Today my hubby and I got our Christmas shopping done for each other in one fell swoop.  We bought him a wood planer.  Sound like a guy-gift? Normally, yes.  Except the first thing he’s planing with his new toy is the wood for my new kitchen floor. My.new.kitchen.floor. I can’t adequately describe the thrill I feel at that thought.

We’ve had our current vinyl floor since 1993 when the house was built. In that time it has sustained a few hundred knife-gouges from dropped knives.  Thousands and thousands of footfalls (and scuffs and thumps) have caused the edges of the vinyl where the floor meets the carpet to curl and chip away.  The floor by the dishwasher is also chipped  and discolored from several mini-floods. Since the damage has happened bit by bit over many years, we’ve just put up with it. It certainly isn’t an earth-shattering problem, but truly it is beat.

In talking about what to replace the vinyl with, John and I nixed the idea of laminate.  Our family is HARD on stuff, and we want the distance between ‘pretty’ and ‘destroyed’ to be more than a few millimeters. Since we like the look of wood but wondered about the potential for water damage, we thought about wood-looking ceramic tile.  It is a bit cheaper than full thickness hardwood, and some of the newer wood-looking tiles are really nice-looking.

But when it came right down to it, I realized I really really really want solid wood.  For the warmth, for the durability, for the sheer beauty.  I want it rough enough and tough enough and imperfect enough that if somebody drops something heavy and makes a big fat ding, I can just shrug and call it character.

Problem is, solid wood flooring is spendy.  After talking it through, John and I came up with a plan.  A few years ago he owned a sawmill, and during that time he milled the wood from a variety of trees into boards.  He’s already used a lot of the woods that you’d typically think of using for flooring, like oak and walnut.  You can see some of his projects here and here. But he still has a lot of elm, just like in the picture on the left. Isn’t it lovely? He has enough, we think, for a solid wood kitchen floor.

All John needed to get going on this project was a planer, to smooth the rough planks into barefoot-friendly flooring. So, today we went Christmas shopping for both of us, and now the planing has begun. I’m so.very.thrilled.  But I guess I mentioned that already, didn’t I?  I’ll keep you posted.  🙂


  1. Oh how exciting! I love wood floors and can’t wait to replace the CARPET IN OUR KITCHEN with wood. We bought our current house a few months ago and nearly every single inch of this place has carpet, even astroturff on the front porch and back deck. Oh the adventures!

    • We had carpet in our kitchen when I was growing up too. Don’t you wonder why people put carpet in kitchens in the first place? Folks who do that must be much less inclined to mess than my family…

      • Even more baffling–carpet in the bathroom, in homes where there are boys!

        Wood floors are also much easier on the knees and feet than ceramic tile. I am sure they will be beautiful.

        • For people who live in cold-weather states, it was all about warmth, even the carpet in the bathroom.
          I will do just about anything to keep my house warm on a -40 degree day. For me – heavy drapes, small house, and rugs on wood floors are all in an effort to keep the heating costs down and keep us all warm.

      • When my kids (or I) spill something in the kitchen now I just shrug feeling hopeless as to being able to actually clean it. To Fern below, sadly there is carpet in our bathrooms too, and i have three very young boys 😉 needless to say, I don’t walk around my house barefoot! My husband and I are quite tempted to rip it all up and try painted subfloors.

  2. Good call on nixing the ceramic tile with such a large family. We had ceramic tile in an old house, and anything breakable that drops on it SHATTERS. As in a million pieces everywhere. We have Corelle dishes that are supposed to be durable, and they broke whenever we dropped one. Glasses, bowls, jars, etc. I vowed I would never have ceramic tile in the kitchen again. Wood floors (which we had in the dining room of that house) is a much softer landing for breakables. Enjoy your new floor!

  3. Isn’t there something so wonderful about having wood that you’ve worked with right from the tree? OUr home is built of local timber that my husband logged, sawed, and then built with his dad. A planer would be his ultimate dream gift! Looking forward to seeing it all installed in the kitchen! Merry Christmas!

  4. So my question is…..how is my hubby going to help you put in a tile floor if it’s not tile? 🙂

  5. I’m sure John would happily accept wood-floor assistance and advice too, if Chris is game! I think he’s done a lot more wood flooring than John has.

  6. If yours comes out anything like the one in the picture, it will be absolutely beautiful.

  7. We are in the middle of installing a maple floor in our great room and hallway. It is looking beautiful. I was so happy to rip out the carpet. We have slate in our kitchen and I love it.