nobody can see in our holler tree

Tomorrow morning, I leave for Portland, where I'll spend an all-too-brief week working on Leverage. 

For those of you who don't know, I'm a recurring character on Leverage. I play a computer hacker called Cha0s, who is a nemesis to the Leverage team, but especially to Hardison. I first played this character last season in The Two Live Crew Job, which was written by my friend Amy Berg (who also brought me to Eureka this season), and from the first day on set, I hoped they'd bring me back. I'm so excited to go to work tomorrow, I feel like a little kid on Christmas Eve.

I'll be Twittering and Twitpiccing from the set as much as I can without revealing spoilers or losing my focus as an actor. I'm in this episode a lot, which is awesome, but also means I won't get to spend much time doing the PDX things I love (though a trip to Ground Kontrol is obviously in order, likewise a trip to Powell's to get Charlie Stross' latest Laundry book.) Maybe this will be the trip to Portland where I finally go to Voodoo Donuts!

Yesterday, Anne and I pulled up this hideous old carpet that we've wanted to tear up for years. Beneath it, we uncovered a beautiful parquet floor, made from 3/8" mahogany wood. It took us about 3 hours to get the carpet up, pull out all the old staples, and then clean up what we figured must have been at least twenty years of accumulated dust and sand and FSM-knows-what.

I'm incredibly sore today from all the lifting and stuff, but the end result was entirely worth the effort:

Parquet flooring

We've wanted to do this for years, and waited so long because thought that we'd have to sand it, stain it, seal it, and spend thousands of dollars we don't have on it. A friend of ours who does floors for a living looked at it recently, and told us that it was such good quality wood, we could probably just take up the carpet and clean the floor with some Murphy's soap. It turns out that he was right, and the entire thing just cost us a few dollars and our time.

After we finished, we stood there, in our semi-renovated living room, and looked at it together. Our house felt different; it felt lighter, cleaner, more ours, than it had that morning.

"I love it that we spent the afternoon doing this," I said, "because we got to do something together that wasn't that difficult, didn't cost us anything, and made our house feel more like our home."

"I just wish we hadn't waited so long to do it," she said.

Our dogs wandered in from the family room, and cautiously sniffed around the room, frequently looking up at us for what I assume was some sort of pack leader reassurance.

"Now you guys don't have to compete for space in the entry way, because you have a whole room with a cool floor to sleep on when it's hot," Anne said.

Riley wagged her tail, and Seamus stretched out, lowered his head to the floor, and then lowered his entire body down. He thumped his tail against the floor. It was a moment of serenity, at the end of a decidedly non-serene week.

"I'm excited to go work on Leverage, because I love being an actor, and it's always fun to be in Portland … but I'm really going to miss my family and my house while I'm gone."

64 thoughts on “nobody can see in our holler tree”

  1. Murphy’s can work some pretty serious magic. It saved the floor at the place I lived in during the previous chapter of my life.

  2. Exciting! The weather has finally turned gorgeous here, so I’m sure you’ll have a great time. Hit up Voodoo downtown during a weekday between 2-4; that’s usually the least busy time. Oh, and definitely check out Big Ass Sandwiches – they’re just around the corner from VooDoo and they have some of the best (and biggest) sandwiches this side of the Earth (you can follow them @bigasssandwhich and check out their photos). Enjoy your stay and hope to see you at Ground Kontrol!

  3. Parquet floors are very durable. That’s the major point of the design (Watching Modern Marvels is Fun AND Educational!) You can probably get a little patching material for any major holes from the staples. There are a few professional products if the damage gets too bad. You can also replace a particular section if needed.
    Why anyone would nail down a carpet over that, I don’t know. Area rugs are your friend.

  4. Dude, if you are filming Leverage, you have to Twitpic you and Christian Kane looking awesome, cos i think i might die of man crush overload if that happens.
    As for the mini-renovation, its the little together things that always mean a lot :)

  5. Cool flooring! And cool you’ll be here in PDX. Hoping to get a call for extra work but I know that’s hit and miss depending on the ep they are filming.

  6. I’ve spent the last week or so pulling pink carpeting out of my 13 year old son’s bedroom. The entire upstairs has an open, airy feel to it now that the detested carpet is gone. I also wish I hadn’t waited so long to do it, especially since my son is not a fan of pink, but my wallet was afraid of what might be hiding underneath. Luckily it was serviceable painted wood. Nothing as awesome as your parquet, but good enough for now.

  7. Just visited my hubby up in PDX (his boat is in dry dock there) and we did Ground Kontrol but passed on Voodoo Donuts because even at midnight in the rain the line was still two blocks long. Maybe next time :)

  8. Nice floor! And can you believe some people would still have pulled out all that lovely parquet flooring? Good work to both you and Anne.
    If you skip Voodoo Donuts, maybe a burlesque show would fit into your schedule? I hear Portland has some neato ones. I also need to take your advice about taking the train from Seattle to Portland. How freakin’ economical is that?! *slaps forehead*

  9. It makes me a tiny bit sad that after all of your visits to PDX you’ve never gotten to go to Voodoo Doughnuts, especially with all of your trips to Ground Kontrol which is only a few blocks away. Had I known and, you know, if I actually knew you, I would have just brought you some just so you would actually be able to say that you had, at the very least, eaten their yummy yummy and kind of weird pastries. Of course actually visiting the shop is at least half the fun of it so…. yeah.
    There is usually a long-ass line to get in so I’d recommend getting your book first then hiking down so that you can read while you wait.
    Alternatively, as a backup plan, if you have transportation and don’t want to wait in line there is a second location in NE PDX that has parking and the line is not usually nearly as long but nothing quite beats a visit to the original shop. :)
    (Apologies for the over comma-ization. It’s just that kind of day)

  10. Looks beautiful! My house has hardwood throughout and natural wood work,it to was built in the 1940’s. My dog Iris has been sleeping in the bathroom as there is tile. I like to watch you act so have a great week. Eureka and Leverage are set up on the Dish DVR. Also looking forward to The Guild. Just think of what you have to look forward to when you get home. HAVE A SAFE TRIP!

  11. I mentioned on Twitter, but it’s likely you see this more easily. At Powell’s you’ll be near Descutes’ downtown pub. Their beer is great, and the Black Butte is a rockin’ porter. I strongly suggest a quick trip if you can have a pint (or their tasting menu.)

  12. Hurrah for Cha0s! Just watched last night’s ep which wasn’t as good as the first two but still fun. Brand new look on Parker!
    Lovely floor! Just one question: Who in their right mind puts staples through a parquet floor to fix down a carpet. That should be a crime.
    Have fun in PDX!

  13. I went there last time I was in town, and did their tasting menu. My notes are pretty amusing: they get more enthusiastic and illegible as I get closer to the bottom of the last glass.

  14. Isn’t it amazing how people covered up those old wood floors years ago and in the process “preserved” them for us. The house we live in now was a rental for us for 9 years. We didn’t want to put money into it any more than we had to. We could see in the closets though that it was all nice red oak. When we bought the house one of the first projects was to remove that nasty carpet and have the floors sanded (ours needed it). The guy who did the sanding said they have about 5 or 6 more sands in them too. :) Your floor looks wonderful too Wil.

  15. The staples were holding down a foam pad beneath the carpet. We noticed that there's an obvious rectangle in the middle of the floor, where an area rug once was, so at some point in time, the previous owners (we're the second owners of the house, which was built in 1949) had this beautiful floor exposed. I don't know what possessed them to carpet it, but I imagine it happened the same time they pained the beautiful brick fireplace white.

  16. In case you didn’t see my tweet to you, I live in the Portland area. I’m a writer for one of the top 25 TV blogs to follow on Twitter and I was wondering, if you had time, if you’d be interested in doing a quick interview. It’s only 15 questions for a segment we do every Friday in which we ask various TV personalities what sort of shows they like to watch, fav actors, characters, etc.
    You can check out our other victims – er, I mean interviewees….at
    If you’re interested, just send me a tweet or reply here! Thanks!

  17. Glad you got to make it over there. Had a great experience with their (relatively new) distillery product tasting too.
    Their Black Butte XXI might be available while you’re there. It’s the porter with cocoa nibs (from Seattle), locally roasted coffee and aged in Colorado whiskey barrels. It sounds like a total mouthbomb, but it’s subtle and balanced. Definitely recommended.

  18. Thanks for asking! Because I'm in town for Leverage, all media requests have to go through their PR department.

  19. In addition, I’d like to cordially invite you to the Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders (soccer) match on Wednesday night. The Sounders play in MLS, and the Timbers are currently in USL, but will be moving up to MLS next year. This is round 3 of the Open Cup, and we’re huge rivals – the match is going to be one epically awesome showdown. The Timbers play at PGE, right downtown, and tickets are $15. Seriously, if you have the chance, you should totally come. ^_^

  20. You’re lucky with the carpet. We pulled up our “previous owner cat pee” carpet and had to seal the floor and then almost die of chemicals painting a sealer coat on the walls. Yucky!!
    You should check out St. Cupcake in PDX as well sometime. I’m sure Anne would like one of the lovely pink to-go boxes of tasty treats!

  21. Oh how wonderful. Looks like you like midcentury modern furniture, too, and this will look so great with that!
    I hate carpet. We have gradually gotten rid of all of ours in our 1913 house. Much easier to clean.

  22. Did you remove the paint from the fireplace? And, if so, what method did you use? We have a 1920’s craftsman home that had the second owner (we are the third) do the same thing.

  23. Hope you enjoy your visit to PDX! Sounds like you’ll be busy if you can’t even manage to get a voodoo donut, but if you get a craving for pizza, Flying Pie Pizza is the best and @nythok will help you out!

  24. We had to use a harsh (and terribly toxic) chemical stripper to get the bulk of it off. It required fans in the house, expensive masks to filter out the fumes, and a whole lot of patience. It didn't get it all off, so we're currently going over it with a stiff wire brush that's attached to a drill, just a few bricks at a time. It's slow and tedious work, but it's slowly starting to look the way we want. At this pace, it'll probably be finished just in time for the weather to warrant building a fire.

  25. Very nice, congrats on the easy win. Do you find it changes the acoustics of the room noticeably?
    O/T any word on the release of Memories of the Future vol 2?

  26. It changes the acoustics dramatically. I think that's one of the key reasons the room feels brighter.
    MofT 2 is still being written; my acting career has been so busy, it's pushed all of my writing work way behind schedule.

  27. That’s unbelieveable they’d cover up a floor like that… to each their own though. Cant wait for the return of Chaos and great to see you’ll be on Eureka! Keep the geekdom alive. ^_^

  28. You’re ruining the magic! The plebs want to believe that celebrities are mystical creatures whose lives are a whirlwind of drama, romance and excitement, filled with all things un-plebian. I just rode the elevator with neighbors who were hauling apartment painting paraphernalia… do I really need to know that a celebrity I follow on Twitter is redoing his floors himself? Where’s the glamor? I bet Bogart never even knew there was a floor on his home! Can you see Marlene Dietrich complaining about a backache after pulling up carpet? NOOOO!!! Can you see John Wayne … well John Wayne might have pulled it off, bad example. Twitter is like going backstage Disneyland and discovering that Goofy is a pimply faced 17 year old girl!
    If I can’t have magic I can at least say, nice floor! I grew up with parquet floors, love it! Good for you guys. Congrats!

  29. Wil, I do believe a certain someone told you a while back that the day would be coming that people who grew up as fans of your work would be in positions to write parts just for you and that your acting career would take off. You seemed rather keen on the idea. Welcome to the mixed blessing. 😉

  30. Wow, that floor is Gorgeous! Some of the 70s and 80s stupidity made them cover that lovely floor. Glad you earned it back!
    Be sure to do something to protect the floor from the dog nails. Watch for marks in the first few weeks. You may need to apply a harder finish than Murphy’s Oil Soap to protect it. Though even a good waxing will help.
    Have fun on the Leverage’s Set!

  31. Wow that’s a nice floor. I look forward to reading stories and tweets about your dogs running around losing traction now that the carpet is gone.

  32. Oh man do I HATE it when home decorators paint over brick or stonework. You might have found it easier to rip the old brick out and put in new masonry, although it’s fairly expensive.
    I LOVE that floor! I’m so jealous. A coat of sealant might be advisable just to be on the safe side (especially if there’s a big of damage from staples and such), but one or two cans is probably sufficient for the whole room and it’s not very pricey.

  33. You may get lucky depending on the locations. Leverage has been setting up camp in the lot next to Ground Kontrol pretty often lately. I also second the recommendation for @bigasssandwich – you can get delivery most anywhere in the downtown core from @pdxpedpow. Use the iphone (android is coming!) app or sms to order ahead during the lunch rush if you go over there yourself.

  34. When we moved into our house 12+ years ago, it was carpeted everywhere with disgusting old industrial carpet. It was filthy, covered in burn holes, and poorly laid. We ended up doing a little phone re-wiring… and discovered that under the carpet was a gorgeous hardwood floor! We quickly ripped that mangy carpet up in all of the bedrooms. The wood isn’t in the nice shape that yours is, but it’s such a pleasure. Alas, our stairs and living room aren’t hiding amazing seekrit flooring underneath, and we’ve made do with ugly carpet. :(

  35. That is such a lovely floor. I can’t imagine the impulse cover it with carpeting.
    Congrats of your revived acting career. I think historically for young actors there has always been two major paths after the younger years. The first path and sadly the more traveled is burn out, substance abuse, and the end of an admirable public life.
    The second path usually involves a period of isolation away from the acting and public life. But then in adulthood these young actors return stronger and more in control of their careers. (Roddy McDowall went along this second path with his period of isolation being acting schools and Broadway.)
    I suspect that you are entering your second act and it’s only going to get brighter and busier. I am terribly happy for you.

  36. Floor looks great man, it’s going to bring a whole new vibe to your home. Enjoy it! Have fun in PDX on Leverage, we keep missing each other on EP’s, I was there 1 week after you did Two Live Crew, and my last was Reunion, weird, have fun man, best Cast & Crew EVER to work with, and check out “The Horse Brass Pub” (On Hawthorne I think..) You’ll love it! The Guinness flows well there. See ya at SD Woot!

  37. If you do make it to Voodoo Donuts, the maple-bacon bars are without peer.
    If you get the chance, try out the food carts too. Ninja Plate, Violetta, and Blue Plate are highly recommended. (
    You’re here for the first really nice weather we’ve had in a while. I hope it’s a fruitful and fun gig for you.

  38. Life is good for you two! Your floor looks great, you saved money doing it yourself. and it’s been canine approved. Nicely done!

  39. Wil, take good care of Stumptown for me while you’re there, will ya? I grew up there, I don’t get back more than twice a year. Watching Leverage from Indiana is like watching “Mr Holland’s Opus” from Bangkok (and feels almost as distant), both windows to home when I needed them most.
    If you get a late-night hankering for some Slurpees, stop by the 7-11 on 20th and Hawthorne in SE. Between 3-11pm on Wed-Thu, and 11pm-7am Fri-Sat, or Mon, ask for Jack, and tell him his sister sent you.
    For breakfast, I recommend Fuller’s in the Pearl (small, counter seating, awesome waitresses, delicious diner food) or Jam on Hawthorne, if you was something a little more interesting and very Portland (I recommend the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes, and any of their summer cocktails).
    Otherwise, you’ve already got all the Portland bases covered. Enjoy!

  40. That’s awesome! I don’t really watch Leverage, but I watched the episode you were in and plan on watching the next one you’ll be in.
    I guess I’ll have to make some trips to Ground Kontrol this week in hopes of seeing you there. That sounded kinda creepy, huh? Well, have fun in Portland, Wil. Hope you do get to try Voodoo Donuts.

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