Some wood floor artisans have to go out searching for inspiration. For Donna and Delbert Adams of Sheffield Hardwood in Tamworth, Ontario, all it took was a look out the window. Of course, it helps that they live next to a bevy of adorable otters. “There’s quite a slew of them around here,” says Delbert of his furry neighbors, who frolic in a lake right outside his sunroom. Understandably charmed, the husband and wife team set out to capture the otters—in their wood floor. They were already replacing the pine floors in their “off-the-grid” house when they settled on the whimsical otter theme for the sunroom. Donna, a graphic design artist, sketched an outline for the border featuring 20 otters, then digitized it and cut the shapes with a laser. The pattern of the otters was chosen after observing their swimming routines. “I assume they’re searching for fish, because they swim around in circles,” Delbert says. They created the otter border out of birch veneer, which was mounted onto ¾-inch plywood. The herringbone center was selected to resemble the waves and was made from over 200 pieces of white oak, a species that, like the otters, surrounds the Adams’ home. Although the birch otters are in place, Donna and Delbert are far from done and have already begun the next wood flooring project in their bucolic home. “We wanted to kind of have a theme for each room,” Delbert says, so their slated “oak room” will feature a central oak tree medallion carved from the wood of a large oak that died right outside their house. With a picturesque sylvan background providing so much inspiration, they may need to add more rooms.
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