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SO ON SUNDAY, I arrived at my East Hampton cottage with baited breath. The painters had finished sanding, priming, and putting two coats of white on the wood floors, and the paint had had a couple of days to dry. I opened the door with trepidation. Would I like it? YES! I love it!

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The first thing I did, of course, was take off my shoes and put on a pair of white socks in case my bare feet weren’t clean enough. The second thing was hang a sign on the front door requesting that all visitors remove their shoes. The third thing was spread a bewildering array of rag rugs in key spots, which give the place a somewhat Scandinavian look. (I’m tempted to hang yet another sign asking visitors to please leap between the rag rugs and avoid touching the painted floor at all with their bare or stockinged feet, but I suppose that would be too much.) The fourth thing I did was go out and buy a Swiffer mop and both wet and dry refills, so I’m ready for anything.

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It’s kind of like when you get a new car. You hold your breath until you get that first ding, and then you can relax. I’m sure that, with time, my floors will become just as distressed (lived-in, sandy, smudged, scuffed) as my car is, and that will be just fine. But right now they are pristine and I’m going to enjoy it for however long that lasts.

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