It Started With the White Lye

It Started With the White Lye

Low- and zero-VOC hardwood finishing program expands with architect’s vision

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACincinnati Architect Adam Fosnaugh was in awe of a wood floor made in Denmark. It was the look he wanted for the first floor of the Clifton home he and his wife are remodeling. Could we recreate this aesthetic?, he asked.

It was White Oak plank, bleached in color, not too white, but no yellow tones that are typical with traditional hardwood finishes. Oh and yes, it had to be low- or zero-VOC. Adam is a LEED AP at MSA Architects. His wife, Margot, is a chemical engineer and air quality consultant, and they have a 1-1/2-year-old daughter.

Indoor-air quality, in addition to the perfect color, also would be important for the cork flooring they would select for the second floor.

While some retailers advertise cork simply as a natural and sustainable product, it is put together with adhesive, so verification is needed to ensure the product meets safety standards for emissions of formaldehyde and other Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s).

We got to work, applying different white finishes on White Oak samples with different milling profiles, and the Fosnaughs scrutinized cork colors and patterns from

Final Wood Selection: Right side, top two rows. Zero-VOC White Lye

Final Wood Selection: Right side, top two rows. Zero-VOC White Lyetwo of our manufacturers – USFloors and Wicanders — who have third-party indoor-air quality certifications.

Several weeks later, they have made their selections, and because we are excited about the unique look they’ve created, we are going to blog about this project as it goes forward, all timed around the installation of a new kitchen.

The first floor and open staircase will be 4-inch plank with a zero-VOC white lye finish that we have now added to our


Final Cork Selection: Wicanders Flock Moonlight

Final Cork Selection: Wicanders Flock Moonlight

Natural Interiors® finishing program.  For the second floor, we have ordered Flock Moonlight from Wicanders Cork, which has GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certification.

Let the transformation begin! ©



  • Pingback:It Started With the White Lye, Part 2 | Natural Interiors® Blog
    Posted at 14:18h, 15 December Reply

    […] described in Part 1, a white Wicander’s Cork flooring was selected for the second floor, and there were several steps […]

  • Bonnie Burgess
    Posted at 02:07h, 12 January Reply

    Hello from Toronto. Wha’s the product used by Cincinnati Architect Adam Fosnaugh to get white scandi look? Thanks, Bonnie

    • Nancy Kibbee
      Posted at 09:42h, 20 January Reply

      It is the white lye finish from WOCA oil.

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