Large old stately houses like Harewood
House (click the name to go to their site) are constantly
in need of repairs and maintenance. It is costly to keep on top
of all the jobs that need doing and requires constant vigilance.
Occasionally the weather seeks out weak spots and attacks them with
The lobby to the Royal guest suite has a glazed domed skylight.
Heavy rains found their way through its wooden frame. Water poured
forth onto the yew floor below.
The damage was not extensive. The water found its way through the
wax and shellac finishes, washing it off completely in places and
causing water blooming below the remaining finish. The water also
got into some open joints and softened the animal glue with which
this hand made floor was fixed back in 1930. Some of the fingers
of the parquet curled up and partially detached themselves from
Our brief was to restore the floor
without removing the patina of age. The floor had been very well
maintained up until the flooding. There was no excess build up of
wax, which is a credit to the house staff.
However, the floor has been trafficked for 80 or more years. There
are the sorts of indentations and minor scratches one would expect
in a floor of that age. These are part of the character of the floor
so were to be preserved rather than removed.
However, the flood had resulted in unsightly damage that is not
to be preserved. A metal bucket had been placed to catch the falling
water. Unfortunately, the water on the floor reacted with the rim
of the bucket and the tannins in the yew, producing a ring of iron
tannate which can be seen here as a black mark. These sorts of marks
are not capable of being washed away by normal household cleaning.
A shrinkage split in the sycamore of the representation of the
coronet had also filled with dirt over the years.
So, here is the restored coronet.
We have removed the black slash in the sycamore rim and replaced
it with a colour matched filler made of sycamore dust and cellulose
And... where has that bucket stain gone? We magicked it away.
This is the restored floor.
The somewhat harsh brightness of the polish will soften over a
day or two to an attractive sheen.
This is Harewood House. Well worth a visit - but you will not get
to see the restored floor because it is in the private apartments.