The Dining Room Floors are Done! Raw Wood With a Matte Finish.

The dining room floors are sanded, sealed and finished.   They’re also perfect.

On the morning of August 26th I sank into my couch with a cup of coffee in my hand.  It was the Sunday after my street’s annual block party, which means the rest of my neighbours were still sound asleep or creeping quietly into their bathrooms in search of aspirin.   The neighbourhood was quiet and it was a moment I should have savoured.  I should have sat quietly like everyone else reflecting on the night before; the baskets filled with charred, herbed street corn, the plates of salad and lawn chairs dotting the road.

I didn’t sit quietly.

I began ripping up my wood floors. On a whim. The way a normal person would buy Honey Nut instead of regular Cheerios on a whim.

It started by lifting one piece of flooring to see what was underneath out of curiosity and ended with me ripping out all of the wood floors on the lower level of my house to reveal the original pine below.

It was 3 months ago that I lifted the first floor board and just a couple of weeks ago I managed to get the last coat of finish on my final floor, the dining room.

The finished dining room floor turned out to be very different than the foyer or living room floors because it didn’t need to be professionally sanded.  There was no finish on it and it it was fairly smooth.

It was hidden beneath a layer of perfectly respectable, relatively old, oak strip flooring.

I wanted to retain as much of the original patina and discolouration as possible and the only way to do that would be to hand sand it as opposed to having a professional come in with a big sanding machine.  It’s the   the imperfections that make this floor perfect.

The square patch right under the dining room table that looks like an escape hatch for instance is my favourite thing.  I have no idea what it’s doing there, but I like it.

That’s one of the areas I had to repair actually. One of the boards was completely cracked and none of them were particularly stable, so I fixed that.  In the process I had to lift all of the boards of the square up which was about as terrifying as removing my own intestines.

You see, underneath my dining room floor is a dirt crawlspace.  Which we all know is where mice, rats, centipedes, spiders and poltergeists live.

Turns out there was nothing crawling around under there so I’m considering turning the “square”  into a trap door and building a box underneath it for storing things like heads.

I mean potatoes.

This is what my dining room floors looked like before, with the oak strip flooring.


As I said they were perfectly respectable.

A bit shiny.  A bit orange.

Now they’re a lot more stained, a lot less uniform and a lot less shiny and orange.


Later, probably in January I’ll do a post on how exactly I finished the floors and what products I used and why.

But for now I’m just going to sit quietly and savour the moment.

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The Dining Room Floors are Done! Raw Wood With a Matte Finish.


  1. Megan Geiger says:

    Lol I don’t know why it bugs me so much but the oak is running opposite of the pine so it looks like your flooring changed directions!

  2. Katie C. says:

    Those oak floors are definitely respectable, but the pine floors are more you, Karen. I love it.

  3. Tracy Martinez says:

    I love them and the perfect imperfection!

  4. Maryann says:

    I have serious envy for your dining room. Perfectly respectable before (as you pointed out) but you had the vision to take it to fabulous. Wow!

  5. Joe says:

    Being an x floor layer, the floors look pretty good to me Karen. If i may i deserve a little credit due to the fact that i gave you the “get off your butt” comment hee hee, that possibly motivated you. Just kidding Markus the Trump genealogist.
    Congrats, way to go Karen and everyone have a lovely weekend!


  6. judy says:

    former floor-mediocre,conformist and not pretty,new/old floor like its’ owner, original,daring and who combines glamour with awe inspiring feats of accomplishment that would challenge a football linebacker and who seems not much larger than Tinkerbell. I applaud you with a standing ovation. And I wish my 8 bookcases looked just a little bit like yours. If this seems too effusive it comes from a 78 yr old who finds rising from a chair an athletic event.

    • Karen says:

      LOL. I hope once I’m 78 I still have enough energy left to get in and out of a chair. At this rate I’ll have used all my energy up by the age of 60. ~ karen!

  7. Cussot says:

    A pomme-de-terrarium. The technical term.

  8. Jen Topp says:

    I LOVE it.

  9. Bonnie Harris says:

    Our 1895 small-town-Ontario house looks quite stately from the street, but it has a partial 6′ basement under the kitchen with a trap door on the floor for entry. The rest of the house has a 3′ crawl space just enough for vents for central heating and the only access is through a square cut out in the old wood floor in the main front hallway. Just like yours, so maybe at one time it was your access? When we bought the house 3 years ago, we wanted to see down there to make sure it was dry. We had to pry up the floor boards in the square and then nail them back down after. I love battered up old wood floors, and have really enjoyed following your project, Karen.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Bonnie! And yes I suspect that’s exactly what my square is for. It’s where the duct work runs for the “newer” part of the house. ~ karen!

  10. p says:

    perfection, really!

  11. Renee says:

    Your floors look beautiful. You’re so brave! On another note, I wanted to let you know that last year I bought the coat you recommended and have been wearing it this winter. I get at least one compliment a day on it. I love it! It’s warm, I love the placement of the hand pockets, and all of the other pockets are great for carrying things around. And the zippers! Love them too! Thank you for the recommendation!

  12. cherie says:

    Wow it looks fabulous – and yes to the hidden storage! I’m so glad YOU love it – thanks for sharing the journey

  13. Cheryl Young says:

    There is always beauty in imperfection.

  14. Marilyn Meagher says:


  15. Elissa Rioux says:

    Fabulous Karen! Definitely worth the effort.

  16. Dan Russell says:

    They look great! And the boards are now aligned in the proper direction. The oak running across the room was discordant. The pine pulls your eye to the bookcase and right up that wall. Nice!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Dan! The floors were all over the place before, lol. Yes, now everything is not only the same flooring, but it’s all going in the same direction. Which is oddly comforting. ~ karen!

  17. Grammy says:

    Stunning floors. I would enjoy every single moment eating in that room, with all the spirits of those who came before to gather round a table and share food, conversation, their lives.

    In a long list of wonderful things you’be done to your home, this may be the best. It would take a lot of nerve to strip the very nice floors you had to discover the character of the house that was. Beautiful.

  18. Vivian Pavek says:

    Karen, my husband and I did basically what u did a year age. We did a 17×16 room that was over 100 years old that when we moved in it had been covered in carpet for all of the 37 years we lived here. Ours ended up being a maple floor but it looks very much like what your does. We have all the wonderful imperfections that make it perfect too! I adore the floor and feel that room has a happy grateful feel being restored to it’s original state of over 100 years ago. Now we did all the sanding ourselves and it was pure dreadful work but so worth it! My favorite room in the house!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Vivian! Sanding is definitely miserable work, and I imagine even harder on maple! But yes, like you I love my floor. :) ~ karen!

  19. Sabina says:

    Gorgeous! Drop dead gorgeous!

  20. Lois M Baron says:

    I just finished reading your egg & toast holder post. Am dying to know: Is ending up living out your life in a van down by the river a Canadian thing?

    So many questions spring to mind when I read that phrase — so funny!

    • Ann Roberts says:


      That was actually a reference to a Saturday Night Live Skit. Very American. Not that Canada doesn’t have wonderful humorous people. After all, we have Karen!!

    • Laura Bee says:

      It must be. I will admit I lived in a 1968 Dodge Dart for a week or two and a van would have been much better.
      And we were actually quite close to the St. Lawrence River in NB. Haha.

    • Kelly says:

      It’s less a Canadian thing and more of a Chris Farley/Saturday Night Live sketch sorta thing.

    • Karen says:

      Lol! No, it’s a famous line from Saturday Night Live. :) ~ karen!

      • Aurigny says:

        Let’s not forget that Lorne Michaels, the originator of SNL was Canadian, as were participants Dan Aykroyd, Howard Shore, and Paul Shaffer, so the phrase could have, and likely was, written by one of them, referring to living down by the Don River under the Gardiner Expressway.

      • Karen says:

        Mmmmmmm that might be a stretch, but O.K. Let’s go with that if someone asks again. ~ karen!

  21. Kimberly says:

    YESSSS! It looks SO MUCH BETTER. So much more “high end”. Which of course 200 year old wood floors are wont to. 🤷🏼‍♀️😆

  22. Kipper says:

    There was a design show on recently where there was a trap door type thing in the mud room. The designer turned it into a wine storage thing! A pulley and rope lifted the “door” and secured to the underside of the door was a box with shelves to hold probably 24 wine bottles, which came up with the door. My only thought was they’d better choose the wine for the evening and then close the wine cellar don’t want slightly tipsy guests bashing into the wine case or falling into the cellar!

  23. Meg says:

    oh WOW that makes an enormous difference. what a lovely floor.

    And thanks for the revelation that orange may be the reason I don’t like “wood” finishes. I don’t mind wood, probably. I more likely mind the fakey overpowering attempt at plain wood. Probably why I like darker finishes as they easily go towards brown not orange!

  24. Suel Anglin says:

    Wow Karen! The floors are magnificent. I love the idea of using the trap door as storage for potatoes. There was a similar door under my great-grandmothers dining room table which had been covered up by one of those ancient asphalt/linoleum “carpets”. It was long forgotten until my cousin removed it to do a similar restoration. I was helping that day and after scraping up the old linoleum and carefully prying the lid open, we found a collection of very old silver flatware. Here’s a picture.

    We think she was hiding it from the Yankees…

    • Karen says:

      That’s so GREAT! How fun to find something! And that’s my current cutlery, lol! I collect it. The spoons that is. Well now I really really want to make a trap door! ~ karen

    • cathy Reeves says:

      that is beyond awesome!!! finding that silverware would be the highlight of my life. Do you know how old it is? what a find.

    • Mimi says:

      Woah! Love that!

    • Grammy says:

      She was surely hiding them from someone! What a wonderful discovery.

    • Katie C. says:

      OMG! That’s amazing! That’s like one of my secret dreams. I’d love to take down a wall or rip a floor and find a treasure.

      I guess I need to buy an older house.

      • Eileen says:

        well awesomeness! All I found when I tore out the basement ceiling in my 1925 bungalow was a meathook…which fell on me…and resulted in my helpers deciding that there were sure to be body parts to follow and hightailing it. There weren’t. I had it hanging in my home office for years until a local theater company was looking for one.

  25. corbin sweeny says:

    gorgeous, really really very nice, and yes, the matte finish was the superb choice. and please do make a special box down there and store a head or two! such fun! love that you are alive, and bother to not only do these things but write about them with pizazz- thanks.

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