This one is for those obsessed with Martin House materials. Others may want to turn back now, before we head into such esoteric territory:
|Detail of kitchen floor, showing hexagonal tile|
Wandering through "battleground Martin" (aka the Martin House in the midst of Phase 5A) this week, I noticed a few stray, hexagonal white tiles lingering on the kitchen floor, lonely fugitives from the extensive removals that have been completed in the space. These hex tiles have long been a curiosity - ever since they were seen peeking out from loose corners of the later linoleum. Even casual inspection of the Fuermann photo of 1907 shows a square, white ceramic tile on portions of the kitchen floor not obscured by mats. So, surely the hex tile was a later addition. But who installed it? When? And why?
Marjorie Quinlan's Rescue of a Landmark has only this to say about the history of the kitchen floor: "After repairing the cracked and broken one-inch floor tiles, they laid a floor covered with the same commercial quality linoleum tiles as in the basement" (p. 57). Unfortunately for us today, Quinlan doesn't note whether the tiles that the Tauriellos repaired and covered were square or hexagonal (the hex tiles are 1" across).
Next, I turned to project architect Jamie Robideau. Jamie had this to say about the tile conundrum:
Clearly, the square white mosaic tile seen in the photo was present in the kitchen when the photo was taken.
|Detail of 1907 Fuermann kitchen photo showing square tile|
The hex tile obviously came later but we don’t know when. Pretty sure the cove base was original and reused. The curious thing about the hex tile is that markings were faintly visible which seemed to correspond with the leg locations of the structural glass counter apron; the same counter seen in the Fuermann photo.
A dynamite start for a murder mystery I would say.
Agreed, Jamie. If this were a game of Clue, we would only know what room the deed was done in - we don't know by whom, or with what weapon.