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When we bought the property, the ballroom and soon-to-be kitchen floors were covered with tar paper. On one hand, this was great as the floors had been protected by years of carpet, tiles, etc. The downside, it needed to come off. While some said it was possible to sand the tar paper, others recommended a mix of dawn liquid soap and elbow grease; Josef has the patience of a saint and used a system of two 12”x12” wallpaper steamers to lift and scrape all of the square footage to ensure that when we got to the refinishing phase, we’d have a pristine floor.

Because the floors are quarter-sawn red oak, refinishing to a light tone can be tricky — it tends skew pink and while I love that idea, it seems like the reality might not be as cool.

We hired Steve Belrose, a Rubio Monocoat master, who helped us achieve the neutral, yet warm tone that feels perfect for the space. Couldn’t be happier with the outcome.