WFOY Spotlight: Creating Something Special

Two years after Floor Master Company’s Matthew Szyszka installed maple flooring in a client’s home, she approached him with an exciting new challenge.

“The homeowner called me while I was attending a flooring school, and she told me someone had spilled paint on her floor. Once I got back from school, I visited to clean up the paint, and while I was there, showed her pics of the school,” says Szyszka. “She was super impressed with the creativity on display and asked me to do something special in her foyer.”

Szyszka was ecstatic about the opportunity and began work on the design.

Szyszka drew the design, starting with an oval and working his way outward. His vision was to create the appearance of organic growth emanating from a central star. Zebrawood grains were used to give a sense of spreading, while wenge depicted new organic life, complete with unfurling leaves and fully grown flowers in the corners to represent the cycle of life.

“At that moment, I was the happiest guy on the planet and immediately knew that I would do something very special for her,” says Szyszka. “The first step was determining what style of design she wanted. Once I knew that, I measured the foyer area and then went back to my office and taped several very large pieces of paper together and began drawing the inlay exactly as it would appear.”

Szyszka drew the design, starting with an oval and working his way outward. His vision was to create the appearance of organic growth emanating from a central star. Zebrawood grains were used to give a sense of spreading, while wenge depicted new organic life, complete with unfurling leaves and fully grown flowers in the corners to represent the cycle of life.

Szyszka says he relished the opportunity to work on this custom project, finding joy in the limitless possibilities of imagination and thinking outside the box. Striking a balance between eye-catching and elegant, Szyszka presented the 4 1/2’ by 7’ inlay design to the client to discuss wood species and colors for each element.

“The client and I looked over several species of wood that I procured from Top Quality Hardwood Flooring, and discussed color and what types of wood looked best,” says Szyszka.

With the client’s approval, Szyszka milled the selected wood species to about ¼” thick and installed them on ½” plywood to achieve a ¾” thickness, matching the existing solid maple flooring. He hand-cut all elements, starting from the middle, using a variety of tools like a miter saw, table saw, band saw, scroll saw, and fret saw. In total, eight wood species and more than 2,200 elements were hand-cut.

Although the project took longer than anticipated, Szyszka used the extra time to incorporate additional details, such as small 3/8” walnut square plugs. The inlay was placed and routed around and was laid in using a moisture barrier and adhesive.

The completed panel was pre-sanded at Szyszka’s shop and then delivered to the client’s home for three weeks of acclimation. After acclimation, he finished sanding with 100-grit and 120-grit abrasives and applied a Loba water-based finishing system.


Featured Category

Best in Marquetry/Inlay

CATEGORY DETAILS:
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.

Installation Method: Glue Down
Flooring Type: Solid, Engineered, Parquet, Other
Flooring Finish: Loba Easy Prime, Loba 2K DUO
Flooring Sheen: Satin
Species: Purpleheart, Leopard Wood, Wenge, Zebrawood, Maple, American Black Walnut, White Oak, Red Oak


HFM Subscribe

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.