At the heart of DuChâteau’s most luxurious line, The Atelier Series, lies Master Craftsman Tom Goddijn. This week we sat down with Tom to see what hardwood treatment secrets he was willing to reveal to the world. After reading his responses, we’re sure you’ll discover why this series is truly one-of-a-kind.
- What makes an Atelier floor, which is not a stain-based finish, so unique? I use out of the box thinking and treatments that are process-driven. My methods work off chemical reactions that build off each other within the wood to create a brilliant color. My process, as result, is a rather labor intensive one that requires a skilled hand and eye to create the right look to each board.
- Why do a lot of competitors use stains? Staining is a one-and-done step, like a putting on a topcoat of paint. This makes them easier to use and more consistent in their coloring, which means saving time and ultimately, money. Some stains are incredible, but that’s just not what I do.
- What does using chemical reactions to achieve a color mean? The reactions change and alter the tannins in the wood, instead of just coloring them. What we do is more like art. We make the color as we go. This takes time and because we rely on the wood and the process, our floor colors are one-of-a-kind every time. It means that every board comes out different, as opposed to a stain. So while time is money, I see it more as time is art.
- How did you first come to understand this was the way to achieve the kind of colors you are famous for? By messing up a lot, an incredible lot. I even sometimes still do, but by loving the experimentation of it all, I could explore a broader spectrum of colors. There’s nothing like seeing what happens when you try your hardest to define a new color and find something altogether different or when you just play with different methods to see what comes out. Inevitably, it’s usually pretty off the wall… or in this case, floor.
- Why European Oak? European Oak contains more tannins than other woods, such as American Oak or Russian Oak. Its visual is just so much more beautiful and naturally brighter, even just by itself. Just look at a piece of unfinished European Oak and you will understand. There’s poetry in the grain.
- How long does one process usually take? It all depends. Some styles have more than 10 treatments, from scraping, burning, bleaching, and oiling to name a few, but in the end, what comes out is a quality floor that looks like nothing out there.
- How did you come up with all of the different process combinations to achieve your particular colors? Years of working with wood have taught me what wood does, but really by not being afraid to learn what else it can do through experimentation, I can find some really beautiful things… And every now and then, I find a hit.