WOW. Well, one thing’s for certain—you all feel pretty strongly about Heywood-Wakefield furniture. Responses to my thoughts about painting or selling my dresser ranged from “You will indeed be sent directly to hell if you paint over this piece” to “Chop it into kindling and burn it”! (Heh. As it stands, I have a couple of people who are interested in the dresser, so hopefully it will find a good home very soon. Then everyone can be happy!)
To tell the truth, I don’t believe in Hell, but now I kind of wish I did. All of us sinners could sit around the fire (!) and talk about the good old days when we used to paint perfectly good wood furniture just so we would like it more. Hmmm. Unless, of course, we all wound up condemned to an eternity of stripping paint off of wood. Huh. Maybe I’ll go back to being a non-believer!
My floors look way better in photos than they do in real life. Seriously though, does it not look like I painted them orange?! The color is awful. (And yes, my “chair situation” is out of control.)
Soooo, let’s move on to other types of wood I’d like to violate. Namely, the floors on the second floor of my house. They are stained, they have paint spatters everywhere, they are beat-up, and they are coated with a very worn layer of polyurethane that has turned ORANGE with age. They are also THIN—I checked with a ruler tonight, and they’re less than 1/4″ thick. Worst of all, they’re not tongue-and-groove. They’re face-nailed strips that have clearly been sanded down a number of times. What does this all mean? Well, it means that our floors probably can’t handle being sanded again. These were inexpensive, quickly-laid floors, probably installed in the first half of the last century. That they were apparently never covered with linoleum or carpet is a small miracle, but they’ve suffered the wear that comes with time. (If you’re interested in reading about the prevalence of this type of flooring in old homes, this PDF is quite informative.)
Floor refinishing by Chris Grohs
Holy mackerel! This is just about the most spectacular wood floor I have EVER seen. I gasped audibly when I came across this photo earlier today, and I just can’t stop looking at it. I love the variation in tones across the boards! You know what the most amazing part about it is? There’s no stain involved in this treatment. It’s a sanded floor treated with iron buff (vinegar/steel wool tea), creating a chemical reaction with the natural tannins in the wood. WOW. Yeah. Unfortunately, my floors are too thin to survive another round with a power sander, and all of the wax and poly and other sealers really do need to be totally removed in order for this to work.
Ann Demeulemeester store, Tokyo, by Stephanie
This look is more along the lines of what I could probably achieve with my floors. I have experimented with opaque, acrylic stains that work over existing finishes. The look is very different than paint—the consistency is very loose and lays down easily, allowing the full texture of the wood to show through. The finish is very matte, almost velvety. I love it. (And no, I’m not too worried about it showing dust/fur. I have black floors in my kitchen, pantry, and bathroom—not to mention black stairs—and it’s really not all that bad. You can get away with a lot in an old house.)
I’m going to try a little test this weekend, inside of a closet. We’ll see how it goes.