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A Patch-Up Job

When we pulled up the wood flooring from our home’s foyer, our intent was to 1) ultimately tile the entryway (especially since knocking down all the wonky walls left large gaps in the hardwood) and 2) use those tongue and groove planks to patch other areas of the home. We thought, pssshh! No problem. This will be great!

We very carefully piled the remnants in the guest room closet (tucking them back to back, as to not scratch the wood surface), and once the contractors finished up, our goal was to tile the foyer, patch the living room and studio floors and – ta da! – celebrate with a dinner on the town. However, as the contractors’ stay become much more extended (and our self-imposed to do list grew longer and longer), we decided to have a talk with Mike (the head honcho GC) and get his input on our very well thought out plan (ha!).

After discussing what patching the floors would entail – pulling out strips past the gaps themselves, so we could essentially layer in the “new” planks – and, again, realizing that not only was our personal time valuable, but it was becoming very scarce, we decided to hire Mike and his team to complete the task. The cost of the additional project felt minimal compared to other items we could be checking off (ahem, the basement!), and while we’re looking forward to tackling a tile job and other TBD flooring in the laundry and guest rooms, Scott convinced me that the skill of floor patching is something we could live without.

Fair enough.

It’s felt like a long time coming – everything from our bright-eyed, bushy tailed first day selves, to our demolition excitement and finally to our alright, let’s wrap this up! phase – so let’s quickly fast forward to how the main spaces (the living/dining on the first floor and the studio on the second) are looking now:

Above, you can see that we started with a drywalled half-chimney surround on the left (the chimney was, for some reason, taken apart only halfway, then covered up with drywall; this was surely due to cut costs) and another slim floor-to-ceiling drywall bump out on the opposite wall which covered a support beam. After we demoed all the drywall and lathe, Mike’s team pushed that support beam into the wall, giving us a flush finish, finished tearing down the remainder of the chimney and widened the nook room doorway (on the left). Of course, taking down that room divider left us with large gaps in the flooring, which is where our entryway tongue and groove planks came into play.

Below, we have a different story. This was a much larger tear down job, leaving us with – oh, easily – 4′ of gaps in the flooring. The contractors filled these gaps flawlessly – but not without a few surprises along the way…

After our mini vacation, we came to find out that the entire job came to a halt (hence the confusion when we arrived home and wondered, wait, why are all of Mike’s tools still here?) when the abundance of entryway flooring didn’t match up with the second floor. Rather, it seems as though throughout the years, the previous owner replaced the flooring throughout the two apartments at different times, going room by room or as money allowed. (We get that, we totally do; no fault there.) However, with every new flooring job, a different but similar looking manufacturer was used. While it seemed nearly identical just by looking at it, the tongue and groove from the entryway no longer matched the second floor, and tracking down the same manufacturer would have added time and money onto our already lengthy construction project.

We reviewed some options with Mike, and after discussing other areas of the second floor where we could salvage wood, he suggested that we pull up planks from our bedroom. Scott and I are planning a wall of built-in closets, so while it’s not the most ideal scenario, there’s a great chance you will never see the wood underneath the (so far non-existing) closets. We crossed our fingers as he pulled up a single test piece to start, then heaved a sigh of relief when – yes, yes, yes! – it matched the flooring in the studio. From there, he pulled up several more planks to get what he needed:

Stepping back (for just a moment!), when we do begin closet installation, we can always cheat the remaining planks of wood from the entryway (Mike suggested that we shave off the tongue and groove altogether, then simply nail it into the floor), or we can rough-patch it in with 3/4″ plywood, giving the closet a solid surface to sit on. In either case, you’d never see the floor, so that’ll have to be a decision we make down the road.

You might remember that we pulled the second floor kitchen out of the bedroom, which explains the shredded drywall in the photos above. We also weren’t surprised to find sticky blue laminate under the hardwood, as well as large gaps of sub floor that were never leveled properly. (We suppose this is due to the fact that it was underneath a sink? Regardless, we’ve become used to uncovering quick-fix jobs.)

And now, just as the hardwood in the first floor living and dining rooms flow seamlessly, so does the studio. This finishing touch – while it hardly seems earth shattering – is, actually, amazing in our eyes. Libby no longer trips over the gaps, and we’re no longer walking through the center of the room only, as if the walls were still in place.

It’s very obvious that there is still quite a bit of clean-up to do, most of which can’t get started until the contractors officially load up their van and drive off into the sunset … But until then, we’ve been trying to maintain the dust with a microfiber mop and a quick swipe of our most used surfaces (the kitchen island, countertops, stove and desk). We know, it doesn’t look like it, right? The drywall dust is no joke.

No matter; the end is near. De-plastic day is just around the corner (!) – can you feel it, too?

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  • Julia@Cukoo4Design11.22.13 - 7:02 AM

    What a renovation journey! Love how you deal with all the issues.
    Looks amazing! And yes I can feel it!ReplyCancel

  • Kim11.22.13 - 8:01 AM

    Wahoo, thanks, Julia!ReplyCancel

  • Laura @ Rather Square11.22.13 - 9:23 AM

    This transformation is amazing. And good call to steal some flooring from the bedroom. We’d also like to install some built-in closets in our bedroom (right now we have a weird long narrow closet room that we would like to just tear down the separating wall and do our own thing) so I can’t wait to see what you do with yours.ReplyCancel

  • Jenna11.22.13 - 12:10 PM

    The floors looks great! And I love the pictures of Jack sunning himself. So stinkin cute!ReplyCancel

  • Hannah K.11.22.13 - 2:23 PM

    I CAN FEEL IT!! I am so darn excited to see what you crafty kids come up with for your new abode with such a blank slate!!ReplyCancel

  • misie11.23.13 - 10:40 AM

    whoo hooooo!!!! it’s looking good!ReplyCancel

  • Eric11.28.13 - 10:55 AM

    The hard wood floors are looking amazing, especially with the white walls and the brick corner. Also, the dog is absolutely adorable and he looks so happy in his new space! :)ReplyCancel

  • Amy12.9.13 - 4:24 PM

    You’ve made such progress! I don’t know about you, but posts like these (or just blogging in general) helps keep me sane. It’s nice to step back and look at everything you’ve done.

    Great work! :)


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We’re Kim + Scott, Chicago based content creators behind the Home + Lifestyle brand Yellow Brick Home.

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