The Chevron, much like the related herringbone pattern, dates back to Roman architecture, where it was used on everything from pottery designs to stone flooring to stone carvings and clothing. Both patterns are related to the V configuration from which they likely drew inspiration. Chevron patterns are often described as a decorative or design motif that is made up of two slanting lines that touch one another on one end, forming an inverted V shape.
Explaining the Distinction Between the Chevron, Herringbone and V Patterns
It’s easy to see how people could get confused about the distinction between a herringbone and Chevron pattern. Both patterns are inspired by the V pattern. A V pattern consists of a chain of interconnected v’s. The Chevron and the Herringbone patterns were inspired by the V pattern, but are complimentary modifications of one another.
The basis of both patterns is a rectangle. In the Chevron pattern, the short ends of the rectangle are cut at a 45-degree angle, but all sides of the rectangle are straight on the herringbone pattern. In the Chevron design, the edge on the end of one wooden plank touches the angle on another piece of wood.
The Chevron Pattern as a Design Theme
Whether you thumb through an old art history book, watch one of the old Peanuts’ television programs or read the comic strip in a daily newspaper, or enjoy reading or learning about fashion design history, you can’t miss examples of or references to the chevron pattern in varying contexts. The well-known Italian fashion designer Missoni made the Chevron famous with his 1970 era women’s clothing designs. Long before the Chevron became a trendy 20th-century pattern that was used in interior and fashion design, the Egyptians used it on clothing, pottery and stone carvings.
The Chevron’s Role in Architecture and History
The word “Chevron,” which was first used during the 14th century, has roots in Middle English, and Anglo-French where the word was likely taken from the Vulgar Latin word for a roof rafter – which was “Caprio.” It is likely that the word referred to the way in which two pieces of wood are attached to form the support beams for roofs on structures built during the Middle Ages.
The chevron was widely used throughout Europe in areas that were under Norman occupation, and therefore subject to its influences. Over time, it became a useful architectural feature where there was a desire to create decorative definition – on structures such as column shafts or arched moldings.
The chevron and herringbone patterns were first used as a design motif on wooden floors in the 16th century. In 1539, wood floors were laid in a herringbone pattern in the François I gallery at the Château de Fontainebleau. François hired an Italian craftsman and brought him back to France to design and install the floor. Not surprisingly, the gorgeous floors marked the beginning of a new trend.
From the 17th century through the second half of the 18th century, parquet floors surged in popularity. Except for one room in the Palace of Versaille, which had wood floors laid in a chevron pattern, every other place in the palace had parquet floors. The floor pattern in the castle came to be known as Parquet de Versaille.
Upon marrying Charles I, Queen Henrietta Marie insisted that the king allow her to renovate and redecorate their royal residence at Somerset House. Her designer, Inigo Jones, brought elements of design from the French royal homes to England. In so doing, the parquet design trend in wood flooring made its way to 17th century England.
Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, especially during the Haussmann Era in Paris, during which the city underwent expansion as part of a monumental urban planning endeavor, wood floors continued to be laid in the famous chevron and herringbone patterns.
Using the Chevron or Herringbone Pattern in Today’s Home Designs
Homeowners are drawn to hardwood floors for a variety of reasons. They’re beautiful to look at, they’re easy to take care of, they’re durable, they add to the overall aesthetic and architectural appeal of a home, and they increase the assessed and potential resale value of a home. What’s more, they go with most interior design styles. But design-savvy homeowners won’t settle for hand scraped or dark stained hardwood floors anymore. And hardwood planks are finding their way into other aspects of interior design.
Chevron Hardwood Floor Pattern Works in Small Spaces
This HGTV example shows the dramatic impact that a chevron hardwood floor design can have in a small townhouse galley-style kitchen. The chevron pattern on the wood floor in this narrow kitchen makes the room feel larger, while also creating a dramatic impact.
The overall design of the home is transitional, but it incorporates industrial elements through the use of steel and glass separation between the kitchen and dining area. Traditional features include the shaker style kitchen cabinets and the curved lines of the vent hood over the stove. The dark color of the cabinets and simple pulls add a modern touch, as do the subway style backsplash in a chevron pattern, and the waterfall extension of the gray and white stone countertop.
Use the Chevron Pattern to Unify or Create Separation in a Design
Those enormously popular and success of many of the must-watch design shows on DIY, FYI and the HGTV networks can teach us a lot about trends that appeal to current and prospective homeowners.
When marble tiles laid in a chevron transform a drab fireplace into a living, great, or family room focal point, the ideal way to create a unified and custom look in the room is by repeating that pattern with hardwoods on the room’s floor.
Other Ways to Incorporate a Chevron Pattern Using Hardwoods
Some interior design styles use wood in unexpected ways. Butcher block countertops aren’t as popular as they used to be, but that shouldn’t deter you from creating wooden countertops in a chevron pattern. In this example from Pinterest, the chevron wood countertops add drama and interest to one very stark and otherwise minimalistic design.
If you’d like to learn more about custom hardwood flooring options, including the chevron and herringbone patterns, contact Saroyan Hardwoods to schedule an appointment.