Dust for Dinner

Our House in Summer
This is where I live. 

Our House in Winter
In mid April there’s not a leaf on the trees.
Pretty you might think. I do, too and many of the rooms are very nice. The house was built in 1872 and used as a rooming house for many years. It hasn’t been updated in any major way which attracted us to it in the first place. Oftentimes these old painted ladies are renovated to death with cheap materials and questionable taste. It makes them all look alike. Comfortable? Maybe. Beautiful? Not so much.

Well, ours is not renovated. It’s a place with a lot of ‘atmosphere’ and lousy bathrooms. It gives us the freedom to leave things as they are, or improve gently with recycled materials.

Sometimes it feels all too much, but more often I love the possibilities of making a place just to our liking. It’s like living on a theater set with dust, dirt and boxes everywhere.

Our main floor is very livable, but the kitchen/dining area downstairs is a mess.

Dining Room Floor
This is the reason posting is sparse this week. For three years we have been living on a red painted press-board floor and this week I couldn’t take it anymore. We started to remove the flooring, anxious of what we would find.

4 Layers of History
Underneath the strange press board layer was a a Mondrian inspired layer from the 60’s, a red linoleum layer from the 40’s, and mystery polished tar paper layer,  probably from the 20’s. Luckily non of them were glued down. 4 layers of crap history. And boy, what were they thinking? Can you image a wide expanse of floor with this pattern?

4 Layers of History

Not sure, what we’ll do once all the layers are removed. I like painted floors and would give that a go. I might ask you for advice on colors.
Our weekend plans involves removing linoleum and eating dust for dinner.

See you on Monday.

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17 Responses to “Dust for Dinner”

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  1. Strikkelise says:

    You are so lucky to have a real wooden floor under all that! If you can stand it, you could keep some scraps of the old linoleums etc. as memories of the house's history. Maybe put them in an album?
    I have no experience with painting floors but I know I like medium to light greys on floors in old houses.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Your house is so pretty!

    I actually do have some floor painting advice (I painted a badly damaged fir floor in my very first, also old house). Unless you are a fastidious housekeeper, avoid a a dark color. I used a dark chocolate brown, which was very pretty, but showed every little speck of dust (and I'm not a fastidious housekeeper, so there were a lot of specks). I would imagine that a light color would have similar problems with showing dirt.

    Also, do plenty of research on preparing the old floor and make sure to use the proper type of primer and paint. Our painted floor wore very well and the paint covered a multitude of ugly patches and holes.

  3. Carla M. Turner says:

    My mom painted her mudroom a gorgeous gold color. Stunning. =)

  4. Katie Bee says:

    I happened upon this yesterday–how to stencil a floor. It doesn't have much about the base paint job, but the added effect of stenciling is really pretty, I think.
    http://www.homelife.com.au/home+ideas/decorating/how+to+stencil+a+floor,5568

  5. Andrée Lachapelle says:

    Your house is amazingly beautiful, and it is fantastic that you can fix it up as you wish, and make it your own. A lot of work, maybe – but you're removing all those layers of crap to lay down the foundations for your own history. That in itself is priceless — and worth eating a little bit of dust.

  6. Tina S says:

    Oh my gosh, how tastes change!

    Your house is so gorgeous — I am envious of all those details on the outside. Growing up in California, most of the houes near me were very modern — our was built in the 1960s, so it was all modernist simplicity and slabs of wood.

    But one thing I love about the houe I grew up in is the wood floors. We have soft, light pine floors which were quite unfinished when I was growing up, but when I was a teenager we had them sanded, polished, and varnished (or whatever people do to floors), and now they are gorgeous. Maybe, depending on what the kind of wood is, you can keep their natural beauty shining through?

    Stitching in Circles

  7. Charissa says:

    Hi Kathrin – Nice to get an update on life! I've been an apartment-dweller all my adult life to date, so I have very little experience with renovation projects like this. I admire your moxie and am astonished at the different layers of flooring you've discovered along the way!

    I don't know, the Mondrian linoleum might not be that bad….
    : )

  8. A Little Happier says:

    What a nice place! How much work it should be!
    Have a nice week end

  9. Lucy in the Sky says:

    Was haben sich die Leute nur gedacht, immer über den alten Fußboden einen neuen zu legen? Aber vielleicht habt ihr Glück und der Holzboden ist noch so unbeschädigt, dass man ihn abschleifen und versiegeln kann – dann werdet ihr allerdings einige Tage Sägemehl und Farbpartikel essen müssen. In meiner Leipziger Wohnung hatte ich den Boden hellgrau gestrichen, das hat mir bis zum Auszug auch gut gefallen. In der gleichen Wohnung fanden sich unter Tapetenschichten noch Spuren der alten Wandbemalung – allerdings nach gründerzeitlichem Geschmack dunkelbraune Wände mit Bordüre auf Höhe der Fensterkreuze. Spannend ist das ja immer, sowas auszugraben, aber nach ein paar Tagen auch sehr anstrengend. Aber bei so einem schönen eigenen Haus lohnt sich das ja auch.

  10. KatieQ says:

    When I was growing up my aunt lived at home with my grandmother. She decided to surprise her by updating the floor in their enclosed porch with new linoleum. Ugh! It was the same Mondrian print you had on your floor. My grandmother was from Poland and she was not always able to express herself in English. My aunt thought the tears in my grandmother's eyes were from happiness. Even though I was only a kid, I knew better.
    I'm sure your floor experience will turn out with a happier ending.

  11. sharon from farm and fru fru says:

    oh my what a beautiful, comfy, fetching home…i love it. as to floor colors..i too had a bad experience with dark floors and dirt…we used quarry tile (brick colored) in our kitchen and were stuck for 15 years…every paw print, every foot print, every speck or dirt and dust…not practical for a farm. now we are fortunate enough to have large large tile the color of….dirt. fantastic…prettier than it sounds. but oh so functional…therefore, i vote for something in the gray-ish family…have a great weekend!

  12. Brooke says:

    I hear you on wishing to fix it up from the bare bones rather than deal with an already renovated, although not so picturesque, place. My husband and I are beginning to househunt and I'm thinking I'd rather clean up a little history than wrestle my way through new bling!

  13. Aiyeshah says:

    Apart from the dust, I find it all amazing! A house telling so many different stories…layer by layer…I think it's poetic, although it's not very practical if compared to the modern houses and comforts we're used to! So have a nice weekend ;p

  14. Vicki K. says:

    My friend got to the same point with her kitchen floors and just decided to deal with splinters when everyone didn't wear their slippers! She just couldn't abide it another minute. It's still taken awhile but she eventually got there!

  15. annekata says:

    Thanks so much for your comments. We did test for asbestos and luckily there was none. Today we discovered that the floor is not as sturdy as we thought. Sigh. I'll keep you posted. It'll be take-out for the next few days….

  16. suschna says:

    Hm, nun ist wohl schon alles raus? Linoleum ist hier ja gerade wieder stark im Kommen. Bei uns waren die Fußbodendielen in den Schlafzimmern grau lackiert, leider habe ich sie weiß überlackieren lassen, das ist mir inzwischen zu "shabby-schicki". Ich hätte sie mal in der Originalfarbe lassen sollen. So ein wachsartig glänzendes dunkles Grau-Schwarz finde ich auch schön, aber da muss dann der Raum vielleicht ansonsten möglichst hell sein. Oder ochsblutrot. Bin mal gespannt, was ihr daraus macht.

  17. futuregirl says:

    I could not be more jealous of your home. I love the photos of the floor. Those discoveries must be so fun! Of course the reality of pulling up the floor and cleaning up and making new design choices sounds like a chore, but the magical moments interspersed with real life must be nice. :)

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