Beneath my feet.
Now with the paint posts behind me, I can move on to other progress made. We were still waiting for our kitchen cabinets after the painting was done so the floors were the next big thing on the list.
If you go back to the beginning of this blog to the original photos, you get a small sense of how poorly the house had been taken care of over the years. I saw small sense because photos have a way of glossing over the most unattractive bits, the musty smell and all the other facets of a run down house.
With so little upkeep over the years, the floors were not in great shape.
The worst parts were where years of a leaking roof or rusty radiator had warped the boards completely requiring some time consuming replacement using salvage parquet. In other parts there were inexplicable holes in the ground that let you see completely through to the floor below. And that to the rather unattractive corners that were left bare when we had the radiators removed and we had quite a mess underfoot.
Even the parts of the floor that had no real "damage" had a few decades worth of wear and dirt on them. And I don't mean just normal dirt. Any protective finish these floors once had was long gone.
During our initial walk throughs, the contractor seemed quite confident that he could repair and refinish the floors without a problem. We weren't quite how that would play out but we figured we'd take our chances and hope for the best. (Despite our uncertainty, we insisted that he put down boards to protect the floors. We had to ask a few times for these as Im sure the workers thought us nuts to be protecting what looked like junk.)
As the work progressed, there were several areas where some of the "good" floors were taken and moved into a room that needed repair. For example, the room that became our master bath had some unscathed parquet that found its way into bits and pieces of other room repairs.
So we were quite happy to see that once the repairs were made and floors sanded, they were looking pretty good.
Its by no means perfect. There are spots that show their age more than others. But that doesn't bother me too much. Just another one of those "charms" of an old house. The worst case is in the bright blue room as that was once the upstairs rental kitchen. It was never meant to be exposed and the damage done in that room, is pretty rough even after the sanding. I may just leave it with stains and all or I may go crazy and paint it. A decision for another time.
Then we had to decide the stain. I really wanted a dark floor. Husband and contractor suggested no stain color - just sealer and poly. Their main concern was that a darker stain would have hide the original inlays that we worked so hard to save. Their points were valid so I gave in and went with it. It looks nice. Is it what I wanted? Not really. I still think it would have looked better with the darker stain. While I am partially regretting not holding firm on the dark floors - what is done is done. I think Mr. Limestone is very happy with it so thats a good thing.
As for the finish, I knew straight away I wanted a glossy finish. That seems to be a very unpopular choice for many brownstoners and I am aware. Im quite happy with the glossy finish and Ill tell you why. For one, the gloss adds light. In a house like this where light is a commodity, adding it in such a universal and "free" way was a no brainer. Second, a matte finish is a much more rustic choice. It can look lovely in the right setting and I have selected it myself in other homes. While there are other things that can give a rustic look in this house, none of them are intentional. I want the house to look polished and a matte finish to the floors wasn't going to cut it for me. Third, my style tends to be a little bit older with a dash of contemporary thrown in to mix it up. The floors are definitely the old lady in me and I think it suits the house. Im sure a lot of people would disagree with my logic and thats okay but I figured I'd throw my reasoning out there too.
What can I say? Sometimes when something is universally hated, I tend to be drawn to it.