Help me date this room

bostonpamAugust 23, 2011

I'm trying to calculate the year of my "old" kitchen and hope some people can help me. The original house was built in 1825. A very large wing was added in 1840 - 1860 (my guess from the high thin muntins in those windows). It was probably for the "summer" kitchen. In 1914 the house was converted to a 2 family, addition made smaller and a garage added.

When we gutted the 1st floor kitchen we found a pristine painted pine floor just above the ceiling. (We are going to use the painted pine floor wood in our banquette in the new kitchen ) 10" above that floor is the present floor for the 2nd floor kitchen. I thought this floor was raised when they converted the house to a 2 family so that the floor would be level from the dining room to the kitchen.

Major ice dams and water damage this winter and we had to gut that 2nd floor kitchen. The old wood floor here looks like the fir found in other "private" rooms in the house. Fir is in the bedrooms but not the LR or DR in the new configured house from 1914. OK, this all matches up with the timeline. Then I noticed the 2nd floor kitchen floor was painted on the "outside" like there was a rug in the center (and unpainted under the "rug"). There are 2 different colors/coats of paint - brown on bottom and a grey/green on top. There's an area where there is only brown - probably where a wood or coal stove/free standing fireplace was located (something was plumbed into the chimney here).

From my limited knowledge I wouldn't expect rugs in a 1914 kitchen. Also, I wouldn't expect them to paint it that often back then (maybe every 10 years?) Was this raised floor added much earlier than 1914 - like maybe in the 1870's - 1890's? What are your thoughts?

More confusion. The fir matches the bedrooms from the 1914 conversion. This includes one of the 2 front parlors that was converted into a bedroom in 1914. In the conversion they also made more rooms and again the fir matches what's there. Public rooms in the conversion (but not kitchens) were oak. I do have the old original wide pine beneath the floors in the main part of the house.

What year do you think this floor was raised? thanks!

Possible stove/FP in top right of picture

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could have been an "oilcloth" or Linoleum rug. Those would have been used in a kitchen.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 10:03AM
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Floor looks exactly like mine (strip t&g fir, like yours)added in mid/late 1890's, so if you know work was done on the house c 1912-ish then that's what I would go with.

Something to think about when dating a structure is wood species and origin. Fir comes from the west and in the east was not used in service rooms until cheap transcontinental railroad shippng was possible.

Grey paint around perimeter is very common. Likely linoleum "rugs" occupied the center. (Pratical as they could be lifted and removed for scrubbing or replacement.)

The thick grey paint can sometimes be steamed off easily, otherwise it succumbs to solvents (citrus, soy, etc.,) but is the devil to get out of the fir's crevices, requiring sanding to fully remove. But that levels the attractive wear patterns, alas.

I have spent umpteen hours on mine. Mine have also been shellacked in the kitchen which oddly makes them easy to scrub (with very prompt moisture removal).

I am in northern NY, north of Albany, along VT border.


    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 10:18AM
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Thanks for the responses. I think what got me "stuck" was my belief that oilcloths and linoleum rugs were mainly in the 1800's. When I viewed other 1910's+ kitchens I didn't see them. I did some more research and came about a great article on the history of linoleum rugs. They and similar products were used up to the 1950's.

Here is a link that might be useful: history of linoleum rugs

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 11:48AM
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