Wiltshire, England-based RJ Flooring Owner Robert Jones often lets his own imagination run when discussing wood flooring projects with clients, a quality that has its downsides.
“I always seem to make more work for myself,” he laughs. That was the case with this prefinished oak project, where the homeowners originally wanted a dark-colored herringbone pattern in the entryway. Jones suggested the tight space was too cramped for herringbone, and he introduced the idea of the “mansion weave.”
“I’ve had it in my head to do a mansion weave for probably a year and a half but could never get anyone to be confident enough to go for it,” Jones says. These homeowners embraced the idea, however, and asked if Jones could do the same thing in the adjacent dining room, but with a lighter color. It was then that Jones’s full vision clicked into place.
“I kind of came up with this idea and told them that there could be a two-tone in the hallway that moves into the dining room, kind of spilling out into the [dining room] walkway,” he says. “And then it could come into a straight plank with varied widths in the dining room.”
With the homeowners’ confidence in the vision and blessing, Jones began by tearing out the 100-square-foot entryway’s original solid oak floor. “It had been done by a builder,” he says. “He had no clue what he was doing. It was a mess.” The blind nailing (what the British call “secret nailing”) of the old floor had been botched, so the only thing holding the floor down was adhesive stuck in random places around the subfloor, which was plywood in the front of the entryway and concrete toward the back. The leveling compound originally used was also a disaster, and Jones had to chisel much of it out with a hammer before using his grinder.
Once the past subflooring sins had been corrected and everything was flattened, Jones began the glue-down install of the mansion weave in the center of the hallway and worked outward. Once done, he turned his attention to the 155-square-foot dining room, dry-fitting planks with varying widths of 8, 7 and 5 inches before gluing them down. Jones used a plunge saw to scribe the dining room boards to fit the mansion weave spilling into the room near its entry.
The installation took six days to complete, and the homeowners were thrilled with the result, particularly the color in the dining room and hexagons.
“They came in and said, ‘Oh my god, the colors we picked so worked!’” Jones says. That’s when he revealed a bit of a twist—it wasn't the light color the homeowners had chosen.
“I didn’t tell them until after the project that I’d changed it because I didn’t like it,” Jones says. “I said if they say something, I’ll just be honest.” His admission didn’t diminish their excitement.
Jones has taken a few such design risks in the past for the sake of the floor, and they’ve all paid off—so far.
“At some point I’m going to get called out and someone’s going to hate it,” he laughs. “But it looks so good, I can’t help it.”