(A tale of three floors: Original hundred-year old oak, faux-brick vinyl over plywood sub-floor, and light faux-wood laminate.)
In honor of that impending ‘holiday of holidays’ (seriously, Savannah celebrates St. Patrick’s day with a zeal I don’t think even the Irish could match), I want to highlight a story about a little floor and a lot of luck.
Call if the luck o’ the Irish (even if we aren’t Irish): It’s a St. Patty’s Day miracle, featuring my bro, Blake.
(Yep, that’s my little bro. We don’t exactly look a lot alike — even if our hair is nearly the same length. Yuk yuk yuk. Hilarious jokes!)
At about the same time Manny and I bought our house in Savannah, Blake and his LTLIG (“long-term-live-in-girlfriend”), Alyssum, also bought a place in our hometown of Pittsburgh. Fun-fact, his LTLIG and I are LTBs (“long-term besties”) and went to grad school together. She is not from Pittsburgh originally, but moved there for work. Still, she loves it like a native, which is super cool.
As I’ve mentioned before: Pittsburgh is chock-full of GREAT old houses, btw — some in need of a little love. And the city has experienced an incredible Renaissance. Move over, Brooklyn, because it’s basically a hipster’s paradise. (You don’t have to take my word for it, either. Just ask Vogue.) So, yeah… if you are interested in getting a beautiful little home for a song, get thee to Pittsburgh, my friend. (Need more inspiration? Let Maggie convince you. She’s had Apartment Therapy at her Pittsburgh digs not once, but twice!)
Anyway, my bro and Alyssum have been fixing up their handsome 1912 house in Pittsburgh’s South Hills at the same time Manny and I have been fixing up our little stunner in Savannah. It’s been really fun to swap stories and successes. I mean, get a load of their stairs:
TDF, right? The picture on the left is from about a month after they bought the house. When they closed, those stairs were covered in old carpeting. *CRIME AGAINST HARDWOOD!* They ripped up the carpet to find gorgeous, perfectly intact, original wood flooring. They were still non-plussed with the wallpaper. Y’all know I dig on some wallpaper, so I lobbied hard for them to keep it, but they knew better than me. The image on the right is their staircase at present: White and wood, clean and bright.
Anyway, they’ve by this point pulled up a couple of carpets in their house to discover more fully-intact original wood flooring. Jackpot after jackpot. So, emboldened, they set their sights on their glorious dining room:
THAT WOODWORK. Seriously, folks, the whole house is this cute. Anyway, you can’t tell so well in this picture perhaps, but the flooring in here is wood laminate. It’s certainly not terrible, but… you just can’t cover up original hardwood gold. Amiright?
Last weekend, they took a deep breath and got out the crowbar. The result initially seemed to be a mix of good news and potentially not-so-good news:
Beneath the laminate lay vinyl faux-brick tile, which was firmly glued down to a plywood subfloor. Further digging at the edge near the fireplace revealed, though, the original wood floors they had been dreaming about.
This seemed a tepid victory as they remembered all too well the stories Manny and I had told them about ripping up a seemingly similar plywood subfloor in our house — itself a multi-week task, so secured was it to the much-damaged original flooring beneath via an extraordinary abundance of stripped screws.
But they weren’t completely daunted. My bro entered Beast Mode (seriously… this kid runs ultra-marathons for fun), attacking that subfloor. What he learned was beyond good news — the subfloor wasn’t screwed down at all! It was nailed into place, mostly at the edges. And the floors beneath? Another win for the ages: INTACT HARDWOOD!
Stay tuned, folks, for more news from the Pittsburgh syndicate of Savannah Bungalow. Fantastic floor refinishing shots lie in our near future…