1907 Victorian Restoration Updates

Materials were being delivered all last week and part of this week!

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When your new bathtub is delivered but not installed yet, so you take a dry-run! This Restoria Bath Imperial tub is the best-looking acrylic tub I’ve seen. It really looks like cast iron!
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We purchased Armstrong commercial VCT flooring for our high-traffic kitchen. These boxes weighed about 60 pounds each! At 84 cents a square foot they were an awesome solution for our floor. (I hate cold porcelain and ceramic tile in a kitchen, but we needed something really hard-working.)
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Old floor vs new floor. Here we are playing with the large checkerboard design we planned. Tile colors are Little Green Apple and Teal. I plan to do soft ocean colors in here.
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This is the toilet we found in the carriage house. We were hoping to re-use it to make our upstairs bath look historical, but it was cracked. We are hunting for another base to use with the porcelain-coated steel tank from 1898. Abbey is a historical toilet connoisseur. 🙂

We decided to start on the kitchen first as it is the most important room we use (and we are doing one bathroom at a time). The old faux alligator skin vinyl flooring was only put in because it was cheap and the brown matched the wood floor. I lived with it, patched it, glued it down and cleaned it for 7 years. I didn’t realize how much I hated it until it was going to be ripped out. I always disliked it, but turned a blind eye because other things always had to be repaired instead of getting a new floor.  Today that vinyl and the old nasty, water-damaged sub-floor underneath were removed. I swear our house exhaled with relief!

 

 

Our contractor must have worked his butt off on all of this because it took us two days to remove a sheet vinyl floor in our last house’s kitchen. (Moral: never install sheet vinyl- it is just paper with plastic on top and curls, cracks, and doesn’t last more than a few years. When it’s time to remove it you are in for a world of hurt. It’s like trying to remove the biggest, toughest, nastiest sticker you’ve ever seen.)

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I’m so sad that no cooking will happen in my kitchen for days. Mrs. O’Keefe (our 1958 O’Keefe & Merritt range) is all closed up and the gas shut off. I am happy that there will be a new floor in here soon though!

Our contractor ended up taking up the sub-floor because it wasn’t put down very tight and there was bad water damage from our shower pan/plumbing on the other side of the wall. I am so impressed by the work ethic and skill of this man! He does exactly what my DH and I would do if we could, only better!

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Oh my. Our downstairs bath is on the other side of the kitchen, and the shower is on the other side of this wall. We have tried to deal with this leak for years. I thank God we have the money now to do it for good. I had no idea it was this bad. This was hiding under the sub-floor and vinyl.

One of my favorite things about this removal of the layers of floor is seeing the original floor of our house. Historically, kitchens are the most remodeled room of a house and our kitchen is no different. You could see where the original kitchen and butler’s pantry used to be (which is where I thought they would be) and the range (close to where I thought, but facing a different way). It was so exciting! A historical hunt!

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The lighter boards are where the wall used to be between the original kitchen and butler’s pantry. The black stuff on the floor is heavy adhesive; used to keep the flooring on top settled in the main traffic path, which is clear here as it goes through the doorway.

Kitchen Floor Uncovering Notes

I Know…

-there were servants here when this house was built and they did all the work, not the lady of the house.
-by the 1920s servants were waning and by the 1950s most wives had taken over all household duties.
-what we originally thought was the butler’s pantry is actually a breakfast room. This was popular for a short period of time in larger, Colonial-influenced, Queen Anne houses. (Source: Barber’s Turn of the Century Houses, Dover Publications Reprint)
-the kitchen was remodeled in 1966 (But I don’t know if it had been remodeled before and I don’t know when extensive stuff like removing the butler’s pantry wall and re-arranging appliances took place.
-the range would be where it was because the chimney was on the other side of the wall.

I Noticed…

-lots of holes! There were two, possibly three places for sinks, two places for drain pipes, gas pipe holes, radiator holes, tiny old patches of termite holes…
-a definite traffic pattern with places that had extra-duty adhesive to keep the flooring stable.
-there were a couple of patches in the floor.
-the original floor was re-varnished before the 66 reno. I can’t tell where any original cabinets were. There might have been another renovation between 1907 and 1966. I’m going to guess 30s or WWII era.
-there was an imprint where the range was, but it sat facing the West, not the North, like I thought.

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From left: old termite damage showing lighter wood, green floor patch next to it and holes for a sink right by the sink cabinet installed in ’66 (these don’t show up well in the picture).
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See that light square under the fridge? That is where the range used to sit. Behind the fridge is the chimney stack. The light board behind it was where the wall used to be in between the kitchen and butler’s pantry.

I Wonder…

-why there are places for two sinks in the butler’s pantry.
-where there two sinks in the pantry? (Probably not.)
-if they moved the sink, when and why?
-was the big patch on the North wall where the kitchen sink was? In all the floor plans for these types of houses there is a sink in the butler’s pantry and in the kitchen.
-where were the original cabinets? What did they look like?
-what years were other renovations done in this room?
-what did it used to look like?
-was the weird old wire in the floor by the back door for a telephone or the annunciator for the servant bells?
-could there have been an ice door and an ice box in the food pantry? The shelves on the back, North wall don’t go all the way down like the other side do. It could have been there.

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Thanks to the original family I have a picture of the original servants’ bells/annunciator. So cool, and I plan to get another one (yay EBay!). There are buzzers in the floors of the dining room and breakfast room, and bells for the side door under the porte’ cochere and the front door.

I’m sorry there are no recipes this time. I promise to have a new one as soon as we have a working kitchen again. Thanks for following along!

With love and lots of dust on Kansas Street,

-Jaime

 

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