American Craftsman: Charles Peterson
A skilled installer from CP Wood Floors strives to restore respect and appreciation for the rare art of ornamental wood flooring
Hire Charles Peterson to work on your wood floors and you'll never look at them the same way again. The 48-year-old owner of Connecticut-based CP Wood Floors has gained national attention for his ability to transform plain-Jane floors into works of art using little more than pieces of wood cut and precisely fitted into colorful medallions, sinuous borders, and geometric parquet.
"To me, a floor is a blank canvas," he says. Keep reading to learn more about Peterson's craft, and company.
Peterson's love for wood began when he was a kid building furniture alongside his grandfather. In college he worked for a curmudgeonly flooring installer whose only advice was "Shut up and keep working!" Nevertheless, when Peterson quit his career as a nuclear engineer, he decided he'd rather deal with floors than repair power plants.
Shown: Working with a simple scroll saw and carefully selected pieces of wood, Peterson hand-fashions a decorative border.
Charles Peterson dedicated his life to learning the trade. "I read every book I could find on the subject, traveled all over the world, and studied with people whose families have been doing floors for five generations," he says.
Shown: Beautiful decorative borders from Peterson's shop.
Now Peterson teaches fellow installers how to improve their craft and jets around the country installing and restoring people's floors.
Shown: Peterson finishes up an entryway medallion.
One thing's for sure: The man relishes a challenge. "Right now I'm looking for woods to match the colors in Michelangelo's "Creation." Yeah, that's right—he wants to re-create the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. On a floor!
Shown: A masterpiece medallion by Charles Peterson.
For Peterson, nothing makes him happier than a chance to make a floor the center of attention.
Shown: Another of Peterson's creations, an inlaid compass.