Downstairs Remodel- Wood Floors

View from Kitchen looking into Living Room and TV Room (front of house)

View from Back of House looking into Front Window. TV Room.

View of One End of Kitchen to the Other.

View of One end of Kitchen to Other.

A few years back I walked into my neighbor's home and fell in love. Her home was the same model as mine, typical builder grade shell of a house but the details made all the difference. I am still continuing to update, but I quickly created my dream list and started to chip away at it.

First off, my house is small, little less that 1500 square feet. The rooms are small and the downstairs is all open with a center stairs up and down to the basement. The first picture shows me standing at one end taking a picture. Clearly a hop and skip to the other end of the house.

The biggest bang for my buck was installing hardwood floors throughout the entire first floor. This opened up the space and made everything more cohesive, less choppy. I had white ceramic tile in the kitchen and white berber carpet in the other rooms (Hello dirt).

Installing the wood floors was a huge chunk of money and started a rather lengthy remodel, which cost more money (think Money Pit) but I am so glad my husband and I went through with it. We didn't have much choice after the floor and kitchen were ripped out.

My selection process for the floor started with my "idea file". I looked at all the tear sheets that I had collected and found the common theme I liked with floors. I was partial to wide plank and low sheen. I found a local mill who had a large selection of samples, oak, maple, cherry, pine etc. and brought them home. Ultimately, I bought the cherry wood due to its grain variation and color. While I liked the pine, the cherry just took my breathe away. It darkens with time and has a soft amber glow.

For the floor install, I was too scared to do it myself. I had the mill produce the planks in random 4, 5 and 6 inch widths up to 12 feet long. Waiting for the wood to acclimate in the house was the longest two weeks, but so worth it. I hired a separate installer and finisher. Since I used water based poly (3 coats, and no stain) we were only out of the house for 3 days. (Slept in the camper in the driveway with the cat...cat box scratch at 4 am--Never Again).

In the end, I couldn't be happier. The installation was perfect. No gaps 'cept for a few here and there in the winter with the fireplace cranking. The finish is what I wanted, but I think I would have hired a different "finishing" crew if I had to do it over again (or just do it myself like I did with the pool house.)

Look for local mills in your area. I had gone to Lumber Liquidators and a local reseller of unfinished wood, but the mill had the best price and so much better quality. A family owned company that helped every step of the way. I ended up paying a total of $10,000 with $5k for the wood and $5k for the installation and finishing.

Check back for my kitchen remodel details


  1. Looks very nice. I <3 hardwood floors.

    We are currently looking to buy our first home and all the houses are very standard builder types like you mentioned above. I am enjoying the photos. It gives me hope that if we do end up buying a 'standard buildren style home' that we WILL be able to do things to it that our catered to OUR tastes.

    Of course in FL the norm. is to have Tile THROUGHOUT the house [ick]. I'm sure we will be going down the hardwood road you just did!

  2. Thanks for stopping by. I've been checking in on your home search. Good news is that you can always add the extra details you love. If your purchase price is right, you'll be able to tailor your house into a HOME.