Finding Our Home and Hardwood Floors Part 1

I’m still getting used to this blogging stuff, so thank you for your patience on this post!

The last few weeks have been busy but exciting with finalizing renovations and getting the green light to move into the house.

I started to type the Hardwood Floor Post “with a bit of our home search story weaved in.” That quickly turned into me blabbing about finding our house instead of the hardwood floors.

So. I promise, promise that I’ll post this first as a teaser and then get right to the Hardwood Floor Post. Think of this as an intro or as a 2-part story, because they do go together!

Finding Our House

We purchased our first home about 2 ½ months ago and got the keys about 6 weeks ago. Since then, it’s been an exciting and busy adventure!

The day we first toured the house, we admittedly hated it. It was outdated and smelled strange. There was floor-to-ceiling wallpaper in the powder room, wallpaper borders in others, horrible carpet on the second floor, buttercup yellow (flat) paint throughout the house, outdated fixtures and appliances… the list went on. It screamed “work.”

One redeeming feature of the house was the hardwood floors. Even on our first visit, we saw past the glaring flaws of the house and appreciated the real hardwood floors throughout the entire main floor. They were in decent shape. The color wasn’t ideal (read: ’90s), and it did have some major scratches. But they were hardwoods.

Four-inch black scratch mark on hardwood floor
No, that’s not a scuff mark. That’s a huge black scratch in the floors. Even the hardwood floor guys said they’d never seen a scratch like that.
Another 2.5 inch deep scratch in the floor
Deep scratch in the hardwood floor that definitely requires sanding

We saw three homes that day with our real estate agent. We just been outbid on a house in the same neighborhood the week before, and it took a surprisingly emotional toll on me. I was crushed to lose that house. I really thought that was “the one” and could picture our family there.

By a strange stroke of luck, there was another house for sale in the small neighborhood with the exact same layout as The House We Lost. We’d seen the pictures online before and hadn’t even considered touring it. Even through the pictures, you could tell it needed a lot of love: it was the Ugly House.

We weren’t really interested in a fixer upper, but I wanted to see it. In some strange, twisted way, I thought it would be therapeutic to go see the Ugly House, pretend it was The House We Lost, and live vicariously through being there.

Bad idea.

Floor-to-ceiling bathroom wallpaper
It’s like you can see him thinking “This room isn’t really happening.”

The moment we walked in, I was just wanting for The House We Lost, putting its paint colors on Ugly House’s walls, mentally placing its nice details throughout. I was getting emotional again.

But maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea. I’d just make Ugly House into The House We Lost!

My fiancé was the first to discuss after seeing all three houses. “Well, that was a total bust,” he said. “Not one of those is even an option.”

I was crushed. He didn’t see what I did. I chalked up my optimism of fixing up Ugly House to still being overly attached to The House We Lost.

I called him the next morning, like I always do, and said, “Hey, I was thinking about it, and I have a really crazy idea. Promise to hear me out?”

He interrupted me, “I know what you’re going to say. We can fix up Ugly House. I think we should go for it.”


My heart leapt. I was so happy that he was willing to take on this big project.

After a lot of fixer upper math, discussion, thought, and prayer, we put an offer on Ugly House. We had a lot of back and forth with the seller and a completely rejected offer, which led to some anger (from me). Eventually, the seller came back after a few days and accepted our offer.

The joy was overwhelming. We finally got a house!

We quickly got to work researching contractors and scheduling appointments for them to come the moment we got the keys. We. Were. Ready.

It turned out that Ugly House (which was now Our House) was a much better option than The House We Lost all along. THWL was nice, but there were some parts of it I didn’t love. I would have worked around those design choices and compromised my own style (e.g. a brand new nice blacksplash. I didn’t love it. And I definitely couldn’t justify tearing down something brand new.)

Having a house where we could make it our own was the very best decision. It would be more work, but it would be worth it. And, no. I would have ZERO regret about ripping out the carpet at Our House.

“Having a house where we could make it our own was the very best decision.”

Renovation #1: The floors. The hardwoods needed to be re-sanded to get rid of the scratches. That carpet needed to go. We’d replace it with nice neutral carpet.

Removing gross, old carpet to create a new look.
See ya never, nasty carpet!

Deciding a stain color was our next step. I wanted to go with a dark color because I think it looks really elegant.

Our contractors sanded a portion of our dining area and stained 5 different samples of stain colors so we could decide. Here they are:

 We didn’t have a whole lot of time to choose because everything moved so quickly. I’m glad I didn’t have time to dwell on it because I would have overthought it. As someone perfectly commented on my Instagram it’s a hard decision because it makes such an impact. So true.

The amazing thing about the pictures is that they aren’t different stains. They’re not even in different parts of the house. That is the EXACT SAME area. The top image was taken at 7:00 PM when it was dark. The bottom image was at 7:00 AM when the sun was just rising.

And we chose….

Red Mahogany!!

Stay tuned for all the pretty pictures of how it turned out!


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  1. Can I just say that I love that I’m not the only one going through this sort of thing right now! I recently began renovating an old house and every single room needs some measure of work. And the kicker? I didn’t even expect to be moving into it!

    1. Hi Beth! Thank you SO much for visiting and commenting. You definitely are not alone in all this. Renovations are exhausting. No one really tells you that.. It’s not like an HGTV show where nothing goes wrong and everything is magically finished in 14 days. The hard work and dedication will pay off. I stopped by your blog and was so inspired by your beautiful front door. I hope you’re able to keep it because it’s quite lovely. Looking forward to more updates. Keep in touch about your projects! I just posted Part 2 to the hardwood floors post: Enjoy!


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