1912 craftsman farmhouse kitchen

cookingofjoyAugust 7, 2010

I've just recently found this forum, and I've greatly appreciated the conversation and everyone's willingness to share!

We have a 1912 Craftsman influenced farmhouse, and it has maple floors throughout. The kitchen had asbestos vinyl glued to the wood flooring, and the wood had to be taken out for the asbestos abatement. I can't imagine that we would be successful finding flooring that would match the rest of the home, so I've been reading on kitchen flooring. What I've read by Stickley is the white tile floor, white cabinets, white enameled sink. We have three original base cabinets in the garage (in poor condition), more of a dark cherry-finished maple shaker style that we're going to try to do something similar for the cabinets (so we're not doing all-white).

We've looked at marmoleum, though we're looking to reopen a wall joining a room with the original maple flooring, and we thought marmoleum might not be a great flooring for transitioning between the spaces. And as we get to the bathrooms I think I'd like to use white hex tile there, so probably not also in the kitchen.

Elsewhere in general overviews of craftsman kitchens, I've read that slate would be an option, but I've not read any specific descriptions. Would slate tile be an appropriate flooring? What size would tiles be? Would there be a pattern or layout that would be most appropriate? Or a more appropriate flooring choice?

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golddust

We own a 1912 Craftsman influenced farmhouse too! We refinished the original Doug Fir wood floors in our kitchen but I won't do that again. It's way too soft. I'd do marmoleum in a heartbeat. We used marmoleum in our bathroom upstairs and I am so in love with it! We did a feature strip and it is so darned cool looking.

Slate comes off in thin layers, somewhat like shedding or scaling. Learn all about slate before you commit to it in the kitchen. Dropping things may be an issue for slate. It's very soft.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2010 at 11:31PM
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skyedog

I don't know about your neighborhood but where I live, if a turn of the century home had maple floors, it was a real showplace, usually built by a prominent, wealthy family. Farmhouse doesn't come to mind!

You might not want to dismiss trying to use a wood floor. Talk to someone who's been in the wood flooring business (especially older homes) a while, you might be surprised at your options.

Some other ideas include doing a "Driving Miss Daisy" kitchen floor, the classic black and white check floor (about 6x6 or maybe 8x8, not so much the modern 12x12). You could use encaustic tiles or cement tiles for this. The link below shows some patterned cement tiles too. Another poster recently found an art deco pattern using cement tiles in her old craftsman kitchen so it's not unheard of.

I'm not a purist - all my houses have been altered too much for me be confined by the original owners tastes (if I can even find any evidence left!). I have gotten to the point where I ask myself if people had todays choices of materials, what would they use? Then I try to tie it back to the rest of the house using original scale (sizes) and a sense of modesty to help it flow with the original elements. I'm sure this will offend someone out there - sorry!

Your home sound lovely - I hope you enjoy your project.

Here is a link that might be useful: Original Mission tile (cement)

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 10:17PM
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cookingofjoy

Thanks, golddust! I've really liked the idea of marmoleum, especially with the dropping things and young kids. What has been your experience with upkeep? Both stores I've visited so far have tried to talk me out of it because of the upkeep and concern with seams, so I was a little nervous. I'm encouraged by your experience!

    Bookmark   August 9, 2010 at 1:50AM
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cookingofjoy

Skyedog - thanks for the great link - beautiful tiles! I've not heard of the cement tiles before, so I'll do some reading.

About the house, it is kind of funny because it looks like a farmhouse, everyone calls it a farmhouse at least. But it's only ever been on two acres, it was never on a running farm. It has a cistern with a pump, and we're told that the now master bedroom was a ballroom. I know I'm ignorant of a lot, so I'm sorry if I'm using incorrect terms. I have been reading, but nothing ever seems clear cut or to match exactly (but that's kind of the fun, right?)

We've lived in this neighborhood for seven years and just moved to this house in Jan, but one of our neighborhood friends, who is 76, has always known the owners of the house and has been visiting it since she was a child. It's been fantastic hearing the stories from her. Prior to us, only two families owned the home. These two families both owned farms south of here, closer to Milwaukee. From the first family, four sibings built this and ended up using it as a sort of retirement home, and the neighbor son and his wife cared for them and received the house as payment (the ballroom was converted to the master for this man). This son's grandfather was the founder of a local private college. The son then had a son who lived here his entire life, and now it's us.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2010 at 9:59AM
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Moccasin

"I'm not a purist - all my houses have been altered too much for me be confined by the original owners tastes (if I can even find any evidence left!). I have gotten to the point where I ask myself if people had todays choices of materials, what would they use? Then I try to tie it back to the rest of the house using original scale (sizes) and a sense of modesty to help it flow with the original elements. I'm sure this will offend someone out there - sorry! "

Skye, I think you covered all the caveats about bringing an older home into the new millenium with a lot of class. Without going into a long philosophical discussion on where to draw the line with restoration and renovation, I think your approach for most people is the option they can live with and perhaps better afford.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2010 at 3:13PM
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kimkitchy

I would like to second the response posted by moccasin, with a "here, here" to Skye.

I have gotten to the point where I ask myself if people had todays choices of materials, what would they use? Then I try to tie it back to the rest of the house using original scale (sizes) and a sense of modesty to help it flow with the original elements.

That's how I feel at times. My kitchen had none of the original elements other than the windows and four doors! We kept the windows in original locations and only moved the back porch door. When we chose a countertop we thought about the material long and hard. Slab granite and soapstone was really too expensive for us, and we weren't sure that our old house would tolerate the weight of those slabs. We did want something tough and heat resistant. Outside our town, at the turn of the century, was a granite quarry from which the stone for our state capital was extracted. So, we thought granite that looked like the granite from our local quarry (now long closed) would fit the bill. We had a rock we carried around with us for awhile to see if we could find granite like it. It is just a rather dark grey fine grained granite and we couldn't find it in slabs anyway, so we went with granite tile that is very similar to the local stone. There are times, I do go with the "if people had today's choices, what would they choose?" logic. I am happy with the grey granite countertops even though the kitchen would not have had them in 1913, and I like to think the kitchen is happy with them too!

As to your floors, I would research Marmoleum some more. I often wish that I had chosen Marmoleum for my kitchen, but I was afraid of the upkeep (waxing?). I've heard they are easy to keep clean though and easy on the legs/knees/back when standing for long periods. It is certainly period appropriate. I also love the look of the cement tiles in the posted link! I'd not seen those before...

Good luck with your flooring choice! -Kim

    Bookmark   August 9, 2010 at 4:32PM
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katmu

I have had Marmoleum in the kitchen of my 1930 house for nearly 5 years. Most of the kitchen had the original hardwood, but the back part was an addition and they laid the subfloor even with the hardwood. So we went with the sheet marmoleum in a charcoal color. I try to seal it every couple of months, but that's basically just putting on a thin coat after you mop. The seams have held up well and the transition to the wood looks good. Overall, I'm pretty happy and would choose marmoleum again.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 4:31PM
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cookingofjoy

kimkitchy - wow! I'm so impressed you hunted down the granite! It sounds beautiful.
katmu - thanks for the marmoleum recommendation! We might end up going back to that.
The other day I visited another flooring place in the area, and they tried to talk me out of both slate and marmoleum. That gets a little discouraging. I've been surprised that places aren't more about making it happen than critiquing the choice.
I do appreciate the encouragement to feel some freedom in this, too! We cleared out the extra room where we'd been storing all the kitchen stuff, and I realized that I really need a kitchen that will work for me. Thanks for sharing your experiences and for the advice!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2010 at 4:21PM
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