Kitchen Floors


The kitchen in our house was originally in the back of the house, with a room next to it that I imagine was used for a dining room.  However, when I went to lay out the kitchen plan in the existing space, I found that there was no way to put a kitchen in the space when it had the back door, pantry door, and basement door in it.  So, we flipped the spaces and put the kitchen in what was the dining room.  Since we were running all new plumbing and electric, this wasn’t that big of a deal. 

There was a step up to a new subfloor in the old kitchen which we had to pull out when we knocked out the wall between the kitchen and dining room.  When we pulled up the subfloor we found it had been installed to cover up a big sag in the floor.  A bunch of Amish guys and I trudged into the basement holding our cell phone flashlights in front of us to find out why the floor was sagging.  Hello, rotted floor joists.  We replaced the floor joists, but some of the sag remained, along with a hump where the pantry starts.  A few gallons of floor leveler fixed most, but not all of the problem.  I had wanted to lay tile in the kitchen/dining area but I really worried about the tile cracking because the floor wasn’t totally level.  Sheet vinyl flooring is the answer for old floors but I couldn’t find a pattern I liked. 

Soft wood, like pine, is very forgiving of uneven floors, and when the house was built in 1860 it is likely that 6 inch pine floors would have been used in the kitchen.  Whatever the original floor was, it is long gone, so off to Lumber Liquidators I went to order new wood floors.  Their unfinished pine was on sale for 89 cents a square foot, which can’t be beat.  Mark and I laid the floors, which took about a day and a half for the kitchen, dining area and large pantry/laundry room.  IMG_4646


IMG_4648Then I filled all the knots and cracks with wood filler and sanded the floor with my hand sander.

Pine doesn’t like to take stain and while it is a very light yellow when it is new, over the years it will darken as it ages.IMG_4649That’s great, but I didn’t have years for the floor to look good and a bright new wood floor looked really out of place.  For years I have wanted to do a large checkerboard floor in a kitchen so I decided this was my chance!  First I whitewashed the floor using half water and half of the light cream paint we used on the walls.  This was time consuming as I put the paint down with a roller and then had to go over it with a paintbrush.  After the floor was dry I started taping off my squares.  IMG_20140104_153106_327
I cut 26 inch squares out of floor paper and laid them out and taped around them.  For the three spaces this took approximately forever.  Then it was onto the painting using half black paint and half water. 

Today I drove through Snowpocalypse to finish painting the floor in the pantry and to take up all of the tape.  All in all, I thing the floor turned out pretty well!  My cabinets are off white and my island is black so when everything is in, I think the floor will look pretty cool.  IMG_20140105_125300_373

I still have to put a few coats of poly on the floor which I will do next weekend. 

   The huge amounts of snow we are getting definitely improve the look of the house as it hides all of the construction debris all over the yard! IMG_20140105_130547_955


Painting, painting and more painting…..

Mark and I both have off work between Christmas and New Year’s and our vacation has been spent painting.  And painting.  Followed by more painting…..The house has 10 foot ceilings on the first floor and 9 foot on the second floor so priming and painting the walls and ceilings is a real workout.  Since the entire house has new drywall we need to prime every wall and ceiling before painting, so it is a seemingly endless process.   Luckily, there is a hardware store a block from the house so when we run out of primer or painting supplies, it’s a quick run to get more.  I think living that close to a hardware store will be incredible for me, especially as they also sell chocolates there 🙂   

Emma picked lavender for her bedroom and there are actually three shades of lavender in her room: a light shade on 3 walls, a darker shade on the wall her bed will be on, and a very pale shade on the ceiling.  IMG_4630 When she saw the painted room I asked her if she liked it and she said, “No…. I love it!”  Well, really, what 7 year-old girl wouldn’t love a lavender bedroom?   

The hall bath was painted a light blue

IMG_4642the master bath a sage green

IMG_4640 and the boys rooms are being painted a pale blue/gray. 
IMG_4654 My oldest son Josh has been helping at the house painting primer on the new drywall and pulling out the floors in the boys bedrooms. 
IMG_4651The original hard wood in those rooms is under a layer of linoleum and subfloor.  Whoever laid the subfloor was kind enough to put nails literally every 3 inches so the floor comes up in tiny chunks.   It’s about 8 hours of labor in each room to get up all the subfloor.  Josh asked why they put so many nails in the floor and I told him, “Clearly the floor was laid by an asshole who hated the people of the future.”   It’s really the only explanation.

The kitchen area has been painted a very pale cream color.  IMG_4645
That area was originally two rooms and was so dark when we bought the house that it seemed like a depressing area for a kitchen.  We opened the wall between the two areas and installed a six foot French door to the back porch.  Now it’s very light and welcoming and will be even better when the new cabinets  come in three weeks!  We are laying new wood floors in the kitchen, dining room and pantry.  IMG_4646
There was no original wood in that area, just old subfloors, which had to be replaced.  I originally wanted to lay tile but the floors, even after floor leveler, just aren’t level enough and I thought the tile might crack.  I like the look of wood in a kitchen, and will make a separate post when the floors are finished. Here are some original kitchen pics, hard to imagine we could have bought a house with a kitchen this scary looking!  IMG_3192


IMG_3194It has been a real process to get those floors installed and finished.  Then it’s on to laying tile in the bathrooms so we can finish the plumbing.  The fun never ends…..