Monday, December 2, 2013

DIY painted floor

When we bought our house (a former chicken farmer's residence) in the summer of 2012 it needed a LOT of work. While the house it self was structurally in great shape, pretty much every surface needed attention, all walls, floors and ceilings. The most ambitious undertaking was the kitchen floor. The house is a typical 1930s cape, hardwood floors throughout, original unpainted wood trim, cute built in cabinets, etc. We managed to clean up and finish all the floors except the kitchen which was covered in a super gross linoleum. We took down a wall between the tiny kitchen and the dining room which did wonders to open up the space and set to work on that linoleum. We crossed our fingers we would find the same wood floor as the rest of the house when we started ripping that linoleum out, but no such luck. It was a wood floor, more like a sub floor made of planks, but not the same as the rest of the house. We considered all our options; putting in a new wood floor, tile, etc. but ultimately decided on paint. I had always loved a pained wood floor, and with my textile design background I was excited at the prospect of painting a patterned floor. I looked at lots of references online (so many good ones on Houzz!!) and started sketching on graph paper. I LOVE graph paper. We decided on a little geometric pattern of circles and I went to work measuring the floor and laying out the pattern on paper.
Here's a pretty good "before" picture, at this point we had just ripped out all the horrible old cabinets and moved out the appliances. On our side was the fact that it's a pretty small kitchen.
For the paint we used Behr heavy duty porch & patio. I measured out where the edge of the floor would land (since the pattern would stop when it reaches the pretty hardwood floor of the diningroom and laid down the first color, a creamy white.
These photos make the kitchen look ridiculously tiny, but in fact it is about 10' X 11' And man, did that white go down nicely!! Here's a pretty detail of the edge.

Now to keep the cat off of it until the next morning... Next step was the first of the two colors we chose for the pattern, we bought a gallon of a golden caramel color that we thought would compliment the natural hardwoods and then I mixed a bit of that with white to make the third color.
Here's where I ran into a major problem and almost ended up crying and drinking wine all night on the unfinished floor. I laid the pattern out by making a chalk line grid (you know those cool, snappy chalk line string things?) and then penciled in the circles using a template I made out of cardboard. I meticulously drew all those circles starting in the far corner. MISTAKE. When I got to the pretty edge where paint meets hardwood I realized that I was off on the pattern because I had started with a full circle instead of a half circle on the far wall. MATH. DAMN YOU! So, I resisted the urge to drink and cry and got a white eraser (you remember them from art school, right?) and I erased. the. whole. floor. Let me tell you it was an arm workout to be reckoned with. Then I redrew it correctly. then I pained it, freehand with a brush. Then I passed out for the night. Next, the last color!
DONE! Well sort of. After the final paint color we polyurethaned the hell out of it. In the year since this project was completed it's managed to hold up really well, I only wish we would have taken the time to actually do more coats of poly than we did (I think we did two). But I love it and get so many compliments on it. In the last year we've also done a full Ikea kitchen (our second), but that's a story for another time.....

Update!
Here's a photo of the painted floor, one year later + (nearly) finished Ikea kitchen.