HOUSE: Newburgh + Inspiring Interiors

Matte ebony floors.

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.)

What’s a girl to do? We all know I’m not afraid to paint a wood floor. I’ve lusted over black floors in the past, and I keep coming back to that look as a possible solution for my flooring situation.

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.

by b-arch, via style files

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.

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  • Reply Jacqui February 21, 2009 at 2:53 am

    I completely obsessed over having dark-black floors when we bought our place – I love them. Do you get the brand Feast & Westons in the US? They do a beautiful dark stain (this might be a mad suggestion but…what about turning the boards over?)(OK that was a mad suggestion – I’m just recalling your lack of sleep/working on the house all the time thingy). Go for it – can’t wait to see the results.

  • Reply Anna at D16 February 21, 2009 at 3:02 am

    Jacqui, you’re insane!!! HAHA! Turning the boards over…I love it. I’ll get started right now! (It’s 3AM…) O_o I don’t think we have Feast & Westons here, but whatever I use it has to be an acrylic stain that can go on top of the existing finish.

  • Reply anita February 21, 2009 at 4:02 am

    i love the black wood floors…
    i’m wishing for black toned bamboo flooring right now…
    good luck with your projecting!

  • Reply modernemama February 21, 2009 at 4:52 am

    Love that iron buff floor. I think the black floors will work really well with your overall design but did you finish the bathroom yet?

  • Reply lena February 21, 2009 at 7:29 am

    wow, i love the acrylic stain…
    we have orange floors too!! i hate them. i wonder when we’ll get around to refinishing??

  • Reply kim de montreal February 21, 2009 at 8:00 am

    omg, I complain about my orange floors constantly. I’ve painted one staircase completely white which I love and I’ll take vaccuming the daily dustbunnies anyday over the orange.
    Go for it!

  • Reply Jenn February 21, 2009 at 8:11 am

    What kind of stain can you use over an existing finish? (I too have awful orange floors – the worst thing is that everyone else seems to think they are ‘normal’ and I am ‘obsessed.’) BTW that Forest industry brochure was fascinating, although here in Maine the old houses have Douglas Fir floors, not oak.

  • Reply February 21, 2009 at 9:26 am

    black black black blaaaaacccckkkkkk.

  • Reply Adam February 21, 2009 at 9:45 am

    The iron buff floors are beautiful, I wonder if I could do that with my living room…anyway, I digress. I think the acrylic stain would look wonderful and would fit your aesthetic very well. I can’t wait to see how your test area comes out!

  • Reply paisley penguin February 21, 2009 at 9:52 am

    I vote for black. The hubs and I had been replacing all the carpeting in our condo with parquet tiles. They stopped selling the finish we liked when we had half of our bedroom done – literally the last room. We bought another finish, sanded the entire room and put 1 coat of black stain and two coats of a dark red stain and then one coat that has poly in it. WE LOVE IT!

  • Reply Fiona February 21, 2009 at 10:18 am

    That is so interesting. I didn’t know there were stains you could put down without stripping the floor. I would love to learn more about that.

    I think the black will fit in with your black/white aesthetic you have going on with everything else, including the upstairs bathroom.

  • Reply Anna at D16 February 21, 2009 at 10:57 am

    modernemama: No, not finished with the bathroom yet! This weekend we’re painting, and hopefully we’ll be able to have the plumbers back to install our fixtures very soon. 🙂

    jenn/Fiona: The acrylic stain I mentioned isn’t actually a “stain” in the true sense of the word — it doesn’t penetrate the wood deeply like an oil-based stain does, but it lies VERY flat like a stain. They’re also completely opaque. The brand I’ve been using for several projects is Cabot PRO.V.T. Solid Acrylic. I haven’t tried coating it with a matte poly, however, which I think would be necessary for a floor. I’ll test that out this weekend.

    This isn’t a very informative photo, but you can see the stain in use on some framing we built for the garden last summer (click to enlarge):

    Cabot also makes a product called Polystain which is a stain and poly in one, and can supposedly be used on previously-finished surfaces with just minor sanding to etch the surface. It’s not opaque, however. I think I have a can of it in my basement somewhere, but I’ve never tried it. I’ll do a test of that this weekend, too. I have my doubts about it being suitable for a whole floor, because the finish is so inconsistent from room to room. I have about 800 square feet to cover, so I’m looking for a finish that’s as consistent as possible.

  • Reply Cheryl February 21, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    All the work you’ve been doing makes me feel lazy or like making more time to do the projects I have on my list! You both are doing amazing things while working jobs, eating and sleeping (at least a little by your accounts). Love the black floor solution! I’m stuck for a solution in our attic bedrm (1 1/2 story bungalow) that has ugly green and beige linoleum sq tiles under beige carpeting…

  • Reply laura February 21, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    if you have more than 1/8th left i think you could get them refinished.

    i had my floors professionally refinished last summer. they were also very thin, and i had concerns about whether they could stand up to another dose of floor sanders, but the floor guy said there was no problem, refinishing (In skilled hands) only removes 1/32nd of floor.
    before; our floors were gross and orange, there where huge gouges where the sander had been in the same place for too long, and they applied that yucky orange finish without wiping away the sawdust.
    now; my new finish is a lovely non ambering water based satin finish poly, and my floors look lovely.

    for me anyway, the cost difference between hiring someone to do the floors, vs hiring the sanders and doing it ourselves was not enough to make it worth the hassle.

    perhaps you could find someone who could sand your floors and then you could do the finishing yourself, just as you choose.

  • Reply laure in the tundra February 21, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    The black is very chic. I recently saw a cool “lace” like stencil on wood floors – not sure if it is a look one would heart for eternity, but black stencil might have create cool texture. Oh what the heck to I know, I live in a rental apartment with (gasp!) carpeting!!! Have a nice weekend.

  • Reply Designers' Brew February 21, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    LOVE the idea of a matte grayish-black floor… I think it’s going to look gorgeous. But I agree with Laura, though, I think you probably could sand & refinish your existing floors.

  • Reply jennifer in sf February 21, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    I totally have the same nailed down strips of orange wood floors! Since I rent I’ve never wanted to put in all the work to try to refinish, but I’m vary curious to see how this staining goes. I could see myself (possibly) dealing with that.

  • Reply jennifer in sf February 21, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    P.S. That iron buff floor is AMAZING.

  • Reply ingrida February 21, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    I say paint/stain them a matte steel/slate black. It will be in the same family as all the other finishes throughout the house and you won’t have to dish out cash installing new floors. Personally, I love ‘natural’ wood floors with either just a top coat or a stain. But painted floors are a great solution. Our house was built in the 1890s and we found while rehabbing, that under our carpet, we had extremely thin, cheapo wood floor strips that also were too thin to sand and salvage (we tried and failed miserably). We ended up replacing the wood floor, but given we had to rip up the floor to do some repairs to floor joists, we decided to just bite the bullet and put in new wood floors.

  • Reply Ashley February 21, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    Who decided that orange floors were a good idea??? Who? We have orange floors downstairs (thankfully we refinished our oak steps and pine floors upstairs and they are NOT orange) and I would love to paint them. However, we have a Craftsman bungalow and my husband would KILL me for painting over anything that is wood. Sigh.

    I wonder if i could talk him into the vinegar/steel wool treatment….hmmm…

  • Reply sweet fine day February 21, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    Do it. LOVE black floors (they do weirdly show dust easily, though, so they are a different high maintenance than white floors). I wish I had black floors. My wood floors are a little too shiny for my taste, though it’s dulling down with time, thank god.

  • Reply Making it Lovely February 21, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    Black would look so good in your house. I love the brown/black floors we installed upstairs so much.

  • Reply heather February 21, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    I came across that iron buff floor when I was looking for stains options too! I LOVE it. I considered doing it too but none of the places that we called for estimates wanted to just sand the floors and leave the staining up to us. 🙁
    That said – I think it would be amazing in your house. I love the matte black too and can’t wait to see what you choose.

  • Reply ahj February 21, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    Would it make the interior of your house very dark, to have floors that color? Just wondering — hardwood floors in a natural color reflect light nicely. Maybe black floors do, too, but they don’t seem to in the photos you posted, perhaps because they’re matte.

  • Reply janet February 21, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    hey anna – i thought of a photo in this post when i saw those pictures. sorry about the messy link!

  • Reply Anna at D16 February 21, 2009 at 11:33 pm

    laura: The problem with our floors being so thin is that they have damage that goes too deep for 1/32″ to make enough of a difference. The face-nailing issue is a big deal, too — every single nail in the floor (and there are HUNDREDS, if not thousands) would have to be set below the surface before sanding, and I don’t know if I can deal with that (or afford to pay someone else to do it for me). Also, I didn’t say this in my post, but the floors in each room are slightly different from each other…possibly even a mixture of pine and oak. I’m just worried about what we’ll wind up with after investing all of that time and money (and mess). That definitely IS encouraging to hear, though, since everything I’ve read seems to indicate that once you’re below 1/4″, sanding is pretty much out.

    laure: You must be talking about this! I love it, too. I don’t think it’s right for my house, but it did cross my mind. 🙂

    ahj: We have high ceilings (10′), lots of tall windows, and everything is painted white, so our house is actually sort of overpoweringly BRIGHT on the second floor (with the exception of the center bedroom, since this is a rowhouse — but opening a boarded-up skylight at some point will help that).

    janet: Well, it’s easy to figure out which photo you mean. 🙂 🙂 I really like the finish on that floor, it looks like it’s satin? Maybe that’s better than matte…hmmm…

  • Reply puck February 21, 2009 at 11:45 pm

    the only suggestion i can come up with that involves no sanding would be to use primer but have it tinted gray. put that down. then take black paint, water it down to a whitewash consistency and paint over few boards with it. i would be too lazy to mask anything, so i’d use a cheap foam brush to you don’t have to be careful with the cutting in. then you could vary the watering down of the black paint and create a few shades to play around with. that would somewhat replicate the top picture… but it would be some work. it is sort of like quilting.

  • Reply puck February 21, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    oh. p.s.

    look at the floor in my bathroom… high gloss robin’s egg blue. so pretty!!!

    i am not done yet. (just picked up our $25 ebay clawfoot tub today). but it is soooo close.

    we are in the home stretch!!! both of us!!! 🙂

  • Reply Lori February 21, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    I think the black (or white for that matter) is very cool and I think it all comes down to personal preference, time you want/have to put into them and the particular floor in question. We have original oak wood floors (our house was built around 1920)downstairs which we had refinished with a clear coat of poly. Our big yellow dog sheds soooo much (seriously, he is half lab and when he shakes, geesh…) and it is totally obvious on our “blond” floor. We had hopes that light floor+light dog= no show. Wrong, wrong, wrong. And with two small boys(think scooters,skateboards, Hotwheels, snacks,etc) it is tough to keep them pristine. So long story short (I know, too late!), all floors get dirty no matter the color. Go for what you think will be beautiful and have the look you want. And, don’t get too hung up on it. As my wonderful, carpenter husband tells me, it can always be fixed (or in this case, re-painted!) I have been wanting to paint 2 of the upstairs bdrms for a while now and after reading all these posts it actually seems do-able… We’ll see… They sure couldn’t look any worse than the water stained wonders they are currently…
    PS… Having read the Bible (ok, not ALL of it) and as one that does believe in Heaven and H-E- double hockey sticks (ha ha), rest assured, you are ok if you paint the controversial dresser. 🙂 I have wondered what Hell would be like and I could surely see stripping furniture as part of an eternal punishment…

  • Reply Linda February 22, 2009 at 8:50 am

    Glad I found your site. I have a question, how did you find someone to do your radiators, I can’t find anyone but maybe its a question of not looking for the right business.

  • Reply Anna at D16 February 22, 2009 at 9:42 am

    puck: The floor looks great! Nice job!

    Lori: We have one light dog and one dark dog, so I don’t even bother trying to match. 😉 Fortunately, neither of them are big shedders, so it’s not too bad!

    Linda: Look for a powder coating business. They should be able to do radiators!

  • Reply melissa February 22, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    It’s worth having a refinisher out to take a look. At 1/4″ thick, your floors ought to be able to go one last round. I thought my beat up & stained 1921 floors were beyond saving, but the guys popped out & seamlessly replaced the few boards that were the worst. After sanding, bleaching, staining, & finish coating, the floors look great. You don’t have to worry about setting all the nails, the sander basically just sands them down too. It was one of the least expensive things I’ve had done & definitely best to have pros work the big sanders.

  • Reply shannon February 22, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    black floors and dog hair = constant sweeping. CONSTANT.

  • Reply Anna at D16 February 22, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    melissa: I had no idea they can just sand the nails down! That’s very interesting. Hmmmmm. Maybe we DO need to get somebody out here after all…

    shannon: We’ve had black floors in our kitchen (where the dogs spend a lot of time) and black stairs for three years now, and I haven’t really noticed it being a problem. I vacuum and mop once a week and that’s enough. Our dogs don’t shed very much, so maybe that’s why! Also, the dogs really don’t go upstairs (where we’d be doing the black floors) unless it’s to go to sleep at night, and they pretty much stay in bed with us (under the covers!) the whole time. We don’t wear shoes in the house and we don’t have any kids, so these things just aren’t really that much of an issue for us.

  • Reply February 22, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    just wanted to come back to say

    blaaaccckkkkkk ! beautiful

  • Reply verhext February 22, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    it’s so weird, because i am normally extremely sensitive to color, but that stain doesn’t look “orange” to me, but actually looks nice. & yet everyone seems to be bemoaning their “orange” floors. bizarre! i like natural wood, i think it’s cheery, but the idea that no one in the past ever painted wood floors has clearly never been in a new england farmhouse with decades of paint layers on the floor!!!

    in the cabin i am putting up pine shiplap inside as the walls, i am thinking about doing a white wash stain over them to keep them pale, though most new “natural” poly/stain doesnt yellow the way the old stuff did.

  • Reply verhext February 22, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    oops, add “anyone with” the idea that no one in the past…

  • Reply mixette February 23, 2009 at 12:18 am

    Have you looked into black aniline dye? I use water-borne black aniline all the time on furniture with fantastic results. It is easy to do, and hard to mess up; it’s not a fussy finish. The water-borne is key because it is much more resistant to fading than the alcohol-borne formulas. Putting a water based product on wood may seem counter intuitive, but following the directions for preparation by pre-raising the grain really does work.

    It’s bedtime…but if it sounds at all interesting I’ll search around for more information to link to.

  • Reply biba February 23, 2009 at 4:55 am

    Anna! Totally loving dark/black floors. I have awarded you the kreativ blogger award! How could i not, you work your ass off and are very inspiring to me. Check out my blog to see 🙂

  • Reply Anna at D16 February 23, 2009 at 9:36 am

    verhext: I absolutely LOVE natural wood floors! Really! What I don’t like, though, are what could have been beautiful pine or oak boards completely spoiled by polyurethane that has turned orange or yellow over time. I am not a fan of polyurethane, period. If I were to finish my floors, I would most likely do a tung oil finish that’s sustainable and repairable — either that, or polished wax.

    mixette: My concern with aniline dyes is that they are extremely toxic. I don’t know if I want to cover 800 sf of my home with something carcinogenic. If I am able to get the floors sanded down to a point where they can be truly refinished, I would greatly prefer to use something less hazardous.

    biba: Thank you, that’s sweet! 🙂

  • Reply erin@designcrisis February 23, 2009 at 11:10 am

    It’s a good thing I didn’t see those floors treated with vinegar and steel wool before we refinished out kitchen/dining area, because I would have been FORCED to redo all 1500 sq ft of flooring in that stain. Amazing!

    I also love the black stain. Very classic.

  • Reply Magchunk February 23, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    I actually like the matte look more than the stripey one. Just think of all the things you’ll be able to do with a black floor! But what color will the walls be?

  • Reply Anna at D16 February 23, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Magchunk: Our walls throughout the house are BM Moonlight White. Trim is BM Simply White. Selected doors, window sashes, stairs, and hallway beadboard are BM Toucan Black.

  • Reply Elissa February 23, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    If the floors are really that shot then go black. I’m usually a natural wood kind of girl, but if they were poor quality wood to begin with… Also, if you are going to poly them, I’ve heard that lower luster polys don’t wear as well as the high gloss. I think they recommend to put high gloss for the bottom coat(s) and then satin or matte for the top coat.

  • Reply dee February 23, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    Hi Anna
    I love your blog. The meticulous effort you put into every home project is inspiring. I value your opinion and taste in decorating very highly, therefore I was so sad to hear how you so strongly dislike yellowy-orange wood floors. My house has thin, face nailed hardwood strip flooring and I love it. I live near the 55th northern parallel where winter has a grip on us 7 months of the year. With all the snow we get the light is very cool and my “orange” floors are a welcome reminder of sunny warm days. I know dark floors are very popular right now so my love for “orange” floors makes me feel like the uncool kid of home decorating. Oh well, I’m too old to care about being cool and popular. I guess everyone should just make their home a place that they love no matter what the trends of the moment are.

  • Reply Anna at D16 February 23, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    Dee: Well, I certainly hope it doesn’t come across as though I dislike natural wood floors (or natural wood, period). As I said above in my comment to verhext, it’s the discolored, orange polyurethane I despise, NOT the wood floors themselves. Had my floors never been coated with poly (and instead been properly treated with oil, wax, or shellac), they would probably still be beautiful. As it is, sunlight has deteriorated the poly to the point that it looks like burnt umber in some areas, and the finish is worn away to bare, gray wood in others. My only problem with the floors being extremely thin and face-nailed is that it makes refinishing them a challenge.

    Never in my life (well, okay, maybe when I was 8 or 9 years old) have I worried about whether I’m “cool and popular”, and my desire to make my floors look better has nothing to do with trying to hit on a current trend.

    Sorry, but no one is going to convince me that aging polyurethane is beautiful. Old, warm-toned wood with a natural patina is ABSOLUTELY beautiful, however! I suspect that’s what you like, too. 🙂

    As long as you love your home, who cares what anyone else thinks? The last sentence of your comment is really all that’s important…

  • Reply Wendy February 23, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    Just to throw it out there, I think everyone should do what they love in their own home. But I had to comment that I intentionally stained my new solid oak hardwood floors a shade of orange (it was called nutmeg) to match an aging ambered polyurethane! I wanted them to look old, like the Victorians in my town. I agree that they warm up the lower, cooler levels of my house. The top floor has new oak floors stained a very modern dark brownish-black color that was here when we bought the house — and it’s already fading near the windows where it receives a lot of light. I’m not sure if others have had this problem?

  • Reply radewey February 24, 2009 at 9:55 am

    did you say scraping paint is hell. well I am there, i spent the last three days trying to get all the peeling chipping paint off the trim in my spare room and it is most certainly some type of torture. I also tore all the old ugly tiles off the walls in my bathroom and pulled the floor out, oh and i ripped a closet out that was completely worthless. I feel your pain (literally the exhausted, achy muscle pain that accompanies these things). And do you get the feeling like maybe I made the wrong decision doing this….or why did I choose this etc. I don’t know if I will ever buy a house again…

  • Reply Katie February 24, 2009 at 9:57 am

    we also have that problem with our floors (the entire downstairs) – they are too thin and we are unable to sand them without completely ruining them. ours are not top nailed though, and the top of the groove is actually snapping off. i think we’re going to put down all new floors on top of the existing – not at all what i want to do, but it would solve some of our other problems, like the giant plywood patch we have by our front door. i hope that you are able to save your floors though, good luck!

    we just refinished our floors upstairs and ended up going with no stain, 3 coats of clear poly. i’ve never heard of using a different process on floors (furniture and woodwork yes, floors, no) – does the wax/shellac/oil protect the floors? we have 2 big dogs, their nails are very hard on floors. we actually had one floor guy come out to talk to us and get all angry at us for letting our dogs walk on our old wood floors – but it’s our house and we’re going to live in it!!

    ps – thanks for the advice a few weeks ago about the stacking eames chairs and how to get new bases – we ended up getting the chairs and i don’t mind the stacking bases as much as i thought i would. i can at least live with them until i save up enough to get new bases 🙂

  • Reply Christine February 24, 2009 at 10:47 am

    I too share your obsession with black floors. That stained wood floor is absolutely amazing! I love all the tones!

  • Reply decor8 Holly February 24, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    Nice black floors – if you like it go for it esp if you plan to stay in that house for a long time. Why the heck not?

    And paint the dresser for goodness sake. It’s YOUR dresser, who cares what any of us have to say, am I right? Some of your readers clearly obsess over antique & vintage preservation and hey I respect their opinions but to me a piece of furniture is an object not flesh and blood so you are allowed to screw around with it, alter it, make it into whatever floats your boat. The days of popular opinion are over in my book. If you want to paint it, show that dresser who is BOSS. 🙂


  • Reply Amanda February 25, 2009 at 6:08 am

    Go for it go for it go for it! I practically die of lust every time I see photos of black floors. They would look amazing in your home!

  • Reply mixette February 26, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    Hmmm…checking back to see if I needed to follow up. You’re right about mixing enough dye for 800 sq. ft.; yikes.

    It is safe if the powder is handled properly and after it is fixed in application. But, it sounds like there are much better products for your particular application!

    Sorry for pushing the carcinogens ;0

  • Reply Bridget July 27, 2014 at 11:35 am

    Well, I am a little late to this conversation. But, I am cursed with the yellow floors as well. My partner and I bought a turn of the century brick victorian, that was gut renovated by the previous owner only 7 years ago. The trouble is, the finishes are contractor grade and was beat up by his tenants. He had installed generic red oak flooring that has absolutely no character. Rather than replacing it all with some fabulous reclaimed wood with actual character (an expense we aren’t able to afford after the kitchen and bath remodel), we are opting to refinish them with a matte black stain. The contractor doesn’t seem to understand what we want. So, I was googling away trying to find an example of black flooring that isn’t some kind of high luster, shine fest. How did your come out???? We really want a grainy, slightly worn look. But so many things i am coming across are “brownish”.

    On a side note: It’s pretty hilarious to me that, on more than one occasion, in my decorative research for all the new projects, google leads me to Door Sixteen, especially since the house we just bought is on Liberty Street.

    • Anna @ D16 July 27, 2014 at 5:58 pm

      Bridget, we never actually did this to our floors—it was just a fantasy. I did paint our kitchen floor, black, though—but it’s glossy:

      I would suggest doing some test swatches yourself with various black stains and flat finishes to see if you can come up with something you like, then show your contractor.

      Also: Welcome to Newburgh! Get in touch with me via email—I’d love to connect. 🙂

  • Reply Mal December 18, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    I just tried the iron buff / patina on a bedroom floor in my 1950s era home. The floors were under carpet for several decades, there was extensive water / pet damage, not to mention someone decided to put roughly 50 screws in to a 1ft X 1 ft area. I made wood putty with sawdust to get some patina action in there. I figured I should post a picture here so others can know what a normal house, not refinished by a super pro looks like. The floors are still slightly damp, and may be reflecting light oddly because of that, but basically things I’ve noticed:
    1.) there are still subtle yellow / brown tones in the wood, this makes picking a wall color difficult, I will probably go with pure white.
    2.) if you miss even a tiny tiny tiny patch while sanding (and I tried really hard not to) it will not take the patina at all.
    3.) most important: anticipate large sections of light and dark! Mostly the tones are isolated by plank, but there are some large sections where all the planks are basically black.
    I was a professional remodeler with a residential constriction company for 3 years, and I worked for a mid-century modern refinishing company for 1 year. I know a good deal about wood, but have never done floors before. So basically a very experienced DIYer.

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