Flooring – an ever changing fashion, by Cinnamon Worth

Flooring – an ever changing fashion, by Cinnamon Worth

Before we talk flooring, I need to thank all of you for giving Franchise and Follies such a friendly welcome. It is performing better than expected, and I’m elated. That should be enough to get me to start on that next book, but I will admit, my focus for this month continues to be on my family’s move. We are having some work done on the house before we move in, so we are in that awkward stage of spending time between two locations—meeting with contractors at one home and returning to pack at another. I grow frustrated by the challenges of living among so many boxes, but the end is in sight, and I have high hopes that all of this hassle will be well worth it.

Although I have done little writing, I read about the history of flooring. During our renovations, the contractor removed the wall to wall carpet, and in one room, he discovered a surprise—more carpet.

Lovely, isn’t it? The 40 years of dust gives off Miss Havisham vibes, don’t you think? Back to the point…

This older carpet was held in place with glued rather than tack strips. I hadn’t seen this installation method used in residential properties before, so I went on-line to find out if this was ever a common practice. I didn’t receive a satisfactory answer, but I learned some interesting facts.

During the Regency period, tile was gaining a foothold, but carpet was still the most popular flooring for those hoping to show-off their wealth. Originally produced on a narrow loom, they sewed together strips to achieve the required width. Carpet was rather expensive, so it was not uncommon for homeowners to protect their investment by covering it in floor mats or Dugget, the thick canvas you sometimes see underlining modern day rugs. When Dugget was intended as a more permanent part of the room décor, it was painted. I imagine it looked a bit like a patterned drop cloth laid over wall to wall shag.

Most people couldn’t afford carpet and just made do with their subfloors, which were made of a softer woods, like pine. These floors were sometimes painted or stenciled to make them look more like carpet. They too might be covered in Dugget or mats.

Thanks to industrialization, the price of carpet soon dropped, making it an affordable option for everyone. But, as is often the case, as soon as this luxury was available to all, it lost its luster. Charles Eastlake released a very influential book on home decorating during the Victorian Era, and it altered homeowner’s tastes.

Hardwood floors covered in oriental rugs became the hot new trend. To save money, homeowners with soft wood subfloors could install hardwood or parquet borders around the parameter of the room and use the rug to hide the lack of such flooring in the middle of the room.  Alternatively, homeowners could buy wood carpet which was made by gluing strips of wood onto heavy cotton cloth.

While hard wood with rugs was the Victorian standard in common rooms, linoleum was the “go to” in work areas, like the kitchen and hallways. Invented around 1860, linoleum is made with linseed oil, gum, cork, and pigments. By the early 1930s, a linoleum alternative was available—vinyl flooring, which is a 100% synthetic material. Then, in 1977, laminate was introduced. The core of laminate flooring is made using wood byproducts and resin. A decorative layer (like a picture of wood) is placed over this core and then a protective layer is put over the top.

The more I read, the more I questioned our flooring choice. There are pros and cons for each option, but our choice doesn’t appear to fair well against the others. We selected our flooring based on price and the ability to find enough boxes in stock to allow our installers to begin immediately. But I take heart. If we chose poorly, I can get busy painting canvases and tell all visitors I’m just really into retro flooring.

On a side note, I have been terrible recently when it comes to marketing or promoting. This means I haven’t been very good about remembering to take advantage of some of the free or discount days Amazon permits authors to do every few months. I tried to rectify that by giving Assumptions & Absurdities away free last week, and this week, discounting Betrothals & Betrayals. Hopefully, you are/were able to take advantage of either of these offers, should you have had the desire.

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Michelle H
Michelle H
January 31, 2022 1:18 PM

Every time we have moved it seems that other equally stressful or challenging things were going on in our lives, and I can relate to most of the things you mentioned. The glued down carpet. Finding a surprise flooring under another one. Dealing with two places at one time. Boxes, boxes, boxes. The last move not only nearly did me in physically, but mentally as I am so decision-impared it’s laughable among my family. Not funny to me, though. I was in my early 60’s at the time. But I already dread the next move with a passion. Those earlier moves were met with so much more energy and forward vision! Ah, to be young-(er) with kids to deal with, Hubby’s job responsibilities, still having to cook and other household chores…and crawling over a two-room floor on my hands and knees trying to remove years and years of varnish (very very thick around the perimeter,) and the glue and horsehair stuck to the wood floors (not that high quality) underneath. Oh, and in oppressively high heat and humidity. That house was such a can of worms every time we started work on any of the rooms. But the accomplishment always feels great, doesn’t it. Yes. Even if you have to make decisions based on cost. You’ll be better equipped to redo it when the time comes.

So, congratulations on your move! Stressful, but you are learning so much. Your article about period–Regency to even the 1970’s–was such interesting history. Thank you so much for sharing that with us. Congratulations on your most recent book. I’m eager to see if Regency flooring will appear in any of your future writing. 😀 Best of luck, and blessings.

Mirta Ines Trupp
AuAu
January 30, 2022 3:03 PM

Very interesting post! Best wishes in this new chapter of Life!

DarcyBennett
DarcyBennett
January 28, 2022 7:41 PM

Hope your move goes well. Thanks for sharing what you learned from your research.

Jean Stillman
Jean Stillman
January 28, 2022 6:21 AM

Moving is both stressful and exciting! And I think we can all relate to living among the boxes! This is a very interesting look at flooring! We bought a new home three years ago, hoping to downsize. But two of rooms, bedrooms have carpet. At the time, we just wanted to make the move. But now, my husband and I want to put wood flooring in those rooms. It will be interesting to see what we will find available. Thanks for the eye opening article. Good luck with your move!

cindie snyder
cindie snyder
January 25, 2022 4:34 PM

Interesting post! Who knew so much about floors!

Linda A.
Linda A.
January 25, 2022 1:45 PM

I discovered some nice hardwood floors under 40 year old vinyl. I didn’t know they were there until the floor guys removed the vinyl in preparation for LVP. And, I think my parent’s home had glued down carpeting in the bedrooms. The house was built in the mid-50s, but not sure when the carpet was put down.

Good luck with the move! Look at is the chance to get rid of some things instead of moving them. 😉

J. W. Garrett
J. W. Garrett
January 25, 2022 9:39 AM

I have moved several times throughout my life and will probably move again as I downsize. I’m not looking forward to it. Thanks for the freebie and discount for those who do not already own those two books. Blessings on your move and getting back to a routine that makes you happy.

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