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Memorial day weekend was a frenzy. Daniel and I drove over to Pine Plains, NY to see if we could find a place that could supply wide plank, old growth floors to patch our original floors. The big challenge is that our floors are not your ordinary floors as they are very wide plank, up to 22 inches in places and both structural (they are the floor) as well as aesthetic.

Our first stop turned out to be our best stop. Antique and Vintage Woods specialize in exactly what we were looking for...(well, not exactly. They'd just sold exactly what we were looking for)...We walked in with a small sample and met a youngish guy called Andrew (which turned out to be our second piece of luck that day). Andrew shaved off the end of the wood and immediately identified the wood as Antique Heart Pine by the smell and the closeness of the grain. Apparently this is a type of wood that grows an inch in diameter every 30 years and has not been available for over 100 years because we used it all up! This did not bode well for finding planks that have to be at least 7 feet long to stretch across the beams, 1/1/2 inches thick (they have to be structural floor) and 12-18 inches wide (to match the other planks on the floor). Andrew was extremely helpful and informative and not only helped us understand the scale of our challenge but also had thousands of helpful suggestions of how to restore the floor without changing the aesthetic. He got exactly what we were looking for instantly. No sanding down, no staining, no removing the patina and finding as close of a match as we can. He had some pieces that were 18 inches wide and 1 1/2 inches thick in the store room that they found in Maryland but they had just sold them to someone else. (Grrrr). Then he showed us how we could take up the existing floor and intersperse smaller widths (which were more readily available, at a price) to authentically recreate the floor. We set him the task of finding us as wide plank, antique heart pine as he could and we would get back to him with an exact measure of the square footage we needed.

In the course of this conversation we realized that even though we are restoring an original floor we will have to adhere to current safety and building standards. A quick call to the Chris the structural engineer assured us that as long as we were matching the 1 1/2 inch thick wood and we had tongue and groove (or something like that) we would be find by code. (phew).

The next day we went to visit Michael Schrom and his wife Patti at their beautiful 1740 stone house over on the other side of the Hudson, in Ghent, NY. We were put onto Michael because he had restored his stone house and put in pond geothermal heat exchangers for AC and heating. He had an amazing system with solar panels and geothermal making his house nearly zero energy consumption. Must admit my jaw dropped slightly when he said the system cost him nearly $200,000. I'm hoping ours will be a little cheaper than that. But there are some very good tax breaks for it these days! Michael and Patti invited us to stay for lunch and we had the most amazing lunch cooked in his outdoor kitchen barn. A huge barn filled with only kitchen equipment, from fully working pizza oven, wood fire grill, Viking range, Coffee maker, Commercial hot plate, full bar and big work space etc. etc. Truly amazing.


  1. So fun to read about your adventures in old farmhouseland! We went similar stuff - ended up cutting down some big pines and curing them ourselves to get 22 in wide planks. Only problem was it took about 2 years....


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once upon a time we, (myself and russell gilmore---my ex), met a rather …