When your house becomes a lot older than you were told.
Well then, your house becomes an archeological journey back into time, every little discovery becomes a curiosity to ponder. Aaron House of Niagara Falls, was meant to be built in 1915, so imagine our surprise as we uncovered the truth, that she ( yes our home is definitely a girl - she is bossy and demands the best) was in fact a 160 year old grand dame.
The journey of restoring a Civil War home
As much as it doesn't seem exciting, finding scraps of paper hidden in walls, and under layers of flooring, actually got our juices pumping. We began to feel like we were on a treasure hunt, and just discovered the Queen jewels. I mean it. Every single time we found something unexpected, anything that helps date our home, and tells her story, we still get a rush of excitement.
Although sometimes the process of deconstructing her back to her original state, has been just plain hard work. Unflatteringly filthy, monotonous and callus making.
We aren't a reality TV show with a hidden team. It's been predominantly just Joe,
( my husband) and I. There were days, for months mind you, where we limped down the stairs in the morning. Each step taken, involving grunts, some swaying and a least one hand on the wall to help ease down onto the next stair.
And yet we persevered. Planning, and discovering. Thinking we were going one direction only for the house to clearly demand we go completely the other way. BUt it was always worth it, like when we found this floor with its newspaper.
Yep - that's virgin 1860, different width pine flooring.
It's in the original servant area:
This is in the very back of the house and where the oily markings of a massive stove has left its life time of use. Vented through the ceiling into the poor maids' room, and finally out through the roof. The flooring here is typical of the time- the 1860 time not the city's version of 1915. It was totally acceptable for a middle class family to use differing widths of flooring - in the servant area. After all, wood flooring was not a presumption with most people still living with polished dirt floors in homes that were not much more than timber huts.
Five layers of different types of flooring were removed, along with those pesky tacks.
We, now use the floor as is, with its gaps that leak anything dropped into the basement. We have lined them from underneath to stop any major mishaps, because I just loved the patina that all those feet, who came before me left on the wood. Polished unimaginably smooth, we now just oil it, with what ever is at hand. I'm not precious about it. ( we dont use tung oil though as it makes our pine floors red as we now have in the attic. )
And we kept the scraps of print where we could. And the one in the photo, well remarkably 3 years later, it's still hanging in. Oil, and bare feet seem to have done it little harm.
Join us on our journey