painted floors… because it’s only paint

My go to phrase when discussing interior make overs and color consults is “It’s only paint”. What I mean by that is if you don’t like the color or style, paint it again… it’s not that time consuming to paint a room (or a floor) and yes quality paint is $50 a gallon but it’s not like you just bought a new couch you can’t return. My house is old, and small for todays standards and although we put new pine floors in the kitchen when we bought the house 20 years ago the floor was looking bad and was starting to splinter. Our kitchen is a high traffic area (beside the fact that I cook so I actually use the kitchen daily) the kitchen has 2 doors to my dining room, a door to the bathroom, a door to my laundry and mud rooms and a door to our living room. So it gets a lot of foot traffic! It was driving me crazy because it always looked dirty….

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like a little dirt path leading you through the forrest! Can you tell where I stand most of the time? To the right of the stove, I spend around 60 hours a month in that spot, most of the time more. Replacing the floor was out of the question, too many doorways to match, bad old floor under the newer wood floor, never mind the fact that we can’t afford it anyway. So my trusty friend paint was my answer. When I first told my husband I was going to paint the floor he was not so sure, mostly because I’m known around these parts for working fast and cutting corners, like say not sanding the old floor before painting it… but in my mind it was sanded by all our feet for 20 years! So I said “It’s only paint!” and started on the project. At first I wanted to do some kind of stencil that repeated but not in an obvious tile style pattern. I found this great floor stencil company Royal Design Studios and fell in love with their stencils, but again, I’m cheap and didn’t want to pay for a stencil when I know I can design one myself so I started sketching designs I thought we could put into Adobe Illustrator and make our own stencil with my vinyl cutter.

I was kinda stuck on the octopus design so I drew up these:

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But it was taking too long, we were trying to make it octopus without being too literal and I wanted to get the damn floor painted before winter… did I mention I’m impatient and stubborn? So I said screw the stencil I’m just going to free hand it and hope for the best and if we don’t like it I’ll just paint over it. So I started with a good quality floor paint and washed the floor really well, if you want to do it the “right” way I guess you could do a rough sand paper over the top but you know whatever works for you.  Just the act of painting the floor made a dramatic difference in my kitchen, it was the best $50 4 hour make over ever! I used only 1/2 a gallon of paint to put on 2 layers of the base coat.

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The main problem for us was the high traffic/we need to use our kitchen part of this project so I painted the first coat early in the morning so it was somewhat dry for dinner time, waited 2 days for it to dry really well and then put on the second coat, waited 2 days before painting on the octopus legs. I did the octo legs in sections so I would paint in front of the stove one day, in front of the fridge the next (always being able to lean over wet paint to grab what you needed… like your purse which I painted in one day and had to climb on counter tops to get to) so the paint could cure and really I’m old and my back and knees couldn’t take more than a couple hours anyway. I started by sketching out the general shape I wanted with light chalk and then filling in with the darker paint.

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If I let my lines get too close or screwed up I would just repaint with the other grey to correct my mistakes. It took me 4 sessions to finish the legs. I then topped the floor with a semi gloss water based Polyurethane. The best thing about the top coat is it dries up quick and hard so no waiting between coats or need to sit a couple days, I painted in the morning and we were walking on it at night. The only problem was that the gloss hid the pattern a bit when the light hit it, it  did deepen the color and make it really lush but the glare was kind of a bummer so I went back to the paint store and topped it off with a flat Polyurethane to finish… and now I can stand at my island cooking and feel pretty psyched that I have a truly unique kitchen floor that doesn’t look like shit.

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