Customized wood floors create breathtaking artistic statements

In an age when anything is possible in the world of home décor, customized wood floors have taken on new proportions in size and scope. From the bedroom to the ballroom, customized patterns and geometric shapes—in addition to hand-hewn, gorgeously rendered images—adorn this most unlikely of palettes more than ever before in residences around the country.

“Wood flooring has numerous benefits over other flooring options,” says Michael Martin, CEO of the National Wood Flooring Association ( “When properly maintained, wood floors will last in excess of 100 years, so they offer significant value. When making improvements, it’s important to do things right.”

Some benefits of wood flooring include better indoor air quality (it stores carbon); that it requires less water and energy usage to produce; and that it remains a renewable resource. It is also one of the most attractive and perennially stylish floor types.

“We get calls from around the world; I’ll take whatever they’ve proposed and make it work,” says John Yarema, a designer and installer of custom wood flooring. “Approximately 90 percent of our work is pattern work; the other 10 percent is pictorial or imagery inlay. We’re doing a lot of historical [inlays] right now.” Designs in demand can range from flowers to patterns to continents. “If it’s geometric, we always make it by hand to maintain the organic look and feel,” says Yarema. “If it’s got a lot of repeatable pieces, [we] make it with CNC equipment (a laser cutter that will cut repeatable patterns) for consistency.”

Coloring is an important factor in any custom wood floor design. “We’ve used 80 to 90 types of woods,” Yarema says. “We try to be careful about the woods we use and do a lot of reclaiming.” For special designs, Yarema’s team might utilize copper, glass, and aluminum to trim the wood designs. “We oxidize our woods and metals to mellow the color.

While projects can take several weeks, Yarema says the result is worth it. “…When it is hand-done, it looks beautiful and not kitschy,” he says. “Machines can’t do organic customized shapes and images. You have to keep the human influence in it.”


Light as Air 

Astound guests with this handmade stainless steel mirror-and-glass chandelier of dazzling proportions. Crafted by the Faenza, Italy-based design duo Letizia Mammini and Valeria Candido for AXO Lighting, the six-and-a-half-foot-long masterpiece is ideal for higher ceilings, achieving both modern and understated flair while reflecting perfectly the designers’ goal: “clear use of creativity and inspiration to create stunning lighting replete with value and emotion.” Emotion indeed, and $21,970 is a relatively small price to pay for home décor happiness.