Vintage French oak chevron brings 19th century elegance to Bloomsbury Mansion flat, WC1B
This project was a fantastic opportunity to use rare hand-made French oak in an elegant 19th century mansion block of luxury apartments. The brief from the customer was clear, he wanted us to use his well-researched and unique rustic french oak blocks to emphasise the antique, elegant style of his residence. And the end result in his words, “The overall quality of work was very high and the attention to detail truly special. Fin Wood is a top choice if you want a high-quality wooden floor.” The combination of such unusual rustic wood, a charming location and a delighted customer quickly made this a top portfolio project for us.
The vintage French oak chevron floor in the living room
The rustic parquet blocks with exposed knots and even wood worm!
These rare chevron parquet blocks are traditionally made and unlike today’s modern wood do not conform to typical industry standards. They are very limited in production capacity and come from naturally felled trees, chosen for their consistent characteristics and their old-growth patterns, unlike today’s farmed oak trees. Our customer had researched thoroughly to find the product amongst top wood flooring suppliers in London.This artisanal product is full of natural, rustic character with plenty of sap wood, knots, twisted grains and even occasional traces of wood worm. This presented a challenge for our usual installation and finishing process.
A tailored approach
It was impossible to achieve a perfectly smooth flat floor with such individual blocks and dimensional variation. The vintage french oak was installed all throughout except the bathrooms which were tiled with old-style terracotta tiles. As we opened the packs, we could see clearly that each block had slightly different widths and thickness. We looked at the floor as a jigsaw and selected the blocks to match as much as possible and avoid dramatic variations and gaps and create a reasonably flat surface with a consistent look.
Completing the puzzle
We secured the existing wood floor boards and beams to prevent dreadful squeaks from the substructure. We also fixed a 5.5mm layer of plywood to give a smooth flat subfloor.
Avoiding design mistakes
In this grand period flat the floor continues from one end to the other with no threshold. The hallway was a long winding zig-zag shape with different widths, a stark contrast to the large rectangular rooms. Every detail had to be considered and planned from the beginning to avoid irreversible design mistakes. After thorough measurement we used a laser beam to identify a straight starting line.
A zig-zag hallway presented another installation challenge
Laser beams are used for unequalled accuracy
We had over 2000 blocks to patiently and expertly select and match and sometimes gently clean with soft sanding paper. Occasionally we used a hand held sanding machine to correct a few raised corners, to avoid stubbing toes on the floor. Finally we applied two coats of Osmo Polyx oil satin for a natural finish.
Applying the oil
Even the first coat of oil has a dramatic effect on the colour and richness of the wood.
Preserving period skirting boards
The customer was very keen to retain as many original features as possible. We were determined to have the job done correctly without compromises. With old buildings this is always difficult but workarounds were minimised. The customer wanted to preserve the original tall skirting boards. The bottom section of the skirting was carefully removed by the builders which enabled us to install the parquet blocks up to the wall without an expansion gap. We installed a new smaller replica of the missing skirting above the floor and after it was filled and painted all looked like one original piece.
The bottom section of the skirting board was removed to allow the new floor to have a close fit.
The period skirting boards were perfectly preserved.
Acoustic membrane for impact sound reduction
Another understandable request from the customer was to incorporate sound insulation to meet the condition of the lease of the period flat. We agreed to use impact sound insulation with an acoustic impact sound reduction membrane regupol 3912. The customer was particularly pleased this was carried out so effectively.
The customer was delighted with the end result.
“The overall quality of work was very high and the attention to detail truly special. Fin Wood has professionally handled all problems with deliveries and scheduling encountered during the project. Most importantly for me, Alin from Fin Wood was very accessible for discussing technical questions and details of workmanship. Fin Wood is a top choice if you want a high-quality wooden floor.”
Customer in London, WC1B
If you have a special limited material that you want to be expertly fitted and not wasted, why not give us a call or contact here to see how we can help.
Location: Russell Square WC1B