Under the rug

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

I’m a home-improvement kind of guy. And if you’ve been reading this paper for a while, you also know I tend to do my home improvement projects this time of year. For example, last year, I painted one of my living room walls blood red. (And yes, I still love it.)

This year, I want to eliminate the carpet from the bottom two levels of my split-level home. When I bought the house, what, eight years ago or so, they’d recarpted the house with the worst off-white carpet you can imagine. The entire house. But I’m a bit of a cheapskate, so I figured I’d just wear the carpet out, even if I hated it. Well, the hatred finally trumped the wear, and I’m ready to go to work.

Anyway, the plan is to stain and pattern the lowest floor, which is a concrete slab, and on the mid-floor (living and dining rooms), put in hardwood or bamboo floors.

While discussing the plan for the lowest level with my son, Hunter, I pulled up a corner of the carpet. Guess what? Somebody put vinyl down, probably in 1964 when the house was built. I had a bit of worry that it might contain asbestos, but apparently what was laid down in sheets (as opposed to tiles) didn’t contain the stuff. I took precautions nonetheless.

Removing the carpet, padding and old linoleum was actually great fun. Since all the bedrooms in my house are occupied at the moment, I had to move all the furniture to one end of the room. I bought a long-handled floor scraper, sharpened it, and after about an hour, realized it was just not up to the task. I ended up on my hands and knees with a 1-inch chisel. Ri-i-i-i-p. Tap, tap, tap. Move all the furniture to the other end of the room. Repeat. Hard work for the whole weekend, requiring almost two liters of wine.

That was the hard part. Now I have to remove the residual clue with a citrus-based, non-toxic chemical, which I’ll do over the next several weeks in sections. And then, I’ll apply the sandy, red-colored stain.

So, what do you think for the walls? A nice cerulean or azure? Too much?