by Emmi Micallef November 17, 2021
Throughout history, difficult times are followed by rebirth and homes have been and will always be a priority for us as a human collective. As we shelter-in-place, we may appreciate more elements in our home we took for granted - like the beautiful chaise in the living room, asking us to sit and read a book. Others may be creating in their mind their dream home, talking with their architect about future planing. The changes that are occurring are profound and it's anyone's guess what next month or next year will look like. I do feel the home will be, more then ever, a sanctuary - and making it beautiful will be of the highest priority.
One way to achieve a beautiful home and to make it feel like a haven of tranquility is using natural materials, one being wood floors. However, I feel there is an over saturation of mass produced wood floors - inferior in quality, marketing themselves as a superior wood flooring material and thus, confusing the consumer. As well, these large global manufacturers decimate forests with the end goal of bottom dollar earnings. I am proud to say our wood floors are the opposite of this mentality. Our Kings of France 18th Century French & European Oak floors are not only sustainably resourced within managed certified forests, but they are also incredibly beautiful and authentic in appearance due to the wood craftsmanship, technique and artistry behind these planks.
If you would take a moment and walk through this image above with me? (I know I sound like a teacher...I was one...a high school French teacher so bare with me!) Do these floors not appear time worn and reclaimed with their incredible matte patina and translucent colors? Doesn't it seem like the colors are intermingled within the beautiful oak patterns and grains and not just floating on top? Do you notice the edging detail of these planks that appear walked upon for centuries? My eyes see this and I know the majority of wood floors on the market cannot not achieve this level of antiqued mastery.
The reason the majority of wood manufacturers cannot and will never achieve antiqued mastery is that mass produced wood floors use applications of reactive stains or colored oils to change the surface color of the wood. This technique is too easily achieved, hence over produced get-rich-quick companies selling their floors and for what goal? The appearance of these wood floors will never replicate reclaimed French oak wood flooring, where age and time have taken hold to reveal a matte old world patina. Their color will stay on the surface of the plank and not feel intertwined within the French oak noble grains and knots. And finally, the filler for the knots can ring false for they react with the reactive stains or colored oils leaving them looking unnatural.
Our French and European oak floors are created using an oxidation method - which is a process that works within the tannin of the oak planks. There are 7-10 steps as well as in-between drying times. With other various artisanal antiquing techniques and working the wood by hand, our French and European hardwood oak floors have a standard of quality and craftsmanship that soar above the majority of wood flooring companies today. Due to these technical and artistic woodworking achievements, our Kings of France Collection appear authentically time worn, like French reclaimed oak planks salvaged from the 18th century. Their matte patina replicates reclaimed French oak floors, their colors are nuanced and earthy, translucent yet weighted within the oak grains and knots and their texture to the eye seems as if only footprints and time have aged these French and European oak planks.
Hand crafted, our woodworkers artistry and discipline is revealed in every Kings of France 18th Century French Oak Plank
However, what is most remarkable about our Kings of France 18th Century French and European Oak Flooring Collection is their versatility in interiors. There are four different French oak flooring collections within the Kings of France: The Great House Collection, The Country House Collection, The Farmhouse Collection and The Olde Oak Collection. Each one is distinct and a major asset when designing a home. The first two series are up on our site as I write this blog - the Great House and the Country House Collections - which are the main focus of this blog Part 1. The third and fourth series will soon be showcased on our site and will also have a dedicated blog called "Raising the Bar - Our Kings of France 18th Century French Oak Floors - The Farmhouse Collection and The Olde Oak Collection".
I entitled these blogs, "Raising the Bar" for the simple reason that our French and European oak floors, wide plank, solid or engineered with custom stair treads and patterns, are pre-finished in the most authentic way and are above and beyond in quality, craftsmanship and artistry from the majority of wood floors on the market. These oak planks also come from sustainably managed forests in France and Europe, an essential point that should be thoughtfully considered when purchasing a wood floor. The solid and engineered planks are PEFC Certified and the parquet de Versailles panels and patterns are FSC Certified.
At this point, I will now explain the aesthetic differences between The Great House and The Country House Collections.
The Great House Collection
Two very different but beautiful Parisian apartments revealing how versatile our Kings of France 18th Century French Oak Floors are - from a traditional pied-a-terre with the parquet de Versailles French oak floor to a modern interior showcasing the chevron pattern.
The Great House French and European Oak Collection's hallmark is one of historic elegance. It's the most refined French oak floor as compared to the other three Collections. There are 12 different pre-finished colors in this series, colors that are nuanced and subtle, that are an incredibly soft and authentic backdrop to so many design interiors. The colors of these wood floors are one of main assets of the Kings of France 18th Century French Oak Flooring Collection. As I mentioned above, the beautiful tones are not achieved by colored oils or by reactive stains, but by an oxidation method that works within the tannin of the oak. It's as if the colors are being revealed from the inside out and not staying on the surface of the oak plank. From rich walnut and gray to historic oak tones - the variety of color choices is no small feat. Please enjoy just a few of the colors of this collection and to view the complete color range, click here.
One of our most popular colors, our Kings of France 18th Century French Oak Floors in the Color Cepes has a mix of brown and gray hues.
This French oak floor called Vintage Oak, has incredible tones of warm oak with grey and black undertones. An incredible wood floor that allows design to build upon the cool and warm contrasts.
The Kings of France 18th Century French Floor in Weathered Oak is a warm, inviting honey colored oak that works so well with historic interiors.
Weathered Grey is one of our most popular French oak grey wood floors that exudes authenticity. It is very very hard to produce a natural reclaimed looking grey wood floor - but the Kings of France 18th Century French Oak Floors excels at this.
Another hallmark of the Great House Collection is the soft, matte patina and a surface texture that stays quiet - keeping the noble French and European oak grain and patterns more subdued. The is a specific aging technique that gives this wood floor an overall appearance of quiet elegance while remaining authentically historic. Furthermore, the edging detail on the planks are beautifully hand worn and this matters for the overall authenticity of a wood floor once it's installed.
The contrast between the high-gloss painted white walls and the historic soft, matte patina of this Kings of France French Oak Floor in the chevron pattern is an interior design technique that allows contrast to play off one another. The tension between the two materials create interest and beauty.
This particular interior emphasizes soft surfaces where the hand worked scroll banister marries beautifully with the Kings of France French Oak Floors Great House Collection where the French oak grains and patterns are nuanced and quiet.
A mix of farmhouse and industrial - this interior with the black metal window casings and white walls is softened and warmed by the Kings of France French Oak Floor in the Great House Collection.
As you can see from the three images above, these wood floors seem to find their home in such a vast array of interiors - from contemporary and industrial to mid-century modern and farmhouse styles. The classic English and Shaker style interiors are also a beautiful match with the Great House Collection for they are old world, while exuding simple elegance - which is one of the hallmark's of English interiors. Another hallmark of the Classic English Kitchen and the Shaker Style kitchen is their level of hand work and craftsmanship. Therefore, installing a wood floor in these types of kitchens and interiors with the same level of artistry is a symbiotic pairing that becomes a triumph of interior design.
Finally, the Great House Kings of France 18th Century French and European Oak Flooring Collection is available in a variety of sizes from 5 1/2" wide to 11 3/4" wide planks, mixed or fixed width, up to 118" long, solid or engineered with a 6 mm top layer, custom stair treads, and patterns like the herringbone, chevron and parquet de Versailles. To see all the sizes available - click here.
This is a Parisian pied-a-terre where the natural oak color of the Kings of France French Oak Flooring in the parquet de Versailles pattern heightens the elegance of the olive painted mill work, yet retaining a sense of historic authenticity.
The Chevron pattern from the Great House Collection in the Kings of France 18th Century French Oak Flooring plays off the modernity and geometric forms of this apartment while creating a beautiful tension from the wood floor's softness and history.
An up close image of a Parquet de Versaille panel from the Kings of France 18th Century French Oak Flooring Great House Collection allows one to appreciate the matte patina, the mill work, the authentic color that seems to just live inside the oak itself and it's hand worked edge detail.
The Country House Collection
The Kings of France 18th Century French Oak Flooring in the Country House Collection is luxury. The wide-planks and historic lengths, the time-worn authentic colors that seem to be coming from within and the raised French oak grain following the noble patterns of the French oak call out to be walked upon.
The Kings of France 18th Century French and European Oak Flooring in the County House Collection is breathtaking. The Country House Collection is a weathered, highly brushed and aged French or European oak floor with an undulation surface that makes for an historic masterpiece. It's the French oak floor that gets the most appreciation for it's width, length, texture, color and patina, as well as it's ability to fit into a variety of interiors from historic farmhouse and luxury to minimalist and industrial styles.
The Kings of France 18th Century French Oak Floors in the Country House Collection marries with so many interiors. The contrast of this minimalist coastal home is softened and retaining a sense of history, when contrasted with the white, silver and black elements of this room.
At first glance, one is impressed by the girth of these planks, which are available up to 11 3/4" wide and up to 118" long. A fixed width in the Country House Collection French Oak Floors is jaw-dropping. However, it's just not their presence of length and width that is admired - it's their incredible colors, patina and surface textures that make other wood floors pale in comparison.
Like the Great House Collection French and European Oak Flooring, the colors of the Country House are achieved through the oxidation method. If you recall, these colors are not on the surface of the wood which happens when one uses reactive stains and colored oils. The tones and hues of the Country House French Oak Floors are developed slowly - a 7-10 step process with drying times in between. It's as if the color and the antiqued patina are coming from the inside out.
One of the best French grey wood floors on the market with historic accuracy, the Country House Kings of France 18th Century French Oak Floor compliments this showroom where a mix of contemporary and farmhouse elements marry beautifully.
These incredible colors are then married into the oak by a series of unique aging techniques that meld color and texture into the hardwood plank. The Country House Collection is more vigorously hand worked and aged, which removes the soft wood from the oak. The result reveals the hard wood left behind, following the veining and patterning of the the noble French and European oak grain. To walk barefoot on these wood floors feels divine.
As well, like the Great House Collection, the edging detail of the Country House Collection is also hand worked - which allows for the most authentic installation similar to a reclaimed French oak wood floor.
In this image above, the depth and beauty of the Country House French Oak Floor is the backdrop for this minimalist interior that emphasizes organic materials and bringing the outside in.
In the image above, notice the incredible widths of the French oak planks and it's matte patina of this Country House Kings of France 18th Century French Oak Floor. This inspired Axel Vervoordt interior using an oak and white color palette combines minimalist and contemporary details where the floor is the anchor.
Finally, the Country House Collection is available in 12 different colors, 5 1/2" wide to 11 3/4" wide, up to 118" long, mixed and fixed widths, solid and engineered (22 mm) and custom stair treads. Due to the oxidation method that is a 7-10 step technical process that could never be achieved on-site, the naturalness of the colors are extraordinary. Please see below some of the Country House's most sold colors. To view the entire Country House Collection, click here.
The Kings of France 18th Century French Oak Floor in Burnt Oak - A shou sugi ban technique where the natural oak is slightly burned to enrich the color and texture. Notice the incredible aging technique that reveals in the most natural of ways the French oak grains and patterns.
This Kings of France 18th Century French Oak Floor in Vintage Grey will be the wood floor you will fall in love with if you are wanting an authentically reclaimed looking grey wood floor. It's warm and cool - where the undertones of oak colors intermingle with the dark and light grey tones. These colors allow for creativity in design - a floor color that marries so well with blacks, whites, oak and various metals.
Authentic Oak in the Country House Collection is the natural French and European oak floor one dreams of when creating aesthetics from old world to minimalist interiors. The soft natural oak colors and incredible aging techniques create a natural environment that marry well with various color schemes - like blues, creams, grays or blacks.
Olde Walnut is an incredibly warm gray brown from the Country House Collection. Due to the oxidation method, one can see how the depth of this color seems to reside within the oak planks intermingling with the oak grains and patterns. A deep, rich and historic French oak floor will make a variety interiors a success.
Many people who build homes know they would like to put down wood floors. There are many options all with varying price points, installation techniques and overall aesthetics. One aesthetic option is having a builder install a wood floor followed by sanding and then staining the planks. These floors will never achieve a reclaimed wood floor appearance and is best where rugs will play a large role in the interior, covering the majority of the wood floors.
Another aesthetic is choosing those pre-finished wood floors that use the reactive stains or oils that, in my opinion, leave a floor appearing like a fake reclaimed wood floor - where the grains are too emphasized, the colors float on top of the surface of the wood, the lack of true patina and the unrealistic surface textures and colors of the knots. These decisions can be short-sited if one is wanting to achieve a depth of beauty and history that only historic, antique wood floors can deliver.
A third option would be to use reclaimed French oak planks. However, this material, although noble, will create headaches due to unpredictable color lots, thicknesses and textures and may not even be reasonable to walk upon - let alone clean. A builder could plane and sand the reclaimed wood planks - but you are then left with a raw wood floor and you are back to square one on how to install and treat it. The reality is yes - you have reclaimed French oak floors in your home, but after planing the surface texture, sanding and finishing the wood - the wood floor will have the same appearance as having installed a new French oak floor. There will be zero patina and age to it - and all the history of the reclaimed French oak floor - it's patina and colors will be erased.
Our Kings of France 18th Century French and European Oak Floors check all the boxes for those who are searching for a reclaimed French oak floor that appears beyond authentic without the headaches of installing a true reclaimed French oak floor. Within one installation of either tongue and groove or spline depending on the collection - one will achieve wood floors that appear centuries old, with a rich matte patina and colors that seem to beckon from within the oak plank. This instant gratification only arises after the work it took to antique and pre-finish these French and European oak floors and it's a wonder to think how these planks began from fresh new wood. It is quite remarkable.
The wood floor one chooses for one's home will set a tone for the entire interior and how lovely to know that the versatility of our Kings of France French oak floors with it's multitude of colors, will enhance interiors from minimalist and industrial to farmhouse and classic English and Shaker decors.
I hope you found this blog insightful. As you have noticed, I highly like our French oak flooring collection...but even if this was not my business - knowing and understanding quality, craftsmanship, technique and beauty, I would instantly gravitate to this most remarkable pre-finished oak floor. Please look for the latest two Kings of France 18th Century French Oak Flooring collections: the Farmhouse and the Olde Oak Collection that will soon be up on our site and compliment the Great House and Country House Collections. Adding more versatility and interior design options in regards to French oak flooring will make it all the more fun when designing one's home!
Thank you for your time,Emmi Micallef, Co-Founder
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