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The question

We bought a house and are planning a major main-floor renovation in a few years, but in the meantime we want to take down a few walls to make it more open-concept. Do we have to replace the flooring when we do this? I'm reluctant, since that means doing it again later when we embark on the major overhaul. But I don't want the floor to be a patch mess. What are the options?

The answer

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If you remove a wall, the floor underneath it will be bare plywood that lies about ¾ of an inch lower than the hardwood. You will need to even it up with the rest of the floor. The best option is to feather in hardwood to match. A skilled floor installer will be able to run boards in random lengths to disguise the work.

Until you renovate, you can either stain the floor as dark as possible or paint it in a high-gloss finish to create a consistent look. But my true advice is: Live in the house before you renovate anything. Plan carefully, hire professionals and spend the money once without wasting it. It is painful to watch even a patched floor being ripped out.

Follow architect and interior designer Dee Dee Taylor Eustace on Twitter: @ddtaylorddd. Have a design dilemma? E-mail

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