York home held secret of inlaid wood floor beneath old carpet

When Doug Ferris bought the sturdy two-story house on Hartman Street in York, he overlooked the pink carpeting that greeted him at the front door.

“I was looking for something structural,” said Ferris. The house near the East Market Street entrance was in good shape, but the pink carpet eventually had to go.

This was Ferris’ fourth house. “I’ve come across something before that I think is hideous, but I really haven’t done anything,” said Ferris, which meant he was only living with the house when it was bought.

But here the carpet was everywhere from wall to wall. The pink pond flowed through the living room and dining room, screaming at the front door. A pink ribbon of carpet tumbling down the stairs connected the pink first floor to the same carpet in the second floor hallway.

Ferris was living in the house for a few months when he said the carpet had “started to work on me psychologically”. Pink / purple, as Ferris described the rug, is its least preferred color.

In the video below, Ferris describes how he went from ignoring and covering the pink carpet to being a methodical attack to remove it. (The story continues below the video)

First he tried to save his sanity by throwing carpets on it. He happened to have some rolled rubber mat runners and was trying to hide them as much as possible.

Ferris was in between jobs when he decided to try his hand at carpet removal and said it was “the perfect time to pull that carpet up”. He took the risk that whatever lay underneath couldn’t be as bad as staring at a house that was his least favorite color.

The stairs and hallway on the second floor were the worst. The carpet upholstery was tamped into the floor and additional effort was required in the high traffic areas.

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When Ferris got to the first floor he was thrilled to find hardwood with inlaid patterns that was in pretty good condition and returned to its original appearance with a little scratching.

“I love the charm of those old houses,” said Ferris. He was delighted to find a 1946 penny under a radiator during his carpet exploration.

He said it had “therapeutic value” and referred to the methodical process of removing carpets, stuck upholstery, and nailed carpet strips.

“I just work on it little by little, and in the end I lose track of the time and do it for hours.” Ferris continued, “I actually find it a little satisfying to scrape and pull out thumbtacks with pliers, pull up the tack strips and not damage the floor in any way.”

The hard work that paid off as hardwood flooring is now in full view on the first floor of the house built in 1920. Careful scraping removes years of what Ferris describes as a “sticky substance clinging to hardwood” and reveals the original finish.

With a simple, contrasting pattern, inlaid wood now borders the living and dining room and is ready for a more detailed cleaning and restoration.

This is part of the exposed floor in a closet that was added to the dining room.

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