We got new floors earlier this year. Not everywhere, but where it counts — in the living/dining/kitchen of our house. The heart of our home.
The night before Creative Hardwood Floors was due to install our new red oak, we had to remove our furniture. The couch and the armchairs, the end tables, the cabinet that my uncle Mark painted, the dining table and chairs.
We tucked this furniture into Jay's office and our bedroom and the downstairs living room — filling the nooks and crannies of our house until it looked like we were extreme minimalists upstairs and hoarders everywhere else.
It took the team at Creative Hardwood a week to finish our new floors. And then we had to wait two more weeks to put furniture on them. So for three weeks, we lived like Hobbits in our basement.
When the glorious day finally arrived to return our furniture to its rightful places, we put Uncle Mark's cabinet out first. Gorgeous. Then we carried up the dining table.
We placed the 25-year-old table, worn and poorly painted, atop our beautiful new floors. "Yeah, that's not going to work," said Jay.
"I'd rather eat crossed legged on a blanket," I said.
It turns out that's pretty much what we've been doing.
The decision to buy a new dining set was easy. We hadn't bought new furniture in over a decade. And even then it was stuff for our boys' rooms. We deserved this. But that little decision snowballed. If we were getting a new dining set anyway, why not switch things around? Swap rooms and add a couple of new comfy armchairs, too?
It's exciting to start fresh, but there's a reason we haven't bought new furniture in so long. We're very bad at it.
I started by visiting every furniture store in town. And returned with … nothing.
Our friend Jen, who loves decorating, offered to help. She analyzed our space, made suggestions, told us she'd be happy to shop with us. I said OK, gave away the furniture we weren't going to keep, and ignored the whole "buying new stuff" part.
Week 4 without furniture: We still only have Uncle Mark's cabinet in our living room. Unable to pull the trigger on a new table, I search online for chairs and send Jay links to a dozen.
He picks two, including a funky red one I'd sent as a joke. It's impractical — more a piece of art than a chair, all lines and curves. But we're both drawn to it.
"I kind of love it, too," I say, and order it on the spot.
I send a picture to friend Jen: "You're not going to approve of the chair I bought."
"I can't even tell how you sit on that," she writes back.
Week 5 without furniture: We have Uncle Mark's cabinet and a funky red swivel chair in our living room. We're still eating dinner on the basement couch.
I've had no luck finding a table we like, but I do finally order two blue armchairs. When they don't arrive as scheduled, I make a call. They're back-ordered until June.
Week 6 without furniture: The boys come home for spring break. They like the red chair, but we're all afraid to sit in it because we don't have a rug yet and don't want to scratch the new floors.
We set up a card table for meals in the basement between our old upstairs couch and our sectional. This is how we're living now. Maybe forever.
Jennifer Koski is associate editor at Rochester Magazine. Her column appears Tuesdays. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.