There are various elements that come together to make a whole when designing an aesthetically pleasing and functional residential space. Flooring is one of the central elements that defines the atmosphere of each room, or the house in its entirety.
Timber flooring has long been a popular flooring choice but of late its popularity has soared, particularly in new builds. It’s not hard to see why: Timber flooring is timeless, it’s warm underfoot, and it’s suitable throughout the home. It’s not just being chosen from an aesthetic point of view, but also for its functionality. “Timber flooring ages well and anyone who wants to upgrade or change the colour tones of a room can achieve that easily by sanding the flooring and choosing a new hue as opposed to replacing carpet, for example,” timber flooring specialist Jarrad Doe of Goodwood Timber Flooring says.
But once a wooden floor has been specified, the choices are almost limitless regarding colour, finish, plank width, and the type of timber used. As Jarrad explains, some of the latest trends in New Zealand are distinct in both new builds and restorations.
“Perhaps the most clear trend at the moment is for lighter and gray-coloured finishes, and a move away from the darker tones that have been in vogue for the last few years. We’re seeing this more and more as people look for a contemporary style that emanates traditional elements.”
And a project in which a gray-finish was used is exactly what recently won Jarrad and Sam Edwards and their team the 2016 Floor of the Year Award from the Australasian Timber Flooring Association. Albeit, the project Goodwood was recognised for was a little more complex than just a grey-toned finish. Part of a penthouse suite in Ponsonby’s popular Vinegar Lane, the project saw flooring laid on the ceiling and two feature walls as well as the floor itself.
“It was a complex project with a lot of detail in wrapping around the walls and the on to the ceiling, but the overall effect was stunning,” Sam says. “The area features a cast iron floating fireplace and staircase. We used a European Oak with a grey osmo oil and the result is a really elemental space, which is ultra-modern but in keeping with some traditional elements.”
In keeping with tradition, native timbers are being specified more than ever before, Sam says, although they’re also becoming harder and harder to access. “Recycled native timber flooring is generally made from old joists or weatherboards, but all too often when old houses are demolished, the materials aren’t saved so it is really in demand at the moment.”
It’s a trend that follows on from Europe, as does the move towards embracing knots as a way to add warmth and accentuate the natural beauty of timber flooring. Polyurethane finishes are being pushed out to make way for more natural treatments, with the New Zealand market favouring oiled treatments. “The oils we use are scratch-resistant and extremely durable so they are a great way to add character as well as functionality to a space.”
Engineered over solid wood flooring is the clear favourite in the market at the moment, but as Jarrad points out, there are two vastly different options once you’ve decided on engineered timber flooring.
“Unfinished engineered timber has a clear advantage in that it is sanded flat, on site, which means the colour can be completely customised as opposed to installing pre-finished planks that are already sanded and coloured. Using an unfinished product also means if there are any slight irregularities in the floor, they can often be sanded out.”
Goodwood Timber Flooring works across the full scope of flooring projects from preparation to installation and finishing, and specialises in the restoration of existing timber floors.