i'd hate for you to imagine that we're still living with the tar paper floor in our kitchen, so here is photographic proof (with gratuitous dog) that we eventually got that stuff off (with the help of a rented wallpaper steamer, hours of scraping, boiling water, a shop vac, and then hours of scrubbing with murphy's oil soap. in case you wondered how it's done).
we are still planning to paint or something, but for now this old, stained, beat-up wood is looking pretty nice in comparison to the floor's earlier incarnations. i am envisioning a homemade hand-braided rag rug tossed on it. i see on the internets that a person can make such a thing herself from scraps of fabric and old clothes! then again, a person can (as i once saw martha stewart do) thatch the entire outside of her house.