We were happy to see almost all of our old kitchen go. The shoddy cabinets, the disfunctional appliances, the dropped ceiling; good riddance to every bit of that. One of the last steps in the demolition was removing the flooring. The old, brick-patterned sheet vinyl was long past being “no-wax;” it had become unwaxable. (We tried only a couple of times to polish that floor, and the results were disappointing. After that, we settled for trying to keep it clean.) The vinyl, with particleboard underlayment, was laid after installation of the cabinets, so removal of the cabinets provided nice particleboard edges under which to wedge prybars. I began at what had been the corner of our L-shaped kitchen cabinets, tapping one end of a bar between the old fir floor and the underlayment. The edge lifted fairly easily, and I levered it up, grabbed it with both hands, and pushed. About 2 square feet of particleboard and vinyl broke off in my hands. Perhaps this wasn’t going to be that tough a job, I thought.
Turns out my assessment was terribly, terribly wrong. I had pried up the only relatively loose corner of underlayment in the entire kitchen. The rest of the particleboard sheets were glued to the fir floor around all their edges, nailed (with framing nails!) at each corner, and stapled with 1-1/2″ staples every few inches in all directions. We figured the area with staples every 4 inches was the sign of a man with a brand new staplegun; then Phil found that in the nook, the staples were only 2″ apart. Where did they think that floor was going to go?
All of this demolition talk, while fascinating, is not the point of this post. Here’s what I wanted to show you: beneath the ugly 70’s vinyl and underlayment, when we* finally got it all out, was an intact (though liberally punctured) linoleum floor, in the coolest pattern I’ve ever seen:
When our kitchen is rebuilt, we will have simple Shaker-style, cream-painted cabinets, black countertops, and reproduction light fixtures with red accents on the glass shades. How perfect would this linoleum be with that color scheme? (Say very. ‘Cuz it would be.) Unfortunately, this linoleum – probably the first ever put down over the original fir floor – has seen better decades. Worn thin and full of holes, it is no longer capable of providing the qualities that one desires in a kitchen floor, so it had to go.
Even at its advanced age, the linoleum was still strong enough to be pulled out almost intact; here’s one sheet waiting to go into the dump truck in our back yard. (What else do you see in this photo? That’s right! It’s Janeen and Phil taking a water break!)
I have not seen a modern linoleum pattern that at all resembles this. If you know of any of this sort, available for sale in this century, please let us know. We would be thrilled, and would name the resulting ultrahip kitchen floor for you. (Naming rights for the ceiling have already gone to Phil; we have yet to decide what parts of the kitchen will be named for Janeen, Becca and Dave.) Otherwise, we’ll go with the buttery yellow linoleum with cream and red flecks that we’ve already selected. It’s pretty cool, too, but doesn’t measure up to the old linoleum.