The Wood Floor of the Year Awards are the Oscars of the wood flooring industry, with enough buzz around them to merit paparazzi and a red carpet procession. And the winners of the coveted trophies are no less excited than the famous actors clutching those gold statuettes. Turn the pages to find out about the proud Wood Floor of the Year winners who collected their trophies at the NWFA convention in San Diego at the end of April. Winners for all categories except Designers' Choice were voted on by NWFA members before the show.

To find out how you can enter the 2012 Wood Floor of the Year contest, or to view all the entries in the 2011 contest, go to www.nwfa.org.

 

Deadhead Revival

Best Limited Species; Members' Choice | Precision Floorcrafters Inc. (Summerfield, Fla.)

end-grain and live grain wood floor made from reclaimed logs from Florida's Suwannee River During the late 19th century, the United States' logging heyday, "river pigs" guided millions of logs down northern Florida's famed Suwannee River. Inevitably, some of the logs destined for the sawmill fell to the river's bottom-deadheads, as they're called. Over their 100 years of submersion, the logs collected minerals and changed color, giving way to an entire industry today where the deadheads are reclaimed and finally used for building-and consumers love it.

Just ask Matthew Marwick, president of Summerfield, Fla.-based Precision Floorcrafters Inc., whose client for this award-winning 120-square-foot floor specifically requested it be designed exclusively using reclaimed deadheads from the Suwannee, which is just 60 miles from his home. "He picked out the lumber and I drew a design that he loved," Marwick says of the creative process.

The floor has four primary components. The focal point is a 53-inch medallion of end-grain bald cypress. Marwick took a slice of a log from a recovered tree's crotch, sliced it horizontally, and then laid the pieces opposite one another. The result is a mirroring effect at the floor's center. Surrounding the medallion is a herringbone-patterned ring of heart pine, and next is a field of end-grain heart pine. The final component is a mitered border of rare curly pine. Marwick says that about one in 400 deadhead pine is curly pine, which has a very erratic grain and tiny protrusions at its bark, things Marwick says resemble "warts" (visible on the cover of this issue). Marwick took the wood that would become his border and sliced it lengthwise, then matched the ends and placed them at a 90-degree angle.

When it comes down to it, this floor has everything a Members' Choice floor should have: beauty, creativity, craftsmanship, and a great story.-D.D.

Suppliers for this project | Advertisers in this issue appear in bold

Abrasive: Virginia Abrasives | Adhesive: Bostik Inc. | Buffer, Edger: Clarke American Sanders | Finish: Rubio Monocoat | Router: Festool | Sanders: Lägler (Palo Duro), Clarke American Sanders | Saws: Festool, Delta | Wood: Goodwin Heart Pine

 

Power Play

Best CNC/Laser Cut | Yantarnaya Pryad-Parquet (Khimki, Russia)

Parquetry wood floor in Tajikistan's National Teahouse inside Culture Park of DangaraInstalling a wood floor in a place where lots of people gather is good marketing. Installing a wood floor in a place where lots of powerful, high-ranking government officials meet is great marketing. In 1999 Yantarnaya Pryad-Parquet began doing restoration work in Russian museums, and later it began working in the homes of government officials, eventually leading to work in the home of current Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Today the company is taking jobs several thousands of miles from its base in the Moscow suburbs.

For Yantarnaya Pryad-Parquet's latest Wood Floor of the Year winner (it won the Best Living Room/Family Room [Hand-Cut] category in 2009), it traveled to Tajikistan, of the former USSR. As a result of the flooring company's conspicuous installations throughout Russia, the National Bank of Tajikistan commissioned the company to install more than 9,000 square feet of flooring in the National Teahouse inside the Culture Park of Dangara. For design, an "ethnic ambiance" was requested, so Yantarnaya Pryad-Parquet incorporated common natural geometric shapes prevalent in Tajik culture. The teahouse serves as a retreat for the country's president, Emomali Rahmon, and it is dedicated to the Nowruz holiday, or the Persian spring and New Year celebration. On Nowruz, celebrants visit family, friends and neighbors, and so the president entertains guests at the teahouse; pictured is the reception room.

The solid wood floor, which was glued down, comprises jatoba, beech, wenge, amaranth, merbau, jarrah, walnut, maple and Karelian birch. Yantarnaya Pryad-Parquet is a vertically integrated company, so design and fabrication were handled in-house at its plant in Tula, Russia.

Much like the patterns throughout this floor, life repeats itself in the seasons and with each new year. If this fact is any indication, it's likely we'll be seeing Yantarnaya Pryad-Parquet in this contest for years to come.-D.D.

Suppliers for this project | Advertisers in this issue appear in bold 

Abrasive: 3M | Adhesive, Filler, Finish: Chimiver Panseri S.p.A. | Edger: Mafell | Sander: Eugen Lägler GmbH | Saws: Leitz Tooling Systems

 

All in the Family

Best Commercial | Archetypal Imaginary Remodeling Corp. (Long Island City, N.Y)

end-grain mosaic wood floor inside headquarters for Arizona iced teaFor many, passing gifts to the next generation is life's primary goal, so it's no wonder that Avedis Duvenjian, partner at Archetypal Imaginary Remodeling, is so pleased with his company's second Wood Floor of the Year award. Helping Duvenjian on this end-grain mosaic project at the headquarters of AriZona Iced Tea in Woodbury, N.Y., was a typical cast of architects and designers, but there was also a young boy who often lent a hand: Duvenjian's 8-year-old son, Tigran, who also went on stage in San Diego to help his dad claim their latest trophy.

"On this project, he came to the job site so many times," Duvenjian says of his son, "and the client really loved him. He would try to take Tigran on tours and get him iced tea, but he would say, 'No, I want to stay with my dad.' Every time I speak about wood, he loves to learn."

The entire floor comprises thousands of end-grain white oak and wenge pieces, organized in a concentric-circle-mosaic pattern and glued to a plywood subfloor. "Looking at the middle, you think it's one piece of wenge, but it is not," Duvenjian says. At the center, the faces of the tiny pieces measure about 1/16 inch by 1/4 inch. With each successive circle, the pieces become incrementally bigger until the final rows, where they measure 1 1/2-inch square. For Duvenjian, this was the toughest part of the job: Gradually increasing each row—millimeter by millimeter—to give the intended effect of having his client's logo appear to be floating in a dark, rippling pool.

The biggest fan of the project is Tigran. At school he was recently assigned an art project to create a design using his school's name. His chosen medium? End-grain mosaic with wenge and white oak glued to plywood.-D.D.

Suppliers for this project | Advertisers in this issue appear in bold

Adhesive: Bostik Inc. | Buffer: Bona US | Finish: Woca | Wood: Distinctive Hardwood Floors

 

On Deck

Designers' Choice | First Coast Flooring Inc. (Jacksonville, Fla.)

large-format custom herringbone wood floor crafted from exotic afrormosia and hard maple, featuring a santos mahogany border stained to match the mahogany on the windowsFor some wood flooring contractors, installing a large-format custom herringbone floor crafted from exotic species over a slab in a home located directly on Florida's Intracoastal Waterway would be a job to run from for fear of moisture problems ... but it's business as usual for First Coast Flooring Inc.'s Greg Simpson. He's been in the wood flooring business in Florida since 1984, and he has some words to live by: "The moisture meter won't fail you if you use it right," he says. In fact, Simpson ended up with this job after a different wood flooring contractor ran into trouble and had to be replaced on another one of the builder's jobs. "The builder asked me to come out to the house and look at what they were doing; it's a nautical-themed home from stem to stern, so to speak. There are big brass light fixtures and port-hole windows." The builder had a rough design of a nautical-inspired floor drawn out, and when Simpson created a large sample of the 8-foot herringbone design from afrormosia and hard maple, he got the job.

The square-edged flooring was glued over a single layer of 3/4-inch plywood on top of the slab; it has pegs to complete the nautical design. As the customer wanted something different around the perimeter of the room, a santos mahogany border stained to match the mahogany on the windows was installed. In a bathroom, Simpson installed the afrormosia in a grate pattern with epoxy centers, reminiscent of a boat deck, as well. (Go to www.woodfloorbusiness.com/WFOY11 to see photos of that floor and more photos from this project.) The customers loved it, and Simpson loved getting such a nice job during what continues to be a housing bust in Florida. "I've never been the cheapest guy in town, but I've maintained my quality and customer service," he says. That's a philosophy that proved to be a winner.-K.M.W.

Suppliers for this project | Advertisers in this issue appear in bold

Abrasive: 3M | Adhesive: Bostik Inc. | Buffer, Edger: Clarke American Sanders | Filler, Finish: Bona US | Nailer: Stanley-Bostitch | Sanders: Hummel (Palo Duro) | Wood Flooring: Cochran's Lumber & Millwork

 

Curvy Collection

Best Manufacturer Factory-Finished | Jamie Beckwith Collection (Nashville, Tenn.)

prefinished wood flooring in home with french and moorish influencesJamie Beckwith is an interior designer who entered the wood flooring business because she couldn't find what she was looking for. "For so many years I used hardwood for projects and was limited by linear planks, which are beautiful but straight," she explains. "In my mind, I thought, 'This would be an interesting place to bring shape and geometry to hardwood; let's see wood that is circular and curved.'" That thought began a two-year process of creating prototypes of non-ending patterned floors. Beckwith wanted top-notch quality, from the construction of the 3/4-inch engineered pieces to the aluminum oxide finish, and she wanted the floor to be green. The resulting products debuted to rave reviews at Surfaces in 2009, and now have garnered top honors from NWFA members, as well, with the company's first Wood Floor of the Year award.

Beckwith's products have particularly caught the eyes of architects and designers doing commercial work, but the winning Wood Floor of the Year project happens to be a living room in a high-end residence. The company's Sextant pattern from its Enigma collection was chosen because it suited the home's design, which has French and Moorish influences. That particular pattern was one Beckwith spotted on a stone church floor in France-she saw it and immediately fell to her knees to trace it with a piece of paper, which she took home to replicate in wood.

Although Beckwith still has her interior design business, she says her wood collection, which can be installed on floors or walls, is now her passion. "I love interior design, but I always say that the wood doesn't talk back like clients do," she jokes. "The wood just does what I want it to do-it has no complaints!"-K.M.W.

Suppliers for this project | Advertisers in this issue appear in bold

Adhesive: Bostik Inc. | Wood Flooring: Graf Bros.

 

Doing What You Love

Best Reclaimed | Henry & Mariusz Flooring/H&M Flooring Inc. (Chicago, IL)

reclaimed wood flooring made from hickory, white oak, sugar pine and eastern pineMariusz Karnas has been in the wood flooring business for 12 years-he moved to Chicago from his native Poland to work with his father at a wood flooring company-but his real inspiration in the business came two years ago, when he went to his first Expert NWFA school and learned from instructors including Frank Kroupa and Steve Seabaugh. "The National Wood Flooring Association opened my mind to having a better perspective on a better life," he says. After the school, "I worked hard and started to create medallions," Karnas says. "I feel like my head is full of different kinds of designs to this day; what I am looking for is space to create these kinds of things."

Karnas found the space for two of the designs right in his own house, and they both turned out to be winners-an honorable mention for his Best Residential entry (turn to page 57 to see that floor) and the Best Reclaimed top honor for this floor, which he fashioned out of hickory, white oak, sugar pine and eastern pine.

"It was a huge honor to get on stage to get my award," Karnas says, explaining that wood flooring is his life's passion. "I can do what I love to do and I can feed my family; this is an amazing feeling." These awards have special meaning for another reason, as well-Karnas dedicates them to one of his workers, Marek Hliniak, who was with him for four years and recently passed away after a short battle with cancer.-K.M.W.

Suppliers for this project | Advertisers in this issue appear in bold

Adhesive: Bostik Inc. | Buffer, Edger: Clarke American Sanders | Finish: Bona US | Nailer: Stanley-Bostitch | Router: Festool | Saws: DeWalt | Wood Flooring: Top Quality Flooring Inc.

 

Learning How to Bend

Best Residential | Fine Cut Wood Flooring (Derry, N.H.)

bent white oak wood flooring Unlike many wood flooring contractors, Fine Cut Wood Flooring President Craig Anderson didn't grow up in the trade. Rather, he's a chemist who, at the suggestion of a friend in the construction business, ended up sanding wood floors on the weekends, hauling around his sander and edger in the back of a Toyota Corolla wagon. When that proved more lucrative than his chemistry career, Anderson took the leap to doing wood floors full time, and another leap came when he connected with Tom Osborn of Mosaic Hardwood Floors. "He took me under his wing and showed me a lot of techniques-how to do site-cut parquet, how to re-groove the boards, how to lay things out," Anderson says. With Osborn, Anderson worked on a variety of jobs up and down the East Coast, including one particular highlight: the wood floors at the Presidential Conference Room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, attached to the White House.

Osborn is now retired, but Anderson has the wealth of knowledge he learned from his mentor-knowledge that enables him to create unique floors such as this one, which impressed NWFA members enough to give it the Best Residential nod. Anderson had the idea in his head for years. "I was looking to do something different from what I had seen out there," he explains. "Pretty much what's out there now are geometric patterns that can be really fancy, or scroll-cut or laser-cut curves that just take a straight board and cut a curve into it. I was looking to take a straight board and bend it." Anderson experimented with which widths of flooring he could bend without the boards breaking and finally had custom 3/4-inch-wide white oak flooring milled for the project. He used squares of plywood as fulcrum points against which to bend the wood-he didn't steam the boards or get them wet in any way-then kept nailing the floor from there. Anderson also custom-built the border, which was re-grooved and splined to lock into the floor.

All this exacting work, which took about a week and a half, was done for a client who truly appreciates the craftsmanship involved-it was installed in the foyer of Anderson's own home.-K.M.W.

Suppliers for this project | Advertisers in this issue appear in bold

Abrasive: Norton Abrasives | Adhesive: Liquid Nails | Buffer, Edger: Clarke American Sanders | Distributor: Seacoast Floor Supply | Finish: Synteko Floor Finishes | Nailer: Primatech | Router: Porter-Cable | Sander: Galaxy Floor Sanding Machines | Wood Flooring: Wilson Woodworks

 

Gaining Momentum

Best restoration | Inex Floors (Richboro, Pa.)

partially recycled and renovated wood floor made from white oak, wenge, maple and akajuInex Floors seems to have a knack for taking an existing wood floor to the next level: In 2010 it won the Best Extreme Makeover category by supplementing an ash and white oak floor with a sinuous dragon, and this year the company earned the Best Restoration award by recreating a floor in an apartment on Manhattan's East Side.

The apartment's new owners loved the colorful, intricate parquet floor already in place, but it had fallen into disrepair. Stan Sidorov, Inex's vice president, decided to create a new floor using the same design as the old one. "The client already liked the floor," Sidorov says of the deteriorated one, "so we just followed that."

Sidorov's clients wanted their new floor to be built on top of a hydronic radiant heating system. To ensure the new floor would have dimensional stability, Sidorov specified it with rift and quartered wood. "It wasn't difficult to convince the clients to spend a little more money," Sidorov says of using rift and quartered wood. "I showed them how lower-grade wood could develop cracks, and they were convinced."

Before tearing out the old floor, Sidorov photographed it. Back at the Inex shop, the floor in the photos was recreated using white oak, wenge, maple and akaju; about 20 percent of the old floor was salvaged. At the job site, the GC applied a leveling compound over the radiant heating system and then Sidorov's crew glued down the wood. Two coats of amber sealer were applied to achieve an oiled look, and then topped with three coats of semi-gloss finish, resulting in a classy, elegant floor that's as good as new.-D.D.

Suppliers for this project | Advertisers in this issue appear in bold

Abrasive: 3M | Adhesive: Bostik Inc. | Edger: Lägler (Palo Duro) | Filler: Woodwise/Design Hardwood Products | Finish: Bona US | Router, Sander, Saws: Festool

 

Honorable mention

Best Residential  | Inex Floors (Richboro, Pa.)

parquetry wood floor made from oak, merbau, maple and ashInex's honorable mention winner includes white oak, merbau, maple and ash wood flooring that is coated with a waterborne semi-gloss finish.

 

Honorable mention

Best Residential | Henry & Mariusz Flooring/H&M Flooring Inc. (Chicago, IL)

custom wood floor made of red oak, white oak, walnut, wenge and maple with a satin water-based finishThe residential entry from this company includes a custom layout of red oak, white oak, walnut, wenge and maple with a satin water-based finish. (The company's winner in the Best Reclaimed category can be seen on page 54.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take a look at past Wood Floor of the Year winners:

Prizes on the Potomac: 2010 Wood Floor of the Year Winners

West Coast Winners: 2009 Wood Floor of the Year Awards

Florida's Finest: 2008 Wood Floor of the Year Winners

Best of the West: 2007 Wood Floor of the Year Winners

Baltimore's Best: 2006 Floor of the Year Winners

Waikiki Winners: 2005 Floor of the Year Awards

Show Stoppers: 2004 NWFA Wood Floor of the Year Winners

In the Spotlight: 2003 Floor of the Year Winners

Best in Show: Floor of the Year Awards 2002

Sweet Victory: 2001 Floor of the Year Winners

That Winning Feeling: 2000 Floor of the Year Winners

Master Craftsmen: 1999 Floor of the Year Winners