Yes, it has been ages – AGES – since I’ve written a post. Things normally slow way down during marching band season, but this year, it’s been even more of a challenge.
Restoring a home in the right way takes time. And, we’ve been super lucky that we haven’t hit many surprises along the way – most everything that’s been a disaster, we knew about beforehand, which makes things really easy! If you remember, the plan was to do the Library next. As we got into the details about the fireplace, and moving the HVAC, we started looking at the floors, and thought, you know – doing the repairs on the rotted parts from when the house was raining on the inside, probably makes sense. We should maybe look into having the floors repaired and refinished, since we’re going to have to get into them a little with the HVAC moving and the fireplace addition. So, we brought some people out to look.
And here’s where I’m sure I’ll get some armchair quarterbacking, but really, I promise, this is the deal no matter how “saveable” they look in pictures. We’ve had multiple consults with different following people who specialize in historic homes – people who want to save things as much as we do.
The first floor has 5 rooms of hardwood. The east side of the house has the Entry Hall and the Dining Room, and the west wide has the Parlor, Library, and Study.
Here’s what we’ve learned. Let’s call it a “West Side Story.”
The East Side Floors – the Entry Hall and Dining Room, are all the original floors. And they are in GREAT shape. The west side? It’s been replaced. And sanded past the tongue and groove. And face nailed to LOOK old. And it’s really bad, cheap wood. In fact, one of the floorers that came out said, “I wonder if ____________ owned this house at some point, because that’s probably why the floors were added so cheaply.” And yes, our house was owned by someone who had a LOT of rental homes in the area, around the time that we’re guessing the floors were put in.
Which is probably the answer to “Why is there carpet here” when we moved in. This house has a lot of “let’s just cover up the damage and pretend it doesn’t exist!”
LET THIS BE A LESSON! The old original stuff that’s over 100 years old? IT’S PERFECT. The new, cheap stuff? It’s not salvageable. And didn’t last.
So, we’re in a holding pattern. The plan is, to replace the West Side Floors with the same material as the East Side, and, while we’re add it, add a complementary inlay border to the parlor – because likely, there was one there originally, since there’s one in the Entry Hall. We’re going to do the demo, and maybe some of the install, but since matching old to new floors is a challenge, we’re going to let someone else take care of that part.
But, we want to do it right. And sometimes, that means derailing plans a little. And I know this is a good course of action, and we’re going to be so pleased when it’s done. And it will be worth it! But anyway, between marching band, the West Side Story Floor Debacle of 2019, and a bout of pneumonia for me, I haven’t had much to report on. But hopefully, this will kick up into gear a little! I’ve missed writing (and having something to write about!), and hopefully we’ll be back on track soon!
Is there any chance that the parts of your house with the crappy floors were carpeted? And, is there a way to get inlaid borders that isn’t outrageously expensive? I sorta browsed some of that stuff years ago even though I didn’t need to replace mine.
Maybe, but I think it’s doubtful since a lumber baron owned the house. I think inlays are like most other things – if you do it yourself and make jigs to make all the pieces it’s super labor intensive but not expensive. I’m torn a bit because I REALLY want to make my own pattern, but I don’t want to take the ages it would take to do it. But yes, buying ore made or having someone else make it is pricey.
Yeah, that sounds daunting. Unless you did something simple with straight bands and some kind of flourish at the corners, but I think might be more of a post-1920 look. And then there’s the advice I got from a super high end builder to replace all my floors and just stencil the inlays on with stain. He said you can’t tell the difference and I’m still dying to know how that could possibly fool anyone.
Lovely idea. You are doing the right thing.
I’m sure it’s going to be beautiful and worth the wait.
Sigh! When the expert has seen this so many times that he id’s the former owner. Well, this house is lucky you own it now.
This is where, in a movie, the lumber baron would look down from heaven, the screen would get all glowy and sparkly, and all the matching lumber would appear in a far corner, just waiting to be discovered. Well, that’s my bronchitis fever dream. Hope you are recovered from the pneumonia.