Return to the Old House Forum | Post a Follow-Up

Flooring options for 1895 dutch colonial

Posted by dizbug (My Page) on
Sat, Mar 31, 12 at 5:05

Hi all,

We have just purchased a beautiful dutch colonial built in 1895 which has a great room addition on the back side of the home. There are original wood floors in the formal livingroom and dining room (front side of the home) which aren't in great shape, and the great room addition has (ugly) grayish ceramic floors that don't really fit with the old character of the home. We were first thinking about taking out all of the floors and replacing them with the same type of wood flooring throughout the entire bottom floor. However, I'd like to explore other flooring options that might be appropriate for just the great room (livingroom/kitchen combo) so that we could leave the original wood floors in the front of the house for now. Any ideas? Would doing a travertine tile floor with perhaps a mosaic type look work? I like this look, but to me might be more old world than early 1900s. All advice would be greatly appreciated!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Flooring options for 1895 dutch colonial

Without some more ideas of the house's size and features, I'd hesitate to say much, except that travertine/mosaic would be totally out of character for such a house/period/space. If the house is a mansion, travertine would have been out of range and definitely out of character.

Using tile and marble for flooring in kitchens is a modern convention, original flooring for a kitchen would usually have been wood, or linoleum in all but a few cases. The kitchen was the place for servants, and needed to be easy to keep clean as well.

For middle class dwellings, even those where there was space for large gatherings, wood was the way to go, more likely with a border of some design to give it a fancier look. I have been in some houses on tours where the owners had larger incomes, and even in those with ballrooms, the floors were wood. This may have something to do with the acoustics generated by wood--a softer surface for sound reverberations, and therefore a less harsh quality to incidental noises and enhanced listening pleasure for music.

Your best bet is to refinish the original floors, and replace the inappropriate ceramic with wood, adding a patterned border if you feel the need for enhancing the style. Many people are finding out that tile and stone, while they may look nice, are actually not great for kitchen use--being too hard for long periods of standing, and the easily chipped surface should something be dropped on them.

RE: Flooring options for 1895 dutch colonial

I think removing the original floors just to make one area match would be a real shame. I too think that travertine or mosaic would look very out of character. I would leave the original floors (refinish as necessary) and install wood where the ceramic floor currently is. You could even buy reclaimed hardwood flooring to get the same look and plank size as the rest of the 1895 floor.

RE: Flooring options for 1895 dutch colonial

Strip flooring (fir, maple, qs oak) would look period appropriate. That's what's in the c. 1895 rennovations to my much-older upper Hudson Valley house. I have wood in all rooms, including the kitchen.

Please don't tear out original flooring in order to have some modern version of floor-through matching of materials. Refinish what you have, if necessary, and install period compatible flooring in newer areas. Don't be afraid of threshold breaks where the flooring materials don't match. That's a 20th c modern convention.

Frankly, unless you have an unusually robust heating system the idea of marble floors chills me to the bone. Ok for foyers, perhaps, but I wouldn't want to live with it elsewhere.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Old House Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here