It all started as a Covid-19 shutdown project. Rich and I decided we wanted to tackle one big project for the house while we were cooped up in it.
Before and After
Rich saw a local sawyer’s ad selling slices of wood on Facebook and remembered I was interested in the beautiful end grain wood floors I had seen online. We got the wood from The “J” Team locally, in Hadley. The sawyer, James, is a great guy and the wood itself was inexpensive. (See earlier post about acquiring the wood HERE.) That was all great, but from there on out, that version of our floor just kept getting more difficult.
We knew it would be a challenge and, in the end, it was impossible. The slices checked as they dried and warped, some of them as much as a quarter of an inch. They were Black Oak, a wood so hard I could not imagine sanding it smooth. Adjusting our vision for the project, we decided we’d only use the slices that didn’t warp, and instead of the whole floor, we’d just make an area of end grain in the dining room much like a rug. But then it became an issue of too many types of wood on the floors: The living room has pine flooring and that just wouldn’t do for the kitchen. We’d have to have hardwood flooring around the end grain, creating a patchwork that would have looked awful. Ugh! The problems went on and on so we to let go of that idea and find a new solution.
After looking at alternatives like linoleum and ceramic tile, which had their own roadblocks for us, I decided on a creative, affordable solution: my own version of a paper floor. Yes, a paper floor -- as freaky as it sounds, it's quite practical.
I found a technique that I could adapt to for a warm, casual look that brought together some of the rich colors of the kitchen and the outdoor environment, creating a cohesive flow to our main living space. With the paper technique, I would be able to use paint opening up a world of choice.
It was a lot of work over the span of two weeks but, in the end, worth it. We love our floor, w saved a lot of money, and, best of all, it’s a fairly environmentally sound solution. We didn’t have to put the existing vinyl in the landfill nor did we have to use toxic chemicals to strip the adhesive off the subfloor. With a few repairs and a good amount of elbow grease, I was able to paper and paint right over the existing tile.
So we achieved our goal and we are floored!
I’ve laid out the steps and process photos because I know I’d want the details if I were reading this. If you’re interested to know more, please reach out. I’m happy to share.
The wood slices, stacked and drying... And sadly, warping too.
Rethinking the floor design after eliminating the warped pieces of wood.
Our living room became like a second-hand furniture shop. Food prep became tricky.
With the furniture out of the way, the subfloor need to be leveled, cleaned, repaired and sanded with the orbital sander and with a very coarse paper.
Prep work done, I primed and once again sanded the floor.
Now it's time to tape off all the mop boards and take the bottom facer pieces off the appliances.
Prepped and ready, the papering can begin. This was the largest decoupage project i have ever done and I have done a lot. (Ask me sometime about my Statements collage pieces, that was fun).
I did this for a couple days...
When all the paper's dry, it's time to sand and prime it one last time before the fun part. The painting!
Not that being on your knees with glue up to your elbows for days isn't fun, but who can deny that a chance to play with color isn't what this whole project was about to begin with, right?
So bring on the GREEN! I had three shades of green to work with and I did a very loose blend to create a darker entry and front hall leading into the kitchen. (The color in this photo is off, but you get the idea.)
This pic is out of chronological order because the finish coat's already on, but it's here so you can see the unifying effect of my color scheme. We have have this open floor plan, so it all flows together. But the hall just feels like a different space. I solved that with the change in tone which lightens going into the kitchen.
This shot jumps ahead to me distressing the checkerboard pattern. I figure you don't need too much detail on the painted design because you are not likely going to be putting a beige and black checkerboard, framed in faux wood, centered in a field of mottled green on your own floor! (If I am wrong, get in touch, we can talk.)
Below is the finished effect. Now why in the heck go and scuff up a nice clean checkerboard pattern? I know it's trendy to distress painted finishes and all, but that's not it. Mainly it's because we have a generally casual funky feel to the house, and it works.
And this is what the final coat of 6 looks like as you finish the last two square feet. Kinda special.
And ta daa! The finished product. Now to bring back the furniture.
And after two weeks, it feels like home again. But here's one more picture i'd like to share...
My new photo gallery! I have been so excited to complete the look of the room with these photos by friends and Rich and I couldn't be happier with it. Thanks for looking!