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

 o
Traditional for 1885 house

Posted by norar_il (My Page) on
Fri, Aug 20, 10 at 17:03

I know someone who lives in a house built in 1885 and he wants everything as traditional to that period as possible. His wife says he wants a tile floor in the kitchen because that is what would have been there in the beginning. I say the floor would have been either wood or linoleum. Can someone tell me what is period correct?

The same guy wants his wife to cook with only cast iron!


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Traditional for 1885 house

I didn't do any research, but I'm not sure linoleum would have been in use in 1885? I think tile would be appropriate - stone or glazed. Painted, oil cloth rugs over that was common I believe.


 o
RE: Traditional for 1885 house

From what I've read, linoleum has been in use since the 1860's. My opinion is from the old houses I've been in -- I'm talking at least 100 years old or more -- and have not seen a tile floor unless the kitchen is below grade or has been re-done. If this is not so, I'll be happy to find out.


 o
RE: Traditional for 1885 house

Well, I vote for wood because that's what my ca.1870 schoolhouse has; and I tore up the linoleum my Uncle had put down in 1943 in the kitchen to expose the wood. Not everyone would like it, but I do.


 o
RE: Traditional for 1885 house

What kind of floor an 1885 kitchen would have likely had is going to depend on whether it was rural or urban, belonged to a rich merchant or family of modest means, the geographical area, the style of the home, how close they were to manufacturers or raw materials of flooring material. (our area was home to a very famous tile factory, every home older than 1935 had that tile in it somewhere). I have a house in town where the whole basement is tiled in it. Prolly worth a fortune.

Every one of the homes in America I've lived in of that era had wooden floors. The city ones with linoleum lain over it at some point and the farmhouses just wooden planks. I did live in one in Europe (prolly predating 1835) with beautiful tiled floors from entry hall through kitchen in all rooms except the bedrooms and salon.


 o
RE: Traditional for 1885 house

The house is in a small, oil rich town in the midwest, built by the owner of the local lumber yard. It's a large three story with wrap around porch. All the floors are beautiful, laid with a differnet pattern in each room with 1 1/2 inch wide oak.


 o
spelling correction

Of course, that should be "different".


 o
RE: Traditional for 1885 house

I'm guessing the kitchen had nice wooden floors. The original owner certainly had access to the cream of the crop of timber.


 o
RE: Traditional for 1885 house

Ours is midwest, 1888 and the floors are wood throughout. We had to replace a few planks because they were badly damaged and we found newspapers layered underneath dating 1905 so that tells me either the floors were added then OR they were taken up and relaid/re insulated.

I like period appropriate too, but I'm not such a stickler that I'd fuss about something added 15 or so years later. I feel as long as it's "period appropriate" not necessarily museum accurate, I'm good.


 o
RE: Traditional for 1885 house

Probably wooden floors. I just received a book in the mail that was originally published in 1880 and 1890 (couple different sections), I believe, with old house plans and elevations. Most of them called for "pine" for all floors.

A few of the higher-cost ones called for tile, but not many.

Don't take it as gospel, that was just my experience in my most recent book.

Do tell him to keep in mind that kitchens from 1885 were much, much different than ours now, depending on how "original to the house" he wants to be.


 o
RE: Traditional for 1885 house

And for god's sake, do NOT use cabinets with toe kicks if you are serious about achieving the look of an old kitchen!!


 o
RE: Traditional for 1885 house

I would definitely recommend this book to your friends:

http://www.amazon.com/Victorian-Interior-Decoration-Interiors-1830-1900/dp/0805023127/ref=cm_cr_pr_pb_t/185-1349872-2651941

"Victorian Interior Decoration" by Moss and Winkler. It will tell him everything they need to know about appropriate flooring and then some! I imagine that many if not most of the folks here at this forum have this book. ;)


 o
RE: Traditional for 1885 house

I have toe kicks, never even thought about it. Oops. But then again, we used reclaimed cabinets for a HUGE cost savings so I'm not sure that finding some without would have been an option. Had I a huge budget for all new, I'm sure I would have ordered a slightly different style (uppers that went all the way to the ceiling with glass fronts).

Oh well, ya learn something new everyday. Maybe on the next old house redo (yeah, right).


 o
RE: Traditional for 1885 house

Probably depends on where the house was built and the materials available. We have a 1893 home that has cedar stairs and bois d' arc (pronounced "Bo Dark" wood floors as well as foundation timbers.
The kitchen was not attached to the main house, but in a stucco/plaster building (rock with a coating of plaster on the exterior). This floor had a stone floor. All from materials off the land.
In the 1960's, the PO added on a kitchen and indoor bath.


 o
RE: Traditional for 1885 house

It's nice to try and stick to the period your home was built in HOWEVER it is a house meant to be lived in and it needs to function well for the people living there NOW.
I think the Mr. of this house needs an attitude adjustment.......badly!


 o
RE: Traditional for 1885 house

Wood, linoleum or even stone could have been used, just depended on the budget and availability of materials. I applaud him for wanting to keep to the period--a kitchen does not need a different appliance for every task. I have a mixer and bread maker, and a blender--I almost never use anything but the mixer.
And there is nothing wrong with cast iron cookware--properly seasoned it will last generations, and has a great heat distribution record and will last far longer than your space-inspired non-stick (ns only if it isn't worn, or scratched, etc.)


 o
RE: Traditional for 1885 house

There is an amazing museum house in Pgh. that has a brick kitchen floor - its severely worn from the work done there. But keep in mind that this kitchen was only for working - a servants area. The staff had to maintain that floor, it was purely practical.

And I am still wondering about whether period 1885 cabinets should have toe kicks or not ... wait ... wait ... oh, yeah - there were no cabinets (as we know them) in 1885 period kitchens. Use a table and a few storage pieces (like sugar chests and open shelving) for truly period


 o
RE: Traditional for 1885 house

That poor wife having to cook with cast iron. Her wrists are gonna snap!


 o
RE: Traditional for 1885 house

A hoosier-type cabinet is appropriate for the period--and toe kicks are a modern invention to allow you to lean against the counter as you do stuff--they hinder cleaning and are generally worthless.
I built my own kitchen cabinets because I was lucky enough to find the original doors in my garage--so I researched what was common for turn 0f the century kitchens; and here's a general gripe of mine--cabinets do NOT need to be 36" high--people are taller these days, and you can get a sore back working at counters that height, or even shaving at a sink that high--my kitchen cabinets are 40" due to the original doors and the flush framing at top and bottom--and many people say they are a great height to work at. I can roll out cookies or pastry with no problem which goes against what a lot of books say about pastry counters should be lower than a normal cabinet. :)


 o
RE: Traditional for 1885 house

I can't answer the flooring question but I do most of my cooking with cast iron. It's the original non-stick and no problem to maintain. But it's my choice, no one else's.

Does the husband want her to utilize a washboard and clothesline, too?


 o
RE: Traditional for 1885 house

I suppose the area in which the house is located, and the customs of the homeland the original owners, in addition to their "rank" could lead to how the cooking was to be done and the recipes used. People in the "upper ranks of society" in New York cooked, served, and entertained vastly differently than those out on the oregon trail.
Here is a link to a neat little book I found online dated 1876. Every page is scanned and makes for an interesting read. Practical Cooking and Dinner Giving
http://digital.lib.msu.edu/projects/cookbooks/html/books/book_32.cfm
Click the link to view the PDF. Makes scrolling much easier.

Another neat link was foot timeline:
http://www.foodtimeline.org/

The Women's Sufferage Cookbook is also a great read. Click on the link for the PDF. Some long ago recipes. Some gross. Some long forgotten and worth a try. I believe this one is 1886 or 1887. Not far off from 1885.
http://digital.lib.msu.edu/projects/cookbooks/books/womansuffrage/wosu.pdf

Here is a link that might be useful: Practical Cooking and Dinner Giving


 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.
  • 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