Kitchen Floors

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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

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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

The search for the perfect paint color…..

I have been reminded by a few people that I have been negligent in my blogging duties, but I have been BUSY!  In addition to the regular duties of being a mom and working full time, I have been traveling a lot for work and had to finish up a statistics class.  Statistics does not come easy to me so the final involved much studying and panicking. 

Plus, the house is at a fairly non-interesting stage.  We did have some excitement when the pillars were put back on the front porch, but the past few weeks have just involved mudding and sanding drywall.  Unfortunately, all that work doesn’t really look any different from the way the drywall looked when it went up.  However, the drywall downstairs, and on most of the second floor, is ready to paint so last weekend and this weekend were spent painting.  Most of the finished walls now have a coat of white primer on them.

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Here are the master bedroom (currently housing the bathtub for the hall bath) and the master bedroom bath with the new door leading out to the porch roof. I can tell you that rooms with 10 foot ceilings are a bear to paint. 

 
For the color in the living room I went with Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore, voted the best paint color by several blogs whose names I cannot remember.  These blogs claimed it was the best neutral ever and it matches everything.  After looking at a zillion little paint samples, I  decided real professional decorators probably know far more about picking paint colors than non-profit administrators.  I discovered that you can buy Benjamin Moore paint at the Connelly’s Do It Best on Dupont where there is never a line at the paint counter and they put all of your info in the computer so you don’t even need to remember your paint color when you come in for more!  Amazing.  Clearly created for people like me who can never remember what paint colors they chose. 
 
When I was waiting for the paint to mix, the woman working at the paint counter asked me about my project.  As soon as I told her I was renovating an old house on Main Street in Churubusco, she said, “The big house with the pillars and wrap around porch?  I love that house!”  Turns put she drives through Churubusco regularly and has been watching the progress of the renovation.   She told me that years ago she gave a ride home to a  woman who lived in the house and she was dying to ask her if she could come inside and look around.  Another name to add to the invite list for the open house….       
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After two straight days of painting and climbing up and down scaffolding, every muscle in my body hurts. Every. Single. One.  I am covered head to toe in primer and Revere Pewter.  On the plus side, I match everything now. 

We have walls!

IMG_4400 I was in Chicago all last week and could not WAIT to see the house with drywall on the walls! I was not disappointed – in one week the house has gone from looking like a disaster to looking like a real house! Even James was amazed and said, “This house is beautiful!”. Which is a long way from the early days when he refused to even go in the house because it was, “yucky and stinky”.

The gas and water have been turned on so we can run the heat for the drywall mud to dry. Unfortunately, drywall goes up in a few days, but the mudding and sanding are where the real time is spent. This gives me time to get my paint colors picked out, so I am all ready to paint when the drywall is finished. Next weekend is our family Thanksgiving, and my children who live out of town will be home, so I will get my daughter Hope to help me with paint colors. I made this offer to my oldest daughter too and got a lukewarm response. If she didn’t look just like me I might think she had been switched at birth, because what could be more fun than choosing paint colors??

Here is the same section of wall before, during and after:

living room

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One of the biggest surprises that came with the drywall is that when the morning sun comes in the kitchen window, the old stained glass makes a beautiful pattern on the walls. You can’t tell in this picture, but the light makes rainbows on the wall – amazing.
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