Happy Hardwood : Part II (Sealing & Finishing)

Just typing that title makes me giddy. We're so close to moving upstairs...I can taste it! After living in Matt's shop since Friday, we headed up to the house to check out our brand new floors...and as you can see, the girls are in love. It's so fun to run around and not have to stop every 5 seconds to pull splinters out of our toes. 

It's amazing to me how the floors transformed from such a raw state to feeling truly "finished". The satin finish is so smooth and lovely...but not overpowering and blindingly shiny like a high gloss. Our goal was rustic...we did not want a floor that you could see every scratch and every piece of dirt. We wanted a happy, lived-in, scratched up floor :) 

We decided to go with water-based polyurethane instead of oil-based for many reasons. Less fumes, dries faster, and easier to re-coat worn areas. It used to be that people were afraid of putting a water-based poly down because it wasn't as durable as oil...but technology has improved all things. :-) It's extremely durable and the best part is that it doesn't yellow over time. In fact, it doesn't have any color at all. Oil-based has a slightly amber color (even the clear finish)...but water-based stays clear. This was important to me because douglas fir is very warm-colored already. 

We chose Vermont Natural Coatings because they had the lowest VOC count of our water-based poly options. And all the reviews we read spoke very highly of the quality of the finish and how much they loved their floors. I was sold! It was a bonus that they are small company and it's made in the beautiful state of Vermont. Oh...did I mention that it's made out of a by-product of the cheese industry?! So cool. Watch the video above for some history and how it's made. *this is definitely not a sponsored post, we just like it!*

So how did it all happen? We started out by stirring, stirring, stirring. At least 5 minutes per can...to combine all the "stuff". 

Matt poured it on and carefully applied it to the floor. 

Once he found his groove, it went really fast. There is so much research and decision that goes into getting to this point...the actual DOING of it is much simpler than it seems leading up to it. We've learned that several times along the way. 

After the first coat, he sanded the entire thing lightly with 280 grit sandpaper....and applied another coat. It dried super fast and we could walk on it within 2 hours. We had initially planned on only doing 2 coats...but after speaking with retail reps, friends who have used this brand, and calling the company directly...we decided to bite the bullet and do three coats. 

The thing is...we're out of poly. And we have already bought out every single can from McGuckin's in Boulder. Denver is sold out as well. So today we are jumping in the car and driving 2 hours south to Colorado Springs to pick up more cans to complete that third coat. We'd rather have peace of mind and protection than have to pile all the furniture out in a year and do it over! 

Six weeks ago it looked like this. Remember that old carpet? Popcorn ceiling? Dark wood? I do.  But I also had a vision. 

And this was it! Fresh, rustic, and bright. It's home. It's ours. Our hearts are happy. 

I'm hoping the next time I share this room with you will be when we are installing the kitchen. The floor takes 1 week to "cure", so we'll be putting furniture in a week from today! Eeeeeep!

And that, friends, is how you put in a wide plank douglas fir on-site finished wood floor. That's a lot of words. Ta-da!

Happy Hardwood : Part I (Sanding & Staining)

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We are now embarking on one of the most gratifying parts of the remodel...finishing the wood floors! The above photo shows the great room immediately after sanding. At this point, we still didn't know how we wanted to finish them. Endless Google searches and Pinterest wandering ensued (what did DIY'ers do before the internet?!).


We did some testing with different Minwax stains that we already had on hand...probably 7 or 8. None of them seemed right. We headed back to Home Depot and found a new shade called "Weathered Oak" to try. Because the natural tone of douglas fir is very orangey and warm, I was hoping the grey would offset that a bit. Plus, I love grey. Well, most of the time. ;-)

Home Depot on a Friday night. Emma is not amused! "No paparazzi!".

Here is the final round of testing we did. The special walnut was dark, dark brown...not exactly what we were going for. We had initially planned on keeping the wood natural and just putting the clear coat on top. That test is on the far right. However...it just didn't bring out the beautiful grain in the wood enough. Very one-dimensional. And that's when we decided that we LOVED the weathered oak. The grey color soaked in just enough to bring out the grain and create a sort of barnwood effect. (*sigh* oh barnwood I love you). Each piece of wood has a unique color and grain pattern, so it's variegated and lovely. 

We rented a buffer at The Home Depot...and bought a small remnant of plush carpet to cut into rounds to use as the stain applicator.  The first step even before staining was to "pre-stain" the floor with conditioner. This is recommended, especially with softer woods like fir, to help the stain distribute evenly and to moisturize the wood. We used the buffer to apply that as well. 

All set and ready to go...the moment of truth! 

Here is Matt applying the stain in the master bedroom...we used the buffer to apply it in the bedroom and the great room. He applied it by hand in the art room and the hallway. As you can see...the stain goes on very grey. Matt loved me standing there offering my opinion during the process ;-)

"Wait...why does it look like that?"
"Is it going to stay that grey?"
"Are you going to wipe that off more?"

Once I stopped interrogating, it went fairly quickly. And then....

THIS! Ohhhhhhh! I'm in love. I especially like how the grey in the floors matches the grey we chose for our walls (Martha Stewart Cement Grey). 

And so now I just sit and stare at my floors. Look at the beauty! And yes...there is a feather-shaped knot in my main walkway. Do you see it?! This photo shows the cross-sawn marks that the wood has as well. We're so happy with how they turned out! 

Tomorrow I will share how we sealed them and show you the great room all finished! Yay! 

Deeply Rooted :: The Spring Cleanse + Giveaway

I've had my eye on this cleanse for awhile now...and I'm so excited to share it with you! If you've been around for a bit, you know that I've been passionate about good, whole foods for a long time. There is a wealth of my favorite archived recipes and thoughts about food at my blog, Happy Foody. Green smoothies are my fave...and I even sell Vita-Mix Blenders cuz I'm obsessed with mine!  (pssssst...check out the new personal sized blender! so cute.)

Since Emma was born, my dedication to healthy foods has taken a backseat to just surviving life with 3 littles. I happily and intentionally started eating meat and fish again during my pregnancy (after 7 years as a vegetarian), and loved it. Many of you have inquired about that...and the simple answer is that I was sick of following rules regarding my food. I wanted to eat intuitively, and not have to bring my own food to people's houses. I wanted to take part in what they had lovingly prepared. I know that not everyone has the luxury to make that choice. But I did...and it's been very fulfilling. 

With that said...I'm in a rut. Understandably, with our house remodel (and no kitchen), we have fallen into bad habits with "easy" (and unhealthy) foods. Lots of prepared/processed food. Pizza. Eating out a lot. Can you say chips and dip? Mmmmmm. I know that for the most part, we still eat much differently than most people. We don't fry anything. Avoid high fructose corn syrup. Farm eggs. Organic if there is a choice. Almond milk is my BFF. Heck, we even ate only raw foods for almost a year.

But I'm longing for more nourishment. More greens. More depth. More planning. Less throwing something together at 6pm. 

I could try to do this by myself. But it's going to be WAY more fun to jump into this gentle 10 day cleanse with Stephanie and kick-start our eating habits for the spring. And...I'm hoping that I have a new kitchen by then!

I asked Stephanie a few questions about the cleanse...and here is what she said.

I love how you approach cleansing from a seasonal standpoint. How is the Deeply Rooted program tied to the seasons and what will the focus of the Spring Cleanse be?

I have been running cleanses for a few years now and immediately recognized the necessity of connecting our needs for inner healing with the seasons. When we look at traditional Eastern healing practices there is a direct correlation between the seasons and specific organs in our body that need extra support during a particular time. For example, in the Winter cleanse we focused on nourishing the bladder and the adrenal glands. For the Spring we'll be paying special attention to our livers and our gall bladders.

 Each cleanse menu is different, focusing on seasonal nourishing foods that help us gently cleanse our bodies and revitalize our hardworking organs so that we can live with more radiance and health. There is a reason for every vegetable, fruit, nut, seed and herb to be on the menu. In this year's cookbook, participants will see familiar foods like strawberries, asparagus, fresh herbs and other spring favorites and learn how to work with them in simple yet inventive ways.

During the cleanse the focus isn't just on food either. Each daily support letter I write also includes season specific self care practices and tips on how to address our emotional state from a seasonal standpoint. I love showing women how connecting to what nature has to offer on our plates and in our bodies allow us to feel more grounded and centered.

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You seem so connected to the natural world, How do you show others how to reconnect outside of the kitchen and what are the benefits of that?

What I love about this course is that it is so not just about the food! I want women to get excited to nourish and pamper themselves. One of my mantras is "Beauty every day is a non-negotiable". We can bring beauty into our lives in so many different ways: Creating new self care practices, letting go of limiting beliefs, finding a tribe of like minded women to support and be supported by, discovering new ways to adorn our bodies and even our homes.

Each season allows us a brand new opportunity to reconnect back to ourselves. I almost feel like it a rebirth of sorts and in spring even more so! When we connect with the season we are connecting with ourselves. Cleansing allows us to see who we truly are when our patterns are disturbed and we are asked to stretch ourselves out of our comfort zone and into new places.

What advice would you give someone who feels a little apprehensive about joining in on a cleanse?

Oh my goodness, I used to BE one of those people! I thought cleanses were long, harsh and built on deprivation. I also thought that cleanses were for people who were already eating healthy or meditated 8 hours a day or had massive self control. I had so many misbeliefs about cleanses, what they were, why you would want to do one and who you had to be in order to participate in one. I loathe restriction but wanted a way to heal my body in a beautiful way, so I built a cleanse that honors those desires. My cleanses aren't an experience you have "to get through". I am highly skilled in the kitchen and have developed an immense menu, full of delicious dishes for all times of the day. I am passionate about making healing food taste amazing, never bland or boring. Many of my past cleanse participants are surprised at how tasty cleansing can be and don’t even miss the foods we are eliminating.

Cleansing, especially for the first time is one of the most empowering things you can do for yourself! I won't lie, it's not a walk in the park the first 3-4 days but you come out on the other side feeling seriously amazing. Most women discover something new about themselves in the process as well. With me you'll get tons of support and in our private online forum which is full of women who love cheering others on.

 So it seems like your program focuses on abundance, yet we are eliminating a lot of foods for 10 days. How do you marry abundance with elimination during the cleanse?

First, I like to think that what we are doing as a "Gentle Cleanse". This program is not about fasting, crazy restriction or powering through feeling hungry all day long. I’ll show you how to take away while giving you tons of options and I'll show you how to add back in, in a way that allows you to get the answers you seek. There are plenty of ways to get your essential proteins, fats and nutrients along the way, while still eating cleanly. I think that most participants are surprised to see how tasty eating clean can be and that this program is so NOT based in "boot-camp mentality". It's totally possible to approach something big like this from a loving and gentle standpoint and STILL have it be incredibly effective.

Another way I focus on abundance in a time of elimination is to show women all the others way we can nourish ourselves. Sometimes what we are starving is for is really the permission to just. sit. down or take a long soak in a hot bath with candles all around us. I adore sharing alternative ways of taking gentle, loving care of ourselves. It might me a new yoga position, a guided meditation, reminders to go slow or extra encouragement to get outside in the sun for a bit. Seasonal cleansing is self-care in one of it’s highest forms.

* * * ENTER TO WIN! * * *

Stephanie is generously giving one of my readers a FREE spot in this cleanse! All you need to do is comment below on why you would enjoy doing this cleanse with us, and I will choose a winner at random on Wednesday, April 16. Join us for some Deeply Rooted fun!

If you are ready to jump in right now...use the button below to take advantage of the discount for Nesting Gypsy readers. Just $40!!

Stephanie Perkinson is a certified holistic health & lifestyle coach and owner of Wellness by Design. She teaches women how to live "in-season" by introducing them to the magic that each earth-phase holds. She gently guides her clients back to balance on their plates, in their bodies and around their homes. She believes that with loving support, every{body} can find it's way home and become deeply rooted wherever it may be. At Wellness by Design she brings to life online group programs that embrace beauty, creativity and nature as vital stepping stones to radiant wellness.

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Bella Turns Ten


One decade ago, we welcomed Miss Isabella Grace into our lives. She was born into her Daddy's hands in a home waterbirth...weighing in at 9 lbs. 12 oz!  We had no idea what we were doing, but we had a stack of cloth diapers, a bunch of slings, and a boppy. Our main objective every day was to stare at her as much as possible, studying every detail of her little face.

Fast forward...and now we have THIS! A vibrant and shining young woman who is full of life and dreams. She spent almost 4 years of her young life traveling the country...and had more experiences under her belt by age 7 than most do when they are 50!

One particular memory that stands out was in Malibu, California. I couldn't find her for a moment. After determining that she hadn't launched herself off the cliff into the ocean,  I located her...sitting with the neighbors next door. None of them spoke much English...they were from Germany and France. But Bella didn't care. She had taken up a seat around their fire and was animatedly "talking" with them. Eating their cheese and crackers. 

She has always been that way...engaging everyone she meets!

Each flame here represents a year of growth...unique, happy, amazing years. 

Lucy's eyes tell the story here. She wants to be just like her big sister...and wants to be with her constantly, as evidenced by much kicking of doors. ;-) Bella graciously takes her under her wing, and they have many adventures together.

Bella's current passions are many...interior design, fashion design, Harry Potter, Minecraft, singing, dancing, and parkour. She stays up late, sleeps in late, and is growing growing growing. Pretty soon, we'll be sharing clothes and shoes!

Nana and Papa have been at every single birthday party for the last 10 years...and this year was no exception. It was such fun to have them (and my brother Scotty!) in our new home for the celebration...eating meals on scaffolding and giggling at doggie antics. 

Many hours were spent on lawn chairs in front of the fire. Laughing and talking about life's joys and challenges. 

And this. Power rangers and card games. So many card games. Kings in the Corner and Slapjack are favorites. 

Nana and Papa have gone back to Iowa now...and we are back to house projects and welcoming the spring to the mountains!

Happy TENTH year of life Bella Boo!