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Colorful Herringbone Parquet Painted Floors Riff on Famous Music Labels

Andrew Averill

Jack HobhouseJack Hobhouse

Would Bob Marley, Frankie Goes to Hollywood or Motörhead choose to sleep at a dull flat in a Victorian while they recorded an album at London, England's legendary Sarm Studios? We assume not. So when architectural firm Alma-nac was asked by Sarm to renovate a Victorian across the street into four short-term apartments for its musicians, the architects decided to be unconventional. "We wanted to use a floor that kept with the building's style, that might have been used in that era, but add a modern twist to it," says Alma-nac architect Chris Bryant. They decided to install a herringbone parquet pattern, trendy during Queen Victoria's reign, and made it sing by entwining natural planks with painted planks. The color palette in each flat was inspired by the studio and three major labels that recorded at Sarm. The Island Records, a label founded in Jamaica and rooted in the tropical tones of reggae, apartment has yellows and greens. The Stiff Records flat, an anti-establishment punk label, is red-heavy. For the established-in-the-80s ZTT Records flat, Alma-nac chose blacks and neons. The boards, engineered with an oak veneer, were 70 millimeters wide (about 2 3/4 inch). The finishing touch was five coats of lacquer to extend the paint's life and make the colored planks look "less alien" to the rest of the floor. For artists staying in the 300- to 400-square-foot apartments, is the colored floor pattern too much? "When you know people are doing short stays, you can be more adventurous. We wanted people to get a sense of fun," Bryant says, adding that the floors have been a conversation starter.


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