The original hardwood floors have been uncovered and restored in our living and dining rooms!
Beautiful hardwood floors were under the carpet! I repeat: BEAUTIFUL HARDWOOD FLOORS WERE UNDER THE CARPET.
Okay, so we knew there was hardwood underneath since we'd pulled up some corners to peak, but had no idea the condition it would be in. Plus, there were some spots with especially loud creaks and cracks or noticeable dips, and in a 110-year-old house, there just was no telling what was lurking under the carpet.
For memory's sake, enjoy this photo of the carpet in all its glory.
For the record, I have nothing against carpet (all of it is staying upstairs!), and this particular carpet served us well cushioning a lot of toddler falls, but we knew when we bought the house we'd want to change it. It just felt out of place in this part of the house!
Hardwood refinishing was a job we hired out, since it seemed impractical to do ourselves when we have two small kids who spend a lot of time in both the living and dining rooms. Thankfully, we found an actual hardware restorer who did the whole job in three days(!!).
He removed the carpet, sanded the floors in the living room, dining room, entryway, and front closet to bare, and then applied three coats of oil-based poly in a semi-gloss finish. This is a classic look for this type of house, and since oil-based polys amber over time, it will only get better!
There was one big surprise, and it was none of the things we had worried about (like sunken, irreparable wood or pet damage). The floor in the middle of the living room was unfinished pine. It was laid in a parquet design with oak boards leading to a roughly 9' by 10' box of pine.
Surprising, right?? Our floor guy, Scott, tells us this was common in houses built around when ours was as a way to save money on building supplies. Since rugs were becoming mainstream, the less-expensive pine was never even finished - just covered up and it has probably seldom seen the light of day since it was laid.
We did have the option of replacing the pine with oak, but since it was in good condition, original to the house, and doing so would have almost doubled the cost of the project, plus our plan has always been to have a rug in here, we decided it could stay.
I actually don't mind the look of the pine at all, and would consider leaving it uncovered if it weren't for the color seepage around the border. Which means I'm now on the hunt for a very specific-size rug.
I am so happy with how the floors turned out! They still creak and are clearly not new floors, but they just are so beautiful and I'm floored (ha) by how much this has transformed our home! Thank you, carpet, for keeping these babies in great condition!
Also, I have to tell you doing a quick sweep under the table and high chair after meals instead of picking individual crumbs out of carpet has been BLISS. What is this life of ease I'm living??