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Bernstorff Wooden Flooring
von Sophia Muckle | 9/21/2007

Intent on renovating his freshly acquired castle Schloss Gartow Andreas Gottlieb Graf von Bernstorff had to come up with a plan. It was the end of the 17th century and the bare moorland round about did not even provide timber for renovating the buildings. So he set about reforesting the area, and today this private forest covering 6,500 hectares represents the largest of its kind in North Germany.

The trees grow very slowly as moorland soil is sandy. However, the timber provided by the conifers is equal in strength only to oak. Douglas firs, spruce and oaks grow in the Bernstorff forest and since the family has relied on sustainable forestry for a hundred years they do not cultivate enormous areas of trees but concentrate instead on especially strong trunks, on "trees for the future. It would be a shame for the timber from these enormous trees with its dense annual rings to disappear from sight into roof timbering. Which is why Fried von Bernstorff, the young son and heir of the family concentrates with the business Bernstorff Wooden Flooring on the aesthetic appeal of the material. The floorboards, which he has produced since 2005, are up to six meters long and 28 centimeters wide. But it is not just their size and the highly attractive material that make them so special; the international business graduate has succeeded in distancing his product from the pure country house appeal and making it interesting for modern architecture concepts: Bernstorff Wooden Flooring sells floorboards in bright colors whose grain nonetheless remains visible.

And since they offer outstanding qualities regarding hardness, scuff-resistance and look the floorboards also suit heavy-tread areas. With the help of experts a process was developed in time-consuming, high-cost research of dyeing the timber that is environmentally sound and free of emissions. The result is equally startling and convincing. The colored floorboards make for a low-key contrast with historical rooms like those in the castle's own showroom or provide a warm note in modern architecture but without lapsing into the rustic. Architects appreciate the special attraction of colored floorboards and know how to use them to advantage. Already shortly after the firm was set up Bernstorff Wooden Flooring sold two thousand square meters of floorboards to Nya Nordiska, manufacturer of furnishing fabrics. In the latter's Paris showroom the solid wood floorboards are getting the attention they deserve - after 130 years of growth.