Floors: Before And After

OK, so I really liked my black-and-white floors.

They’re one of the first things I got excited about when I spotted our house on the Internet, and even though they were a disaster – you can’t tell from the above shot, but seriously, they were a disaster: chipped, scuffed, cracking in spots – it took me awhile to come to terms with the fact that there was really no way I was going to be able to leave them be.

I thought about taping off and re-painting each and every square by hand…

But that sounds horrible. I mean, right?

And I thought about paying to have them repainted, but the contractor I brought in basically said that the wood was in such bad condition that they really should refinish the floors before re-painting them, and not only would the whole thing be ridiculously expensive…it also wasn’t worth it, given that the wood was in such bad shape that it probably wouldn’t even stand up to that kind of restoration.

So: new floors it would have to be.

I was still holding on to the whole-black-and-white thing, because I’m a pain like that…but then I started thinking about how I’ve been a little dissatisfied with something about our living room decor ever since we moved in…and then I realized:

Oh. It’s the floors.

Here’s the deal: I think that these floors would be spectacular if they were in the entryway or the kitchen. (Like that. Love that.)

I also really like how they look in our upstairs hallway. Up there, they’re staying put. (That random stick, if you’re curious, is part of our baby gate; I just removed the rest of it for the photo.)

Another thing: I think the black-and-white floors in the living room might also have worked better if my style was, say, sort of delicate and antique-y, all white and gold and spindly. But I go for a cozier, slightly more homey look, and when you combined my taste in furniture with my scuffy floors, what was happening was that it was all looking a little…messy. A little too Ramshackle and not quite enough Glam, if you know what I’m saying.

And so I decided to change it up with something cleaner and lighter.

Next step: I spent a whole bunch of hours at Home Depot…on a rainy day…with a very angry baby (hey, I don’t blame him; I have a little Home Depot PTSD myself from time spent roaming the boringest aisles in the world with my parents when I was a kid). The people there are very nice and helpful, though, and what they taught me was this: full-on hardwood was out of our budget, laminate wasn’t exactly the look we were going for…but engineered wood was just about perfect.

In a nutshell, engineered wood is a sort of complicated category that includes lots of mysterious products (the Wikipedia page just gave me a headache), but what I went for was a composite board that has a top layer made of hardwood (so you get the look and feel of hardwood), but that kinda clicks together like laminate. Basically, the cost of the material is higher (comparable to hardwood), but the labor cost for installation is lower (comparable to laminate), so it’s a good compromise. Also, the beams lay right down over your old floors, so there’s no need to rip the old ones out down to the sub-flooring…so you don’t need to, say, move in with your parents for a week. Which is good.

I love it.

Want to see?!?!

Ta da! The room still (still!) isn’t finished, and the presence of the Christmas tree means things aren’t organized quite as they should be and look a little cramped, but…


Lucy seems happy with the new look, too.

P.S. Some of the changes still to come include the replacement of that chair with one that is any color but orange, dining room chairs that aren’t Formica and broken, and a couch the size of Texas (wheeeeeee), so although this is like the fifteenth “after” shot…it’s still not the after-after shot.

What can I say? I like to drag things out interminably.