Going With the Flow

When Nick and I were looking to buy a property in Lambertville I realized that, upon entering a house, I immediately started to visualize how we would live in and furnish the rooms. To the point where I'd say to myself, "Over there a club chair that we can easily move to allow space for our Christmas tree." Seriously.

 I made notes on the house listing's floor plan.

This house is bigger than our previous home and it has such good flow to it. The downstairs has a large entryway with a staircase, three large rooms, an enclosed side porch (we want to restore this to an open porch eventually), the kitchen with a pie staircase leading to the second floor and a full bath. Upstairs the hallway connects the front of the house to two bedrooms in back. Off of this hallway there are 2 more bedrooms, one small room at the front end, a full bathroom, a closet and a second pie staircase to the attic. We could see right away that it was going to be a wonderful space to live in and entertain friends and family with ease. But we were going to have to renovate and update parts of the house to give it our own comfortable style. The house pretty much just needed to be cleaned up, the floors refinished and the walls patched and repainted. But, the back of the house -- where the kitchen and bathrooms were located? That's a whole other story...we were going to need to hire an architect to draw up plans, but I'm getting ahead of myself.


So, now that we had revealed these beautiful floors we thought we'd just clean them up and have very old pumpkin pine floors. Pumpkin...color...hmmm...they were great floors, but...Nick looked at me one day and said, "What if we ebonized the floors?" I was like, "Yes! I think that would look amazing!" "You know people are going to think we're crazy when we tell them we're going to take original pumpkin pine floors and stain them black, right?" "Well....They'll love it once they see it!"

Our realtor Ali gave us a referral for a floor refinisher. So we called Gavin McKinney* to ask him to come out and give us a quote. We agreed on a price to sand, stain and lay 3 coats of water-based clear, matte finish to the floors. The rooms in the front of the house that we were going to have the floors redone in were: the two front living rooms and entryway on the first floor, the staircase, and the hallway and two guest rooms on the second floor. The small room in the front of the house on the second floor was to become Nick's writing room. We wanted something different in there. Something modern. So we laid down Flor carpet tiles, which turned out great.

Gavin and his partner Wayne Menarde went to work on April 15. The sanding was loud, but, surprisingly, not that dusty. They were really careful to use a vacuum while they worked. We were living in the back of the house, so we had our space and Gavin and Wayne were able to do their stuff.

There's a funny story about the sanding of the stairs. You may recall in last week's post how I had pulled up some of the trim underneath the treads in the main staircase? I was able to easily hammer two of them back on, but I managed to break three of the strips into pieces. I painstakingly glued them back together and nailed them back on, using wood filler as needed. Sanded, etc...I was such a proud DIYer! It took me hours to do all of this. Well, Wayne says to me one day after I told him this, "You know, it's going to be easier to sand and stain the stairs if I take off all of the trim. It's all stock lumber and I'll be able to pre-stain the pieces after staining the treads and all. Then I can just nail it all back on. That way the risers won't get messed up." Oh, well.....  


It took only 3 days for the sanding to be done. Then a day for the stain to be applied. The final 3 coats of top finish took a day for each to be applied and to dry. We could walk on the floors after that, but were told not to put any furniture in the rooms for about 2 weeks. When it was all done it looked beautiful. Just what we imagined. Dark floors with some of the knots in the wood showing. Now I was itching to start painting the walls, so we could furnish the rooms. In my head I was plotting out wall colors. Time to get the paint color wheels out. Oh, yeah...

*We highly recommend McKinney Flooring. Tel. 215.589.3640