Monday, November 9, 2015

Alki Point Veneer Strip Flooring

One of the things I find myself ogling over in photographs of modern interior design are the wood floors. Sometimes they are very linear with thin, long planks. And sometimes, they are surprisingly rustic with wide reclaimed boards. Somehow, this combination of clean and minimal along with some well loved accents really works. In one of my inspiration photos, they even carried the wood planking onto the bed wall in lieu of a headboard.

With the interior of the Alki Point, white and grey are to be the prominent colors (a combination which can seem cold if you're not careful). I needed an element to balance their cool tones with some warmth. The floors seemed like the perfect palette! And what a perfect opportunity to branch out a bit in terms of working with a different wood medium.

I have used Houseworks wood flooring sheets a number of times, and I have even made wood floors and floorboards using basswood. These are great solutions and give you really nice results, but I really wanted to achieve a custom look with these floors. One option, which I have seen beautifully done on many mini blogs, was to make wood flooring from veneer, This seemed like an exciting endeavour!

I found a nice pack of wood veneers on Amazon, and they really had some great reviews. I got them within a few days, and I am very happy with the selection. After calculating what I received in my pack, I will have enough veneer to make ten 11 x 17 wood floors for the price of two. There are a couple drawbacks; 1) You never know what you are getting. They are truly a sample pack. 2) None of the veneers are labeled, so unless you know a lot about wood species, it's anybodies guess what they are.

I found 4 sheets that I liked the pattern on for this project. They were in the brown or grey-ish brown family to add some warmth. Kristine from Paper Doll Miniatures used her paper cutter on her veneer, so I gave it a try! I cut all of the pieces 1/2" in width, then made several lengths ranging from 6" down to 1-1/2". It was a great solution!

I had to be really paying attention when I made the cuts, as some of the types of wood were more brittle than others and wanted to shift. As long as I held on good to the piece I was cutting, they were pretty good. There was a bit of a scrap pile from my learning curve. I painted the floor burnt umber as a background in case there were gaps.

I read a few How To articles on real sized wood floors, and basically came to the conclusion that I just needed to start in the center and work my way from there. It took the better part of the day to get them glued down.

Although I didn't really have any trouble with the Grandmother Stover's glue, I still would do a section and put a lead weight on them for a bit. When it was all finished, I put a layer of waxed paper, then plywood, then all the heavy stuff I have on hand and let it sit overnight.

This morning I set about the detailing. There were some gaps that I thought were a bit large, and due to the slight variance in thickness, it needed a good sanding. I watched a couple YouTube videos, and was surprised to learn that even real life wood floors have gaps! One of the things that they do to fill them is to mix sawdust and a little wood glue as a filler. Then they stain it along with the rest of the floor. Who knew?

I filled in a couple slivers with scrap pieces, then kind of left the sawdust in the cracks as I sanded. I wondered how my sawdust was going to blend in since I was going to leave the floors natural. I started with 220 grit, then did a 400 before my first coat of satin varnish. It was nice and smooth! I let it dry for a couple of hours, then came back with an 800 grit light sanding before the second coat.

After the second coat, I wasn't liking the satin finish. It was just a little too shiny. The cabinets are going to be shiny, so shiny floors would just be too much! I sanded again with 800 grit, then applied a matte finish.

Here is the end result, and for my first time, I am completely happy!

Here is the three sided mock up with the wall lifters. One of the slots I cut on the back was is a little off, so I need to work on that. Before I can dry fit the last/front wall I need to make the window frame. There is barely any wall left to stand up as of now! The walls have been spackled, sanded, primed, sanded and probably need another round.

My Shapeways order is almost finished in production, so hopefully soon I can do a little decorating mock up to make sure everything will fit.


  1. A great mix of wood - European Walnut, American Walnut and mahogany. I love seeing a variation like this in wood floors. It looks beautiful =0)

  2. Ha! I forgot that you work with woods! Of course you'd know! Thanks so much for letting me know!

  3. Jodi this looks amazing! I love the selection of woods you picked. I'm really wishing now I could go back in time and select a variety of wood types like you did. I've just begun looking at your blog but I'm really looking forward to sitting down and getting to read through it :)

    1. Thanks so much Kristine! I am second guessing my choices now. I love the woods but the color? Wondering if it will all come together...