Best. Decision. Ever.

Did I ever mention that we closed on our house on Halloween last year? And that the house was pretty much a nightmare to look at? Sweet.
The day we got the keys from our realtor, we immediately went over to the house. After toasting to our new financial burden, we set to work ripping up the nasty carpet that had been there since, oh, the dawn of Western civilization.
The process was not fun. Donning face masks, we sliced at the carpeting and underlying pad, blinking at each other thru the years of dust and potentially hazardous germs we were releasing into the air.

Then.........we reached the subfloor. Now, we stood blinking in disgust at the stains the previous owner had left behind. Apparently he thought "floor" and "pets' bathroom" were synonymous. Add to this a layer of water damage near the back door and well, we were stoked about our new abode.
But before we could attend to this matter, we had some prep work ahead of us. Armed with pliers and a hammer, I went all over our house pulling out carpet staples and pounding down portruding nails. Meanwhile, Mr. FC put screws in areas where the floor creaked (to ensure no creaking once the hardwoods were installed). Then he proceeded to use a shovel tool thingy to scrape away exposed tacks left over from the carpet installation.
After 2 thick coats of Kilz Primer (to eliminate the gag-inducing odors and seal the surface), a day for drying, several tasteless jokes about "hardwood", and a few beers, we were ready to move the boxes of hardwood into the rooms of the house. This is recommended so that the wood can acclimate to the air/humidity. Hardwood boxes = heavy = sore arms = very few "before" photos taken.

While we left the installing of the hardwoods to a professional, we definitely saved some cash by doing the prep work and disposing the old materials ourselves. Yes, the cost of real wood was a big chunk of our budget, but it was by far the best decision we ever made. My year-round allergies also thank us for not having carpet.
Brazilian Cherry (not the best pics, sorry)
3 1/4 inch wide (& 3/4 inch thick) planks with beveled edges:

Some things about Brazilian Cherry:
*Sunlight darkens it over time, as opposed to bleaching it. We get quite a bit of sunshine where we live, so the change was quickly obvious in our case. What started out as a light cinnamon color, has now deepened to a richer version.

*For dog owners, it is extremely resilient. It has stood up so far to our 75 lb dog with huge paws and killer nails. Granted, there are some scratches here and there, but nothing worthy of us disowning Hiro for =)

What about you guys?
What home/condo/apartment improvement have you made that you couldn't have lived without?

16 comments:

  1. fantastic transformation! I love the look of hardwood...(that's what she said). Seriously - next time you should tackle the installation...it's easier than tiling and we know you are a pro at that!

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  2. Katie~Aww, thanks for thinking more highly of my skills than I do. I got queasy at the thought of nail guns and cutting wood and pressure tool thingies. Not to mention the labor part. It would have been nothing for Team Bower Power though!
    LMAO @ "that's what she said"! If you only knew how many times we uttered those words.....

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  3. Lol at katie!

    You guys did a phenomenal job in prep work and choice, good for you in prioritizing real wood!

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  4. Those floors are gorgeous, FC! Kudos to a job well done! *high5*

    And LOL at Katie's "that's what she said." Cracked me up!!

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  5. Love the Brazillian Cherry...we did natural maple hardwoods throughout and about 2-3 years after, the Brazillian Cherry became huge. I secretly wish we could somehow switch it out...I'll get it right in my next house!

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  6. Lovely, FC! Though, I would expect nothing less from you : )

    We couldn;t live without the repainting of our kitchen cabinets. They were a hideous shade of orangey-wood and now they're a creamy white. If only we could afford sweet new countertops....

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  7. Those are gorgeous floors, and a gorgeous pup - I understand now why you definitely couldn't do a white couch with that cutie! We bought new, so haven't had a ton of improvements, just repairs to things like roof leaks. You know, the fun things.

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  8. Aww -- the joys of buying a used home! Phenomenal choice, I love the fact about them darkening, how beautiful! But do tell, how often do you sweep/vacuum? We have life-size tumble-weeds floating around daily, ugh!

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  9. This sounds like my house when we first got it. Only we were greeted by an inch of water in the unfinished (thank God) basement the day we closed...yeah.

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  10. Beautiful and I love shots with Hiro! I have to agree with ripping out gross carpet and installing hard wood floors as the best improvememnt in our house!

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  11. The new flooring is beautiful! We just bought a new home so we haven't made any renovations to it but I could not live without our cherry hardwood floors either. They get dirty in a hurry but they are so beautiful that it's worth it to me!!!

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  12. ITA, Joi! Painting our cabs is up there on our list of HAD TO's or else we were going to move =)

    Half~We have Hiro tumbleweeds, too! We'll be watching TV and, oh look, one or two will drift by. I use our stick vac (The Shark) at least every other day. Sigh!

    Karen~ That's the con of cherry hardwood--every paw & foot print definitely shows. Cleaning those floors are a full time job sometimes but so worth it, right?

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  13. Gorgeous! Love the daker wood.

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  14. I love the floor. Love love love it! What a gorgeous color.

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  15. Lovely! The color is so rich.

    Best decision we made is pretty unglam: It was to get a new water heater. But hoo boy our shower improved about 300%. Seriously. I was having to do a post-shower sink hair rinse.

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  16. beautiful! That floor has completely changed the space.

    My biggest thing is improving the kitchen. At least I'm pretty sure it will be... once we're done and all.

    I love this color.

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Let's get weird up in here.
xoxo
~Freckles Chick~