April 26, 2010

Ouch, oh, ouch, groan, ouch, groan...

We were on vacation for a week and had a wonderful time. The accommodations were splendid, the towels ultra soft and the food divine. We spent 9 whole days away from our day jobs and worked full time on the house. Which of course translates into our bed at the rental house that never got made after we had thrown our sad sore bodies into it and drug them out 8 hours later, towels that had to go to the wash daily due to the amount of grime still remaining after showering, and whatever food was available in Healdsburg after 9 pm. If you live in Healdsburg you know that the options after 9 in the evening are slim at best and most would turn this group of dirty filthy boys away at the door.

It was a very busy week with incredibly long days. Garry was with us again, up from Los Angeles for the week and Brent, our part time carpenter went beyond full time. We all had our chores to do and tried to stay focused. Garry was back at window restoration, working on the two west facing windows on the ground floor, Brent and myself were manning two giant floor sanders in a valiant attempt to flatten the old redwood floors in preparation for the new walnut flooring, and Phillip was exiled to basement with the massive tangle of electrical wires that waited desperately for organization, and organize he did! We did not see him for days as he stood perched on a ladder in the dark, a bare bulb barely lighting his way, as he untangled the mass of wires and one by one fed them into the electric panel.

After hours down in the dark hole Phillip poses with his masterpiece, albeit he looks a bit mad, as in crazy, coo coo, lost his marbles, as most artists are.

*Meanwhile back at the ranch*

Every floor in the house was sanded and sanded, and then sanded some more. Fine brick colored powder covered everything as layer after layer of redwood was removed from the original floors. In some ways they were quite pretty, in shabby chic sort of way... that is, if you're into that kind of crap, ooops, that was supposed to be inside voice... but the new floors were on their way and we needed to be ready.

And before we knew it, they were here. A big semi pulled up in front of the house and the door slid open to reveal stacks and stacks of wide plank, black walnut flooring. Brent, myself and our day help Fabian, lined up at the truck and carried the bundles of flooring to the living room bay window where we passed them through the open window to Phillip and Garry, who stacked and organized the bundles on the living room floor.

And then the work began. We all have a new found respect for those who lay hardwood floors for a living. At the end of the day each and every joint, muscle and bone hurt. I have never had knee trouble in my life... now I think I need new ones. Bundles of flooring were carried to the upper floors of the house, and we all gathered in a closet on the second floor to figure out how to lay our first board. First decide on a starting point, draw lines, with pencil, on the floor every sixteen inches, choose at random a width and length of board, apply lines of adhesive to the back of the plank, lay the board onto the floor and firmly press it into place, using the pencil lines as a guide drill two pilot holes in the floor board at sixteen inch intervals, drive square cut nails into each hole, and counter sink the nails slightly. Repeat. Repeat three thousand square feet of flooring. Leave it to say that we have completed bedrooms one and two, the second floor hall, the laundry room, the linen closet, the living room, gallery, kitchen and dining room, and we are only a bit over halfway finished... at this point we are all a bit mad, as in crazy, coo coo, lost our marbles, as most artist are!

Garry switched from windows to floors when we realized how long the job would take.

Phillip standing on the new kitchen floor just after completion.

The bay window in the living room, showing the floor chasing into it and back out around the edge.


  1. I just found your blog and this is probably a stupid question, but what's wrong with the original floor

  2. Hi SMU, thanks for the comment.
    The original floors in the house are redwood and were never meant to be seen. When the home was built the floors were wall to wall carpeting. Hand made carpets covered everything. As such, the wood under them was not considered important. A large majority of the redwood floor is flat grain, as opposed to strong vertical grain, and continues to flake off. The condition of the redwood is so poor that no amount of sanding would allow them to be pretty or ever hold up under daily use, unless you were into the "Shabby Chic" look, which we are not. Thanks for reading!! and I hope you have time to go back to the beginning of the blog and read all of the posts. I try to keep them entertaining.

  3. The walnut is gorgeous!!!! Would you mind sharing your source?

    My husband and I are in the process of buying and 1850's farmhouse in the midwest and I am learning so much from your journey!

    Best wishes,


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