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Foyer Becomes a ‘Foyay’ After Pro's Creative Water-Pop

Ryan Kushner
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Sometimes the most creative ideas rise from the ashes of rejected ones. That was the case with the unique staining effect on this basketweave floor by Dominic Zaio of Sherwood, Ark.-based Zaio Brothers Flooring. The Little Rock homeowners wanted “something special” for their foyer, with the caveat that it had to be stained as black as possible. Zaio designed a basketweave pattern that the owners loved, but his idea for contrasting white-stained center tiles didn’t get the reaction he expected when he pitched it. “I was like, ‘They’re going to love those white center tiles,’ and I stopped thinking about what if they don’t,” he says. “But then the ‘they don’t’ came up.” So, Zaio went the opposite direction: “Instead of white, let’s go extra dark,” he says. The owners were on board. Zaio installed 5-inch white oak select for the weave in the 60-square-foot area, carefully ensuring the grain matched up on each intersecting board. He then surrounded the pattern with a maple feature strip. When the floor was installed, he sanded and taped off everything but the 5-inch center tiles, which he water-popped to be as dark as possible. He removed the tape and applied the stain, followed by four coats of UV satin finish. The design came out just as envisioned—the gorgeous white oak grain subtly standing out from the midnight-black tiles—and, just like that, the homeowners began calling their classy new foyer their “foyay.” Zaio says it’s one of his most fun projects, largely because it pushed him creatively. “You’ve got to roll with the punches,” he says. “I thought this was really a cool thing to see.”

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SUPPLIERS: Abrasive: Norton Blue Fire, Norton Power Mesh | Adhesive: Bona R851 | Edger, Multi-head sander: Lägler Flip, Trio | Finish: Professional Coatings | Stain: DuraSeal True Black | Track saw: Festool

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