One of my real desires for this room was for it to be truly DONE when we stopped. We have lots of 80% done things but nothing that is 100% done. The floor was going to be the issue in this room as refinishing all our 1200 square feet of hardwood was on the "we'll do that later list." And if you're going to refinish later putting down finishing aspects like quarter round is a little silly since you'll just have to pull it out later. So that would leave it looking like this for the foreseeable future.
Now, if you were sitting next to me and looking at that picture you might say:
"You: It's not bad, don't you think it's pretty?
Me: No, it's a full-on Monet.
You: What's a monet?
Me: It's like a painting, see? From far away, it's OK, but up close, it's a big old mess."
Okay so maybe it's not a "big old mess" but it definitely doesn't look finished. My desire for completeness lead me to research alternatives to floor refinishing which brought me to this article:
Hardwood, Not Hard Work in the Washington Post. This article blew our mind! This company refinishes turn of the century floors in the District using old world techniques and non-poly options. They discuss the functional drawbacks to poly and it's poor longevity. A product that the article suggests that has evidently been used on floors in Europe for decades (always behind the times...) is OSMO Polyx Oil.
Picture Source osmona.com
The great benefits include no stinky chemicals, natural product, easy application (theoretically) and it's not as "permanent" as polyurethane in so much that if there is a scratch or wear pattern in the finish you can just reapply the material TO THAT SPOT!! That's right, no need to strip the entire floor and start over or live with damage until it's time to refinish again. Also, because it doesn't dry in a hard finish we can do each room one at a time.
We were sold. We have the material now and are just waiting for the applicator brush to arrive which we got the call that it did today! Floors next weekend, woo hoo!