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Nightmare on Elm street.

Wait a minute, last time I checked I lived on 9th, not Elm.

The very short story version of this excruciatingly long and lengthening daily floor renovation story is:

There is a feature strip to my floor. The feature strip was supposed to be a deep rich chocolate and caramel ebony/mahogany/whateverogany wood. The floor expert said, “Don’t worry, keep a piece of furniture, any example you want, we can match it, we can stain a fir feature strip to make it look like anything your heart fancies. Then you can have exactly what you like and not have to worry about finding the correct exotic grain. We do this all the time.

The honest truth is he lies like a rug.

As it turns out, commercial stains come tinted with certain universal tints in certain percentages. The deep dark walnuts contain a black which turns fir green and the red mahoganies contain reds which are purplish burgundy. (I completely understand this because I use my lamp black oil colour with flake white to mix beautiful greens and magenta to make lovely lilac shadows) So yesterday I was presented with two choices in varying shades of purple or green or purple mixed with green.

This beautiful rich carved ebony duck is what I want, is what I told the floor expert is what I want:

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Can you see how beautiful this would be next to the colour that my new floor will amber up to over the next year?

This is what I’m being offered:

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Very long letters to the Project Manager, cc’d to my insurance agent, Robbie and my trusted friend Catherine, late night tears over the phone with Robbie, four hours of sleep, several conversations with Project Manager and insurance agent over the day, plus five lost hours driving all over town trying to find stains and combinations of stains, oil universal tints, ANYTHING to produce an orange undertone plus chocolate dark values, whole day lost and nothing gained. It apparently just can’t be done.

Not a word from the floor expert, and Project Manager said, “Gosh Veronica, it looks like you’ve exhausted all the possibilities, so have to settle for the lesser of the two evils.” (meaning sore thumb purple or green next to my beautiful amber, or no feature strip definition with the whole floor amber)

I said, “No James, I’ve only exhausted the possibilities which you told me to exhaust and now I want every floor expert in Vancouver coming by tomorrow trying to figure this out!!!” (Yes, I was raising my voice here)

So then I had a cup of tea and a think and…

Hey, these are oil universal tints in a stain base…what the hell…I’ve got oils in my studio.

Then I took a raw piece of floor up to the studio and look what I can do:

(top piece of wood is my custom painted raw wood piece, bottom piece is the stain variations wood piece I’m being told I have to settle for, all sitting on the piece of floor to be…hmm)


So let’s get this straight.

This is a Craftsman house…right?
Craftsman houses were all about…well…craftsmanship.
About hand made, hand painted, hand carved…in short, craftsmen taking pride in their craftsmanship.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have it in mind to paint and stain and basically craft my own feature strip!

The only problem are a few unknowns, like: how the high gloss varnish will act on the oils, or will the oils bleed past the feature strip. Here is another, rather sloppily applied coat of oils for the purpose of experimenting. Varnish has been dripped on it and we can see it is clearly spreading the wet oils. I’ll try again tomorrow when the oils are a bit dryer and come up with a solution.


So there you are. One frustrating 48 hours later and a possible solution at hand. New floor experts are still coming by tomorrow and next Tuesday, but I have a feeling I’ll have this all hand painted by next Tuesday. Myself. My own craftsmanship. My own expert medium. I’m excited about this prospect. Maybe I’ll paint a little ladybug in a corner, or a butterfly sitting on the feature strip.

How hard can this be! 🙂

Comments: 4

  • June 28, 2013

    Go Veronica!! I definitely believe that you are on to something wonderful and I love the idea of hiding a little critter somewhere in it. I had a friend who collects eclectic china (nothing in her cabinet matches and it’s wonderful) anyway, her whole shelf collapsed breaking every piece. We were both heartbroken–however, she then picked up all the pieces went to her garage and made a mosaic on her garage steps and her patio with all the pieces–it is so beautiful!! And it makes me smile every time I see it.

  • June 28, 2013

    You are amazing!

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