Feast your eyes.
Anytime fashion and interior design join forces, creativity takes on a whole new look. (Sometimes the rules even get broken, which is very exciting). I recently discovered TING, a London and Los Angeles based design company that transforms hand-picked vintage leather belts into fabulous floor coverings. Manufacturing floor tiles and area rugs, TING also produces bags, seat cushions and wall panels, and I imagine their practical and sustainable visions for reusing leather won’t stop at that. At some point, someone probably said that belts could not be floors; I’m glad it’s been proven true and beautiful that they certainly can be. I’d venture to guess a floor composed of such loveliness would cost you about a billion dollars, but let’s not talk about price… let’s just start collecting belts.
January has been all about taking a look at “something new.” It’s exciting to peer into the creative minds of companys–such as TING–who value pushing the boundaries in product design (and know how to put vintage leather to good use).
“Eco Friendly Elegance” This month we are featuring new and exciting products that will make your home unique. This week I want to show you Aspen wood flooring. This is an engineered product “made with whole, debarked, small-diameter, rapidly renewing aspen trees”. If you are motivated not only by style but also awareness for the world we live in this is a product you will find exciting. There are various color combinations and styles. For instance:
Smooth Plank – A flat smooth finish
Wire Brushed – Adds texture to the surface of the wood
Double Strained – Gives the wood a deeper contrasting style
Learn more about our hardwood here.
Choosing the right tile to fit your style and installation needs can be difficult. Outside of visual cues most tile does not vary in performance and benefit. However, when looking, cork is another option that adds not only a fun look but many advantages over traditional materials of porcelain or ceramic. Yes, cork; a natural, green product that can be used in many applications!
Actual cork slices are taken and set on a mesh mosaic, grouted, and sealed to provide a water tight surface. The installation is very similar to that of tile. However, instead of a cold surface you have an insulator that will keep your floor at 70 degrees year round. The benefits of using a natural product such as cork are endless. It is a renewable resource making it green, it has naturally anti-allergenic, the cork is softer than tile to give a little cushion without flexing, and it provides sound deadening. If the natural finish is not your taste you can stain it to suit your needs.
Our resident hardwood expert extraordinaire, Lee, offers these words of wisdom regarding selecting engineered hardwood.
Did you know that there is a big difference between engineered hardwood floors? First off there is rotary peeled engineered flooring. This type of flooring is peeled off of the log with a long blade, resulting in a very thin ply. These ply’s are then glued together and milled into flooring. Because of this process the top ply is susceptible to face checking. What is face checking? Face checking is cracks in the top ply from a lack of moisture or humidity, since Colorado is a very arid state it’s very easy for this to happen, if the humidity in the home is not kept very high. So unless you can keep your humidity level between 35 to 50% I would shy away from a rotary peeled products. The second type of engineered flooring is a sawn face product. This product is milled or sawn instead of peeled. Sawn face products have a thicker top ply which will hold up better in our climate. This type of flooring is manufactured the same way as the peeled product except for the top ply. These products are very versatile, they can be installed below, on or above grade. They are also normally thinner than solid wood products, so if you have you have a height issue these products will be the ones you’re looking for. Be sure to ask your flooring expert these questions before deciding on your wood floor. It could be the difference between a floor that will last for years and years or one that will leave you very disappointed.
You’ve just installed your beautiful hardwood floors. Maybe they’re handscraped. Maybe they’re brushed. Perhaps they’re engineered rather than solid. They’re stunning. Warm, natural and just the perfect finish.
How do you keep them that way?
When considering hardwood, our clients most frequently ask “Will they scratch?” The answer to this question is that hardwood is a natural material and some scratching is inevitable. However, with careful maintenance, you can really live on your hardwood without seeing the evidence.
- Opt for pre-finished hardwood. Eheart’s hardwood business is almost exclusively pre-finished because the finish is so superior to sand-on-site flooring. Pre-finished flooring has an aluminum oxide wear layer which results in a commercial grade finish that will last years longer before refinishing. And, you can walk on your floors the same day they’re installed! A win-win!
- Consider handscraped hardwood. If you have pets or kids, consider the character of a hand scraped hardwood. This style of hardwood is like distressed denim–it’s already got a bit of character, so when Junior comes in with gravel in his shoes from a particularly mischevious day at school or when Fido is overdue for a nail trim, the damage done only adds to the charm of this flooring.
- Clear the debris. The biggest culprit for hardwood wear comes from dirt, sand, and gravel that can buff or scratch your floor. Run your vacuum, dust mop, or broom over your floor routinely to extend your hardwood’s life.
- Use a wax free cleaner. We recommend and sell the Bona Hardwood Floor Care System. Similar to a Swiffer mop, this system is quick and easy–a quick dry mop to pick up residual debris then a quick spritz of the all-natural cleaner is all it takes for beautiful floors!
- Manage humidity. A whole house humidifier is a worthwhile investment to keep your hardwood looking brand new for years to come.
- Cap Fido’s toenails. Try a completely humane simple nail cap on your pet’s toenails to keep them from damaging your floors as they slide to your front door to greet unexpected guests.
Though hardwood has now replaced carpet as the most popular flooring of choice, carpet can’t be beat for its warmth, comfort underfoot, and price point. We have people coming into our store looking for carpet that won’t stain, look worn, and will wear like iron. Once we’ve found you the perfect carpet, how do you care for it?
Before you buy carpet:
- Consider your cushion as much as your carpet. For stain resistance,we recommend a carpet cushion with a moisture barrier. This will help your spilled red wine stay on top of the carpet for a longer period of time before it soaks into your cushion, permanently staining your carpet. A properly cushioned carpet wears longer, looks better, and feels great under foot. Make an upgrade to a rubber cushion with an odor and moisture barrier. You won’t regret it, and, in many cases it will extend your carpet warranty.
- Ask about warranties. Most carpet warranties exclude stairs and hallways–the areas most prone to wear and staining. Additionally, many carpet warranties pro rate, which means that the warranty covers fewer and fewer of your concerns as the years go on. As a Stainmaster UltraLife Dealer, we offer carpet warranties of 25 years with no exclusions on food, beverage, and pet stains–including stairs and hallways.
Once your carpet is installed…
- Break out the bubbly. Keep a couple of bottles of club soda on hand to lift stains from your carpet as soon as they occur. Simply pour the club soda over the stain and blot (never rub!) the stain out.
- Treat twice the stain. A stain on your cushion is twice the size it is on your carpet, so use a carpet cleaner (we recommend ZLex) on twice the affected area.
- Go brushless. Utilizing a vacuum cleaner that is suction based rather than brush based reduces the wear your carpet will experience and maintains the texture and hand of your new carpet.
- Forgo the suds. Soap residue is from traditional carpet cleaning makes your carpet dirtier. We recommend a soap free, hot water extraction based professional cleaning every two years to maintain the life of your carpet. We use Professional Carpet Cleaners of Loveland. Win 500 square feet of hot water extraction carpet cleaning–simply comment and tell us your best trick for lifting carpet stains.
What the 1990s did to design is just about irreprehensible, is it not?!?! If you, like us, are tired of walking into a home with oak trim, oak cabinets, oak floors, and oak furniture…RESOLVE to do it differently this year!
Does this look familiar?
Get rid of your oak! There are too many beautiful cabinet and floor species and finishes to be stuck in a rut!
Paint and glaze finishes and antiquing are very popular for cabinets right now. Consider non traditional floor finishes–like rich, wide plank ebony or cinder colored maple.
Perhaps you’re one of the many who has (finally) tired of days past, where homeowners had the choice of oak, oak, or oak for their hardwood. Today, Brazillian cherry, tigerwood, Asian maple, and acacia top the list of favorites. Indeed, exotics are frequently the direction our clients are going for hardwood. But, what kind of implications does having a houseful of exotic wood come with? Is this environmentally responsible?
The short answer is that laws and regulations are ensuring that it is responsible. The Lacey Act is one such piece of legistlation which makes it more difficult to bring uncertified woods from exotic species into the U.S. The act puts substantial consequences in place for every party involved with getting hardwood into your home: the forester, the transporter, the importer and exporter, the designer, the specifier, the installer, and yes, even the home owner. The fines can be staggering, so make sure that you’re asking for documentation on the hardwoods coming into your home. Look for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certified labels on hardwood samples and ask your salesperson or designer if you’re unsure.
Lucky for you, Eheart’s got you covered. We just brought in a fantastic line of exotic hardwoods that come in at less than $8 per square foot and fall into regulations seamlessly. And, they have special features to improve the wearability–so your pets and kids no longer have to be a major concern. Just look at some of the beautiful choices:
If you’re contemplating replacing your floors, you might consider bamboo. Here’s a crash course in this eco friendly alternative:
Bamboo is eco friendly because…
- It can be harvested every 3-5 years (versus 50-75 for hardwood)
- It produces twenty five times the amount of product hardwood can in the same lifespan
- It is the fastest growing plant on earth
Bamboo looks like…
- The color spectrum that can be achieved in bamboo is nearly limitless. The color in bamboo is made darker by heating the material until the sugars within it brown. This process reduces the strength of the material.
- A medium colored bamboo sits at about 1200 on the Janka scale for flooring hardness. This is right between oak and pecan.
- It is more dimsionally stable than hardwood, expanding and contracting 50% less than hardwood.
- Bamboo is exceptionally durable, especially stranded bamboo, which is coated with resin and can even be used commercially (in banks, hospitals, etc).
I have a lot of people come into our store looking for hardwoods with a diverse palette of woods and stains. This look is beautiful and mimics this aesthetic, without sacrificing ease of care and sensitivity to the environment