Grounding the Design!

While the head designer at Vestabul was developing the design for this kitchen, the overall design of the space also need to be considered. The renovation project being undertaken included the main floor, the upper floor and the stairwell with the goal of having a consistent floor throughout the space. The flooring is what would “ground” the entire design.

Since the overall design direction for the renovation was “Modern Beach” the designer wanted a floor that would age beautifully and work with the oceanside community vibe. It couldn’t be too delicate and would also need to stand up to an informal lifestyle. A “keep your shoes on please” type of floor. Her choice became a natural Douglas fir floor, which met the Modern Beach criteria and worked beautifully with the rest of the finishes specified for the kitchen.


The next step was to look at the graining and sizing of the floorboards. She looked at vertical grain fir and mixed grain fir samples.

Vertical grain fir has long lineal lines in the wood grain pattern, while mixed grain fir is just that, wood pieces with mixed grain patterns and knots. Vertical grain is beautiful but the designer felt that it would be too “precious” in her new home. Douglas fir is a soft wood and scratches were anticipated, so the final choice was to go with Mixed Grain Douglas Fir floors. The mixed grain wood would camouflage any minor scratches from the dog or dirt & sand being tracked into the home. The rustic look of mixed grain also evokes a more informal feel. Exactly what the designer was looking for.

With the style finalized, it was time to pick a source for the floors. Typically this would mean a trip to the local flooring store but the designer had something more special in mind. Because of her contacts in the industry, she decided to have the floors custom milled to her specifications. Working with a fir manufacturing facility she specified a 6″ wide tonged & groove floor with a micro bevel edge in random lengths.  Since Douglas Fir grows very tall on the West Coast of North America (and this is where she lives!) the majority of the floor boards would be between 12′ and 20′ long. This was the main reason for going custom. There would be no short stubby floor boards in the home. These floors were going to be truly one of a kind!


Working with the manufacture was a treat, and she was able to observe the floors going from raw wood through the entire milling process. At the end of the afternoon there was a beautiful stack of custom wood flooring especially made for her home.


Once the floors were milled there was one more step before they were sent to site. They were shipped to another factory for a final sanding and the addition of three layers of sealant to protect the floors for years. The floors could have been finished on site after install, but the factory finish is a much more durable one. A week later the floors arrived on site to acclimatize. It is not everyday that 20′ long pieces of wood are loaded into a townhouse. This was more complicated than the delivery of a standard set of 6′ long boxes of pre-cut flooring. Friends and family were called upon to “hand-bomb” each individual piece of wood into the home and to distribute them evenly between the two floors. The wood would now need to sit for 4 days to acclimatize to the environment. This would ensure that there would be no shrinking or expanding of the wood once it was installed.


At the same time as the floor installation was to begin, the designer had to go out of town on business. (It was to a design show on the east coast which is always fun, but it was hard to leave the renovation!) Upon her return the new floors had been installed and they were beautiful!


Another bonus was that some of the kitchen cabinetry had also been installed into her new layout while she was away. What a fantastic home coming. The custom wood floors throughout the townhouse was the perfect choice. With the renovation now “grounded”, it was time to focus on the cabinet install and getting the countertops installed. Check in next month to see how it’s going!


2 thoughts on “Grounding the Design!

  1. AvatarDarnella Armitage

    Beautiful…if I lived ocean side…would have this flooring…so much more warm looking and welcoming than tile for the shoes on.

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