A Wood Floor For Any Interior Design: Arts & Crafts
The Arts & Crafts movement emerged in the early 20th century, as a form of protest to the excesses of victorian design and the mass production of the industrial age.
“English reformer William Morris was one of the founders of the Arts and Crafts Movement in the late 1880s. Tired of excessive Victorian architecture and the machine-driven Industrial Age, Morris and his followers wanted to return to a pre-industrial, handmade society. Morris also wanted to make custom furnishings available to the “common man.”
— Liz Gray, Arts and Crafts Architecture HGTV
It inspired other similar home styles like the “Bungalow and “Craftsman”, all of which remain popular today, and are meant to embody hand craftmanship at every phase, and in ever corner of the home.
This is one of the most endearing qualities of the Arts & Crafts movement, the attention to detail, which is seen in the earliest Arts & Crafts homes from the Greene Brothers, in Southern California. They left no detail to chance, and there is no shortage of architectural details from hand wrought copper and iron, custom joinery, wood wainscotting, built in cabinetry and furniture, and other hand crafted wood working.
“Some of the most impressive bungalow style homes are large, handcrafted residences designed by the Greene Brothers in California. With handwrought copper and iron work, joinery by master carpenters, and what are still considered excellent architectural monuments in residential design, most of the early bungalows were unaffordable by the vast majority of Americans.”
This style home is synonymous with the iconic Stickley Furniture, inspired by the furniture maker, Gustav Stickley, who pioneered the “Craftsman” movement to get back to pre-industrial techniques of craftsmanship. Stickley furniture has become a household name and is still available today. Although you will find Stickley furniture available today in many wood types, some of the earliest pieces were made from oak and quartersawn oak, so it is no surprise then, that wood floors, especially oak flooring, is a most sought after, and the natural fit for an Arts & Crafts home.
Since this interior design places, such emphasis on the concept of being hand-crafted, common “strip oak” flooring just won’t do. Most Arts & Crafts style homes also feature a very open concept layout, with larger spaces with very little division. The entry immediately draws residents and visitors through the front door into the common living room area. Long, wide boards are a natural backdrop to large, open spaces, since they reduce seams, create a less busy visual appearance and help create the flow from room to room, especially if you can install the flooring in the longest direction of the rooms and create the natural traffic pattern of the home.
To design a wood floor for the Arts & Crafts style home follow these guidelines:
- Consider random width flooring, versus all one width
- Your boards should be a minimum of 6” wide and could range up to 10” or 12” wide
- Random, wide plank flooring is a great representation of handcrafted wood flooring
- If you use all one width flooring, make All 8″ wide should be the minimum width to maintain that look, feel and quality of a custom crafted wood floor
- Install your flooring with the longest length of the home to maximize longer, wider boards and minimize seams
There are three styles of flooring that would perfect for an Arts & Crafts home. The first two are available in solid or engineered construction, and prefinished wood flooring provides added convenience whether you are remodeling, building a new home or working on a commercial space.
1. White Oak
Wide Plank White Oak is a versatile wood floor that can be designed to suit almost home style, including Arts & Crafts. Unlike common oak flooring which is mass produced in average dimensions of just 3” wide and 3’ long, Carlisle White Oak flooring can be made up to 12” wide, with an average length of nearly 6-7’ long.
2. Rift & Quartersawn White Oak
Rift & Quartersawn wood flooring is an equally beautiful floor, but one that will create a much more formal appearance than wide plank White Oak, which has more grain variation and character; but this wood style has become synonymous with Arts & Crafts style homes. You will find it used to make doors, window casing and trim, as well as built furniture and kitchen cabinets, so it is a natural choice for wood floors too.
Given the complex cutting methods needed to create this unique flooring style, it is not available in very wide boards, but at Carlisle, we can make a floor up to 10” wide (sometimes wider with the right lead time). Unlike White Oak flooring, it will have very few knots and character, and the grain variation will range from vertical and straight with iridescent flaming that weaves across the boards. This becomes even more pronounced with the use of a stain.
3. Reclaimed Oak.
Reclaimed Oak is a less common, but equally popular floor for an Arts & Crafts style home. Unlike White Oak or Rift & Quartersawn Oak, which is sawn from newly sawn trees, this wood comes from barns and building over 100-200 years old and slated for demolition. Over this time, the boards have become weathered and worn, resulting in a wood floor with dynamic color variation and character — as you can see from this custom kitchen featuring Arts & Crafts inspired built in furniture and cabinetry from Crown Point Cabinetry.
Reclaimed oak may be the ultimate display of craftsmanship, as you reveal the toils that went into making the floor — from the original 150+ year old structure to the process involved to recover, recycle and repurpose the material into a wood floor that could last for another 200 years.
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