wood floors
Photo: Anthony Tieuli
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Rob Peter to Pay Paul

When Tom took down walls to enlarge the kitchens in both apartments, he had to contend with floorboards from adjoining rooms running in different directions, as well as missing flooring where the walls had stood. Seamlessly weaving in patches would have been very labor intensive, and the new wood wouldn't have matched anyway; replacing with equivalent reclaimed heart pine throughout both kitchens would have cost about $26 a square foot for materials and labor. So Tom got creative.

In Liz's kitchen, he cut the flooring at an angle in the middle of the room to echo the corner cabinet. Then he carefully pulled up all the boards on one side of the cut and relaid them on a diagonal. To salvage some extra flooring, he took boards from where the washer/dryer and the cabinets would go. In Chris's kitchen, he pulled up all the boards that were turned the wrong way and relaid them so the floor would be uniform.

Replacing the floors would have required the same demolition, installation, and refinishing, plus the cost of new materials. So the only added labor here was the extra 2½ hours it took to pull up the boards without destroying them.

What They Saved: $16,000
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