Photo: Jean Allsopp

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Whether old or new, hardwood floors add warmth and beauty and become even more nostalgic as they age. Painted hardwoods are becoming increasingly popular, because they are pretty and practical. These homeowners opted for a painted floor in this bedroom. The painted design offers a timeless look.


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If you are working with an old floor, prepare it carefully. Take off existing wax with heavy-duty wax remover, and sand thoroughly. Clean and vacuum; then apply an oil-based primer appropriate for hardwood floors. Next, paint with two coats of oil-based white paint in a satin or semigloss finish. Allow to dry between coats. Measure the dimensions of your floor, and make a drawing to work from. Divide the total width and depth of the room by 17 inches. This will let you know how many diamonds will run horizontally and vertically across the floor. (The 17-inch measurement comes from using a 12-inch-square sample tile, turned on its side, as a template.)

The remaining inches will be divided by two to create a border to house the diamonds. Mark off the border using a 3- or 4- foot metal ruler. Beginning at the top of the floor, measure and make a mark 8 1/2 inches from the left of the border. This will denote where the diamond points will fall. Take the tile, place it at each point, and trace around it; use a watercolor or colored pencil compatible with the shade of the paint. After you have traced the first two rows of diamonds, you will be able to make longer diagonal lines as guides for placing the tile. Once all the diamonds are marked, premix your glazing liquid, paint, mineral spirits, and linseed oil. Mix thoroughly in a clean bucket, and then pour into a clean quart-size can to store. The recipe is 1 cup oil-based glazing liquid, 1 cup oil-based paint, 1 cup mineral spirits, and 4 tablespoons linseed oil.

In each diamond to be painted with the glaze, make a light mark to guide your taping and painting. (Every other diamond will be painted with the glaze mixture. Tape the diamonds using painter's tape, a metal ruler, and a craft knife. Before actually painting the diamonds, clean the area well. Use a good brush to apply the glaze and paint with vertical brushstrokes. Rub the glazed area with a clean, damp cloth to smooth brushstrokes as needed. Allow to dry 48 hours before sealing. Clean the floor thoroughly again with a broom and some tack cloths to collect any dust or dirt. Apply two to three good coats of satin-finish polyurethane using a paintbrush, and allow 48 hours to dry.

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