Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Building Your Base: Floors

When most people think about the structure of their home, they think about their walls. But really your rooms have 6 surfaces, 4 walls, the ceiling and the floor. Everyone thinks about the walls, but people are the most unwilling to change anything about their floors. Truth be told, it can be messy, it can take time and it does require moving a considerable amount of furniture. But here is the other side of that truth - IT IS WORTH IT! The extra time and thought you put into your floors is one of the details that create a luxurious home.


I love wood floors. I love everything that you can do with the floors and how they are finished. I do not hold much love for laminate flooring, although it does have its purpose. To me, it just lacks the sound, heft and warmth of wood floors. Then there are the repair issues. I've actually come around to the use of engineered flooring and the benefits of a pre-finished floors. Remember the mess I was talking about, these products so greatly reduce the mess, it is quite amazing.
For a good amount of time, the "hand scraped" look has been very popular, but it seems to be shifting. When considering wood floors, take a look at bamboo. In the last year or so, the colorways available in bamboo have expanded to blonde, carbonized (honey) and even the ever popular dark brown. You can also get this product in a horizontal grain, where you have wider strips of bamboo and can see the bamboo knuckles; or a vertical grain, which has smaller strips engineered together. Take a look at what this looks like for a contemporary interior. There are some environmental advantages to using this material as well.

This photo is from Bamboo Hardwoods, Inc (http://www.bamboohardwoods.com/), but there are several suppliers and distributors out there.

Another idea for wood floors, especially existing ones, is to add a painted treatment to them. This room graced the Jan/Feb 2009 cover of Veranda (http://www.veranda.com/). The room, designed by Mary Douglas Drysdale, is very traditional in nature, but what drew me to the photo was the intricacy of the pattern and the subtlety in which is was executed. Such a technique could be done with paint, or even a slightly different tinted finish. Painted wood floors is nothing new, but we often think of it being used in more country or beach settings, but I think this technique can even be applied in more modern interiors as well. In my head, I can see a small/med/large stripe that adds the most subtle pattern and motion to the floor. But imagine the pattern as a Greek key, or modified trellis - really you could have too much fun with this.

The last thing to keep in mind is that wood floors don't have to be run straight. Pattern works just as well, parquet has been popular for a very long time. Just think of a new way to achieve the look. Even for a modern interior, imagine larger scale parquet.

Don't be afraid to use the details to set your house apart from others. If you plan on staying in your home a while, then the investment is one you will enjoy and will add value to your home in the future. For more information or fabulous ideas on what can be done to wood floors go to the National Wood Flooring Association (http://www.woodfloors.org/).

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful hardwood parquet!
    As a person who grew up in old homes with parquet floors, I really appreciate the design and craftsmanship.
    Thanks for sharing!