Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Seven years ago, when I re-habilitated my grandparents' house on Lawton Lane, I discovered layers of linoleum (older Ocracokers called it "carpet"), one on top of the other, that had been laid down on the floors.

As I pulled the linoleum off I began to realize that I had come across something akin to an archeological discovery. Over several days I collected one 8 X 10 sample of every design. All told I found 16 different patterns. The photo shows three of them.

Linoleum Samples

I thought I might frame and mount them, but I never have. But I have stored them in protective plastic sleeves...and I bring them out every now and then to show visitors.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Civil War on the Outer Banks, Josephus Daniels, Jr, Secretary of the Navy during WWI, and his connection to Ocracoke. You can read it here:


  1. Debbie Leonard7:01 AM

    Very interesting! I wonder where they bought it? Did they order it? And I wondering if they put it down themselves.

    I love the floral! Don't think I'd want it all over the floor though. :)

  2. Anonymous7:14 AM

    Brought back memories! My Grandmother had the first pattern in her house!

  3. debbie s.9:39 AM

    that would be really cool all mounted together in one big frame - kind of a patchwork/quilt kinda vibe.

    and SIXTEEN LAYERS???? oh my!

  4. Kathy9:47 AM

    Great samples!Definately makes a better artsy display than a floor!
    We found several layers of wallpaper during our renovation at 43 Howard...I'm going to use it in a frame with some photos of Elsie and any other old family photos we can collect.

  5. outside_of_apex9:47 AM

    My wife is from Appalachia and they still call it carpet there.

    Off-topic, but there is a damsel in distress that broke her boyfriend's glass dragon purchased at Village Craftsmen some years ago. Can you help? See

  6. Anonymous10:02 AM

    sixteen different patterns sixteen different rooms? you could scan them for archival purposes. also the University of North carolina no doubt has a graduate student that has studied this subject , is studying this subject, should study this subject-- the subject home decor thru the decades they are awful purty though.

  7. Anonymous10:07 AM

    Linoleum was cheap & most could do it themselves. I know we did. Guess that makes me older than dirt!

  8. Anonymous10:10 AM

    Linoleum patterns you grew tired of them before they wore out. now wall to wall carpet wall to wall dirt and germs imbedded in the fibers bring back a smarter flooring material This old House has a good article on the subject

  9. Debbie, the freight boat brought many items to Ocracoke, including "carpet." I have no doubt that my grandparents put the linoleum down themselves.

    Anon 10:02 -- not 16 different rooms (my house only has 5 rooms)! There were just layers upon layers. It helped keep drafts from coming through the cracks in the floor.

  10. outside_of_apex -- I sent you an email. If you do not receive it, please let me know.

  11. I am from appalachia too, but have not heard it called carpet, but I do remember it and how the old was left down with the new linoleum put on top.
    Phillip you should frame all the patterns. It would make a good display.

    Thanks for another interesting subject.

  12. Anonymous3:03 PM

    I work in flooring and the EPA would noctuctab theschnot let you do that today! you would need a HAZMET crew in moon suits to tear all those layers up. don't worry, I won't tell 'em!

  13. Anonymous3:11 PM

    As someone who's torn that stuff off old floors, I'm surprised yours survived removal relatively intact. I like the framing idea. My wife and I framed sections of an old quilt within a set of old latching window frames--all found in the attic space of a rustic get-away cabin that my grandfather built. Makes for a pleasant, one-of-a-kind wall hanging.

  14. Anonymous3:40 PM

    we rip crappy linoleum out of 100 year old houses all the much do you want?

  15. Anonymous4:41 PM

    Not that it wasn't interesting, but 13 comments on linoleum & 1 on influenza? Must be a rainy day.

  16. Juanita6:31 PM


    I remember the first two linoleum pieces. They sure bring back a lot of memories. You should mount them. I'm sure they will make a lovely arrangement on your wall. A one of a kind.

    I am planning to come down there this fall and would love to have you show me all of them.

  17. Anonymous7:35 PM

    My mother, who took your ghost walk sept. 2010, works in the flooring business and would LOVE to see those. Wow!

  18. Juanita, of course I will show you the linoleum squares...but you'll have to remind me!

    Anon. 7:35 -- keep reading the Ocracoke Journal. Some day soon I will be posting a few paragraphs about a new idea of mine, called "Let's Chat." That will tell you when I will be available during the season. If you or your mother stops by I will be happy to get the linoleum pieces to show you.

  19. claragilbert12:03 AM

    Designer real linoleum (not vinyl)is a better choice from an ecological standpoint.It is used in Europe and is beautiful in retro design or new,and it is quite pricey. I had it growing up in Virginia,I remember it was easy to clean.

  20. Anonymous1:04 PM

    When will people accept the fact the economy is a consumer driven economy if people are not replacing crappy carpet every five years the carpet industry fails . linoleum wears out in a spot so an entire room is recovered. Patterns don't hang around forever so a new design is offered. If people dont buy ---the economy, compared to a boom ---is a bust ---or is it just a NEW NORMAL ?? why can't Obama accept a NEW NORMAL ???10% unemployment 90% of the people HAVE JOBS !!!

  21. Juanita2:52 PM

    Thanks! Yes, I'll remind you.

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