did cover the water damage restoration – they even paid US for the work we did repairing the drywall!

We’ve pretty much finished everything we needed to do to get back to normal.  The last piece of the puzzle was to replace the little bit of carpet padding that had been cut out and have the floors cleaned and re-stretched.  We got an estimate to do that and it was obscene!  I could not believe anybody could actually give a bid so high without batting an eye!  The insurance company was going to pay it, though, so I asked if we could just have the money to put towards replacing the carpet, rather than repairing the ratty old carpet that was there anyway.  They said yes and sent us a check which would have gone a good ways towards re-carpeting the whole room.

But now my imagination was taking off:  I don’t want carpet in that room anyway – I want hardwood!  And if we do the living/dining room, then of course we should do our family room and have the whole downstairs be wood.  But then, what would we do with the wood that already ran from the entry to the kitchen?  It’s a light maple that is yellowing as it ages and I’m really tired of it. 


Thus began our foray into the world of hardwood and Oh My Lord! are there a lot of options.  It’s completely overwhelming!  Hundreds of types of woods, Millions of stain colors, and Bajillions of finishes.  How does anyone ever make a decision?

So, I decided that the best option was to lay down unfinished maple in the new rooms and sand down the existing wood, then have everything stained the same darker color.  Genius!  But then, I remembered Sarah over at pewter + sage talking about her floor dilemmas.  It seems maple doesn’t actually take stain well and they had some problems with the first coat of stain and had to call in the cavalry to get it done right.  But those floors turned out beautifully!

pewter and sage floors

(Source: pewter + sage)

I mean seriously – they make my heart sing just looking at them.  I decided I had to have them and called a flooring installer that we’d heard good reviews for.  He wasn’t so keen on my idea, but said he try a sample and see how it turned out.

Fine and dandy, but then we started realizing what having your floors refinished means: we’d have to leave our house for several days and we’d somehow have to get our grand piano out of the front room and into the play room, which would mean hiring someone to take the legs off and turn it sideways to get it through the door (this piano was my great aunt’s and is over 100 years old – no one paid in beer was going to be touching this thing!)  Suddenly, pre-finished wood was looking more appealing again.

But then I remembered that that opens up the possibilities again and my head exploded.

OK, not literally.

Floor guy brought over some samples yesterday.  I realized I probably don’t want to go as dark as the floor that I love in the picture above and that I probably want to go with something that looks fairly traditional.

So, as it stands now, we’re looking at a 3 1/4” maple in Brandy.  Looks something like this (only not hand-scraped):

maple brandy

Of course, we’re still probably a month out before we actually pull the trigger on this thing, so I’m sure I’ll change my mind.  This is a terrifying decision for me.  The money outlay is huge and if I get it wrong, I’m stuck with it for a looong time.  I’m trying to remind myself that it’s a hardwood floor and that they’re all beautiful (way better than my carpet for sure) and that they’ll be partially covered with rugs, so it will all be fine.  Just fine…

And oh yeah, I’ve been wanting to replace the tile on my fireplace for forever and we know it would be much better to do that before the new wood goes in around it, so now I have to find a tile that I love for my family room AND I have to retile that area before I can have my new floors.

So many things to do!  So many decisions to make!  My head may yet explode.


  1. Hi Diane,
    I checked out some of your projects and I love them- especially your stairs. Personally, I think you can't go wrong with hardwood that's fairly traditional looking. The maple in Brandy looks great on my monitor. However, I'm sure whatever you choose, it will be lovely! Decisions can be so hard!!! Good Luck!

  2. My one thing you may not realize when getting a darker wood floor - IT SHOWS ALL DUST!!! I am not a fan of the lighter wood, so we went with a dark maple/cherry color and it IS beautiful, when it's dusted and mopped, just something to think about.

  3. Thanks for the comment. I had actually been thinking a lot about that very fact. Our stairs are black now and they always look so filthy. In our last house, we had a nice medium-toned wood and it hid a lot of mess, so I think that’s where we’re leaning now.

  4. Howdy!

    WOW...what a pretty room!!

    I am so happy to have found your blog. I am stopping in from the Ultimate Blog Party and this is my very first year participating and this is SO VERY exciting!! LOL

    Anyhow...please stop by my blogs and follow whenever you get the opportunity:

    So Stylilized is where I am currently offering FREE Custom Blog Designs at

    And...Jessica Lil Corner is where I am blogging about family and life at

    I welcome your visit at either or both of my blogs and hope to have you stop by and follow really soon!!

    Have a very blessed day!! :0)

  5. Decisions decisions. I almost did a floor post today too. How funny! I LOVE your current choice. L-O-V-E it!

  6. If I were to choose a color of your wall or flooring, I'd also prefer hardwood. It is simple, and it does not catch too much attention. Other pieces should also be seen such as the couch, the window treatments and also the decors.

  7. Looks very well handed! Hardwood flooring nowadays are more preferable, it's not just because it gives attractive impression but also because of the number of benefits it provide. And you've just chose a very good option! Very well done!

  8. Hi Diane! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog! I answered a bunch of questions that came up during my feature on Better After, but I wanted to pop over and let you know the details on our floors. We refinished the existing oak floors that were original to our house with Minwax's Jacobean stain. I know people complain about how dark floors look dirty all the time, but we went with a satin finish and they don't show as much dirt/dust as you would see with a glossier finish. I absolutely love the richness of our dark wood and the character from the grain. Good luck in your decision making! I know flooring is such a touch one! :)

    Gabbi @ Retro Ranch Reno

  9. I think that color looks beautiful.

    In a perfect world, I'd have deep dark hardwood floors....but that world wouldn't have dust, dirt, children, pets or husbands :) We've had dark and light floors in houses past, and now have a medium color (albeit laminate) in the kitchen, and while it's boring, it also HIDES STUFF. There's too many things to be doing besides sweeping/dusting/thinking about my floor.

    Throw a fistful of dirt from outside on it. If it blends in, you've made the right choice!

    Good luck :)


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