Our kitchen up here has a hardwood floor that is likely original to the house. It’s one of the features of our little cottage that I like the most.
A wooden floor typically tells a story. This one certainly does, even though we can’t know all of the details. It’s been burnished to a warm glow by the tread of thousands of footprints. It bears some visible scars that attest to its hardiness and longevity. You notice them when you sweep and have to adjust the broom and angle the dustpan to make sure you extricate the sweepings from those little nicks and marks. Something was dropped long ago that left that gouge, and something was dragged to leave that scratch, but the floor carries on. In time the fresh marks have been softened and assimilated into its appealing patina.
We know that other parts of the house were carpeted at some time or another; we pulled up some of that carpeting after we bought the place because we like the hardwood floors better. I suspect the kitchen has always featured these same, plain floorboards, however.
Wooden floor and carpeting have a different vibe. Carpets are softer on the feet, and more luxurious, and reflect a decorator’s touch. Hardwood floor are straightforward and no-nonsense. Carpets cover things up. When a carpet gets old and worn and discolored, it is removed and replaced. The old story of a place is thrown out, and when the new carpet is laid a new story begins to be written — until that carpet, too, gets pulled up and discarded, and the cycle starts over again.
The hardwood floor, meanwhile, endures.