Icon - Arrow LeftAn icon we use to indicate a rightwards action. Icon - Arrow RightAn icon we use to indicate a leftwards action. Icon - External LinkAn icon we use to indicate a button link is external. Icon - MessageThe icon we use to represent an email action. Icon - Down ChevronUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - CloseUsed to indicate a close action. Icon - Dropdown ArrowUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - Location PinUsed to showcase a location on a map. Icon - Zoom OutUsed to indicate a zoom out action on a map. Icon - Zoom InUsed to indicate a zoom in action on a map. Icon - SearchUsed to indicate a search action. Icon - EmailUsed to indicate an emai action. Icon - FacebookFacebooks brand mark for use in social sharing icons. flipboard Icon - InstagramInstagrams brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - PinterestPinterests brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - TwitterTwitters brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - Check MarkA check mark for checkbox buttons.
You are reading

New England Practical: The Case for Painted Wood Floors in the Summer Cottage

Search

New England Practical: The Case for Painted Wood Floors in the Summer Cottage

August 28, 2023

This week we’re revisiting some of the most popular summer stories from the archives. Here’s one:

Every summer I make a beeline for one of my favorite summertime haunts: Nunan’s Lobster Hut in my hometown in Maine. My favorite thing about it is not the long rows of benches that line the interior or the way the building is perched over a salt marsh, but the gray boat paint that covers the wood floors and tables. I imagine that the owners stock gallons of it and add a new coat each season, the layers built up over 65-plus summers.

Like splatter-painted floors (which “hide a multitude of sins,” Justine writes of her own cottage floors in DIY: Splatter-Painted Floors), painted wood floors—so often seen in summer cottages in Maine and on the Cape—are all about New England practicality: They’re cost-effective, brilliantly conceal summer debris like sand and dirt, and need only another coat of paint when they wear. They’re also wholly unfussy and evocative of the carefree summerhouse.

Take a look at a few favorites in summerhouses past. (And for much more on the merits of boat and deck paint, check out our new book, Remodelista in Maine.)

in a cottage perched on a salt marsh in falmouth, massachusetts, the architect/ 12
Above: In a cottage perched on a salt marsh in Falmouth, Massachusetts, the architect/designers painted the wood floors throughout in a California Paint high-gloss finish, for practicality’s sake (and brightness). For more, see A Shipshape Cape Cod Cottage Inspired by Wes Anderson’s ‘The Life Aquatic’.

further inland, in the catskills, lisa przystup and jonathon linaberry painted  13
Above: Further inland, in the Catskills, Lisa Przystup and Jonathon Linaberry painted the existing wood floors of their farmhouse in Sherwin Williams’s Extra White as a cost-saving measure. Photograph from The Catskills Farmhouse of Two Brooklyn Creatives, Weekend DIY Edition.
the floors in mjölk’s renovated scandi style cabin on a lake&# 14
Above: The floors in Mjölk’s Renovated Scandi-Style Cabin on a Lake are also painted white, these in Benjamin Moore’s Cloud White. Note how some wear is part of the appeal.

justine&#8\2\17;s \1807 cottage on rock harbor on the cape has painted and  15
Above: Justine’s 1807 cottage on Rock Harbor on the Cape has painted and splatter-painted floors throughout, like here, in the sunny master bedroom, where the wide-plank floors are a light shade of gray. Photograph from The Soulful Side of Old Cape Cod: Justine’s Family Cottage.
elsewhere on the cape, julie&#8\2\17;s cottage bedrooms have white painted  16
Above: Elsewhere on the Cape, Julie’s cottage bedrooms have white-painted pine floors. For more, see Cape Cod Summer Bedrooms Refreshed with Farrow & Ball Paint.
more white painted floors, which add brightness but don&#8\2\17;t necessari 17
Above: More white-painted floors, which add brightness but don’t necessarily hide as much dirt, from A Tiny (but Glamorous) Seaside Cabin on the Riviera.
a cottage reborn in coastal maine has hardwearing bathroom floors in a lig 18
Above: A Cottage Reborn in Coastal Maine has hardwearing bathroom floors in a light gray.
an unexpected shade that works: pumpkin hued, splatter painted floors in justin 19
Above: An unexpected shade that works: pumpkin-hued, splatter-painted floors in Justine’s yellow summer kitchen. See The Soulful Side of Old Cape Cod: Justine’s Family Cottage. For more on splatter-painted floors, see DIY: New England Splatter-Painted Floors.
designer c. s. valentin preserved the original yellow painted wood floors in th 20
Above: Designer C. S. Valentin preserved the original yellow-painted wood floors in the bedroom of a sea captain’s house in Bellport, Long Island. See A Colonial House in Bellport with Uncommon Style from French Designer C. S. Valentin.
more yellow, these in a hawaiian cottage. the paint color is benjamin moor 21
Above: More yellow, these in a Hawaiian cottage. The paint color is Benjamin Moore’s Pale Moon. See Hawaiian Summer: A Charm-Filled Stone Carriage House on the Maui Coast, Restored.
green splatter painted floors in justine&#8\2\17;s guest bedroom on the cap 22
Above: Green splatter-painted floors in Justine’s guest bedroom on the Cape. Photograph from The Soulful Side of Old Cape Cod: Justine’s Family Cottage.
narrow wooden stairs are painted in benjamin moore&#8\2\17;s martha&#x 23
Above: Narrow wooden stairs are painted in Benjamin Moore’s Martha’s Vineyard in An Artist’s Cottage in Truro, MA, Gets an Overhaul from a Boston Design Duo (Ikea Included).
dark gray floors add some drama in the \1900s cabins of a california lodge. for 24
Above: Dark gray floors add some drama in the 1900s cabins of a California lodge. For more, see Steal This Look: Manka’s Vintage Bath in Inverness, California.
simple gray painted floors convey summertime in stylist tiina laakonen&#8\2 25
Above: Simple gray-painted floors convey summertime in stylist Tiina Laakonen’s Hamptons home. See Rhapsody in Blue: A Finnish Stylist at Home in the Hamptons. Photograph by Matthew Williams for Remodelista; for more, see the Remodelista: A Manual for the Considered Home.
designed to hold up to foot traffic from summer guests: navy painted floors in  26
Above: Designed to hold up to foot traffic from summer guests: navy-painted floors in the living room of the Bellport house. See A Colonial House in Bellport with Uncommon Style from French Designer C. S. Valentin.
in justine&#8\2\17;s cottage dining room, the black splatter painted floors 27
Above: In Justine’s cottage dining room, the black splatter-painted floors make sand harder to see, all part of the charm of a summer cottage. For more (and how to get the look), see DIY: New England Splatter-Painted Floors.

and, in the catskills farmhouse, przystup and linaberry transformed a cluttered 28
Above: And, in the Catskills farmhouse, Przystup and Linaberry transformed a cluttered attic into a summer bedroom. The main change? Painting the tired wood floors in Tricorn Black. For more of the project, see Before & After: An Airy Summer Bedroom in a Catskills Farmhouse, Transformed with Paint.
For much more on the pros of painted floors, see:

N.B.: This post has been updated; the original story ran on May 30, 2018.

(Visited 14,679 times, 4 visits today)
You need to login or register to view and manage your bookmarks.

Frequently asked questions

What is the article about?

The article is about how to paint wood floors to give a splatter effect on a budget for a summer house.

What type of paint should be used?

Acrylic paint is recommended because it dries quickly and is easy to clean up.

How should the floors be prepared before painting?

The floors should be thoroughly cleaned and sanded to create a smooth surface for the paint. If there are any cracks or holes, they should be filled and sanded as well.

What tools are needed for the project?

A paint roller, brushes, painter's tape, mixing stick, measuring cup, and plastic sheeting to protect the surrounding area are needed.

How do I create a splatter effect?

Dip a brush into the paint and hold it over the floor. Use a stick or your fingers to flick the brush, causing the paint to splatter onto the floor. Repeat with different colors until the desired effect is achieved.

How long should I wait before walking on the floors?

It is recommended to wait at least 24 hours before walking on the floors to ensure the paint has fully dried and cured.

Can the floors be sealed after painting?

Yes, a clear coat of polyurethane or another sealant can be applied to protect the paint and make the floors easier to clean.

Is this project suitable for a beginner?

Yes, this project is beginner-friendly and can be completed in a weekend with the right tools and preparation.

Product summary  

Have a Question or Comment About This Post?

Join the conversation

v5.0