Saving Etta: Why I Couldn’t Save the Original 1900 Wood Floors

The day I realized I couldn’t save Etta’s original wood floors was one of the roughest days during the demolition phase. By then we discovered that most of the flooring in the north bedroom was too water damaged to reuse. The floors in the south bedroom were in better shape, but they were covered with a glue down linoleum flooring.

Sadly there wasn’t a sure fire way to tell if they would be salvageable after removal of the linoleum. I decided to proceed with demolition and try to salvage as much of the wood floor as I could. But during demolition almost every board we pulled up cracked and splintered as we freed them from the floor joists. Because there was no subfloor, the wood had been exposed to the crawlspace for more than 100 years. Time had taken a toll on them, and they were officially shot. After assessing the situation with the flooring, it became clear that the original wood floors weren’t salvageable. I may have cried a fair amount as I watched them being piled up for trash.

This next picture is hard to look at. If you can’t stand seeing antique hardwood floors being destroyed, look away my friend …look away.

Before they were hauled away, I grabbed as many boards as I could fit in my truck (hoping to be able to use them on another project.) For now, those planks are stored away in my garage.

What I Chose Instead:

Fast forward several weeks and I contacted Impressions Hardwood Collection, a local flooring distributor, about being a Saving Etta sponsor. I explained to them my predicament and they graciously invited me to their local office to see the samples of their flooring. With so many beautiful options to choose from, I knew it would be hard to make a decision. But, I brought two pieces of salvaged flooring from Etta to try to find something that would be fitting of a house built in 1900.

As I began looking through all the beautiful samples, two stood out from the rows of new shiny wood flooring. I pulled them and saw that they were both from the Elegance series. The grain on the wood was beautiful and the finish was almost an imperceptible flat finish.

Chris explained to me that the Elegance series is wire brushed to enhance the grain and it has a low luster finish.

I was instantly in love with the Elegance flooring because it looked old, not shiny or new.

Both the wheat and flint colors looked similar to Etta’s original flooring. Ultimately, I chose the Flint color (the darker of the two) because it has that dark aged wood look. I could not be happier with this decision. Suddenly, what had been a dark cloud over the flooring loss, became a silver lining after discovering this beautiful solid wood flooring. As a bonus, I was thrilled to be partnering with a local family-owned flooring distributor who offers quality flooring to their customers.

Wood Flooring  Installation:

As you know from the last Saving Etta update, the tile floors were being installed while the Elegance Series wood floors acclimated to the house. Why is this important? Impressions Hardwood has a great blog post explaining why you don’t install wood floors right after delivery.

After the delivery of the flooring, I couldn’t wait to rip open the boxes and gaze on them.

After ten days (and after the tile floors were in), it was finally time to install these beauties! I hired a local flooring contractor to install the wood floors and they did a phenomenal job.

Of course, I had to resist the urge to clean off those sawdust foot prints until the job was complete.

Pretty impressive when the living room view transitioned from this:

to this in a few days:

I leave you to drool over these beautiful photos of the Impressions Hardwood Collection Elegance Series solid wood flooring in Flint stain color.

They look so good against the vintage hex tiles! Both look like they could be original to the house, right?!

But, hey, look here! They go great with modern tiles too!

And this photo legit makes my heart skip a beat! The new floors with the original pine door from 1900. I can’t handle how gorgeous they look together (even though people will talk, saying that door is a cougar and way too old for that young handsome floor. LOL.)

Are you in love with these solid wood floors? Can you forgive me for having to ditch the original floors? Have you seen all the other flooring options Impressions Hardwood Collection has to choose from?

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Impressions Hardwood Collection in exchange for their sponsorship of the Saving Etta project. I was not told what to write. All opinions and ideas are my own. As always, I am very particular about the brands I choose to work with. You will always be notified if you are reading a sponsored post. 

Faking Wall-to-Wall Carpet with an Area Rug | Pretty Handy Girl

The closet renovation is coming along nicely, even though I’ve only been able to work on it in fits and starts. After I added a new light switch for the closet, I added any missing insulation. Then I filled any and all gaps with Great Stuff. This closet had always been very cold in the winter or super hot in the summer. I decided to climate control the closet as best as I could while the walls were open. Then I closed up the walls with sheet rock and painted the small closet. You would not believe how well sheet rock (aka drywall or wall board) insulates! When I added the last piece, it made a huge difference in the climate control in the room. Who knew?!

Every room we renovate, we like to leave little messages in the wall or on the floor. The boys and I had fun drawing before adding the carpeting.

Faking Wall-to-Wall Carpet with an Area Rug | Pretty Handy Girl

The closet dimensions are just under 5′ x 8′ which is perfect for an area rug. I wanted the closet to be as comfy and inviting as possible for the boys, so I settled on a super soft chenille shag rug.

I also purchased enough carpet padding from Lowe’s to line the closet floor. In the interest of climate control, I bought the thickest padding and opted for the Stainmaster brand to resist spills from seeping through to the subfloor.

Ready to get started Faking Wall-to-Wall Carpet with an Area Rug?


Faking Wall-to-Wall Carpet with an Area Rug | Pretty Handy Girl

  • Utility knife
  • Scissors
  • Metal ruler or straight edge
  • Sharpie
  • Staple gun and staples (1/2″ – 5/8″)
  • Area rug large enough for your space
  • Carpet padding


Lay the carpet padding on the floor. Line up two edges and fold the other edges up against the wall.

Faking Wall-to-Wall Carpet with an Area Rug | Pretty Handy Girl

Use a pen to draw along the corner where the wall meets the floor.

Faking Wall-to-Wall Carpet with an Area Rug | Pretty Handy Girl

Cut the carpet pad to size. Read more

Bali Dream Deck for Thompsons Water Seal | Pretty Handy Girl

Last month while most of the US was under heavy blankets of snow and ice, I flew to Dallas. I was hoping to find warm temperatures and lots of sun. And if I couldn’t find any, I’d create my own with my sister, Caitlin’s help. Thompson’s WaterSeal asked me to design a dream deck and told me to bring an assistant. Normally I work alone, but when I need help with design and décor I know I can always count on Caitlin. Some of you may remember when Caitlin and I worked together on renovating this beach condo. Caitlin is the talented designer behind Symmetry Designs.

Bali Dream Deck for Thompsons Water Seal | Pretty Handy Girl

When we arrived, the weather was mild, but we were still craving some warm sunshine. We decided to create a Bali getaway destination on our Thompson’s WaterSeal Deck. We started with a clean slate deck pre-stained with Thompson’s WaterSeal Semi-Transparent Water Proofing Stain in a beautiful Acorn Brown color.

Bali Dream Deck for Thompsons Water Seal | Pretty Handy Girl

Joining us were Beckie from Infarrantly Creative with her assistant Erin and Ashley & Jamin from The Handmade Home. They also had a blank slate deck to design.

Bali Dream Deck for Thompsons Water Seal | Pretty Handy Girl

The first thing Caitlin and I did was paint a giant white mandala “tattoo” on our deckRead more

How to Refinish Wood Floors without Sanding | Pretty Handy Girl
How to Refinish Wood Floors without Sanding

I love our antique heart pine floors! They are beautifully distressed. The round pegs and square nails securing them in place add loads of character. However, the square nails sit flush with the surface preventing us from ever being able to refinish them with a sander. The nails would tear up the sandpaper in no time. But, that’s no problem because I know a way to Refinish Wood Floors without Sanding!


How to Refinish Wood Floors without Sanding | Pretty Handy Girl

From time to time, our floors start to look dull…

How to Refinish Wood Floors without Sanding | Pretty Handy Girl

…and the scratches are more noticeable. This is when I know it’s time to refinish them.

How to Refinish Wood Floors without Sanding | Pretty Handy Girl

The first time I refinished our floors, it was several years ago when we were painting the office and dining room. I decided to try to refinish the floors because the rooms were already devoid of furniture. Several neighbors had recommended Bona® Hardwood Floor Cleaner and Bona® Hardwood Floor Polish. I was skeptical, but the results were beautiful floors that had luster, but still showed their beautiful age.

Before and After Finishing Wood Floors without Sanding | Pretty Handy Girl

The Bona® Hardwood Floor Cleaner did a fabulous job of cleaning the floor without damaging them. And, the Bona® Hardwood Floor Polish provided a strong finish without any waxy build up. The high gloss protective layer adds some shine, but isn’t overly shiny. The polish also fills micro-scratches, evening out the appearance of the floor.

How to Refinish Wood Floors without Sanding | Pretty Handy Girl

Fast forward to this past week when Bona asked me to write a sponsored post for them, I jumped for joy because I already use and love the Bona® Hardwood Floor Products! (Here’s my full disclosure: Yes, this is a sponsored post. No, I was not told what to write. And yes, I probably would have blogged about my experiences using Bona® Hardwood Floor Products at some point anyway. Win-win.)

I highly recommend trying the combo of the Bona® Hardwood Floor Cleaner and the Bona® Hardwood Floor Polish before spending huge amounts of money to have your floors refinished. (Bona® Hardwood Floor Cleaner & Polish will not work on floors that have an oil or wax coating. Test in an inconspicuous area to be sure it will work for your floors.)

Here’s how to Refinish Your Wood Floors without Sanding:


(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Instructions for Cleaning the Wood Floors:

Remove all rugs and furniture from the room. If you have heavy furniture pieces that are never moved, you can leave them in place.

How to Refinish Wood Floors without Sanding | Pretty Handy Girl

Vacuum or sweep the floors to remove all dirt and debris.

How to Refinish Wood Floors without Sanding | Pretty Handy Girl

Assemble your Bona® Hardwood Floor Spray Mop as shown here: Read more

Faux Weathered Gray Wood Grain Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

A year has flown by since I laid our Globus Cork glue down tiles in our kitchen. I wanted to check back in and let you know how they are holding up.  I must say this is one of my favorite (if not THE favorite) fixture in our kitchen. I had some minor doubts because some people feared that dogs and cork floors don’t go well together. Or that rambunctious boys would ruin them. Well, I’m here to report that after a year they still look the same as when they were installed!

Update: Our Cork Floors One Year Later | Pretty Handy Girl

I can tell you that there has been lots of chair scraping. Lots of matchbox car races. Lots of wrestling and plenty of Buddy sliding on them as he runs to retrieve balls.

Update: Our Cork Floors One Year Later | Pretty Handy Girl

I have yet to see a scratch anywhere! The only mark that I did manage to make was a small dent when I dropped one of the heavy corbels and it hit the floor right at the pointy edge. But, I can’t even find that dent to be able to check on it.

There is also one dip where I must not have filled a knot hole in the underlayment. But, it is barely noticeable unless the light hits it just right: Read more

How I Re-Built My Own Kitchen (after a leak) | Pretty Handy Girl

2013 Could be called the year of the kitchen renovation in our house. Or the year that nearly killed me. Or the luckiest year of our lives. I’m still debating the title. What I do know is that, I decided to take on my biggest DIY project to date. I re-built my own kitchen from bare studs and subfloor.

It started one morning as I was confronted with a foul odor. It’s only describable as that odor that usually lives in the high school gym locker room. I thought my 9 year old son’s feet were starting to stink. Unfortunately a stinky pair of shoes wasn’t the culprit, it turned out to be a very minor leak that turned into a very big kitchen renovation. We persevered through 45 days without a washer and dryer and many months without a kitchen. But, it was like being a contestant in Survivor. I lasted the year of construction; the set backs and sore muscles; and in the end I was rewarded with a brand new kitchen!

Today, I walk into our beautiful kitchen and I know it was all worth it! It was worth all the sweat equity, the daily Advil doses, and the tree falling on the house. If you want to reminisce with me as I recap my kitchen renovation of 2013, here’s your ticket to all the tutorials and posts: Read more


Hey everyone, I have a very special guest for you today! Her name is Caitlin and she is a fabulous interior designer. She lives in the San Jose, CA area with her wonderful husband and their two adorable daughters.
She and I share a similar design style and I use her as my sounding board. (Maybe more often than she would like.) She’s arguably one of my best friends, but she and I have been known to fight on occasion too. I also know a lot of embarrassing things about her, but she’d kill me if I told you them like she used to be able to belch like a full grown man when she was TWO!
Why am I embarrassing this poor gal? Because that’s what sisters do! It’s true, she’s my littlest sister and Caitlin has agreed to fill in for me on occasion when I need a break.) Please welcome her with open arms (or I’ll have to beat you up…that’s sister talk for you better not mess with my baby sis.)
Hi everyone, this is Caitlin, a loyal admirer of Pretty Handy Girl from the start.  One might argue that I am one of her biggest fans.  Thank you Brittany for allowing me to pop on over and visit you and your Pretty Loyal followers.  As an interior designer, I am a sucker for all things home design and today I wanted to give overdue attention to the workhorse of our homes.  Day in and day out the floors we walk all over don’t get enough love. Sure, the walls are the first place we typically think of dressing up with paint, wallpaper, artwork and stencils.  But many times our poor floors get covered up and forgotten about. Not anymore! Today we are celebrating those hardworking horizontal surfaces we couldn’t do without.  Here are my top fifteen picks for hand painted floor treatments and even one for those of you afraid to commit.  But be warned, you’ll love these floors so much you might want to get rid of all your furniture just so you can appreciate them even more. Read more


One of the best decisions I made in our kitchen renovation was adding cork tile flooring. I was exuberant when Globus Cork agreed to work with me on my kitchen renovation! Now that they are installed, I am in total love with the cork flooring. It is warm, water resistant, cushy under foot, attractive, and best of all the two tone tiles help tie the different wood floors in our home together.


The light pine flooring in the living room matches nicely with the lighter natural floor tiles. And the darker golden oak color tiles match our darker heart pine floors in the rest of our home. It’s as if the differing wood floors in our home are woven together in the kitchen.


The installation of the cork tiles was fairly easy (if you are precise). The prep work was a bit tedious, but worth the effort. Read more