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ARCHITECT’S ADVICE: Herringbone parquet flooring – when should we choose this pattern?

ARCHITECT’S ADVICE: Herringbone parquet flooring – when should we choose this pattern?

Herringbone parquet flooring is one of the most traditional ways to install a wooden floor. We usually see it in old tenement buildings or projects from the past, more rarely in modern designs.

Herringbone parquet flooring conveys elegance and class in the interior. It is often used in apartments of renovated tenement buildings where, for example, the original flooring could not be preserved. Such flooring is perfect for high interiors with historical windows (often arched windows), band door with panels or rich historicizing details, and it will fill the room with sophistication. The interior may be decorated in a retro or modern style – there are no strict rules. However, in order to achieve a satisfactory result we need to think through not only the flooring but also other interior fittings.

Recently in Gliwice, we designed an apartment located in an old tenement building. Together with the investor, we decided that the herringbone oak flooring will match the modern and minimalistic interior filled with off-white and off-grey colors. The floor was great at breaking the apartment. That is why, I would not be afraid to use herringbone flooring even in the case of the most modern arrangements. Nevertheless, when choosing this flooring other furnishing and arrangement elements should be rather restrained and serve as a background to emphasize a wooden and rather rich herringbone pattern. I would not recommend this flooring for small and low-ceilinged rooms or interiors filled with striking elements as it may produce an impression of chaos and heaviness.

If we decide for such a solution all we need to do is choose a particular design of herringbone flooring – (i.e. its arrangement and type of wood). The most common is a classic one. More sophisticated and demanding Hungarian flooring (in Poland known also as French flooring), made of tiles with shorter sides, cut at a 45’or 60’ angle, form the shape of arrowheads. This solution is very effective but unfortunately much more expensive.

In the case of the classic version, tiles can be laid in both single and double herringbone patterns. A double pattern makes it easier to install the flooring but the single one is more delicate and sophisticated. The herringbone flooring may be laid forming strips parallel to walls (a diagonal herringbone). In that case, individual tiles reach the walls at different angles and must be cut to fit them what is rather labor-intensive. In other, much simple arrangement, strips run along the center line of the room, at an angle of 45’. Everything depends on the interior and its geometry. Parquets laid according to such patterns as herringbone or French herringbone must be glued to the floor, which needs to be kept in mind when choosing this kind of flooring. It is also recommended to employ an experienced group of contractors.

Wood tiles may have different proportions. The slimmer ones will bring more delicacy and lightness. They are most often installed in old Polish tenement buildings and apartments. A modern interior gives the possibility to experiment with sizes. The French herringbone made of broader tiles looks interesting. As far as wood type is concerned, the most traditional one is oak parquet. It looks beautiful both oiled and brushed but there are many different floor finishes and everything depends on the effect we would like to achieve. However, we must remember that herringbone itself provides our floor with a pattern, which is why very decorative wood with strong grain and discoloration should be used carefully. Therefore, more low-key wood will be safer.

The text was prepared by the Architectural Studio AJ Forms Anna Jaszkaniec www.ajforms.pl


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