Houzz Tour: A Gorgeous Parquet Floor is Reinstated in a City Flat
Deciding to replace this flat’s beautiful but damaged chevon flooring was tough, but it led to an unexpected bonus…
The owners contacted Carina Nahmani, who they found on Houzz, to take charge of their renovation. Director of design and build company Qualirenovatiion, Carina has proven expertise in restoring wood flooring.
Who lives here? Lawyer Sandrine Azou, dog walker Koffi Miessan, and their two daughters, aged 6 and 4
Location Paris, France
Size Two bedrooms and one bathroom; 60 sq m
Duration of work 3 months, completed July 2019
Budget €35,000 (around £30,000)
Wood floor budget €13,000 (around £11,200) to replace 41 sq m of wood flooring, including €4,400 (around £3,800) for soundproofing
Tile budget €3,700 (around £3,200) for 17 sq m of tile and screed
Project manager Carina Nahmani of Qualirenovation
Photos by Stephane Vasco
Spanning from the street to the inner courtyard of the building, the flat spreads out around its large entrance hall. The bathroom and kitchen unfurl to each side, while the living room opens opposite. The two bedrooms are off the latter, one facing the street, the other getting its natural light through an internal window.
The main task was nonetheless to renovate the damaged flooring, with one added challenge that is unique to this family. “Koffi walks dogs, and often brings the pack back home.” Carina says. “Durable and hygienic floor finishes were therefore essential.”
“[It was] an excellent idea that makes our lives easier, since the dogs stay in the entrance,” Sandrine says.
“We disposed of the wood flooring, then put down a light screed,” Carina says. “We opted for an insulating covering from Edilteco, a lightweight concrete mortar that’s 80% less heavy than a traditional screed, in order to avoid adding too much weight onto the timber-framed structure.
“We glued the tiles on top, with a rug-like tile inset in order to [visually] reduce the overly large entrance and make the bathroom look bigger,” she says.
As it’s usually possible in old Parisian housing stock, the owners had wanted to sand and varnish it, but Carina dissuaded them.
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The owners were understandably hesitant before deciding to go for the second, more expensive, solution. “It was an investment, it’s true, but our goal was to stay in this apartment for a long time,” Sandrine says.
You might also enjoy What Do I Need to Know About Laying a Wood Floor?
Taking out all of the flooring was not a pleasant experience. “The old flooring was comprised of 23mm solid wood slats nailed onto the furring [strips of wood], filled with plaster pugging, resting on the joists,” Carina says. “We cleared hundreds of kilos of rubble with an external goods lift we brought in so we wouldn’t damage the stairwell.”
“We followed the installation recommendations of the Premibel D840 system. We inserted vermiculite, a thermal and acoustic insulating material … between the furring,” Carina explains. “On top of this, as well as on the periphery of the walls, we placed insulating strips in order to dissociate the structure of the building from the new finish and to improve the acoustic comfort. We placed an OSB [oriented strand board] floor above it. Finally, we glued on a 14mm solid oak floor in a matt varnish.”
This also solved related problems, such as the unevenness of the floor, which had dipped down towards the windows, as often happens in older buildings.
The process also revealed another unexpected problem. “We knew that we really made the right choice in disposing of the floor, because the furring was crumbling. Certain planks were rotten and we had to replace quite a few. If we hadn’t done it, the floor would have caved in in places over time,” Carina says.
“It was also necessary to manage other unforeseen circumstances,” Carina says. “We had to remake the electric panel, overhaul all the wiring to bring it up to code, and create a bookcase in the living room, which was not foreseen in the initial estimate. In cases like this, it’s wiser to plan on putting furniture in storage.”
They put in two 100cm x 236cm Pax wardrobes in addition to a 50cm-wide unit that’s as shallow as possible on the left to leave room for the window to open. “We adapt them to measure if necessary. The advantage of kit wardrobes from Ikea is that they are well accessorised (with rods, drawers, separators…),” she says.
However, here, too, the original tiled floor was in disastrous condition.
She also used the opportunity to tile the splashback, an indispensable precaution for a durable and hygienic kitchen wall.
“Do you know what happens when you change the floors and add an acoustic treatment?” Carina asks. “No doors fit anymore!”
In this apartment, all that work on the flooring made it 5cm thicker, so they had to raise all of the door frames. “But no, we didn’t plane the doors. There’s a 2.04m standard in France,” Carina says.
Happy and proud of the result, Sandrine and Koffi left a glowing review of Carina’s work on Houzz. They also insisted on highlighting her “character, her receptiveness, her good-natured daily updates.”
Have you had to make a large decision about period details like the ones Sandrine and Koffi made? Share your experiences in the Comments.