Plywood Subfloor = Custom-Painted Floor
Amy Dutton, Portsmouth, N.H.
How She Did It: Designer Amy Dutton admits that she wasn't ready to "spend money on the kitchen floor of my dreams" as she was reworking her 1910 bungalow. So she painted one instead, right onto the plywood subfloor. After caulking the seams between the sheets, she put down two coats of floor paint, then painted freehand tendrils and swirls that play off the colors of the area rugs and the vintage-table-turned-island. "Because the floor has such a large surface area, I came up with a pattern that suited the scale and filled up the space, pulling together elements from the room," she says. "The organic forms add interest and movement, and distract the eye from the plywood's seams." Even better, she can repaint when she gets tired of the look.