Monday, January 31, 2011

Shopping Tips From a Flooring Professional...

Choosing a new floor is a big decision. Most of us want a floor that suits both our home’s design and our lifestyle, one that complements our house and furniture without making us cringe every time somebody drops a fork or the dog skates in from outside. Add to that the choices in color and grain, handscraping methods, board widths, gloss level, and of course, price, and it’s no wonder some people search for years before fixing on their final choice.

As both a sales rep (at simpleFLOORS)and a customer, I’ve found that there are two methods of approach when shopping for flooring. You either wander at will and hope to fall in love with something, or do a little research and have a flexible plan. Generally the second approach is less frustrating, time consuming, and expensive. Think about what you want the floor to look like, and also what the floor will have to withstand.

For wearability, some hard and fast truths: A floor that is higher on the Janka scale (1300-3680) will dent less than a floor lower on the scale. Woods with more grain and variation of color will hide wear – dings, dents, scratches – better than a floor that’s more uniform. Medium colors hide dust and scratches much better than dark floors. Handscraping is not just a trend; it’s there to make the inevitable marks you and your family will make over time less noticeable.

For design ideas – well, I used magazines, design books, TV shows, online photos, and of course our very own Flickr page for photos of real-life homes. You don’t have to find the exact color or style that you want, just use these images to find out more about what feels comfortable for you and your household. Do you want a floor that stands out, a centerpiece? Or do you want it to be in the background, a wood that’s pretty but not the focal point? Do you like contrasting colors or do you prefer different shades of the same hue? Should you mix styles, or are you a purist?

When you come into a showroom to look seriously, bring samples of whatever else will be going in the room. Pull out cabinet drawers to bring, get swatches of existing paint color in your house from a home improvement store, grab a couch cushion or your favorite artwork, unscrew the leg from a dining room chair, etc. It’ll be easier to narrow down choices if you have the exact shades & styles you’ve already chosen for your rooms.

A follow-up step is to take samples of your top five choices home, so that you can see the colors in your own lighting. Many showrooms use fluorescent light bulbs, which can bring out the cooler tones in a color, and can dull reds and oranges. You’ll get a better idea of how a wood will look in your house if you place samples in different rooms and peek at them throughout the day, observing how they look in morning light, afternoon light, lamplight, etc. We also encourage our customers to drop everyday items on their take-home samples, to get an accurate idea of how floors wear. Even the hardest woods can be damaged with a sharp point and a lot of force; the question is, do you notice the damage when the sample’s not two inches from your nose?

In the end, you might find two or three ‘right’ choices. If that’s the case, my only advice is:
1. Listen to the house. Sometimes it’s just easier to really SEE one floor in your rooms. My house, built in the 1920s, was easier to picture with the dark brown floor that was my second choice, rather than the light floor that was my first. It’s more dramatic with the high ceilings, tall baseboards, white walls. Ultimately, the house chose the floor for me.
2. Listen to your gut. Is there one that you love-love-love? And if so, are you going to be in the house long enough to appreciate it? There was one floor on my list that I would’ve had a hard time leaving when I sell my house in a couple years. Most home buyers would frown on a seller hastily tearing up floorboards and shoving them in her purse before leaving town.
3. Hold your nose and jump in! After eliminating the definitely-nots, and just-not-for-mes, what’s left will be a lot of beautiful choices.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Next Cool Thing

The Next Cool Thing is coming to Atlanta January 14th-16th 2011. Simplefloors is hyped to be a part of this three-day event which showcases members of the creative community such as interior designers, event planners, architects, builders, lighting companies, performers, artisans and craftsmen who will be filling a 90,000 square feet building at 1235 Chattahoochee Avenue in Atlanta. An expected creative element is that the sets/environments are all based on a film or TV theme.

The visual tribute honors the work of Georgia Production Partnership (GPP) and the growing film industry in Georgia. With the help of GPP, Georgia has become one of the top five States in the country for movie and television production.

Georgia Production Partnership from Georgia Production Partnership on Vimeo.

Barbara English of TO THE TRADE ONLY recently said of the event that “We realized the need to bring the creative communities together to introduce them to each other when Craig Miller, of the Georgia Production Partnership (GPP) and I discussed the perception that the state is lacking adequate resources to accommodate new business being generated here from Los Angeles and New York,” Barbara adds, “There is nothing the entertainment industry needs that can’t be found locally.”

The Georgia Production Partnership and TO THE TRADE ONLY partnered to create national awareness of Georgia’s rich, local talent and our mild weather, diverse shooting locations and international airport.

Simplefloors will be installing a variety of our floors in spaces throughout the event. We intend to make good use of the time and shoot our own production of an installation video providing a easy to understand step by step guide of the basic types of flooring installation.