When Huntingdon Valley, Pa.-based Czar Floors takes on a flooring project, it sets out to create exceedingly complex designs that can be installed in the simplest way possible. That's no small feat—but it's a skill the company has honed over the years.
"When we ship our product, we want to make sure there's no problems the installers can run into," says Czar's Edward Tsvilik. That was again the goal for this floor design inspired by the Tree of Life, a mythical tree representing immortality in many religions. The designer, Steve Smith, provided the original sketch for the floor, which depicts tree roots flowing from a glass Tree of Life design on the Houston home's front door. Czar chose maple and merbau to frame white oak background panels for the 3D floor. The homeowner requested they use actual roots for the floor's root system, and Czar picked burly walnut root for the task.
One of the trickiest aspects was getting the soil color just right for the tree. They wanted the background to contrast with the roots but still resemble soil. "We could not find natural wood with a fairly consistent color in this tone," Tsvilik says. So, avoiding stains, they saturated the white oak with a proprietary chemical treatment and placed it in a high-temperature oven to achieve the tone.
Czar made all of the engineered panels uniform for the 120-square-foot floor, using CNC cutting for efficiency. They then inlaid the roots, which were hand-cut for more control, Tsvilik says: "You can change things on the fly when cutting, make it look a little more natural." The panels were then carefully mapped, numbered and shipped to Houston, where they were installed by Schenck and Company.
Looking back, Tsvilik says the project was a reasonably simple one for Czar, but that's likely due to the company already having deep wood flooring roots of its own.