European Flooring

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Antique French Oak Flooring

Vintage Mill 18th Century French Oak Flooring in Cognac - Pre-stained and aged to an 18th Century finish - a dream installation.

I often wonder why I have always been attracted to all things French.  It was at first, the language. I recall a commercial on TV when I was 12 years old for Yoplait yogurt.  Growing up in the mid-west, it was unheard of (circa 1994) to hear French being spoken on TV.  Raving about the benefits of Yoplait in English - the French actress ended the commercial with a single French phrase - and I was mesmerized.  I follow this passion to this day for all things French - from the language and my family to my business and home décor.  A magazine to which I have subscribe for years is Cote Sud (  How I drink up these images of the South of France - every detail and color fills my eyes and mind with reverie.  However, it's not French Rococo, French Art Deco or all the other styles in between that takes my breathe away - it is the décor from Provence.

Of course I see the beauty in other styles, but it's the hushed simplicity that rules my senses here.  It's the emphasis of using one's natural surroundings brought into the home.  And what are the natural surroundings in Provence?  French terra cotta, French limestone and French oak wood.  The trinity of Provencal building materials...add in the infamous patina...and watch how, like me, this will take your breathe away.

Have you ever been to an old French farmhouse in Provence?  You feel the hot, dry sun on your skin and the perfumed air of thyme and lavender makes you feel fresh and happy.  Upon entering the farmhouse, usually entire floors are covered in just one of the blessed trinity of materials.  Whether it be the antique French terra cotta tile floors, the antique French oak flooring or the antique French limestone floors - your eyes are pleased by their soft elegance - a lovely backdrop for the French limestone fireplace and the French Oak Beams lining the ceiling.  In Provence, like all over the world, people build with the materials that nature provided them.  A piece of clay, a slab of stone or a plank of wood is just that...until talented hands touch them.  Through the centuries, in a perfect place where we call the South of France - Provence to be exact - talented French artisans turned the simplicity of these three building materials into works of art. 

However, there is a catch.  This catch is the patina that comes from centuries of wear.  Well...I can't wait centuries to decorate my the patina needs to be bottled - like a perfume - and we can command it onto our floors at will!  No, not really...but after spending 11 years refining and capturing the patina of antiqued French terra cotta tile (as you can view in our French Terra Cotta Tile Flooring Collections), we have moved onto the second and third materials in our trinity - French Limestone and French Oak Flooring.

This is a now a very long introduction to the point of my blog today...Antique French Oak Flooring.  This is not to be confused with Reclaimed French Oak Flooring - which is spectacular and we offer it as well.  Salvaged and reclaimed from dilapidated farmhouses in France - this is the real thing.  Circa 18th century - it is French oak flooring's Holy Grail.

Vintage Mill 18th Century Reclaimed French Oak Flooring

However, I am here to blog about Antique French Oak Flooring - specifically our Vintage Mill 18th Century Antique French Oak Flooring.  This long name, (like my husband's: François Paul Marie Gustave Micallef...not kidding) was needed to truly describe what my eyes were seeing. But I need to back up a bit to stand on my environmental bandwagon and let you know that in France, French Oak forests constitutes one of the largest oak-growing regions of Europe.  Furthermore, the French Government controls these forests, responsibly managing them, to assure quality and on-going availability.

Phew!  With my conscious clear, you may ask...what is so wonderful about the glorious French Oak tree?  We have American oak here...why French Oak???  Simply, French Oak is as beautiful as it is regal, durable and practical.  Known to be one of the most long lasting wood floor types, withstanding years of hard wear without having significant effect on their durability, these French Oak floors can resist moisture and do not succumb to the attack of termites easily.  Making this a practical floor for kids and dogs alike, we get that extra bonus from those skillful French artisans who take this regal wood and transform it into the look and feel of 18th century French planks.

Since I am naturally curious, as you may be, too, I ask myself what is so regal about French Oak wood? Because it grows on French soil?  Perhaps...but subjectively speaking, French Oak flooring is considered more beautiful than other wood floors. The answer lies in the grain.  A French Oak floor has a tight and straight grain - commonly referred to as the "cathedral" grain which happens to lend itself to be cut into wide log sized planks through the width of the tree.

Vintage Mill 18th Century Antique French Oak Wide-Plank Flooring in Cognac.

Add to this it's beautiful color and fine texture, it is the perfect canvas onto which talented French woodworking artisans perform their magic. Just like our own terra cotta tile collections, using exquisite French terra cotta tile as our canvas for the St. Tropez, Montmartre and Villa Raffinato Terra Cotta Tile Flooring Collections, our Vintage Mill 18th Century Antique French Oak Flooring follows the same philosophy.

Naturally aged outside for a period of 3-5 years than slow kiln dried for 4-6 weeks for added stability, the planks are then distressed and pre-finished in one of our 6 Vintage Mill 18th Century Colors like Cognac (as shown below).

Vintage Mill 18th Century Antique  French Oak Flooring in Cognac

With precision milling and perfect tongue and grove fit, the worn patina edging adds that extra nuance to make these planks look incredibly old world and authentic.

Aside from antique French oak wide plank flooring, the Vintage Mill Collection is also available in traditional sizes as well as engineered, Baton Rompu, Pointe de Hongrie, and Parquet Panels.  A classic and popular choice for antique French oak parquet panels is the Versailles Pattern.  Hand-assembled using only pegs (no glue) allowing the natural movement of the wood, one can chose antique French oak or reclaimed French oak for these floors.

Vintage Mill 18th Century Antique French Oak Parquet Panel in Versailles Pattern

Over the years, French oak will naturally age and darken - increasing the richness and depth of these floors.  Antique French Oak floors are as well, hygienic, prevents dust build-up and are easy to clean and maintain.  It is no coincidence that in this trinity of French building materials, (reclaimed French terra cotta tile, reclaimed French limestone (Antique Dalle de Bourgogne and reclaimed French oak flooring) these salvaged materials, re-installed in a home a century later, is witness to the durability of these products.  Thus, using "new made to look old" French terra cotta tile flooring, French Limestone Flooring or French Oak Flooring would mean 100 years from now - perhaps someone will be salvaging these floors in your home.

But... let's live for today, embrace our French artisans, (who bottled the patina for our Antique French Oak Flooring), and romance the life of living in our French farmhouse circa 18th Century Provence.

À la prochaine,

Emmi Micallef
Pavé Tile & Stone, Inc.


  1. French people love delicate things and they also know how to make them. I am not surprised you are attracted to all French stuff. I am pretty much the same. This oak flooring looks amazing. I am totally stunned. These photos look like ones taken in castles or very old libraries. They are simply beautiful.

  2. I love these soft colors , which make the wood look mellow and inviting. But not all of us can rip out current floors and install new. Is there a way to achieve this type of color palette ( especially the cognac) on American oak ?
    I see that many companies are now fuming existing floors. Any input appreciated!

  3. Reserve de France ® Hardwood flooring receive the upmost attention to detail throughout every step of their creation. We have direct relationships with National forests in France , and giving us access to the highest grade French oak lumber and allowing us to hand select each log that your floor is crafted from. From there, each board of your new floor is hand crafted to a high standard in Reserve de France. Every individual log we use can be traced back to responsibly harvested and verified sources from French sustainable forests. In these certified forests, selective cutting is the manner to harvest logs without destroying the forest. Reserve de France - Producer of Solid and Engineered French Oak Hardwood Flooring ready to lay. The logs are "live sawn" in a horizontal manner only. After cutting, the boards are naturally air dried for 12 to 24 months. Before production into wide planks for flooring, the planks are slowly kiln dried for 30 days for added stability and to bring the moisture content to indoor levels. At this production time, we also use the high tannin content of the French Oak to accelerate the aging process to give different natural colors to the flooring plank without using any artificial coloring or stain. You can get here the best quality of hardwood flooring, french oak, french oak flooring, engineered flooring, engineered french oak flooring, french oak factory, french oak manufacturer, hardwood flooring miami, hardwood flooring nyc and hardwood flooring Chicago.