Remodeling 101: The Case for Unstained Wood Floors, from a Stealth Design Nerd


Editor’s word:  That is the primary in a collection of posts by Sally Kohn— journalist and CNN political commentator, TED speak giver, and design aficionado—chronicling her adventures in transforming.

sally kohn sarah hansen
Above: Escape from Brooklyn: Sally Kohn together with her spouse, Sarah Hansen, an environmental justice advocate, in entrance of their new Bucks County home, which they share with their daughter.

It began with an excessive amount of darkish wooden. The home we purchased—a late 1700s financial institution barn which had been transformed right into a home within the Fifties with the assistance of well-known woodworker Wharton Esherick—had, as you may think, a variety of darkish wooden. Darkish wooden beams. Darkish wooden bookcases. Darkish wooden cupboards and railings. And darkish wood flooring. And regardless of the hovering ceilings and the truth that it was, for sure, extra spacious than the Brooklyn, New York, condo from which we had been transferring, all that darkish wooden felt like lots for our pretty modernist, minimalist design sensibilities. However what could possibly be accomplished?  We figured a contemporary coat of paint and extra upholstered furnishings than wooden furnishings was our greatest hope.

close up of custom wharton esherick counter set against oak floors
Above: A take a look at the distinction between the unique flooring and the unstained model.

Then I noticed the uncooked wood flooring. I’d by no means refinished flooring, so I didn’t perceive that if you sand them down, they don’t retain the coloration of the stain. Relatively, and positively in our case, the place the flooring hadn’t been refinished in a long time, once I confirmed up on a June morning to pick stain colours for our newly refinished flooring, I used to be shocked to see what appeared like model new flooring. It felt like entering into an alternate universe. Like somebody had gone to the highest of a mountain someplace within the pristine Pacific Northwest (I’m under no circumstances positive that’s the place our flooring are from, in all probability not, however I think about that the entire prettiest wooden comes from there) and laid virgin blonde hardwood afresh under our naked ft. It was gorgeous. And alongside the contemporary coat of white paint (thanks Lick White 07 Matt) the entire home simply appeared clear and vibrant and gorgeous.

After which I used to be supposed to select a stain to darken the flooring once more?  I picked one, thanked my great Bucks County, Pennsylvania, flooring man—the nice Michael Biafore—and drove again to New York. After which it hit me. Why do we’ve got to stain them darker? Can’t we simply go away them vibrant and clear and light-weight?

bona natural seal traffic hg
Above: To the rescue: Bona’s Pure Seal and Visitors HD combo.

That’s simply what we did. Mike utilized a coat of Bona’s Pure Seal to seal the ground—seems that stain additionally serves the aim of sealing, so we would have liked one thing clear that might serve that objective. After which we protected it with just a few coats of Bona’s Visitors HD in Additional Matte. The outcomes are even higher than I imagined—and create a really subtle, Scandinavian look, the sunshine flooring juxtaposed towards all of the darkish clever Esherick woodwork.

detail of oak floors with bludot walk in the park white oak dining table and poly bark wishbone chair
Above: A view of the eating space.

My solely concern, on the time, was that we had simply purchased a settee with light-wood legs and a light-wood eating desk, considering that it will be vital towards the darkish flooring. However the excellent news is that the “honey” legs on our BenchMade Fashionable Skinny Fats couch and chaise look attractive towards the bare-wood-looking flooring, as does our BluDot Stroll within the Park white oak eating desk. Whereas earlier than it felt just like the darkish wooden was all of the notes of our residence’s composition, now it’s as if there’s all these gentle woods performing like layers of base notes in order that the darkish woods of the beams and the Esherick woodwork can actually shine as a standout melody, with out the entire area feeling overwhelmed.

oak floors with benchmade modern sofa and tom dixon fan chair via lightology
Above: The honey-colored couch legs are in concord with the unstained flooring.

Closing level I’ll make is that in our outdated Brooklyn condo, which had medium-dark stained flooring with a seemingly ridiculous quantity of ridiculously shiny end utilized on high (not our doing), which appeared to scratch if you happen to checked out them humorous and the scratches confirmed, with the raw-looking flooring, which I’m afraid we’ve already scratched just a few instances, you don’t discover except you’re wanting. And the scratches one way or the other look pure, too. Or, extra truthfully, they don’t wind up my Sort A self as deeply as they usually would, since they mix in a bit higher. That’s one thing.

The entire expertise has turned me into an unstained-wood evangelist. Now, once I hear pals are refinishing their flooring, I almost-too-enthusiastically attempt to promote them on the unstained route. And I’m searching for different methods to work unstained wooden into my DIY renovation initiatives, so keep tuned. However principally, for now, I simply gaze lovingly on the unstained flooring in our new-to-us residence and really feel their vibrant glow heat my coronary heart.

For extra transforming intel, see:

Transforming 101: What to Know In regards to the 4 Most In style Wooden Flooring Finishes

Transforming 101: A Information to the Solely 6 Wooden Flooring Types You Must Know

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