For many in this industry, hardwood flooring is more than just doing a job; it’s taking a piece of wood and turning it into a piece of art.
Tom Ourada, the owner of Ourada Designs in Nine Mile Falls, Washington, is no exception. Growing up in Naple Valley in Seattle, Ourada attended Tahoma High School. Over the years, he has stayed in touch with one of his friends from high school, Terry Duty, who is now the Principal at Tahoma.
Staying consistent with the school’s motto, “Honor the past. Live the present. Create the future,” Duty asked Ourada for help. When he went to Ourada, who also collaborates with Integrity Remodeling Inc., with this job, he needed something a little different.
“Tahoma recently built a new building, and Terry asked me to create some benches for the common area on the main floor of the building,” says Ourada.
“The design he had in mind was for flat, wooden benches but I suggested a more artsy, natural-edge design that would play into the theme of the floor, which was a water level,” adds Ourada. “This is when I came up with the idea of making the steps look similar to a waterfall.”
Using multiple species from his storehouse of material, Ourada created a one-of-a-kind design that included many elements that played into the theme of being in high school.
“I grew up near a creek, and there were lots of sockeye, which is a seasonal fish,” says Ourada. “I added two near the top to represent students coming and going at a school. I also created a ripple in one part, to symbolize one student standing out from the rest and going down a different path.”
“This job was unique for me, and it allowed me to try so many techniques that I’ve always wanted to do but haven’t had the chance. It was really an honor to be included in this job.”
Together we come, from different soil.
Our lives entangled through joy and toil.
Cast as one, each holds a part.
Together we finish and our journey we start.
Poem written by Tom Ourada and displayed near his benches at Tahoma High School.