Hard(wood) Choices


As you may remember, one of my plans for this year was to tear out the carpet in the family room and my basement stairs.  It’s a light beige color, and with three kids and a 120 pound dog, it’s just not working.  I thought I had made a decision on what I wanted, but like most things, I felt the need to shop every store within a 20 mile radius around before making a leap.

So, my family room has looked like this:

Choices, choices, choices!

And while I love Pinterest and Houzz and all of the design inspiration at my fingertips, sometimes it can paralyze the decision making process.

For instance – I come upon a photo like this one, that feeds my notion of having hardwood floors put down on a diagonal.

Source: houzz.com via Jenny on Pinterest

Or I discover floors like this – great wide planks with other varied widths thrown in for great interest.

And then when I go back to see my Flooring Guy and share my new ideas, I’m faced with even more choices. 

For example, if I want uber-wide planks of different widths, and I still want solid hardwoods, I run the risk of them cupping with changes in humidity, for example.  Which then brings up the option of engineered wood, and the choices that are available there.

All of these samples are engineered wood.  Beautiful, yes?  My husband was even smitten with the one on the right, because it’s just what he had in mind.  Gorgeous wide planks in different widths – I think the widest plank was 8 inches.  Beautiful.

I don’t know what it is, but engineered wood just doesn’t sit right with me.  Maybe it’s because I don’t trust things like genetically engineered food.  I know it’s supposed to be more structurally sound than solid hardwoods, and definitely a great option for a basement or a home that’s on a slab.  But, there is something about a solid hardwood floor that brings out the purist in me.  I love old homes that still have the original wood floors – loads of character and history.  And I love that you can refinish them more times over than you can with an engineered floor. 

If you’re ever agonizing over this choice – check out the dialog at Thrify Decor Chick when she was contemplating her flooring options.  I think I read every. single. comment.

So, I think I’ve made a decision on my floor – different, but still similar to my original choice back in May.  (Yes, that’s how long this has taken)  It’s a solid maple hardwood floor, handscraped, but not too handscraped.  Just enough to where it has some character to it.  This photo makes it look a bit darker than what it really is, but I love it. 

I know there is controversy surrounding dark hardwood floors when it comes to upkeep.  On the bright side, our ginormous dog has black hair vs. white, so hopefully any doggy dust bunnies won’t be too terribly noticeable.  It can’t be much worse than seeing his black hair on my nearly-white-beige carpet, right?

I think I’m going to ask for a Roomba for Christmas this year…


  • Reply
    Pine Tree Home
    October 15, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    I guess the great thing is that there are so many choices, but it can be overwhelming. I ended up getting solid hardwood from a mill that was about 30 minutes away. The price was comparable to engineering, but I too had hard time deciding if I liked the engineered. My advice would be to talk to as many folks as you can to get what they like and don't like about their floors.
    I decided on wide plank cherry in varying widths. The pattern once sealed is stunning. What I love is how it looks, how it feels underneath bare feet and how it gets a little darker with age. What I had to get used to was that it is a softer wood so dings do show up, but I've learned to love that too.

  • Reply
    Calypso In The Country
    October 15, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    I am having the same type of hardwood decision dilemmas you are having. I am replacing carpet that looks identical to yours and I change my mind almost daily on the wood! Our dog is a light golden retriever so I am definitely going lighter than you are! I LOVE the floor you have decided on! I wish I could go darker…oh well. I think I am going with a medium hickory because I heard hickory is pretty durable. I have to check our Thrifty Decor Chick's post on this too! Can't wait to see your new floor!

  • Reply
    October 16, 2012 at 12:01 am

    We installed a dark hardwood floor a few months ago on our whole main floor and I LOVE it!

  • Reply
    Anne Boykin
    October 16, 2012 at 5:40 am

    Hi Jenny, It's a big decision so don't worry about how long it takes. I'm sure whatever you get will be beautiful! I have real hardwood floors in a medium stain and I love them.

  • Reply
    Lisa @ Shine Your Light
    October 18, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    Oh Jenny, that is a big decision. I LOVE the options you have been contemplating and the one you chose is my dream floor! I am so living vicariously through you. I think it will look fantastic with the colors in your house and even the hardware in your family room. I'm with you on real hardwoods – worth the expense I think, when they will be with a house for decades to come, and have the ability to be sanded and refinished many times over.

    I can't wait to see it!!!! You too? 🙂

  • Reply
    Carmel @ Our Fifth House
    October 19, 2012 at 2:50 am

    Oh yeah – it's a tough decision – you have to go with your gut on this for sure. We had black bamboo floors laid last year and we love them. The dark floor is a little high maintenance but we also had white carpet before and nothing is more high maintenance than that – with kids and dogs! Can't wait to see it all finished!

  • Reply
    Kim @ Savvy Southern Style
    October 23, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Your new floors sound fabulous. Can't wait to see them in.

  • Reply
    Domestic Sweetheart
    October 23, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    Your blog is so pretty! I'm a new GFC follower 🙂

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