Choose a floor stain: Check!

The votes were still rolling in on Friday and I was having too much fun to let them stop, but I’ve kept you waiting in anticipation too long! I’m not sayin’, but I’m just sayin’ – the race is pretty much called. The people hath spoken! The results are in...

 The votes are in and Gray is the most popular floor color for my space!

Gray won by a mile! Who here is surprised? (I am a little) I think the biggest case for grey, and what made it a popular choice, is that it offers contrast with the light walls and cabinets without being too dominant and dark. Amiright? 

So after much deliberation & poring over your feedback, I'm gonna take a middle of the road approach: Grayown (a technical term for Gray-Brown, obvi). Dark brown was the runner up in this high stakes race, and some of you who voted gray noted that the brown was "too brown." I hear you. I think Grayown will be the best of both worlds – lighter than the dark chocolate brown I showed you before PLUS grey undertones to kick it up a notch and make it cooler than your average wood stain. My hope is that it will still have that weathered beach vibe I love without being a total departure from traditional floor colors.

 Swatch of the Grayown 

Usually I have no qualms with breaking from tradition & taking risks with color – I used to have fuchsia hair, for cryin' out loud – but I'm a little more hesitant with the floors. For starters, they're kinda permanent. Sure, I'm changing the color now, but hardwoods can only take so much sanding and refinishing before you hit the subfloor. It's quite possible that whatever I choose is the last color these floors will ever see, so I want them to look timeless. I love pure gray floors right now, but is it a passing trend?

E & I probably won't be in this house forever, and when we do go to sell down the line, I’d feel like a failure if someone walked in and said, "Clearly this was remodeled in 2014." Ya feel me? Someone also pointed out in the survey comments that dark brown would be best for resale value, and I tend to agree. Grayown is a happy medium to please traditional and edgy tastes alike, but most importantly mine & Eli's.

SO, with that all being said, I present you with Grayown:

 A photoshop rendition of grey-brown floors in our house

That's not my finest Photoshop work, so just squint your eyes and imagine more beautiful woodgrain ; ] It's still on the darker side of the spectrum and cooler in tone than our current orange floors & the chocolate brown I presented you with before, while being It's warmer than the original gray. I think it’s really going to turn this place around. 

Now there are just a couple more decisions left before we get the metaphorical ball rolling. First is whether to go with a glossy or matte finish. I’m really digging the idea of a natural oil sealer (like Rubio Monocoat) instead of polyurethane because it doesn’t emit any dangerous/stinky fumes and only takes one coat. It's got a matte appearance, giving it a more weathered, aged look. I love the idea of that, but I still need to look at samples in person before I can say whether it's as good IRL. Poly is fumey, shiny and takes 3 coats – so we'd have to be out of the house for at least a week while it cures and airs out. The downside of natural oil is that it's more expensive. I'm not sure what the premium is yet (I forgot to ask), but the floor guys told me it costs "more." Very specific. I'll do some more research and get back to you.

The last question I'm facing is whether to DIY or hire it out. The quote I got for hiring out a Monocoat finish was $4.50/sq.ft., or about $1,800 for our space. I'm not rolling in dough so that's more than I'd ideally spend on the floors, but then again it could be worth it to ensure I don't royally screw it up. I think the decision will come down to what we feel comfortable doing and how devastated we’d be if everything that could go wrong did If I can master the sanding and staining techniques on a practice surface I’d happily invest the sweat equity to save the money for something else.

What would you guys do? And who's on the Grayown train? So many of you weighed in on the floor color, and now I want to put a survey in every post! Thanks for chiming in and lending me your perspective! You rock.