FLOORS ‘BEFORE’…AND VINTAGE FLOORING

Dominion Linoleum.

Dominion Linoleum.

Picking out flooring hasn’t really excited me all that much in the past but the challenge of finding something with a vintage feel for this house has got me pumped. I have never been so excited to scan and scour online flooring sites for samples of linoleum and vinyl. First, I spent a while looking at vintage flooring and kitchen ads to get inspired by all of the great designs available in the 50s and 60s. They had some really great flooring patterns and were very creative with their tile colour and placement.

We don’t have to replace all the flooring in the house though. We are lucky that the bedrooms and the hallway have the original oak hardwood flooring which is in pretty good shape and will look amazing with a good sanding.

Hardwood flooring in hallway and bedrooms.

Hardwood flooring in hallway and bedrooms.

There is hardwood under the green carpet...can't wait to tear that up.

There is hardwood under the green carpet…can’t wait to tear that up.

I think the front entrance was also hardwood originally but the previous owner replaced it with a modern ceramic tile. This is off topic, but don’t you just love that door.

The front entrance area.

The front entrance area.

The living room has old stained carpet that needs to be ripped up and unfortunately there is no hardwood underneath of it, only plywood. I’m not sure what was originally in there but I’m guessing maybe the green carpet that is in the hallway.

'before' of the living room

‘before’ of the living room.

The kitchen and dining room had a new laminate floor installed within the last decade but since we will be completely renovating the kitchen and dining room from scratch we will be replacing it. I found the original owner’s flooring information and I believe the original flooring in the kitchen and dining area was Armstrong corlon in the Tessara pattern and the bathroom was Armstrong corlon in the Montina pattern (I’ll try to find photos of these online). The door from the dining room and kitchen (on the right side below) will be opened up at least five feet so it will be open into the front entrance and living room. I’d like to try to find flooring that would work in the kitchen, dining room, entrance way and living room creating a good flow from one room to the next.

Looking at dining room area from kitchen.

Looking at dining room area from kitchen.

The mudroom, laundry room and powder room all have this embossed linoleum which I will be replacing. Being a mud room and entrance area I will want the flooring in here to hide all of the dirt that will be coming in and stand up to lots of ware. Right now this area is really dark with the panelling and large wood cabinets but we’ll brighten it up to make it an inviting entrance.

The mudroom 'before'.

The mudroom ‘before’.

Powder room 'before'.

Bathroom ‘before’.

So now the search is on for some flooring that will have a vintage look, go well with our decor, and stand up to a busy family and a dog. To start, I looked into what flooring options were popular in the 50s and 60s and found some information on each from a 1959 Canadian Homes & Gardens magazine article titled ‘Guidebook to Handsomer Floors and Ceilings’. Linoleum was one of the most popular flooring materials with a low cost and a variety of colours and patterns. It washed with warm water and could be waxed with water-base wax. And I know personally from my parent’s embossed linoleum that it held up well (their 1974 house still had it in the kitchen when they moved last year) but it did discolour in spots from the sunlight. I love the colourful linoleum tiles below that bring some colour into this mostly white kitchen.

Dominion Linoleum flooring from 1957 Canadian Homes & Gardens magazine.

Dominion Linoleum flooring from 1957 Canadian Homes & Gardens magazine.

I love everything about this turquoise kitchen. For starters, the turquoise cabinets are so beautiful and I love the glass panelled doors, the hardware, the white tile backsplash, countertop and that flooring. I may not have chosen the coral colour but I adore the inset tiles in front of the cabinets – I would use those in my kitchen floor for sure. This linoleum is also from Dominion Linoleum, a Canadian company who says this about linoleum in their ad ‘today’s linoleum is designed to please and pamper. Its resilient, noise-nulling composition is kind to the feet, soothes the nerves.’ That sounds pretty good.

Kitchen linoleum flooring by Dominion Linoleum, 1957.

Kitchen linoleum flooring by Dominion Linoleum, 1957.

And one more ad from Dominion Linoleum – I just love all the creative designs and the bits of colour added. So different from most of the boring flooring we see in homes today.

1960 Dominion Linoleum ad sold by the yard or in tiles.

1960 Dominion Linoleum ad sold by the yard or in tiles.

And check out the linoleum tiles below – wow!! This was from a 1949 Eaton’s catalogue. Marble design tiles in so many colours…and stars too. And back in 1949 each tile was 12- 14 cents, star design tiles were 50 cents. These 9″ x 9″ tiles were made by Kentile of asphalt, asbestos cumar resin.

1949 Kentile linoleum tiles.

1949 Kentile linoleum tiles.

Rubber tile flooring was also a popular choice and came in a variety of colours and patterns so one could be creative with their flooring. It was easy on the feet being rubber based and quiet so it was a good choice for children’s rooms and could be laid on any floor in the house. It was also washed with water and could be waxed with water wax. Here is a 1959 ad for rubber tile flooring shown in 22 lovely colours made by Tower Limited.

Rubber tile flooring in 22 colours from Tower, 1957.

Rubber tile flooring in 22 colours from Tower, 1957.

Vinyl tile came in lots of colour and pattern options including fun spatter and confetti patterns. According to the 1959 flooring article, vinyl tile was suitable for basement rooms as long as they were waterproof. The drawback with vinyl tile (this has likely changed since 1959 though) is that it could get scratched easily. It also cleaned with a damp cloth and could be waxed with a water wax. I love the last tile in the top row called Prairie Sunset, white with flecks in coral, yellow and turquoise. These particular Armstrong tiles had asbestos in them…like a lot of flooring did up until the 1980s. So even if you could find this original tile unused you wouldn’t want to have it in your home. Maybe I’ll be able to find something with a similar look.

Armstrong vinyl tile in 1965 Beaver Lumber flyer.

Armstrong vinyl tile in 1965 Beaver Lumber flyer.

The vinyl roles of flooring below had metallic gold flecks in it although you can’t really tell in the photo…it probably looked great in real life.

Vinyl flooring available at Eatons, 1968.

Vinyl flooring available at Eatons, 1968.

Ceramic or clay tile was seen in many bathrooms and kitchens in this era…just think of the iconic mid century pink bathroom full of pink tiles. I am hesitant to use a lot of tiles in the house. In the home we’re in now the old tub surround area was all the old small ceramic tiles and although I loved their turquoise colour I didn’t enjoy cleaning the grout. These photo illustrations show rooms with clay tile…everywhere.

Fully tile bathroom, Clay tiles, American-Olean Tile Company, 1952.

Fully tile bathroom, Clay tiles, American-Olean Tile Company, 1952.

Another clay tile kitchen. Tile on floors, countertops and far wall, American-Olean Tile Company, 1952.

Another clay tile kitchen. Tile on floors, countertops and far wall, American-Olean Tile Company, 1952.

Well that covers many of the flooring options from the fifties and sixties.

I have found a few flooring options so far that have potential. At the top of the list so far is Azrock’s vinyl tile in ‘raw silk’ below which has warm greys and a hint of aqua blue from what I can tell but I’ll have to check it out in person. There are a few more shades I like including ‘grey knit’, ‘fur’ and ‘silly string’. The link to see all of the colours is http://www.azrock.com/Products/tabid/242/Default.aspx?cid=201

Azrock vinyl in Raw Silk SKU V-280 www.azrock.com

Azrock vinyl in Raw Silk SKU V-280 www.azrock.com

 

 

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