Scott said we may need to stop calling The Scary Room, well, scary, because now that it has a floor, it’s looking not-so-scary. Maybe we just call it The Room? In any case, we installed hardwood floors, and it’s starting to lean nice and cozy with that added layer or warmth (despite the lack of trim, but we’ll get there, and soon!).

Our installation was a little different than most, as our floors sloped a good 3/4″ from one side to the other. You might remember that our contractor laid down shims, which are essentially long, skinny plywood strips that are spaced anywhere from 8-10″ apart. The door wall is the lowest side of the room, and so the shims are at their highest; the window wall is the highest side of the room, and so the shims shave down to nothing. There is underlayment paper beneath the shims, and under that is the original 130-year-old pine subfloor. Note: We were unable to add the traditional layer of plywood subfloor. If we had done so, the floor in this room would have been higher than the floor in the studio, causing a slight step up – something we were looking to avoid.

All the hardwood flooring in our home was chosen by the previous owner, and although it wouldn’t be our first choice, we have to admit that it holds up really, really well to our two bumbling Pitties. It’s this 2 1/4″ tongue and groove pre-finished flooring, and because it was already in the main areas of home, we continue to use it for it’s good price point ($3.39/sq. ft.) and ease of installation. Although it’s far from original to our home, we’re still asked by friends and family if it is original, so we’ll take that!

Tools + Supplies We Used:

Flooring nailer w/ mallet
Air compressor
16 gauge 2″ cleats
Wood shims
Miter saw for quick cuts
Table saw for cuts around corners
Finish nailer
Rubber mallet
Pry bar to remove any old flooring
Multi-tool for intricate cuts
Shop vac for cleaning as you go
Tape measure

Here’s a tip on the Husky nailer we used: Rather than rent a nailer at $40/day from the hardware store, Scott bought a refurbished nailer from eBay. It was half the retail price, and we figured that we could either use it for future projects, or we could sell it. Our refurbished nailer came with all the essentials – a fiberglass mallet, base plates and oil – and it hooked right up to our air compressor. (On a side note, we’ve been using this air compressor for years, and it has helped us through countless renovation projects!)

Our nailer accepts staples or cleats, but after reading a few articles online, we decided to use cleats based on the reasoning that they allow wood to expand and contract. In our case, we needed to use 16 gauge 2″ cleats, which would be long enough to go through the highest point of our shims (3/4″) plus the thickness of our tongue and groove flooring (another 3/4″).

Phew. Leveling the subfloor, gathering supplies and carrying all that hardwood flooring up the stairs was half the battle, but at this point, we were finally ready to install!

Our starting point was right outside the room, in the area between our door jamb. After updating all of the interior doors (< whoa, flashback!) in our home, there were visible gaps. They’ve been driving us batty for years, and this was our chance to make the transition from studio to bedroom seamless. We pried up the handful of boards that didn’t meet the door jamb properly, and we uncovered and removed some pretty sparkletastic decades-old vinyl in the process! To enable the flooring to tuck as neatly as possible underneath the door frame, Scott used our multi-tool to raise the level of the jamb so that the new flooring could tuck neatly underneath. Finally, we laid a fresh sheet of black paper in this small area before nailing in our first boards:

Once we were in the room, I started by setting the rows for Scott, using a rubber mallet to tap the tongues and grooves together. If there was a place where the conjoining boards didn’t land on the room shims, I stacked my own small wood shims to bridge that gap.

Both above and below, you can see where shims were stacked where two boards meet. Scott followed behind with our finish nailer on the first 3-4 rows before our flooring nailer would fit.

As soon as we were able to switch over to the flooring nailer, we were off! We nailed into every shim, or every 10″-ish (give or take). We quickly fell into a groove, in which I tapped the boards together and shimmed the meeting points, and Scott followed behind with the nailer. The most time consuming part of our process was the need to lay down All the Shims to keep things level and creak-free, but our old house has been known to hit us with a challenge or two (or three or four!) before.

The closet threw us our first curveball. We cut the proper width for those several boards, and we worked our way out of the closet until we reached the boards in the main part of the room. Below, you can see how we also had to cut the last board before the closet so that it could wrap around the opening. These tricky cuts were mostly done with our multi-tool:

Scott ripped the very last boards in the room to the proper width on our table saw, and we did the last two rows simultaneously. We found this was the easiest solution to be able to 1) slide them into place and 2) tap them tightly together with the mallet. We used our finish nailer to nail directly through the top of the boards, leaving imperceptible holes:

In the end, we used up a little less than our box of 1,000 cleats for this 7′ x 16′ room, and we used every last floor board, with only scraps to spare!

This is the first room in our home where we installed the flooring ourselves (unless you count our second floor landing?), and although the aches and pains in our backs and knees were very real, we were happy that we decided to take on the task ourselves. We did it, and it wasn’t too bad, really! All said and done, we worked a total of 7 hours on day one, and 2-3 hours on day two. To celebrate, we rolled out our big, punchy rug (a perfect fit!), and we left that door open all week.

Of course, we’ve since loaded it up again with a pair of bi-fold doors and stacks of trim, and so, The Scary Room door is closed once again. But the good news? We’re making progress on the trim front, and we can’t wait to share that with you.

  • Stacy G. - February 23, 2017 - 6:48 AM

    Looks great! Extra points for teamwork. :)ReplyCancel

  • Carol - February 23, 2017 - 7:24 AM

    Looks fantastic!ReplyCancel

  • Carol @ CAD INTERIORS - February 23, 2017 - 9:30 AM

    Very informative, thanks. We have similar “floor slope issues” in our fixer…ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 23, 2017 - 11:08 AM

      Ugh, these sloping floors! At least we can cheat them!ReplyCancel

  • Steph M. - February 23, 2017 - 9:36 AM

    This looks so good! Our house was built in 1940, and I’d say these floors look so similar to our orginial. I’m keeping them bookmarked for when we redo our second story!ReplyCancel

  • Julie Marquez - February 23, 2017 - 6:42 PM

    Thanks for sharing this! I knew you’d come through with an informative post!!ReplyCancel


Last summer, we sold our extra long Mid Century coffee table. There was a small outcry when we shared this vlog (we hear you!), but despite our love for that piece of furniture, it wasn’t the right fit for our living room. When we first moved into this home from our former condo, we would say, ‘Our…
  • Nadia Kaplan - February 20, 2017 - 8:07 AM

    Such a lovely table, amazing that you made it yourself.ReplyCancel

  • Alison @ Deuce Cities Henhouse - February 20, 2017 - 9:38 AM

    The tutorial vid rules! Love the DIY, and the new coffee table looks great in your space. Can’t believe you lived without one for so long!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 20, 2017 - 9:46 AM

      The funny thing is, we were so used to the extra space, that alone was reason enough to keep putting it off! The dogs and I liked to stretch out all over the floor with pillows. :D Now we have to move the coffee table to do that, ha!ReplyCancel

  • Jane lim - February 20, 2017 - 10:51 AM

    Do you use something else than a vacuum to clean your beautiful rug? You have inspired me to make my own DIY coffee table. Thank you.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 20, 2017 - 11:05 AM

      We spot clean if needed, but otherwise, we vacuum A LOT! With 3 furry pets, fur is no joke, so we stay on top of the vacuuming.ReplyCancel

  • Susie - February 20, 2017 - 12:24 PM

    What a kick ass video! We’ve used hairpin legs for a few projects before and just loved them. Finishes off the room really well (and no more banged up shins for you!) 👏🏻

    -Susie http://www.tinyhousegiantlife.comReplyCancel

  • Emily - February 20, 2017 - 2:34 PM

    I LOVE this coffee table idea. We’re in the middle of selling ours and this may be just the one to fill the space! And I definitely understand and agree about the whole space thing… just because you have more space doesn’t mean everything has to be bigger. I was tired of bumping into our coffee table so much too. Thanks for the idea :) Love the blog!ReplyCancel

  • Kathy - February 20, 2017 - 6:00 PM

    Oh man, that video was SO helpful! I remember back when you had first posted about the Varde in your shipping room that you had discovered that you could do poly with a roller. And I was like okay but HOW because I have definitely tried before and it’s literally gloop. Clearly, my definition of a thin coat was not the right one.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 21, 2017 - 9:03 AM

      Ha! Yes, VERY thin. I also go slowly, and then I do a quick roll over any area that might show tiny bubbles. It always dries perfectly.ReplyCancel

  • Paige - February 20, 2017 - 7:48 PM

    That coffee table is amazing! I totally want to get my husband to make one for me!


  • amayra | tilecentre - February 22, 2017 - 11:52 PM

    Thank you for sharing the tutorial.Hair pin leg coffee table matches with trending concepts as well you can create one by yourself.I am thinking now I should make it by my own.ReplyCancel


This post is in partnership with FilterEasy, a service we can really get behind to keep us, our tenants and our homes happy. First month’s on them! Some of you might know that we’re active landlords to two units, both our former condo and the garden unit in our current home. We generally live by the rule that…
  • Missy G. - February 16, 2017 - 9:02 AM

    I have been using Filter Easy for over a year now, and I LOVE it. Replacing the filter is definitely one of those important, but easily forgettable, tasks that keep your home running efficiently. We currently use the basic filter, but will upgrade once we get a pet again. (It’s been a year since we said good-bye to our girl, and Westminster got us feeling all the feels for a lovable furbaby again.)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 16, 2017 - 9:35 AM

      Aw, nothing warms the heart more than a home with pets, we think. :) Happy to hear that you’re loving FilterEasy. We sleep easier with the peace of mind knowing that our tenants are able to take care of this task and keep those HVAC systems running!ReplyCancel

  • Life On Hill Street - February 16, 2017 - 10:42 AM

    I had no idea a service like this existed – thanks for posting!ReplyCancel

  • Renee Gooch - February 16, 2017 - 4:40 PM

    Just signed up. No more sore throats. Yo. ;)ReplyCancel

  • Haley - February 17, 2017 - 9:13 AM

    I’m curious why no hardware on the furnace doors. Just to make it blend in a bit more?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 17, 2017 - 9:24 AM

      Yup. The last thing we wanted was to draw more attention to this corner.ReplyCancel

  • Erin - February 17, 2017 - 9:37 AM

    Yep, we are on the Filter Easy train, too. With lots of pets, changing our HEPA filter with regularity is a must, and having them delivered to us makes it brainless. Membership has been great for our little old cottage.ReplyCancel

  • Julie - February 18, 2017 - 10:45 AM

    What a neat service! Do you have them sent directly to your tenants, or do you go over and replace them for your tenants?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 18, 2017 - 6:35 PM

      They get sent directly to our tenants!ReplyCancel

  • Natalie - February 20, 2017 - 7:08 PM

    I love those doors! Do you have a source/supplier for these?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 21, 2017 - 9:02 AM

      They are just louvred doors from Home Depot. :)ReplyCancel


In what might be the most anticlimactic reveal of all time, we painted the Scary Room! Despite the lack of contrast between where we started and where we are now, painting this room has made all the difference. What was once a hodge podge of new and old drywall, yellow-y joint compound and unknown grime is now a…
  • Emily @ Go Haus Go - February 13, 2017 - 8:42 AM

    It’s looking great! I’m still amazed by all the shimming on the floor to keep the space level. I can’t even imagine what a task that must be! My brain hurts just thinking about the math—haha! Love seeing these fresh walls. Can’t wait to see the floors!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 13, 2017 - 8:58 AM

      Gah, is there anything better than freshly painted walls?! It’s my drug. Thanks, Emily!ReplyCancel

  • Oksana | - February 13, 2017 - 11:11 AM

    This room is almost identical in size to our office-turned-nursery for our little one coming in July… I would love to see some possible furniture layouts in this space – I’m having the most difficult time figuring out ours!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 13, 2017 - 11:39 AM

      We’re not exactly sure what’s going in here, but we will absolutely be sharing everything along the way!ReplyCancel

  • Paige - February 13, 2017 - 12:02 PM

    I love the color you chose! It’s so bright and fresh!


  • Megan - February 14, 2017 - 3:48 PM

    I noticed in the link to your living room room post you said that Intense White was matched to Valspar’s Optimus, but here you said it matched Valspar’s Reserve. Is one a typo? Or are Optimus and Reserve basically the same? Just wanted to check because I really love how this looks and want to get a sample for my own house, but we only have access to Valspar paints, so the color matching will be key!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 14, 2017 - 3:54 PM

      Such a good question! Optimus is available at Ace Hardware, where we bought Intense White for our living/dining/kitchen. We bought this gallon at Lowe’s, where they have Valspar Reserve. Neither is a typo, but either line of Valspar will color match just fine. :DReplyCancel

      • megan - February 14, 2017 - 4:06 PM

        Ah! I’m a dork. I thought the Reserve/optimus was referring to the paint color, not the specific Valspar paint line. Duh! :) Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • southern gal - February 15, 2017 - 5:46 PM

    YEA!!! on the way … loving the progress. as always!ReplyCancel

  • Julie - February 18, 2017 - 10:50 AM

    It’s going to look great! I have a question about the floors, maybe you will address that all later. I see that your contractor installed shims, then what are the next layers to get to your final flooring?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 18, 2017 - 6:35 PM

      The hardwood flooring goes directly onto the shims. We’ll share how that went soon!ReplyCancel


I had the opportunity to sit down with Sarah Bagley a few weeks ago to record a podcast and talk about all things blogging. Sarah’s personality is so warm and inviting, and despite my own nerves, it felt like I was sitting down for a long lunch with an old friend. We cover a lot of…
  • Paige Flamm - February 9, 2017 - 7:56 AM

    I’ve had to start telling myself the same thing this year, “I’m a blogger!” the words always feel so unaccredited, so I back out of saying it, but this is the year of bravery!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 9, 2017 - 8:52 AM

      Let’s be brave together, Paige!ReplyCancel

  • Oksana | - February 9, 2017 - 9:25 AM

    So excited to take a listen (and to have discovered a new podcast!!)ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - February 9, 2017 - 9:29 AM

    Thank you for being on the show! I had the best time speaking with you! I’ve delivered my elevator pitch a few times…sometimes better than other times. But I hear you in my mind whenever I’m tempted to downplay my work. :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - February 9, 2017 - 9:39 AM

      High five, friend! Can’t wait to hear how it goes with Lululemon!ReplyCancel

  • Bethany - February 9, 2017 - 1:34 PM

    this was really fun to listen to, while at my 9-5 (8-4, but who’s counting?) :) thanks for being so transparent about what its really like! i think you do an excellent job of this in each post, and that’s one the reasons why i love following your blog.ReplyCancel

  • misie - February 9, 2017 - 2:58 PM

    Cannot wait to listen! You guys are the best.ReplyCancel

  • Michelle - February 10, 2017 - 10:19 PM

    Very interesting since I thought your main job was painting pets!ReplyCancel

  • carlos - February 12, 2017 - 9:26 PM

    Congratulations for your blog the best of the best.ReplyCancel