Finding buried treasure
“Hey babe, I think I just found hardwood under the carpet!”
This inspiring statement was the result of Johnny pulling back the the baseboard molding in preparation for what was intended to be a relatively minor, two-wall paneling project. The discovery he made changed the scope of that project completely. Two full weekends worth of work later, we are finally just wrapping up the downstairs rooms that have been completely and unrecognizably transformed.
Johnny found the floors on Saturday, and by Sunday he was like a little kid waiting for Christmas, unable to contain his excitement for opening the big-kid present that was the hardwood underneath his carpets. In a last-ditch, desperate effort to be responsible adults, we dug up the previous homeowners’ phone number and called them to make sure that the floor beneath the carpet was sound. It was. Next thing I knew, the carpet was being peeled back to revealed the most beautiful, weathered, 100-year-old original hardwood floor I had ever seen. It was rough and had clearly taken a bit of a beating over the past century, but we saw nothing but potential.
When we bought the Farmhouse, it had beautiful, dark hardwood throughout the first floor, except for two of the three downstairs bedrooms. Also, the entire upstairs master loft is carpeted. Carpet is not my favorite, and replacing the flooring in the two downstairs rooms was definitely on the renovation list… but far, far down on a long, long list that includes remodeling the upstairs bathroom and adding a dormer to the roof over the loft.
Still, I was determined to improve the downstairs rooms in what little ways I could, and I started with a room I felt was acceptable but decidedly mediocre - the guest room. I don't think anything in life should be just mediocre, much less a room in an otherwise adorable Farmhouse dotted with special details at every turn. Much MUCH less a guest bedroom that was visible from the sunroom through a gorgeous pair of interior French doors. Something had to change… hence, the shiplap project. I thought that the addition of two bright, cottage-like walls could really update the space. Little did I know how much.
The extremely weathered condition of the hardwood beneath the carpet left us with some dilemmas. Do we keep the floors as they are, or do we paint them? If we paint them, what color do we use? I absolutely loved the look of the original wood, but even I had to admit that the floors left as they were would have distracted from the overall clean and bright feeling of the room.
Red. We wanted to go red, kind of in the way that a 16-year-old girl wants to get her nose pierced. It might look great, really edgy, and be the talk of the town. It also might be a complete disaster; a huge, obvious, painful mistake.
But in our moment of doubt, we took our cues from one of our favorite places on earth: "The Romantic Retreat," otherwise known as Cottage #33, at Crystal Cove State Park.
These historic and hard-to-reserve cottages adorn the Newport coastline, having been homes for many years to a group of people who called themselves “Covites.” After a decades-long battle over the land, they were eventually forced to vacate - but they struck a deal with the state so that the area could not be developed, and the cottages were preserved as a moment in time, in all their original, early-century glory. Each of them is steps from the ocean, and they are rented out for overnight stays to quick-on-the-draw tourists on the first of every month at precisely 8:00 AM. Reservations are for six months in advance, and by approximately 8:01 AM, every available reservation in each cottage for the entire sixth month out has been spoken for.
We have been lucky enough to stay in Cottage #33 several times, and were completely inspired by the opportunity to bring its charm, complete with the iconic red floors, into our own home.
So, we just went for it. (Finding Persimmon Red by BEHR helped convinced us, too.)
So here you have it, the official before-and-after shot. Combined with shiplap walls, the bright white interior, and the medium wood accents, I think we are on our way to achieving the cozy, cottage feel that the Romantic Retreat evokes. With some more decor pieces coming soon in the mail and Crystal Cove-themed images ready for hanging in the frames on that photo wall (Johnny swears it’s his last), the room is almost like stepping into another time altogether.
The sight of the bright, vibrant guest room is now one of my favorite things to catch a glimpse of when passing by. The interior black door leading in from the living room doesn’t stay closed quite as often now, and when approaching the room from the other side, the view through the French door windows is now among the best in the house.
Our guest room began as just okay, but now we love it so much that we are starting to feel a bit like it puts the other rooms in the Farmhouse to shame. I guess it’s time to start tearing apart the rest of the house… who knows what else we will find in this 100-year-old gem!