White Hardwood Floors: Sacrilege, or Serenity?
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White Hardwood Floors: Sacrilege, or Serenity?

Painting over your hardwoods reflects more light. But there’s a cost…

By Angelica Frey
Fri, Oct 15, 2021 3:12pmGrey Clock 3 min

In August, social media lightning rod and artist Caroline Calloway decided to do some spur-of-the-moment home renovations. With piles of clothes and books still on the ground of her Manhattan apartment, she took white paint to all of the hardwood floors. She documented the process on her social media and an uproar ensued. Commenters on Twitter, where it became a trending topic in the U.S., were entertained and mortified about the seemingly slapdash paint job.

Calloway, who has drawn attention with her homemade ornate candles and sparkly collage art, says the white floors are in step with a new aesthetic. “Before, I was a maximal maximalist, and now I am a minimal maximalist,” she says. The inspiration for her white floors simply came from pictures Calloway saw on Pinterest. “They looked really good, and I want my home to look really good.”

The hashtags #whitefloor and #painttok on TikTok show enthused home renovators—both amateurs and professionals alike—opting for stark, white floors over their traditional ones. Redoing wooden floors taps into consumer demand for sustainability and upcycling, and the bucolic-inspired cottagecore aesthetic, which came to define 2020 and a pandemic spent indoors.

“Painted floorboards create a shabby-chic feel that is both welcoming and textural,” says Gemma Riberti, head of interiors at the trend forecasting agency WGSN.

Content creator Brigette Muller posted a TikTok video in July of her finishing painting her wood floors to more than 400,000 views. Muller, who draws inspiration from French and Victorian decorative styles, had actually just moved into a new apartment that already came with white floors. She painted over them to get her desired, warmer shade of white. “White floors have this lived-in, nostalgic quality that just seems to fit perfectly with my overall style,” she says.

Painting wood floors has broad appeal across generations. Lori Guyer, who owns the antique store White Flower Farmhouse in the North Fork of Long Island specializes in renovation works on a budget. She says she’s been painting wooden floors since around 1995, shortly after she and her husband started their family. “I was trying to make a nice home for a family, and I painted floors, I painted furniture, and I did whatever I could do on a shoestring budget,” she says.

In Scandinavia, white floors make the most of available light. Interior designer Karolina Törnqvist, founder of Studio Törnqvist, based in both London and Stockholm, says that it’s something that has been done in Sweden for centuries, dating back to country cottages painting checkered patterns using white on wood floors around the 1700s. It was a cost-effective way to replicate the patterns in checkered stone floors that were found in France and England.

There is one chief concern with having white floors, immediately apparent to anyone with kids. “It’s hard to keep clean,” says interior designer Orlando Soria. During one of the many California lockdowns, Soria stripped his newly acquired cabin in Fish Camp, California of its blue carpet to paint the plywood underneath white. Due to limited options at his local hardware store, Soria used wall paint instead of floor paint.

Guyer recommends one coat of primer, and then two to three coats of floor paint, with an estimated two-day time commitment, from start to finish. She says oil-based enamel paint is the best way to do it, because it gives a durable enamel protective finish. Adding an extra layer of clear coat, she adds, will help protect the floor, especially if you have dogs or young kids in the house, but it’s not a compulsory step, especially when the paint itself already has a gloss or a semi-gloss finish.

The two main factors determining the longevity of the project are your own proficiency and the strength and quality of the paint itself. Guyer says she repainted one floor in her home after five years. Soria, by contrast, estimates that he will touch his floors up with a brush every six months, saying that the sum of the small paint fixes will still cost less than a total floor renovation.

As for Calloway, she still had to put on a top coat by mid-September and says her floor still had a dull, chalky matte finish. “Yeah, that’s on my to-do list, and I’ll probably pay someone to come do that,” she says. “I think I’ll let the professionals handle the polyurethane.”


Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

Americans now think they need at least $1.25 million for retirement, a 20% increase from a year ago, according to a survey by Northwestern Mutual

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RBA Governor explains the rate rises we had to have

Philip Lowe’s comments come amid property industry concerns about pressures on mortgage holders and rising rents

Wed, Jun 7, 2023 2 min

Leaders in Australia’s property industry are calling on the RBA to hit the pause button on further interest rate rises following yesterday’s announcement to raise the cash rate to 4.1 percent.

CEO of the REINSW, Tim McKibbin, said it was time to let the 12 interest rate rises since May last year take effect.

“The REINSW would like to see the RBA hit pause and allow the 12 rate rises to date work their way through the economy. Property prices have rebounded because of supply and demand. I think that will continue with the rate rise,” said Mr McKibbin.  

The Real Estate Institute of Australia  today released its Housing Affordability Report for the March 2023 quarter which showed that in NSW, the proportion of family income required to meet the average loan repayments has risen to 55 percent, up from 44.5 percent a year ago.

Chief economist at Ray White, Nerida Conisbee, said while this latest increase would probably not push Australia into a recession, it had major implications for the housing market and the needs of ordinary Australians.

“As more countries head into recession, at this point, it does look like the RBA’s “narrow path” will get us through while taming inflation,” she said. 

“In the meantime however, it is creating a headache for renters, buyers and new housing supply that is going to take many years to resolve. 

“And every interest rate rise is extending that pain.”

In a speech to guests at Morgan Stanley’s Australia Summit released today, Governor Philip Lowe addressed the RBA board’s ‘narrow path’ approach, navigating continued economic growth while pushing inflation from its current level of 6.8 percent down to a more acceptable level of 2 to 3 percent.

“It is still possible to navigate this path and our ambition is to do so,” Mr Lowe said. “But it is a narrow path and likely to be a bumpy one, with risks on both sides.”

However, he said the alternative is persistent high inflation, which would do the national economy more damage in the longer term.

“If inflation stays high for too long, it will become ingrained in people’s expectations and high inflation will then be self-perpetuating,” he said. “As the historical experiences shows, the inevitable result of this would be even higher interest rates and, at some point, a larger increase in unemployment to get rid of the ingrained inflation. 

“The Board’s priority is to do what it can to avoid this.”

While acknowledging that another rate rise would adversely affect many households, Mr Lowe said it was unavoidable if inflation was to be tamed.

“It is certainly true that if the Board had not lifted interest rates as it has done, some households would have avoided, for a short period, the financial pressures that come with higher mortgage rates,” he said. 

“But this short-term gain would have been at a much higher medium-term cost. If we had not tightened monetary policy, the cost of living would be higher for longer. This would hurt all Australians and the functioning of our economy and would ultimately require even higher interest rates to bring inflation back down. 

“So, as difficult as it is, the rise in interest rates is necessary to bring inflation back to target in a reasonable timeframe.”


Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

Americans now think they need at least $1.25 million for retirement, a 20% increase from a year ago, according to a survey by Northwestern Mutual

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