1 House 100 Years

Preparing For The Centennial Of A Place That Matters

Category: Before Renovation

Hey!!! What’s On That Brush?!?


This is most probably my least favorite indoor old house renovation project. It’s messy. It’s slow. It’s tedious. Most importantly, it’s avoidable. At least it would have been avoidable with some forethought many years ago. This peeling paint is caused when two different kinds of paint are used over time.

In my house, the original paint would have been oil-based and there were several re-paintings using that type of paint. Then many years later when latex water-based paint became popular, that was used for a few more re-paintings. The results don’t show until many years later.

Since I’ve owned this house, more of this paint on the woodwork has begun to crack and peel. This winter, an especially cold one, there were mornings when I could stand in the living room or dining room and clearly hear and see the paint cracking, peeling, and popping up.

The only way that I know to correct this is to remove the paint down to the wood, sand, prime and repaint. The only way that I know to prevent this is to keep accurate paint records to give to future owners. Otherwise someone has a lot of unpleasant work!

This photo was taken July 2015. It’s not the worst example of peeling paint in my house, just an average example of peeling paint. This is my summer indoor renovation project.


New Year, New Projects!


With the start of the new year comes the start of a new major project…or at least thoughts of a new major project. The weather has been too cold to start anything major now that all of my big tools have been moved out to the unheated garage.

Nevertheless, it has been very nice to walk through my practically bare living room and dining room and enjoy the newly restored and refinished floors. The house definitely has a greater feeling of being a warm and welcoming home. I must admit that I am enjoying the ” minimalist look” too!

Hopefully the “Before” and “After” photos above tell this story well. You will see that there has been very little change in the rich, aged color of the wood, however there is a definite improvement in the appearance, particularly since there are no longer pieces of plywood covering up the holes!

A good friend has often said, “John, your house will tell you what it needs next.” Last winter it was telling me (in a rather unpleasant way) that it needed a new heating system! With that and this major floor project completed, my house is now saying, “Laundry room, please.”


These photographs were taken in 2014 before, during and after the repair and refinishing of my living room and dining room floors.

By the way, WordPress let me know that this is my 100th post!

Stop! Read This Before You Cover, Destroy, Or Otherwise Obliterate That Old Floor!


If you bought an old house, most likely one of the things that attracted you was the possibility of having old wood floors, beautifully restored and glowing with an inner golden amber warmth.

Maybe the original had been covered with linoleum, vinyl, even shag carpeting, and so you didn’t know exactly how the floorboards looked, but you were willing to take a gamble.

Maybe you thought, “Whatever is under this ratty looking mess has to be better than this.”

Maybe you bought the house, removed all of those floor coverings, and were then disappointed at what you found underneath: saggy looking places, rotting boards, wide gaps between the boards, scratches and gouges, paint splatters, bits of rubbery carpet padding almost melted to the floor, maybe a little insect damage here and there?

Maybe your heart sank.

Before you decide to cover, destroy, or otherwise obliterate that old floor (and all of your beautiful flooring dreams with it), consider this.

Maybe your floor isn’t going to be like those that you see in old houses that have always been meticulously maintained, but there are probably some sections that have the character that you would like for the entire floor to have. Focus on those places. That will help restore your hopes.

Then visit some old buildings that have been restored. Look at how those floors tell a story in all of the imperfections that have been added over the years. Your old floor has a story to tell, and now that it is your old floor, you get to add to that story.

Having been faced with all of the “maybe” circumstances above, the turning point for me was when I started thinking of these boards not as floor but as furniture.

Here’s what I mean.

I asked myself, “What would I do if these boards were a piece of furniture, and not attached to my floor joists?”

Then I asked myself, “What if I looked at these floorboards as the largest single piece of furniture in my house?”

Having decided on this new perspective everything starting to fit together in perfect tongue-and-groove fashion.

The next few posts will elaborate further on what I have learned about rescuing my old floor. It’s unlikely that everything I have to share will apply to your old floor as far as tips and techniques. Hopefully though, you will find some inspiration and encouragement.

My old floor is the largest single piece of solid wood furniture in my house. It’s the only piece of furniture that I get to walk on too! (Socks only, please!)


The first photograph was taken November 2013. The second photograph was taken April 2014 after the old floor finish was removed, damage repaired, boards sanded and stained lightly to match the color of the aged original flooring, but before any final finish has been used. The threshold has not yet been rescued and provides a good comparison of “before” and “after.” This was just a test area to see what possibilities there are for saving the original floor.