The Floors Revealed.

You’ve been very patient.  After weeks of waiting, my new old floors are complete. Welcome.

This is the story of an old house with old floors that do not match. And that’s O.K.

After weeks of ripping up floor boards, crying, repairing and repatching I finally have the floors I wanted.  And yes, I am very glad I ripped up each and every layer until I got to the last layer even if it meant a lot of work, some reinforcing of the floors and going to bed every night worried a disrupted centipede was going to crawl in my ear.

All of it was worth it to get to the original layer of flooring in my 1840 cottage.  Imagine my surprise when I realized after the floors were sanded that – my foyer floors aren’t the original floors.

Yep.

After all that.  Don’t get me wrong.  The foyer floors I was so conflicted over revealing are olddddd floors.  They’re secured with square nails which means they were laid in 1890 or earlier.

They just aren’t as old as the floors in my living room.

The wood planks in my living room are a different colour (darker meaning they’re older) and wider. They’re also secured with square nails. Who knows how or why these foyer floors ended up in here 50 years after the living room was laid. I can tell you I’d love to know.

It’s very upsetting the people living here didn’t have the foresight to develop the Internet, learn coding and start a website documenting everything at the time.

The replacement boards I got from an antique show to patch my little hallway are darker still. They’re hemlock which tends to have less orange and yellow tones.  The boards are probably even older than the living room boards.  The hemlock came from the sides of a barn that was torn down in Ontario.

After everything was done and I was taking a few pictures to send to family I noticed something.  I didn’t notice it in real life, I noticed it in a photo. Looking through them I stopped at a picture I had taken of the foyer from my front door.

My floor.  Had its eye on me.

As soon as you walk in the front door there is a knot in the wood that looks exactly like an eye staring at you.  It doesn’t sort of look like an eye, it isn’t an optical illusion.  It is an eye.  There’s even a light fleck where the iris is that looks like a highlight. No matter what angle you look at it from, there it is.  Even looking at it from the side, you can see it’s an eye.

So yes.  It gives side eye.

I told a friend about my wooden eye and she asked right away if it looked like an evil eye or a kind eye. I think if I had to pick I’d say it’s a kind eye keeping watch over me and my house.

I’m so glad I removed all of those cover up floors to reveal this. Now that it’s all done I can’t imagine what my hesitation was.  I’m sure the eye thinks the same thing.

Sometimes you have to peel back the layers in order to see things clearly.

I still have a little bit of work to do with heat registers and such, but for all intents and purposes the floor is done. Which is good timing, because at this point … so am I.  Photos of the rooms filled back up with furniture coming soon.

Now.  Onto the dining room floor.

Have a good weekend.  And by good weekend I mean don’t go ripping up your floors.

 

 

 

 

 

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115 Comments

  1. Mary Ann Conner says:

    At least it doesn’t look like a centipede🤣. Kudos to you on such a great job. Love following your blog from Pemaquid, Maine

  2. Jane G Odum says:

    It looks like an egyptian eye, the eye of Ra, that is said to symbolize protection. It’s fascinating.

  3. Madeline says:

    Good job Karen. Ancient Romans believed in household gods who looked after the family. Yours is just a little more visible.

  4. Jadzia Graham says:

    What a great work you do with such persistence & patience.Floors look fantastic!Love the EYE!

  5. Gail says:

    There is something really beautiful about returning to the original floors. I guess it is the honesty and the stories these floors could tell. They show their age and individuality and are not afraid to do so. They aren’t engineered or like the neighbor’s floors. They are unique to the house and the times in which it was built. You have lovingly restored them and now have a great foundation to build on in your new décor!

  6. Lynn says:

    Love the colour of your new old floors. If I had to guess why the foyer boards are different it would be ( they originals had been damaged somehow). An instead of just doing a patch job they did the full foyer.
    It is funny how sometimes it takes a picture for us to actually see what is in front of us . Perhaps it’s because when we look at a picture we are more focused. I love the fact that you found your eye it’s beautiful.
    Have a well earned peaceful weekend Karen.

  7. Sarah McDonnell says:

    The floor is full of eyes! Most of them look like Cynthia Markert’s flapper prints! http://www.cynthiamarkert.com/Missing_Works.html

  8. Idaho Girl says:

    I’ve had a recurring thought all week–that I couldn’t wait to see how the floors turned out. I don’t know if this is because I always want to see a mystery solved or if I just need to get a life…
    I can imagine in 100 years (after someone(s) has again covered those beautiful floors up with carpet or fake wood flooring) that another as intrepid will walk in your footsteps and tear back down to those original floors again and enjoy the discovery as much as you. Although they will probably be puzzled as to why the boards don’t match where you patched in, so you’ll be leaving your own personal mystery as part of the floor legacy :).
    Karen, I admire the way you go full steam ahead with your vision, emphasize the positive and don’t let any regrets take over a project! Can’t wait to see what fun you’re going to get up to next…

  9. Cussot says:

    Too bad the owners didn’t write a diary (and hide it between the floor layers). Have you hidden stuff in the house? For instance, I removed a door and hid a note in the doorknob tongue hole (yeah, not the technical term) along with a dime before I filled over it.

    The floors are beautiful. Such a lovely soft sheen.

  10. Leslie Barnard says:

    Great job karen! And the real job was being brave enough to go forward with the almost-original floors! My bedroom ceiling is knotty pine and I so want to bleach and/or whitewash them! A lot of the knots look more like vaginas than eyes, unfortunately. Must be the way the boards were cut? Anyway, what did you end up using to finish them? Polyurethane? It didn’t seem to turn the wood yellow at all!

  11. Jan in Waterdown says:

    Got a nosy question for you that I’ve been meaning to ask everytime there’s a photo of your livingroom, so maybe this is as good a time as any. On the right side of the shuttered window, what is the big white rectangle on the wall? It looks to me like a blank canvas…. ?? Oh and btw nice floor job.

  12. Lynda Loy says:

    Beautiful!! Wish I had old floors to redo…but alas my house is just medium old not good old like yours! Wonder job and wish I had an eye!

  13. Gabrielle says:

    Karen, I would like to hazard a guess that your foyer was possibly a later addition to the original cottage. I have seen this in my Ontario stone farmhouse; also in other 1800s structures that were built small originally (no doubt in order to move into asap before the snow flies) and then later added on to as money or time or necessity dictated.

    Just like DIY’s today!

  14. Stephanie Orasi-Fitzpatrick says:

    FABULOUS!!! Totally worth the effort (and tears)!!! The eye…that’s a BONUS!!! So cool….you can scare small children with that at Halloween!

  15. Susan Dunn says:

    Maybe your home originally had a dog trot. It was very common for people to eventually close them in and make center halls. Then they would continue to add on to the home as the family needs changed.

  16. Tami Forbes says:

    Perfection ! And the eye… well… ‘as you ramble on through life, whatever be your goal, keep your eye on the donut and not on the hole.

    😊👍🏻

  17. Bonnie Gutierrez says:

    The flooring looks great and you must be so gratified after all the blood, sweat, and tears!

  18. Stephbo says:

    Beautiful! The door in the bathroom at work had an angry zebra staring back at you when you pee. It’s a little unnerving.

  19. Ada Berry says:

    Karen…the floor is beautiful. I imagine the people who lived there when the floors were new and the mom was so angry when her husband tracked in mud or her kids scratched the floor. You did a great job; you have a floor that no one else in the entire world has. Lucky you!!

  20. Ada Berry says:

    Karen…the floor is beautiful. I imagine the people who lived there when the floors were new and the mom was so angry when her husband tracked in mud or her kids scratched the floor. You did a great job; you have a floor that no one else in the entire world has. Lucky you!! The eye is definitely kind…and wise.

  21. Jo says:

    Question. What did you use for a finish? Maybe it was in the previous post but I didn’t see it there. I’m assuming polyurethane? Perhaps Satin finish? Thank you for taking the time I’m in the process of redoing my Pine Floors. Thanks Karen.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jo! Nooooo, not polyurethane! That’s what started all this trouble with it’s intense orange tint. I’ll do a whole post on how I finished them once all of the floors are done. Just the dining room to go. 🙂 ~ karen!

  22. Eden says:

    Your floors are beautiful. The fact some areas don’t match makes the entire floor more unique and special. I wouldn’t change a single board. Your home is now even richer with history, back-story and personal investment. Great job. Thank you for sharing.

  23. Linnea says:

    Omg, never knew I could love a floor so much. Looks absolutely gorgeous!

  24. Yabut says:

    I’m not sure I could live with the cracks but I do love that eye. I may have to paint on in my entryway!

    • Karen says:

      If the cracks went down to a basement below I couldn’t live with them either! But since they’re tongue and groove I have no problem with them. ~ karen!

  25. Addie says:

    That is an eye for sure!!!! Somebody is watching you.
    My last home (before this one) had the fake marble swirls in the shower. There was a definite horse in the shower!!!! Now please note, I am not a big major horse lover…they are nice and all
    but I am not really ever around them. Anywho…. I got to love my horsey taking a shower with me!!! I even made a point to say goodbye to him when moved out. He was perfect with nostrils, eyes and a mane and all. Even others saw him too.

  26. Peggy B says:

    Oh my, the floors were well worth all the angst. Can’t wait for final pics with everything in place. Now, about that eye. I think these planks came from the enchanted forest. There is a smiling face, a perfect eye and probably other faces too shy to show themselves. You’re blessed by the spirits of the enchanted forest. Now you just need an old fashioned homemade broom and some sage to keep your home clean, light and happy. Blessed be.

  27. Ruth says:

    Now these are beautiful.
    Beautiful, beautiful floors.

    I held out and waited for this one, holding off on reading a couple of the intervening floorposts. Worth it: photos reveal great choices, real beauty. Hope you find the memory stick from 1850ish with the photos of other floors.
    Did similar with Jane the Virgin. On Netflix. Skipped forward to see who she stays with. Now backfilling.

  28. Noél Nicklas Emswiler says:

    Love the floors and the way you get sucked into a project. Me too! Just wanted to let you know that my husband reads your blog (secretly, of course, because he might lose his man card). I forward him all your gardening posts as he began growing veggies last year. Do you know of any place to order dynamite to get rid of squash vine borers? 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hi Noél! I’m not surprised. There’s a rather large male readership on the blog, they just don’t comment as much as the women do. I did a whole post on Squash Vine Borers https://www.theartofdoingstuff.com/squash-vine-borer-control/. My squash vines are still absolutely HUGE, healthy and perfect. So much so that everyone who walks past them at the garden comments on them. October 15th and they’re still in perfect condition and produced more squash than I can possibly use. ALL due to checking them mid season for vine borers and diligently removing every single one of them. Then checking once more and doing it again. ~ karen!

  29. Leslie Barnard says:

    Great job, Karen! That was definitely a leap of faith!! I have knotty pine paneling on the vaulted ceiling of my bedroom (it was a guesthouse that we made our bedroom because the house wasn’t big enough for us and all the kids). Problem is that it’s so yellow! what did you use on your floors? Did you bleach them all first or just the darker ones? Is it that nice, non-yellow color because it’s old white pine?

    • Karen says:

      It’s actually yellow pine. The thing that yellows pine is what you finish them with. Pine does pull a lot of orange tones but you can help prevent it by NOT using shellac, oils or polyurethane on them. The polyurethane is especially bad for not only bringing out the orange but being orange toned itself. For my finish I used a sealer and a matte water based finish. I’ll talk more about what I did and how I did it in an upcoming post. ~ karen!

  30. Jacquie Gariano says:

    OMG….they look soooo great. What a wonderful treat to find the eye in the floor. Truly a gift to you. You did such a wonderful joy. So, sit back (after the furniture is back in) and enjoy it
    Wait a bit before doing the dining room. After all the holidays are coming up way to fast. Have a glass of wine and toast your self for a great job well done.

    • Karen says:

      Pffttt. Dining room is almost done. 😉 I’m more of a “get it finished” than “have a break kind” of gal, lol. ~ karen!

  31. Rebecca M Nixon says:

    Too late! I am ripping up floors this weekend. In my case, hideous 1990s tile floors over 1907 maple

  32. Lisa says:

    Great job! Check out the floors in this post by Remodelista of floors in a remodeled Regency in the UK. They look just like yours.
    https://www.remodelista.com/posts/dream-classic-english-kitchen-for-family-living-and-entertaining-by-devol/

    • Karen says:

      They do! I’m not sure what they oiled them with to prevent them from discolouring. Wish I knew. The floors and the entire kitchen look so good! ~karen

  33. Frances says:

    Karen, what a feat! I am hemming and hawing about pulling up maple that I am convinced is over beautiful original mahogany-inlaid, surface-nailed oak (exposed and at a lower height in other rooms) in my new ancient house. I have made peace with the fact that the floors will never be level or even flat, but I am still terrified of two things – first, that the oak will be either incomplete or terribly stained underneath, and second, that the nails from laying the maple will have torn up the wood below. Did you experience the latter?

    • Karen says:

      Oh, yes there will definitely be a MULTITUDE of nail holes in the floor below. There’s no way around it. For an old pine floor like mine that adds charm. For a more formal floor it might detract. Just do what I did. Take a random few maple boards out very carefully and see what’s under there. You won’t rest until you do. ~ karen!

  34. Desiree says:

    Karen,

    My job, commute, and home projects keep m busy and I have to admit I don’t always read your blog in a timely manner. I recently decided to redo the pine floor we put in our house 17 years ago. The plan is to do one room at a time. I just finished sanding the Forster room myself and I am loving the sanded look. My hubs does not so I went ahead and started staining. I hate it. Luckily I only stained the closet area and a few boards that go into the room. This is when I thought of who would know what to do. I tried mineral spirits and not much color came off onto the rag.

    Also, I need to know what’s you used to keep your floors light. Pine is yellow. I love the light look and…soft feel.

    Desiree

    P.S. love your blog. You make me laugh so hard and feel a littlest less crazy

    • Karen says:

      Hi Desiree. Try using gel stripper to get the stain up. It’s possible not much will come up by just using a scraper, so put the gel stripper on the floor, let it sit for 15 minutes or so, scrape it with a paint scraper and see how it looks. If the colour is still there, wipe down the surface with a damp rag and then sand it with a 100-120 grit sandpaper or medium coarse steel wool until the colour comes up. To avoid any orange or yellow colour in your pine first seal it with a water based sealer, and then finish it with a water based finish. Benjamin Moore has a water based finish called Stays Clear. I used a product from Bona. I’ll be doing a post in the new year on everything I did and what products I used exactly. 🙂 ~ karen!

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