At William & Henry, we take great pride in keeping the tradition of beautiful wide plank floors—the kind that you find in the first homes ever built in America—alive in the floors we make for homes across the country. The most traditional of these floors is made from old growth Eastern White Pine; we like to call this floor The Original Wide Plank. And, we also make wide plank floors from southern longleaf heart pine, and gorgeous hardwoods like our Native Black Cherry, New England White Oak, and Black Walnut, as well as from woods recovered from old buildings.
Even though the wide plank and long lengths are indicative of a traditional look and feel, these floors also provide a beautiful backdrop to any type of design style, from contemporary to urban, from old world to cosmopolitan.
There are a lot of things to consider when we help our customers design their floors, and the first step is getting to know you, your family, your lifestyle, and what you might have in mind. We talk about color tones, how much natural character you’d like to see, and of course, your budget.
Here are some ideas for how to create a floor for your particular home and lifestyle:
Contemporary. City High Rise. Clean and Minimalist.
Many of these design styles were inspired by the early Shaker style furniture, renowned for its simplicity, quality of craftsmanship, and minimalist designs.Today, contemporary interiors are typically open space concepts with a lot of light or white color tones.
This look may be achieved naturally with select grade Sugar Maple, known for its minimal character and nearly white natural color tones. A select grade Northern White Oak with a white stain creates shades of white. And even our most traditional floor, Eastern White Pine, takes a white stain beautifully. When trying to preserve the lighter color tones, we recommend a water-based polyurethane, such as Lobadur.
While a traditional wide plank floor maximizes the yield from the timber, and is made in random widths and lengths, choosing all one width might lend a more contemporary look with long clean lines.
From Rustic to Elegant
A wide plank floor can be crafted to fit into a rustic style home or farmhouse…or one of stately elegance, and sometimes even using the same type of wood! For example, with a country grade Northern Hickory, we carefully select boards that retain hickory’s natural color variation, knots, and checks. Finished with a light stain or simply a natural high-resin tung oil you see all of its rustic beauty.
Take that same wood, cut from the center of an old, slow growing timber where you won’t find many knots, apply a rich, dark stain, and your floor sets the stage for classic luxury.
Widths and Lengths
“Wide plank” can mean something different to each of our customers. While we think of wide as 20 inches, some may think 6 inches is wide. And 6 inches may be the perfect width for your design style. What is just as important, and a factor that many may not consider, is the lengths of the boards. When we cut our boards from mature timber we are able to achieve impressive widths, and also stunning long lengths, up to 16 feet depending on the specie of wood and how tall the tree grew. That might mean that some boards reach all the way from end to end in your room!
Think about it—when you see common strip flooring from a large retailer or online source, typically the lengths are only about 2 to 3 feet. Consider how many end seams you’ll see in the room, and how chopped up it will appear. Compare that with long boards that create a much more open feel. The focus is then on the beauty of the floor and the room, with no distractions from all of the seams. And the length of the boards are also an important indication of the quality of the wood.