Creating Art Abroad

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Filip Redant, celebrating 30 years of ownership and business with Atelier Passe Partout in Mechelen, Belgium, is known for his top-quality work in wood flooring. His career originally began with the restoration of musical instruments. Redant then ventured into restoring furniture, next into restoring parquet floors, and eventually landed at installing solid parquet.

One aspect of this job that proves Redant’s work is top-notch – his customer was in London and still hired him for the job. “For us, this is abroad,” says Redant. “Also, the legislation, regulation, and language are different from that of our own country.”

Upon being hired for the job, Redant spoke with his customer and consulted with the architect to learn what their dreams were for the floor. “The customer was in love with American walnut,” shares Redant. “Knowing this, I came up with the layout and design for the floor, of course consulting with the customer and architect.”

Because of the distance overseas, Redant and his crew weren’t able to survey the home beforehand, which is what they usually do. “Not being able to check out the subfloor or the jobsite before arriving for the installation created a challenge,” adds Redant.
“The subfloor didn’t reach the right level, which then had to be adjusted at the last minute.”

The 18 mm (23/32″) plywood subfloor was sanded flat, and the solid 9 mm (3/8″) American walnut was glued down and supported with nails in a chevron pattern. The border was constructed using two 1 cm strips of wenge with a 3 cm strip of American walnut in between. “The three strips were glued together and shaved to the thickness of 9 mm to match the rest of the floor,” shares Redant. “We used Bostik Eco Plus to glue the chevron down to the subfloor. We sawed the chevron just at the line of the border and placed the assembled strips and the border planks at the right place.”

After the installation was completed, the floor was sanded and finished with Bona Craft Oil, Pure.

As with any job, this one had its nuances. “There were many different tradesmen working in the home at the same time, which made it hectic,” adds Redant. “Thanks to the good collaboration and the good spirits of all involved, it was a very enjoyable job. Our three weeks in London felt a bit like a holiday.”

“The client and architect were both very happy with the result,” says Redant. “The client even offered us some excellent bottles of wine from his collection and invited us back to visit during our next stay in London.”

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