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Recently, friends and family stalked my Facebook page as the Great Apartment Search of 2013 reached a climax. Will she get the apartment by notice-giving time? Omigod!

With four hours to go on notice-giving day, yes, it happened. But I’d been picky, and rightly so. As a renter, I have a lot of antiques and funky mid-century-style modernish furniture. It’s like Mayberry meets Mad Men up in here, and I had a dream of finding a space that really would play home to both sides of the charm.

Not just ANY apartment would do. For instance, carpet was an immediate no-go. I have well-loved area rugs in storage, but I have hated carpeting this past year.

Now my quest has concluded. The winning space doesn’t just have hardwood floor, it has immaculately recently-refinished hardwood from the 1930s. I don’t even know what kind of wood it is, as the agent doesn’t know, and I can’t even find a wood sample on any site, anywhere, that looks like mine. It’s a heritage space with heritage floors.

Soon, streaky cherry and honey-gold hardwood floors will shine in my space on sunny days.

Oak Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood floors from under the carpet into the spotlight

I know I’m blessed. Not many renters score such quality flooring. Some foolish management companies think they need to cover hardwood with carpeting, but so many floors are easy to sand for a refinishing, topped with stain-fighting sealants. Hardwood truly is a resilient, strong product.

I’ve never understood carpet over wood floors in a space you plan to keep owning for the long haul. It reminds me of when my mom decided to throw out her “everyday cutlery” and use the good stuff daily. “What’s the point of having it if you don’t enjoy it?” she asked.

And that’s true for hardwood floors. When you fall in love with hardwood, you fall hard. There’s really no look that compares. It’s expensive for new homes, and desirable in old homes, but either way, it’s a timeless look that some of us just can’t live without.

Whether you’ve got old 8” or 10”-wide dark wooden planks or golden-yellow 2” oak strips, there’s a reason hardwood’s found in homes often best described as “character.”

Reclaimed hardwood flooring

As a kid, I grew up in a massive “American farmhouse” style home built by my mom and dad. From designing it to roofing it, my folks did it all and with great care. Our home was three floors and about 3,000 square feet. My dad worked restoration and construction on the side of his day-job as a teacher, and one day got wind of an old house being demoed. He got right down there with his crowbar and tore up all the mid-century oak floor.

Suddenly, our big, old, retro-style farmhouse built in 1974 was filled with this amazing well-worn, character oak flooring circa early-1900s. We had it throughout the formal entertaining and dining rooms, with oak parquet flooring in the rest of the common spaces.

There’s a throwback, too. Parquet. Remember when parquet flooring was everywhere? Somewhere along the way, it seemed “dated” and not in a good way.

Now, though, you get a look at nice parquet and it’s got a charm little else on the market today replicates.

Restored wood flooring

One really can’t stress enough how amazing wood floors look, from any era, when sanded and refinished. There are species out there that we can’t find in flooring these days, and it’s worth keeping an eye out for demolitions of homes that might have old flooring, like my pops did, especially when you’re okay with having different styles throughout your home.

Whether you invest in new flooring, including a lot of the engineered hardwood available today, or you score some classic plank floors from a building being torn down, there are incredible stains and sealants on the market that will keep you protected for years, if not decades, to come.

Many floors are easy enough to install yourself, but there’s nothing wrong with hiring a wood-focused flooring expert to make sure your floors get the best love, and fit, they can.

Flooring is a critical consideration

In a couple weeks, I’ll be going from bargain-basement off-gassing carpets to refinished 1930s hardwood floors in immaculate shape. I go to bed at night dreaming of waking in my new space with the sun shining and gleaming off those character-filled floors all around me.

When you really care about your home, flooring is a critical consideration. If you don’t like your floors, I guarantee you, that’s something you stay conscious of every time you clean or pad around barefoot. Trust me, I’ve learned this myself after a year of being in a space with poorly-lain gap-filled sub-floors under cheap carpet.

For the first time in years, I’ll be in love with a space from floor to ceiling, because when people love their hardwood floors, it shows.










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Steffani Cameron

Steffani Cameron is a Victoria BC-based writer on a variety of topics. Here on the BuildDirect blog, she specializes in writing about smaller, urban spaces. How do you make the most of your smaller space? How do you decorate it to suit you? And how do you wage the war against clutter and win? This is Steff’s specialty.