Design & Décor

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 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 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 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 suppliers In 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 Interiors By 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 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.

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 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.

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 boxes, the color did not look like what we chose. Instead, it looked like the material had yellowed, like something does when it gets old. The installer said this was normal and that it would go away. But with the price of this product already being higher than many other options, I did not want to take the chance. I sent the flooring back and cancelled the job. I really wanted this floor. Is it possible that I just got a batch that was defective? A. The problem you are describing is not a defect. It is called “ambering,” which is a yellowish cast that appears on Marmoleum – and the competing brands of linoleum. As the installer said, it is normal. It goes away entirely after the flooring comes out of the box and is exposed to light for a few days.

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 floors from old barns,” she said. “But could this floor be less durable because it is old and had a past life? Or what if it was salvaged after a forest fire or taken from a tree that was killed by beetles? Could it be infested?” She was thinking it is safer to stick with flooring products that have been made to look old, but are not. This is an example of confusion that has resulted from having too much information.

“Greenest” hardwood from DuChateau is now distressed to look like barn wood The time-worn look of reclaimed hardwood is getting so popular that every flooring manufacturer has to have one. DuChateau Floors – which makes FSC-certified hardwood with a natural, nontoxic oil finish – announced its new Heritage Timber collection today. While the wear layer on these flooring planks is not made from deconstructed barns and buildings, the reclaimed wood is artfully replicated with scrapes, nail holes, notches and saw marks. The company chose to create the look, instead of using barn wood, in an effort to offer a product at a more competitive price.