Skip to main content


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....


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Paradox farm

If you wander along Springtown Road, past DeJoux House, you will see our mailbox opposite the front door.  It's not especially distinguishable except it is rather large and sits on an old tree stump.  It's a rusty old thing but it seems to have survived the snow plows and drunk drivers of Springtown Road. It has always bothered me that on the side of the mail box you can see the vague outline of the words "Paradox Farm" which was clearly a name that DeJoux House was more recently referred to.  Occasionally when wondering the fields I would stumble across some incongruity and wonder if that was indeed the "paradox" that the farm was named after. Yesterday morning, for some unknown reason, I decided it was time to resolve the paradox.  I sent a quick email to the previous owner June Finer to see if she knew anything of the Paradox Farm ghost on the side of the mailbox. This was her reply: once upon a time we, (myself and russell gilmore---my ex), met a

Inspiration for the future look

Daniel has found some wonderful reference materials for keeping the history and character yet not making it a museum. I love the big kitchen table plan for the kitchen inspired by Lutyens and some "behind the scenes" pictures of victorian kitchens. He also showed me some country houses from Axel Vervoordt that I really love. Simple, authentic yet modern. We discussed putting a full length plate glass window in the old hay loft window on the end of the house. Wow. I can't wait.

DeJoux House to be published

Reclaimed Doorway  Our house has been watched over the years by a couple, Susan Daley and Steve Gross who create amazing books of old houses and Hudson Valley (each name below is a link to Amazon).  They knew the house and had been watching our progress. As we came close to finishing they reached out and asked if they could photograph the house for a book of cottages: Catskill Country Style Book , Old Houses , Farm House Revival , Homes With A Past , Gardens of Hudson Valley , Time Wearing Out Memory name but a few. All of these books are beautifully produced. I can't wait to see our home in one of them later in 2015/16. I won't reveal all of the amazing photographs that have been taken of our house, you'll have to buy the book to see them all....but here is a little taster. Summer patio Kitchen Stools Front Door Open