Goodbye, carpet! Restoring 19th century wooden floorboards

Hi all,

Hope you’re having a nice week. I don’t know about you, but I am ready for the weekend!

When we moved into our flat, we knew we wanted to do a lot (if not all) of the repairs ourselves. First up in our DIY show and tell is the hallway transformation. This has been our biggest project so far and was a bit terrifying to start because…

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The before and after.

 

  1. We had no idea what was under the carpet. Original hardwood floors from 1890? Concrete? Botched jobs? Monsters?!
  2. We knew that once the carpet is torn up there is no going back. Our flat hallway would be a semi-construction zone for the next couple weeks!
  3. After doing some research, I realised that tracking down Victorian floorboards is easier said than done. A few were advertised on GumTree, but only a few bits here and there. Would we be able to find enough (if needed) and for how much?
  4. And by far the most nerveracking: this was the first time we’ve ever done something like this. The potential for error was definitely there.

Here’s how the whole thing played out (taking place over five weekends).

First… the moment of truth. We ripped up the carpet to find original hardwood floorboards in pretty good condition – minus a few quick fixes from way back when (seen below).

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Someone way back when opted for a quick fix instead of replacing the full plank of wood…

Overall we were relieved. There were only a few problem areas. The horizontal wooden slab and concrete filler needed to go. A few planks further down needed to be replaced.

To see what we were working with we cleaned up what we could. Pulled out approximately 300 (!!) staples that held in the carpet, as well as the borders that fasten it to the side (the thin red and tan wooden strips).

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Carpet staples. Taking way longer to pull out than I ever imagined…

Cue the repairs! We searched online for planks from around the same era and made of the same type of wood (pine). No luck. It wasn’t until we stumbled across a carpentry shop in south London that we found what we were looking for. It felt like Christmas!

Next steps:

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  1. Cut out and remove broken planks. In a few areas we had to remove part of the adjacent plank too in order to access the joist below the floor (the horizontal frame where wood is securely drilled into). You can see a bit of the joist to the left of the 1986 Tango can we found under the wood!
  2. Cut the new planks into the correct size. Use a drill to nail either end of the planks into the joist.
  3. Sand! 

In addition to our smaller manual sander, we hired a heavy duty one. I’m in no way a sanding professional (I wouldn’t know where to start with the correct, technical terms!), but we used a fine sanding setting to ensure we took off the bare minimum. We wanted a smooth surface – but whilst keeping the character and history.

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Sand, sand, sand

We used the small hand sander for the borders.

Next up – varnish. We wanted the hallway to match the wood floor in our living room – or be as close as possible. We thought we would have to use a stain. We thankfully tested one in a small corner behind a door. It was way too dark. I would strongly suggest applying a small test sample to confirm it’s the shade of your wood floor dreams.

Instead of the stain, we opted for a clear gloss. It was almost perfect. We applied two coats – each took 10 hours to dry.

Finally… five weeks later… taa daa!

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We couldn’t be happier! The wood continues to the steps in our hall. Beyond that, carpet begins (we know there’s concrete underneath so we left the carpet).

So what do we do? Fresh carpet? Or perhaps new wood that hopefully matches the original? I’d love to hear your suggestions!

The first project has been crossed off the list. So, what should be next?

McK

 

 

 

 

 

 

Random, but perfect pillows

After a long day of work, all I really want to do is relax. And you know what makes me relax? – lots and lots and lots of pillows and comfy throws.

Here are a few of my recent favorite accent pillows I’ve stumbled upon on Pinterest recently … and yes, they are extremely random and do not match each other whatsoever, but are all adorable in their own way.

Photos via Pinterest
Photos via Pinterest

Which one is your favorite?

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De-stressing with distressed home goodies

Moving is always a difficult process – but also a very fun one! It’s a chance to make a space your own. I am a huge fan of distressed wood, antiques and family heirlooms. I knew I wanted clean cut lines – a white, charcoal grey and mint color scheme – but with a rustic feel for my brand new room.

This antique trunk is one of my favorite furniture accents of all times. The history of my trunk goes as follows: my mom has had it “since she was a little girl” – and thank goodness. I’m in love. It’s a unique accent to my room, while practical for storage at the same time. So happy you didn’t throw this one out, mom!

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I’d have to say my second favorite piece of furniture in my room is my bedside table, which the lovely Ms. Natalie discovered with me at HomeGoods. I love the combination of wood and splashes of color – not to mention how it acts as a perfect stand for vanilla candles, a sisterly love photo and a good book.
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Now for the comfy part – my beautiful white Anthropologie Rosette Quilt bedding – equipped with grey, turquoise and mint accent pillows. Although white makes me incredibly nervous – I went for it because I wanted a versatile arrangement just in case I decide to make a spontaneous transition into another color scheme. The grey accent throw, also from HomeGoods, tops it off!
Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 6.14.37 PMI guess my first attempt at making a room “truly mine” wasn’t TOO disastrous 🙂 What’s your home decor style?

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