Hallway The Victorian House

Choosing Our Hardwood Flooring for the Hallway

When Brandon and I bought our Victorian, we knew that the flooring in the hallway on the second floor would need to be addressed eventually. There are a couple of soft spots with noticeable give, and our home inspector estimated that we could probably go five-or-so years before replacement/repair would be necessary. The floor hasn’t gotten any worse in our year of living here, but since we were opening up the back of the hallway and putting in new flooring, we thought we may as well choose new flooring for the entire hall now.

Hallway:  Old Floor

Hallway:  New Floor

Our contractor’s schedule is usually booked up pretty far in advance, but he was able to move our remodeling project up so that construction on the hallway and nursery could be completed before baby number three arrives. Putting in the new flooring throughout the entire hall isn’t as pressing as the rest of the project was though, so with the major work already done, we’ll have our guy back out in a few months to finish up once his schedule has been cleared. I don’t expect our flooring choice to be discontinued anytime in the immediate future, but just in case, we’re going to buy and store the rest of the wood needed to complete the hallway so that everything will match. There is a significant difference in the thickness between the new and old wood, but we’ll keep a runner over that transition for now so that nobody trips or stubs their toe.

Selecting the new flooring material was up to us, so that we could choose the type, style, and finish ourselves. I asked if he had a recommendation for where to look, and he said that he had been referring his customers to a relative newcomer, Floor & Decor. I wasn’t familiar with them before that day, but coincidentally, I had received an email that same morning about their fourth Chicagoland store set to open in Skokie on the 12th. They were interested in working together, and after visiting (and liking) the Lombard location per my contractor’s recommendation, the timing worked out perfectly to partner on our hallway project.

Floor & Decor

Bruce Hardwood Flooring, Oak Gunstock, at Floor & Decor

Brandon and I chose a prefinished wood floor for ease of installation, and we also picked up an underlayment to muffle sound. I was a little worried that the micro-beveled edges on the wood planks would bother me since I like the smooth mirror-like finish of flooring that has been finished in place, but the floor looks great. I didn’t want a jarring change down the hallway, so I chose a color and wood that was similar to what we already had throughout the house: Gunstock Oak. I also went with the skinny 2-1/4″ planks to match the original floor as closely as possible. The hardest choice to make was whether we wanted engineered or solid hardwood. Engineered wood floors cost less, and there are some great quality options out there, but the longevity of solid wood won us over. Hallways are high-traffic areas and solid wood can be refinished multiple times over the years if need be, and it felt like a more appropriate choice for the house.

Bruce Hardwood Flooring in Gunstock Oak, from Floor & Decor

The old flooring still needs to be replaced in the original part of the hallway of course, but it looks fantastic already. So exciting to see the hall being returned to its original state and configuration!

hr 644

Floor & Decor carries ceramic, stone, tile, wood, and laminate flooring, so be sure to check them out if you’re in the market. They offer free design consultations, and their showrooms are large enough that they often have the materials and tools you need in-stock and ready to take home. Floor & Decor already operates 44 stores across the country, and their new Skokie store will have events for the whole family this Friday and Saturday during their grand opening!

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  • Lita
    September 9, 2014 at 9:27 am

    I live in a 1909 victorian home and replaced (well, hired contractor to do it) the upstairs floors entirely (except bathrooms) with bamboo flooring (with matching shade of the original flooring on the first floor) that I purchased thru Floor and Decor.
    Spent about $1500 for almost 1600 SF worth of bamboo flooring (then $1000 for contractor to install them).
    Great investment!

    • Making it Lovely
      September 9, 2014 at 9:56 am

      We went with oak here to match the rest, but I love bamboo, too. We put it in our old house!

  • Rachel
    September 9, 2014 at 9:51 am

    I understand you have 2 kids and another on the way. I understand this is your job now. But is every single post sponsored? To me, it’s hard to believe that the choices you’re making now are really what you would choose if you were working within the old limitations, like budget. Please remember that your readers are trying to DIY and do things within a very limited budget and no sponsors. When I started reading your blog 7(?) years ago, the most appealing part of it for me was that it was relatable and attainable.

    • Peaches
      September 9, 2014 at 10:21 am

      Why would you begrudge someone for making money from doing something they love? Posts like this benefit her home, her family, and provide interesting (AND FREE) content for readers. If you are looking for non-sponored home decor blog posts I know a place you can find some — it’s called the internet.

      • Rachel
        September 10, 2014 at 10:56 am

        Thank you Nicole for responding to my comment. I’m certainly not begrudging anyone their success or trying to start “whinges” – whatever those are, I assume it has to do with whining. Just pointing out that many readers have been with the blog since the DIY days and still look for budget-friendly inspiration that they can use in their own homes. Other posters, no need to explain sponsored posts and ads (which I don’t mind and click-through often to purchase in an effort to support this and other blogs) I work in advertising- I get it.

    • Making it Lovely
      September 9, 2014 at 10:24 am

      I appreciate (and listen to) the feedback, thank you. Please know that I do turn down more sponsored opportunities than I accept, and try to work with brands I have used or would use regardless.

      • Nicole
        September 9, 2014 at 3:56 pm

        I completely understand the need for sponsored posts for bloggers! I have absolutely no problem with sponsored posts. I’ve been reading since just before Eleanor was born and if anything, I feel that the quality of the blog has improved! I follow Making It Lovely because I trust Nicole’s view, so I trust that she won’t abuse the availability of sponsors and will only go with ones she feels fits her blog & readers.

        I don’t understand when people feel that just because someone has a blog on the internet that their voice and hard work should be free for all. Maybe instead of sponsored posts, bloggers should put a paypal donation link on their blog and ask everyone to pay to read? I think that would go over great! {end sarcasm}

    • Rachael
      September 10, 2014 at 10:44 am

      I agree with Rachel. I understand sponsored content like this, where it makes sense (you were going to put in the flooring anyway) but I can’t stand when it feels forced or is off-brand. Some weeks it seems like every single DIY/home decor blog will have a post about cooking, sponsored by Blue Apron, or eating snacks, sponsored by Naturebox. We’re reading to see how you are going to renovate or decorate your home, not what you’re planning on eating (that’s what cooking blogs are for).

      I get that sponsored content pays the bills and I get that there are lots of lucrative offers, but at least try to space it out (it seems like every single post from you is now sponsored) and have the sponsored content be in the realm of DIY.

  • Jessica @ SundayLoves.com
    September 9, 2014 at 10:09 am

    Looks great, Nicole! Looking forward to seeing the project completed!

  • Sayeh, The Office Stylist
    September 9, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    The floor came out looking great!! Great job!

  • Laura
    September 9, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    I’ve not noticed the oak wall-corner protectors, or whatever they’re called, until this post. How charming! And practical. I love to see this project coming together and reading your rationale for choices you’ve made. To my mind design and contractor choices are just as much DYI as doing the work. I had new wood floors installed in my home (because of a water leak) and would have done it differently if I had read this post.

    • Making it Lovely
      September 9, 2014 at 12:09 pm

      Aren’t the corner pieces great? They’re new, but we put them in to match the original ones found down the rest of the hallway. They’re called “corner beads.”

  • Sarah J
    September 9, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    I appreciate most of your sponsored content, especially since this is your job! Also, I live in an old house (Victorian, but LESS fancy :) and parts of it need to be replaced too. The traditional 1/4 sawn hand-finished in-place oak probably isn’t possible for us to go with (can you imagine the cost these days?) so I appreciate seeing how you handled it.

  • Jill
    September 9, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    I dislike the sponsored posts, they make me feel like I’m being conned. However, if it makes you happy and comfortable, you have to make a living. Your blog has evolved into more of an high-end advertisement than how to DIY economically. Perhaps most of your readers like the change.


  • judy
    September 9, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    I have noticed blogs receiving negative comments about the sponsors or ads featured with blogs. I don’t even notice most of them and I certainly would use my own research before buying any product. We recently put 1000 ft. of hardwood in our home and I really really leaned toward the gunstock oak by Bruce floors except in a wider board. In the end we used acacia- a wood just below teak on the jank scale of hardness because of our two huge dogs. I think its great that your talent is recognized by major businesses and I have purchased things that you have recommended-and I definitely shop much more at Target than I had before you featured them. I guess “to each his own” might apply with this situation.

  • Aleksa
    September 10, 2014 at 5:27 am

    Oh god, these “whinges” about sponsored content is ridiculous.

    Why is the online media community held to a different standard than the print media? This is Nicole’s job and a forum that she has curated and fostered for a very long time to excellent success into a blog that speaks of a particular aesthetic.

    She’s not “conning” you into buying anything or even attempting to hide the fact that she is partnering with companies. It’s not force feeding you a product.

    I felt a little disappointed that people were so rude when it is clear that she is attempting to make a living doing something she loves and cares about.

    That’s more than I can say for a lot of people.

    • Margo
      September 10, 2014 at 5:15 pm

      I have no problem with a blog producing sponsored content.

      However, it seems like the majority of posts on here these days are sponsored, and I don’t think it’s “rude” of us, as readers, to provide feedback about them. After all, blogs survive not just on sponsorships, but the amount of people who actually read them! And when I feel a blog has too many sponsored posts (as I feel Making it Lovely has these days) I would rather let the author know so they can keep me as a reader than lose me. And it seems like I’m not the only one!

      Anyways, this is just to say that I think that by virtue of having a comment section, bloggers like Nicole are inviting us to give feedback. And well-meant feedback is not rude, when it is given in a polite and constructive way. Newspapers receive letters to the editor regarding their content all the time, to continue your analogy–comments like these are no different.

  • Lisa
    September 10, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    Corner beads! How charming, I’ve never seen them before, but think we may add them to our house. :) Ours isn’t Victorian, but a mix (my living room is all peacock colors) and I don’t think I can resister corner beads. Thanks so much — yet something else I’ve learned from your blog! :)

  • Amy
    September 10, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    I love the floor and the colour, Nicole! And that molding is to die for! Almoooost makes me regret painting some of ours out. (Don’t tell hubby – that was a big point of discussion!)

  • Jenn
    September 11, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    We have similar issues upstairs in our old house, the wood finished floor is actually old school subfloor which was probably covered with something else. It really needs replaced (something on top), but I am concerned how to tie it in to the stairs and railing, how are you handling this? Thinking carpet. Ugh.

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