Let’s talk about the cause of the upheaval in our house and the reason Jeff and I are still living out of suitcases – the wood floors. We knew that we would get the floors installed ASAP so when we do finally settle in the house, we can completely settle. We won’t have hardwood floor installation and refinishing looming overhead. As I shared before, that is a decision that I know we won’t regret, but we’ve been in the house for a month and still have stuff stacked everywhere. It’s prolonging one of the uncomfortable parts of moving into a house. It’ll all be over soon, though, because the golden oak stain went on the floors yesterday and we’re now in the finishing stage of the project.
Let’s talk about the golden oak stain we’re using on the floors since a few people have asked about that choice as I’ve shared on Instagram.
After going through the painful process of refinishing old oak floors and staining them in a trendy (at the time) dark walnut stain, I’ve learned that the tone of wood floors is something that waxes and wanes with the prevailing decorating look. When the walnut stain started feeling dark and heavy, we sanded the floors down (again) and left them raw. I felt paralyzed at picking out a finish, so I did what people have done for hundreds of years and lived with raw wood floors. (You can read about living with raw wood floors HERE.)
When we installed hardwood floors in our MN house, we had existing hardwood floors to match, so the decision was already made for us. I just went with what was there. With our new 1970 rancher, I decided to do the same thing.
The wood floors that are in most of the home are traditional 2 1/4″ oak with a golden oak stain. Of course, the floors have been aging for 50 years, which has caused the original oil-based finish to amber over time.
When I look at the decorating trends of the past 10-15 years, there has definitely been a push to de-orange floors and furniture. There is nothing wrong with that and I’ve even felt exasperated at times with how orange-toned floors look in photographs, but we need to acknowledge that it’s a trend. There is nothing wrong with following trends either, but we need to be aware, so we can make timeless, classic choices where it matters and follow trends in things that are easy to change and update.
I also realized in my MN home that some of my favorite pieces were old wood that has ambered over time.
I know many people were cringing during the painted furniture trend, but I find myself cringing at the furniture stripping trend that is dominant online. So much lovely patina is being stripped away. But, I’ve always been a champion for making things your own, so if stripping a piece makes it work with your aesthetic, then do it and don’t worry about it.
If I had seen these floors 10 years ago, I probably would’ve immediately wanted to refinish and de-orange them along with installing new hardwoods. But when I saw these floors when we looked at the house the first time this summer, they felt right. They are warm and fit the age and style of the home and, more importantly, I can make choices that work with them. And, lucky for me that blue and orange are complimentary colors!
So, I didn’t even think of refinishing them, even with their imperfections and wear. I also didn’t think seriously about going with anything different in the three rooms where we’re having new hardwoods installed. We did look at some prefinished options just because it makes the installation process so much quicker, but we really wanted floors that felt like they belonged in this house and matched the other hardwoods in the home. Our 1940s cape cod had three different hardwoods in the house and it felt disjointed. I didn’t want that for this house, especially since it’s all on one floor.
One of the floor installers said to me, “I have to keep reminding myself that I am installing raw wood floors instead of prefinished. We install raw wood so rarely these days.”
It’s a longer process, but know it’s the right decision for the house.
Now, I have to admit as I looked at the raw wood floors, I was questioning my stain choice. They were just so beautiful raw and would look amazing with a clear coat of finish. But, it would create that disjointed look I was striving to avoid. The new would clearly be new and the old clearly old. It would push me into a position where I would feel the need to refinish all of the other floors at some point for the sake of cohesion and I really didn’t want to do that.
So, yesterday, the golden oak stain went on the floors and it really is lovely. It’s not going to be as amber-colored as the old hardwoods, but none of the new floors touch the old, so we can get away with it. When you see the new and old floors in one view, they look and feel very cohesive.
They are being finely sanded and finished today and I can’t wait to see how they look with a little bit of gloss. The finish always elevates wood and I know these will look great.
Sigh…almost done. Hopefully, we’ll get to move into these rooms over the weekend and start to truly unpack. It will feel so good!
Tomorrow, my mom and I are heading to the Lucketts Fall Market in a cargo van (which I can now drive by myself) and I hope to have lots of goodies to share! I will be sharing about the event on my Instagram Stories, so you can follow along if you’d like!