By: Kim Wahlgren
The floor that caught the attention of the National Wood Flooring Association members for the 2014 Wood Floor of the Year Members’ Choice award also caught the attention of creator Tom Ourada’s neighbor—so much so that he immediately asked for one of his own.
Upon completing the winning celestial-patterned floor that graces the cover of the June/July 2014 issue of HF, Ourada invited his neighbor to see it. “It’s truly one of the best feelings to watch people react to this floor,” Ourada explains. “He’s walking around and studying it … then he says,
‘What are you doing this weekend? We’re going to walk around my property and cut down some trees and build me a floor of my own.’”
And that is what they did. After cutting down enough trees on his neighbor’s property, which backs up to a national forest, Ourada made several drawings of potential floors. His neighbor, an avid hunter, chose his favorite. Ourada started taking photos of the landscape in his rural Washington State area, then visited Crosscut Hardwoods in Seattle to choose woods with the right spectrum of colors for the landscape and the deer.
Next it was time to make the wood come to life. “For the transition between light and dark you have to create a boundary and put it on paper,” Ourada explains. “I try to position that paper how I think the grain should be.” With that done, he used a jigsaw to cut each piece and assemble the entire floor in his garage, and then shipped it to his neighbor’s for final installation.
Ourada says he still gets chills when he thinks about his neighbor’s reaction to seeing his own floor. That wow factor inspires him to keep pursuing his passion, he says: “I’ve got to keep doing this.”