How to refinish your own floors, part two:

When I left off with this story, we were at the point where we realized we needed to patch a bunch of holes.  We wanted to really blend in the wood so that the transition looked seamless.

Here is a tutorial on how to do this:

And here are some pictures during this process.



Sometimes your dumbass cat will decide that the filthy subfloor is an awesome cuddle spot.


What a weirdo.

To patch all the holes we estimate it took about 100 hours.  It was very hard work.  Because the floors are 100 years old, the boards are all slightly warped, but the replacement boards are nice and square.  So we had to use crowbars to pry things into the proper position.

Here is what the finished product looked like, before refinishing:



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See that black stuff next to the fridge?  The hallway was covered in tar from old tiles.  The guy who refinished the floor swore up and down that he could sand it all off.2013-04-25 20.19.50

You’ll also note that we had to dismantle all the kitchen cabinets on the floor, in order to remove all the old laminate.  While this was a massive pain in the ass, it was a good idea ultimately because we ended up not putting the kitchen back together the same way.  But we’ll save the kitchen reno, which is still a work in process, for a different post.

These pictures also give a good idea of the layout of my place.  One big room essentially.  The doors to the left of the fridge there are the doors to the two bedrooms.  One of the bedrooms has a full bath off it, and there is another full bath behind the fridge.  The bath off the bedroom has been refinished this year, there are a few teeny ends left to finish, and the bathroom behind the fridge is still in process now and I figure I can use the Christmas holiday coming up to get a lot of work done and wrap up the one off the bedroom too.

And for the after pictures.  I went with Jacobin stain with a satin poly.

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This is part of that section that was covered in tar.  The refinisher was right–you can’t even tell any more that this wood spent about 70 years covered in tar.

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Do you see the weird seam here?  That was like that when we pulled the floors.  The wood to the right was the stuff covered in tar and is maple.  To the left is oak which is what the whole rest of the house was done in.  I do not know why but all homes of this period I have ever seen had the kitchen done in maple and never blended the seam where the two woods met.  We thought it was an interesting element, and chose to keep it rather than try to remove the maple and blend the planks.

I also want to give mad props to my BF J. who had to actually cut triangular wedges of wood to fill seams btw. the oak and maple here.  You can’t even see where he did that.

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This is one of the bedrooms–you can kind of see the bathroom off of it in the top right.

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I tried to take the pictures from the same spots so you can compare/contrast.  You cannot tell which boards are old now and which are new.

We started the project in June 2012 and finished in April 2013.  It was a huge relief!

Also since then all that honey oak trim on the walls/doors has been painted white and the walls painted grey.  If you look at some of my other pictures, you can see it now.

I have two weeks off starting Monday.  I hope to A. get lots of work done around here! and B. post about it!




How I spent my Thanksgiving Weekend

What a great four days!  I already posted about my holiday, so here I’ll get into the rest of my weekend:

I canned four pints of great northern beans and two pints of apple pie filling using this recipe.


I’m almost finished with the Delancy Sweater!  Just working on the collar.  I’d post a pic…but it looks like a big ball of blah right now while it’s still on the needles.  But I think I’ll have it finished in the next week or so.  I’ve also got another sweater I need to weave ends in on which I’ll do this week too.  Finally, when Delancey is finished I have another cardigan that is about 98% done that I’ll wrap up before starting anything new.  And once the two cardigans are done, I’ll have to head up to Vogue Fabrics in Evanston to pick out buttons.

Home Renovation:


I had J  and his brother bring up my new bathroom vanity on Thanksgiving prior to dinner.  I need to buy a faucet for it still.

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Also, I got sick of my mantel and built in shelves, so I painted the built ins with a washed out grey and ripped out the mantel.  Here’s the in progress shot–I believe I can use the underside of the mantel as I build something new, as it’s good quality oak plywood.


I’ve been watching Louie, Portlandia, and Archer lately.  This is because they’re all on Netflix and I’m planning on canceling Netflix once I’ve watched all I want to watch on there.  So much of what Netflix offers is the same as Amazon Prime, so I don’t really see a need to keep both.  Just recently I realized my gym has wireless, so I can bring my Kindle in there and stream episodes for an hour while on the elliptical!  So far I think Archer’s my favorite, but there are times I absolutely crack up at Louie.  My favorite so far: “At 42 I finally have the body that I want.  The trick is, you have to want a shitty body.”


I watched a boatload of movies this weekend.



The ending is amazing.  That is all.  Streaming via Amazon Prime.

Jug Face


This is the actual description from Amazon Prime: “Jug Face tells the story of a pregnant teen trying to escape a backwoods community when she discovers that she may be sacrificed to a creature in a pit.” I decided that was perfect post-turkey dinner watching on Thursday.  Also watched Sharknado on Thanksgiving.  Who needs Charlie Brown, can I get a witness?

Frances Ha


This reminded me so much of Greta Gerwig’s Lola Versus but I much preferred this one.  It’s partly a story of how the main character, Frances, struggles to find her footing, and partly a story of her relationship with her best friend.  It’s on Netflix, and I highly recommend it–however I can’t see too many men being interested in the plot so I suggest do as I did and watch it when you have 90 minutes to yourself.

Bill Cunningham New York

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I’m only halfway through this documentary, but so far it’s entertaining, if you love New York and love the people, which I certainly do.  And it’s fun to see the Carnegie Hall studios. It’s also streaming on Netflix.

Pacific Rim


I didn’t pick this out.  We actually paid for a 24 hr rental of this.  I fell asleep halfway through and J woke me up by turning it off because he gave up on it too.  Excruciating dialogue.  Two dimensional characters.  SNOOZE.

African Queen


It’s fun to catch up on classics that  now stream for free.  While this isn’t my favorite Bogart movie (compared to him and Bacall together, I’m not buying him with Hepburn) it was still really entertaining!


The Luminaries


I’m about 200 pages into this 800+ pg new release.  Set in 1860’s New Zealand, a group of men try to solve the mystery of a missing wealthy man, a drugged prostitute, and a deceased hermit with a fortune in his home.  I heard it won the Man Booker Prize this year, so I had it put on hold right away at the library.  It’s so nice to get a brand new book from the library!

When I write it all out like this, what an awesome holiday weekend!  Only three more weeks until Christmas–where I get two weeks straight off!