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.
Whether you plan on selling your property in the near future, or simply wish to safeguard it's value, making strategic choices over the maintenance of your home can stand as a fantastic investment. Any property is an asset, and we would all hope that it's value will increase over time. If you are considering an update or overhaul, Unique Bespoke Wood have compiled a list of excellent ways in which you can improve your home to the benefit of both yourself, and your wealth!
1. Upgrade To Stunning Hardwood Floors
There is much to be said for wooden floors when it comes to increasing home value. Research suggests that there is no better option for enticing future buyers, not to mention the enjoyment to be found when inhabiting a space with stunning wooden floors! From spectacular floors of oak, ash, or walnut, treated and finished in inumerably different ways, through to spectacular chevron parquet flooring – or even antique reclaimed wood for historic character – your options are vast.
Solid hardwood flooring is of course timelessly celebrated, but what you may not realise is the outstanding quality and durability of engineered wood flooring today. When it comes to renovations, engineered flooring offers fantastic versatility. An engineered floor can be floated on an underlay, making it a highly practical choice in a space that was previously carpeted. At Unique Bespoke Wood we offer a 25 year warranty on our engineered wood flooring, which should give you a sense of the excellent value represented in this property-value boosting investment!
2. Let The Shine Light In!
The light within a space will have an undeniable impact on it's desirability. You may dream of entirely updating your windows, or you may hope to bring brightness to just one area. Adding a new window over a dim staircase, or skylights to a dingy loft room can work wonders. If bringing natural light into the space you wish to lift simply isn't an option, consider opening things up by addind some well placed spot lights or strip lights. A cave-like vibe within any home is certainly not going to show it at it's greatest potential!
The pleasure of inahbiting a well lit space is certainly a large draw to adding a conservatory to any home. Creating more space and allowing inhabitants to bask in the light without feeling the breeze adds value through footprint and novelty. Why not consider a conservatory dining area that flows naturally from your kitchen?
3. Add Some Architectural Features
The most ordinary of spaces can be entirely transformed with some thoughtfully added features. Reinvent the ambience of a space by adding elegant chair or cournice moulding. Give warmth and interest to a contemporary space by creating a feature wall with a beautifully grained hardwood cladding. Even by zeroing in on little details, such as replacing door handles or switch and socket covers, you can use creative flares to make each space more unique and memorable.
Finish Your Basement Or Attic
When an extension isn't an option, it can be easy to overlook the space we already have. Is there an area of the home that you wish to add value to that you are failing to take advantage of? A basement or attic offer fantastic unrealised potential in terms of added value versus investment. Imagine manifesting another bedroom or an office. Perhaps a large, open plan basement could be a bar or media room? That attic could become the ultimate playroom for the kids – no adults allowed! Sometimes, a little imagination is all that is required for us to begin seeing an unloved space as something entirely new.
Make It Low-Maintenance
For any prospective buyer of a property, imagining their life within a space is an inportant part of the process. If they look around and imagine nightmarish upkeep, they will likely be put off. Whenever you make modifications to your home, consider the long term practicality of your choices. From surfaces that are easy to clean, through to floors that hold the durability to tolerate all the life that will play out upon them, minimal maintenance is a must! This is one of the many reasons why hardwood floors are so popular. They are tough enough to show no evidence of untold adventures and mishaps, while being fantastically hygenic. Wooden floors facilitate a dust-free environment, low in allergens, and easy to keep clean and tidy.
Consider The First Impressions
Our human instincts lead us to size up what's around us and draw conclusions very quickly. First impressions are crucial for the saleability of homes, and the value that they can command! With this in mind, consider the curb-appeal of your home – the impression it creates when first approached – and the first frame that anyone will view as they enter each area. A wow-enducing hallway is perfect for stimulating love at first sight! Why not make your entry space a show-stopper with an excuisite herringbone parquet or even versailles parquet wooden floor?
The other first impression that brings great back for buck is the first glance at your outdoor space, should the home in question have one. Again, useability is key – potential buyers must imagine enjoying the space – so investing in outdoor seating or even an outdoor dining area can make a huge difference. A decked area can create what functions as another room outside. Why not explore Unique Bespoke Wood's outstanding composite wood decking, for a waterproof, splinter free and slip resistant deck that is built for longevity. Quality and durability are always worth spending a little more on when adding value to your home. Poor craftmanship often offers false economy, while what is built to last will always elevate the experience of being in a home, and of course it's price!
Unique Bespoke Wood are always on hand to guide you on what our products can bring to your home or interior. Contact the team today and learn more about your home's untapped potential!
Considering a remodel? It's always an exciting prospect, but also one that makes us pause for thought! When we invest in rejuvenating our home, we want to feel certain that we've made the right choices. If your interiors have been carpeted before, then you are no doubt aware that even the finest carpets are relatively high maintenance, and won't last forever.
With the phenomenal quality of engineered wood flooring available today, the stunning aesthetic of hardwood flooring is now accessible for any space. Without the need for a sub floor, engineered flooring can be floated with an underlay, which makes it a perfect choice for replacing carpeting. Here we'll explore some of the advantages that make engineered wooden floors such an enticing option for modern home owners!
Add A Sense Of Prestige With Engineered Flooring
It's impossible to deny the huge appeal in – and luxurious impression given by – hardwood flooring. Such is the production standard of engineered wood flooring today, that anyone observing the finished floor will not know if the floor is engineered or solid. Each board is a precision crafted object, containing layers that have been constructed for durability and strength. The uppermost layer is of course a beautifully selected hardwood, and so that decadent appearance of hardwood flooring can be yours, with the versatility and robustness that only engineered flooring can offer.
Engineered Wood Flooring Is Easier To Clean
Maintaining carpets – especially in areas of high foot-fall – can be a highly demanding pastime. Carpets require not only a vacuum, but periodic deep cleans to ensure a healthy and hygienic home. Organic material building up within the pile of carpeting can offer a hospitable environment for bacteria when left unmanaged. Self-discipline is a must to avoid marks and stains – especially on pale carpets – which, in the case of slips, can be frustratingly difficult to remove.
If your household is as vibrant and busy as the average house usually is, avoiding muddy shoes and spills can be a challenge! The wonderful thing about engineered wood flooring is that a quick sweep and an occasional mop will remove a multitude of sins. Not to mention, your floors will remain hygienic and safe for whoever may spend time on them.
Choose A Natural Material For Your Home
Many of us are environmentally aware these days. With that in mind, why choose a carpet that is likely synthetic when you could opt for engineered wooden floors? Discussing sustainability with a flooring specialist will allow you to explore this aspect of your interior. From eco-friendly materials, to the spectacular beauty of reclaimed wood finishes, there are fantastic options to discover. This is a topic that Unique Bespoke Wood are passionate about, and strive to hold front and centre as we create beautiful floors all over the UK.
Engineered Wooden Floors Offer A Timeless Aesthetic
Whether you opt for a wide or narrow board, or delve into the world of stunning parquetry, the look of hardwood is undeniably timeless. While carpet fashions come and go, engineered flooring can serve as the perfect backdrop to any number of interior design inclinations. Because engineered wood flooring offers incredible longevity – Unique Bespoke Wood offers a 25 year warranty – you can enjoy the satisfaction of installing a floor that will be with you for years to come, while knowing that it holds the versatility for any future reinventions!
Reduce Allergens In Your Home
Allergy UK estimate that around 48% of adult Brits suffer from one allergy or another. For those who struggle with environmental allergens such as pet hairs and pollen, carpeting can be a constant source of struggle. The loops within carpeting offer an ideal hiding spot for particles, while some carpets are treated with synthetic chemicals which may not agree with sensitive householders. As you walk across a carpeted floor, particles are released and can easily be breathed in. In contrast, engineered wood flooring is easy to keep allergen free: an ideal solution for those who are affected.
Increase The Value Of Your Home
Research from the National Wood Flooring Association suggests that introducing wood flooring to your home can increase the value of your property, should you ever wish to sell in the future. It's not hard to imagine why this might be the case. We all know how pleasant a handsome hardwood floor is to behold, and how elevated a beautiful floor can make a room feel. Combining this with the low maintenance that such floors afford makes imagining living on them very appealing! The switch to engineered wood flooring in your home will serve not only as a highly aesthetic and practical decision, but a sound investment too.
Explore The Potential Of Engineered Wooden Floors
Whatever the appearance of your dream engineered wooden flooring – from a pale and gentle ash to a deep and characterful antique oak – it is an investment well worth considering. Between the minimal care required and the durability that engineered wood flooring possesses, it can far exceed the value and endurance of even the most expensive carpeting. If your curiosity is piqued, learn about how our engineered floors are constructed, or get in touch with the Unique Bespoke Wood team to discuss all of the possibilities for your home!
From the opulent and extravagant interiors of France's mansions and castles, to the refined and exquisitely inhabitable Hausmannien apartments of Paris, there is a charm to French design that means it never goes out of fashion. What other design style can boast such a perfect melding of elegance and comfort? What other has given us something so iconic and transformative as Versailles parquet or chevron parquet wood flooring?
What is certain is that opting for French design when envisioning any interior means opting for an aesthetic that will hold appeal for decades to come. Many interior design trends come and go, but here is a style that has put down mighty roots and claimed it's place in the hearts and homes of the aspirationally inclined, right across the globe.
From The Palace Of Versailles, To Your French-Inspired Living Room
There are few palaces in the world that can come close to the Palace of Versailles when it comes to sheer grandeur. This 17th Century Royal palace is heralded as the definitive height of French design, and serves as the distilled essence from which many French design elements are seeded.
The palace provided the birth place of Versailles parquet: a flooring style that remains hugely sought after, and provides stunning beauty in many homes today. Only one room in the palace deviated from the Versailles parquet. The Queens Guard's Room offered the first recorded example of chevron parquet wood flooring, and it is still maintained in perfectly polished splendour to be viewed by the palace's many marvelling visitors.
Not long after the construction of the Palace of Versailles, Charles I of England married Queen Henrietta Marie of France, and in her union, she brought French design to England. Her official residence, the spectacular Somerset House in London, was reinvented in the French style, with no expense spared on the finest parquetry and interiors. So began our own English love affair with the French design aesthetic!
The Tell-Tale Elements Of A French Interior
While the classic French interior doesn't boast such decadence as the aforementioned palace, many design elements draw unmistakable inspiration. Characteristics of this style – beyond the spectacular parquetry upon which the room is composed – can be seen in the elegant and noble lines of the furniture design, the use of mouldings and gilt, and an application of dramatic drapery and upholstery.
The typical colour palette is restrained, with pastels, soft natural hues and gentle greys highlighted by the occasional splash of a stronger tone, and of course the metallic presence of ornate iron work and a gilt frame here and there. The French design inclination when it comes to lighting is soft and luxurious, with chandeliers hanging in feature spaces, dripping with crystal and throwing a dance of rainbows into the room. Corners are warmed by ornate sconces mounted on the walls, and elegant lamps placed thoughtfully on surfaces.
At the end of the 18th Century, the French invasion of Egypt led to a frenzy of desire for floral and animal inspired patterning – a stylised reinvention of sumptuous Egyptian motifs – and the application of gold in the everyday home. Spaces were softened with rich drapery and plumply upholstered furnishings in velvet and brocade. Despite all of this decadence, one of the great marvels of French design as we see it today is that it perfectly remains behind the line that marks the transition from the lavish to the garish. Beautiful objects are paired with negative space, avoiding excessive busyness, or an overload of the senses.
The Functional Flair Of A Parisian Apartment
French design evolved through the Baroque, Rococo, and Empire design movements, adding depth and substance to the national aesthetic. In the 19th Century, Emperor Napoleon III commissioned Baron Haussmann to deliver a huge urban rebirth to the city of Paris. Here was born the definitive Haussmannian abode – the monumental and yet graceful apartment buildings that give this historic city it's majestic charm. What this era brought that was so notable was not only making the French design style accessible to the Parisian masses, but creating spaces that married pure French elegance with perfect functionality. The result was homes that were practical, comfortable, and offered the immense pleasure of inhabiting a beautifully curated space.
Into The Modern Era Of French Design
To create this aesthetic for yourself today, you would do well to begin by connecting with the French lifestyle and frame of mind! French design of today is all about functional beauty. The home will be gorgeously composed, but not too immaculate – a little laissez-faire attitude makes French design compatible with everyday life! Combine warm and stylish lighting with French design furniture and open fronted shelves. The space will call out for curling up with a selection from the book shelf, plus, of course, a fine glass of French wine!
If you seek a modern twist, the show-stopping splendour of a Versailles parquet or chevron parquet wood flooring can be updated with a different finish, or a more rebellious choice of hardwood. An extra wide chevron parquet offers a truly unique and striking floor, which can then be inhabited by stunning furniture pieces. The French have never been afraid of an eclectic mix of pieces, allowing antiques to show their age, as if recognising that there is valour in having played a part in lives well lived. Add gilt framed mirrors and a vase of fresh cut flowers to hit more of your senses. Wrapped up in the fundamentals of French design is an unmistakable joy in living. Perhaps that's why this style is certain to stay with us, for many generations yet to come.
If you would like to explore the possibility of Versailles parquet or chevron parquet wood flooring for a home or workspace, contact Unique Bespoke Wood today to explore the many options available to you. From exquisitely constructed hardwood parquet flooring, to the latest in high quality engineered parquet flooring – perfect for underfloor heating – we are on hand, and ready to advise!
The Scandinavian aesthetic could easily be dubbed grand ruler when it comes to minimalist interiors, so what elevates this design style to such a lofty height? One of the key reasons why the passion for Scandinavian design has gripped the world so impressively is that the design choices are so deftly made. A “Scandi” interior is not only aesthetic, but incorporates fantastic functionality. A space that employs this style is truly enjoyable to work or live in. So what exactly are the qualities that comprise this trend, and what embodies that on-point atmosphere? There's so much, and yet so little, to explore!
The Birth Of A Feeling
The chance is fairly tiny that you won't have come across the craze-inducing concept of “hygge” by now. Triggering a cultural phenomena in it's own right, the Danish and Norwegian word is described by Wikipedia as “a mood of cosiness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment”. Upon consideration, who wouldn't want a little hygge in their lives? Hygge is woven into the Scandinavian aesthetic, which is why Scandinavian design interiors are such a pleasure to inhabit.
This particular design trend found it's steady footing after World War II. It rose to meet a broadly sweeping change of attitude towards what great design was all about. As much of the world recovered from conflict, the notion that beauty could, and should, be accessible to everybody took hold. A design movement was maturing in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland, and was ready for the global stage. The result was a simple beauty that offered an understated elegance, paired with a step back from industrialisation, towards practicality and comfort.
It's All About Capturing The Light
Thanks to their own shortage of natural light over much of the year, Scandinavian designers developed a mastery for capturing what light is available, and enhancing spaces further through illumination. A pale and gentle colour pallet offers a tell-tale sign of Scandinavian design interiors, alongside the pairing of white or light wall colours with pale wooden surfaces. Light wooden floor finishes dominate, offering warmth underfoot, and a calm, airy atmosphere.
For cosy evenings, or darker corners where the bright flood from a large window won't reach, sympathy and functionality is the name of the game. The effect is created without overstated elements, but with layers, created through perfectly placed pendant lights, task oriented lighting, and quietly elegant table and floor lamps.
Embracing Natural Materials
The world's love of Scandinavian design interiors marked an easy retreat from the rise of harsh industrialism. The luminous flow of light across largely bare walls and hardwood floors quietly invited interruption by natural fabrics. Scandinavian furniture is dominantly wood, with occasional elements of metal or stone, and the strategic softening of cosy fabrics. The colour pallet is one of cool earthy browns and greys, highlighted with organic greens, quiet pinks and terracottas.
The Scandinavian design sensibility calls for efficiency, with items crafted for longevity. There is also an eco-friendly element, with favour placed on natural fibres such as hemps and Hessians, traditional sheep-skin rugs, and organic dyes. The theme of wood is ever-present, with the playful contrast of different woods between floors, furniture and wall cladding. The uniqueness of each wooden surface only adds greater interest to an aesthetic that is self-posessing, rather than modest. The earth-inspired mixture of light space, texture and interesting surfaces is elevated further by the adding of a few rebelious plants!
Gorgeously Functional Design, And Quality Over Quantity
From the sweeping line of a chair back, to the thoughtful form of a lamp's switch, ergonomics are central to Scandinavian design interiors. These spaces are designed to be used, the objects to be touched, and the details to be appreciated. For an interior that induces contentment, the Scandinavian approach is that less is more. A sense of calm is created through an absence of clutter, favouring a perfectly formed feature piece, floating in open space. In this, we all know that a crowded space is not conducive to a feeling of well being, and so de-cluttering is as much about the hygge lifestyle as it is about spectacular Scandinavian minimalist interiors.
The Scandinavian design/wood flooring combination is a match made in heaven as space is created for beautiful design to inhabit. Pale woods such as beech, ash and pine, or a stunning lightly structured oak, lend perfectly to this look. Within this canvas, the furniture of Scandinavian design is intended to create satisfaction, without noise or evident effort. The aesthetic is simply pleasing to behold, touch, and find inspiration within. If you are dreaming of creating your own Scandinavian design inspired space, Unique Bespoke Wood is here to provide expert guidance towards your own expanse of Scandinavian contentment.
Milton Glaser, a graphic designer from New York, once said “There are three responses to a piece of design: yes, no, and wow! Wow is the one to aim for.” His words of wisdom certainly apply to any kind of design. For interior designers, this kind of response is always the dream! There are few things more satisfying than delivering design that truly delights clients, making them stop in their tracks and say “wow” with glee.
With a breadth of experience under your belt, your professional instincts will surely guide you as you approach each new space, and the client that will inhabit it. There are, however, some great fundamentals to consider as we approach the 2020 design season. You don't have to follow every one of these rules simultaneously. Combining these on-trend strategies can certainly help you achieve that wow-factor, and a reputation that is firing it's way to the top!
Create A Tactile Experience
When it comes to interior design UK trends, customers have never been more aware of the joy of tactile interiors. Furniture stores are filled with items that you can't help but reach out and touch. This is with great reason, as a tactile interior has far more dimension and enjoyment to offer than an interior that neglects the spectrum of senses.
Create a space that calls to be explored by combining surfaces that offer different temperatures, such as wood combined with stone. Be on the pulse of current fashion by introducing velvet to your furnishing selection. Choose antique wood flooring, for intricate and varied texture that feels rich and complicated under-foot. Play with hardwood wall cladding, for a warm and touch-friendly back-drop to your feature pieces.
Don't Be Afraid Of Playful Design
Abstract art and retro fusion are powerful driving forces for interior designers on the current scene. While some might find mischievous lines and bold patterns intimidating, a thoughtful application of such daring statements can foster a sense of energy and vitality that makes a space invigorating to be in!
Adding elements plucked from the 1920s Bauhaus design movement, or the vigorous visions of the 70s can turn a retail or office space into something people are excited to enter, and forge a family space that inspires fun and connection.
Embrace Nordic Naturals
The Nordic aesthetic is certainly one of those interior design UK styles that continues to re-surface again and again! This serene Scandinavian look is perfect for creating a space in which one can escape, secluded from the stresses of the world.
Capture the Nordic appeal by combining natural surfaces and textures. Rustic wood finishes, naturally dyed cottons, wool, hessian, and hemp will all hit the spot. This look is paired-back, and can be brought to life with a selective but lively accent colour, such as coral, olive or tangerine. The Scandinavian palette offers a perfect transition as interior designers leave the grey trend behind, sliding into warmer, natural tones.
Dive Into An Eclectic Aesthetic
This is a concept that the Brits have always enjoyed, but can easily be overlooked by interior designers chasing a specific energy. Sometimes, mixing things up is the best way to highlight contrasting elements! A beautifully curated minimalist interior can be brought to life in unexpected ways by introducing a show-stopping antique piece.
An exploratory mix-up inspired by different eras and geographical locations can draw people in. Those who enter will discover something new and exhilarating each time they return to a space. As British culture has always lent towards delving into the unknown, leaning into this interior design UK-specific inclination will speak to your client's own sense of curiosity.
Make Sweeping Shape Statements
Interior designers can add fantastic interest to a space using undulating surfaces, sharp angles and comforting curves. Striking, shapely furniture can speak volumes set against highly highly fashionable white wood flooring. The pattern of a decorative chevron parquet floor can juxtapose soft, luxurious furnishings in a most complimentary way.
A curved counter on a kitchen island, or the swoop of a statement head board in the bedroom can elevate a space to the next level. Adding a shapely panel of wall cladding as a feature element to any room will instantly transform the space into something striking. Scale up your shapely lines, or add finely shaped features that speak of uniqueness and quality.
Introduce Some Japanese Calm
Offering a slightly more delicate sense of retreat than the Nordic look, Japanese style has been adding a light and inspiring energy to UK interiors for some time. Capture this pleasing aesthetic by combining crisp modern design with the softening qualities of wooden floors and surfaces. Highlight your base textures with the soft silk and Japanese fabric patterns that have captured the world's heart for countless generations. This aesthetic calls for refinement and structure, although you can opt for a merry medium in the amusingly titled “Japandi” look, which brings Japanese and Scandinavian aesthetics together!
Underfloor heating is becoming more and more popular – whether introduced as part of a contemporary new build or as a modernising luxury in a renovation project. The appeal is easy to grasp, as underfloor heating offers the pleasure of a consistently heated environment, with no cold spots to be found. It entirely eliminates the cluttering presence of radiators, leaving your interior an unfettered canvas to creatively make your own!
Engineered wood flooring lends perfectly in this case for a number of reasons, and with the correct guidance and collaboration between your underfloor heating supplier, and our team at Unique Bespoke Wood, you can enjoy both the decadence of a warm floor beneath your feet, and the spectacular beauty of hardwood throughout your home.
A Tactile Choice
Wood is naturally warm to the touch when compared with stone or tile, and contributes to the cosiness of a space not only through temperature, but also through the beautiful colours and textures that only wood can provide. When we imagine walking barefoot through a hallway, or our children playing on the floor, a wooden surface seems somehow gentler, and more homely. Our meticulously constructed engineered wood floors match the elegant aesthetic and tactile appeal of any hardwood floor, while offering the flexibility of a variety of installation applications.
The Intelligence Of Engineered Wood Flooring
As a natural material, the fibrous nature of wood means that it will breath with it's environment – slightly expanding and contracting as moisture levels go up and down within the air around it. When it comes to underfloor heating, this is an important factor to be aware of, as changes in temperature will have a direct impact on moisture levels.
To accommodate this, engineered wood flooring is constructed layer by layer, alternating the direction of the grain within the wood. This strategy means that the resulting floor is highly stable and resistant to fluctuations in temperature and moisture. A degree of care is still required to ensure that your engineered wood floors are maintained in their original, stunning condition, but with expert advice you will find that care for your floor is not difficult to apply.
Choosing Your Underfloor Heating System
The type of underfloor heating that you opt for will likely depend on the nature of the property in which it will be installed, taking into account the current sub-floor and any height restrictions. Primarily, you will need to choose between a hydronic – or water pipe – system, or an electrically heated system.
At this point, discuss with your suppliers your intention to combine your underfloor heating system with engineered wood flooring, and ensure that the system you select allows for accurate temperature control. Seeking a qualified and experienced supplier that is familiar with the exact specifications of your underfloor heating system, as well as it's compatibility with engineered wood floors is vital.
It is widely considered that the underside of engineered wood floors laid over underfloor heating should not exceed 27°C, as beyond this point excessive drying may cause damage to your floor. Isolated hot-spots also pose a risk, but can be mitigated by adding an additional insulating layer to distribute the heat more efficiently. Exploring the various options available before committing to an ideal system will result in a combination of floor and heating system that work in perfect symbiosis.
Care In Installation Of Your Floor
Ensuring that every care is made before your engineered wood flooring is installed will guarantee excellent results. Checks must be made to confirm that the sub-floor has low enough humidity levels to proceed. The heating must be turned off, and the temperature and humidity levels within the room monitored during fitting if the weather is changeable or any other factor may impact the conditions required.
Once your resplendent new floor is in place, you will no doubt wish to experience your new underfloor heating immediately, but a little patience is required! Sudden and substantial temperature changes will not benefit the result of your investment, and so a gradual increase of temperature is necessary over several days. In fact, following guidance on how to increase and decrease the temperature of your floor whenever you alter the settings of your heating system will ensure longevity. You will no doubt consider it worth the wait, as you continue to enjoy your energy-efficient and entirely hidden heating system over the years to come!
If you are curious to discover more about your options when it comes to combining underfloor heating with one of the many beautiful engineered wood floors we offer, don't hesitate to get in touch.
Undeniably, both American black walnut wood flooring, and black walnut wood wall cladding, offer a spectacular feast for the eyes. There are few hardwoods that can compete with American black walnut in the realm of extraordinary natural beauty. The transformation that unfolds as the timber is plained and polished delivers a stunning show of rich, chocolatey colour, with either it's signature knots, burrs and swirls, or a strikingly contrasted straight grain that possesses a gorgeous fluidity.
The desirable, aesthetic nature of American black walnut wood is matched fantastically by it's strength and durability, making it an excellent choice for wood flooring within any elegantly designed home, office or commercial space. When planning an interior, it is well worth exploring this walnut wood's potential both as a show stopping feature or as a distinctive yet complimentary backdrop to your vision!
A Truly Unique Finish
With finger-print like uniqueness, one quickly realises that no two grain patterns are the same. This characterful wood typically features a straight grain pattern with a colour variation that provides fantastic depth and interest. On occasion, however, wavy, swirling grain patterns and beautifully pigmented features of a highly decorative nature emerge. The diversity to be found in the natural grain of this wood creates huge opportunity for a range of resplendent finishes. You will truly see the history of the tree before you in the lines and tones that each surface displays.
The Magic Of Contrast
American black walnut features an impressive variation between it's pale, creamy sapwood and the deep tones of the heartwood within. The heartwood holds an array of warm brown pigments from caramel through to darkened ambers and cocoa, with the occasional flare of a dark purple or even crimson. When selecting timber for American black walnut wood flooring or wall cladding, a compelling effect can be created by choosing pieces that include both sapwood and hardwood for an even more playful composition.
Contrast is something that this type of walnut wood is particularly well suited to, as it provides a stunning juxtaposition when set against paler surfaces and furnishings, from bright, modern interiors, to paler woods or natural stone used to mutually highlight each material's respective natural beauty.
Versatility In Beauty
It is unusual to discover something that simultaneously makes a statement, while offering fantastic versatility. This particularly beautiful walnut wood is well suited to a variety of finishes, displaying proudly beneath a lacquer, or finished with oil or wax, and offering spectacular results with both a highly polished glossy finish, or a trendy, matt appearance. Within a classical setting, American black walnut wood offers an air of authenticity and elegance, while in a modern setting, it serves as a wonderful compliment to man-made materials such as chrome and glass.
Because of the wide variety of grain structures to be found, there are a great many possibilities in terms of creative choices for both floors and wall cladding. For example, a straighter grain seen in a wide plank creates an elongating, flowing appearance, while walnut wood selected for it's burrs and knots can offer an eye catching natural pattern for a feature wall. The colour variation adds great interest to parquetry, and is certain to create a floor that will stop people in their tracks!
Adding Warmth And Aspiration
Opting for American black walnut wood flooring fosters an air of both sophistication and comfort. The warm shades within the wood lend a certain cosiness within a stylishly assembled home setting, and offer a softening balance within a work environment. In fact, studies have uncovered that natural wood in the workplace can increase productivity, due to the visual and tactile sensory stimulation it offers, and the aspirational air that it possesses.
American black walnut wood also serves wonderfully if you wish to make a dignified but bold statement. A feature wall will transform a space entirely, as will a contrasting staircase, set against a lighter flooring in the landing areas. While interior design trends ebb and flow, walnut wood offers an unusual and intriguing timelessness that makes it's selection a great investment, in whatever context your creativity steers you towards. We, at Unique Bespoke Wood, are on hand and ready to advise you in discovering the perfect American black walnut wood finish for the perfect realisation of your project.
A beautifully constructed modern interior is certainly a pleasure to behold. One imagines elegant aesthetics, clean lines, and a feeling of calm and composure. Playing with modern interior elements over an alabaster backdrop allows us to truly highlight beautiful design, from fantastic uses of space with stunning feature pieces to innovative lighting solutions.
As current rising trends indicate, white wood flooring is a perfect vehicle to elevate all of these ingredients, creating cultivated and serene spaces that are both striking and dignified, and a pleasure to be in!
Assessing The Trend
White wood flooring has certainly evolved since it's debut as a popular choice some thirty years ago. What began as a simple trend, geared towards beachy white-washes and gloss finishes, has gradually been refined into a far more sophisticated array of design options. For the perfect modern look, we now see preferential favour given to more satin and matte finishes, with a broad array of methods used to elevate the beautiful textures that only wood can provide.
Depending on the space in question, designers can opt for a wide plank, contributing further to the impression of space created by white wooden flooring, or a more delicate appearance through narrow planks or an opulent parquet finish. A minimal, barely-textured solid white appearance can create a very crisp aesthetic with a fine natural undertone, while a more characterful opaque finish that highlights the organic grain and knots within the wood creates interest, revealing more of the wood's beautiful organic form.
When opting for white hardwood flooring, the choice of wood species is a paramount consideration that makes expert advice an important tool. Less colour-saturated woods such as oak, ash, maple or birch offer a perfect canvas for white, with oak a firm favourite within the current trend for white hardwood flooring. Other woods such as cherry or pine can offer surprising undertones of pink or orange that are certainly unique but may not provide the desired effect. With this in mind, working with specialists will allow you to develop an ideal pairing for your vision.
Accentuating Light And Lines
Whether searching for means to increase the sense of space in smaller rooms, or introduce a feeling of openness to larger living areas, white wooden flooring creates an impression of expansiveness that is certain to assist you in brightening any interior. When paired with lighter wall colours, white flooring can create a sense of weightlessness, and such combinations offer a soft, gentle light which is both tranquil and uplifting.
White wooden flooring also creates a spectacular backdrop for stunning design, accentuating the lines of feature furniture pieces, and modern kitchen or bathroom installations. Whether you opt for minimalist pieces or a more eclectic selection of beautifully crafted furniture, the bright and uplifting backdrop created by white wooden flooring will allow each object to shine.
Opting For Exceptional Quality
It might be easy to imagine that a white floor would offer a challenge in terms of maintenance, but this notion is misleading. The key, in this case, is ensuring a high quality that will offer a stunning and durable finish for years to come. Once quality is assured, while of course muddy foot prints will be clear to see on a white floor, paler floor colours are far easier to gage when it comes to keeping them clean and excellent quality will ensure that cleaning and maintenance are easy tasks.
If selecting white hardwood flooring, one can consider that solid wood offers the flexibility of sanding and refinishing in the future, although a top grade of production for white finishes will certainly mark such a requirement as a most distant necessity, if at all. Should your design inclinations change in the future, hardwood is an excellent choice.
Engineered wooden flooring offers certain advantages, depending on the design requirements in creation, such as greater resistance to moisture and temperature changes, greater choice in width and length of planks, and compatibility with underfloor heating systems. Finely constructed tongue and groove white wooden flooring will create a seamless surface from which to compose a stunning modern interior.
Ultimately, the potential to be found in the various shades and finishes of white stretches as far as your imagination. We, at Unique Bespoke Wood are here to offer ideas and suggestions to help you find beautiful bespoke solutions for your residential or commercial setting. Don't forget that if a visit to our showroom is not convenient, we are happy to provide samples by mail, to help facilitate you in creating the perfect space.