The story of rugs from Mekizodesigns“Most of the blogs I find become more of an information regurgitation, and I am guilty of that myself,” Melanie Munden, founder of Mekizodesigns, tells me from the start.
“We are selling flooring, after all,” she says. “But for me, I am interested in the story of how something began. What inspired me, and who or what is the latest trend in color for fashion trends and textiles for the home.”
It only took about 30 seconds for me to figure out that Melanie is an artist, and that this touches everything she does. Her new silk and wool rugs have standalone appeal. But I now want to know the story of how this began.
Linoleum appeal has moved beyond health benefits to include one-of-a-kind designs Vinyl lovers take note: Green-minded Portland residents remodeling kitchens and bathrooms are resoundingly choosing Marmoleum floors.
Unlike vinyl, this is all-natural linoleum made primarily from linseed oil. While it traditionally has been sought by the chemically sensitive or those concerned about indoor-air quality, it is now also being sought for its fashion statement, says Sam Snow, owner of EcoFloors in Portland, OR.
“It’s an excellent choice for high-use areas because of its durability, lower maintenance and its style options are almost endless,” he says. “In addition, it’s 100-percent natural, antistatic, antibacterial and comfortable underfoot.”
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 chemicals and additives. Cork flooring is beautifully natural and sustainable. But it cannot be made without some extra ingredients – like adhesive.
After wine bottle stoppers are punched out of the bark of the Cork Oak Trees in and around Portugal, cork that will be made into flooring is ground up, mixed with pigments, and adhesive. Fortunately, cork producers in the Mediterranean region are known for their attention to environmentally sound adhesives and additives.
Once the sheets of cork are produced, more materials are introduced. If the cork will be used for engineered flooring, which is made in layers, the core of the floor with be HDF (High Density Fiber Board). And if the flooring – engineered or solid – will be prefinished, anything from a simple water-based polyurethane to a proprietary aluminum oxide or ceramic finish, to a high-tech nano finish, will be applied to the surface.
New looks, including stone, wood and textiles, expand uses for cork flooringWhat 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 is an illusion, enabled by the latest digital optic technology that embosses these patterns directly onto the cork.
“You cannot tell its cork until you touch it,” says Tim Tompkins, national marketing director for Wicanders. “We are able to print these patterns directly on our cork veneers. The texture of the cork veneer beneath it adds more texture and realism to the finished product, and each floor is a fingerprint of itself as no two planks, panels or tiles are identical. It’s very amazing technology.”
Anderson Township, OH, family completes new home with natural oil hardwood finish and corkWhen 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 that on the first floor, I wanted something that was spot-repairable.”
This was the beginning of a selection process that ended with the Monroes putting hardwood – finished on site with a natural, hard-wax oil -- on the first floor, and cork flooring upstairs in the bedrooms and hallway.
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 flooring store. But there was something magnetic about the eye-catching colors and textures on display.
This is a flooring store, I thought, but look at all of the options they offer for backsplashes and walls! And virtually every manufacturer offers something with recycled glass or recycled content , and tile is indoor-air friendly, too.
Okay, walls and floors must complement each other, so it makes sense to sell them together, particularly for bathrooms. But when there are so many cool options, how do you choose?
Natural Interiors® Designers’ Forum sees increase in “green” cabinet suppliersIn the beginning, there was one visible “green” cabinet company. In 1998, we called them, in Portland, OR, if we wanted wood kitchen cabinets that emitted fewer chemicals in our homes.
But many of us had to settle for traditional cabinets. Shipping costs to the Midwest or east drove the cost of these cabinets beyond our reach.
Today, a handful of companies are trying to fill the void, and Midwestern kitchen designers who are trending natural have more choices.
Natural Interiors® Designers' Forum spotlights new look for old furniture from Sterling InteriorsBy now, everyone has seen artwork and other creations made from trash, or worn out objects that were about to become trash. But when was the last time you saw one and seriously considered it useful?
Can’t remember? Then it’s time to take a closer look at a growing interior design trend called “upcycling.” It’s not quite the same thing as “restoring,” or “refinishing” as upcycling usually gives a worn out piece of furniture a different look than it had before, along with a whole new, useful life.
While this helps the planet by reducing waste, concern for the planet is not the top force driving demand for upcycled products.
A style for every roomAs 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.
Competition in strand bamboo means quality products and competitive pricing from many manufacturersNot 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 bamboo flooring category, it’s difficult for any manufacturer to claim leadership. A number of companies now supply strand products that in some markets have become more visible than those introduced about a decade ago by industry pioneers.