Gracewood Design: Elegant floorcloths and Canvas Rugs
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Every now and again we get an opportunity to make a floorcloth that is an intimately custom floorcloth. This is the tale of our Foxtale floorcloth which we made for our friends Roy and Kim who live in a beautifully restored 1884 Victorian. They purchased the home, condemned by the city, 35 years ago and have labored over the decades to restore it completely and authentically. They have furnished it such that every single detail from wall paper to furniture to curios are perfectly chosen.

A few years ago, they won one of our floorcloths in an auction. We have talked about making a few custom pieces for their kitchen over the years, but did not really sit down and discuss it until one night around Christmas in 2014. We sat in their kitchen and measured and talked about palette and design.

I liked the idea of using the form suggested by this wonderful design from the Wunderlich Metal Ceiling catalog, circa 1910:

Wunderlich Ceiling

We spent another evening with Roy and Kim and talked about some of their favorite design elements from accents in their home.

Here are photos of the elements that they wanted us to include in the floorcloth: This is the top of a decorative box that Kim loves: Box Top

This is the carving in their kitchen pantry similar to one in the original fireplace mantel: Carving Pattern

This is the glass front on their pantry cabinets: Glass Pattern

Here is a light fixture with some wonderful ornamentation: Light Fixture

We sat down with all of these images and based on our discussions, Ken drew this floorcloth layout which is for an 81” x 81” floorcloth: Fox Floorcloth Sketch

Well, actually, this was the final version after a few more conversations. As you can see, all of the requested elements were used. The drawing shows two different sizes of the glass pattern as the center field.

The next step was to create drawings on which our stencils would be based.

Here is the drawing of the corner fan element based on the box top: Fan Drawing

We then created the stencils and then a sample based on a palette we had all labored over: Sample 1

We all liked various elements of the sample, but agreed that the palette didnt work as well as the paint chips suggested it might. So we made some changes to the palette and modified the other elements to bring a better balance to the floorcloth. Here is Sample #2: Sample 2

A few more tweaks and we were ready to make the floorcloth.

Here is the floorcloth with the black portion of the border taped off: Production 1

Here is a photo of a version of the carving pattern being applied to the black border: Production 2

The last element to be stenciled was the center area with the glass pattern on a diagonal:
Production 3

Here is a photo of the finished floorcloth: Completed Floorcloth

and some close up shots:

Corner Element:
Corner Element

Fan Element:
Fan Element

Border Element:
Border Element

Rosette Element

Center Element:
Center Element

Here are Roy & Kim enjoying their new floorcloth:
Roy and Kim

After living with the floorcloth for about a week, we got this wonderful note from Roy:

"Last night I thought about you two and the floor cloth. Five of us were sitting around the kitchen table with the floor cloth underfoot like a comfortable pair of slippers. Czech, French, American - all of us sharing stories. And now one of ours is about you guys and how in a wonderful evening the cloth was conceived. Thanks you two. It was really fun to watch you work together and see such an outcome that is uniquely ours."