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

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This past weekend I made a beeline for one of my favorite summertime haunts: Nunan’s Lobster Hut in my hometown of Cape Porpoise, 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, tables, and seats. I imagine that the owners stock gallons of the gray hue in a storeroom and add a new coat each season, the layers building up for each of the 65 summers they’ve been serving Maine lobster in the rough.

This made me think of the painted wood floors so often seen in summer cottages in Maine and on the Cape. Like splatter-painted floors (which “hide a multitude of sins,” Justine writes of her own cottage floors in DIY: Splatter-Painted Floors), they’re grounded in 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 charming and evocative of the carefree summerhouse.

Take a look at a few favorites in summerhouses past.

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’.

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