Entries in Renovations (15)


All Mixed Up


I never would've dreamed that picking a floor stain could be such a complicated process. I mean, sheesh! My vision for our floors was something rich, but neutral… deep, but not too dark, with a variation of high/lowlights to enhance the grain of our oak floors. To my dismay, not a single one of the testers I tried delivered exactly what I was looking for. Serious issues, I know.

Luckily, I recently stumbled across an article about mixing stains to create custom pigment cocktails. It sounded super risky yet fascinating at the same time, so I decided to put my money on a formula which consists of 50% Jacobean and 50% Ebony (both by Minwax).

Although these two stains didn't work for me on their own, their combined forces completely knocked it out of the ballpark!

The mix of hues intensified an array of tones in the red oak.

*Something to keep in mind – Make sure you use an orbital sander when sanding down parquet flooring (We have parquet in our living/dining room, and strip planking throughout the rest of the apartment). A regular drum sander works well on on straight beams, but its linear sanding belt could gouge cross-grain scratches and potentially rip out the intricate multi-directional wood panels.

The hybrid pigments also brought out the deeper walnut trim that borders each room.

We topped off the gorgeous new color with three clear coats of water-based polyurethane. (Oil-based poly tends to give off a yellowish tinge.) I went with a semi-gloss finish that shines without looking glossy, and does a beautiful job at sealing and preserving the natural texture of the floorboards.

I am sooo happy with this beautiful transformation. The new color wonderfully compliments and unifies all the different rooms in our home, and it also sets a lovely backdrop for Chris' new obsession: Rugs. More on that later!



We all know that home improvement projects usually come with their fair share of headaches and hiccups (and maybe a heart attack or two). You just have to roll with the punches, BREATHE, and decide when to and when not to compromise. I've been learning firsthand that it's much easier said than done, but completely vital to surviving the process.

So... unfortunately, some custom materials that I insisted we "needed" for our home turned out to be backordered for several months. I was not a happy camper when we first heard the news, but I was also unwilling to to compromise on something I really wanted simply for the sake of wrapping up this project. This decision forced us to place key portions of our renovation on hold, which meant that we would have to live with the mess of the remaining work for a while.

Is it frustrating? Absolutely. Are there days when I just want to come home to a finished apartment already? Of course. Am I regretting the decision to wait things out? Not one bit.

The important thing to remember is that this is all temporary, and that there is so much to look forward to right around the corner. In fact, this past month has been such a blur of crazy that I actually appreciate- and probably really needed- this brief intermission. 

"Phase 2" is slated to kick off in a few weeks, and I know it's going to be completely worth the wait! In the meantime, since some of you have been asking for updates, I will start sharing snippets of what's been going on as we continue to settle into our new home. It's been pretty darn amazing so far :)

First up - Floors! Stay tuned!


Picture Perfect

There is a pole in our living room, but it's not what you think, people. Nobody is makin' it rain up in this club. This is actually a mounting device for a badass laser tool that was used during the installation of our picture frame moulding.

Applying picture frame moulding is a simple way to elevate and add definition to your walls. Since these decorative frames are visually outlined by your floor, walls, and ceiling, it is essential to make sure each panel is mounted symmetrically. Any lopsided lines may cause the rest of your room to look unbalanced. A good old-fashioned tape measure and level can do the trick, but I thought it was pretty neat how the lasers cut all the guesswork out of this project.


The dual-axis projector is calibrated to zap perfectly perpendicular horizontal and vertical beams onto the wall. This creates a precise layout for the moulding.
Work in progress. Looking good!
Voilà! Lovely, impeccable picture frame moulding.


BTW- My jaw dropped when I saw how gorgeous our parquet flooring looked post-sanding! I'm almost tempted to keep it as-is and let the red oak shine in all its glory. But I will do no such thing :)
More later!