2021 WFOY: Best in Marquetry/Inlay

Ourada Designs | Nine Mile Falls, Washington

Photo courtesy of Ourada Designs


Entries in this category include any hand-cut marquetry/intarsia, or inlay featured within a wood floor as a stand-alone feature, inlaid into the floor, or throughout the entire project.


This year’s Wood Floor of the Year for Best in Marquetry/Inlays is a medallion inspired by an artist’s 3-D sculpture made of logs. Tom Ourada’s artistic interpretation of this work resulted in a unique medallion comprised of branches capped with end-grain pieces. The medallion gives the impression of 3-D and is composed of three repeating patterns to form a circle that looks like a sphere.

“This medallion was an attempt to do a portrait of a three-dimensional sculpture. I’ve actually had the idea for years and had, at one time, attempted to do something similar on my shop floor,” explains Ourada, owner of Ourada Designs in Nine Mile Falls, Washington. “A client saw my original attempt and asked if I would be willing to replicate the floor in one of his rental properties in Missouri.”

Ourada agreed and contacted Aaron Schaalma, owner of Signature Custom Flooring in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, and Keith Long from Thunderheart Flooring in Greely, Colorado, to assist him with the design and installation of the floor.

“We decided we would travel to Missouri to create something special together. Each of us had a part in the final design,” says Ourada. “I brought all of the wood we used with me in a van, and that limited us to what we had to work with. However, I find those kinds of limitations to be very enjoyable. We were able to make design decisions based strictly on the material we had with us.”

The 208 wood pieces that comprise the floor were hand-cut and shaped with a bandsaw, jigsaw, drill motor with sandpaper bit, and an oscillating belt saw. Surrounding the medallion is live edge wood, which Ourada and his partners scribed into radiating white oak.

“To me, this floor represents the ultimate in hardwood flooring installation,” says Ourada. “We had a very cool floor, three guys collaborating for a full week to make something interesting and beautiful together, learning on the job, but all working hard and well together without ego. That experience was the best part of it.”

Installation Type: Nail Down
Flooring Type: Solid, Strip, Plank, End-Grain
Flooring Finish: DuraSeal
Finish Sheen: Satin
Species: Acacia, Black Walnut, Black Locust, Honey Locust, Padauk, Wenge, Purple Heart, Apple, Russian Olive, Lace, Mahogany
Square Feet: 12

Click on the links below to learn more about that floor, the other category winners, and to see a showcase of all projects entered into the contest. And be sure to check out upcoming episodes of the NWFA Wood Talk podcast, as Brett Miller, VP of technical standards, training, and certification, will have discussions with WFOY winners about their projects.

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