It's almost impossible to think of English interior design with out picturing the timeless beauty of re-discovered Victorian-era hardwood flooring—or perhaps even the iconic boards trodden by the actors that have long done justice to Shakespeare's plays at the Globe theatre in London!
While it's true that wood flooring in England has a long and fascinating history, the journey from the most rustic of hand sawn timber planks of yesteryear through to the introduction of parquet flooring in England—and then on to the sophisticated and diverse aesthetics that we enjoy today—is perhaps not as linear as you might expect. Here, we will trace the fascinating ascension of wood as England's favourite form of flooring. I wonder, will you be surprised?
The Humble Beginnings of Wood Flooring In England
If we were to hop into a time machine and zoom back half a millennia, we'd find that English floors—and indeed those across the rest of Europe—were largely comprised of compacted dirt. Years of people and animals co-habiting upon earthen floors could polish such surfaces to a concrete-like finish. Although, these dirt floors were less than fragrant, so it was customary to scatter the floor with mint which would release a concealing fragrance when trodden underfoot!
Wealthier homeowners might have enjoyed the decadence of a flagstone floor, and perhaps, within the odd two-storey structure, a rough wooden floor might have been found. However, it was not until the Baroque era arrived in the 1600s that wood floors began to gain popularity across Europe. At this juncture in history, wood floors in England would have needed to be hand split and scraped to produce planks suitable for flooring. The resulting variety of widths and thicknesses would have meant that creating a relatively flat surface was a time-consuming and costly undertaking indeed.
The Arrival of Parquet Flooring In England
As the earthen floors across England were gradually beginning to be replaced with rustic wooden floors on joists, the English aristocracy were embracing the latest trend to travel across from France—the finest of parquetry, à la Versailles! Such artistic installations called for the most skilled artisanal carpenters, so the herringbone parquet wood flooring England pined for was still only accessible to society's most elevated elite.
In the time that spanned between the popularisation of wood flooring in England and the dawn of the industrial revolution, coveted hardwood unsurprisingly became scarcer and harder to acquire. Softwood floors presented a viable—all be it less robust—alternative, although the elegant aesthetic that only hardwood could offer was the ultimate prize. Homeowners began staining their pine floors in an effort to mimic the look of the hardwoods they desired.
Queen Victoria's Wood Flooring Legacy
As the end of the 18th Century approached, the industrial revolution began to gain momentum in England, bringing with it machinery that could plane timber as never before. With the arrival of the Victorian era, steam engines made timber processing even more efficient, and tongue-and-groove boards were first invented.
With industry, Queen Victoria's campaign of building housing for workers meant the inception of the extraordinary legacy of Victorian homes—complete with wooden floors—that many of us hanker after today. Parquet flooring in England became freshly available to the middle class, and those who were able to increasingly chose decadent herringbone or chevron parquet flooring for their hallways and spaces for entertaining.
Hardwood Flooring Enters Partial Hibernation in the 20th CenturyIn the England of the roaring 20s, alternative flooring products began to emerge such as the early patterned linoleums that are now so widely considered overly kitch. Meanwhile, finishing products for wood flooring were improving making them even more resilient. After Word War II, many a hardwood floor in England was sadly lost under carpet, which temporarily became the aesthetic of choice.www.ubwood.co.uk
Sadly, this trend meant that many new builds were fitted with softwood or even plywood floors—leaving contemporary homeowners to contemplate installing hardwood flooring today! Happily, as the new Millennium approached, wood flooring and parquet flooring were embraced once more. The new era of beautifully finished timber floors brought with it the benefit of exceptional technical advancements—in terms of how hardwood is processed, installed, and finished, within modern interior design.
The Contemporary Era of Wood Flooring in England
Today, the wide plank or herringbone parquet wood flooring England demands are more exquisite and diverse than ever, and created with longevity in mind. Consider how many proud homeowners have recovered the forgotten treasures of original Victorian wood flooring within their homes. One has to wonder who will be enjoying the hardwood floors that are crafted today in the years yet to come!
The arrival of engineered wood flooring in England has also opened a new door of opportunity within interior design. Floated floors and underfloor heating make design possibilities more versatile than ever. Whatever style of hardwood floor is selected, a dizzying array of forms and finishes await discovery. There can be no doubt—today, the floor you imagine is surely within reach. If you'd like to know more, contact the Unique Bespoke Wood team!
When it comes to showcasing the natural beauty of wood, hand-scraped wood flooring offers a particularly charming option. Just as its name might lead you to imagine, this form of hardwood floor features a textured and heritage-look finish that is loaded with character. An undulating, organic surface is created which allows the wood's wondrous grain patterns to sing. Simultaneously, this distinct aged-wood feel can be applied in all manner of interiors, providing interest and contrast within any number of design concepts.
While hand-scraped wood flooring can be thought of as a distinct aesthetic, a variety of looks can be achieved – through the application of different stains, oils, waxes, and other finishes. Turning this technique to bespoke wood floor designs, or on-trend hand-scraped wide plank wood flooring can deliver phenomenally striking results. Meanwhile, hand-scraped engineered wood flooring offers the versatility required for floated floors and even underfloor heating.
What Is Hand-Scraped Wood Flooring?
Fascinatingly, the origins of hand-scraped wood flooring are rooted in an entirely different motivation to the one that we pursue today. Within contemporary floor design, hand-scraping is harnessed to manifest a more old-fashioned or rustic aesthetic. However historically, before modern wood milling techniques were developed, this practice was used to make each plank's surface more uniform.
Back when each plank was cut by hand, variance in thickness was commonplace, and hand-scraping was necessary to create an even floor surface. While this intervention is no longer required, many still romanticise the cosy and vibrant energy of hand-finished wood. Happily, recreating this aesthetic for your dream interior is a practice still very much thriving!
Will This Work In Any Interior?
While hand-scraped wood flooring will always deliver the appearance of a solid hardwood floor, this look can be achieved via both solid and engineered wood flooring solutions. This means that there are very few limitations on the spaces within which a hand-scraped floor can be introduced. The robust and moisture-resistant nature of hand-scraped engineered wood flooring also opens up exciting possibilities such as suitability for kitchens, bathrooms, and sun rooms.
In terms of design, it is important to note that hand-scraped wood flooring is a feature in its own right, and will play a central role within any space's composition. While a smooth hardwood floor's finish may play the part of a neutral backdrop to your interior's features, the intriguing textures of hand-scraped wide plank wood flooringor perhaps even parquetry will hold attention, providing continual enjoyment, and interplaying with other design elements. That said, this doesn't mean there are any restrictions on the type of aesthetic for which hand-scraped wood flooring might be suitable – but rather an opportunity for creative play. From authentically historic homes to bold contemporary-vintage mash-ups, the potential to be explored is endless.
Underfloor Heating and Hand-Scraped Engineered Wood Flooring
Thanks to contemporary technological advancements, underfloor heating has never been more accessible for homeowners. This thrilling interior design tool not only means that central heating elements no longer need to be in sight, but also that the warm aesthetic of hardwood flooring can be matched by the pleasure of warmness underfoot. Hand-scraped engineered wood flooring instantly manifests the impression of a floor that holds history and has a story to tell. In this sense, a new floor that facilitates the luxury of underfloor heating does not mean sacrificing character – in fact, quite the opposite is true!
Hand-Scraped Wood Flooring From Unique Bespoke Wood
Bringing out the natural beauty of hardwoods and introducing that grace to each interior we encounter is where our passion lies. With years of experience and a diversity of expert skill sets, our team are on hand both to advise on the perfect floor aesthetic to complement your space, and to deliver your vision flawlessly. We can provide hand-scraped wood flooring with a dark or light, or warm or cool finish. This charismatic style of hardwood flooring can be brought to life in any flooring style, or plank width. If you would like to learn more, contact our team today.
The warm and refined presence of wood within the home is unquestionably transformative. One of the most impactive ways that this elegant and natural material can be harnessed is in the introduction of beautiful bespoke wooded stairs. Your dream staircase project may come in the form of a revamp of your existing staircase, or an entirely new design. Either way, Unique Bespoke Wood are here to aid you in realising your vision! Whether seeking striking hardwood stair cladding, or exploring how to create something truly unique with engineered planks for stairs, read on to discover more about the process of staircase design and construction.
A Vision of What You Want
The wooden staircase design that you arrive on will depend very much upon the space it is set to inhabit. If aiming to manifest spectacular wooden stairs from scratch, the potential of what can be achieved is largely only limited by your imagination! Of course, your wooden stairs design will need to be space-appropriate. From a structural standpoint, you will be able to consider whether your staircase will be straight or curved, or feature turns – perhaps with landings.
One of the wonderful things about wood is the diversity of aesthetics that are available. Hardwood or engineered planks for stairs can be dark and majestic, or light and lifting. Wood may be smooth, sleek and minimalist, or decorated with characterful knots and grain patterns. You might choose to coordinate the finish of your wooden stairs with wood present in the surrounding areas – or you may wish to make a bold stand-out statement! Fundamentally, the choice is entirely yours.
The Ins and Outs of Stair Cladding
If your aim is to makeover an existing staircase, stair cladding can deliver an astounding transformation that alters the air of your entire home. Bespoke stair cladding can be fitted to almost any existing staircase, creating the instant appearance of a solid wood staircase. Coordinated balustrades can be considered – or if going for a more contemporary look, glass panelling may be just the feature to create instant wow-factor. Once again, a near endless spectrum of wood finishes and grain aesthetics are at your fingertips when reimagining a staircase in this way. To ensure that you know how to describe your vision, stick with us as we examine the need-to-know terminology of the wooden stairs structure!
Going Pro With Staircase Terminology
When viewing a fantastically finished staircase, its component elements will likely be the last thing on your mind. However, when planning that staircase's design, understanding which parts are which can be incredibly useful – both in terms of communicating with anyone assisting in the design process, and the artisans bringing that polished composition to life. With that in mind, here are some of the key terms that will help you discuss your wooden stairs like a pro:
Navigating Building Regulations
If overhauling with stair cladding, in all probability you will not need to navigate the technicalities of building regulations. However, if designing something entirely new, it is best to know what can and cannot be done. You may enlist the help of an architect, or indeed a talented joiner from our team here at Unique Bespoke Wood, to assist in the design of your staircase. They will understand that there are a few rules that must be followed when planning a bold new staircase design, each implemented with safety in mind.
Wood Provides Quality At Every Step
With the above information at hand, you should be able to begin exploring the possibilities of your destined staircase design. By opting for wooden stairs – either with stair cladding, solid wood, or engineered planks for stairs – you will certainly ensure longevity. Hardwoods are a perfect choice for one of the most trafficked areas of your home, providing optimal durability while serving as a timeless aesthetic focal point. By partnering with professionals who can turn their expert eye to manifesting your staircase design, you can also achieve the flawless finish and functionality that you hope for.
If you would like to discuss the many incredible options available to you for your upcoming staircase project, don't hesitate to contact our team. We are always thrilled to advise, and steer you towards the result you desire!
We've all experienced walking into a truly special space—a room that immediately struck us as balanced, intriguing, and sumptuous. A bounty of pattern and texture inhabits the world around us, and yet we rarely pause to consider how these enriching intricacies change the way we experience interiors. When it comes to interior design, however, it becomes our responsibility to create such harmonious and inviting aesthetics, rather than simply enjoying being immersed within them!
Here at Unique Bespoke Wood, our passion for transforming interiors with a sleek chevron parquet pattern or a room-expanding wide plank wood flooring has attuned our awareness to the importance of pattern and texture. With that in mind, today we invite you to join us in exploring why these two factors are so important when designing stand-out interiors, and how you can harness their super-powers to maximum effect.
How Do We Define Texture?
While the answer to such a question might seem obvious at first, claiming the full lexicon of all things texture related helps us to get more playful as we explore this element within design. From a technical perspective, texture describes the surface quality of a material—whether it is rough or smooth, ridged or bumpy, and so on. We can also consider texture in terms of whether it is purely visual, or if it also offers a tactile presence within a space.
When we visually absorb the textures within a room, part of the impression created includes how we perceive certain surfaces would feel to the touch. This quality can be highly evocative—making a space feel sleek and modern, or decadent and inviting. Tactile textures may trigger our memories or certain associations. Texture is also a powerful tool for differentiation, and adjacent surfaces can be highlighted and contrasted through the simple application of different finishes.
How Do We Define Pattern?
In contrast, pattern is created through motif, be it divine decoration found on fabric, tile or wallpaper, or the luxurious presence of herringbone parquet pattern across a spectacular hardwood floor. Through the two-dimensional form that pattern takes, our perception of a surface is transformed. The perfect choice can alter our impression of scale, grab or divert attention, and make elements proudly leap forwards, or modestly slide back within the room's composition.
Just as texture can be evocative, pattern can also help us convey certain design styles, or trigger certain emotional responses. In either case, balance is key—texture and pattern should create interest as we visually explore a space, rather than being allowed to overwhelm it.
Striking a Perfect Balance
As human beings, our sense of touch and intrinsic curiosity are each very instinctive, so these two design resources allow us to create multi-faceted interiors that delight and inspire the senses. There is space for playfulness in the application of pattern and texture, but going all-out can create visual confusion, overpowering—if not obliterating—other design elements! Instead, we must think in terms of balancing the visual weight of the more intricate or high-contrast surfaces introduced.
Opting for similar or complementary patterns and textures can be a wonderful tool for tying a room together, while they can also allude to the intended use or mood of the space. While best applied in measured amounts, bold pattern can serve as a magical stand-out feature, and a resource from which an entire colour scheme and tonal aesthetic can be built.
The Impact of Illumination
When composing an interior design, texture and pattern should always be considered with lighting in mind. Direct light will enhance, while diffuse light will detract from the impact of your featured surfaces. An interesting texture can be brought to life with lighting that hits it from an oblique angle, while a reflective pattern can reclaim a dark corner and make it shine forth.
Different materials may reflect or absorb light, so approaching these elements wholistically is important to retaining control of the visual results. For many interiors, considering how textures and patterns will appear both in daylight and under more atmospheric evening conditions is also valuable for achieving ultimate design success.
Creating Illusions of Scale
When designing interior spaces, a glorious opportunity is presented to manipulate the room's scale through clever illusion. Wide plank wood flooring can work wonders for making a space feel not only contemporary but also far larger, while vertical pattern on walls and furnishings can create the impression of more height. Within a more substantial space, chevron or herringbone parquet pattern will make the room feel intimate and inviting, while introducing an air of elegance that cannot be matched. Large-scale repeat patterns can make an interior area feel smaller, while fine and delicate pattern can make walls appear more expansive.
With a little imagination we can tune into how texture and pattern draw the eye: do they make a surface advance towards the viewer, or melt away? Will a pattern highlight geometric form, or make the surface irregularities often found within historic structures vanish pleasingly from sight and mind? By considering the power that pattern and texture provide, we can build interiors layer by layer into spaces that provide continuing pleasure to all who inhabit them.
If you would like to explore how a herringbone parquet pattern, chevron parquet pattern, or wide plank wood flooring would transform your envisioned interior, contact our team today. We are always ready to assist you in bringing your design dreams to fruition!
Its no wonder that many of us dream of introducing chevron parquet wood flooring or herringbone wood flooring into our favourite interior spaces—parquetry offers an elegance that is impossible to match. Whether in Ash or Oak; antique, smoked or brushed; of traditional style, or design parquet wood flooring: such a surface will elevate any home or workplace, generating enjoyment for years to come. With all this in mind, mastering how to look after a parquet floor is certain to be top of the agenda for any new installation. As with all hardwood floors, maintenance is marvellously simple just so long as a few golden rules are adhered to. Read onto to discover the ins and outs of optimal parquetry care.
Starting Off on the Right Foot
A certain level of daily dirt accumulation is an unavoidable reality—from pet hair to debris carried in from outside—no matter the indoor space at hand. As with other forms of hardwood flooring, such particulates are best removed from parquetry with a vacuum, or failing that the light sweep of a soft bristled broom. When using your vacuum cleaner, be sure to choose the bare floor setting to disengage the rotating beater. Because sand and grit are the flooring foes most likely to lead to scuffed surfaces, installing doormats is an excellent way to further safeguard your herringbone or chevron parquet wood flooring. As an added bonus, an absorbent entry mat will also protect against wet footprints during damper months—a factor that is more important than many might realise.
How to Clean Parquet Flooring
The reason that soggy foot or paw prints are best avoided is that saturating your stylish design parquet wood flooring with water is the ultimate parquetry faux pas. Excessive moisture can cause damage, causing the wood to move and swell, causing staining, or simply leeching the wood of its beauty-enhancing oils. For those of us who take pride in regular cleaning, this can seem somewhat counter-intuitive, but in truth when it comes to wet-cleaning a parquet floor, less is certainly more. The ideal tactic is to opt for a lightly damp mop or cloth, being sure to wring it out well as you go—and never saturate the wood with water. It is also vital to choose a gentle and wood-friendly cleaning product, avoiding anything acidic or abrasive. Be sure to allow your floor to air dry fully before replacing furniture.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
Speaking of furniture, investing in protective felt or cork furniture pads for the feet of heavy or often-moved items can ward off the risk of scratches to your beautiful chevron or herringbone parquet flooring. Rubber sliders are not a strong choice to accompany hardwood flooring, simply because rubber doesn't breathe—the same can be said of rubber doormats or anti-slip mats, to avoid these with caution and explore other options. A little thought should also be given to rolling office chairs, or any other item on wheels or coasters, to ensure that they are equipped with soft, standard running surfaces.
In terms of spills, the best way to avoid staining is to act quickly, removing any substance that takes a tumble. Blotting up liquids with a cloth before removing any residue is the speediest way to ensure that the integrity of the wood is protected. Of course, ensuring that your parquetry is regularly re-oiled will provide a far more repellant surface—do check out our recent blog on how often to oil wood flooring. A well cared for parquet floor is incredibly undemanding, but taking a stance of pre-empting and eliminating potential risks is the best strategy for ensuring that initial beauty remains for the long haul!
What to Do if Your Parquet Floor Is Damaged
Of course, nobody wants an accident to occur, but unfortunately these things can sometimes happen. Perhaps a tiny stone caught under the foot of a sliding chair may cause a tiny scratch. Happily, if the offending scratch in question is a small one, usually a light re-oiling and buff with a cotton cloth will make such a mark disappears. If, however, the damage is more significant then turning to your trusted hardwood floor installer is likely the best option. It may be possible to replace the damaged plank, or sanding and re-finishing the floor's surface might be the best solution.
Whether in need of assistance with pre-existing chevron parquet wood flooring or herringbone parquet wood flooring, or hoping to aquire advice on maintenance of your freshly installed Unique Bespoke Wood parquetry, our team are always ready to assist.
Who doesn't love a beautiful hardwood floor? While we might all share enjoyment of this beautiful material, you might find yourself wondering why hardwood flooring is used underfoot, and what these two terms really mean. Of course, the most convenient answer would be that hardwood is harder, and softwood is softer! But, in reality, the truth of the matter is not so cut and dry. In fact, hardwood and softwood come from distinctly different types of trees, and offer quite different properties from each other. For this reason, when we envision even spectacular engineered oak hardwood flooring or engineered walnut hardwood flooring, we find peace of mind knowing that the entire construction is of strategically selected hardwood. To clue you in to why this matters, allow us to invite you along for a deep-dive exploration of the difference between these two types of woods, and why hardwood is our heart and soul here at Unique Bespoke Wood.
Two Different Types Of Trees
So, if hardness or softness do not define these terms, what does? The distinction between hardwood and softwood actually lies in the way that trees reproduce! Hardwood comes from trees that are known as angiosperms. These are trees that produce seeds with some kind of covering, such as the flesh of fruit, or the shell of an acorn. They are also leaf bearing, and are more-often-than-not deciduous trees, meaning that their leaves fall in the winter.
In contrast, softwood trees are gymnosperms, and produce seeds which fall uncovered to the ground. Most softwood trees are evergreen, and great examples include pine trees, which shed their seeds from cones, and conifers, which release their seeds on the wind. Fascinatingly, some hardwood trees, such as balsa, are quite soft, and some softwood trees, such as conifers, produce quite hard wood.
So, if the terms hard and soft are a little confused when we talk about wood, how do we measure the difference? In fact, the hardness of all woods is measured and rated using the Janka test. This clever method was come upon as a way to measure the usability of wood for flooring, which is undeniably very important! The Janka test measures the resistance of wood to denting and wear by assessing the force, in pounds, required to embed an 11.28mm steel ball into the wood to a depth of half of the ball’s diameter.
Two Different Realms Of Possibility
Of course, all wood is naturally beautiful. However, hardwood and softwood are not created equally. Hardwood contains far more fibres, and tends to grow much more slowly. This can result in the spectacularly beautiful grain patterns, knots and burls that we all enjoy so much as organic decoration within our homes and interiors. What's more, the dense and fibrous structure of hardwood lends fantastically to purposes that will require utmost strength and resilience.
That divine engineered ash hardwood flooring that you have been dreaming of will be ideal for remaining at its best with continuous footfall. Equally, that richly hued and pattered engineered walnut hardwood flooring will radiate elegance, no matter how much traffic it sees! Hardwood is absolutely wonderful for providing the longevity that we aspire to when we install a breathtaking floor, for a truly special interior. The resilient nature of hardwood makes it a good choice for exterior woodwork, such as decking. Because of the unique beauty provided by many hardwoods, they are also popular for bespoke joinery and fine veneers. As an added bonus, they are also far more fire resistant than softwood.
In contrast, softwoods play a different role within our homes. Softwood accounts for around 80% of the timber used around the world, thanks to its versatility. Because of hardwood's dense, fibrous nature, its resilience comes at the cost of easy workability. This often makes softwood a preferred choice for projects such as furniture making, ceilings, floors and windows. Because softwood trees grow faster, softwood is also usually cheaper, making it an attractive choice for construction and building elements. However, lower longevity and poorer fire resistance are the costs that come within such an equation.
Creating Your Dream Floor
When we create the exquisite engineered wood flooring – or indeed solid wood flooring – that you envision for your anticipated space, we know that the oak, ash, or walnut that you might choose will provide an aesthetic that you will enjoy for many years to come. We know that the birch wood layered within our engineered flooring will provide unparalleled durability against changes in temperature and humidity. At the same time, as you will discover, there is immense joy to be found in the knowledge that each hardwood floor created is like a fingerprint!
Each type of hardwood provides a different grain presentation, while no two trees produce an identical pattern. With the addition of different finishes, a vast array of colours and contrasts can be achieved. In this, hardwood ticks every box when it comes to manifesting both striking and inviting interiors that are built to last. So, are you ready to explore engineered oak hardwood flooring, or any one of the many other options available here at Unique Bespoke Wood? If so, contact our team today!
From commercial spaces to the most lavish of homes, designers are opting for the opulence of parquetry in engineered form. So, what makes this trend so self-propelling? Put simply, spectacular Herringbone or Chevron parquet engineered wood flooring does a beautiful job of marrying eye-catching style with ultimate versatility. In this particular flooring solution, designers and property owners alike truly can have their cake and eat it too!
The Timeless Appeal Of Parquetry
Parquetry is without a doubt a statement that never goes out of style. Ever since its inception in the 17thcentury it is an interior element that has been sought after as a symbol of elegance and taste. Within commercial settings it fosters an immediate impression of desirability and success. Within homes it offers fantastic visual interest and instantly elevates blank-canvas interiors into sophisticates spaces. Engineered Herringbone parquet flooring provides the most classic aesthetic that so many adore, while chevron designs – particularly the contemporary wider or custom angled chevron designs – offer a fresh take on this traditional flooring style that packs the same stylistic punch, while providing modern appeal.
Ready For Any Environment
Realising a designer's parquetry vision within an engineered wood floor is where the magic really happens. This is because the high calibre engineered wood flooring of today is literally ready for anything! Because of its intelligent layered construction, engineered wood flooring is able to tolerate variations in both heat and moisture that a traditional hardwood floor simply cannot. What's more, a fine example of engineered Herringbone parquet flooring will be ready to take on high footfall, making it ideal for the highly trafficked interiors of commercial spaces or office buildings – and even the most chaotic of family households!
Speaking of environment, designers and their clients love the green element of engineered flooring too. Because the Chevron parquet engineered wood flooring you are coveting is constructed of layers, the hardwood used is far more sustainable to source than that found in solid wood flooring alternatives. We always make sustainability and environmental impact top priorities when sourcing our beautifully wood here at Unique Bespoke Wood, but there is no doubt that engineered wood flooring broadly has the upper hand when it comes to taking care of our planet. Of course, in both the case of engineered and solid wood flooring, reclaimed wood is also an eco-friendly option that can be explored!
No Need To Compromise On Vision
For designers working within a pre-existing space, the opportunity to reinvent that space is invigorating. Working with the limitation of a standing structure, however can be somewhat limiting, but in these cases engineered parquet flooring comes into its own once again. The property owners are dreaming of expansive and lustrous wooden floors, but they are working with low ceilings? Engineered flooring can be floated, negating the need to make space for a suspended floor. Dreaming of a slick interior that doesn't have space for the intrusion of radiators? That's no problem, because engineered wood flooring is ideal for installation over underfloor heating. Contemporary engineered flooring innovation means that just about every interior can now be enhanced with the flair of parquetry!
Bespoke Design Parquet Flooring
We touched upon wide-plank chevron parquet and the application of custom angles within parquetry a little earlier. For designers scoping out their options in terms of parquet style, engineered wood flooring means that the only limit is their imagination. Bespoke design parquet flooring allows for all sorts of variations, depending on what emerges within a designers mind's eye. Parquetry that incorporates extra long or wide boards can create a strikingly different look that has everyone taking a second glance. Playing with angles can create a truly unique aesthetic, as can choosing woods with fantastic colour variation such as walnut. Other varieties of parquet are also a possibility, such as the ever-iconic Versailles parquet.
In one way or another, our homes are always a reflection of what we love. They are a vehicle for expression – whether modern and minimalist, or loaded with antique treasures with adventurous backstories! It is undeniable, however, that in light of recent global circumstances, the role of the home has been somewhat reframed. From those spending time secluded in pandemic-related lockdown, to those simply finding a fresh perspective on appreciation for personal space, it's not surprising that we are seeing our homes in a new light.
If slowing down under tough circumstances has taught us anything, it's that our homes are our sanctums, and hold the power to provide a sense of comfort. Surprisingly, trends emerging back in 2019 – long before Covid-19 was even on our radar – had already embraced the nurturing potential of interior design. Here, we will explore how natural materials, such as divine natural oak wood flooring, can contribute to enhancing our sense of well-being when at home. Are you ready to enhance the cocoon-like qualities of your interior?
Creating A Cocoon-like Embrace At Home
It's no secret that open floor plans and large-scale furniture curried favour within interior design circles for years. Of course, there will always be a place for such inclinations. However, in a trend that was taking well-timed stride last year, many people are looking for something a little more intimately scaled. Fundamentally, when it comes to residential interiors, a nesting instinct has taken hold! Alongside the urge to create softened spaces and corners in which to nestle, this has brought a shift in colour palette. Previously popular neutral and cool colours have slid aside to make way for warm neutrals, with infusions of pattern and richness.
An inviting interior with natural ash wood flooring, and sumptuous furnishings that ask to be engaged with, offers far more when it comes to our actual living experience than sleek sharp lines. In reality, comfort can be achieved in any number of different ways, but the way in which we interact with our spaces has never been so relevant. Alongside the right warming shades, we are seeing a change in shapes too, with rounded edges making a firm return. The warming, the tactile, the practical, and the pleasurable – these are the materials and objects that are finding their place as rulers of our interior landscapes.
Introducing A Well-being Element To Our Inner Sanctums
While exciting getaways to indulgent locations are conspicuously absent, our yearning for something soothing has never been stronger. Within the current crisis, we find ourselves grappling with entirely understandable feelings, such as anxiety, overwhelm, and even grief. While resisting the urge to lean into the luring arms of comfort baking or online shopping for too long, there is value in recognising the immense power that interior design can wield over our well-being. Not only that, but embracing these ideas can mean not only boosting the comfort of home under current circumstances, but offer the same rippling rewards when a more normal mode of life returns!
The idea that architectural design can be harmonious can be traced back to ancient Roman engineer Vitruvius. Today, thanks to the research of individuals such as architectural critic and historian Sarah Williams Goldhagen, we have built a mighty structure upon the foundations laid by historic thinkers like Vitruvius on the subject. As Goldhagen discusses in her book, Welcome to Your World: How the Built Environment Shapes Our Lives, studies of behaviour, science, and psychology, can tell us a lot about the inner workings of our aesthetic experience.
Goldhagen reveals that either an overly empty space, or an overly chaotic space can ramp up our stress levels. She recommends mimicking natures “organized complexity”, just as seen in natural fractal patters and proportions, for a tranquil middle ground. Beyond that, Goldhagen goes on to highlight the importance of sensory stimulation for emotional well-being. “We are imaginatively interacting with the environment at all times, and the richer those stimulations are, the better you’re going to feel.” As we sculpt our indoor environments, we can place emphasis on richness of texture, scent, sound, and visual interest, to enhance our home experience – and as a salve against anxiety.
The Nurturing Impact Of Natural Materials
Of course, another important aspect when it comes to being at ease within the home is bringing nature indoors with us. If you're new to the concept, our recent article on the subject awaits, with details of how biophilic design – the art of introducing natural elements – can benefit in us in a dazzling number of ways. They don't call it creature comforts for nothing! Introducing the organic, for example in beautiful eco friendly wood flooring, provides a powerful connection to nature. A myriad of studies tell us that this in turn promotes healing, offering therapeutic reward and a sense of safety.
Our homes grace us with a multitude of gifts – they serve as shelter, and provide financial security; they reflect who we are, and offer a place in which we can belong. Following recent events, they have become something far greater. Today, our homes may suddenly have taken on the role of being our offices, schools, and much more. With this in mind, choosing to transform them into spaces of greater comfort makes perfect sense. The warm and intricate texture of natural oak wood flooring, or perhaps the soothing presence of natural ash wood flooring, will provide a multi-box-ticking backdrop upon which to build an inner sanctum up to the task. Remember, the Unique Bespoke Wood team is always ready to chat, should you wish to explore your eco friendly wood flooring options!
Over the centuries, staircases have played a vast array of different roles – from the functional heft of medieval spiral stone staircases, to the romantic opulence of sweeping double staircases within palaces and mansions. Taking stock of those within our own homes, we walk our staircases every day, and yet so often we seem to overlook them. As we spend fortunes on facelifts for our kitchens and bathrooms – rooms of the house that are relatively little seen – why do we neglect the staircase? It is usually the first feature that visitors set eyes upon, and functions as a very powerful design tool for transforming our inner sanctum. To this end, little could be better than the addition of wooden stairs, when it comes to raising our interior profiles. Of course, while most of us cannot afford the luxury of designing and building an entirely new staircase, transforming an existing flight with wood stair cladding holds the power to reinvent the feel and flow of our homes quite dramatically!
Claiming The Home's Structural Centrepiece
Today, the design of staircases is becoming a greater and greater consideration, as their potential as a focal point is harnessed. Rather than simply being a way to get from A to B, wooden stairs can provide a truly fantastic experience, adding an element of beauty and pleasure to the act of moving through your interior. Using wood stair treads and risers, a staircase may be fashioned to match new or already present hardwood floors. Alternatively, the staircase can become a stand-alone feature, serving as a contrasting source of interest, against surfaces of other materials. Contemporary wood stair cladding can be styled in any number of different ways, creating the impression of an elegant period feature, or an ultra-modern, minimalist architectural element. When combined with an array of potential balustrade materials, from matching wood, to steel work, or even glass, the possibilities are indeed endless!
Selecting The Wood Stair Cladding You Desire
Just as spectacular hardwood flooring can be created in any wood type or finish desired, so too can cladding for a powerful staircase reinvention! You may envision dark, majestic woodwork for your dream staircase. You might imagine a weathered antique-look finish, featuring twisting and intricate grain patterns, paired with an industrial-style steel handrail. Alternatively, you may picture a sleek and angular pale wood finish, that adds a sharp and bright cleanliness to your home. Whatever your tastes may tilt towards, this type of staircase renovation allows you to introduce a new flavour of design, without the need for structural changes. Your transformed staircase will provide a visual connection between spaces – not only a physical one – and a daring choice can create the impression of scale and visual prowess, even within a compact interior.
Getting To Know Your Wooden Stairs Lingo
What are wood stair treads and risers, anyway? When deciding how to remaster your staircase, it will certainly help to know the ins and outs of staircase terminology! It may assist to know that treads are the horizontal part of the step upon which you place your feet. The risers are the vertical front to each step. Meanwhile, when we discuss nosing, we're referring to the front edge of the stair tread. If your staircase has one or both sides exposed, the supporting side components of the steps are known as ringers. Now you've got the lingo straight, what else might you need to consider before your staircase make over?
The Power And Importance Of Lighting
Appropriate lighting on a staircase serves in dual capacity, ensuring safe passage, and highlighting what can ultimately become a spectacular aesthetic element! Low level lighting can introduce a night-time flavour of glamour and modernity. Pendant lighting, just as when introduced within a beautiful kitchen or dining area, can introduce a twist of luxury. When designing lighting for your elegant new wooden stairs, consider both day and night aesthetics. Keep in mind that pale woods will reflect lighting, while darker woods will absorb and soften the impression of illumination. On a practical note, don't forget to pause for thought when it comes to maintenance. A glorious light feature for which bulb changing is near-impossible will not contribute to the pleasant staircase experience you aspire to!
Make Your Staircase A Hero Within Your Home
Divine features, be they striking antiques, or sublime surfaces, always make a home feel like somewhere truly special to be. Opting to transform your staircase with wood stair treads and risers can provide a dramatic transformation, while also offering practicality and durability that can be enjoyed for many years yet to come. Such an endeavour will doubtlessly enhance the value of your home, or simply make it a place that feels deeply self indulgent! If you love the idea of reinventing your staircase with wood stair cladding, the Unique Bespoke Wood team are ready to advise. Contact our team today for guidance on pricing, wood stair cladding options, and ultimately – all of the possibilities that await!
Trendy concepts such as the Japanese art of shinrin-yoku, or “forest bathing”, have popularised the idea that being immersed in nature is good for our health. But, did you know that surrounding yourself with natural wood surfaces within the home or workspace can offer many of the same benefits? We don't often think about the materials that surround us. Glance about and ask yourself: are your surroundings populated with plastic, concrete, and metal, or natural materials such as wood? A 2017 study found that Brits spend an average of 92% of their time indoors – and that was before the arrival of pandemic related lock-downs! Fortunately, designers, architects, and consumers are becoming aware of the health, sustainability, and well-being related rewards that wood can offer. Here, we'll delve into the many advantages of introducing elements such as environmentally friendly wood flooring into our home and work environments!
Harnessing The Power Of Biophilia
Harvard naturalist Dr. Edward O. Wilson coined the term Biophilia, which describes our “innate tendency to focus on life and lifelike processes”. Over the course of his research, Wilson highlighted the way in which we, as humans, tend to feel an affinity for, and respond to, natural things. This makes wood within a home or office setting a biophillic material, meaning that it taps into a deep natural response. The result is a positive physiological, neural, and psychological cascade that leads to a greater sense of relaxation, a positive mood, reduced tension, lower blood pressure, and a boost in focus.
So powerful is the presence of wood that it can slow our heart rate, shrink our stress levels, and even allow us to be creative, and express ourselves more easily! That all makes eco friendly wood floors sound quite appealing, no? Those stress-busting superpowers were demonstrated once again in a study from the University of British Columbia, which tested wood's capacity to help us feel Zen. Researchers revealed that subjects exposed to wood saw a reduction in activity within their sympathetic nervous system – the system within our body responsible for our fight or flight response.
Improving The Quality Of The Air That We Breathe
Recent research hitting the headlines has increasingly highlighted the dangers of air pollution. You might be surprised to learn that wood is a powerful tool for countering this! Of course, we'd all like to imagine that the air we breathe at home and at work is not detrimental to our well-being. Unfortunately, within modern interiors, studies show that the air surrounding us can be as much as two to five times more polluted than the air we might breathe outdoors. This impact can be pinned on synthetic building materials – many of which release VOCs, or volatile organic compounds – and poor ventilation.
Acting as a guardian to the air we inhale, wood is in contrast a beneficial aid to air quality. Attractive eco friendly wood floors will help to regulate air indoors, by moderating humidity. One of wood's many talents is to absorb and release moisture, keeping the air we breathe pleasantly balanced. As it does so, wood unleashes its natural antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, enhancing air quality yet further. This makes environmentally friendly wood flooring the perfect choice for avoiding air quality-related illness, and giving our lungs all they need to be healthy and happy.
Relax – It's Good For The Environment Too
A range of studies, from Canada, Austria, and the U.S. all found the same thing – that we all tend to automatically relax when surrounded by natural materials. In addition, choosing sustainably sourced eco friendly wood floors for your home or workspace offers yet another reason to relax, as you can be confident that you are playing your part in supporting the environment. In fact, not only does sustainably sourced wood, such as that used here at Unique Bespoke Wood, offer a great alternative to man-made materials. It also serves as a long-term store of carbon, helping to combat climate change. This is especially so when installing our eco friendly engineered wood flooring, which is built very much to last – so much so that it comes with a 25 year guarantee!
Introduce Beautiful, Wellness Enhancing Wood Into Your Interior
The natural warmth and beauty of wood provides dignity and style within any interior. This conscious impression is complemented by a sub-conscious boost to our well-being, and a parallel boost for the health of us and our planet! Environmentally friendly wood flooring can provide wonderful longevity within the spaces in which we spend the most time. Simultaneously, it can help us slash our stress levels – which, when left unchecked, hold the title of being one of the biggest triggers of health problems in today's world.
Why not claim a little bit of Biophilia for your unique interior, and bring the benefits of outdoors, indoors? The team here at Unique Bespoke Wood are always on hand to guide you through our selection of eco friendly wood floors. Contact us today, and discover the perfect solution for your needs – helping you breathe more easily!
Many of us adore the romantic aesthetic of a spectacular antique wooden floor. Stepping onto such a surface brings a sense of solidity, history, and nobility in tow! It is worth noting, however, that while some such floors may appear to have been shaped and reinvented by the passage of time, they are in fact far more modern than perception indicates. You might wonder: how is this achieved? The answer is with the installation of weathered wood flooring!
Indeed, weathered parquet flooring can give the instant appearance of a floor that has been in place for generations. Equally, weathered engineered wood flooring can lend a beautiful and authentic appearance within a period home, while also discreetly concealing underfloor heating! So, what do we mean by weathered wood flooring? Here, we will get to know the concept, giving you the power to decide if it is the perfect flooring option for your dream interior.
What Do We Mean By Weathered Wood Flooring?
Within today's society, a vintage or antique look is often cherished – whether to be found within our wardrobes, or within our homes! When envisioning the perfect floor for your newly realised interior, you may hope to find the perfect reclaimed wood flooring. Such floors can offer a fabulous impact. However, options for reclaimed wood can be curtailed by availability, and the exact form you desire might be difficult to acquire.
As the ideal alternative, the term weathered wood comprises that which has been treated in one way or another to create an aged aesthetic. Such flooring may appear rough and rugged, or may simply hold the mature hues and depth of grain that are normally only seen in wood with a winding life story. By opting for a flooring solution such as weathered engineered wood flooring, for your home, office, or commercial space, you can deliver instant maturity and character, while creating the exact ambience held within your mind's eye.
How Is The Look Of Weathered Wood Flooring Achieved?
The drive to manifest a weathered finish on wood has inspired a wonderful array of creative applications. A divine weathered wood floor may have been hand scraped, to create a unique texture, and a finish that harks back to the days before power tools! A more recent vintage appeal can be created with a band saw, which results in a characterful striping – perfect for adding personality and interest to a space.
Diligent woodworkers may use wire brushes to alter the appearance of your weathered parquet flooring. This particular technique will gently lift the softer wood between the grain, making your floor's natural lines and textures appear more prominent. Wood may also be aged or distressed, using techniques such as tumbling. It may be smoked, to alter the woods colouration, or treated with a variety of natural waxes and pigments that will lend that aged appeal – a pale wash, for example, is immensely popular in this instance.
Where Can Weathered Wood Flooring Be Used?
Contemporary interior design liberates us to play with combining aesthetics from all sorts of different styles and eras. We might immediately imagine installing weathered engineered wood flooring within a period home renovation, but the appearance of weathered wood can contribute greatly to ultra-modern interiors too. When combined with clean lines and man-made materials, weathered wood can soften a space – creating greater allure for its inhabitants. In fact, any interior that serves as a blank canvas can be elevated to striking levels with such an introduction!
Because weathered engineered wood flooring – including weathered parquet flooring – can be laid both directly over a solid surface, or as a suspended floor, it allows maximum flexibility. Spaces that you may have imagined were off limits for the installation of a characterful hardwood floor become new realms of possibility! Whether you wish to add another authentic looking element to a beautiful historic property, or to introduce bountiful interest set against modern design, weathered wood flooring offers the perfect opportunity.
Making the perfect choice of flooring within a contemporary office space may at first seem unimportant – after all, the room's inhabitants are absorbed in doing what they do best, rather than taking in the décor! However, selecting the perfect flooring material can have a far greater impact than one might imagine. From the psychological impact on workers to the impression given to clients, our chosen flooring can offer a surprising array of knock-on effects. Wooden flooring, in particular, demonstrates an impressive roster of rewards, and engineered wood flooring allows a speedy and convenient transformation for an interior workspace that will perform for many years to come. Here, we will explore how, for example, spectacular engineered wood chevron parquet flooring holds the key to unlocking the potential of your office and its inhabitants. Read on to discover more!
The Durability Of Engineered Wood Flooring
An engineered wood floor of exemplary quality offers the perfect balance between high aesthetic and durability. Hardwoods such as European oak, ash, or walnut, boast exceptional strength and hardness, providing a floor that can not only stand up to heavy foot fall, but remain beautiful throughout! Meanwhile, the construction of Unique Bespoke Wood's engineered wood flooring provides a surface that is able to withstand heat, humidity, and dryness far better than a solid wood floor. Such adaptability can be a valuable resource within an office space that may not see consistent use – or indeed may see ceaseless use! To realise the perfect finish for your office floor, you can choose from a broad variety of finishes, adding the visual element you desire. In reflection of the quality provided, Unique Bespoke Wood offers a 25 year warranty on engineered wood flooring, making this an excellent investment within any workspace.
A Psychological Boost To Workers
The warmth of natural wood has a greater impact on those enjoying the space than many realise, and may even help to attract the highest calibre of talent to your business. Researchers in New Zealand found that the use of wooden surfaces within workspaces stimulates feelings of energy, comfort, and innovation – both for those working in the space, and those considering a prospective employer. Meanwhile, studies conducted in Japan indicate that the elegant lines and hues of natural wood can help to reduce stress, and decrease blood pressure for those in proximity, while enhancing our inclination to interact and collaborate.
Enhancing Your Workspace With Engineered Wood Flooring
Alongside psychological boosts associated with wood, practical advantages can be realised too. Wood is an excellent sound absorber, helping to improve the ambience of work environments for greater focus. It also boasts higher insulation properties than steel or plastic, increasing energy efficiency for your professional premises. Uniquely among potential flooring materials, wood also improves air quality, thanks to its ability to absorb and release moisture. In this way, wood maintains a harmonious equilibrium within the air we breathe. In contrast, aluminium, steel, concrete and plastics release volatile organic compounds and carbon dioxide into the air, decreasing air quality. For a fresh breath of air, engineered wood flooring is certainly an optimal choice!
Creating The Perfect Impression For Clients
As is our nature as human beings, valuable contractors and prospective clients quickly form first impressions of each business they encounter. As you can no doubt imagine, the sophisticated air of engineered wood herringbone parquet flooring will likely contribute far more to professional relationships than a tired carpet or linoleum floor! The appearance of hardwood lends an aspirational element to any office space that is impossible to imitate. Simultaneously, engineered wood flooring offers exceptionally low maintenance demands, making it easy to keep your workspace looking its best. Thanks to the tongue and groove construction of engineered wood flooring, it does not invite dust or dirt, but can rather be kept immaculate with a quick sweep or mop when the need arises.
Fitting Engineered Wood Flooring In Your Office
Because of its structure, engineered wood flooring is perfectly suited to a wide range of interior spaces. While solid hardwood flooring demands joists, engineered wood flooring can be laid directly over a concrete subfloor, calling for minimal renovation requirements, or even suspended over an underfloor heating system should your vision demand it! Not only can you choose from a spectrum of wood finishes, but you can also select from a diversity of floor styles. Engineered wood chevron parquet flooring, and engineered wood herringbone parquet flooring are immensely popular – tapping into contemporary trends alongside timeless appeal, thanks to their illustrious nature.
Engineered floor construction permits any board width, or indeed length that you might envision. This means that you can create the unique aesthetic that you desire most, or select for speedy and efficient installation. What's more, given the substantial lifespan of engineered wood flooring, you can enjoy the potential to re-invent in the future, as Unique Bespoke Wood's engineered floors can be sanded and re-finished several times. For your convenience, our team is always on hand to guide you in selecting the perfect engineered wood flooring for your office, as per your requirements. Why not contact our team today, to discuss your options? From style advice to guidance on budgets, we are ready to assist!
When venturing within the sweeping terraces and meandering wynds of Edinburgh, it is impossible to avoid a sense of excitement for the city's architectural wonder. The cityscape is a feast for the eyes, from its historic tenements to the imposing Edinburgh Castle, overseeing the city from a lofty volcanic rock perch. Spectacular stonework is accentuated thanks to the city's dramatically undulating landscape. Remnants of Edinburgh's timeline can be found all around you, from Medieval gems in Old Town to the exquisite example of Georgian city planning in New Town, juxtaposed with ultra-modern statements such as the both celebrated and controversial Scottish Parliament Building.
For architects and interior designers set the challenge of contributing to this extraordinary city, inspiration is everywhere. But, when adding to the aesthetic created by the city's cobbled streets, regal green areas, tucked away courtyards, and bold gestures of grandeur, which home design elements will best honour the city? In truth, it is Edinburgh's inclination for innovation that has allowed it to develop such visual richness. After all, the city's 16th century tenements were considered the world's first high rise buildings! With that in mind, our good fortune in being able to venture in to some of Edinburgh's most beautiful homes has illuminated several common master strokes. With these elements captured, the aesthetic you build upon them can be as historically true or experimentally playful as you wish – the city will certainly allow it!
A Mastery Of Letting In The Light
Within a city not renowned for the finest of weather conditions, inviting natural light to stream into homes is something that Edinburgh interiors boast impressively. From the beautifully crafted sash and case windows to be found in Edinburgh's Georgian homes, to the expansive large-pained bay windows of the city's iconic Victorian tenement houses, natural illumination is a striking feature, often accentuated by high ceilings, and the architectural use of arches. This tradition may be attributed to the unusual way that social classes used to share the same urban spaces within the city.
Before the construction of New Town in the latter half of the 18th century, it was frequently floor, rather than neighbourhood, that denoted class. Tradespeople tended to occupy the basements and lower floors of Edinburgh properties, while wealthier classes enjoyed the light that bathed the higher stories above. Whether renovating a historic Edinburgh home, or designing a modern construction from the ground up, doing justice to the light is a fitting tribute to the city's light embracing aesthetic.
Edinburgh's Spectacular Hard Wood Floors
Of course, within the revered homes of Edinburgh's Old and New Towns, the finest examples of hardwood flooring await discovery and enjoyment. When absorbing such interiors, it is easy to understand why UNESCO listed both areas as world heritage sites in 1995. In fact, there are almost 5,000 listed buildings within the city, which is a higher proportion than can be found within any other city in the UK. The wood flooring Edinburgh showcases includes sweeping plank floors, polished by years of use, and delicate parquetry – the perfect complement to refined Georgian interiors. We cannot imagine a better accompaniment to the pink sandstone turrets of baronial style Marchmont tenements than the richly hued and warming visuals of the wood flooring Scotland loves so dearly. Whatever the design era of your own project, hardwood flooring adds an element of finesse that meets Edinburgh's majesty with style.
The Art Of Homely Detail
Unsurprisingly, Edinburgh's cultural history is just as decorated as its architectural history. Indeed, in the second half of the 18th century, the city was considered the heart of the Scottish Enlightenment, during which time it earned the nickname Athens Of The North. Inspired by pioneering resident thinkers of the time, such as economist Adam Smith, physicist Joseph Black, and philosopher David Hume, there is a calling to be adventurous when it comes to interiors. The city's infamous book trade lends perfectly to justification of decadent floor to ceiling book shelves – especially for the household of history buffs or philosophical explorers. The city's elegant exteriors are often met with interior intricacies, such as opulent moulding, and fine furnishing to complement those stunning hardwood floors.
Energy In Edinburgh's Bold Interiors
Perhaps again in response to the often lacklustre weather outdoors – and no doubt the city's charged spirit too – bold colour choices are often embraced within Edinburgh's walls. Whether within a glorious gilt-laden interior in New Town, or a rebellious 1960s Basil Spence architectural treasure, there is no need to shy away from bold visual styling in this city. A fearlessness of expression may be equally attributed to the way that the city has not shied away from incorporating striking modern design, creating an entirely unique and spectacularly diverse cityscape, that is quite like any other. Of course, strong hues are no more obligatory than a dram of whisky when calling Edinburgh home, but the option to indulge is always available!
Here at Unique Bespoke Wood, realising your interior design vision is where our passion lies. As a proud Edinburgh wood flooring company, we take great pleasure in honouring the exquisite aesthetic of the city that hums around us – as well as our part to play in its future evolution! If you would like to explore hardwood flooring options for your interior, from the highest calibre of engineered wood flooring solutions, to history-revering and luxurious hand finished parquetry, our team are always ready to advise. Contact us today for more information.
Here at Unique Bespoke Wood, we often get enquiries about our light oak engineered wood flooring, and our dark oak engineered wood flooring. For many customers, the choice between a light wood floor and a dark wood floor can be an incredibly tricky one. When both are so exquisitely beautiful, how can one decide? If you are in the grips of this exact dilemma, we are here to illuminate the best choice for your home or commercial setting. We've compiled all the factors that are useful when weighing which aesthetic to go with. Read on to discover the impacts that light or dark wood flooring will have, and which will best compliment your space!
Let There Be Light
The way light enters and interacts within a room is always immensely powerful in dictating how that space will feel. Because a floor is such a large surface, it's important to take into account how it will impact the light interaction. If you were to install light oak engineered wood flooring, that paler surface would serve to reflect light, making the whole space feel much brighter and airier. In contrast, dark oak engineered wood flooring will not have the same illuminating effect. In some settings, the expanse of a darker floor can add cosiness and character.
To assess which is the case, begin by considering how much natural light the space has available. A room with little light will be opened up beautifully by a pale wood floor, while a space with abundant natural light will allow the intricate grain of a darker wood to shine at its best! You may wish to create a bright and calm aesthetic, in which case light wood may be the perfect selection. In contrast, you may desire a tactile and inviting space with bold colours, and zones created with pendulum lights or statement lamps. In this case, dark wood could help you bring your vision to life! Of course, these are only examples, but when considering whether your beautiful oak flooring will bounce light, or absorb it, you can begin to form a mental image of potential.
A Sense Of Scale
Just as light oak wood flooring allows a space to feel lighter, it also creates the illusion that a space is larger. This makes a fairer hue of wood better suited to small rooms, such as hallways, corridors, or smaller bedrooms. Of course, you may wish to harness this space-expanding effect in a large interior setting as well! In contrast, dark oak wood flooring may make a small space feel smaller yet. However, within large open plan interiors, a darker floor can unite the space, making it feel more intimate despite it's dimensions. In this sense, colour play at floor level can have a surprising impact on whether a smaller room still feels luxuriously spacious, or a larger room no longer feels like somewhere to rattle around!
A Question Of Style
It is important to consider the design aesthetic that is destined to be built upon your floor of choice. Are you dreaming of a sleek minimalist aesthetic, a taste of decadence, or a cosy Scandi style? Ultra modern vibes may be set off ideally by light oak engineered wood flooring, while an ornate interior with gilt touches may appear yet more decadent over a dark oak engineered wood flooring backdrop.
If you are not creating a space from scratch, but instead already have furnishings and decorative elements to work with, your new composition is vital to consider. For example, if you treasure a collection of dark wood furnishings, you may find that they get a little lost – and create an excessive sense of busyness – when upon a dark wood floor. If your furnishings are lighter in colour, or follow a particular colour scheme, the vibrant contrast that can be created with dark wood flooring might deliver your dream aesthetic! By envisioning the room as a whole, it becomes easier to identify the ideal flooring option.
All About The Grain
Finally, it is worth considering that, in the case of dark oak engineered wood flooring, the grain of the wood will be more visible, and will contribute greater detail for eyes that behold it! Many dream of oak flooring because of the beautiful patterning that this hardwood boasts. Whether light or dark, those inhabiting a space will always be able to enjoy the natural beauty of the wood underfoot. However, in the case of light oak engineered wood flooring, you can anticipate a more subtle addition to the room. Opt for a shade of oak that will complement the other intricacies that it will accompany, and you will be certain to arrive at an aesthetic you adore.
We hope that this guide to light or dark wood choices has indeed shed light on your options, however our team is always happy to offer further guidance. If you would like to learn more about the potential of oak engineered wood flooring for your unique interior, contact us today!
From the Versailles parquet panels synonymous with the palace of the very same name, to the chevron pattern parquet wood flooring to be found within many a modern interior, parquetry boasts an association with elegance and style that is hard to beat. When entering a room with a parquet floor, the impact is instant – and as impressive today as it ever has been. One might wonder, how did the practice of parquetry come about? Here, we will delve into the origins of this spectacular form of flooring, and uncover why it remains so immensely popular as a choice for interiors today.
A Cutting Edge Development Within 16th Century France
Prior to the arrival of Versailles parquet panels, the mansions and châteaus of France – and indeed much of the rest of the world – were floored with quarry cut marble or stone. Installed over wooden joists, such costly floors were an eternal maintenance challenge, as their weight and the need for wet washing would take its toll upon the timber frames beneath. However, innovation was to lead to a brand new fashion for flooring in 16thCentury France. A new form of mosaic-style wooden flooring was about to take the country by storm – and then Europe, and the world.
Initially, wooden blocks were glued to concrete floors, however a more sophisticated technique was on the horizon. The new practice of parquet de menuiserie (woodwork parquet) saw blocks composed into panels, held together by a cutting-edge tongue and groove design. Such a method allowed the creation of marvellously intricate floors, featuring decorative pattern, and even colour variation thanks to the availability of diverse and stunning hardwoods. As such, the art of parquetry was born. This new form of flooring was opulent in appearance, hard wearing, and far easier to maintain than its stonework counterpart. Its name was derived from the Old French parchet, meaning a small enclosed space, and it was to become a prominent feature of French interiors over the next century.
Of course, it was the palace of Versailles that was to elevate this style of flooring to international notoriety. A revolution in French interior design was about to begin, and it was to create an allure that would make the nation's aesthetic one of universal aspiration.
Captivation Within The Palace Of Versailles
King Louis XIV oversaw construction of the Palace of Versailles in 1682, on a site that had once been inhabited by a modest hunting lodge. This new construction was to exhibit a scale of decadence never seen before – and hardly challenged since. From endless gilt work to solid silver furnishings, everywhere the eye could be cast was populated with the greatest fineries. Beneath these many monuments to wealth was the consistent visual element of parquetry – the spectacular shine and intricate grain of the finest woodwork.
Almost every room of the palace was laid with Versailles parquet panels. This particular form of parquet can be immediately recognised by its distinct square pattern, set on a diagonal to the space it inhabits. From its introduction within the great palace to its place within modern interior design, the Versailles floor motif has remained tied by name to this fascinating moment in French history.
One room of the palace, however, deviated in design, featuring a different form of parquetry all together – the Queen's Guard room. Within this lavish chamber, chevron pattern parquet wood flooring was chosen. This single room marked the beginning of an interior aesthetic that enjoys particular demand today, more than 300 years after its first inception. Chevron parquet flooring, beside herringbone parquet, can be noted as parquetry form of choice for the current Millennium. Returning to the Palace of Versailles, upon its completion, King Louis XIV moved the entire French Court to this new home of grandeur, where it would remain until the French Revolution began in 1789.
The Arrival Of French Parquet In England
French design was to travel to England with Queen Henrietta Marie of France, when she married Charles I of England, and began a new life in London. Somerset House, then known as Denmark House, was to become the new Queen's home, and it was quickly decked out in the latest French fashion. The lavish Tudor house was entirely remodelled and refurnished, under the watchful eye of celebrated English architect Inigo Jones. Alongside his propensity to employ Vitruvian rules of proportion and symmetry in his buildings, Jones was an aficionado of French parquetry, and incorporated it as an elegant reminder of the Queen's noble heritage.
A Flooring Trend Set To Repeat Throughout The Ages
From this moment, Versailles parquet panels, chevron pattern parquet wood flooring, and a variety of other parquetry patterns were to become a firm fixture within luxurious interior design globally. Casting back to France, parquetry was to feature first as a mark of wealth, and then, thanks to Baron Haussmann's push to re-invigorate Parisian style in the 19th century, simply an iconic feature of French homes universally. This trend was mirrored around the world, as a popular, practical and beautiful method of flooring, and remained so until the 1930s when modern synthetic carpets became the fashion. At this moment, tragically, many fine examples of parquetry were lost, although some were merely covered.
Moving into the 21st century, the glorious aesthetic of French parquet has seen a dizzying revival, with many a floor rediscovered. Versailles parquet panels remain classically fashionable, however it is chevron pattern parquet wood flooring that captivates the interest of designers and property owners today – appearing within modern homes, offices, retail spaces, bars, and restaurants. Perhaps it is the incredible versatility of this French style of flooring that draws such attraction. While some favour traditionally styled parquetry, others opt for rebellious or minimalist wood finishes, and a variety of wood block sizes, set in a diversity of angles.
Parquetry remains as impactive in terms of wow-factor as it ever has, while also serving as a highly functional, practical, and easy to maintain floor for any functional space. Better yet, thanks to contemporary innovations in floor engineering, parquetry can withstand a diversity of climates, and even be laid over underfloor heating. Today, the aesthetic of French parquet can grace any interior, for affordable and enjoyable style that will never go out of fashion. If you would like to explore the potential of exquisite parquetry for your own design project, contact Unique Bespoke Wood today, for expert guidance towards the French parquet floor you envision.
The industrial interior design aesthetic simply goes from strength to strength. Once only treasured within open plan city loft apartments, today we see versions of this highly versatile look claimed beautifully in urban and rural, and commercial and home settings. The trend is easy to understand, as we examine a style that speaks to simplicity, boldness, comfort, and minimalism, all at once. The rules of industrial interior design are fairly fast and low, as long as we stick to the golden rules of raw materials and juxtaposed composition. To help you begin on your quest towards the perfect industrial interior, read on for 8 style-defining tips!
1. A Composition Of Materials
Channelling industrial warehouses, factory buildings, and the manufacturing processes of bygone eras, we tend to associate industrial interior design with a few keystone material elements. Although not always required as a complete set, the basis of the industrial aesthetic can be found in a combination of exposed brick or mortar, metal, wood, and concrete. We expect to see such textures presented as a patch work, with perhaps oversized chevron or herringbone parquet flooring paired with stripped back brick walls, and metal girders or railings. The look often incorporates feature walls, with perhaps one in immaculate white, and another left as bare brick, or of stripped and polished render. With the foundational materials selected, we can begin to build the human elements upon them in a playful fashion!
2. A Palette To Build Upon
Just as certain materials are foundational, so too is the colour palette. An industrial interior design core can be created with grey scale and neutrals – black, browns, greys, tans, whites and everything in between. From there, it is at the discretion of the designer to add a fun and energizing feature colour, through conceivably yellow seating, red kitchen cabinets, or a decadent blue rug. Feature hues will greatly influence the energy of an industrial design space. Warm shades will create a vibrant and fun vibe, while cool shades can create a sense of calm and relaxation.
3. Combining The Warm And The Cool
Just as colours influence mood, materials play their part in impacting the way we feel. Excellent industrial interior design strikes a balance between the softening and the hardening. Powerful metallic lines are countered with warm and tactile wood. Rough concrete is met harmoniously by comfortable seating. That oversized parquet flooring we mentioned softens the rigidity of industrial surfaces, while the latter serves to further expand and elongate the space.
4. Create Comfort Zones
Indeed, it might be easy to imagine that an industrial interior cannot be homely, or even cosy, but for most harnessing this style, comfort is key. Industrial interior designers tend to grasp the possibilities of practicality that the look affords so well, and this usually means bountiful lounge areas! Where we are so lucky to have such a space to play with, industrial interiors tend to be favoured within large spaces that can accommodate open-plan living. The element of comfort is added by creating comfort zones. For example, a seating area may include a plush and inviting rug, and a grouping of inviting sofas, centred within their allocated area – with fabulous downlighting overhead. If renovating an industrial interior to your own taste, or that of your design client, wide plank engineered wood flooring could perfectly create the look while adding the opportunity for underfloor heating!
6. Play With Placement
With open plan spaces, every designer can take their moment as an artist, creating eye catching vistas in all sorts of different areas! That seating area can be considered a stand alone composition and styled as such. A dining area can be utterly unique within an otherwise spacious and raw interior. Paintings can be lent casually, directly on that wide plank engineered wood flooring, rather than hung on the wall. Art pieces, or even architectural plants, can be allocated their own free-standing space, for the simple viewing pleasure of the interior's inhabitants!
7. Let The Light In
A most prized feature of industrial interiors is certainly expansive factory style windows. Bathing the space with light is fantastic when it's possible, but if not, such a look can be re-created. In terms of lighting, low hanging lights are favoured within industrial interiors – usually highlighting each used living space. Beautiful antique brass downlights may hang above the dining table or the kitchen worktop, or an ultra-modern chandelier above the seating area. If you lack the luxury of floor-to-ceiling windows, those signature hanging lights can be complemented with recessed spot lights. In this way, the whole space can be illuminated, while still creating those inviting pockets of warmth.
8. Steer The Aesthetic With Masculine Or Feminine Elements
While the industrial design look is often considered strictly masculine, it can be hugely adaptable with the right accessorization. For a classic industrial bachelor pad, reclaimed mechanical parts transformed into wall art, or incorporated into bespoke furniture, can work wonders. For a softer touch on the industrial look, more delicate choices of fabric or artwork can take the style in a quite different direction. When choosing what makes the final touches – from wall art, to plants, or floor to ceiling bookshelves – we can steer the industrial aesthetic to reflect any energy we desire.
Bonus Industrial Design Elements
For those able to make structural decisions about their industrial design space, mezzanines add an immediate flair to the look. Whether they are used to create a raised sleeping area, a home office, or perhaps a reading nook or home cinema space underneath, this industrial indulgence is fun to explore! This year's industrial interiors are also sporting a spectacular range of modern feature fireplaces. Artistic free-standing wood fires are highly sought after, with the creme-de-la-creme unquestionably being placing such a fire right in the middle of a space, with the chimney rising up through the room. Of course, underfloor heating allows such spaces to enjoy warmth without any unwelcome impact on their stylish interior composition. If you would like to explore oversized parquet flooring, or wide plank engineered wood flooring – either to incorporate underfloor heating, or simply to instantly transform a space – ready for your industrial composition, don't hesitate to contact our team!
Well, it's safe to say that the new decade got off to a bumpy start; not only for the interior design industry, but for us all. While the Covid-19 pandemic may have sent 2020 in directions that we did not anticipate, causing untold disruption, the present challenge has also become the birth-place of innovative new approaches to design, and a re-assessment of our deeper principles. Just as American Vogue editor Anna Wintour has called for the fashion industry to reflect on our truest human values – and use the current crisis as an opportunity to re-emerge as something more grounded and earth-friendly – those within the interior design industry are finding inspiration in the self-awareness that comes with spending so much more time in the home. Here, we will explore some of the interior design trends that are rising through such uncertainty, from wide plank wood flooring, to spaces created for connection, in which there is certainly room for great optimism!
Creating More Sociable Spaces
As unexpected circumstances have seen us all spend more time with family than schedules normally allow, while leading us to appreciate those we cannot be with all the more, a trend for spaces to enjoy together is taking flight. Imagine soft and substantial seating areas, visually stirring bar carts, and cocktail hour seating in the garden. We love the idea of homes not created with only style in mind, but with wonderful experiences that they can accommodate placed front and centre. It speaks to a more connected and human shared experience in our future, in which we hold onto the value of time well shared.
The Cleverly Concealed
2020 has certainly brought an up-kick in marvellously designed storage, to be seen most spectacularly in the rise of concealed kitchens. Spaces with high-volume storage become a highly aesthetic and minimalist composition, in which all of our hoarded knick-knacks are delightfully veiled. Such clean visuals offer the perfect opportunity to make those which were traditionally supporting features the new focus. Combining concealing carpentry with stunning high-design parquet flooring offers unbeatable wow-factor while providing a hugely practical space that will always require only the closing of a few doors to return it to it's ultra-stylish fresh form.
Rebellious inversion of the spotlight is something that we will be seeing all over the place as the year continues, and what more playful form could this arrive in than the trend for statement ceilings? It would seem that our changes in lifestyle have helped us shed some of the ways in which we were most stuck, and look at things through a new lens! As the decade finds it's footing, expect to see statement ceilings with bold colour choices and embellished trim, balanced by expansive flooring choices. A feast for the eyes above can be incorporated into a dream space with the application of wide plank wood flooring – a flooring trend that is dilating in scale, just as it dilates the appearance of the spaces it inhabits! Why not entirely reinvent your interior with lifting hardwood, in the form of wide plank wood flooring, or the other of-the moment look – ash wood flooring – and embrace the revivifying trend of a complex statement over head?
Combining The Traditional With The Modern
A release of rules and regulations is certainly providing enticement, as 2020's interior designers play with eclectic miss-matching, with an exploratory and expressive vibe flourishing in all directions. Cutting edge modern pieces sit upon traditional design parquet floor, or weighty antiques upon sleek ash wood flooring. Decreed aesthetics such as Scandi, oriental, or 70s retro can now be mixed and matched, just so long as the result is indeed a finely composed cocktail. This abandonment of decree provides interior designers with the chance to really demonstrate their mettle, as intricate layers of aesthetics are build to create fabulous interiors that are loaded with interest.
Favouring The Responsible And Sustainable
It's hardly surprising that witnessing nature blossom in the absence of so much human activity has further inspired nature-led trends. As skies and rivers grow clearer, industry designers and consumers alike are yearning to capture and support our recuperating environment. For 2020, this arrives in the form of a surge in organic shapes, and an emphasis on sustainability as increasing awareness leads home-owners and businesses to explore the ethical element of their buying choices. Envision natural materials, with classic design parquet flooring of sustainable or reclaimed wood, hardwood grains, natural fibres, and sweeping lines inspired by the vibrantly living. This trend brings an emphasis on quality, craftsmanship, and creators acting with integrity, which are sentiments that the team at Unique Bespoke Wood could not feel more passionately about!
Dialling Up The Saturation
While previous years have seen white-as-white kitchens, pastel and pallid hues, and an enduring affection for grey, it would seem that we are all craving a slightly richer palette. Kitchens – aside from those which are cleverly concealed – are instead veering towards two-tone aesthetics with warm wood highlights. The impressive calibre of today's engineered hardwood flooring means that welcoming wood aesthetics can now be embraced in the kitchen with total confidence. What better look could be chosen, as our awareness is heightened that this room truly is the heart of the home? Grey as the “it” colour has been replaced with Pantone's 2020 selection of Classic Blue – once again breathing a little more life into our inner sanctums. The rest of our colour schemes see saturation raised, bringing an increased sense of abundance, and launching spaces that demand to be fully inhabited. We can't wait to assist those who are claiming their interiors for greater enjoyment. If you wish to explore wide plank wood flooring, ash wood flooring, or any design parquet flooring, contact our team for expert guidance!
The use of long and wide plank wood flooring is absolutely on trend at the moment, and it's easy to understand why! This striking wood flooring choice lends it's superpowers to any room – simultaneously creating an expansive impression, while offering the warmth and interest that only natural wood can provide. If you are exploring how to enhance your home, office, or commercial interior, with the beauty of hardwood under-foot, long and wide plank wood flooring could be the perfect choice. Thanks to the latest innovative developments in wood floor engineering, this spectacular aesthetic has never been more accessible!
The Impact Of Long And Wide Plank Wood Flooring On Your Interior
Why choose a long and wide plank in the first place? While intricate parquetry or a patchwork of compact planks each offer their own unique aesthetic, long and wide plank wood flooring holds an entirely different quality. Because such a floor features fewer joints, it can make a space feel much larger. Meanwhile, the long sweeping lines of such a floor add further to this illusion, giving a sense of grandeur and calm.
In fact, the use of long and wide planks provide something quite special within both large and small spaces. Within a large open-plan interior such as a modern apartment, or perhaps a beautifully restored office building, such a floor will offer elegant proportion. In these instances, a serene solidity and dignity can be visually achieved. In contrast, within a smaller space such as a corridor or drawing room, a broad and lingering choice of cut can elongate and widen most impressively!
A Gift For Those Who Love The Exquisite Beauty Of Natural Wood
Of course, the larger the surface of each plank, the greater our opportunity becomes to observe and enjoy the wood's resplendent grain and features. From soft undulations, to twists and burls – depending on your hardwood of choice – each organic configuration can be viewed in it's entirety. Every piece of wood provides it's own character and composition. Long and wide plank wood flooring serves us an unfettered view of nature's artistry!
In this sense, engineered wood techniques open up new avenues of potential. Undeniably, long and wide planks are, by nature, harder to come by. Their necessity is the sourcing of more mature trees from which such planks can be cut. In the days when solid wood flooring was the only high-calibre option, such an installation would have come with a substantial price-tag. Today, however, advancements in engineering make far-reaching wooden surfaces and the pleasure they provide truly attainable!
The Versatility And Possibility Unlocked By Wide Plank Engineered Flooring
The quality of modern wide plank engineered flooring allows it to boast a greater array of potential applications than it's solid counterpart. Today's engineered floor provides astounding stability against temperature and moisture fluctuations. Layers of hardwood are built upon one another in alternating alignment, allowing the grain – the wood's strength – to be harnessed both in length and span. This makes it an ideal choice for kitchens, bathrooms, subterranean floors, and opulent conservatories. Such resilience also facilitates the stunning combination of long and wide plank wood flooring with decadent underfloor heating. Undeniably, a feature that will transform the experience of any space!
The choice of wide plank engineered flooring, most fundamentally, means that this dilating aesthetic can be created with far lower demand for large cuts of hardwood. Finer slices of surface wood allow large cuts of wood to go much further. This makes it favourable in terms of cost and sustainability – an important moral factor for many these days, including our team! When cutting-edge techniques are applied, long and wide plank engineered flooring provides the longevity and luxury of hardwood, in a versatile and ecological form.
Choosing How To Harness This Aesthetic Within Your Own Space
Long and wide plank wood flooring can be applied with barely-there seams, or a bevel that highlights the running lines of the floor's structure. The choice of plank direction within a space will certainly have a powerful impact of the final result, which is why we are happy to provide guidance. Our team's extensive expertise mean that we can help you identify the ideal approach to creating the hardwood floor you dream of!
Our long and wide plank engineered flooring can be provided with widths up to 360mm, lengths up to 5m, and a vast array of finishes. This may mean that your indoor space can be entirely spanned by single planks. Alternatively, we can advise on how to use the joints of your floor to bring out the best in your interior. To explore this stunning aesthetic for yourself, contact us here at Unique Bespoke Wood. Let's get started on the transformation you desire!
Ash is without question one of the most versatile woods available in the world of harwood flooring, with many styles – from ash parquet flooring, to ash wide plank wood flooring – enjoying robust popularity. The ash that we to enjoy within our homes and workspaces tends to come from only two species, although ash is part of the Fraxinus genus, which encompasses around 60 different species, including the olive and lilac families. When we talk about ash as a workable material, we are generally referring to either European Ash, or American Ash. But, what is the difference between the two, and which will deliver the perfect vision for your stunning interior? Here, we will trace the distinctions between these two species of wood, allowing you to make the ideal choice for your approaching renovation project.
Where Can European And American Ash Be Found?
While the Fraxinus genus can be found growing throughout Europe, North America, north Africa and many parts of Asia, Fraxinus Americana and Fraxinus Excelsior are geographically more specific, and to create that stunning ash wide plank wood flooring, we should begin by tracking their roots! The first – known widely as American Ash – can be traced to the north and western regions of the United States. The second – commonly referred to as European Ash – is native across the span of Europe, from northern Spain to Russia, and southward into Turkey. Following the arrival of an invasive species of boring insect in the 1990s, American Ash has been classified as a threatened species, although it is still widely cultivated. In response, European ash cultivation has been adopted across many US states too.
The Romantic History Of European Ash
The humble European Ash tree played a central role in Norse mythology, which revered a vast and ancient ash tree known as Yggdrasil which served to connect the nine worlds within the cosmos. A dragon names Níðhöggr was believed to live in the tree. Moving forward, and pausing on the Scottish Isle of Bute at the turn of the 18th century, an old ash tree growing beside a church was known as the “Dreamin' Tree”, as those who ate it's leaves would dream of their future spouses and destinies. The place of the European Ash within such cultures is hardly surprising when we consider how much it was woven into the fabric of society, cultivated and coppiced for use as timber, fuel, and fine crafts. From the Norsemen's ships through to early aircraft, the versatility and durability of this wood has long been celebrated.
European Ash Characteristics
The timber of European Ash is attractive and highly workable, while boasting toughness and excellent resistance to wearing. It features a coarse open grain that appears similarly to that of oak, often leading to people mistaking the two. Upon a finished floor, the grain of ash usually appears largely straight, with few imperfections. European Ash can be finished in a huge variety of different ways, creating near limitless potential when using it to create ash parquet flooring or ash wide plank wood flooring. It is also ideal for application as either a hardwood floor, or in the production of engineered wood flooring.
The natural colouring of this species ranges from a creamy white to a light brown, with broad sapwood that often graduates almost indistinguishably into heart wood. At times, however, the heartwood of European Ash can feature far darker hues of olive-brown, which are often sold separately as “Olive Ash”. On occasion, this heartwood can also present fantastic burl patters which are highly coveted. This deciduous tree grows usually to a height of around 15m, with a trunk of up to 2m, although ancient specimens have exhibited far greater stature.
American Ash: A Close Cousin From Across The Atlantic
American Ash also historically served as a prime species for use in construction, woodworking, and as fuel. From baseball bats to electric guitars, the wood is certainly an engrained part of the culture – pun intended! Like it's European counterpart, American Ash wood is pale in appearance and relatively straight grained, although it does not tend to feature the patterned “Olive Ash” heartwood to such an extent. Both ash species also share shock-resistance, flexibility, and resistance to splitting, making them hugely sought after for flooring and wood working. While American Ash may be deemed threatened, it's continued widespread cultivation means that it can be sustainably sourced. The easy-to-coppice growth of these ash species makes them an excellent choice for the environmentally aware.
Ash As An Ideal Choice For Your Hardwood Or Engineered Floors
For spectacular ash wood flooring, both European and American Ash provide excellent options. Those seeking the consistent and versatile nature of ash wood will no doubt find delight in either species. Others hunting for the more unusual effects to be achieved with “Olive Ash” may find that European Ash will provide the aesthetic they desire. Thanks to their rapid growth, both offer a earth-friendly option when sustainably sourced, while the impressive array of working qualities make either ash suitable for solid or engineered ash woods floors. To learn more about the possibilities that can be achieved in collaboration with Unique Bespoke Wood, contact us today. We are always on hand to discuss your vision, and provide all that is required to achieve it!
You may well be aware of the science indicating that the outdoors are good for our health. Exposure to natural spaces has been shown to boost happiness and self-esteem, decrease stress, lower blood pressure, increase cognitive abilities, and improve heart health. What you might not know is that we can access many of the great benefits that nature has to offer not only by going outside, but by introducing natural surfaces into our homes and workplaces!
The use of wood, in particular, has been shown to provide impressive physiological and psychological benefits, akin to those on offer in the wilderness. Environmentally friendly wooden floors offer not only an ethical element, but also help to lower blood pressure, make for a happier heart, reduce anxiety, and create feelings of warmth and comfort. Responsibly sourced timber – such as that used by Unique Bespoke Wood – provides a plethora of benefits, both to those who enjoy it, and the environment at large. Here, we will examine some of what – for example – eco-friendly parquet flooring might offer your unique interior design project!
Part Of Our Cultural Heritage
Wood is one of the most historic and versatile materials ever used by humanity. The material has ancient roots within cultures all around the world. Evidence of wooden construction has been found everywhere, from Neolithic sites, to the pyramids of Egypt. Today, we see ancient sites of wood still standing, such as the 1700 year old Horyui temple in Japan, and Greensted Church in England, which is almost 1000 years old! Given this long history, perhaps it is no mystery that we are positively attuned to wood within our surrounding environments.
Knowing That We Are Supporting The Environment
The choice of sustainably sourced wood for your interior is certainly cause for a pat on the back! As a material, wood acts as a natural carbon sink, keeping carbon locked within it – rather than releasing it back into our atmosphere. The production of environmentally friendly wood floors and furnishings can be far less polluting than highly processed or synthetic alternatives, while providing a non-toxic presence within your home or workspace. The eco-friendly nature of wood within interiors can not only help you know that you've made good choices. It can also provide a positive message within your business or organisation. Fascinatingly, a study from New Zealand revealed that professionals feel far more drawn to work environments that feature wooden surfaces and furnishings, with participants stating that wood conveyed feelings of innovation, energy and comfort.
Benefits To Blood Pressure
The Japanese are experts on harnessing the health benefits of nature. The nation enjoys a widely embraced practice, called “Shinrin-yoku”, which broadly translates as “forest bathing”! They have also taken interest in the benefits of wood, with one study identifying that subjects exposed to wood panelling within an interior space exhibited a reduction in blood pressure, while other participants exposed to steel panelling suffered the opposite. Such physiological responses can be traced to the sympathetic nervous system. This is where our body prepares itself for stress, and when activated, blood pressure and heart rate rise, while immunity and recovery are compromised. Harnessing the power of eco-friendly parquet flooring might be just the trick to keep your sympathetic nervous system calm and contented!
Honing In On Heart Health
It would seem that any choice of wooden surface will do, as long as it's authentic. A study from Australia indicated that sleeping in a solid wooden bed, as opposed to an imitation wooden bed, was far better for heart health. Subjects were monitored for three weeks, and those in the real wooden bed exhibited an average reduction in heart rate of 3500 beats per day! Another study examining children within different classrooms found that those taught in wood-filled interiors also demonstrated lower heart rates, alongside lower indications of stress. In this sense, environmentally friendly wood floors offer fantastic benefits for the whole family!
Keeping Stress At Bay
Alongside helping children to feel less anxious, the elderly appear to benefit too. Study subjects within a Japanese care home were more likely to interact with each other, and express themselves positively, when surrounded by wood. Similar studies also found that hospital patients recovered more quickly with wood in their care environment. Knowing how negatively stress can impact us in today's busy modern world, introducing environmentally friendly wood floors into your interior offers transformative improvements to quality of life!
Improved Air Quality
Natural wooden surfaces such as eco-friendly parquet flooring improve air quality by moderating humidity. Wood serves to maintain an equilibrium in the space it inhabits by artfully absorbing and releasing moisture. This natural “breath” means that when the air is more humid, or very dry, your wood floors will help to keep your interiors more pleasant. Wood also boasts natural antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, further contributing to air quality. This can have a powerful impact on our everyday lives, as poor air quality can reduce productivity, and lead to ill health.
As specialists in hardwood flooring who are passionate about sustainability, we are always excited to share the many benefits of wood for our own well-being, and the health of our environment. If you would like to explore the health boosting potential of environmentally friendly wood floors or parquetry for your interior project, contact us to find out more!
The wood of the Walnut tree has long been prized for it''s extraordinary beauty. When selecting the perfect walnut wood flooring for your visionary renovation, it's useful to get to grips with the fundamental difference between the two types of walnut wood that you may wish to choose from. Both types of walnut are celebrated for their versatility and aesthetic value, and are in fact two distinct species within the Junglans genus. American black walnut, as it is most commonly known, possesses the botanical name Juglans Nigra, while European walnut is the common name for the species Juglans Regia. Fascinatingly, the etymology of the botanical name Junglans can be traced back to the Romans. The roots of this word are with the mythology of Roman god Jupiter, who was said to have dined on walnuts when he lived on earth. This is certainly a romantic association to bring into any interior!
Getting Acquainted With American Black Walnut
American Black Walnut is native to North America, and, aside for it's value in woodworking, has long been used medicinally, while featuring as a common plot motif in Native American creation myths. When it comes to woodworking, these substantial and impressive trees are prized for their height and width. This wood's impressive durability and stability makes it perfectly suited for hardwood flooring. Black American walnut wood flooring offers an attractive and practical option for those seeking solid hardwood or engineered walnut wooden floors.
Visually, the most treasured aspect of black American walnut wood flooring is certainly it's colour. American black walnut provides, as you might imagine, a dark and richly hued surface. Pigments within the heart wood range from chocolaty browns, to almost black. Hints of deep purple and burgundy are common. Highlights and sapwood feature creamy, and dark honey shades. The grain of black American walnut wood flooring is generally smooth and softly undulating. Interesting features such as incredible curls, knots, crotches, and burls do appear, and may be avoided or sought out, depending on the desired aesthetic!
Becoming Familiar With European Walnut
Junglians Regia, although now known commonly as European Walnut, was in fact a native species that spanned from Eastern Europe as far as Western China. It was the Romans who first brought this tree further into Europe, thanks to it's delicious nut. It is now naturalised in much of Europe and the UK, although it is worth noting that both American black walnut and European walnut have journeyed across the Atlantic to be grown in smaller numbers on the opposing continent! Not quite as long and straight growing as it's cousin of the Americas, European Walnut certainly boasts some interesting features in terms of grain patterns. What they do have in common is fantastic versatility and durability in woodworking. This makes walnut wood a highly desirable hardwood for carpentry, and of course spectacular walnut wood flooring!
In terms of appearance, European Walnut tends to be a little lighter and cooler in tone than American black walnut. Colours range from richer honey hues through to gentle greys and creams, with the very occasional red or orange flare. Thanks to the wood's distinctive palette and curvaceous graining, it is often described as smokey in appearance. Although the wood fundamentally has quite a straight grain, spectacular figuring is common thanks to the nature of it's characterful growth. Wild curls, beeswing, stump, crotch, and burl figuring are common, alongside the presence of intricate knots.
So, Which To Choose For Your Walnut Wooden Floors?
As you might imagine with this type of wood, the grain aesthetic for walnut wood flooring can vary greatly depending on factors such as the unique individuality of each tree, the growing location, and simply what you ask your hardwood flooring specialist to seek out on your behalf! Perhaps the most pressing consideration between these two woods is the colouring – with each offering it's own special beauty. Black American walnut wood flooring is hugely popular thanks to it's decadently deep shades. European Walnut, equally so, for it's paler, but no less distinctive colour palette. Both will provide astonishing potential in terms of patterning and interest. It is easy to understand why these hardwoods are coveted for flooring all over the world. If you dream of walnut wooden floors for your next project, contact the team at Unique Bespoke wood to explore the opulent options available to you!
Undeniably the most popular hardwood used in flooring, oak holds a special place in the hearts and homes of people all around the globe. Thanks to it's phenomenal longevity, oak wood flooring is an investment that is certain to offer value for many years – if not a lifetime! In this sense, identifying which type of oak will provide the perfect aesthetic for your herringbone floor requires some knowledge of the two oak species. Here, we will explore what properties make each type of oak beautiful in it's own distinct way.
Broadly speaking, oak timber has been prized for it's spectacular strength and durability throughout history. From it's use in Viking longships, to it's use to make barrels for whiskey and wine, it is certainly a prized material! Both European oak – Quercus Robur – and American Oak – Quercus Alba – are species known as “white oaks”. Both have played an invaluable role in construction, flooring, wood panelling, furniture making, and much more, from distant history through to contemporary design!
European oak is a temperate hardwood, native to much of Europe. It is in fact the exact same species as so-called English oak. In England, this type of oak was hugely popular in the era of wood panelling, and remains to this day in prestigious buildings such as the debating chamber of the House of Commons in London. American oak is also a temperate species, with it's origins traced to Eastern North America. This type of oak enjoys a rich heritage in barrel making, both for American wines and liquors such as Bourbon.
Diversity Of Colour
As white oaks, both species are light in colour. European oak features a more golden, honey-like tone. American oak tends to be paler, with a slightly pinker hue. For the purpose of herringbone parquetry, European oak herringbone wood flooring in it's natural form is likely to display a more even tone between boards. American oak herringbone wood flooring will, in all probability, feature greater diversity of colour between boards. Much of oak's longevity can be traced to the relatively high tannin levels within the wood, which acts as a natural pesticide. Tannins are what give the grain it's distinct and contrasting colour. Although the natural grains of oak are not strongly contrasting, their appearance can be enhanced by fuming or smoking the wood. This process draws the tannins to the surface, creating a naturally pigmented stronger contrast.
The greatest visual difference between these two types of wood can be found in the patten of the grain. American oak tends to feature a densely packed and straight grain, that is fairly subtle to observe. American oak herringbone wood flooring will provide sweeping lines throughout the floor pattern, with greater colour interest rooted in the underlying shades of the wood rather than the grain. In contrast, European oak can be expected to display wavy patterning, and a smattering of pips and burs. European oak herringbone wood flooring, while more consistent in overall tone, will provide much greater interest in terms of diverse grain patterning.
Other Distinct Properties
European oak is generally considered slightly more easy to pigment, providing a more even absorption and finish. However, for the purpose of creating a stunning hardwood floor, this factor simply calls for an in-depth understanding of how to work with each wood species, in order to create the spectacular effect desired. It can be worthwhile to note that European oak is slightly more resistant to movement. This may be a factor to weigh when considering a hardwood floor within a location prone to damp, or great temperature fluctuations. In this instance, asking a hardwood flooring expert, such as those here at Unique Bespoke Wood, for guidance on your unique setting will provide assurance that every element is taken into account.
The Perfect Choice For Your Herringbone Floor
Whether American oak herringbone wood flooring speaks most to your soul, or European oak herringbone wood flooring stands as your hearts desire, the decision between the two is largely a purely aesthetic choice. Our team of experts are always on hand to help you navigate the selection process for the oak wood flooringof your dreams. Contact Unique Bespoke Wood today to explore the possibilities for your upcoming oak wood flooring project!
Wood is a truly fascinating material – each surface reveals insights into the story of the tree from which it came. Every tree took a unique journey, and evidence remains in the grains and features that we can enjoy as we gaze upon the wood! Oak is one of the most popular hardwoods used to create wood flooring, and an excellent choice for examining these features, as we cultivate a greater understanding of the markings that we spot on spectacular hardwood floors.
For some, distinctive colour variations and markings such as checks, medullary rays, and knots, can be viewed as imperfections. For others, these irregularities are prized features that give the wood greater character and interest. An understanding of these markings can allow us to better appreciate the glorious detail of our oak wood flooring. Here, we will explore the definitions and stories behind these features. As to whether you choose a grade of wood with or without such markings for your own oak flooring project – that remains a choice that is entirely yours!
When felling a tree to create wood flooring, or indeed any wooden product, it is as if that tree trunk holds two entirely different kinds of wood. These are known as sapwood, and heartwood. Over time, as that tree grew, the outermost portion of the trunk was live and active – with sap and water flowing through it, allowing the tree to grow. As the tree grew taller, and the trunk thicker, new sapwood formed and old sapwood dried and darkened – creating the sturdy, structural heartwood of the tree.
The majority of hardwood flooring features mostly heartwood, although some makes use of the bold colour difference between the sapwood and the hardwood to stunning effect. The relative paleness of the sapwood can be brought out further using various wood treatment techniques. This allows floor makers to create striking and beautiful contrast oak flooring. Many different wood species feature high contrast sapwood and heartwood, of varying proportion. Contrasting panels within parquetry designs can also be brought to life using these two types of wood.
Knots are a common and entirely natural feature found in oak, and many other types of timber. During the lifespan of a tree, some young branches will be damaged, or die back. In these moments, the bases of the now-lost branch remain, as if scar tissue within the body of the tree. As the tree grows wider, the grain simply takes a path around the forming knot. This creates the beautiful sweeping shapes that can be seen on the surface of many types of oak wood flooring. Again, it is possible to create oak flooring without the appearance of knots, but this means carefully selecting choice pieces that do not contain this feature. Simply, whether or not such markings are preferred is a case of personal taste!
This rather romantic name does perfect justice to these beautiful and unusual markings. Often to be found on high quality oak flooring, the sight of medullary rays will give you a clue that the wood in question is no less than highly desirable quarter sawn oak. Medullary rays are what remains of cells within the once-live wood that ran at a perpendicular angle to the grain. These cells performed an essential function in transporting the nutrients of the tree. Quarter sawing produces the strongest grade of oak, as it cuts directly across the grain. This reveals the medullary rays, which appear as pale, almost luminescent streaks upon the surface. As the oak is polished, oiled, varnished, or smoked, these distinctive markings become more pronounced in vivid but delicate contrast. The use of this feature in oak wood flooring can be applied to glorious effect!
Shakes are cracks that appear in the surface of the wood, commonly due to the way the wood is seasoned after it is felled, but at times they can be attributed to growing conditions - particularly extreme cold. Substantial shakes can render wood unusable, while smaller shakes can sometimes serve as alluring features. Shake marks are defined depending on the line in which they formed. “Star” shakes are formed when splits run from the exterior of the wood towards it's heart, along the medullary rays.
“Heart” shakes do quite the opposite – this was when cracks began right in the centre of the heartwood, due to shrinkage in the interior. “Cup” shakes perform differently again, creating splits between annual growth rings. If such a crack extends around the full diameter of the growth ring, this is referred to as a “Ring” shake. Frost is often attributed in the case of this type of shake. The forming of shakes as the wood is seasoned can be minimised through careful regulation of the temperature and moisture levels to which the wood is exposed, until it's seasoning is complete, and it is ready to be transformed into beautiful oak wood flooring!
Checks are another kind of crack that forms within the wood as it is seasoned. As the surface of the wood dries, stresses can build up when the wood reacts unevenly to moisture loss. This causes the wood's fibres to split apart. Oak checking can vary from tiny hair-line cracks that create compelling patterning, to substantial cracks that may impact the woods workability. Checking is not always present in the surface of seasoned oak, but when it does appear, it serves as an intriguing reminder of the fascinating journey that the wood has taken from sapling, to mighty oak, to spectacular oak flooring.
A large open-plan interior is a fantasy for many, but for those to be blessed with such a space, a very specific interior design challenge awaits! The conventional rule-book may be best flung aside if the space is to be made to feel sumptuous and welcoming. From sizeable old houses to industrial-aesthetic lofts, or sympathetic split-level barn conversions, open-plan interiors are timelessly desirable. A small scale approach to such a big challenge can create a cavernous and cold impression – instead, a generous perspective is called for! Here, we will explore some fabulous tips to make a large space irresistibly inviting.
Bring Furniture Away From The Walls
In a large room, banishing all of the furniture to sit against the walls can be a bit of a dire faux-pas – imagine creating an impression reminiscent of a school hall cleared for the annual dance – perhaps not a look to aspire to! With ample space to manoeuvre, bringing furniture into the room will allow it to rightfully own the space, and beckon the home's inhabitants. Free flowing exterior lines, centred with attractively arranged furnishings, will do your space far greater favours!
Soften The Room With Warm Materials And Soft Fabrics
Within a roomy interior, cold materials such as stone and tile can leave inhabitants with a chill, even when the air is warm. The warmth of wood is a far better option. Wooden floors are simply divine in large rooms, as you can create all sorts of moods with different types of hardwood, different board widths, and even playful parquetry. Moving upward from the floor, a diversity of textures will draw the eye to different levels within your expansive interior. When those textures are soft and tactile, visitors will be unable to resist moving further into the space! Without a risk of crowding, you can afford to be bold with colours and patterns too. Steering clear of entirely monochromatic schemes is best, as this would be certain to wash out the room and make it feel even larger..
Create Zones That Call To Be Enjoyed
A particularly substantial room can be made to feel comfortable and personal by creating zones. A plushly furnished circular seating area; a reading nook with daybed; a games table compete with accessories; a writing desk with a view towards the window; and so on. Comfortable sofas and armchairs could centre around an attractive rug, making that zone complete and intimate, despite the scale of the space it sits within. Ultimately, zones should reflect the habits of the homeowners, and reflect the way they will enjoy the space most.
Transform An Expansive Floor With Parquetry
With endless floor to address, adding interest can work wonders. Large rooms are fabulously suited to parquetry as they allow for the full display of the pattern. Visitors within the room will be unable to resist examining the excellent craftsmanship and intricate grain of the wood! Herringbone parquet flooring is a classic and celebrated choice that is certain to be admired for many years to come. Chevron parquet is wonderfully suited to a classically refined, or highly modern looks. If you want to employ an unusual twist, explore unconventional wood choices, larger cuts of wood, or playing with the angles of the parquetry. In whichever direction you go, you are certain to arrive at a floor that will initiate many gushing conversations!
Provide Depth And Texture With Dramatic Pot Plants
Just as furniture against the wall can seem a bit lost in a large room, small plants will appear dwarfed and disappointing! In contrast, large dramatic plants will add softening texture, and perspective shifting height. The fronds of a palm might serve to break up expansive wall space, or sit vibrantly between seating areas, allowing your guests to peer through foliage! Large plants can be lots of fun, and scale up the dressing of a room to match it's canyon-esque capacity.
Break Up Wall Space With Characterful Elements
Just as the floor can feel overly expansive, endless bare walls can appear a little overwhelming. We touched on putting plants against the wall, but there are many other options to explore! A feature wall can liven up a substantial room, providing ample character in the face of a large challenge. Consider Unique Bespoke Wood's large selection of hardwood cladding, for something truly memorable! Alternatively, or in compliment to cladding, a vertical garden wall can be a surprising and delightful element in a naturally lit area. Of course, the most timeless way to add interest to wall space is sweeping floor to ceiling book cases. If you are inclined to create a reading area, or study zone, book shelves will certainly capture the imagination, and delineate the area's function.
What interior challenges do you face as a homeowner or designer? The team at Unique Bespoke Wood are passionate about pairing the perfect wooden floors with each property and owner. If you would like help in exploring the vast potential we can help you achieve within your home or project, make contact today!
A small house or apartment might seem like more of a challenge in terms of interior design, but infusing a small home with oodles of style and function is entirely achievable with the right approach. In fact, creating a truly enjoyable space within a limited footprint is a hugely exciting challenge, because it forces us to strip away the unnecessary, and opt instead for design elements that offer huge value both visually and practically. Without further ado, let's explore some wonderful strategies for bringing a small home to it's greatest potential!
Introduce Glass And Mirrors
Allowing light to flow through any interior is always a brilliant tactic. A glass table works wonders by not interrupting the shape of the room it inhabits. Studio style living spaces can be zoned with attractive glass panelling, while windowed doors between small rooms can add dimension. Such an approach is ideal for giving a sense of fluidity, while keeping functional areas defined.
Mirrors add another feather to the cap of what glass has to offer, as they provide the power of illusion! Hanging mirrors next to windows helps to diffuse light through the room. In a smaller space, don't be shy – a mirrored wall entirely transforms a narrow room, while mirrored cupboards will hide your clutter while visually expanding a space.
Seek Out Functionality
When fewer pieces can be chosen, each item of furniture really needs to earn it's presence! Modern design offers many innovative solutions for small-scale living. Seating or side tables can double as concealed storage, while wall mounted or fold out desks, day beds, and expandable tables can all be combined to create a home that easily switches between a variety of purposes.
Paying attention to the entire vertical field within any room can help us identify how to reach it's potential. Extra units can be added between the tops of cupboards and the ceiling above them, and spaces under staircases and deep windowsills can be claimed! Having bespoke storage built into a room is always an excellent choice when approaching small home design. Cupboards and shelving can climb from floor to ceiling, however far that may be! In such a case, it is always wise to store frequently used belongings within arms reach, and less-often required treasures higher up.
With playful application fantastic solutions can be envisioned, such as combining pocket doors with bookshelves that surround a doorway entirely. For those who enjoy the presence of plants – always a wonderful choice for enhancing a space – vertical planting systems that can be wall mounted are now highly affordable, and strikingly interesting!
Choose A Narrow Colour Palette
A lighter colour on the walls will certainly provide an enlarging effect. Rather than just the walls, however, it can be impressively impactive to consider the entire colour palette of your interior. Combining a wall shade with closely colour-matched furnishings and fabrics will give an impression of calm and openness. Pale wooden floors complimenting a sandy palette can contribute to a magically soothing environment. In opposition, high contrast colours and vivid patterns are always fun to play with, but when over applied they can make a room close in on itself. Try using texture, rather than a lot of colour variation, to bring small interiors to life.
Light The Space
Lighting is hugely important when it comes to maximising sense of space within a small home. Dark corners simply make rooms appear to shrink, so pay extra attention to bringing brightness into every area. Of course, with limited room, table lamps, floor lamps, or statement light fixtures are not always the right option. In these instances, explore wall mounted lighting, recessed lighting, and tucking strip lights above and behind cupboards and recesses to illuminate perfectly without adding too much noise.