Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Checkerboard Floors

When we first walked through what is now our home, I was completely unimpressed with the colors, the decor, the outdated kitchen and bathrooms, the worn out floor in the kitchen/great room, and the painted over antique hardware. However, I'm one of those people who easily sees potential and I have no problem looking past the cosmetic fixes. I saw the 200 year old wainscoting, wood planked walls, exposed beams, gunstock corners, and wide plank pine floors. And the first thing I thought when I saw the worn out kitchen/great floors was, "YES! I finally get to do the wood checkerboard floors I've been dreaming about for years!"

I first fell in love with wood checkerboard floors when I saw them in a New England magazine, done beautifully in a historic home in Connecticut. I totally coveted them, but in my 1970's house, with it's ugly ceramic tile floors, I didn't see it happening. Then this sweet old cape came into my life and here we are! I did research on wood checkerboard floors after first seeing them, and that's when I found out American colonists were painting their floors as early as the 1700's. They didn't stain and and varnish their wood floors like we do. They either left them raw or they painted them and they often painted patterns. One pattern they favored was the checkerboard, to mimic the marble floors in grand estates in their native Europe.

We didn't paint our entire house in checkerboard. We only painted the long room in back, which is our kitchen, family room, and mudroom. Here's a before shot of the kitchen/great room:

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The floors were rough and worn and the floors in the kitchen were just raw, dirty wood. The first thing we did was to remove the wood stove because it came so far out into the room that it would have been impossible to set up our family room in this space if we had left it.

Since this photo was taken, we also painted the walls a lovely gold color, the windows and baseboards have been painted ivory. We plan to do a complete remodel of the kitchen, but until then we will be painting the cabinets a deep red color. We also plan to knock out the popcorn ceilings and expose more beams in the family room.

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See what I mean? Rough shape! I can see why it took so long for the owners to sell this house. A lot of people can't look past a lot of cosmetic work, but if you can, you can get a pretty sweet deal!

After removing the wood-burning stove, we painted the entire floor ivory. We used an oil-based floor paint, which was recommended because the oil-based is more durable. Thank goodness we painted the floors before we moved in, however, because the fumes were very strong.

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So here it is all white. Then my husband went to work measuring out the squares and penciling them in. That's the one part he did by himself since my mathematical skills leave much to be desired. After the penciling in, we blue taped the entire floor.

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The taping was quite a job! Actually, the entire process was quite a job. After we were done my husband said he'll never do that again, and I don't blame him. Not only was it labor intensive, it took several weeks to cure. But it was worth it! These floors truly make the room.

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And after we pulled up the tape, this is what we got:

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And look, my apron was made to to go with these floors! :)

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As I said, we've since painted walls and trim and have the furniture moved in. I will post pictures after we finish the touch up work this weekend.

26 comments:

Kristina P. said...

I love it! I love checkerboard flooring. We updated our laundry room and did small peel and stick vinyl checkerboard in there.

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

i LOVE LOVE LOVE the floors !!! love that they are wood...not tile.

i see you are from california..where if i may ask ?

i live in san luis obispo on the central coast BUT i am PRETENDING i live in New England. how i got stuck out here i will never know..i LOVE all things new england too...i have the same wood burning stove as you do...i am trying my best to be living the new england lifestyle...kind hard when you are surrounded by surfboards and skateboards....ugh.

happy to visit today

kary

Christa said...

I LOVE IT!! It totally fits the room!! Looks like alot of work but worth every minute of it!! :)

~Kristen~ said...

ITS AMAZING!!!!! You both did such a fantastic job!!! Can't wait to see the rooms all decorated!!!

Morgan -Ing said...

What a tough job! But it's GORGEOUS!

Sarah Laurence said...

That looks great! And a lot of work, especially I imagine keeping the kids off it. Good to see you have a wood stove as power failures up north make them very useful. The nice thing about a fixer upper is you can do exactly what you want instead of being stuck with someone else's poor taste.

wesley's mom (sue) said...

I can't wait to see what you do with the rest of the house. That floor is awesome!!

Kaylynn said...

So fun! I'm glad that I didn't have to tape it though!

Barbaloot said...

Looks amazing! I could never look past to the potential---but I love what you've been able to do.

Crystal Pistol said...

WOW! You have such a great sense of style! You obviously worked very hard to get the floors right. They look FABULOUS! You should definitely be proud of your efforts. Soooo worth it.

It can't wait to see what other projects you have in mind.

Andrea said...

Wow that turned out gorgeous! I can't believe all the work you are planning to do. I'm one of those people who loves old house but I either want it already fixed up or someone else to do all the hard stuff. I don't have that handy gene at all.

I can't wait to see the rest!

Life is good! said...

i soooo love it. can't wait to the whole thing when it is done. have fun doing it!

Melissa said...

That's amazing. I love how you showed the process too. Wow!

Tanya said...

wow, i am totally in love with your floors!

sara said...

Ever since you first mentioned this I have been waiting for some pictures. I love it! I have to admit I was a little skeptical of painted wood because I'm more of a stainer/natural wood color girl myself. But it really looks great!

Tami Weingartner said...

Gorgeous! Can't wait to see the rest of the photos!!!

April Robinson said...

How creative! I can't imagine taping all those squares though. Your husband must be a very patient guy. At our house, we went with a professional in floor coverings. I shudder to think what would happen if I did it myself. Anyway, these look fabulous. I'm with Wesley's Mom. I can't wait to see how the rest of the house goes.

Faerie Moon Creations said...

Looks absolutely lovely so far!!!! Really perks up the room!!! :)

Leeann @ Join the Gossip said...

I like it! Great job :)

Soulshine said...

Love The floor! I also have checkerboard in my kitchen just had it done few weeks ago.

Corey said...

Wow, I like your style. The checkerboard floor looks a lot better than I had imagined! So how do you like living in New England? I'm interested in moving out to the east coast and might check out some houses for sale in CT when I visit the area. I've heard the rent/mortgage prices on the east coast are rising and greater than the south, but what about in your area? Any recommendations? A few of my friends and I will potentially be moving out there, so renting an affordable apartment/house would be our best option.

Sandy said...

The floor looks fabulous! But what a job.

Lara said...

That just looks so freaking amazing that I want to do it too! Except for it's just not right for my house, darn it all!

A New England Life said...

I had no idea it looked that bad before you moved in. Yuk! Yes, you definitely have to have vision when buying a house.

Your husband did a great job laying out the floor. Great thinking putting a piece of tape on the white squares. Something my own husband would probably do to.

Adrian L. said...

Congratulations, fine decoration.

Bohemian Britain said...

Stunning! I'm just about to paint my hallway the same and that's how I found you. I live in a 400 year old house in The English Lake District in the UK and share your passion for old homes with style! I haven't blogged yet but would if I knew where to start! :) Jane. x.