Whoa, how are we half way through March? Things have been crazy around here. I think we've finally woken up from our winter don't-want-to-do-ANY-more-house-renovation hibernating and projects are popping up left and right.
But don't worry... all work and no play? I forget the saying but I'm pretty sure it's bad for you. We recently headed to West Virginia with some friends for the weekend for a little bit of this:
We've discussed before how hubs is an amazing skier and I can just barely get myself down the mountain, so I'm sure you're not surprised to see my awkwardness in action.
Canaan Valley got over a foot of snow while we were there, so the powder was fabulous... unfortunately my car didn't love it and we had to hike up to our rental house without it.
When we returned we dove right into our next huge project: floor refinishing. Our house has original hard wood floors, and we love them. It was one of the things we really went crazy about in the house when we bought it. They are in pretty rough shape, but in my very humble opinion have so much more character than new hardwood floors. We got a couple of quotes for getting them refinished professionally, but as we're just now digging ourselves out from underneath the earlier contractor bills, we were really hesitant to add another one to the pile. So of course this means, DIY. This particular project has been mostly HDI (hubs does it) so far, which I'm not complaining about!
Our house was added onto in stages, and so we have three different rounds of hardwood to work with. The most recent was added in the 1950s, and it's in our master bedroom and dining room. The third floor was done in the 1870s. And then we have the most daunting task of all- the living room and second bedroom, both done between 1800-1802. We started with the newest (read: easiest) floors first.
The hubs did a test run in the never-before-seen-on-the-blog master bedroom closet. This "walk-in" (okay so technically we can walk into it, but it's not like you're going to want to hang out in there) closet is off of the master bathroom, and I'm pretty annoyed with myself that I don't have a before picture of it anywhere. You can see the entryway to it here behind the hubs in this lovely old master bathroom wallpaper stripping photo. (DO NOT let the smile fool you! Wallpaper stripping is pure evil!)
So here is an almost before- more like an "oops, I'm pretty sure my wife wanted me to take some pictures before I started but I didn't remember until I was halfway through so this is the best you're going to get" photo.
Mmmm see all that lovely flare in the photo? That, my friends, is sawdust. If you've ever lived in a house while floor refinishing has been going on, then you don't need me to tell you about the dust. Even if you tape off the room, the vents, and the doors with plastic (we did), and even if you confine the sanding to a tiny enclosed area (the closet, hello), you will find yourself swimming in dust. It's a little bit like when you went to the beach as a kid and later found sand in your hair, in your ears, in, ahem, all of your parts. Try as you might to keep it contained, sawdust will escape and it will stick to everything!
Hubs used a hand sander for the closet because it was such a small space, but the big rental sander that we used for the bedroom had a vacuum attached to it which made the dust slightly more manageable.
Here's the space with all the sanding done- notice how much lighter the floor color is:
We decided to try a water-based poly, which did give the floors a nice smooth finish and great looking shine:
But I was bummed that the deep dark rich color of the wood was lost to sanding. We talked about staining the wood, but apparently it's a big pain in the butt process with one million steps and sanding in between. So I give all of the credit to my hard-working (hard-google-ing?) husband for finding the perfect solution for us. Coming up- we tackle the master bedroom and our closet gets a makeover by Ikea.
(Confession: these two homeowners have been living in their guest bedroom since December, just waiting to complete this project!)