Boise, Idaho-based wood floor pro Jared Hartsock’s friend was getting married this year, but as with many 2020 plans, the venue booked for the occasion was shut down due to COVID.

So the groom-to-be, Josh Gilmore, decided to get married in his own backyard.

“He redid his entire backyard within a month and a half, and then built a cabana in the back to get married in,” Hartsock says. The cabana’s wood flooring and the dazzling design of its walls is where Hartsock, who had been working as a superintendent for a general contractor, came in.

“I was in a transitional period right then, right when he needed that done,” Hartsock says. “I drew up a little design for the back.” 

Gilmore, who owns Sunrise Hardwood Flooring, provided the material. “He has unlimited amounts of weird wood at his warehouse, and he put a pile of it in front of me, and I just kind of took pieces out of there,” Hartsock says.

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Hartsock had done a few small wall projects during his 16 years in the hardwood flooring industry, but never to this scale, he says.

He used a table saw to cut the boards, which included olivewood, peach, ash, maple, walnut, Brazilian walnut, Brazilian cherry, American cherry, purpleheart and ipé. While the design for the back wall was drawn out ahead of time, Hartsock improvised on site for the left wall’s design.

“That one left side took me like three and a half days, because I was really trying to figure out what I wanted it to look like,” he says. He was inspired by Native American art and design for the final look. No stain was used––Hartsock wanted the natural colors to work with each other to “pop.” "I wanted to make it look more like tile, but with wood,” he adds.

He cut about 100 triangles, putting texture and beveling the edges of several planks to make them stand out.

One of the most painstaking parts of the project was crafting the small pieces of maple between the ipé and purpleheart diamond shapes across the middle of the design––there were about 50 on both the left and right walls.

"That was probably the hardest part, because it was this little tiny piece and I had to hand-cut each one of them to fit in there perfect,” Hartsock says. “But it turned out really cool.”

Hartsock attached the boards to the ½-inch sheathing of the structure using adhesive and nails. When the planks were installed, he sanded with an orbital sander using a 60-grit, followed by a 100-grit. Once he completed the left wall, he mirrored the design on the right as closely as he could using the material he had left. For the floor, he installed quartersawn oak, finishing it with penetrating oil finish. (After the wedding, the flooring got hit by the yard’s sprinkler system, and Hartsock is scheduled to go back to refinish them.)

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Hartsock used a rag to apply two coats of a penetrating oil finish on the walls.

The project took about two weeks to complete, and Hartsock, who now works for Gilmore’s company, completed it in the nick of time.

“I got it done the day before the wedding,” Hartsock says. “By the time I was done, they were just astonished, blown away … It was probably the coolest project that I've ever done, ever."

Abrasives: 3M | Adhesive: Bostik | Finish: Pallmann 

Hartsock completed the project in the nick of time for the wedding. Unfortunately, the flooring was hit by a sprinkler system not long after. Hartsock is slated to return to recoat the floor.

Ryan Kushner signed on as assistant editor at Wood Floor Business in February 2018 after a year and a half as a staff writer at The Smithfield Times in Southern Virginia. He grew up in Pennsylvania and graduated with a degree in English and Communication from Mercyhurst University. He is constantly in search of wood floor stories and terrible puns and wood love to hear suggestions floor either.