#homeetc · interiors · renovation · tiles · vintage

What Lies Beneath

Generally speaking, tiles would not be my choice of flooring for anywhere other than the bathroom. Even at that, I found it very hard to find tiles I really liked when we renovated our bathroom a couple of years ago. We settled on these wood-effect tiles in the end and I am still very happy with them.

Our wood-effect tiles in the bathroom

The only exception to my no-tiles-outside-the-bathroom rule is if the tiles are beautiful, original vintage tiles. I love the look of 1930s or 40s hallways – a plain border and a geometric pattern in various colours along a narrow hall with the staircase on the right. 

When we were making some changes to our house before moving in, we had a toddler, a newborn and a tight budget. We painted the hall and left the laminate floor as it was, since it was in good condition. 

Soon after we moved in, our neighbours mentioned in passing that it must be nice to have a tiled floor. We, puzzled, said we have laminate. “Oh, they must have put that down over the tiles” they said of the previous owners. Apparently, there once was a nice tiled hall floor in this house. 

Mid-renovation. The floor stayed.
In my grandparents house, which happens to have been built around the same time as ours, there is still the original tiled hall floor. I keep imaginging that there is something similar underneath our laminate. Something along the lines of these patterns would be fantastic.



The curiousity has been gnawing away at me for years now. Every so often I bring up the subject of ripping up the hall floor with The Bavarian. He is curious too, but practical. The laminate is well attached. There is no option of pulling out a slat or two to see what is underneath. It is an all-or-nothing job.

What if there is just a concrete floor? Or ugly  or damaged tiles? Do we really want to risk it when we haven’t the budget or the time to deal with the disaster that may result?

For now, we have decided to leave the floor till the boys are older. It is the sensible parent thing to do, isn’t it? The laminate is warmer than tiles and there is less chance of things breaking if they are dropped that if they were dropped on tiles. 

So for now I will dream of my double doors and original tiled floor and save for reproduction tiles in case there is nothing to discover beneath the laminate. 

If you are interested, pop over to Pinterest and have a look at the looks I am currently swooning over. 
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18 thoughts on “What Lies Beneath

  1. I love proper tiles. We have locally produced pamment tiles in our hallway and as the Base of our inglenook fireplace. It was seeing the tiles that made me decide that we would rent the house before I even set foot in any of the other rooms.

    I hope that when you do decide to brave pulling up the laminate you find some beautiful 1930s tiles! Xxx #HomeEtc

  2. Oh, wouldn't that be just fabulous to discover something like that underneath! I think you're right to wait until you're ready though – I was hoping to discover something similar under our hallway flooring (which was only horrible carpet, so no big deal to put back) but unfortunately all the tiles bar one row (why leave the one row? What a tease!) had been ripped out and filled in with concrete. Hoping you have more luck than I did!

  3. Oh I am curious. Part of me is putting it off to avoid disappointment – so much nicer to dream of hidden treasure than to be surrounded by mess and dust and still have to fork out for a new floor.

  4. Oh, that must have been so disappointing. I can imagine the same happening to us. My hopes are fuelled by the fact that the hall floor is several centimetres higher than the livingroom and kitchen floors. I am hoping that that means the previous owners laid laminate over the tiles.

  5. Oh gosh wouldn't it be wonderful to find something so beautiful?? I love the idea of tiles, although I think in the end we're going to opt for a parquet style floor when we redo since the hallway is quite modest and we wanted it to flow into the living room. But I totally agree – for us for the time being, leaving the laminate as is is the plan (much as it pains me!) Off to have a nosey at your boards X #HomeEtc

  6. Wouldn't it just, Lins? At the moment our hall and living room floor are the same laminate, but laid differently (why? I just do not undertand the previous owners), so they flow a bit but not quite.

  7. Oh blimey — that's where you show amazing restraint (and I most certainly never do)!! I'd have that laminate up, quicker than a flash if I thought there was tiles underneath!!! I'd probably pay the consequence and regret it but WHAT IF THERE ARE TILES?!!! I wouldn't be able to contain myself!! 🙂 #HomeEtc

  8. I go through phases of thinking “Let's just rip it up” but The Bavarian brings me back to earth again (for now). One day though, one day I will tear it up. We've been trying to get hold of the previous owners to ask them but they are not responding 🙁

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