Floor archeology (II)

Yippee! My little brother John (a few days over one year old, in March 1965) is clearly happy about the tile floor at the Manse kitchen, and so would I be if I were able to magically restore it. Notice in the background a corner of our Findlay wood stove. (Photo by my grandfather, J.A.S. Keay)

The current kitchen floor, in a photo taken very early in our Manse ownership. You can see why I’m kind of eager to replace it.

Yesterday’s post was about what lay beneath the current worn-out vinyl flooring in the dining room of the Manse. Today it’s on to the kitchen, and I shall wax nostalgic about the old turquoise-and-white linoleum that was there in the 1960s.

As faithful readers will remember, I have become very fond of turquoise, due in no small part, I imagine, to its presence at the Manse in those long-ago golden days of my youth.

The kitchen walls were turquoise (above white wainscotting, and don’t even get me started on how much I love wainscotting), and the floor was, as I recall, a nice match. Mind you, it was all very worn, and the floor thoroughly scuffed. While the excavations that Raymond and grown-up John carried out showed that the old turquoise-and-white floor is still there underneath many layers, I harbour no hope whatsoever of if being salvageable.

The result of the kitchen-floor excavation: underneath all the layers of linoleum and vinyl are narrow wooden floorboards, like what you’d find in an old general store. At left you can see a tiny trace of the 1960s turquoise-and-white linoleum.

What I do want to do, though – and we haven’t got around to it yet – is pull up enough of the other layers to get a better fix on what shade of turquoise that floor was, and then see if there’s any way of finding something similar.

As I have reported before, old-fashioned linoleum is kind of coming back into its own. Not only is it funky, but it’s environmentally friendly and it’s not expensive. But I don’t think all that many people can be buying it, because the choices that I’ve found online are pretty limited. That is, I haven’t found any linoleum flooring with a pattern of turquoise-and-white squares, or even individual turquoise tiles – though white tiles are no problem. Does anyone know any good sources for linoleum?

While there is an original wooden floor under all the other layers, I don’t think that’s what I want in the finished kitchen. To me a wooden kitchen floor has kind of a late ’70s/early ’80s vibe to it – you know, the era when everyone had (or wanted) an old butcher-block table in their kitchen. I have moved on from all that woodiness.

Actually, I guess it’s more accurate to say that I’ve moved back.

6 thoughts on “Floor archeology (II)

    • Lu, this is absolutely AWESOME! Thank you so much! I am very excited about the Azzurro (turqouise) and either White Marble or White Birch tiles. This looks like a very good prospect indeed as a site for our kitchen floor. And it is encouraging what they say about the tiles also being very resistant to stains and dents. Thank you again!

  1. It’s not clear to me – are you trying to recreate/resurrect your childhood home, or simply retain some aspects of it while incorporating yours and Raymond’s tastes/styles? I can’t wait to see the end result, you make all of this so interesting and we love following the blog…it keeps us a part of all that you’re doing, in spite of being 10 hours away from Queensborough!

    • I would say the latter, Eloise: keeping (or restoring) what was beautiful and/or funky in the house from way back then, but mixing it up with the kinds of things we like from other eras too – including the present day. I find it amusing, though, that so many things we (my family) thought were ugly about the house back in the 1960s – the wainscotting in the kitchen, the plaster walls, those funky linoleum floor mats – I now find quite lovely. Tastes change, and so do people!

      We so look forward to showing the place to you and Rick in person before too long! (But please, brace yourself for much roughness around the edges in these early days…)

    • Wow – thank you so much for this link, Dave! It a) reinforced my impression that linoleum is a very environmentally friendly material and b) gave me some highly useful information, like the fact that one should put down a layer of acrylic sealer after laying it. And there are some names of makers that I hadnt heard of. Very much appreciated!

      Sent from my iPhone

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