Saturday, 10 September 2011

The Floor Plan

 We’re about to live our life on some beautiful matai floorboards, but we certainly won’t be the first to walk these particular planks.

"We'll take the lot!"
On one of the most beautiful, still days which the Wairarapa has seen in months, we climbed into our car and drove to Palmerston North. Clearly there had to be a very good reason for this, and there was – we were going to visit our floor.

When designing our home to be as self-sustainable and gentle on natural resources as possible, it was a foregone conclusion that this would include using recycled timber for our flooring. Friends who had some major renovation work done last year were able to recommend a business based in the capital of the Manawatu which specialised in recycled flooring, and Rose was quick to get in touch with them.
After an initial meeting we brought home samples of 4, 5 and 6 inch wide floorboards, deciding that the 5 inch gave the combination of quick installation and minimal waste which we were looking for. We then debated for some time over whether we wanted to go with matai, or rimu timber. Matai is harder and more commonly used as flooring (our previous home had beautiful, original matai floors) but can tend to be reddish in colouring. Rimu, although softer, is more golden in appearance; a look which we felt would compliment our new, brighter home better.

Eventually, a matai floor in a condemned building became available and we were given the opportunity to inspect it on-site. As adverse as we were to wasting hours of a sunny day in the car, we knew that we owed it to ourselves to be duly diligent. We had elected to go with a matai floor as long as it wasn’t too dark, and this was the only way for us to be certain.
We met our contact, Jason, outside an impressive art deco building which had most recently served as a sewing factory. As well as the expected debris from the salvage work inside, there was also considerable water damage. Apparently the building could once have been saved, (one plan involved turning it into a restaurant or café), but the theft of copper from the roof had eventually reduced its integrity to the point that the weather found its way in, causing irreparable damage.
It was a melancholy experience to see this huge building being stripped and divided up like an enormous carcass from the bad old days of whaling, but we couldn’t deny it was to our own advantage, particularly when we were shown the portion of floor being offered to us. Although mostly covered in dust, we could see that the colour was definitely more towards the desired gold, than orange. There will be some work involved for us in cleaning the tongue and grooves and removing nails, but also a lot of satisfaction in utilising pre-loved timber.

Arrangements were made for when we could collect the salvaged timber (another trip to Palmerston North!) and in the final analysis this was a journey worth taking - a surprisingly fascinating experience to be guided through our future floor’s original home.

This could have been a cafe if the roof hadn't been stolen

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