Monday, November 21, 2011

Nothing Like a New Floor (Not Yet, Anyway)

My formal living/dining room is still in disarray. But it's coming along so beautifully. I'm giddy.

Not quite a Kermit flail, but not bad.
To recap: My Beloved Spouse ripped all the carpet out of our large front room. Ten days before Thanksgiving. Which we're hosting this year. With no idea of what would replace it. Got that?

I was not quite this calm when it happened.
BelSpouse considers wall-to-wall carpet one of the top five worst inventions of the 20th century. Remind me to give you the whole list manifesto sometime - it's fascinating. In any event, replacing the carpet with more carpet was right out. Tile was also out; we have tile throughout most of our house, and I hatehatehate it. Maybe I wouldn't if it weren't crappy cheap tile that we inherited when we bought the place. But it is, and I do. And I don't want more of it.

Isn't that lovely? Like being in a public bathroom every single day!
 Hardwood floors would be lovely. And expensive. And believe me, if I had enough scratch to call up the local hardwood flooring people (do they have a name? Woodies? Floor-jockeys? Hmmm...) and say, dudes, get over here and install 300 sq ft of polished oak floor and clean everything up before Thanksgiving Day, that's exactly what I would have done. But so far this year I already have a new roof and a new car. And I didn't budget for two rooms of hardwood floors because someone decided that bare concrete was better than old carpet. Wait...nope, that line item is not in my ledger.

Food? Electricity? Such luxuries!
Vodka?...Seems reasonable.
Now, BelSpouse and I had talked about tearing up this carpet. And we had talked about maybe acid-staining the concrete as a hip and trendy alternative. You know, at some point. When we were ready. And didn't have a dozen people coming over for Turkey Day. Then he decided to be Man of Action and attacked the carpet with a box cutter.

Oh, the humanity.
This is a stock image, not our actual carpet.
I just like how it kind of looks like entrails.
Here's the thing about acid-staining concrete. It works best on a pristine, spotless, flawless surface. Which we didn't have. Here's what we had:

Glue swirls, tack-strip divots, and a Siamese kitten. All hard to get rid of.
 If we'd had a couple of weeks to work on all the spots and crud and holes, I think we could have gotten the floor in shape to stain. But we didn't have a couple of weeks. We had basically a few evenings and a single weekend because BelSpouse decided to pull out the carpet 10 days before Thanksgiving. Have I mentioned that yet?

Then I remembered the Crafty Chica. She created an amazing glitter floor in her studio and provided instructions on her wonderful blog.

Are you SERIOUS???
 Look at beautiful thing! Glitter floor - are you kidding? WANT! Of course, I knew there was no way I could go full-on sparkly like that. Unlike the Crafty Chica and teenage vampires, I'm not a full-on sparkly kind of person. Also, I think BelSpouse might have killed me. And then who would have cooked the turkey?

Still, with that wonderful inspiration I decided to try her technique. I got a garage-floor epoxy kit (in tan) and three colors of glitter - gold, bronze, and black. I snuck it all into the house because I was afraid BelSpouse wouldn't let me put garage paint and glitter in the front room (which doubles as his library). It was going to be a surprise! Precocious Daughter busted me as I came in the door, however, and I had to swear her to secrecy. Oh, also, I was scared to death I was going to royally screw it up and I did not need the added pressure, thank you.

I felt good about my decision. Really.
 What I liked about this whole epoxy-and-texture finish, in a word, was opacity. Unlike a transparent stain, which was going to show every inch of imperfectly scrubbed and repaired floor, this treatment is pretty forgiving. We still did a bunch of prep - scraping off glue residue and patching nail holes in the concrete, and a ton of cleaning that basically involved flooding the room and scrubbing it with noxious-smelling chemicals - but in the end we got nowhere near pristine. My whole life I've gotten nowhere near pristine. It's sort of poetic that way.

Anyway, I told BelSpouse and PDaughter to stay the hell out of the room while I worked, and I started the process. The tan epoxy went on nice and easy. Then I sprinkled on the little colored flakes that came with the kit because I thought they were interesting and would cover up even more potential flaws. And then I grabbed my bowl of mixed glitter...and filled the air with sparklies.

It was just like the ice-sculpture scene in Edward Scissorhands, only without Johnny Depp.
Who was sorely missed, I must say.
 I gave my floor a light-to-moderate dusting of glitter over the matte color flakes. And event then, oh, my gosh, it was scary. I was picturing disaster in my mind, to be honest. Instead, what I ended up with was this:

I must have scrubbed away the cat.
It's sooooo shiny! And pretty! And it sparkles ever so softly. Here's a closeup that isn't great, but it'll do:

It looks a little like terrazzo tile, which is so damn perfect for my planned Mid-Century Modern Monkey Art decor. It's just gorgeous, frankly, and I love it.

The only thing I don't love about it is that it's not actually done. There's still about 100 sq ft or so left to clean and paint, not to mention the poly coating I need to roll on to make sure we don't track glitter all over the damn house. Can I get it done, and all the furniture replaced, by Thursday? Hell if I know. I figure I can just tell people, "Look over here. No, not there, don't look there. Look here. Isn't it pretty?" These are my loved ones. They expect a little crazy when they see me.

And then later, after the sweet potatoes are eaten and the turkey carcass is made into soup, I can attend to minor details like new paint, curtains, and light fixtures. Or maybe I'll just pin some monkey art to the walls and call it perfect.

Perfect and sparkly.


  1. haha, that's AWESOME! I was totally going to offer that as a plan B, but decided that no normal person would actually do that inside... guess I should have realized that my logic actually made it a perfect solution for you!

  2. Looks fan-tas-tic!



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