Watch Me Plank!

Some men come home from work, walk in the door and surprise their wife by saying, "Let me take you out to dinner tonight."

Our relationship is little different than that. 

My husband runs in the door and says, "I have a trailer full of 14 ft-long floor boards (600 sq ft of them!) and it's blocking the traffic on our street. Can you help me carry them all down the stairs before it gets dark?"

And there I was, swept off my feet by a hopeless romantic.

Side note: I should probably take this opportunity to apologize to everyone in our neighborhood who has ever been inconvenienced by us blocking the traffic or the sidewalk during construction. 

Notice the sun setting quickly on us and the person on the left walking in the street because we blocked the sidewalk. 

Even though our house was pretty much gut-renovated in the 1950's, we still wanted to have aspects of the design that were kept more in line with the age of the home, so we decided to put wide plank pine flooring downstairs where there had previously been old tile in the kitchen, damaged hardwood in the living room, and only subfloor in the dining room. 

My husband really took the lead on choosing the flooring. He chose the size of the boards (varying widths from 6 to 11 inches), the color of the finish (natural golden pine), and he chose to face-nail the boards for a more authentic antique look. Thank God it was all his idea and not mine because it was quite an undertaking for him. My only part in it was to choose which size board I wanted next and hand it to him so we could keep a random pattern going.  

Above are the unfinished floors. We had to play the kid's game of quicksand, making sure to only walk on the pieces of insulation board for a couple weeks for fear of marking up the bare floors.

While face-nailing is pretty laborious, the worst part for him was applying the varnish. Bobby chose to use tung oil as the varnish only to discover too late that he is EXTREMELY allergic to it. Before we realized what was happening his arms were covered in a very painful and itchy poison-ivy looking rash! 

I'll spare you pictures on this, but it was rough. I felt so bad for him.

Who am I kidding? I felt bad for ME because this means I'll have to be the one to apply all the varnish on the top floor someday. 😲

About that varnish... the color wasn't what I would have chosen, but it's growing on me. It came out a deep golden yellow and was very shiny at first, but I understand why my husband chose it. It's supposed to deepen in color and lose its shine over time so ultimately, it will look more authentic with the age of the house. 

Some things that may be helpful to know if you're ever considering pine floors is that they're very soft. Not like a teddy bear. They dent easily. This might drive some perfectionists (who me?) crazy, but it's what gives them their natural character and charm so you have to learn to accept it and love it or you'll go nuts. I, of course, choose to both accept it AND go nuts.

Wide pine floors also have some natural gaps. Like all wood, they expand and contract, but the spaces between them are more common than most hardwood flooring. 

And those face nails? They look really cool, but since the floors dent easily, we try not to wear shoes on them, which means I sometimes step on the sharp corner of an iron nail. I mentioned that this house is our baby, right? Catching my toes on these nails is my version of stepping on legos. 

Despite all of this, we're still happy with our decision on the floors.  

Look at this bad boy! It's as long as my finger!

In this picture you can see the golden color and the "face nails" I was talking about. I really wish I had a video of how loud the hammering was to get those things in. You're lucky I don't.

You can also see, in the photo above, a bigger dent from the hammer (near the top) and the little dents (in the middle) from where the feet of our chairs and maybe a few of my high-heeled shoes left marks. Our floors are young and they already have a story to tell.

Larger scale photos of the finished floors will make an appearance in the next couple posts. 

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