The Before of the Floors

Sometimes I get really sad when I can’t write for a while (because NOTHING is happening) but then, I also think it’s really a great reflection of how authentic I try (I HOPE!) to be. We’re people with lives and jobs and renovation comes and goes in waves – those waves happening with time and money, something we never seem to have enough of. So, yup. I haven’t posted because while we’re still here, we haven’t done anything.

Or, we haven’t done anything that warrants a blog post. I suppose I could have posted pictures of us huddled in conversation about “WHAT THE FLOORS CAN’T BE SAVED?” and the sequel “WAIT HOW MUCH DOES THIS COST” and then Part III, “REFINANCING THE HOUSE : A NEW HOPE.”

So, we did all the plotting and planning and Christmasing and family time. And now WE’RE READY.

Floors. Here we go.

I wanted to take a ton of before pictures, so this post is really just for that. If you need a reminder of what’s happening, since it was 47 years ago when I wrote about it, you can grab a quick refresher here. But I’ll also do some reminding.

We did do one project to prep for this – we had to move a register in the Library to make way for the fireplace. We had a vintage grate we wanted to use, so that – of course – was a non-standard size. Luckily, we were steered towards a sheet metal place that makes boots, and it was easy and inexpensive. Which NEVER HAPPENS.

It’s so weird seeing something so shiny and new!

The basement is a mess of ductwork, so it wasn’t too hard at all to make this work. It stayed in the same joist bay, and just moved down the room.

There’s the glamorous basement!

As always, Doug is precise and perfect.

And now, with the grate, the louvres cover the shiny parts. It looks like it’s always been here!

We have a small stash of cast iron grates that we’ve collected over the years. This one came out of a house on our street, and we’re glad to give it a new home.

So pretty.

So with that done, here are the BEFORES! We had movers move everything upstairs, and the dogs think we’ve been robbed. Seriously. They were really freaked out for a day or two. It’s kind of fun to JUST have the architecture of the spaces to be in.

The Dining Room has original floors, and will stay and be refinished. This room has the nicest floors in the house.

The Entry Hall floors are original, and they are staying. They are in good shape – but the finish is DONE. Lots of scratches and missing finish.

The steps will be refinished in this round as well.

You can see how the finish is missing here. But the wood is still in great shape, except where there is water damage. That will all be repaired.

The Parlor, Library, and Study will all be replaced. These floors are NOT original, and they are not great quality, and have been sanded past the tongue and groove. This, added to multiple deep stains, water damage, and rot means that we’re going to replace.

You can see that little canyon where the old good floor on the right meets the newer not good floor on the left.

Rot in the Parlor. (Which sounds like a really fun parlor game!)

These floors actively splinter – which is likely why they were carpeted when we bought the house.

That’s the Old Good Floors in the Dining Room on the top, and the newer Bad Floors in the Library on the Bottom.

Parlor Before.

The inlay in the Entry Hall has some serious water damage, but this will all be repaired and saved.

The Study.

The water damage and buckling in the study closet isn’t because of the roof failing – it’s from a leak that existed for ages in the downstairs bathroom.

Study Before.

BEFORE (yes, I’m taking the artwork down. I just wasn’t there yet!).

The Plan :

  • We are demoing everything that’s being replaced
  • We’re hiring someone to do the install and the refinishing. Weird for us, we know, but it’s a huge project that involves so much matching of old and new and while we’re confident we could do it, we’d rather hand this off and be able to start work on rooms sometime before 2092.
  • Floor has been milled to match the original face nailed floor in the Entrance Hall and Parlor.
  • We’re adding an Inlay to the parlor. Was there one there originally? Who knows. But, if Entrance Halls had inlays, very often, the Parlor did, too. And since the floor isn’t original, we’re going to guess that there was one there. BECAUSE WHY NOT.
  • New floors in the Parlor, Library, and Study.
  • Everything gets sanded and stained to match each other.

Here. We. Go.


  1. I don’t comment often. But I wanted to say: I’m very excited for you, and I can’t wait to see the During and After photos. It will be so beautiful after, and so exciting during!

  2. great to see you are still working on it. Sometimes it takes time to think over and figure out what to do.
    I would love to see the process of revitalizing the floors…

    Good luck from the other site of the ocean ( the Netherlands)

  3. I’m really excited to see how the new inlay looks! I’ve never seen a new install of Victorian-style inlay border.

    And lastly, as someone who as done some of my own floor repair and refinishing, and hired it out other times, I completely agree with hiring a competent pro. If you have someone who does it right, it’s worth paying them and spending that time doing other projects with your labor (that generally are harder or impossible to find a contractor to do).

  4. Amy. I live a few blocks from you. Who’s doing the floor work for you” We need someone who knows what they are doing. We have two rooms at the moment in need of refinishing. We’d rather not do it ourselves. We wouldn’t ake your people away from your work needing done. We are happy to wait.
    Ruth Miller
    pls reply to my e-mail

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