Or what I did while not blogging yesterday.
I need a Ouija board. Or a medium. Yeah, a seance is in order. I really, seriously need to have a talk with the ghosts of the long-dead folks who built this house! I’ve got hard questions for those old haunts.
I mentioned the other day that the living room floor had already surprised me with an “issue” as I prepared to rip the wall-to-wall carpet out.
You old-house mavens told me what I was about to encounter. You were right — as far as that went.
Today was the day the ripping began. Before pulling up the carpet, though, the very handy handyman helping me took out the hideous raised platform that was under and around the pellet stove. This is what we found underneath:
Yes. A hole. With a … thing in it. And if that abomination isn’t exactly smack in the middle of my living room, it’s not discreetly tucked in a corner, either. It’s right next to the kitchen door, for one.
Then we started carpet ripping:
You prepared me for what to expect: A big rectangle of ugly rough wood in the middle of the floor.
Well, sorta-kinda in the middle of the floor. The geniuses who designed the place positioned it exactly four feet from one wall, 45 inches from another, 54 inches from another, and a completely inexplicable 28 inches from the fourth wall.
The Big Ugly is 8-1/2 feet wide, which wouldn’t be too hard to cover with an area rug. Then it’s about 14-feet 9-inches long, which is way beyond affordable rug length. Time to get creative with floor paint or canvas floorcloth. (And thanks once again for that knowledge.)
From the look of all those rectangles within rectangles, I’m thinking several generations of residents must have attempted to cope with The Big Ugly in their own ways.
Still, every wood floor in the world is more beautiful than wall-to-wall carpet, and the photos don’t do this one justice. This is as far as we got today, but I can already see iIt’s going to “clean up real good.” However …
You know how I kept talking about oak? Gloating over the fact that I had oak? Well, yes and no.
The bottom left half of the next pic is the bedroom (soon to become office) floor. Oak. Definitely. The top right? That’s the living room. Non-oak. Blatantly non-oak. I’m no wood expert, but I’m guessing vertical grain fir. Harder than today’s firs would be, for sure. Impressively tight-grained. But still a softwood and easily damaged by doggie claws. I see many, many coats of poly-stuff in my future.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy. Delighted in fact to have found potential goodness under the carpet. Intrigued, even, by the challenge of solving its puzzles.
Still, I would ask the spirits of those dearly departed homebuilders:
- Why would anybody put an oak floor and a fir (?) floor contiguous to each other?
- And if you had to, why not put the better quality floor in the place where it’s going to show the most and bear the heaviest traffic?
- And since you decided to put cheap wood in the living room, why didn’t you just go whole hog and do the entire floor with it?
- And since you decided to put those undistinguished rough planks right in the middle of the room, why the heck didn’t you put them right in the middle of the room? Did you guys not have measuring tapes back then? Not even rulers?
- And finally … finally, you malign spirits off there in the void … what possessed you to put a giant freaking hole smack in the middle of my beautiful floor???*
The contractor/handyman helping me out says discoveries like these are a normal part of his work days. OTOH, this is my first experience with an old house. I’m so glad I didn’t opt for a career in the building trades.
* Okay, I’m guessing the hole had to do with an old heating system. And it’s where it is because that spot is the exact geographic center of the house. Hey, “dig a hole in the middle of the house” was probably the 1900 AD notion of “central” heating. The hole must have had a pretty grate over it at one time.
But you know what? I’m not in the mood to accept that as an excuse. Not when somebody put a &^%$#@ubg! hole in my &^%$#@ing! floor.