Practical elegance that comes with striking hardwood floors
London is full of surprises. And, here, in Tooting is one of them. Seen from above, there are neatly ranked houses in pretty tree-lined streets, parks and commons. But look closer at the street names and you will find “Doctor Johnson Street”. Hello, what’s he doing here?
Streatham Park as it was in the XVII century. All that remains are a few avenues of trees.
Just south of Doctor Johnson street is Thrale Road. Is this a whiff of history, or is it the pungent, sweet aroma of hops on the brew? Ralph Thrale founded a Brewery here in the mid-eighteenth century. He had his eye on a triangular plot of land south of the Bec owned by Duke of Bedford. Cheekily, he offered to buy the plot in exchange for a lifetime’s supply of his finest ale to Woburn Abbey. The offer was accepted.
Ralph Thrale’s fine mansion in Streatham Park. The estate, but for the name, is now long gone.
Ralph’s son, Henry, was MP for Southwark, an Alderman and Sheriff of the City of London. He and his wife Hester moved among the luminaries of the age and encouraged them to visit Streatham Park: among them Dr Johnson, lexographer and bon viveur, Oliver Goldsmith (“She Stoops to Conquer”), Edmund Burke (Statesman), Joshua Reynolds (the King’s portrait painter) and many more including a colourful character called Giuseppe Mac’Antonio Baretti who murdered someone with a fruit knife. His friend, Dr Johnson, spoke generously for him at his trial and Baretti was acquitted.
It is in this colourful part of South London that we find Louise Howse where she lives with her family. She moved here in in 2009, when their second child was due, to get a larger property for their expanding family. They scaled a rung or two up the property ladder to Furzedown, an area of some affluence according to the postcode. “We love it here,” Said Louise, “There are great schools for the children plus a convenient parade of shops just around the corner, Tooting Common for dog walking and, not far away the superstores of Tooting and Streatham. It’s central to all we need and wonderfully peaceful.”
Louise decided she needed a new floor for her sitting room and went to see what the Natural Wood Floor Company, Wandsworth, could do for her. They explained that they supplied the timber but not the fitting and offered the names of a couple of their preferred fitters. She compared the quotations and chose HS Wood Flooring. “On paper they were not the cheapest.” Said Louise, “but I met Tim Hobern, the Managing Director, who clearly knew what he was talking about. His quotation had much more detail in it than the others which I liked. I also showed him the main bedroom floor but, after close examination, he said it was fine; I should save my money. Now, there’s a novelty!”
Flawless! The sitting room floor is Walnut chevron finished with an Oak feature strip that goes around the room.
The sitting room was subsequently fitted with a Walnut chevron floor. The rich dark colours contrast with light oak feature strip around the room to render a sublimely distinctive look.
Hardwood at work. The study’s Oak boards are coloured to bring out the Oak grain.
“It looked sensational,” said Louise. “we were so pleased, we asked Tim to look at the rest of the house. Tim was a great help; he showed us samples of how standard Oak boards could be coloured, textured and finished to our liking. So, we chose Oak boards stained to an umber emphasising the grain. I loved it, it worked really well with our furniture. Once again, Tim and his team rose wonderfully to the challenge.”
“Apart from the aesthetic colour of the floor, there was another advantage,” said Louise, “It is more forgiving when it comes to the comings and goings of children and pets. Before the oak floor was fitted, the pale kitchen tiles showed every mark.
Forgiving. The Oak kitchen floor keeps it looks despite the comings and goings of the children
and Scout, the dog.
“We invited HS Wood Flooring back a third time to fit a new natural Oak floor to the study, landing and stairs. We then painted the risers of the stairs in order to complement the colours in Victorian tessellated tiles in the hall. Furthermore, the front door and banisters were also painted in a contrasting colour so that from opening the front door, the hallway through to the kitchen and upstairs flow naturally by using the same flooring and complementary colours.”
Hall mark. The coloured staircase risers and bannister contrast beautifully with the Victorian tiles and the Oak floor leading to the kitchen.
“We are very proud of the work we did for Louise,” said Tim Hobern. “It is always a pleasure to work for clients who take such an interest in their floors and give us the freedom to express our craftsmanship. Louise is definitely one of our favourite clients.”