I've been posting like crazy lately - but we've had so much going on that it's hard to stay caught up. I just put the girls down for their afternoon naps after returning from the house and stain swatch 101. Unfortunately, as with all old houses, nothing is ever as simple as it should be. When we originally tore up the carpet, we discovered that, although it was a treat to find hardwood throughout the entire house, the stairway had two different types of wood material. The hallway and landings are the same as the rest of the rooms - a 2 1/4" red oak...but the stair treads themselves (the actual flat part of the stair that you step on) is a fir wood. We have learned that this is very common of homes built during the 1940's. The down side of the fir wood is that it is a very soft wood, it dings easily and isn't as durable as oak. The other down side to it is that it doesn't hold the stain as well as the oak...and WILL show wear after about 5 years. Having the two different types of woods means that the same stain looks COMPLETELY different depending on which type of wood its on. We considered replacing just the stair treads and installing new oak ones...but at the price tag of $1800, we decided we would rather just do our best to match the stains (meaning blending two completely different stains for the two different types of wood) and instead put a wool runner on the stairs that will protect them from showing the wear that the fir wood would show otherwise. Aside from the cost of replacing the treads alone, it would mean re-working other aspects of the stairway such as the banisters to balance out the new height of the treads. Long story short, it's a can of worms and we decided we needed to draw the line somewhere. Here is a picture of the runner we have chosen, however, not in this color, but rather a blue/green color with ruby, amethyst and gold accents.
With all of that said, I just returned from testing the two different blends of stain on the two different types of wood and...the jury is out. I'm NERVOUS! They will not look exactly the same...I can say that will all confidence after seeing them. The different grains in the wood and the different characteristics and prior abuse that the wood has taken means different character from stair to stair. The fir wood takes stain MUCH darker, more unevenly and in a much warmer tone. Whereas the oak is a more even grain, more transparent look. We did our best to get them to match...now we just have to wait and see how it turns out. In the meantime, I'm stressing! The oak floors will be stained in a blend of 50% Spice Brown and 50% Ebony stain equating to a very dark with a hint of warm color. Because the fir wood pulls stain so red, they will be stained in 100% Ebony...which I suppose makes sense with the previous equation. Here goes nothing!
Here are pictures of the 3 bedrooms with the floors all sanded and ready for staining.
Above is Gloria's room and below is Rosemary's room.
And here is the guest room/office
They will be finished staining today and will finish coat Thursday and Friday. We can be on the floors (in socks only) over the weekend, but they will need to return to do a final finish coat on Monday. Tuesday the carpet gets installed and the carpenter comes to base shoe the upstairs, reinstall all the doors and hardware and with that, we are ready to start unpacking.
And of course it wouldn't be a post if I didn't include a little update on the family. I took a few pictures of our "living quarters." I have NO idea why Paul and Doris would EVER want us to leave???
Yes, my practically 6 month old still likes to be swaddled! Perhaps because otherwise her arms wouldn't fit in her bassinet???