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Friday, February 20, 2009


Happy Friday! Kelli at There Is No Place Like Home
is graciously hosting "Show and Tell Friday," so visit her here if you want to share more Show and Tell blog posts. Click here to be whisked away!

When I walk on these floors, when I gingerly move furniture so as not to cause damage, when I look at them in sunlight and see the evidence of the hand tools that formed them years ago . . . but especially when I get out the dust mop and go over their worn surfaces, I think of the thousands of times someone else has done just exactly that same thing. And I am floored.

A few people have commented (thank you!)
on the floors in That Old House.

Well, we can't take any credit for them; they have been here for a long time, and are a mixed bag of early and late 19th century wood, and some 20th century replacements.

To have some of the original flooring is a wonderful blessing. In our parlor, the floorboards are up to 16 inches wide:

There are also wide, original floorboards in the attic, the front upstairs hall and the pink bedroom.

I love the marks left by previous owners; they were so practical. The knots in this pine shrank faster than the wood around it, and so some of those knots fell out. Our predecessors cannily cut a square plug, and snugged it into the open hole:

Between the boards, where there was gapping from shrinkage, some talented hands inserted long thin slivers of wood.

Amazing and painstaking work. I don't know who did this, but I'd like to shake his hand! Here's a closeup (click, below, to see it really clearly):

Years ago I rented a circa-1800 house. It had original floors, but with wide shrinkage gaps, and I will never forget spending many hours on my knees, cleaning out those long, schmutz-filled channels. Yuck. I really really appreciate the guy who filled in these gaps!

It's comforting to see that people long ago had little mishaps, too. Evidence: the burn marks on the wood floor, just past the fireplace hearth!

I am glad that the families who lived here before us took such loving care of the house in their stewardship. I hope we can do the same.

Have a wonderful weekend!


  1. Cass,

    This was a wonderful post! It is so sweet that you have noticed all these little details of your floor and can appreciate all the love & care that has gone into maintaining the beauty of them for over 100 years! What some people would give (pay) to have 16 in. pieces of wood flooring! And then there are some foolish people who might have covered the floor with carpet. :-(

    I love the little "imperfections" and it sounds like This Old House has some loving new owners!!


  2. Love the old floors!!! What history behind them!! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Thank you for this post. I had admired your floors in your last post. I think there is nothing more beautiful than an old floor! They really do speak to you of all those that have lived there before don't they? It looks like you are the perfect stewards of this lovely home! Thanks, Paula

  4. Now girl I think these are just beautiful looking nothing better than an old house...thanks for showing more...hugs and smiles Gl♥ria

  5. Spectacular floors! Unlike new mass produced laminate, your floors show years of love and attention and mishaps. All three combine to form a beautiful floor.

  6. Ohhh...I loved seeing your floors. I too have an old home but my floors are fir and they have not held up as well. I am thinking we may need to do some major repairing soon. Thanks for stopping by and visiting my blog!

  7. Hi Cass!! Thank you for visiting me today! I am floored by these floors, too. I know what you mean about thinking who had cleaned them and walked on them so many years before you. I have just really started to appreciate vintage tableware, and bought my first two pieces several days ago. They delight me when I think who used them before. They're depression glass from the late 1920's through early 1930's. What fun to think about!!

    It's interesting how so often these things end up with those who will love them, and think of who previously owned them.

    Thanks for this great story!

    Have a wonderful weekend!!

  8. I used to have an older home, too. You do learn to look at the imperfections differently, don't you? Just evidence that real people were there before you! Great post!...Debbie

  9. Your wood floors are wonderful - worn with love! Each mark represents generations of life in your home. They're gorgeous!

  10. I love your floors - especially the really wide original ones.

    I love to imagine the people who have walked over them, and the happy and sad occasions they must have been part off.

    Thanks for sharing (and visiting)

  11. I loved your post - I loved that you focused on soemthing so mundane yet so special and with so much to say
    Those slivers of wood int he joins are remarkable

  12. I love your floors! What character! I love the history that goes with homes.

    Thanks so much for visiting me and your sweet comment!

  13. That was a great post. You just can't get character like that anymore. You could probably write a novel looking at those floors and imagining what might have happened on them over the years.

  14. I really enjoyed this post, Cass. I wonder if any "famous" feet ever walked across your floors? It's also hard to imagine 16" wide planks--I don't think I've ever seen anything (at least in person!) wider that 6" or so. If floors could talk...

    Have a good weekend☺

  15. Your floors are beautiful. Full of character and strength. I love the detailed repairs, showing that some one really cared. Thanks for sharing them with us!

  16. A great post! Thanks for showing us the character in your floors and the history of them--"if these floors could talk:)"


    Linda C

  17. Cass,
    Thanks for another great post.
    I had admired your wood floors from earlier posts as well. I just love the history you are uncovering in your old house.

  18. Dear Cass,
    Thank you for the sweet comment about my fairy glass that I posted for show and tell. Wow!!! I am so happy to find your blog. I absolutely love old houses, and you are doing a beautiful job. I have a lot of memories of my grandparents magnificent old home. Our home is not old, but I'm trying to incorporate some vintage touches along with the new. I'll look forward to visiting your blog. Bless you-

  19. They are beautiful and have a wondeful history! Great pictures!

  20. I love your floors. Such wide planks. My mom had wood floors and I remember her cleaning out the cracks with toothpicks and Q-tips.

  21. I absolutely LOVE your wooden floors. You sound like me, pondering about the people who lived there before. How fascinating!

  22. I love wood floors and looks like these have been lovingly cared for over the years.

  23. I love your subject. Too true!!!
    We have have a Sears home (1916) and when I hear the floors squeak, I think about the other homeowners too.

  24. Oh my! Your floors are absolutely delicious! They have so much character! One day I would like to have wood floors. I have been looking at the many kinds to choose from, but there are not many wide plank floors. That is what I want and will wait until I find them!
    Thanks for sharing and keep on enjoying them!

  25. If your floors could talk...they are so beautiful. I am so happy you aren't the rip out type...


  26. That is amazing, such history in the floor. My parents' home has the original 1930's floor. Alas my 1980's home has it's original cream carpet, which is no longer cream. Just doesn't hold the same charm and history.

  27. Hi Cass,
    I really love those floors, and the history adds so much. Your house is the best!! Cindy

  28. How beautiful. I love it when wood surfaces show the signs of daily life through the years. Our pine dining room table had formerly been a library table. Then, when we began using it, the marks really began. If you look closely you can see math problems on the surface from years of homework being done there!

    Thanks for stopping by my kitchen table for a visit too. Stop in anytime!

    God bless,

  29. Cass, thanks for coming by and seeing me..still love your home...hugs and smiles Gloria

  30. I wonder what stories we'd hear if your floors could talk. Imagine all the people who have crossed those floors and spent their lives taking care of them. Now it's your time to carry the heritage. Yowser!
    Beautiful - thanks for the post. I liked the square plug - pretty cool.

    There is always room for you in The Shadow of the Cross. Feel free to stop in anytime.

  31. I love your house! I can't wait to read more about your home. My house is cookie cutter suburbia, so it's hard not to be jealous!! Count your blessings :)


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