Kitchen Transformation: Some old we wish we could keep

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:

the coolest linoleum pattern ever

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.

linoleum, and waiting dumptruckEven 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.

* Just so you know, by “we” I mean primarily my sweetie Paul and Phil. Janeen and I pulled staples, and ripped up the old linoleum, but the guys did most of that work. Yay, men!

10 thoughts on “Kitchen Transformation: Some old we wish we could keep”

  1. Oh, the secrets that our houses hold for generations and more.

    You’ve brought back powerful memories of the linoleum in my childhood bedroom. The pattern, oh so 60s, is still seared deep into my memory.

    So, too, was the 70s-era blue and green shag carpeting that replaced it. Gaa!

  2. Have you taken a piece to the store and asked if they could find something like it? That is an unusual pattern.

  3. Just had to share that post and photo with my daughter, Meg, who is visiting from Albuquerque. She uncovered and saved our kitchen linoleum and loved seeing your cool pattern. We concur with e.

    Your new kitchen sounds great! I hope you weren’t doing all this during the heat wave!

    Miss you!!

  4. I can’t believe that great pattern doesn’t exist and/or isn’t easily searchable online. (I tried, it’s not)

    My faith in the internet and the free market is badly shaken.

  5. We are doing what sounds like a very similar restore of our kitchen and also found perfect yet unable to salvage lino at the bottom of tile, thinset, backer board, and more lino! So disappointing. We are going to try for an interesting black, white and green pattern on the floor in commercial grade vinyl-ish tiles. It is the closest thing we can seem to find. ;(
    I would love to see photos of the end result of your kitchen if you have any available.



  6. I understand completely finding a treasure beneath the layer when renovating! After removing a few layers of wallpaper in a parsonage kitchen, I discovered patterned wallboard… like the kind they have/had in mobile trailers. Granted it was a funky orange/pink/white busy pattern, undoubtedly from the late 60’s, but I loved it! My husband made me paint it over with white, but I just had to leave one 1.5×2 rectangle area over the doorway into the living room, and underneath it I handwrote, “A window into the past.” Most assuredly it was painted over after we moved… but I enjoyed that bright spot for many a season 🙂

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