Now situated over three floors in Winchester, the Searle & Taylor kitchen showroom has always been an inspiring place to see the very best kitchens, worktops and appliances. The business was established in 1991 and with the support of a great project team it has gained an exceptional reputation for fastidious design and methodical workmanship.
We were delighted when the managing director, Darren Taylor, asked us to quote on laying a new floor. This was for a new first-floor showroom to display a bespoke UK kitchen range from ELK. Extreme Logic Kitchens is an artisan manufacturer breaking the mould in kitchen functionality, geometry, process and materials. The craftsmanship encompasses native tree woods in unique designs with considerable environmental advantages. These designs can harmonise beautifully with the patterns possible with parquet flooring.
Parquet is having a revival since its heyday in wood over half a century ago. It is now manufactured in a flexible vinyl format known as LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tile or plank). It is incredibly hard-wearing, easy to clean and totally waterproof, making it ideal for use in kitchens. A revolution in colour and designs has helped mushroom the LVT market but it is the original herringbone patterns that are the most popular. The resemblance to real wood is remarkable. Darren asked us to lay a parquet herringbone small ‘z’ pattern in Moduleo light oak; an ideal combination with the ELK cabinets planned for the display.
The Searle & Taylor premises have great character because the building dates back to the 1800s. It required some imaginative building work to bring the interior up to date. This opened up 62 square meters of space. Converting the original two rooms into one provides an attractive double aspect showroom and office. However, the removal of two fireplaces, together with the original floorboards, left us with a very uneven surface to work on (1).
Our first task was to overlay the original floorboards with 6mm of high-grade plyboard (2). This was stapled down giving us a totally flat and smooth surface on which to lay the LVT. Any imperfections (gaps and joints) were then treated with a feathering compound and rubbed down where necessary. The cement base of the fireplaces was latexed to bring everything up to the same level. We place considerable emphasis on sub-floor work. If this is not right, the finished job will not last or meet expectations.
Each piece of this parquet measures 260mm x 65mm. To prevent awkward sized offcuts at the edges the room was accurately remeasured and the design started centrally. The floor was progressively coated with a pressure-sensitive adhesive and the pieces were laid individually (3 & 4). This is precision and time-consuming job. In all, nearly 3,600 pieces were laid over several days.
The result is very pleasing (5) and looks even better now that the showroom is complete (6 & 7). We greatly enjoyed working on this project which highlights the skill of our fitters and shows the diversity of work we undertake.
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