Let's start from the beginning. I decided that I didn't want to have carpet in the apartment, and asked that they not install it in the living and dining room. They agreed, and this is what I walked into:
Literally 60+ years of carpet pad residue, dirt, and God knows what else caked onto the subfloors. I thought that I had really gotten in over my head. At this point, I had the chance to say, "never mind, give me the carpet" but the head strong Artie said - "no, you can do this!" and I asked them to just leave extra pad for my rugs. This was the first of 100+ times throughout the weekend where I was wrong.
They didn't leave extra pad. They padded the entire apartment with the padding up to the tack strips. It required my measuring and cutting for the rugs then pulling it all up leaving just the pad size that I needed. While it was a lot more work, I thought that having it tacked down was actually a really good thing. So, after taking 2 hours to do what should have only taken me 30 minutes, I started to clean up.
I'm not kidding you. This was so much worse than the pictures are showing you. It was awful, and took me an entire day to clean and scrape, and pull up nails and staples (some rusted from their original install 60 years ago). I wore a respirator, but I still feel like I have swallowed a bucket of sand. Finally though, it was all clean. Ready to apply the flooring. I decided to go with the hardwood look vinyl plank and not the paint ... until, the flooring wouldn't stick!!
I'm not kidding.
So, completely dejected I sat with my head in my hands. LITERALLY crying. I didn't know what to do. I decided that painting had to be the way to go, since I couldn't get the flooring to stick.
Here's where I have to take a very small moment to thank my friend, Brian. He called me during one of my crying spells and came over to help find a solution. With an extra set of hands, it made the process much faster! That's him painting the primer in the dining room.
Two coats of primer later, I took Brian to the bar for a glass of wine, and then I came back Sunday morning to put down the color I had custom matched. White floors seemed too modern for this space. They felt out of place. So, I picked a color that I thought was a close match to Tara Shaw's dining room floors:
They're not quite gray, not quite white. There was a beautiful in between that I found called "New Concrete" that on the color chart for the paint looked to be perfect.
I hated it. Hated every stinking square inch of it. It was the color of a basement floor, and the apartment looked cold, and unwelcoming. Even I tiptoed on the floor trying to not get it dirty, but inevitably leaving behind foot prints. Not to mention, once I got the seagrass rugs down, it looked even worse.
Granted, these photos are dark. I took them between cursing about the whole process with my iphone, but I think you get the point. It was just disappointing. Brian and I talked about painting the floors black, but I had reservations. There were no other options, though. I had resolved to go and get black paint today. Then Brian had a thought: "I wonder if the flooring will stick to the floors now that you've prepped them so nicely?" What could it possibly hurt?
I'll be damned! It worked! Now, here it was nearly midnight. I looked terrible with my puffy cry baby eyes ...
But I was determined to make this work. (P.S., that photo was taken earlier in the afternoon after I realized that I hated the painted floor, but before I found out that the wood laminate would work. I think I had a bottle of champagne at brunch, by myself.)
I ran to the current apartment and picked up a few dozen interior design books to weigh the floor down.
I went back down to the apartment this morning and it was a TOTAL success! I laid as much as I possibly could before work, and plan on trying to finish up tomorrow after work. Then I have to paint the baseboards, clean the walls, touch up the paint there, hang curtains, and we'll be back in business ... 4 days behind the schedule I wanted to keep.
So what are the positives here? I said there were positives, didn't I?
Firstly, I found a beautiful dining room table for the dining room:
Isn't it beautiful!? I love this piece, so much! I also bought a rug for the bedroom:
This is going down over the carpet that they provide in the apartments. Dealing with the floors in the living room and dining room was hell enough.
I was able to move the rug, the table, and all of the other crap to the new apartment in my new car, which is also a blessing, and made the drama of the weekend much more manageable. (It has nice seats for crying.) So, unfortunately I had planned on teasing you with photos of the living and dining room completely floored, with curtains up, and a new light fixture in place, but life had other plans. I think we are back on track, and I should have some photos by the end of the week.