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Emulating The Taste of Louis XIV For a Michigan Palace

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For most of his wood flooring career, Chuck Crispin has worked in luxury homes, often for the rich and famous. So when he says this project was a standout, that says something. “It’s patterned very much after the palace of Versailles,” explains Crispin, president of Legendary Floors of Florida LLC in West Palm Beach, Fla., of the 40,000-square-foot Michigan home. “This is a statement home; the owner had been collecting furniture and light fixtures for 20 years for his dream house.” The builder, Mike Scott of Mike Schapp Builders, had worked with Crispin previously and connected him to the client, who came to Crispin’s West Palm Beach showroom to select materials. “He immediately stood in front of the antique Versailles parquet that [late wood flooring legend] Birger Juell had fabricated for one of his Chicago clients that was really the most exact copy of the Versailles parquet floors I’d ever seen. He said, ‘This is what we want—the color, the texture, everything,’” Crispin says. He chose the Versailles for four rooms by the entryway and an Antoinette pattern for the grand living room. Additionally, there was “a 100-foot-long hallway that screamed out for something that Louis the XIV would be jealous of,” Crispin says, “so I presented a couple of different sketches, and they chose rectangular medallions for the ends of the foyer and then chose the five-point star for the bottom of the three-story circular staircase.” In addition to the hand-cut medallions, there were intricate details such as bookmatched crotch oak transitions in doorways and between columns, and specially selected walnut figure for the 2-inch centers of the Antoinette parquet: “They’re like little jewels; I selected each and every one of them for their angel step figure—it’s the crotch of the tree with this light that flashes across the grain.” In all, the wood flooring comprised 14,000 square feet. “Parquet is parquet,” Crispin says, “but you can do it really, really well, or you can hack it up, and this was done really, really well.”

SUPPLIERS: Adhesive: Bostik’s Best | Buffer: American Sanders | Filler: Goodfilla | Finish: DuraSeal Durafinish | Moisture meter: Tramex | Nailer: Powernail Company | Router, Saws, Vacuums: Festool | Scraper: Red Devil | Subfloor: Plum Creek | Stain: DuraSeal | Wood flooring: Legendary Floors of Florida, The Hudson Company

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