At no point in my life as a home improver has a stop-gap solution made me happy. I’m thinking about the mudroom in our Toronto house that I painted and installed shelving and plants — and still the mold and bugs and draft meant I still hated it and we tore it down and built what we wanted eventually. I’m thinking about that time I spent $40 on a canvas drop cloth to cover a couch I no longer liked (before just buying a new couch a few weeks later). I’m thinking about our painted kitchen floors.


I’m thinking that I’m really bad at putting lipstick on something. The lipstick doesn’t truly cover anything up — painted linoleum is still linoleum and not the hardwood floors I really want. Plus, now I’m mad about the time and money wasted trying to make something look better “in the meantime.” Also, please note that after four months these painted tile floors don’t look shiny and new! The linoleum has quite a bit of texture to it and dirt has become irretrievably locked into every tile — yuck! Not so in our bathroom, where the painted tile is holding up really well.

I’ve promised myself (and Pierre) that I’ve made this mistake for the last time. I’m not going to spend any time (even if it’s just a weekend) or any money (even if it’s just $100) making anything look even a little bit better “in the meantime.” I’m just going to straight up wait for the meantime to pass, until the time or finances or convenience or whatever it is that’s holding us back from doing exactly what we want passes and we can get something done for real. Time and money are precious and so I want all the steps we take to be productive moving forward ones, not sideways ones, even if the moving forward ones look a little worse (temporarily) than the sideways ones.


The moving forward step in the kitchen is to rip up the linoleum (and two layers of subfloor) to expose the original fir boards underneath, which we will then refinish like we did in Winnie’s room. Does painted linoleum look better or worse than glue-covered fir? We’re about to find out!


We absolutely should’ve done the floors first — before the new appliances (we’re unsure if we can even get the fridge out of the kitchen), the trim (the baseboards will need to be redone), the art and counters and hood fan, which will need to be well-covered during the sanding process. The plywood, while not the look we’re going for, is giving me a peek at an all-wood kitchen and I love it! I assumed that if we restored our original floors or matched the oak from the living/dining rooms in here that it’d be too much wood and I’d want to paint the cabinets, but I really like the wood on wood, especially because it will be a fir/oak combo with different tones rather than just a whole room of golden oak. I’m so excited to restore our original flooring and see it all come together.

Are you in support of projects that improve things in the meantime, even if you want to do something different eventually? Or can you be patient and save all your time and money for the real thing?