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

Martin T. Israel

Editor’s notice:  This is the initial in a series of posts by Sally Kohn— journalist and CNN political commentator, TED chat giver, and style aficionado—chronicling her adventures in remodeling.

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

It commenced with also a lot darkish wood. The household we bought—a late 1700s bank barn which had been transformed into a household in the 1950s with the assist of well known woodworker Wharton Esherick—had, as you may imagine, a ton of dark wooden. Darkish wood beams. Dim wood bookcases. Dim wood cabinets and railings. And dark wood floors. And even with the soaring ceilings and the truth that it was, without the need of a doubt, additional spacious than the Brooklyn, New York, condominium from which we ended up shifting, all that dark wooden felt like a large amount for our reasonably modernist, minimalist design sensibilities. But what could be performed?  We figured a fresh coat of paint and far more upholstered household furniture than wooden furnishings was our most effective hope.

close up of custom wharton esherick counter set against oak floors
Over: A appear at the distinction among the first flooring and the unstained edition.

Then I observed the uncooked wood floors. I’d in no way refinished flooring, so I didn’t recognize that when you sand them down, they never keep the coloration of the stain. Rather, and unquestionably in our scenario, the place the flooring hadn’t been refinished in a long time, when I showed up on a June morning to decide out stain colours for our recently refinished flooring, I was shocked to see what seemed like model new flooring. It felt like stepping into an alternate universe. Like an individual had long gone to the top of a mountain someplace in the pristine Pacific Northwest (I’m not at all positive that’s exactly where our floors are from, almost certainly not, but I think about that all of the prettiest wood comes from there) and laid virgin blonde hardwood afresh underneath our bare feet. It was stunning. And along with the fresh new coat of white paint (thank you Lick White 07 Matt) the complete household just seemed thoroughly clean and vivid and amazing.

And then I was intended to select a stain to darken the floors all over again?  I picked just one, thanked my amazing Bucks County, Pennsylvania, floor guy—the fantastic 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 bright and clean and light-weight?

bona natural seal traffic hg
Above: To the rescue: Bona’s Pure Seal and Traffic High definition combo.

That is just what we did. Mike utilized a coat of Bona’s Purely natural Seal to seal the floor—turns out that stain also serves the purpose of sealing, so we essential a little something clear that would provide that function. And then we guarded it with a couple coats of Bona’s Targeted visitors Hd in More Matte. The benefits are even improved than I imagined—and create a extremely refined, Scandinavian appear, the light floors juxtaposed versus all the dim clever Esherick woodwork.

detail of oak floors with bludot walk in the park white oak dining table and poly bark wishbone chair
Previously mentioned: A see of the eating place.

My only concern, at the time, was that we had just bought a couch with light-wooden legs and a light-weight-wood eating desk, wondering that it would be essential towards the darkish flooring. But the fantastic news is that the “honey” legs on our BenchMade Fashionable Skinny Excess fat sofa and chaise look attractive towards the bare-wooden-searching flooring, as does our BluDot Wander in the Park white oak dining desk. Whereas just before it felt like the dark wood was all the notes of our home’s composition, now it is as nevertheless there is all these mild woods performing like layers of foundation notes so that the dim woods of the beams and the Esherick woodwork can definitely shine as a standout melody, without having the whole space feeling overcome.

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

Ultimate place I’ll make is that in our aged Brooklyn condominium, which had medium-dim stained floors with a seemingly ridiculous total of ridiculously shiny end utilized on leading (not our accomplishing), which appeared to scratch if you seemed at them humorous and the scratches showed, with the uncooked-looking floors, which I’m fearful we’ve now scratched a few periods, you do not recognize except you’re on the lookout. And the scratches in some way appear organic, as well. Or, a lot more honestly, they do not wind up my Form A self as deeply as they generally would, due to the fact they mix in a bit better. That is anything.

The whole practical experience has turned me into an unstained-wood evangelist. Now, when I listen to good friends are refinishing their floors, I pretty much-far too-enthusiastically test to offer them on the unstained route. And I’m seeking for other ways to get the job done unstained wooden into my Do it yourself renovation initiatives, so remain tuned. But largely, for now, I just gaze lovingly at the unstained floors in our new-to-us property and sense their shiny glow warm my heart.

For more transforming intel, see:

Transforming 101: What to Know About the 4 Most Well-liked Wooden Ground Finishes

Reworking 101: A Guideline to the Only 6 Wood Flooring Kinds You Have to have to Know

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