They clear pine floors are 95-year old.
Soft wood cut into milled 4-inch widths laid east to west throughout the top of the house. Chipped, stripped and beaten to the point where gravity and the floor joists have decided determined their current state. Hidden under cheap carpet for a period of time, their real story has been an archeological exploration uncovering an original carpet of pulled red and green yarn. In the kitchen, the pine was the substrate for original linoleum and over stapled particle board holding down newer albeit old vinyl flooring.
For the last two months we have been remodeling out 1918 Sugarhouse bungalow and the end is nigh.
Between dust and dirt, painting and drywall mud and a lot of arguing, the final stages of our house are finally coming together. The house was solid and usable but not really ours. Seven years of mortgage payments might mean something different but it took putting our input and influence on the house to really drive away the ghosts of previous owners.
Years ago, when we first took possession, our garden was a terrifying mess. Overgrown with Chinese elms and the remnants of the prior occupant’s vegetable garden, I didn’t feel as if we owned the land. It took going in there with the most rudimentary gardening tools and weeding the bejesus out of it before it wasn’t intimidating. It’s primal running your fingers through the soil and pulling out errant plants and found children’s toys to take ownership.
This process has been the model throughout every project we’ve had in the house. Its taken hours and weeks to get to the point where I feel I’ve touched every part of the house. From resurfacing the floors to building out the garden to painting every wall to hauling out a metric ton of coal from the basement, the house is really becoming more than our home but a part of us.
Sounds like melancholy baloney but feh! After inhaling English Chestnut Miniwax floor stain for the last three days, I’m afforded some sentimentality. There is nothing more expensive than remodeling a house and probably no bigger test to a relationship that arguing over the color of the dining room walls. Or crown modeling. Or drawer handles. Or why we even thought we could do this mammoth project on our own.
The timeline is set with the madness being over September 16. By then, the new kitchen cabinets should be installed, the granite counter tops done and the painting rollers long put away. The floor will be stained and polyurethaned and the furniture removed from nooks and crannies and put back in their proper place. Wall art should be on the walls and not jammed in guest bedrooms or behind doors. Dog bed will be where they belong and we should be moving out from the basement and into the light.
I’m calling September 16 CHuD Day. That’s when we leave the underground and move to the surface. Should be nice. Middle class problems eliminated.
The clear pine is taking the last coat of stain. The old wood looks firm and strong and drinks the stain giving it a dark red hue. It matches the already converted bedroom floor and should tie the house together. I hope.
Ben Raskin bartends at Keys On Main Wednesday through Saturday. Follow him on Twitter @BennyRaskin. Podcast? As soon as the cabinets are up. The last time he was so stoned from paint hasn’t been since he was at Garside Junior High.