Wood Floors – A Lighter Approach!

Home of sculptor Fitzhugh Karol and Lyndsay Caleo, jewelry designer of The Brooklyn Home Company – Photos – Emily Gilbert, image from homedesignfind.com

A combination of some unfortunate dental issues and the Green basement remodel have conspired to keep me at bay this past week! But real progress on the basement renovation is slowly but surely allowing a vision of the end result to take shape.

The unexpected has been the rule rather than the exception on this project, revealing everything from contractor grade tile laid directly on plywood (!) to double-carpet pad duct taped to the room perimeters incubating mold under nearly every square foot of carpet – YUCK!!!

I will be providing a visual update soon – but in the mean time the progress has been allowing me to put a picture to the finer points  that I would like to use define this space.

A Google Sketch-up rendering of the focal area of the green basement make-over.

As a lot of wood and natural elements in the design begin to are emerge, the challenge becomes how to draw out the sophistication in all those raw organic building blocks, to keep the design from looking like a lodge. The white-wash look adds instant European sophistication that balances rustic looks like the sliding “barn” doors I will be using against the feature wall and will balance the focal fireplace / entertainment wall.

Hang on – didn’t she say something about a budget? Sliding barn-door hardware can cost up to $798 per set for one door!

Rustic living room detail of sculptor Fitzhugh Karol and Lyndsay Caleo, jewelry designer of The Brooklyn Home Company – Photos – Emily Gilbert, image from homedesignfind.com

But a can of black spray paint and galvanized steel Stanley hardware saves a bundle of design dollars! I purchased hardware for 2 doors and the 8-foot slider bar for about $150 – just remember to wash your hardware first! The galvanizing process coats the steel with a finish that will cause your spray enamel to peel away. Just take the smaller parts and pop them in the dishwasher (heated dry) prior to spray-painting and wash down the slider bar with Tide laundry detergent or Dawn dish-washing liquid and dry thoroughly with paper towels prior to painting.

The Smart-wash cycle solves many a design dilemma!

White-washing floors is not a solution that everyone would embrace – a great many design enthusiasts have a nearly religious reverie on the topic of hardwood floors. But the partial hardwood floors in the basement remodel were a poor selection for a basement environment, where wood-look laminate or engineered hardwoods would have been preferable selections. Several planks of the basement’s ill-equipped hardwood maple floors had cupped, and required aggressive sanding to be properly leveled.

washed wooden floor planks exude a European vibe that supports the amazing retro fireplace – image via maisondecor8 blogspot

If you’re interested in the how-to aspect, there is a great article at Apartment Therapy that links to the DIY network – but what the article leaves out, is that if you want a non-yellow true Euro white-was look, finish the floor in 3-5 coats of water-based polyurethane; this cuts the yellow out and creates a very pure-white application.


image from DIY via Apartment Therapy

Properly done, a white-washed look can neutralize what might have been a man-cave-ish design and create an airy European retreat!