The Baylor University Bears proved the victors in the 2021 NCAA men’s basketball tournament. We mention it because Baylor and Gonzaga played in Indianapolis on a court made of sugar maple hardwood, harvested from the Upper Peninsula in Michigan.
If you like to play basketball—or are just interested in a historic floor—and find yourself in Paris, you can see the world’s oldest court, which was built in 1895. Located in a YMCA, the court is host to pickup games on Saturdays, with hostel guests ready to hoop it up.
While the court may not be the most elegant, it certainly demonstrates the functionality and romance of a wood floor—all three of these are characteristics worthy of further discussion.
The elegance of wood flooring.
When we think of old and historic wood flooring, we often think of the Louvre in Paris, and rightly so. In operation since 1793, this art museum boasts beautiful and enduring parquet wood floors. But today, let’s go a different route and journey to the Hermitage Museum in Russia.
Located in St. Petersburg, the vast Hermitage Museum is the second largest museum in the world (yes, right behind the Louvre) but was founded earlier in 1764. Most of its many rooms have wood floors, and nearly every room has a different type. The floors’ unique, ornate patterns provide a different feel and a different character in each room. The Hermitage has one particular room completely coated in amber, and the walls are complemented with a wood floor—not the more exotic choice of marble. In a grand museum setting where almost any luxury was possible during its construction, the floor of choice was ornate wood.
Given wood is a natural substance, it can be formed into any pattern. Through each individual species and through grain patterns, something unique is communicated each time, and the wood intrinsically expresses a natural beauty. Mixing woods provides an additional choice in design. Using a natural oak, light in color, and contrasting it with the darker-colored walnut provides contrast in pattern. This was not lost on the Hermitage designers. You can take a virtual tour of the Hermitage Theatre through their website and see examples of such design choices.
The functionality of wood flooring.
Wood became the first real functional floor following the use of stone and marble. Depending on one’s geography, both building materials could be difficult to come by (and expensive), so most individuals had only two choices: a dirt floor or a wood floor.
Consider Colonial America in the 17th century. While primitive cabins were built from logs, this did not mean their floors were necessarily composed of wood. Many folks lived with dirt floors, which is the case in one of the oldest surviving buildings in New England, the Braman-Nothnagle Log House. Built-in 1638, this house in Gloucester County, New Jersey, functioned for more than ninety years until wood floors were eventually introduced.
Given it would have been difficult to come by granite or marble in rural New England, this was a logical, functional, and affordable choice. As you can see from the picture above, this is not an ornate or intricate floor. It was not created for beauty; it was created for function. However, it’s difficult to deny the inherent beauty in wood no matter its use.
The romance of your very own floor.
Parisian antique dealer Marc Maison is familiar with the powerful draw of a reclaimed wood floor. He removes antique wood floors and resells them. Maison knows that wood that has stood the test of time and it still has value (after all, he isn’t pulling the carpet out and trying to auction it off), and in particular, time-honored romantic value.
If you are prepared to install a wood floor in your home today, you may think, “This is a brand-new floor. Where is the romance in that?” Fair question. But think for a moment about your life and what story you will capture on your wood floor in the forthcoming years. The character of that floor on day one, and then after a year, and then after ten years, and then thirty years. What will you be looking at? While wood will stay functional and resilient, it will also soon start to take on some imperfections and wear. It will start to tell a story. It will start to tell the story of sunlight where the parts of your floor have taken on morning sunshine. It will start to tell the story of holiday meals in the dining room, and family meals in the kitchen. It will start to tell the story of a child’s room that has a floor with dents and scratches. In time, you will have a record as the floor tells your family story.
We’re ready to help.
If you want an elegant, functional, and romantic wood floor, then we’d like to help you realize that wish.
For any questions, please get in touch by our website or by phone, 877.215.1831.