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If you ever doubted that we Loechners sure know how to end the year with a bang, read on. I mean, really, this year-long renovation was going all too well, wasn’t it?

If you tuned into this video, you saw a sneak peek of our situation. But for those of you who missed it, let me recap the events that led to sleepless nights and higher-than-necessary blood pressure levels:

1. Ken and I hired out our flooring project as a Christmas present to ourselves. We were tired, achy and really craving a hot cocoa + movie night rather than yet another ham sandwich + manual labor evening.

2. The floor team installed the hickory beautifully and Ken and I began high-fiving ourselves.

3. All hell broke loose.

I’m kidding. It wasn’t quite that dramatic. But what did happen was a minor setback to the tune of $800 and two weeks of work. Let me explain:

When Ken and I chose to order our hickory online, we were worried that the look would be a wee too rustic for our taste. We wanted Sweden, not Big Bear (no offense to cabins — we love them!) and were really going for a muted, natural look. The team at 360 Flooring (where we ordered our hickory) was super-helpful and assured us that the hickory would be the perfect fit if we promised to use water-based stain, rather than oil-based.

We (Ken) made a mental note and we (I) promised to convey this to our flooring installers.

Until we (I) forgot. And we (Ken) returned to the home to see this:

After apologizing profusely to poor Ken, we both decided the yellow tint of the oil-based stain just wouldn’t work for us. And rather than sanding off a layer of the hickory, we thought we’d get crafty and mix a bit of white paint in with a new coat of water-based sealant.

Until the team of flooring installers said whitewashing wasn’t part of the deal and they wouldn’t finish the project if we changed the rules. Understandable, indeed.

So, we were left with two options: (1) Whitewash the entire floor ourselves or (2) sand the floor, tackle the job with water-based sealant and hope for the best.

We chose door #2, because whitewashing our new hickory floors? The idea sounded glamorous enough, but we’re chickens and we immediately stressed out about royally screwing up our newly-laid floors.

And this is the part where I sing Ken’s praises, because that man is a trooper. Do you see the teeny sander above? He used that, plus a 3-inch belt sander on our entire house. How badly do you want to hug him right now? I know, I know. (Hand’s off; he’s mine.)

Four days (and a serious backache for Ken) later, we tackled the water-based sealant and looooved the result:

[#1. Raw, untreated. #2. Oil-based sealant. #3. Water-based sealant. Big difference, yes?]

This is the part of today’s program where my mother emails me to tell me I’m too picky and my husband is going to resent me if I continue with these antics. But I promise, we’re both to blame. Ken’s as much of a design snob as I, and although we made the project much harder than it needed to be, we’re now madly in love with our floors.

And isn’t that what renovating is all about? Doing your best, making mistakes and learning as you go. Besides, hot cocoa and movie nights are soooo overrated.


Design Inspiration

17 Responses

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