WFOY Winner Spotlight: From Online Inspiration to Installation

Today, more and more consumers are turning to social media to find inspiration for their homes. Sites such as Pinterest and Houzz allow people to discover millions of design ideas online and create boards and collections. What started as a simple “save” on a client’s idea board, evolved into an award-winning floor in the Best Color & Finish category for Artistic Floors by Design.

“We had recently worked on a separate job that was a 3”–8” reclaimed, red/white oak mix. We had posted those pictures on and this client loved those pictures,” says Joe Rocco, co-founder, Artistic Floors by Design. “We took them to look at the floor, and they decided they wanted the same floor. My wife, Joni, and I worked with the client and explained that we wouldn’t be able to replicate that exact same floor due to availability of materials.”

He continued, “We worked with this new client and set out the parameters that this job would be similar in size, but couldn’t be a red/white mix and instead would be completely white oak. They were OK with that; they just wanted the same look.”

Floor Focus
The material, 4”–8” white oak, was then ordered and installed. “The homeowner was ecstatic about the initial look. We went through the sanding process and then most of the finishing process, and we were just unable to get the variations that we had gotten on the previous floor since it was all white oak instead of a red/white mix. The floor had a golden hue to it.”

The team then went back to the drawing board and ended up sanding the entire job off. “I think we went through a good week messing around with small samples and then we spent another week experimenting by finishing around 500 square feet out of the approximately 2,100 square feet job. Once we got to a position where they liked the variations of the colors that we were able to create in the lower 500 square feet, then we moved on to finishing the rest of the house.”

In the end, each board was custom colored to create a random reclaimed look on newly milled white oak. Twenty-five different processes were used creating a unique look on each board. The base colors included four stain colors, three dyes, three clear stains, and three reactives. The layering colors over each other produced more than 25 custom colorant processes. The finishing system was a three-coat system of the finish manufacturer.

“Most people think this is a reclaimed floor, but it’s not. Nothing reclaimed about it. It’s all brand-new white oak. There’s nothing special about the floor other than what we did to make it look special. That’s always been my kind of inspiration, adding uniqueness to something that most people think is a commodity,” says Rocco.

Rocco is a Certified NWFA Professional and multiple wood floor of the year winner, and handles all aspects of the craft from installation, sanding, and finishing, to inspection. He has more than 20 years of woodcrafting and floor installation experience.

“What I thought I wanted to do in life and where my passion eventually took me were two very different roads. Even while I was getting my degrees in economics and political science, I was installing and finishing wood floors. The work got me through college, but, more importantly, the art of it got under my skin. I kept at it, and, in 2006, my wife and I started our own company, Artistic Floors by Design. We put our passion for quality and craftsmanship into every project,” says Rocco.

Wood: Muscanell Hardwoods, Middle Tennessee Lumber, Aacer, Braz Floor, Bolefloor, WoodCraft | Saws: Festool | Nailers: Primatech | Adhesive: Stauf |
Buffer: Ceno | Abrasive: 3M |
Filler: Goodfilla | Finish: Arboritec

Entries in the Best Color & Finish category include job site applied applications of dyes, reactive colorants, layered colors, and faux finishing.

Stacy Brown is the Editor/Publisher of Hardwood Floors magazine, the official magazine of the National Wood Flooring Association. She can be reached at

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