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Looking In — and Out

April 11th, 2014

Backyard deer-feeder adds unmatchable natural touch, felt throughout this home’s interior

026Porcelain tile flooring – one style for the kitchen and laundry room, another for the foyer and bathrooms  – offers clean lines and extreme durability.

It blends seamlessly with the hand-scraped, prefinished hardwood flooring, which has been used to replace carpet in the dining room.

Triexta carpet – made from corn-based fuel – softens the family room, which is filled with natural light, thanks to large windows there, and in the adjoining foyer.  Standing there, something tells you to look again, out of the double glass doors in the family room. Continue reading…

“There Is Always a Way”

April 5th, 2014
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Interface Flooring says it will achieve “Mission Zero” by 2020

In the beginning, even some experts said nylon carpet could not be recycled. Today, nylon recycling is booming. So are industry efforts toward carbon and water reduction. This video, from Interface Flooring, highlights some of the achievements, in addition to the company’s progress toward “Mission Zero.”

Hopefully, achievements like this can help industry leaders devise ways to recycle polyester (PET) carpet, which now accounts for 30 percent of discarded carpet that is headed for landfills. Learn more about this from the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE).

Goodbye My House, Part 4

March 31st, 2014

After 15 years in a natural home, apartment life cannot include sending recycling out with the trash

IMG_2395Okay, this is over the top.

It is the year 2014, but the management of this apartment complex thinks it’s just fine for residents to send items that can be recycled out with the trash instead.

 Why? “Well, there is a fee for management to offer this service to its residents,” the customer service rep at Rumpke, our local trash collector, explains to me on the phone. “It’s hard to say what percentage, but some apartments do offer our services.” Continue reading…

A ‘Storie’ of Love

March 25th, 2014

Designer Rosemary Storie found the perfect hardwood floor to showcase the furniture and artwork she loves

195“This is how you do it.” Rosemary Storie, an Anderson Township, OH, designer, never suggests that her clients spend a lot of money to accomplish logical goals. Instead, she shows them how to make use of simple objects, sometimes objects they already have.

Take, for example, the table in her newly remodeled kitchen. Storie, owner of Southern Interiors, made it from a planter she bought at a home center, then added a glass top.

“Creating the perfect aesthetic means thought and creativity, not necessarily running out and spending a lot of money,” Storie says. Continue reading…

Goodbye My House, Part 3

March 23rd, 2014

Family pets “Just want to go home”

001“I want to go home, Sammy,” says Mini the cat who moved along with us about two weeks ago from our home to an apartment. She is talking to our dog, who she views as her mother.

“You need to rethink what you are saying,” Sammy tells her. “You just now stopped hiding in the bedroom. You wouldn’t come out for a week, except to use the litter box. Then you would go back under the dresser in their room, and no one could rationalize with you.”

Mini replies, “All I know is that all those guys came into our house and started taking everything. I was scared to death, and I had to hide, until She came and found my hiding place, put me in the carrier, like I was going to the vet, I trusted her, and now we are here. I want to go home.” Continue reading…

Goodbye My House, Part 2

March 16th, 2014

After 15 years in a natural home, carpet deodorizer was not part of the moving plan

house part 2What smells? That was my husband’s first question upon entering our new home — an apartment.

It’s not that it was a bad odor. Rather, it was an odor I instantly recalled from the 1980s, when my roommate would sprinkle carpet deodorizer on the carpet in our college apartment. Why? To remove odors without actually cleaning the carpet. A lot of people did this back then.

But, when we left our home of 15 years and moved almost two weeks ago, carpet deodorizer was long-forgotten to me.  And for several reasons, it was not a memory that I wanted to refresh. Continue reading…

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Recycling plastic bottles into carpet rocks, but discarding this carpet is another story

This video is impressive and will show you how billions of discarded plastic bottles are recycled into carpeting each year. But the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) is now grappling with the fact that polyester (PET) carpet accounts for 30 percent of discarded carpet headed to the landfills. Recycling nylon carpet has been a huge success because of all the products, including carpet, that nylon can be recycled into. But similar markets have not yet been developed for PET. Learn more at CARE’s website.

Goodbye, My House, Part I

March 9th, 2014

This re-post from 2010 kicks off a series of new posts by our editor, Nancy Kibbee, who has left her home of 15 years and moved into an apartment. This series will explore the natural and unnatural interior furnishings and finishes, access to planet-friendly activities such as recycling, and the level of people- and planet-friendly interest property managers and developers have, or have not, achieved as of 2014 — more than a decade after the U.S. green building push began. The title of the following re-post is:

Lessons My Flooring Taught Me

003My father always said that a wise person learns from the mistakes of others. But what happens when you don’t know anyone who made the mistake you’re about to make, and you don’t know you’re about to make a mistake?

When I hired a flooring company to install solid strip hardwood flooring in 1998, I was not yet working in the flooring industry. How was I supposed to know to ask about the chemical emissions that would fill the house when they finished the floor with a toxic, oil-based polyurethane? Continue reading…

We Call It Gap Season

January 25th, 2014

Wintertime’s dry air means special precautions for hardwood floors

030Q.  I had solid Red Oak select installed throughout my first floor last summer. It was sanded and  finished with low-VOC waterborne polyurethane on site. It was absolutely perfect.

But now that winter is here, there are spaces between the boards. Is it possible that I was sold inferior wood?

A. Gaps between floor boards are common in the wintertime. Your installer should have told you that you have to control the humidity in your home to prevent inordinate gapping. In fact, most hardwood manufacturers recommend maintaining your indoor environment at 40 to 60 percent humidity year-round. Continue reading…

Why New Zealand Wool?

December 29th, 2013
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Climate, terrain and tradition all go into making the finest, renewable wool carpets

This video from the Just Shorn sheep farmers of New Zealand explains some of the superior traits of New Zealand Wool. While wool carpeting is normally a pricey product, Carpetland Carpet One is making Just Shorn available at prices that compete with synthetic carpets, thanks to a special partnership they have reached with the sheep farmers.

 

Archive

Picture Perfect Porcelain

December 19th, 2013

For some homeowners, the perfect porcelain tile doesn’t look like tile at all At first glance, this floor looks like hardwood. It does on second glance, too, which often is not the case with vinyl wood-look products. Even upon third inspection, most people don’t imagine that this floor is porcelain tile. “This look is increasing […]

See Spot Repair

December 7th, 2013

U.S. Contractors and homeowners start to understand the benefits of natural oil finishes When it comes to site-finished hardwood flooring, the good old US of A has, for most of recent history, relied on polyurethane. But in the wake of concerns about chemical emissions from interior finishes that can compromise indoor air quality, we are […]

A Maple Mirage

November 4th, 2013

Gray or brown, this hardwood floor blends seamlessly with home’s bold natural colors The color of this stained Maple floor is called “Jellybean.” When you look at it in natural daylight, it is gray. Put it under artificial light, and it takes on a deep brown. But no matter where you look in Brittany’s new  […]

A Loo Review

October 26th, 2013

Home makeover includes five bathrooms at once, and plenty of ideas for redesigning spaces  “Renee, Renee, Renee. This is fabulous!” Friends are in awe when they walk into Renee’s new master bathroom, one of many rooms she is remodeling in her newly purchased Indian Hill home, just northeast of Cincinnati, OH. This room used a […]

The Problem with PET, Part II

October 19th, 2013

Long-term recycling solution for polyester carpet becomes pressing with increased sales, but national director says “The glass is half-full” It has been observed throughout history: Cleaning up a mess often creates another mess. To clean up a mess, carpet manufacturers have been recycling billions of discarded plastic bottles into polyester (PET) carpet every year. But […]

Just Shorn Is Here

October 13th, 2013

Latest wool carpet line rounds out natural selection and comes at competitive prices Carpetland Carpet One of greater Cincinnati has added Just Shorn — a special line of wool carpeting made possible by an agreement between Carpet One and a New Zealand sheep farmers organization. This traditional line of wool carpet promises to come at […]

Cork 2013-Style

October 8th, 2013

Cork flooring leaders stay true to sustainable cork, but some are cashing in on vinyl, too New cork flooring introductions from Wicanders Cork are smoother. New planks from Qu-Cork are skinnier. And APC Cork has officially stepped into the people-friendly product market by getting indoor-air quality certification, like most of the competition. In partial contradiction […]

APC Cork Steps It Up

September 15th, 2013

Switch to different factory underscores focus on verifying healthful indoor-air quality for consumers APC Cork — widely known and sold for years – is now a more serious contender in the people- and planet-friendly marketplace. APC’s flooring products now have GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certification – a feature that has been noticeably missing. How so? […]

Do It Yourself: Cork Walls

September 14th, 2013

Texture, sound control and insulation Cork is a great option for accent walls in addition to multi-story spaces that tend to be hard to control acoustically. Dekwall from Wicanders is a product specifically designed for wall covering, while floor tiles are used by some. Wicanders has GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certification, and zero-VOC adhesives also are […]

Divine Design

September 2nd, 2013

Porcelain and mosaic tile installation sets inspirational stage for church sanctuary  The challenges of designing and installing this floor would send some flooring companies running. Water-jetting porcelain, other porcelains and Rookwood mosaic tiles – in Peacock and Raspberry – had to be positioned just so. The commercial division of Carpetland Carpet One was up for […]

Fume-Free and Fast

August 8th, 2013

Carpetland Carpet One commercial division offers zero-VOC technology for indoor-air friendly flooring installations The Patriot Ridge Retirement Community in Fairborn, OH, needed more than 30,000 square feet of flooring glued down throughout the facility. Here’s the hard part: They needed it done without disrupting business or exposing residents and staff to noxious chemical fumes. Not […]

FSC Simply Explained

July 25th, 2013

What wood would you choose? Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification sets forth rigorous and complicated standards to protect forests, waterways and people. This video offers a simple explanation to help you when you select wood products. In Greater Cincinnati, you can also ask Schumacher & Co. Custom Hardwood Floors for help. They are the only […]

Formaldehyde Fury

July 22nd, 2013

Medical problems caused by negligent hardwood flooring manufacturer put focus on compliance with California Air Resource Board (CARB) standards Consumer complaints of severe allergic reactions to flooring — followed by news that one of the nation’s largest flooring retailers was importing floors that exceeded limits for formaldehyde – should call our attention to the term, CARB […]

Folk Art for Floors

June 26th, 2013

From one of our favorite regional and reclaimed hardwood suppliers Authentic and beautiful, Tennessee Flooring’s video shows us a range of products, from reclaimed barn wood to folk art. Tennessee Flooring’s products are available at Carpetland Carpet One, Schumacher & Co. Custom Hardwood Floors and their Natural Interiors Design Centers.

A Shoe Story

June 10th, 2013

There is no excuse for throwing away your old gym shoes For more than a decade, Nike has been recycling old athletic shoes to make products that include rubber sports surfaces. Several companies also use recycled shoe material, in addition to recycled tires, to make residential and commercial rubber flooring. Watch this video to see […]

Carpet recycling industry sees dramatic rise in this non-recyclable carpet fiber We like to tout our diligence in carpet recycling, particularly when Natural Interiors® Design Center affiliates divert 2 million pounds of carpet from landfills annually in Greater Cincinnati alone. But it’s possible that we are painting a somewhat rosier picture than reality allows. Yes, […]

Seam Scrutiny

June 3rd, 2013

Properly done, seams should not be an issue in linoleum installation Q. We are remodeling an older home and I was “sold” on Marmoleum, until I kept coming across questions about repairing seams which have buckled. I want to use it in the bathroom floors, but I am really hesitant since reading all these questions […]

Wonderous Wool

May 30th, 2013

New Zealand wool growers explain how wool is natural, better for people and the planet This video takes you straight to the sheep farm for a perspective you won’t get at your local carpet store. Remember, though, standard chemicals and dyes are added to most wool carpet, except the Dark Green line from Nature’s Carpet.

Latest  designs encourage movement and discourage assigned work stations and offices There is a counter-height desk on wheels for the worker who is more productive walking through the office while working on his computer. There are areas for groups of employees to collaborate. And private spaces for when workers need to take important or private […]

Why flooring from torn down barns is all the rage Superior dimensional stability and a rich patina are just a few reasons more people are seeking reclaimed flooring. This video offers a first-hand look at why this is a great flooring choice, and one of the most sound building practices on the planet.

Demand for plant-based oil finish grows, along with regional and reclaimed hardwood flooring options Not too long ago, customer inquiries in Greater Cincinnati about natural oil hardwood finishes were few and far between. But today, Schumacher & Co. Custom Hardwood Floors seems to be using its zero-VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) plant- based oil finish every […]

A New Generation of Tile

May 1st, 2013

Specifiers and consumers increasingly look for people- and planet-friendly verification Traditionally, tile has been considered nontoxic and indoor-air friendly. Tile is fired at very high temperatures, which should burn off any organics that might be present in clays or binders. But architects, designers and an increasing number of homeowners clearly want verification that these products […]

More Than the Floor

April 29th, 2013

Meet IceStone, one of five people- and planet-friendly counter tops coming to our Milford, OH showroom IceStone, made of recycled glass and cement, is a pioneer in recycled counter tops. It offers colors that are unique among the brands that will be available in June at Carpetland Carpet One’s Natural Interiors Design Center at 920 […]

2013 National Kitchen and Bath Association finalists have this in common Creative use in glass in everything from mosaic tiles to light fixtures and sinks underscore a trend in 2013. Recycled counter tops, contain glass, quartz and corn-based polymers are also hot. You can see all the finalists’ designs here. Like the looks, but not […]

A Question of Cork Comfort

April 3rd, 2013

What do ceramic nano beads mean for softness underfoot?  Q. I am puzzled about the ceramic bead layers advertised as being part of the finish on Wicanders Cork Flooring. Does this add considerable hardness to the cork surface?  I’m seeing the comfort aspect of cork, and am actually replacing ceramic tile with the cork – […]

Schumacher & Co. Custom Hardwood Floors achieves Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) certification Schumacher & Co. Custom Hardwood Floors in Milford, OH, has become the only flooring retailer in southwestern Ohio to be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) to supply hardwood flooring that qualifies as certified wood under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED […]

Water-based Wonders and Woes

February 22nd, 2013

Water-based stains offer better indoor-air quality and a different aesthetic, but applying them requires an experienced professional There is a critical question you should put to your hardwood flooring contractor if you are planning to finish your floor with a water-based stain: Does he know how to apply it? The question is easily overlooked. Most […]

When Water-based Works

February 21st, 2013

Natural Interiors® hardwood floor finishing program puts water- and oil-based stains through testing Lorna and Roy at Schumacher & Co. Custom Hardwood Floors are reviewing our first round of testing the newest water-based hardwood floor stains on the market. The testing platform also is being used to train the company’s finishers. Why go to all […]

Wicanders Launches Mobile App

February 18th, 2013

Product information and room scenes now available by snapping the barcode on Wicander’s Cork Flooring display If you are shopping for cork flooring, you might want to check out the new Wicanders mobile app from Amorim Cork flooring. “It lets you snap the barcode on our display and get  instant access to product collections, room […]

Let’s Call It a Trend

February 4th, 2013

Natural oil finishes gain popularity as consumers get more familiar with product benefits Some would say that using plant-based oils to finish a hardwood floor is unique. Not the norm, the road less-traveled and, possibly not suited for standing up to high traffic. But with the number of customers who are beginning to ask about […]

A Natural Look

January 28th, 2013

Luxury Vinyl Tile’s realistic patterning and glue-less installation boost demand despite uncertain “green” product attributes A floor does not have to be natural to look natural. And the new natural looks of a number of luxury vinyl tile (LVT) brands – coupled with glue-less installation options — are noticeably boosting LVT sales. Newer, self-locking installation […]

Are you relying on retailers who are “being green,” or screaming green? Each time a regional publication distributes its annual “Green Issue,” loaded with “green” business advertising, I am naturally reminded that some retailers still don’t get it. Particularly when it comes to environmental flooring and interior products. Their advertising messages scream that they are […]

Lovin’ this Leather

January 9th, 2013

Coming soon to the Natural Interiors Design Center Its way stylish appearance is just part of it. EcoDomo leather wall and floor tiles have long been recognized as the environmental leader. From recycled content to no toxic ingredients, this is a high-end product with extreme durability and unique fashion sense. Look for it soon in […]

The State of “Green,” 2013

January 7th, 2013

Demand will mean more product selection, but can your retailer tell you what standards a product meets? Even if you are not consciously seeking people- or planet- friendly products, it’s more likely in 2013 that the product you buy will have some environmental advantage — particularly if it’s a building or interior finishing product. The […]

Top 10 for 2012

December 20th, 2012

Our top posts focused on reducing indoor chemicals, sustainable renovation, lighting and health, controversy over Forest Steward Council (FSC) certification, and consumer demand for health and environmental product information Distinct trends were evident this year toward natural and less-toxic hardwood floor finishes, a reduction of toxins in traditional products like vinyl, and increased demand for […]

Old and New

December 17th, 2012

Painstaking remake of historic Rauh home in Cincinnati means authentic replication, along with new, environmental features The squares within the new parquet floor had to be just so. They were the design foundation in restoring the former home of Frederick and Harriet Rauh in Wyoming, Ohio – one of the oldest Modernist residences in the […]

A Space You Don’t Forget

November 7th, 2012

Repurposed wood, certified dimensional tile and natural, zero-VOC finishes position new Cincinnati bar for lasting attention Architects and designers know that designing the perfect bar means creating a unique atmosphere for respite and escape. It must invite, perhaps with warm, dimly lit nooks perfectly suited for comfortable conversation.  It must have an attention-getting focal point, […]

Artcomfort Has Arrived

October 24th, 2012

New cork products from Wicanders look like ceramic, stone and wood Why make cork flooring that looks like ceramic tile or wood? “Obviously to expand the uses for cork, which unlike tile, is warm and comfortable to walk on,” says Ben Lanich, manager of Carpetland Carpet One Floor & Home in Cincinnati, OH. “And the […]

All About Hardwood Floors, II

October 23rd, 2012

Part  Two: What’s the best way to clean hardwood flooring and what does moisture do? Ben Lanich, manager of Carpetland Carpet One Floor & Home in Cincinnati, OH, puts some common hardwood flooring questions to hardwood expert Dan Fergusen. Carpetland also offers low-VOC and natural hardwood finishes, both prefinished and site-finished. Lanich’s store is located […]

Prices that Score

October 19th, 2012

Exclusive online prices now available on products with Natural Interiors® Scorecards Have you been considering a cork floor that has a third-party indoor-air quality certification, but the price is just a little higher than you want to go? Or maybe you’re more inclined toward chemical-free carpet, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified hardwood finished with natural oil, […]

All About Hardwood Floors

October 5th, 2012

Part One: Site-finished vs. prefinished, and solid vs. engineered Ben Lanich, manager of Carpetland Carpet One Floor & Home in Cincinnati, OH, puts some common hardwood flooring questions to hardwood expert Dan Fergusen. Carpetland also offers low-VOC and natural hardwood finishes, both prefinished and site-finished. Lanich’s store is located at 10101 Springfield Pike, Cincinnati, (513) […]

A Safe Floor to Crawl On

September 30th, 2012

Do nanotechnology and antimicrobial agents pose risks for my children? Q. I am trying to select a cork or hardwood floor that is safe for my children to sit, crawl and play on. Some that I have looked at are finished with nanotechnology, and some contain antimicrobial agents. Are you aware of any dangers posed […]

An Impossible Green Dream?

September 27th, 2012

Flooring retailers and distributors see roadblock in FSC certification requirement Flooring retailers and distributors — who have learned they must have Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification in order to sell FSC-certified products that count as certified wood under the U.S. Green Building Council’s rules — are questioning whether FSC rules have gone too far. FSC […]

“Better for Customers”

September 4th, 2012

New Natural Interiors® scorecards are more credible with third-party certifications, but when do you make exceptions? Q. I was excited to learn about the Natural Interiors health and environmental scorecards that are now available at Carpetland Carpet One, Buddy’s Flooring America in Beavercreek and ProSource in Cincinnati. What I like most is that most Better […]

Linoleum Today

September 2nd, 2012

Made from all natural ingredients, this vinyl alternative now offers everything from traditional to trendy colors and patterns Whether you ultimately choose Forbo Marmoleum, Armstrong Marmorette or another brand, this video gives you a good look at the ingredients used to make linoleum. While this video is from Forbo, all manufacturers use linseed oil, pine […]

Tell the Whole Story

August 27th, 2012

Why didn’t you mention reclaimed trees in your reclaimed wood article? Q. Your article, The Truth about Reclaimed Wood, did a good job demonstrating that a number of mainstream companies make reclaimed flooring from deconstructed barns and other buildings. But you didn’t mention flooring made from trees that are removed to make way for development. […]

The Truth about Reclaimed Wood

August 24th, 2012

Demand is growing, and it’s readily available at a flooring store near you It’s a fact: Reclaimed hardwood is now mainstream. You don’t have to search it out through a specialty retailer. Just ask Ben Cochran, whose northwest Virginia company has been making floors from deconstructed buildings since 1978. “Everything we use in our reclaimed […]

Natural Carpet on Sale

August 21st, 2012

Southwest Ohio Natural Interiors® Design Centers celebrate kick-off with Nature’s Carpet discount Today through Labor Day, you can get a 10 percent discount on Nature’s Carpet — the leading brand of chemical-free New Zealand Wool carpet. Contact Natural Interiors at 513-984-9472 or contact@naturalinteriors.com to receive the  discount and have a representative bring samples to your […]

Floor Stores Score

August 15th, 2012

Top southwest Ohio flooring retailers end confusion over conflicting “green” claims with Natural Interiors® Scorecards Forty-nine percent of the hardwood flooring lines sold at Carpetland Carpet One Floor & Home in Milford, OH, have been tested and independently certified to meet healthy indoor-air quality standards. Seventy-four percent are from companies that have Forest Stewardship Council […]

Design Center Tour

August 15th, 2012

 Natural flooring leaders add Natural Interiors® Four of southwest Ohio’s top flooring retailers now are Natural Interiors® Design Centers. Starting today, product certifications and traits that show whether a product is Better for People or Better for the Planet will be readily available to customers at Carpetland Carpet One Floor & Home in Milford, Schumacher […]

In Search of Better Air

July 20th, 2012

Flooring industry takes steps that recognize green consumers want products that are Better for People “I don’t really think most flooring customers really care about green,” a rep for a large hardwood manufacturer tells me. “The planet just isn’t a priority to them, particularly if an FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) -certified  label  on the product […]

Indoor Air Quality Certifications offer some, but not complete, assurance about vinyl flooring Q. While I am intrigued by natural, linoleum products, my budget is more inclined toward the Naturcor vinyl flooring I am looking at buying from my local  Buddy’s Flooring America store.  I also am concerned about buying a product that does not […]

Is It Certified?

June 26th, 2012

As Green Squared joins a long list of “green” certifications in the marketplace, some flooring companies are planning to make product certifications readily available We once said what could be more natural and less toxic than a tile floor? It is baked dirt, after all, fired at temperatures exceeding 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.  Surely, this heat […]

Most contestants only answered one question Were the questions too hard? We hope not. The whole point of this year’s contest was to learn how to easily spot products that are proven to be Better for People, Better for the Planet, or both. The winners, who will be announced tomorrow, were the first three people […]

Organic comforters have been claimed, but there’s still time to win some low-VOC paint There are two days left to answer questions in the Natural Housewife 2012 Contest. The top three winners – those who will receive organic comforters from Vivetique Sleep Systems – have been selected and will be announced next week in a […]

What’s In a Name?

June 11th, 2012

FSC is the top indicator of sustainable harvesting, but it’s hard to find on a finished flooring product Forest  Stewardship Council (FSC) Certification.  It is synonymous with wood that meets the most rigorous standards of sustainable harvesting. It remains the only certification the U.S. Green Building Council will use for certified wood in the latest […]

Why is Vivetique Better for People? Mattresses and bedding from Vivetique Sleep Systems and The Natural Bedroom are Better for People because: a.)    They are made from natural, chemical-free materials like natural latex and PureGrow™ Wool  and organic cotton instead of petroleum-based products that release chemicals that humans breathe and absorb. b.)    PureGrow™ Wool controls […]

What Is Green? This is possibly the easiest question yet in The Natural Housewife 2012 contest, in which three people will win $600 organic comforter from Vivetique Sleep Systems. A “green” interior decorating, finishing or building product is: a.)    Better for people b.)    Better for the planet c.)     One that is made only of organic […]

Finishing First

May 25th, 2012

Editor’s Note: Some slight changes have been made to this program. Click here to see the final line-up. Schumacher & Co. Custom Hardwood Floors launches first Natural Interiors® Floor Finishing Program Today’s emphasis on measuring indoor-air quality relies heavily on the terms Low- and Zero-VOC (Volatile Organic Compound). But the EPA’s regulation of VOCs – […]

One answer is not enough to win Only one of more than 50 contestants in The Natural Housewife Contest 2012 has answered all four of the weekly questions posted to date. There are three top prizes — a $600 organic comforter from Vivetique Sleep Systems. This means that two new or existing contestants who submit […]

Oil on Wood, Part III

May 11th, 2012

Natural oil that bonds gets thumbs up  The oil hardwood flooring finish we are testing in this blog works differently than those we’ve already shown you. It does not soak into the wood like the others. Instead, it forms a molecular bond with the first microns of the wood surface. It is spot-repairable like the […]

What does the “green” label on your paint can mean? A quick reminder: Many of you have sent in answers, but not to all of the questions. You can still catch up. The more you answer, the better your chances of winning a $600 organic comforter from Vivetique Sleep Systems or a room’s worth of […]

Installation Matters

May 8th, 2012

Experience and training of flooring installation crew should never be a question mark for consumers We talk about product quality. We talk about price, which in today’s economy means we bypass some higher-quality products. But except in the instance of installing Marmoleum from Forbo, we have not talked much about installer training. States like Oregon […]

Upstairs, Downstairs

May 4th, 2012

Cork, sustainable hardwood, oil and low-VOC finishes top list in homeowner’s meticulous selections Cork flooring upstairs. Hardwood with an oil finish downstairs. Stained Red Oak, from Indiana forests considered sustainable by Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen’s Association, reaches from the spacious foyer and into the dining room. It changes to a basket weave pattern in the family […]

Keep the answers coming Keep racking up your points, or jump into The Natural Housewife contest now for a chance to win a $600 organic comforter or a room’s worth of Earthpaint. Get full contest and prize details here, and help from the Facebook pages of our hint-droppers – Greener Stock and Brothers Floor Covering. […]

You don’t have to be a housewife to enter Some of you have asked. No, you don’t have to be a housewife, and yes, if you are in the top three, you will choose the size and style of your Vivetique Sleep Systems comforter.  It also is possible to skip a question and still be […]

Better for people? Better for the planet? Let the contest begin! If you have read the rules and contest details, you know that three winners will receive luxurious organic comforters from Vivetique Sleep Systems and two more will each get a room’s worth of Earthpaint. And you know you will get the weekly, multiple-choice questions […]

Cork 2012 Style, Part II

April 10th, 2012

Why do you harp on Indoor Air Quality Certifications? Q. If cork flooring is a natural material, why do you put so much emphasis on whether the manufacturer has gotten the flooring certified through chemical emissions testing? A. There are many natural flooring products on the market. But very few of them are made without […]

Cork 2012 Style

April 5th, 2012

New looks, including stone, wood and textiles, expand uses for cork flooring What is that? Just when we thought we had seen every style and color of cork flooring available today, Wicanders has thrown us a curve. Some of it looks like stone. Some of it looks like marble, granite, wood and textiles. But it […]

In Search of Natural

April 2nd, 2012

Anderson Township, OH, family completes new home with natural oil hardwood finish and cork When the original plan for putting strand bamboo flooring in the new home they were building in Anderson Township, OH, went awry, Jennifer and Carlton Monroe reviewed their priorities. “I wanted something natural,” Jennifer recalls. “But it also occurred to me […]

A Carpet Evolution

March 27th, 2012

It starts when you find the collector This video talks about what happens to your old carpet after it is taken by a collector to a recycler. There are now more than 100 carpet collection companies that prepare your old carpet and padding to be sent off to a recycler. Many flooring companies that replace […]

An Outgoing Message

March 26th, 2012

The power of the people must come into play for carpet recycling effort to bump to the next level, outgoing director says Listen up people: The next time you tear out old carpet, think before you put it out for the trash collector and send it to a landfill where it will pollute the planet […]

Oil on Wood, Part II

March 21st, 2012

Today’s hardwood flooring finish choices should include low-  and zero-VOC products “Why are you testing dye or beeswax or tree sap?” For a moment, Tom Helwig, field supervisor at  Schumacher & Co. Custom Hardwood Floors, thinks we’ve gone over the edge. “Because,” we tell him, “a growing number of customers don’t want chemical emissions in […]

Walls that Wow

March 16th, 2012

Unique accent walls and backsplashes are a natural fit for some flooring stores I wasn’t looking for tile, mosaics or recycled glass when I went to the Buddy’s Flooring America store on Ridge Avenue in Cincinnati. But there was something magnetic about the eye-catching colors and textures on display. This is a flooring store, I […]

Oil on Wood, Part I

March 2nd, 2012

Rising interest in less-toxic hardwood floor finishes has some installers testing and expanding the choices The site-finished hardwood floor has long been touted as virtually indestructible.  It will show scratches and wear over time, but all you have to do then is have it recoated with finish. This sounds simple enough. But with today’s emphasis […]

Now You See It

February 24th, 2012

But a natural oil hardwood finish means that pretty soon you won’t There is something we like about natural hardwood floor finishes even more than the fact that they are low odor and low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound), says Roy Young, quality control manager for Schumacher & Co Custom Hardwood Floors in Cincinnati, OH. “It’s […]

The Many Faces of Cork

February 15th, 2012

A style for every room As Designer Candace Olson shows us in this video, today’s cork floors don’t look like bulletin boards. Rather, the looks range from that of hardwood planks to mosiac tiles. And cork is suitable in almost any room environment.

Trending Toward Natural

February 10th, 2012

Popularity of natural fiber rugs and wall coverings increases with availability and a quest for the natural aesthetic                                                    Natural wood, natural stone, accented with wool, sisal, jute or seagrass. Add a little leather, or maybe some cheena. While design trends have not turned back to thatched roofs and dirt floors, there is something distinctly desirable about a […]

greensource CINCINNATI

February 8th, 2012

Where efficient energy  abounds, along with trendy, sustainable floors The main purpose of this building is to let design and building professionals see the latest “green” technologies in action. But when you enter, the floors might be the first thing to catch your attention. The floors at greensource CINCINNATI, originally built in 1875, include linoleum, […]

Picking the Right Pad

February 3rd, 2012

Requirements for damp basements might challenge use of all natural, chemical free carpet pads Q. I want to put carpet that has low chemical emissions in my basement. I also had planned on using a natural fiber carpet pad. I have not ever had water leak into the basement, but there is some moisture, due […]

Strand Sense

January 29th, 2012

Competition in strand bamboo means quality products and competitive pricing from many manufacturers Not long ago, we would have told you that there were just a few reliable brands and several hard-and-fast rules to follow when choosing a strand bamboo floor. But as sales of strand, stained and hand-scraped styles have soared and now dominate in the […]

A Different Kind of Amber Alert

January 20th, 2012

Yellow cast on new linoleum is no cause for alarm Q. I wanted to install Marmoleum Click flooring in my daughter’s room because it is supposed to be very good for healthy indoor air quality, and my daughter has allergies. But when the installer from the flooring company started taking the flooring out of the […]

Better with Age

January 12th, 2012

Authentic reclaimed hardwood can have advantages over wood that is made to look old “Distressed or old?” A designer that I work with was going back and forth about reclaimed hardwood and hardwood flooring that is purposefully distressed to make it appear old. “I like the idea of reducing wastefulness and landfill mass by making […]

Installation Economics

January 4th, 2012

Bargain hunting for flooring installation can cost more in the long run Q. I thought I was getting a great deal on the prefinished, FSC-certified hardwood floor I want to put in my family room and kitchen, until the salesperson figured in installation. This added about $3 per square foot to the total, and the […]

The Pioneers Predict

December 26th, 2011

Past and present green building trends mean 2012 will bring increased interest in healthy indoor air quality, reclaimed and recycled products, and smaller homes Residents on the West Coast have been walking the green building walk longer. But even in the Midwest, which often lags behind, people who build or remodel in the New Year […]

2011′s Top 10 Topics

December 19th, 2011

Year in review shows Natural Interiors visitors focus first on style and indoor-air-quality, then concern for planet health We couldn’t head into a New Year without a baby. Fortunately, the winner of our Natural Housewife Contest – one of our Top 10 traffic generators for 2011 – now has one. 1.  Sara Eickhoff reports that […]

CRI Passes Third-Party Audit

December 12th, 2011

Green Label Plus certification remains the most used, stringent standard for limits on chemical emissions from carpet The cynics among us have not always embraced the idea of a carpet trade organization – the Carpet & Rug Institute (CRI) — being in charge of testing and certifying carpet as having low chemical emissions. In our […]

When Wood Is Good, Part II

December 5th, 2011

Styling, price and performance determine engineered hardwood flooring sales, though environmental attributes abound If you’re thinking about putting engineered hardwood flooring in your home, style, performance and price – rather than the product’s planet friendliness – are probably the points you are pondering. “More people in the Midwest are choosing engineered hardwood because of a […]

When Wood Is Good

November 23rd, 2011

Part I: Engineered hardwood flooring can be a greener option than solid, but there are many factors to consider before you buy We knew the day would come. Many of us in the green products industry pushed engineered wood floors because they require less premium wood to manufacturer than solid hardwood floors. Many customers resisted. […]

The Natural Carpet Pioneer

November 18th, 2011

More than a decade after its U.S. entry, Nature’s Carpet gets mainstream attention and could be part of a market that is “ready to explode” Some rolled their eyes and suppressed laughter at the idea that a chemical-free, biodegradable, un-dyed carpet could make it in mainstream America. But when Brian Cox saw Nature’s Carpet in […]

Lovin’ the Leather

November 7th, 2011

Once available only in glue down tiles, floating floor construction widens the market for high-fashion, recycled leather flooring It wasn’t the kind of job that a flooring retailer sees every day. The customer was an accountant who worked from her home. She wanted a distinctive floor for her home office, where she meets with clients. […]

A World of Walls, Part VI

November 1st, 2011

Recycled leather offers a high-fashion look that can also be planet- and indoor-air friendly Unique. Trendy. Upscale. We’re not talking about a leather sectional. The customer who is building a home in Florida wants leather on the floor and walls. And Mike Smith, an account manager at ProSource Wholesale Flooring, says he will be delivering […]

How do I choose the right cork floor? Q. I have decided to put cork flooring in my kitchen and throughout most of the first floor of my home. What I am not sure about is whether I should buy solid or engineered flooring. What is the difference, and is there a brand that stands […]

USFloors Bamboo flooring installation by Carpetland Carpet One meets all of the owner’s expectations The new meeting-room floor installed more than a year ago at the Evergreen Holistic Learning Center had to promote health and stimulate positive, meaningful conversation. Brazilian Cherry simply would not do, Joan Barlage, Evergreen co-director, recalls thinking when she was looking at […]

Considering Carpet

October 14th, 2011

Cincinnati flooring expert says “green” can also mean affordable and durable It used to be hard to find a “green” carpet product that was reliable and durable – in addition to being affordable. If you told me you were concerned about chemical emissions and indoor-air quality, I would tell you about all-natural wool carpeting, and […]

Under the Rug

October 7th, 2011

Allergens, dust mites, pet accidents and mold are defeated by new carpet installation methods  It’s a mold inhibitor, not a cleaning product. But I wondered what it would do in the aftermath of a flood that left mold growing on my friend’s basement stairs.  HealthinEx ™ is a component of an exclusive program  from  Carpet […]

Clean Carpet Tell Me More

September 30th, 2011

Proper equipment, settings and training are needed to keep water away from carpet pad and subfloors, where lingering moisture could fuel mold We gave the expert in this week’s Natural Interiors® TV episode an ultimate challenge. We asked him to demonstrate his steam-cleaning on a piece of Nature’s Carpet – an all-natural wool carpet that […]

CleanFresh and Dry

September 30th, 2011

                                              Proper steam cleaning means no water gets through the carpet – even Nature’s Carpet® that has no plastic backings

Ask this Green Floor Guy, Part II

September 23rd, 2011

Oil-based polyurethane, water-based polyurethane or natural oil? Q. We are building a new home, and our builder is insisting that our hardwood flooring should be finished with oil-based polyurethane. He says it is the best, but we want a low-VOC finish, either with a water-based or natural oil finish. Is there some reason our builder […]

Where have all the Tires Gone?

September 14th, 2011

Recycled rubber underlayment and flooring lessen burden on landfills and curb illegal dumping If you’re working with a flooring company that has explained proper installation, you already know that you need a durable underlayment for your new floating floor. If that company happens to be focused on durable “green” products, you also know that one […]

Do You CARE?

September 6th, 2011

  KW Flooring companies divert 2 million pounds of carpet from landfills annually, while some have never heard of the Carpet America Recovery Effort   What is the flooring contractor who’s about to replace your carpet going to do with the old carpet he takes out of your home? Are you afraid to ask? Do […]

The KW Flooring Group has just joined the Natural Interiors Marketing Group. Check back for their blogs soon.

Customer Gallery

July 19th, 2010

Play Ball! Matt Wallar of Milford, OH, is thrilled with the flooring he bought from Carpetland Carpet One Floor & Home. Prefinished maple flooring from Somerset — which has FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification — was installed throughout the first floor. And the basement is now home to a floor designed to look like a […]

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