ASK OLD HOUSE JOURNAL
Old House Journal|January - February 2021
ASK OLD HOUSE JOURNAL

Q: I have an old Cape-style farmhouse, ca. 1835, in a rural area of Maine. What can you tell me about painted floors? —Rick DeBruin, Phillips, Maine

A: I think your answer is Yes! Painted floors were popular especially in that period. Old “deal” floors (of pine, fir, or a local softwood) frequently were painted in a solid color or checkerboard to refresh them. Varnish—or, today, polyurethane—is added on top of the paint to extend its life.

This is also the era of trompe l’oeil painting, with fool-the-eye, three-dimensional effects: cube blocks, “inlaid’ compass roses, even “oriental rugs” painted on wood floors. Faux marble was popular, particularly in entry stair halls. Stenciling and freehand painting on floors also are found. See more photos and information by searching “painted floors” at oldhouseonline.com. —Patricia Poore

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM OLD HOUSE JOURNALView All

Wood Working

Five handy, high-quality devices make carpentry jobs go smoothly.

1 min read
Old House Journal
January - February 2021

Glasgow School in the Bathroom

A tutorial in bracing color and geometric, stylized forms.

2 mins read
Old House Journal
January - February 2021

STUFF MY M-I-L SCREWED UP

My mother-in-law is an active 83-year-old who still lives in her own home of many years. When we last visited, we were horrified to discover that she has hung a collection of disused and out-of season clothing on Romex electrical cable, which runs through the joists under the basement ceiling. Now we’re worried about other safety issues down there, too. —Anthony (and Julia) Wisniewski

1 min read
Old House Journal
January - February 2021

MATCHING INTERIOR MILLWORK

If one lacks professional expertise, installing crown moulding, replacing missing bits of casing or trim around windows, and retrofitting lost baseboards may be an exercise in frustration. Especially when nothing in an old house is square! First learn about the role of trimwork, building up profiles, turning corners with mitered and coped joints, and what tools to use where.

5 mins read
Old House Journal
January - February 2021

The Tradition of Burnt Wood

An ancient Japanese method for finishing woodwork was adapted by bungalow builders, and it’s back in style.

4 mins read
Old House Journal
January - February 2021

cutting corners

“Turning the corner” is easily the most challenging part of any moulding installation or repair. It helps if you aced geometry in high school. For all others, learn to use a miter box, preferably one with a clamp. More experienced? Upgrade to a compound miter saw.

3 mins read
Old House Journal
January - February 2021

ARTS & CRAFTS DO-OVER

With generous living space yet a focus on the outdoors, an undistinguished cottage is rebuilt in the Craftsman tradition.

1 min read
Old House Journal
January - February 2021

Arresting Hardware

Salvaged icebox hinges make new cabinets look like vintage equipment.

3 mins read
Old House Journal
January - February 2021

ASK OLD HOUSE JOURNAL

ASK OLD HOUSE JOURNAL

2 mins read
Old House Journal
January - February 2021

A House unbungled

A couple embarks on the restoration of a diminutive house, aiming to reverse a mid-century Colonial style remodeling. Replacing one wall with a period colonnade lets light flow front to back.

2 mins read
Old House Journal
January - February 2021
RELATED STORIES

LAWYERS CLASH OVER $1B HYDROPOWER TRANSMISSION CORRIDOR

Attorneys for conservation organizations and an electric utility clashed this week before a federal appeals court over the adequacy of environmental reviews of a key portion of a power transmission project in western Maine.

2 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #492

Notes for new breeders

Experienced breeders will tell you that there are a number of things they wish someone had told them before they had their first litter. This article will share a few of those items with you in the hope that it will encourage you to read more and ask more questions.

8 mins read
Cat Talk
February 2021

MASKS, SOCIAL DISTANCING AND SPEED: SNOWMOBILES ENJOY BOOM

The thrill of hurtling along a remote trail, coupled with Americans’ ongoing desire to get outside during the pandemic, is creating the biggest boom in more than two decades for the snowmobiling industry.

3 mins read
AppleMagazine
AppleMagazine #484

How I Helped My Dad Die

His body wrecked by ALS, my father insisted that his death, like his life, was his to control

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
February 01, 2021

SMALL BOAT CRUISE: Moosehead Lake, Maine

There’s adventure in leaving a place you know for a place you don’t know.

9 mins read
Small Craft Advisor
January - February 2021

SPRING HUNTING IN MAINE

In 1982 Maine closed its spring season, but you can still spring hunt with an outfitter on some tribal lands.

3 mins read
Bear Hunting Magazine
January - February 2021

Bear Dogs - East vs West

The term “bear dog” means something different to every houndsman.

8 mins read
Bear Hunting Magazine
January - February 2021

Not your ordinary classroom experience

Skippers Program teaches fishing safety

2 mins read
Island Ad-Vantages
11/26/2020

Lobster tales and lobster facts featured in two new local books

Andrew Gove’s memoir and the Roops’ new ABC

2 mins read
The Weekly Packet
11/26/2020

A stamp of approval for Marlinespike

Belvedere Craft fellowhip goes to Tim Whitten

3 mins read
Island Ad-Vantages
11/26/2020