Flip #3


The fortunate thing about midcentury houses is craftsmanship–true, quality craftsmanship that seems to be lost in modern construction. In Mac’s house, the treasure of the house were the floors…original hardwood oak floors. Had any other person bought this house they would miss out on the significance of those floors- when Mac viewed this house in 1964 it smelled of sanded floors and sawdust was still scattered across those floors. She loved them, and since she loved them so, it became my responsibility to restore them.

Flip 3 Grandma's Bedroom 008

But as with many things in Mac’s house, the floors received a lot of wear and tear. There were stains and scars– no doubt caused by our racecars plummeting down the hall or spilled sodas in the bedroom. 50+ years andĀ several grandchildren take a toll on hardwoods. But in those 50+ years my dad graduated high school and stood in his cap and gown on those floors holding his diploma. My grandma set up her annual Christmas tree with handmade ornaments from the grandkids. My grandpa’s chair sat on those floors, and, eventually, replaced with my grandma’s chair. Many cats curled and slept for hours throughout the house. Many, many valuable memories took place on those scarred, stained floors.



But the time had come to refinish and restore the floors…erasing the scars and stains. The original color was true orange-ish oak color which I wanted to change. Admittedly, Grandma would NOT approve of a color change on the floors; however, I wanted to modernize the floors slightly while also diminishing any defects.

While this could be a DIY project, I know my limits. The sanding and refinishing is a lofty goal of which I had no desire to tackle. I hired a local hardwood floor company that specialized in restoration of original hardwoods.


They started the process by sanding down the floors. This process stripped the floors of their orange stain and many of the scars and stains began to disappear.


It took a couple days to remove all layers of stain. After the floors were entirely stripped, they looked brand new. Even the deep scars and dark black stains had entirely disappeared.


I think the sanding phase was my favorite stage because it was such a drastic, immediate change. Years of wear immediately dissolved- it was fascinating!

11887867_10101761356679097_6946520003232611842_nAfter the floors are entirely sanded, they put a putty type material over the floors. The company told me this putty helps to fill in holes, scratches, and dings in the wood creating a smooth surface.

After the putty stage, it was time to pick a stain. I chose “Spice.” A warm, dark color to create a modern tone to the house. I didn’t want the floor to be too dark, but I wanted to remove all hints of orange. Spice was the perfect stain!

11889422_10101763394240807_2801946963046412759_n50 years….erased but restored in less than a week. Without a doubt, this investment has been my favorite of all projects in flips. The spice stain really emphasizes the wood grains and knots, highlighting the character of the floors.

11986555_10101776763139427_7395133135876478816_nThe original hardwoods ran throughout the living room, hallway, and bedrooms. The kitchen and dining room, however, had layers of vinyl flooring. I wanted to create a seamless flow of flooring to create the illusion of a larger space, so I had the subflooring removed in the kitchen and dining room.


Once the subfloor was removed, the dated peninsula, and sticky tile, it was time to transform the floor in the kitchen/dining room area. I decided to do something unique…carry the wood floor into the kitchen area. Since I created Operation Open Concept, it was essential to the design that the floor was the same throughout the now open space. So the same floor company that redid the floors were able to match the existing small strip wood planks and stain. Now you can’t even tell where the original and new floors meet!


Once the wood was installed, it instantly made the space look HUUUUGE! Even before staining, there was a dramatic change.


After the wood was installed and sanded, it was time to stain them! Prior to staining is when I opted to have the cabinets painted in case of any mishaps with the paint. The benefit of that is that if paint was spilled the floor company could sand it out before staining. Luckily, however, my paint guy was great and I didn’t have that issue. The only issue with this arrangement was trying to coordinate the schedules of two companies, but, luckily, it all worked out.


The staining lasted a few days. Again, just to be safe, I taped off my cabinets with saran wrap type material and painter’s tape just in case stain splashed on the cabinets.


The stain turned out amazing! I just love how well it matches the original floors!



I wasn’t able to walk on the floors for a few days while they cured. Once they were totally cured, I removed all the protective wrap from the cabinets.

The transformation in this house has been so dramatic just with restoring the floors. The authentic oak floors were in rough shape, but they had plenty of life left in them. I’m so glad I was able to restore them.



20 thoughts on “Floored.

  1. I hired a man to sand and stIn my hardwood after discovering them under old nasty carpet. There were lots of dark black spots he said was cat urine and he couldn’t sand it out. I am not happy with the end result. Afte only a year the poly is gone and worn spots are showing. Any ideas for urine spots and spot fixing traffic areas.

    1. What a bummer! I had severe black spots from chemicals and 50+ years of wear/tear. My guys were great and got it out! Too bad your guys couldn’t or at least offer to splice in some new before staining to make it look original!

      1. I think if they had used the putty over the sanded floor it would have covered most the spots. Live and learn. Thanks for your comment.

  2. Hi. Just discovering your website (via pinterest) and I am loving what you do! I’d like to get the info on the floor company you used for the kitchen area. I’m wanting to restore the same flooring in my house that I discovered when removing the carpet. The problem is that there are three unsightly areas that were patched with plywood rather than the original slim wood. If they were able to replace yours, then I’m hopefull they can get me the s as me flooring. Thanks so much.

    1. Hi Christy! I used a local company out of Arkansas. They were able to match the wood perfectly. You can’t tell what is original and what is new. Restored flooring brings such new life to a space, not to mention value to a house!

  3. I love what you’ve done with the flooring and extending it into the kitchen area. Our home was built in 1955-56 and I’d bet there is hardwood under the carpeting the previous owner had installed. I’d love to check, but I’m not going to damage brand new carpeting just to confirm my suspicion. Will wait until I want to replace the carpeting and then we will find out! Maybe I’ll just check the ‘guest bedroom’ which is my quilt studio! A fabulous job and I do love the stain you chose.

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