From Fiasco to Fabulous: A Tale of Flooring Triumph

One of the few things that was wrong with our house at the time of purchase was severely damaged laminate flooring in the kitchen. Water had caused the laminate to peel and buckle and a large swath of floor was unusable. This was, of course, inconvenient, as it was in the middle of the kitchen. Someday, we’d like to replace all the flooring upstairs. Right now, we’re leaning toward a dark, hard floor like bamboo, but as we watch Rory slipping and sliding across the dining room, that dream may have to die. Regardless of what we choose, new flooring is not in the budget right now but the kitchen was treacherous, not to mention dangerous. It’s hard to tell from the photos, but the edges of many of the buckled pieces curved upward significantly and we found ourselves tripping constantly and crunching over the papery, bent boards. Luckily, we found a few extra pieces of flooring in the basement and Tyler decided to attempt to fix the affected area. He’d never attempted a project like this, but with a few tools and a weekend, he forged ahead.

Kitchen Floor Before (under the refrigerator)

Dirty and damaged.

It would be challenging, largely because our supply of materials were limited, but also because he’d have to reach the middle of the floor where the damage was. After moving the refrigerator out of the kitchen and loosening a few baseboards, Tyler got to work. He encountered constant challenges, ranging from a generous application of glue, to having to hone pieces of wood down to fit into tight areas to finally running out of new materials and having to cobble together un-warped bits from the removed boards to fill in spaces under the refrigerator.

In progress. Note the discoloration on the surface - that's mold from the water damage.

Two long, curse-filled days later, he had done it. It’s not perfect, but it is more than good enough and more than worth the agony of trying to fall asleep for my early day at work while he banged and clanged and despaired outside the bedroom door. I think it looks great! Especially considering our Plan B was “throw a rug over it”. I’m thrilled that I have such a handy husband – and one who is willing to work so hard to improve our home.

The damage extended into the hallway nook as well. Here you can see the finished, fixed, level floor. Hooray!

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Ugly Duckling

I may have mentioned that we bought a house. Or, I may not have, because as it turns out, when you buy a house you become approximately 14 times as busy as you were before. Between moving, cleaning, sanding, painting, scrubbing, painting, fixing, painting, cleaning, painting, oh – and painting, we have disappeared from the map. I haven’t even had time to keep up with my facebook social life and I mean really, when you are too busy for facebook, you are too busy. In any case, the house that has been keeping us so busy is in the midst of its own duckling-to-swan transformation but before we reveal the after, I thought some of you might like to see what the house looked like before.

There are some aspects of the house I found hideous, such as the deep maroon accent walls in a sloppily painted mélange of drips, drops, and textures that made the color look more “blood-bath” than wine. There are other aspects that are not necessarily to my taste but that are perfectly adequate – for now (such as the plentiful use of builder-grade oak trim and cabinets). There are also aspects that were adequate but that I’ve already changed (such as the sheet glass mirrors above those oak bathroom cabinets) and some that are being changed imminently (I’m talking about you, suspiciously boring “contemporary” chandelier). But, all things considered, it’s a great house and we are very happy with our purchase.

It’s enormous, for starters. Nearly 2,700 square feet. It’s also newer (built in 2006) so there aren’t horrible, scary problems. The insulation is decent and keeps heat in and noise out. The yard could use some major love – but we have one, and it’s nicely sized and situated among friendly neighbors on a lovely cul-de-sac. Most of all, I love how light it is. The airy feeling sold me on the house. Oh, that and getting a ridiculously good deal on the purchase price. Tyler was swayed more by the enormous basement that conjured visions of massive LCD tvs, pool tables, and beer refrigerators, but we all have our price.

We couldn’t have found somewhere as nice as this in the area we wanted so I am pleased to report no buyer’s remorse. There are many things we’d like to do to enhance our little piece of home and I look forward to sharing many, many projects with you as we transform this house from the builder’s vision to our own.

For now, I will leave you with a few photos and the promise that already these pictures are outdated and that I will be sharing the new ones soon!

View of living room, dining room, kitchen from hallway.

View of the living room and front door, hallway from the dining room.

View of the kitchen from the dining room.

View of the kitchen from the laundry room.

View of the master bedroom from the master bathroom.

View of master bathroom from doorway.

View of the office from doorway.

View of office from window.

View of Rory's room (and the windowseat!) from door.

View of Rory's room from corner.

View of upstairs guest bath from doorway.

Upstairs guest bath vanity.

Stairs leading to basement.

View of main basement room from stairs. To the right is a storage room (not pictured).

View of main basement room from the window. You can see the door to the storage room, as well as the stairwell, and the arch that leads to the rest of the basement.

More pictures of the rest of the basement coming soon. There are two more bedrooms, a bathroom, and another large room in the basement.