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Marissa Lingen

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2010: a not-very-carpeted odyssey [Feb. 6th, 2010|10:13 pm]
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So about that carpeting.

We're putting it on the stairs down into the basement and only on the stairs.

Yes, I know what I said before.

Here's the thing: we are a bit worried about me falling, and that hasn't changed this week. But when we're not talking about falling down the stairs, when we're talking about an ordinary fall where the highest bit is 5'6" to start, tile and linoleum and bamboo and wood and laminate...don't hurt all that much more than ordinary carpet. And I haven't had significant injury rates on those surfaces, even though I've fallen on tile and linoleum fairly often since we have both in our house. Bruises, well. We don't like them, but we can cope.

Also they sell area rugs. And as I said, we will pad and carpet the stairs, and we will throw a rug down at the bottom of the stairs.

And there's this: every time I thought about carpeting the basement, I felt disappointed. The rest of the house (except kitchen, bathrooms, and front hall) is ordinary sand/tan carpeting, and I don't hate it. It's fine. But to me, beige carpet feels like sort of shapeless semi-dress weight black trousers. There's very little it clashes with, true, but you never look into a room and say, "Oh, what lovely beige carpet! That beige carpet is exactly what the room needed! It just completes the look perfectly!" (Note: this is for values of "you" not including timprov's mother, who, as I understand it, is actively fond of beige as a color rather than considering it a tolerable neutral.) Beige carpet is what you put in if you never, ever want somebody to say anything about the floor at all. And this is a quite reasonable option; many times you don't want somebody to say anything about the floor at all, and that's all right.

But we've put a lot of time, energy, and money into this basement project, and the kind of carpet that would provide any more padding than any other surface to fall on is not cheap. So we were looking at shelling out significant money for something that made me feel sort of let down and sad with every single sample we looked at.

I looked at non-beige carpeting, which is harder than you might think. Every kind of carpeting has many, many beiges, sands, tans, khakis, ecrus, etc. Then perhaps a white or a cream just for variety. Then occasionally something else, often not. I looked at deeper browns, greys, blues, evergreen, fuschia, burgundy with gold fleurs de lis on in case I felt that not getting to as many conventions as I'd like could be made up for by carpeting my basement as a hotel. I looked at berbers. I looked at oatmeal shags that looked like somebody had spilled oatmeal on the shag already. (Dear British friends: stop giggling, it's a kind of carpet here.) And timprov kept saying things like, "We can get the $x/sq ft stuff we saw at Home Despot and it will be fine."

I did not want it to be fine. I want it to be good.

Wood, now...wood is beautiful. Wood comes in so many lovely types that even the ones I don't really like are kind of nice anyway. Wood is its own thing. Its brown is not homogenized. It is good for people with allergies, which is us and several family members. It is easy to sweep. It comes with texture. It comes with the very satisfying urge to put my hands on it a lot. These days it comes with tongue-and-groove bits built in and substrate layers that allow you to put wood on concrete with the said properly selected substrates between.

And wood comes with the ability to have area rugs bestowed upon it. Thick, soft area rugs, upon which a person might fall and feel just as though they'd fallen on wall-to-wall carpet. Possibly better.

Right now I needed to bet on myself instead of against myself. And I needed to make a decision that was not about what I could manage to bear with the vertigo but about what I actually want and will enjoy, what will make me happy. I needed to make this decision as mrissa and not as the person you all think of when you get a cold and the room spins a bit. As me, not as the vertigo.

(Of course if timprov and markgritter were kicking and screaming about the wood, this would be different, but in fact they like it too.)

And once we'd made the decision that we'd be looking at wood samples, that this was the plan unless something goes really drastically wrong, the skittery disappointed bit shut up. And I felt happy and calm. There is work ahead of us. It will take a bit longer this way than if we had gone to some carpet merchant and said, "This one, please," and they had said, "Right then, we'll do that Thursday starting at 8 so please have an adult ready to let us in." But I realio trulio think it is the right thing. And I am so pleased.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: truepenny
2010-02-07 04:22 am (UTC)

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Yay!
[User Picture]From: txanne
2010-02-07 04:25 am (UTC)

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Hurray, happy Mris!
[User Picture]From: dancinghorse
2010-02-07 04:33 am (UTC)

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That will be beautiful. And you can find a nice soft rug in colors you love, to put at the foot of the stairs.

My riding teacher was telling me (apropos of one of my PTSD meltdowns-on-the-hoof) about a client of hers who has vertigo, and who rides horses. Sometimes she has to lie down in the middle of the round pen (swearing a blue streak), but she carries on. That made me think of you.
[User Picture]From: carbonel
2010-02-07 04:46 am (UTC)

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This is more-or-less why I ended up having wood installed in my living room. I went for carpet for warmth in the basement, though.

Lois Bujold is also very fond of beige for decorating purposes. Her living room is a medley of neutral colors, and it makes her very happy. (Oatmeal is a neutral color, so she's contributing to the oatmeal shortage, perhaps.)
[User Picture]From: carbonel
2010-02-07 04:47 am (UTC)

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Also, would you like the name of a really good floor installer guy?
[User Picture]From: moiread
2010-02-07 04:54 am (UTC)

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Even I feel better about wood, and it's not my home. When you said "carpet", I was like, "Oh, well, carpet. Carpet is carpet. It will be fine. Can I help with the practical stuff? Not living in Minneapolis, no, I cannot. Okay, moving on." But now that you have said "wood".... I'm excited! I'm looking forward to seeing what you guys choose! Suddenly your flooring has become a neat adventure that I want to peek in on and get to check out too. :D
[User Picture]From: timprov
2010-02-07 04:56 am (UTC)

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And you're even one of the half-dozen people who will ever be allowed down there!
[User Picture]From: moiread
2010-02-07 05:04 am (UTC)

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I promise to make appropriate ooing and ahhing noises at the whole thing. I mean, you promised not to cover the whole place in gold leaf, so it should be pretty safe, right?
[User Picture]From: timprov
2010-02-07 05:08 am (UTC)

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Oh, hell, I forgot that entirely.
[User Picture]From: moiread
2010-02-07 05:10 am (UTC)

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TIMPROV.
[User Picture]From: timprov
2010-02-07 05:26 am (UTC)

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Sigh. It was thoughtless and stupid of me, but I'm sure I'll manage to get it scraped off and repaint by the time you're here next.
[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-02-07 12:02 pm (UTC)

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So curtains over the gold leaf won't be enough for her allergies, then?
[User Picture]From: dichroic
2010-02-07 04:55 am (UTC)

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When you go to Australia, they sell sheep skins - these are made to be used as small rugs and are so fluffy they would be actually pleasurable to fall on, assuming one could be anchored firmly enough that it didn't *cause* you to fall. I bet they or something equivalently soft could be had in the US. And anyway, wood rally is softer than stone or tile floors (also less sturdy and prone to showing marks if you drag furniture around but I understand that they have wood that doesn't do that these days and also that some people are less prone to dragging furniture around than I am.

But I realize those things aren't the point anyway. I think you used the right criteria in making your decision, to the point that someday you may take a minor fall, think "that'll leave a bruise" and then the next thing you'll think is "this is worth it".
[User Picture]From: txanne
2010-02-07 06:17 am (UTC)

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If they've got the natural suede on the other side, they're pretty naturally nonskid.
[User Picture]From: papersky
2010-02-07 12:16 pm (UTC)

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I can tell you from experience of being eight years old that you can skid on them on stone if you push off just right. But they don't want to do it, and they flat out won't do it on wood or lino.
[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-02-07 12:18 pm (UTC)

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Suddenly I am wondering if the American lack of the short term "lino" means that the Minneapolis suburb called Lino Lakes would amuse you.

It's not actually what it sounds like. It's just some lakes and there was a person called Lino who lived near them. They don't have to hire somebody to mop their lakes of lino.

Edited at 2010-02-07 12:19 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]From: papersky
2010-02-07 12:14 pm (UTC)

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You can get them in Wales too. I was in a shop in Dolgellau in the summer where they were having a sale on the gorgeous ones in natural colours, and it was only my complete lack of money that prevented me from buying lots of them.

What they are great for, what we used them for when I was a kid, is bedside rugs -- the thing your feet find when you step out of bed. Those particular ones, all our bedside rugs, then got to be bed padding for my grandmother when she came home to die, because when you are bedbound they are soft and textured and lovely.

Z was very good at stopping me buying one. "It's very expensive. And Rysmiel wouldn't like it. And you'd have to ship it home..." but all the time he was petting it.

They were seventy pounds for whole-sheep sized ones.

Excuse me, I'm going to lie on my sheepskin jacket for a moment.

[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-02-07 12:16 pm (UTC)

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Also I suspect Ista would think they were the very bestestest idea a monkey ever ever had. And I am not giving up on someday getting to Wales or Australia. So.
[User Picture]From: akirlu
2010-02-07 11:03 pm (UTC)

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Nor should you give up on getting to Wales AND Australia. But sheepskins can (or at least used-to could) be gotten at IKEA, 'cause it's a Swedish thing too. (Somewhere there may still be baby pictures of me smiling cheerfully on a big fluffy sheepskin.)
[User Picture]From: timprov
2010-02-08 07:55 am (UTC)

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[User Picture]From: akirlu
2010-02-08 05:02 pm (UTC)

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Hmm. Well, they say it's a sheepskin. But if so, it must have been close-sheared fairly recently before slaughter. The ones I'm thinking of have a much, much deeper 'pile' -- the wool has more loft and is combed out straight. I don't know if it's a different handling thing, or if it's just a whole different breed of sheep, but the ones they used to carry were much more fluffy. Poot.
[User Picture]From: cathshaffer
2010-02-07 02:18 pm (UTC)

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I think she should just wrap herself in the sheepskin and that would solve everything.
[User Picture]From: juliansinger
2010-02-07 05:16 am (UTC)

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You're so sane. And I appreciate you.
[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-02-07 12:06 pm (UTC)

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Well, one tries.
[User Picture]From: reveritas
2010-02-07 05:57 am (UTC)

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Yay! Wood floors are awesome. I am so grateful that my house is entirely wood-floored except the bathroom and kitchen.

And ... yes ... "not that person you think of when you get a cold and the room spins a little."

I SO HEAR YOU ON THAT. Although I do like to be the go-to person when people have questions about whacked-out guts ... that's about the only thing I like about it.
[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-02-07 12:04 pm (UTC)

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Yah, that's just it: I do like being the go-to person for questions. It's just that that's not always what's going on with that.
[User Picture]From: tiger_spot
2010-02-07 07:03 am (UTC)

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Hurrah! I am glad you have decided on a thing you like. Wood floors are very nice.
[User Picture]From: miz_hatbox
2010-02-07 07:53 am (UTC)

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Wood smells better than carpet too. Carpet glue always smells like office space, but the smell of woodwork has such personality, and it's unique to the wood you choose too. Veryveryvery fine house, indeed.
From: thoughtdancer
2010-02-07 12:20 pm (UTC)

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I love wood floors. We're looking at moving to a new place (still renting), and we're looking to move into the historic district just to get the wood.
[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-02-07 01:13 pm (UTC)

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There are some really lovely old homes that have been maintained and/or renovated beautifully. If you don't find what you're looking for in floorplan/etc., though, they're making more and more accessible wood floors that people can install themselves or have installed on preexisting surfaces these days. That won't give the rest of the house the features of a gorgeous old Arts and Crafts home (or Victorian or whatever style calls to you), but on the other hand I don't know how you feel about, say, number of electrical outlets or size/number of bathrooms or etc., or what's typical in your area in that regard. A good inspector will ask the right questions, though, when you do get ready to buy. Don't be afraid to back out of a sale if the inspector brings up issues you just don't want to deal with.
[User Picture]From: marydell
2010-02-07 02:16 pm (UTC)

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This sounds like an excellent plan.

We put foam interlock tiles under the big rug in our basement playroom/library, and they make a good walking surface for tired limbs as well as a good falling-down surface (for Charlie anyway)--cushier than standard non-skid liner. Lowe's has them in packs of 4 (16 sq feet) for $20, in case you're interested.
[User Picture]From: fidelioscabinet
2010-02-07 06:01 pm (UTC)

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<3 wood.

Not that you need my approval or permission or anything. But still, given a choice--wood.
Also, when wet things end up on wood, you can wipe it up and it won't get weird and funky. It is so easy for carpet to get really nasty, and it less trouble to clean wood.

Also, carpeted stairs are quieter.
[User Picture]From: akirlu
2010-02-07 10:58 pm (UTC)

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Well, I'm glad you are able to make a choice that makes you actively happy. Our house has oak floors in most of the main level, and I love them.
[User Picture]From: rmnilsson
2010-02-08 03:30 pm (UTC)

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If you're still looking for recommendations now that you've decided to go ahead with wood...

We had Dave's Floor Sanding refinish our floors a couple years ago, and we couldn't have been happier with the process and the results. Their bid was also the lowest and the shortest in terms of the number of nights we'd need to sleep in the basement. While ours was a straightforward refinishing job, I have no reason to believe that Dave's wouldn't do as well on an installation.

http://www.davesfloorsanding.com/
[User Picture]From: smferris
2010-02-09 02:03 pm (UTC)

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I am by no means a flooring expert, but after taking a dance class a while back I got curious about sprung floors, and one of the things I stumbled across while googling around was this article on how to build subfloors to handle martial arts falls and throws. If there's some way to do something similar beneath a wood finished floor, that may be an option to help with falls while still giving you the floor finish you prefer.
[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-02-09 02:31 pm (UTC)

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We're being careful in our choice of underlayment, yep.
[User Picture]From: thorintatge
2010-02-15 08:47 am (UTC)

Good call on the wood

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I consider beige a classic neutral, but I could easily imagine saying such things about a frizzy thick beige carpet in an otherwise white room.