Sunday, November 1, 2009

Cold Feet

It's been interesting living in our tiny cottage since the beginning of September because we've experienced temperatures between 95F and 29F.

Recently it's been getting cooler so our wood floors have felt uncomfortably cold to me. I tried wearing a couple of pairs of socks to keep my feet warmer but that didn't seem to help. I bought slippers to wear over a pair of socks but that didn't seem to help either.

So I went sneaking off to look for other solutions. I say sneaking because Jeff and I agreed when we first started construction on our cottage that since we love the look of wood floors, we would not to carpet it. Rugs cover the beauty and we also didn't want off-gassing materials in the cottage.

I figured that if I bought an area rug, that we could still see the wood grain around the rug so I wouldn't be actually going against what we'd agreed upon, right? Since I'm the type that prefers to ask for forgiveness, rather than to ask for permission, I snuck off to find a solution that would appeal to both of us.

In our relationship, I have found that when I look at something (like our 'new' used settee) that I can imagine what the end result can look like but I'm not always good at explaining my vision to others. I bought the settee knowing that if Jeff'd been with me that he'd have thought it was too ugly and could never look any better. I could see it's potential though, and we really needed something to sit on, so I went for it. Since it's been recovered and restyled he really likes it. I figured I would try this with a rug...

I looked at both new and used options. I figured that a used rug had off-gassed already so that was what I searched for first. I looked in the better furniture consignment places near us but found nothing in our size or color so I went to four big box stores that carry area rugs then to rug warehouses... and found something that I had never thought of as a solution.

My needs were:
natural fiber
no off-gassing
fairly inexpensive
visually appealing (or at least not too bad to live with for the cold months)
warm to the touch

My final choice was industrial wool felt. It's 1/2" thick, light grey, has no scent, is soft and warm underfoot. At only $1US/sf I was able to cover the living room and kitchen floors for about $60. I found it at a carpet remnant warehouse but any carpeting store will have it. They sell it as carpet padding.

I explained to Jeff what I wanted to do after the purchase. He saw it rolled and wrapped (and didn't look excited about it) and said he'd be willing to give it a try. When he came home the evening that I had installed it, he stood at the front door and said that it looked a lot better then he'd thought it could. He stepped onto it and liked that it was warm and soft too. It has received a thumbs up so far.

I'm not sure yet how it will wear underfoot but we have had a no-shoes-inside policy (to preserve the soft douglas fir flooring and now to keep the felt clean) and I have put what look like tacks covered with teflon under the legs of the chairs so they glide across the felt. The felt may be a great solution.

It's been only a few days so far, it's been about 30F to 50F, but it seems to be noticeably warmer feeling inside the cottage to both of us. I'll let you know in a month or two if it really is the solution to the cold feet problem...