On the Rocks

By Mary Jefferson

beach rocks inset into floor

Our new home overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and Conrad Beach in Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia, Canada. When we designed and built our house we knew we wanted to go with a “beach/industrial” theme and integrated many related features into the final finish.

beach rock floor inlay

We have used a lot of reclaimed materials in our construction. The reclaimed hemlock flooring for the main living space came from the original floor of a church (in Moncton, New Brunswick), that was built in the 1860s. Because this flooring contained planks which were up to 15 inches in width, I wanted to do something special with the widest boards. I decided to install a 4-foot x 8-foot wave inlay into the floor using a combination of the reclaimed hemlock, poplar strips, fire glass, beach rocks, and epoxy resin.

creating a beach rock wave on the floor

Every summer for four years, while my boyfriend surfed at Martinique Beach, I beachcombed to collect the rocks for the mosaic part of the wave. This was the only beach in the local area where I could find the exact size and shape of rock I needed.

beach rock wave inlay in wood floor

The wave shapes were cut from the widest hemlock boards and the strips of poplar, which were placed inside a PVC tube and steamed for an hour to soften them, were bent into place to separate the waves. For the resin portion of the piece, I started with a row of large round rocks to act as a divider between the smaller beach rock mosaic and the resin. I then poured the blue fire glass in the area and covered it with clear resin to form the bottom section of the wave.

As I gradually gathered up the rocks over time, I would bring them home and glue them into place, standing them on their edges, using PL Premium construction adhesive.

incorporating beach rocks into decor

It was a very time-consuming and challenging piece of art, but it has proven to be a great conversation piece when people come to visit.

This article appeared in the Beachcombing Magazine January/February 2022 issue.

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