The city of Lexington, KY tells a story that dates back to 1775. Throughout the centuries that followed, changes occurred in more than just the people and culture. Changes also took place in the architecture. In some neighborhoods, however, time stands still. When you walk the streets, you can get a glimpse into a different era of homes filled with black walnut floors.
As soon as you set your eyes on the Henry Clay Estate in the Ashland Park neighborhood, you immediately go back to the 19th century. A street over whisks you to the roaring 20s. The houses don’t exude art-deco styles, but you’ll find a more familiar architectural design—the craftsman. Though several craftsman-style houses line the street, Oak & Broad had a special opportunity. We were able to provide the ideal walnut flooring for the renovation of one home in particular.
The History of the Ashland Park Home
About a century ago, a home was built in Lexington’s Ashland Park. Originally, it was a one-and-a-half-story bungalow house with 900 square feet of living space. It housed many individuals and families across the years that came to pass. It was even used as a rental home for more than ten years. Throughout that decade, it had gradually fallen into a state of disrepair.
That all changed in 2016, however. The future for the home looked much brighter after homeowner Christy purchased it in 2016. They had big plans of reviving the house to make it more suitable for today’s living standards. However, they knew it was important to keep some of the character in the 100-year-old home.
The Revival of a 1920s Home
The homeowners knew they faced an immense challenge in balancing the design aspects. For that reason, they brought in some professional help from Pohl Rosa Pohl, a local Lexington architectural designer. Together, they were able to create a design that would breathe new life into the old bones of the home.
In fact, the home would have to be gutted to the studs to achieve the goals that Christy had. Along with plans to modernize the interior, she also sought to add more space. The original 900 square feet left the home feeling cramped, so they worked with the designers to create a seamless addition on the second floor.
Part of creating the continuity included new flooring throughout the old and new parts of the house. However, the owners wanted to stay true to the original design. Instead of installing a modern tile or plush carpet, they wanted hardwood in a wide plank flooring.
That’s where Oak and Broad came in to help.
Selecting the Right Hardwood Floor Supplier
Few companies offer the same type of flooring that you would find in the 1920s. In most instances, it can be nearly impossible to find a flooring company that regularly carries the kind of hardwood the new homeowners sought. That didn’t stop Christy though. She was dedicated to the task, so she searched for the right supplier for the job until she came across us.
Though there were many hardwood flooring companies in Lexington, the bespoke nature of Oak & Broad appealed to the owners most. Christy loved that she “could get exactly what [she] wanted milled for the house.” Instead of choosing from small list of pre-cut and finished planks, she decided to work with our Atlanta-based business to create the ideal flooring for her home’s transitional design.
Selecting the Right Wood for the Project
When any customer first comes to Oak & Broad, it can be a bit overwhelming to choose from all of the different solid wood flooring options. While many of our clients desire the look of our white oak floors, every now and then, we get to make magic happen with black walnut flooring.
When Christy expressed the desire for a wood that would add warmth and character, we immediately pointed her in the direction of our walnut flooring products. Personally, we find fewer hardwoods offer the warm, inviting feeling you get from walnut. It is rare, unique, and memorable, so we knew that it would add the character the home needed, but we didn’t stop there. We also pointed the homeowners in the direction of our character-grade, wide plank flooring for more charm.
What are Character-Grade Black Walnut Floors?
If you want to better understand what character-grade flooring is, you must first understand how wood is graded in the first place. Wood can either be prime, select, natural (character), or rustic (barn grade). In order to place a piece of wood into one of the four categories, you should look at how uniform it is across the board. If it is more uniform, it will be prime, and it heads towards rustic grade with each knot or discoloration.
In general, you should compare:
- The Number and Size of Knots
- The Amount of Sap
- Any Color Variations
At Oak and Broad, we love when each piece of wood tells its own story, so we pride ourselves in providing some beautiful character-grade planks. Each plank has a variety of knots and knot sizes, and the black walnut floors specifically offers unique color variations. For example, the heartwood is often a deep dark brown while the sapwood tends to be lighter. The moderate color variations add just enough character to keep the flooring interesting without being too distracting.
The Oak & Broad Process
Christy ultimately chose Oak & Broad for more than just the stunning flooring. She says that she was happy to work with a family-owned business that offers superior products and exceptional service. She says they had a wonderful experience overall, and we couldn’t agree more.
Every project we work on is an exciting challenge from start to finish. We love that our customers trust us to guide them through the process from the first consultation to delivery. Since we are so involved in the design process, we build long-lasting relationships and hope that our product knowledge can get them one step closer to their dream home.
If you choose to work with Oak & Broad, you can expect a professional to walk you through all of the ins and outs of hardwood flooring. Whether you are a DIY home remodeler or have worked as a designer for years, we are here to tailor your experience so that you get the exact species, construction, dimensions, and finish that you need. We’ll even send out as many samples as it takes to find the right floor for your house.
Traditional Meets Modern
After their consultation, the homeowners finally decided on our solid 3/4” Black Walnut Floor in Character-Grade 6” wide planks. Though we offer finishes, they elected to have the boards delivered unfinished. Their team then applied their desired finish on site.
A gorgeous wide plank wood flooring that was not only stunning to look at, but it was something that would have been used in the home back in the 1920s. We call that a major success! After all of the work that went into finding the right hardwood flooring, we were pleased to see it installed throughout the entire home—excluding the two bathrooms. In those rooms, Christy hand-cut the shape of the hexagonal tile into the black walnut. This choice left the house without any traditional thresholds for a more modern look.
We also love that the flooring also complements the cable stair railing, the beams in the master bedroom, and the mismatched wood plank ceiling above the dining room. No detail was left out in this home. Christy and her partner did the gutting themselves and most of the finish work, and the process was a true labor of love. It is clear to see why choosing the right flooring was so critical in the revival of this classic 1920s home.
Customize Black Walnut Floors for Your Home Renovation
Whether you purchased a fixer upper or want to upgrade your forever home, Oak & Broad is here to help. We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to live in the home of their dreams, so start your home remodel with new flooring. Our experts can walk you through each step of customizing solid wood flooring that fits your design goals.
If you would like to learn more about the benefits of installing black walnut floors, we encourage you to contact our design professionals. We are happy to provide you with more information so that you can make an informed decision.
To set up your complimentary consultation, we recommend that you submit our contact form with as many details of your project as you can provide. A helpful representative will be in touch shortly! You can also give us a call to schedule an appointment with our experts.