I’ll never forget my first shag carpet experience: it was 1968, and I as I did every morning then, I walked over to my friend Mike Fitzsimmons house before walking to Loyola High School. His brother opened the door, and told me Mike would be down soon (he was chronically late). As always, I walked into the foyer and turned left into the living room to wait for him, when I was confronted with a sea of brand new ankle-deep thick, gold shag carpeting. I was blown away, having not yet experience what was the hot new thing that year and what would soon take America’s living rooms by storm.
I was afraid to step
on in it in my Bass Weejuns, as it seemed sacrilegious to sully this fluffy substance with whatever my shoes had contacted on the sidewalk. Wow. I wanted to get down and roll in it; naked, preferrably. I remember putting my hands into it, to experience its deep, soft, fluffy pile. I experienced a mixture of awe and revulsion, as it was obviously something new and expensive (at the time) but it seemed so utterly impractical. But it came to dominate the flooring industry for some years, until it was suddenly gauche, and everyone had to rip up their shag carpeting. I ripped the last of it (lime green) out of our 1977 Dodge Chinook camper. It was almost 30 years old; yuck.
Here’s some more 1971 Lincolns reveling on carpeting, if not quite as deep pile shag as this
The late ’60s and early ’70s were the golden years for wall-to-wall carpeting; how many millions of square feet of beautiful hardwood floors were covered over in this time period? In a way, that was a good thing, because it meant that when a new generation of younger folks like us bought our first houses in the ’80s, the first thing we did was to tear out the carpeting and discover beautifully preserved hardwood floors! Thank you, even if tearing up carpeting wasn’t exactly fun. One never knew exactly what it would be; our house in Eugene had lovely white oak hiding under its late-sixties carpeting.
This Lincoln coupe is on just plain deep pile carpeting.
Landlords (other than me) actually seemed/seem to like wall-to-wall carpeting in their rentals, as they could charge for a deep cleaning every time the place turned over, and they didn’t have to deal with damaged wood floors from students and young adults. I couldn’t stand them, so I refinished the mostly fir floors in mine. But that’s softwood, which got gouged and damaged very easily. And after a few sandings, it was worn down to to tongue and groove, and couldn’t be sanded again.
I put in laminate flooring (“Pergo”) over it, but that was a mistake: it’s hard and loud and nasty, and any spill where liquid gets in between the edges makes the compressed-wood fiber backing swell and ruin the look. I hate it now.
But thanks to plank vinyl flooring, all my landlord flooring problems are solved. Cheap, quick to go down, waterproof, looks pretty decent, and essentially damage proof. The ultimate flooring solution.
Now where’s a shot of a new Lincoln on some luxury plank vinyl flooring?