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Diary of a Mad Renovator: Searching For The Perfect Floor

Written by Jaqui Lividini

This week’s renovation dilemma involves the beautiful, original wood floors throughout our early 1900s cottage. Sounds scary, right? We don’t like where this is headed either.

You might recall that our beach house was built in two phases – the original, way back in 1901, and then an addition in the 1970s. At first we thought lifting it would be a breeze since the footprint is so manageable, but as you know raising it was a nightmare because – you guessed it – the ledge rock reared its ugly head yet again. Because the house was built on ledge and the construction was completely different for each phase, it couldn’t be lifted in the most efficient way. The process was extremely complicated. We had to weave steel girders through the structure and then lift the house from the middle up. The girders then had to be attached to something called a “cradle,” which kept the girders suspended in space and, therefore, the house suspended from the girders. Crazy! How did this conspire to ruin my original wood floors? Both the cradles and the girders had to be bolted to the floors to be able to bear the weight of the lifted house.

So there you have it: bolt holes, cradle holes, etc. all over my beautiful wood floors. Our design development team had several professionals look at the floors to determine if restoration is an option. Sadly, it is not. 

Bottom line – the house was successfully lifted, but our original wood floors were destroyed in the process! The goal now is to find replacement floorboards that are authentic and just as beautiful as the original. No easy task. Add this to our list of unforeseen costs, and chalk up another lesson learned by experience! 



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