3rd November 2015
About ten years ago, Ford and I laid a reclaimed parquet floor and swore we would never do it again. Which, of course, is exactly the sort of promise that is asking to be broken. We started laying the Jarra floor in the bedroom of The Orchard over the August bank holiday and have been going at it ever since, on and off. The 39 square metres of panga panga in the living room was the real challenge. It’s been downhill ever since.
The block I glued in place this morning was a long thin strip of beech, designed to be used as an edge detail. We have used it as such for our study floor which is predominantly ironwood, or Lebombo, a warm African hardwood with flashes of red-orange. It was evidently a gymnasium in its former life, now thrown up and reassembled in a crazy melee of badminton court fragments. The pattern is Dance of the Bees (my own invention), a large format pattern in which the bees dance in careful zig-zags. You might just be able to make it out under the grime and court markings.
The last block did not, however, go down on the study floor but on the leading edge of the gallery that overlooks it. As this gallery provides access to a row of bookshelves we have laid the two woods in a bookshelf pattern: the beech representing the shelves and the ironwood, at ninety degrees, representing the books. Needless to say, this gallery and the study below will both have sturdy balustrades.
The penultimate floor was the bathroom floor, and was the easiest to lay. I used Partridge wood, as previously used in the utility room, and laid the blocks in a simple brick pattern. The plan is for this floor to continue up the side of the bath. So although I have finished the last floor, I haven’t quite seen the last of the parquet blocks and glue tin.
With the floors down, father-and-son team Pete and Thomas turned up to begin the sanding. This is of course a noisy, dusty, horrible job, but the effect is fabulous. As the veil of worn varnish and grime is slowly lifted, the colours and details of the woods begin to shine. I’m exhausted and sore but I’m glad I broke that promise.