Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – February 16, 2004
Hardwood Floors & Area Rugs
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – February 16, 2004 – What it is about a dwelling space that attracts us? Home and hearth of course. What that means to most of us is warmth, comfort, safety and acceptance.
In kitchens and bathrooms, it’s common to see slate, marble, ceramic or porcelain; but of all the things we can add to the main living areas of our homes, nothing seems more appealing than beautiful hardwood floors. Add a fabulous area rug to your living room or den, your favourite, comfortable pieces of furniture and you’ve got a space just waiting for you, a cup of tea and a good book.
In winter, crackling embers in the fireplace enhance this picture of hearth and home and in summer a lazy ceiling fan circling overhead chases away muggy afternoon heat.
It’s not that broadloom is unpleasant underfoot, in fact, in bedrooms it’s practical and comfortable. Your bare tootsies especially appreciate broadloom on a cold winter morning. But wood floors are like wood trim, stained glass, crown mouldings and fireplaces; they harken back to what we believe to be a simpler time and place. Houses built seventy-five to a hundred years ago had a steady, strong and sure quality.
Craftsmen worked on wood details, floors were laid solid and true and were meant to last. Life wasn’t as complicated then. Cell phones and pagers, e-mail, television, digital cameras, fax machines and computers didn’t exist. Man hadn’t been to the moon, divorce was uncommon, the family unit had a sense of security, most men and women accepted their assigned roles and there was a predictability to life. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why old world charm has such appeal – it’s soothing.
About ten years ago I put three inch wide bleached maple floors in my living and dining rooms, hallways and third floor loft. It was a trendy choice at the time, but not one I would repeat if I were choosing flooring today. Over the years with the normal bumps and grinds of everyday living, cats and dogs, boots, spills and changing seasons – the sheen on the floors has dulled and nicks and chips have appeared in the heavy traffic areas.
Being the aforementioned ‘recovering’ not ‘recovered’ perfectionist that I am, I got a bee in my bonnet (okay a bumble bee) to change the floors. The imperfections were bugging me to such an extent that I had a couple of flooring companies in to give me quotes for sleek, new floors with a dark honey tone stain. The estimates came back. I sat down and thought about what my priorities were for the house. I really wanted to change my kitchen and paint the house. Something had to give and it was going to be my budget – big time. What to do?
So, as one often does in times of distress – I called a friend. Joe, who happens to be a designer and has the best taste known to human-kind, dropped in one evening to assess my state of mind and offer helpful suggestions to me in my time of need. We were also discussing paint colours so it was a one-two knock out. “My paint colours were wrong and no I should not spend a dime on new flooring. I simply needed to think about my house in a different way”.
My home is very casual – lots of light, warm pine antique furniture, glass top tables, leather club chairs and sofa. Not a bit of French Provincial, Chippendale or Louie the 14th. No fluff or frills. I just needed to think of the floors “as weathered plank boards in an old farm homestead or a great beach house by the sea – each chip and imperfection a mark of its coming of age. Then simply top the floors off with colourful area rugs that picked up the paint colours in the various rooms”.
I saw Joe’s vision for my house immediately and determined that replacing perfectly good floors with new ones made no sense at all. So I simply took a leap of faith and fell in love with my floors all over again. I wonder if that’s possible with old boyfriends. Probably not a good idea!
So I put the $18,000 flooring quote back in my pocket – bought new area rugs for my living and dining room and saved myself the chaos and aggravation that would have ensued had I torn up my wood floors. In place of new floors I have a wonderful, renovated kitchen, new broadloom in the bedrooms and new paint colours throughout the house.
How wonderful to have good friends with innovative ideas, and how exciting to look at old things with fresh eyes. Hardwood floors and area rugs – two more things that I’m grateful for this year! I bet if you thought for a minute or two you could come up with some ideas that would re-vamp your living space.
Sometimes it’s as simple as moving furniture from one room to another, re-hanging pictures, adding a mirror or painting a room. Try it – change is exciting and energizing!