Remodeling 101: The Case for Unstained Wood Floors, from a Stealth Design Nerd

Editor’s be aware:  This is the first in a sequence of posts by Sally Kohn— journalist and CNN political commentator, TED communicate giver, and structure aficionado—chronicling her adventures in remodeling.

sally kohn sarah hansen
Earlier mentioned: Escape from Brooklyn: Sally Kohn with her wife, Sarah Hansen, an environmental justice advocate, in entrance of their new Bucks County property, which they share with their daughter.

It begun with far too much darkish wood. The household we bought—a late 1700s lender barn which had been converted into a household in the 1950s with the aid of well known woodworker Wharton Esherick—had, as you could possibly visualize, a large amount of dim wood. Darkish wood beams. Dim wooden bookcases. Dark wood cupboards and railings. And dark wood floors. And even with the soaring ceilings and the point that it was, without a doubt, a lot more roomy than the Brooklyn, New York, condominium from which we have been moving, all that darkish wooden felt like a whole lot for our rather modernist, minimalist structure sensibilities. But what could be performed?  We figured a new coat of paint and more upholstered furniture than wood furniture was our finest hope.

close up of custom wharton esherick counter set against oak floors
Previously mentioned: A glimpse at the contrast concerning the unique flooring and the unstained edition.

Then I noticed the uncooked wood flooring. I’d never ever refinished flooring, so I didn’t recognize that when you sand them down, they never keep the coloration of the stain. Relatively, and absolutely in our circumstance, the place the flooring hadn’t been refinished in a long time, when I showed up on a June early morning to select out stain shades for our freshly refinished flooring, I was stunned to see what looked like brand new flooring. It felt like stepping into an alternate universe. Like an individual experienced absent to the best of a mountain somewhere in the pristine Pacific Northwest (I’m not at all guaranteed that’s wherever our floors are from, possibly not, but I envision that all of the prettiest wooden comes from there) and laid virgin blonde hardwood afresh down below our bare toes. It was gorgeous. And alongside the new coat of white paint (thank you Lick White 07 Matt) the full house just seemed thoroughly clean and dazzling and beautiful.

And then I was meant to choose a stain to darken the flooring all over again?  I picked one particular, thanked my wonderful Bucks County, Pennsylvania, ground guy—the terrific Michael Biafore—and drove again to New York. And then it hit me. Why do we have to stain them darker? Just cannot we just go away them brilliant and clean and mild?

bona natural seal traffic hg
Previously mentioned: To the rescue: Bona’s Organic Seal and Visitors Hd combo.

Which is just what we did. Mike applied a coat of Bona’s Purely natural Seal to seal the floor—turns out that stain also serves the function of sealing, so we wanted a thing crystal clear that would provide that goal. And then we shielded it with a couple of coats of Bona’s Website traffic High definition in Added Matte. The effects are even much better than I imagined—and make a incredibly complex, Scandinavian glimpse, the light-weight floors juxtaposed versus all the dark clever Esherick woodwork.

detail of oak floors with bludot walk in the park white oak dining table and poly bark wishbone chair
Earlier mentioned: A view of the dining area.

My only problem, at the time, was that we had just bought a couch with gentle-wood legs and a light-weight-wooden eating table, pondering that it would be important against the dim flooring. But the good news is that the “honey” legs on our BenchMade Present day Skinny Fat sofa and chaise search beautiful towards the bare-wood-hunting flooring, as does our BluDot Stroll in the Park white oak eating desk. Whereas right before it felt like the dim wooden was all the notes of our home’s composition, now it is as although there’s all these light woods acting like layers of base notes so that the darkish woods of the beams and the Esherick woodwork can truly shine as a standout melody, with no the total house experience overwhelmed.

oak floors with benchmade modern sofa and tom dixon fan chair via lightology
Higher than: The honey-coloured couch legs are in harmony with the unstained flooring.

Closing point I’ll make is that in our previous Brooklyn condominium, which experienced medium-dark stained flooring with a seemingly absurd quantity of ridiculously shiny finish applied on major (not our accomplishing), which appeared to scratch if you appeared at them funny and the scratches confirmed, with the raw-wanting flooring, which I’m scared we’ve by now scratched a couple of occasions, you really do not recognize except if you are looking. And the scratches somehow appear organic, far too. Or, extra honestly, they never wind up my Sort A self as deeply as they usually would, given that they mix in a little bit far better. Which is anything.

The whole working experience has turned me into an unstained-wood evangelist. Now, when I listen to good friends are refinishing their floors, I pretty much-too-enthusiastically try to sell them on the unstained route. And I’m wanting for other approaches to work unstained wood into my Do-it-yourself renovation assignments, so continue to be tuned. But mainly, for now, I just gaze lovingly at the unstained floors in our new-to-us home and truly feel their bright glow warm my coronary heart.

For much more reworking intel, see:

Reworking 101: What to Know About the 4 Most Common Wood Floor Finishes

Reworking 101: A Guide to the Only 6 Wood Flooring Styles You Need to Know

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