When Alexey Steshak, a mad-man interior designer from Gorno-Altaysk, Russia, was asked to create a wood floor—his first—for a beauty salon called The White Garden, he went all out … side.

"I imagined a large garden, fresh air, a cool breeze and a flock of birds flying over the garden," he says, recalling the inspiration for the floor, which features a knotty, sinuous tree and 15 white birds. It looks like a patchwork quilt, only it's made of 20,000 pieces of wood, and the birds are ceramic tile. "I wanted to convey a sense of flight, of soaring above the earth," he says. "The chaotic background picture recalls fields and forests, as if viewed from above in a Google map. The 'tree,' on the one hand, is like a great river that flows through these lands."

The tree shape contrasts with the background because of lighter wood species, including maple, birch, pine, larch, American cherry, pear, cherry and oak. The background uses apple, pear, apricot, Manchurian walnut, mahogany, Siberian oak, Ukrainian oak, Hungarian beech and ash. The wood came from various places—his backyard, wind-fallen trees, orchards, donations from friends. He milled the logs into blocks 5/8 inches thick, then glued the blocks onto ½-inch-thick plywood using lines he'd drawn into the shape of the tree. After sanding, he coated the floor with three coats of matte finish before placing the ceramic birds.

He began the project in October 2016 and completed it in March 2017. The client didn't mind the wait because they were thrilled with the result, Steshak says. So was he.

"I've been dreaming of making such a floor for many years, and I was very happy that I finally got an opportunity to do it," he says. "There are unusual, absolutely crazy interior design ideas in my head that haunt me until I implement them. This project was no different."

Andrew Averill

Andrew Averill is the associate editor at Wood Floor Business, where he's been working since March 2014. A graduate of journalism at the University of Wisconsin, he had internships at newspapers across the country—San Francisco Chronicle, Christian Science Monitor, The Flint Journal—before a bad case of rug burn turned him into an advocate for floors of a harder disposition.