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
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Five handy, high-quality devices make carpentry jobs go smoothly.
Glasgow School in the Bathroom
A tutorial in bracing color and geometric, stylized forms.
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
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.
The Tradition of Burnt Wood
An ancient Japanese method for finishing woodwork was adapted by bungalow builders, and it’s back in style.
“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.
ARTS & CRAFTS DO-OVER
With generous living space yet a focus on the outdoors, an undistinguished cottage is rebuilt in the Craftsman tradition.
Salvaged icebox hinges make new cabinets look like vintage equipment.
ASK OLD HOUSE JOURNAL
ASK OLD HOUSE JOURNAL
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.
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.
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.
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.
How I Helped My Dad Die
His body wrecked by ALS, my father insisted that his death, like his life, was his to control
SMALL BOAT CRUISE: Moosehead Lake, Maine
There’s adventure in leaving a place you know for a place you don’t know.
SPRING HUNTING IN MAINE
In 1982 Maine closed its spring season, but you can still spring hunt with an outfitter on some tribal lands.
Bear Dogs - East vs West
The term “bear dog” means something different to every houndsman.
Not your ordinary classroom experience
Skippers Program teaches fishing safety
Lobster tales and lobster facts featured in two new local books
Andrew Gove’s memoir and the Roops’ new ABC
A stamp of approval for Marlinespike
Belvedere Craft fellowhip goes to Tim Whitten