While it’s still 2018 on the calendar, those of us in product design and development world are already living and working well in the 2019 calendar year. “What”, you may ask, does 2019 hold in store in design trends, especially those that will impact our hardwood flooring choices? I can share some very important and exciting insights that might just surprise you. The information I’m about to impart is both valuable and reliable, a result of having been not only professionally forecasting design trends and applying them into successfully selling collections but also from practicing as a professional interior designer for thirty plus years.  Get out your notepads and sharpen your pencils.


Many dealers ask me whether I consider “gray” staying or going away…and my answer is based on the responses I’ve gotten when working with specifiers, designers and looking at what finishes are going into projects a year from now. Gray is still with us and still very viable and necessary part of a product mix, perhaps even more so in hard surface finishes like hardwood flooring. What you should know is that you might see very colorful “trend alerts” from professional organizations like Color Marketing Group, of which I am a member, where pastel pinks, bright yellow golds and blues are trending upwards. There should be footnotes on these trend reports or asterisks that spell out in “fine print” that these are “accents” and relate to broader product categories like apparel, interior accessories, cosmetics and even automotive colors. That being said, these accents are like the colorful necktie on a stylish navy blue suit. The “foundational color palette” is what matters for us in the hard surface floor covering world.

Over the years when speaking at design events and presenting trends, I have referred to the “foundational color palette” as “commitment colors” indicating the big pieces of furniture, built in cabinets or other types of large surfaces that are not easily installed, not easily replaced, not easily moved which the specifiers and end users acknowledge that this surface color will be there for an average of five to seven years before it’s replaced. This space, this very myopic color palette has been my primary focus since launching the Emily Morrow Home hardwood flooring line and brand. In my past life as Shaw’s director of color style and design for the soft and hard surfaces, my focus had to be much broader and focus on the aspects that all fit together, so that the carpet colors and the hard surface colors would not only be “trend forward” but also salable. These colors had to have broad application across the USA and that part has not changed one bit. It is that deep and wide background, plus the added thirty year interior design expertise that enables me to successfully forecast well into the coming year with significant accuracy, knowing, not guessing, what’s essential for flooring collections which the dealers will be selling. Now that we’ve explained the groundwork, let’s dive into this “commitment” palette which we will be seeing in 2019!


The catalysts driving the foundational color palette currently are not just color-related but also visuals and textures that are nature derived and can be best described as “aspirational luxury”. Make note, this overview is what many would call the high altitude view. You can expect to see marbles, granites and limestones that are above and beyond your ordinary colors or names like “Baltic Brown”. The look is slightly more unique, the names and veining are a little on the “exotic” side, In general terms, these are names that most homeowners are not acquainted with, like “Pietra Grigio” or “Nero Marquina”. Aged travertines, Bianca Dolomite whites, gray-veined Carrara and gray-gold veined Calacatta marbles, gray and black soapstones and even gray poured concrete slabs. Overall this “naturally derived” color palette is generally cool, you will also see emerging warmth from luxurious onyx, Emperador Dark marble and wood species like walnut. 

Hopefully the “Nature’s Neutrals” palette explanations clarify and define in your mind what is going to be the essences of 2019 design.






BLACK ECLIPSE: feeling more dark charcoal that a straight out ebony black, Eclipse is just as the name implies, a shadowy black which works best in premium quality hardwood where the grain is straighter, certainly no application on a rotary cut hardwood. Again like a shadow or an eclipse, there is no reflective quality to the darkness, simply matte darkness, velvety if anything in its appearance.

EMPERADOR DARK BROWN: Emperador Dark Marble is a rich brown marble which can change from slab to slab depending on how much and where the white veins run. Rich browns are on the horizon in hardwood flooring in the form of rich matte chocolate browns especially in the Walnut species. Walnut, in the right color family of brown, is and always will be timeless and salable. Walnut, although soft, is making a strong showing in both commercial and residential interiors. Overall, one of walnut’s best attributes is that it can be mixed in with a variety of design styles and with a variety of other surfaces.

BEMUDA STONE GRAY: gray is enjoying a very long and successful life span. Since its first showing in 2007, gray continues to reign strong in every consumer goods category as a “go to” neutral, back drop “blank canvas” type color which bridges easily with other colors and also serves well in a wide range of design styles from mid century modern to rustic farm house. Gray continues to become more and more refined as it evolves. Currently grays have segued into that look and feel which is silvery, patinaed and aged yet smooth in texture.

FRENCH LIMESTONE: The “chicest” hardwood color is the in the same family as reclaimed french limestone. A quarried look and feel is the target texture. Not quite scraped, not quite wire-brushed, not quite chiseled, this actual color creates its warmth through the “just right” off white with zero ‘yellow’, zero ‘pink’, just warm like the stone you’d see in an old chateaux in France.

SEA SALT WHITE: Speaking from recent experience of admiring the Bermuda sands on a recent trip, “Sea Salt” off-whites are akin to a “mist” with hints of color only from reflections of the surf and sand. Looking to find off whites, you can certainly find the similar influences from my mega trend of plaster-gesso whites from 2017 and 2018. In keeping with gesso and plaster, SEA SALT is matte and more importantly is not flat nor opaque.


Emily Morrow Finkell: Safari Away ~ Serengeti Adventures Part II

This time of year around International Elephants Day, I cannot help but look back at my first ever safari, a photo safari I might point out, I was reminded of the rich inspiration I got from the endless ways that “Safari” lifestyle impacts our world of both fashion and interiors.

We are all constantly looking for clothes that feel good, fit comfortably and are “classic” styles…that never wear out or go out of style. Banana Republic began their company in just that “fashion” and Ralph Lauren has certainly taken cues from the safari lifestyle, just in a more luxurious light. As I traveled for ten days throughout Eastern Africa and celebrated my then 11 year anniversary of being a breast cancer survivor, I absorbed ideas, colors, impressions for projects both “interior design” speaking as well as for product design, hardwood, carpet and rugs. We launched an entire collection at Shaw prior to my first Safari with patterns, colors and style names drawn directly from the African continent.

Feel free to look through these images and to see more, click to my Pinterest Boards “Safari Away”.

The Tanzania trip was so impactful to me on so many levels, I simply can’t wait to share more pics and impressions from our next adventure, Nairobi and the Rift Valley with my sweetheart husband Don. You can almost hear the musical soundtrack from Out of Africa already playing in the background. Stay tuned for more impressions of our East African adventures at www.EmilyMorrowHome.com

out of africa 1

Out of Africa !



Banana Republic Catalog No. 19, Summer 1984

Banana Republic Catalog 19 Summer 1984 Cover by Patricia ZieglerBanana Republic Catalog No. 19, Summer 1984

Emily Morrow Home officially kicks off summer with style, Coastal Luxe style 🌊🌊🌊🌊🌊🌊🌊🌊🌊🌊🌊🌊

Welcome Summer ! The Coastal Luxe collection brings the beach to you. The nautical-inspired flooring, furniture and accessories are perfect for achieving that seaside style.

Surf 🏄🏻‍♀️ the Coastal Luxe selection and find just what you need for your maritime manor.

Collections to See:

Surf Shack

Beach Confidential


Cosmopolitan Coast

Some people plan vacations to rest…for me it’s a time to find inspiration to imagine new design ideas, and new ways to make your interiors more beautiful, more valuable, perhaps more enjoyable too.

So sit back and enjoy a little mini vacation with us at the coast and feel the “ahhhhs” come over you like the ocean surf.

Emily Morrow Home Hardwood, Reimagined, Redefined, Reinvented…Relax, you’re finally home.


Design Spectator: Wood is Good

Floor Covering Weekly, Style & Design: “Wood is Good” http://www.floorcoveringweekly.com/main/style-design/wood-is-good-15876.aspx

A few years ago, I was invited to serve on a panel to judge final projects of senior interior design students, many of whom were directed to use sustainable materials.

While evaluating the projects, one student was reprimanded by the professor for not specifying “reclaimed” wood, bamboo or cork but rather a new North American hardwood floor. While I congratulated the student for choosing wood floors — it was responsibly procured from North American forests and made in the U.S.A. — the professor’s misinformed argument was that wood is not in plentiful supply. Here in the U.S., however, that is not true.

While there seems to be a basic understanding among consumers that hardwood can help increase a home’s value, like the professor, there remains a degree of confusion when it comes to some hardwood basics — such as the difference between engineered hardwood, solid hardwood, laminate or resilient as well as what makes one flooring type more sustainable than another. When responsibly harvested and procured, wood is indeed a sustainable choice. (For more information, visit the National Wood Flooring Association at nwfa.org and the Forestry Stewardship Council at us.fsc.org/en-us.)

While industry terms can often be too technical for consumers, the state-of-the-art technology now being used to create flooring is also causing some confusion — almost any surface can be made, for example, to look like wood, including laminate, vinyl and even tile.

What consumers do know is the look, feel and even the smell of hardwood is appealing and they admire the craftsmanship that has created beautiful interiors for centuries. Pictured below is a look at hardwood floors showcased in some of France’s most renowned buildings, such as Versailles.

If you have a chance to go to the link for Michael Green’s talk about building skyscrapers of wood at TED 2013, you’ll be rewarded. It’s a brief and inspiring talk that will leave you with a renewed love and appreciation for the beauty of wood as a building material.

We’ve talked a lot about the warmth, character and quality that wood brings to interiors, but what we haven’t considered enough is the fact that its’s truly good to use wood..good, as in good for us. In his TED talk, Michael Green says “Wood gives Mother Nature fingerprints in our buildings…and makes our buildings connect with us through nature”…”that it’s the only building material that is grown by the sun…and has an amazing capacity to store carbon.”

I hope many will find gratification in knowing that our North American forests are responsibly forested, are providing jobs and building materials that are not only beautiful but are so “good” in infinite ways. It’s no wonder we see consumers and designers drawn to all things wood or wood-inspired. Wood, it does us all good!



“Retail Research” in Paris…loved their use of wood floors in the high end retail spaces


The Ralph Lauren store in Paris featured endless distressed wood elements for merchandising their pieces.
Another close up at the Ralph Lauren Store Paris…
yet another distressed wood detail in Ralph Lauren Paris.
The Hermes Store in Paris…uses wood sculpturally and elegantly
The Hermes Store in Paris is completely inspiring
One of the places we stayed in Normandy was this elegant chateau “Chateau La Cheneviere” which had stunning wood floors…
Another angle of the beautiful floors inside Chateau La Cheneviere
yet another …leading into the dining room of Chateau La Cheneviere…

Thank you!

Emily Morrow Finkell


Emily Morrow Finkell

CEO EF Floors & Design, LLC

Emily Morrow Home: Hardwood & Decor Est. Fall 2015

Professional Commercial & Residential Interior Design since 1989

Allied Member ASID

855 Abutment Road Suite 3

Dalton, Georgia 30720

Office 1-866-775-3877

“BEAUTIFUL TO THE FINISH”, Emily Morrow Finkell for NWFA Magazine Spring 2018

“BEAUTIFUL TO THE FINISH”, Emily Morrow Finkell for NWFA Magazine APRIL 2018

According to the National Wood Flooring Association, there’s a variety of finish options for hardwood floors. https://www.woodfloors.org/finishes.aspx Surface finishes are common, some are for sheen or gloss and are typically oil-based or water-based. It’s generally accepted that a finish is applied to help with durability, moisture resistance, scratch resistance and to provide a level of protection across the surface of the wood. In the hardwood flooring world, that’s pretty much the short and sweet low down on finishes.

However, here at Emily Morrow Home Hardwood, there’s going to be a much broader and more exciting storyline on finishes. When you change the filter of what you’re looking through, like a lens for example, the view changes. Consider for a moment looking through a lens with a broader view, one that takes into consideration all of the flooring categories as well as the entire interiors world. That’s the lens through which Emily Morrow Home views innovation in hardwood flooring, and it’s much less myopic than most others.

I’ve created two very insightful and useful lists on evolving finish trends. These lists are based primarily on cut, clarity and quality of wood, very much like diamonds. https://www.woodfloors.org/appearance.aspx The cleaner, the more precious the cut of the wood, the less you have to do to it to make it beautiful and salable. In the highest end of hardwood you’ll see more of what’s special and beautiful about hardwood. We’ll call the first list the “A-List”, and is comprised of looks that you’ll easily spot within the pages of high-end interiors magazines, like Architectural Digest and Elle Decor. Of all the brands in the marketplace that are positioned in this category, you’ll find DuChateaux and Provenza as well as the Emily Morrow Home line of luxury hardwood. The finishes from the A-list speak to luxury, are neither nichey nor trendy, but instead are timeless, beautiful, saleable and suited perfectly for the upscale market in ⅝” and up luxury sliced hardwood flooring. If we compared the A-list to automobiles, they’d be the high performance luxury cars which have a limited color line and model styles which rarely change. These products set the standard for timeless luxury and unmatched quality.

The A- list is not made of “all the colors and finishes, just the right ones”. The A-list finishes include “matte”, cerused sliced wood grains, hand-sanded, sanded-down, painterly effects, plastery-white or blackened, warm barnwood grays, and driftwood grays which can have a silvery effect in the right light. In fashion, interiors and even automobiles, the right application of color and finish must make sense with the specific product’s design. The Pantone Institute’s Director Leatrice Eiseman recently shared this as her mindset in making sure products are successful.

The second list, the B-list is comprised of finishes that are very trendy and utilize many variations, looks that one might also become “time stamped”, and are found in the big middle of the market, an area referred to as the “high end of the middle” or low end of the high”.

The B-list level could be compared to the car brands that try out every kind of color, finish and effect. There is a third list, but it’s a list of finishes that would be so long and ever-changing as it represents the least expensive, highly competitive, lower segment of the market. Brands found in this second tier grouping would be those like Anderson-Tuftex and Hearthwood. This is the “big middle” and offers these major players a wide berth of looks and finishes at very affordable price points.

This second tier includes some very interesting looks and finishes. The names themselves are fun to say, all playing to the sales associates’ need to have a nickname that they can easily explain. This grouping includes metallics, reactives, reactive-looks,”fumed” as well as “air-brushed effects” with dramatic highs and lows. This list applies to mid level hardwood floors, they are typically rotary peeled hardwoods and take advantage of special effects to down-play the busier rotary-peeled cathedral wood grain. When the cut of the wood determines the yield, and rotary yields more, wastes less of the hardwood, there is understandably quite a large segment of manufacturers who employ the various techniques so that their products can hit a price point. Actual reactive finishes, although very cool, are challenging due to their “reactive” state never stopping therefore many of the “reactive looks” are designed to look like the actual reactives without the continually changing nature of actual “reactive” finishes.

In studying the trends, it’s essential to continually work with those who are closest to the cutting edge, i.e. designers and specifiers, or retailers and specialty shops who cater to the design trade. It matters to speak the same language and share a common goal when working with those in the design world, much like Martians and Venutians, designers don’t want to talk to someone who’s an outsider who’s ”trying” to be a designer.

At the top of my sources in field research is a lighting and accessory company based in Atlanta, Georgia but well known world-wide. Currey and Company’s Creative Director Cecil Adams and Brownlee Currey graciously offer to give me a “design inspiration” tour of their High Point showroom outlining their latest trends. Their creative teams travel the world, working in villages and soaking up the native flavor and culture, searching for “unique” and “native” art or hand-crafted pieces which they integrate into their collections of chandeliers, pendants, wall sconces and more. Three years ago, they were among the first to do “black” finishes in the “Dark Beauty” looks and five years ago, utilized the mercury glass and champagne silvery gold effects for the bridge from brushed nickel or chrome to the warmer metallics we see so prevalently today. What’s next according to Cecil Adams? You’ve already heard me make references to this look in past trend narratives, and it is Finish Trend #1, “Gesso”, “plastery whites” which is also referred to as chalky whites. Look for this not only in the Currey and Company Spring 2018 introductions but also in the Emily Morrow Home Hardwood line, some of which was recently given overwhelmingly positive feedback at the 2018 EMH Designer Summit.

Currey and Company’s Creative Director, Cecil Adams said, “Gesso is having a moment and one of the characteristics I love about this technique is that it adds a handmade quality to anything you cover with it. Typically used as a layer between a substrate and another finish, when you encounter it now it begs the question – am I seeing something that was underneath another layer that has been peeled away, or I am seeing something in a stage of being built up into something else? Gesso is in the middle so to speak.” See Currey’s “Moondance Orb Chandelier, Jacinda Chandelier, Ralston Chandelier, Burdock Chandelier and Martine Chandelier for their version of “Gesso”.

Also important in researching finish trends, it’s essential to get to the heart of what designers and specifiers are using in commercial interiors. Commercial design tends to lead the residential world and is a wonderful “petrie dish” for seeing exactly what works and what doesn’t. Examining various categories like wood, porcelain tiles, natural stones, and glass mosaics, it’s abundantly clear that today, it’s all about “texture” and “dimension” and a handcrafted wood visual. As part of my research, I worked with Nancy Jackson, the President of ASI in New York City. ASI deals with the NYC A&D community, those who are driving some major trends.

Jackson said their team works with all surfaces ranging from textured and dimensional wood panels that are handcrafted, embossed and or reclaimed to dramatic finishes that reflect luxe leather and skins, metal and glass mosaics to flooring products that include LVT, hardwoods, porcelain and natural stone. Changes over the last couple of years have been driven by the acceptance of simulated materials accepted into the commercial market. For example, a hotel brand will specifically request a luxury vinyl for the guest rooms and porcelain for the public spaces, that is in part to the advancement of these products looking so realistic!

Gray and warm earthy color palettes are still on trend , mixing them up with hints of metallic is very much on point now. Matte in wood flooring and gloss on dimensional glass mosaics feels fresh and the direction ASI is going in new product launches.

In the commercial arena the challenge is always to protect the design intent and be sensitive to the budget while recommending the right product for the application so it’s never just one part: price, performance or design.A product has to look good, perform well, and be competitively priced! Jackson stated ”Materials that support the designer for narrative storytelling in a place .

Even workplace has been influenced by hospitality design and speciality products are being specified to have engaging spaces for employees to collaborate in.”

Final thoughts on finishes, the best indication of a healthy marketplace for consumers is to see and hear that there’s a need for more choice, more variety and higher quality materials. It’s already been an exciting year and we’ve not yet completed Q1. Hold on tight and let’s see what the end of the year looks like. Let’s plan on being strong and beautiful to the finish.


9000-0285 Martine Chandelier


9000-0287 Burdock Chandelier


9000-0354 Jacinda Chandelier NEW

9000-0255 Ralston Chandelier

9000-0141 https://www.curreycodealers.com/p-8070-ralston-chandelier.aspx#.WsaSQC7waJA

9000-0211 Moondance Orb Chandelier


Images of Emily Morrow Home Hardwood


Shown here is Treasured Places by EMH

Global Spirit

‘Home Town’ strong with United Way Women’s Leadership Council | Lifestyles | dailycitizen.news

It was a huge honor and pleasure to be a part of this wonderful and inspiring luncheon with HGTV’s Erin & Ben Napier, hosted by United Way Women’s Leadership Council…Congratulations and thank yous go out to Amanda Burt, Andrea Ross, Dixie Kinnard, Lynn Whitworth, Brenda Knowles and all the other talented people involved in coordinating and planning the day! I am so proud of #MYHOMETOWN Dalton, Georgia.

United Way of Northwest Georgia’s Women’s Leadership Council held its sixth annual Spring Symposium on April 18 at Walnut Hill Farm. Erin and Ben Napier from HGTV’s “Home Town”
— Read on www.dailycitizen.news/content/tncms/live/

United Way of Northwest Georgia’s Women’s Leadership Council held its sixth annual Spring Symposium on April 18 at Walnut Hill Farm. Erin and Ben Napier from HGTV’s “Home Town” were the featured speakers.

United Way Board Member Emily Finkell of Emily Morrow Home facilitated the event with 250 in attendance. Patti Renz, United Way board member and realtor at Coldwell Banker Kinard Realty, and Marianne Murry, United Way Volunteer Center Council member and director of marketing at Engineered Floors, shared their journey to join United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council.

Erin and Ben Napier live and restore homes in small town Mississippi. When they aren’t renovating homes, the couple and four of their best friends sell heirloom wares and durable goods at their made in the USA shop, Laurel Mercantile Co. Erin and Ben reside in Laurel, Miss., believing quality of life is best in a small town.

United Way of Northwest Georgia’s Women’s Leadership Council invited the Napiers to share their passion for revitalizing small towns and products made in America. Their dedication to improving their home town is perfectly aligned with United Way’s commitment to building a better community and enhancing quality of life.

Erin and Ben’s journey to becoming stars of their HGTV show was a bit of an accident as they were discovered on Instagram. However, their commitment to making their hometown of Laurel a great place to live was very intentional. When they began sharing the story of Laurel, they realized that there were a lot of perceived problems that didn’t really exist. It was really all about perception, and perception can be changed. Erin stated, “I started painting this picture of Laurel the way I saw it, as a beautiful town to live and raise a family in.” She began sharing photos of the exciting things they were doing in Laurel, and people took notice. Eventually, the Napiers were approached about hosting a show on HGTV and the rest is history.

“The discussion led by Emily Finkell was perfect for our community as we look to the future and seek ways to make our community a better place and more appealing for both residents and prospective residents,” United Way President Amanda Burt said. “The Napiers shared many great truths that spoke to our community. Their home town of Laurel, Miss., evolved because of the industry, much like our own community. They are strong advocates of American manufacturing and shared that anyone who is serious about revitalizing small towns has to be serious about American manufacturing. ”

The Napiers made sure to explain that change doesn’t happen overnight. They shared that an overnight success takes 10 years. Part of that, they explained, is looking at where you want to be in three to four years and listening to and only saying yes to things that will get you there.

There is a role for everyone to play. The revitalization of their town took many people with very different backgrounds and talents working together to accomplish their shared goal of making their town great. It also takes boldness. Erin mentioned that one of her favorite quotes is “The ones who say it can’t be fixed are the ones who need to get out of the way.” Their entire message boils down to this: we are the ones who decide how our community looks. As Finkell said, “We are all ambassadors for our hometown.”

This year’s Spring Symposium would not have been possible without generous sponsors. United Way thanks the following sponsors:

Gold Level

• Engineered Floors

• Debbie Macon

• Shaw Industries Women’s Innovation Network

• Textile Rubber and Chemical Co. Inc.

Silver Level

• Coldwell Banker Kinard Realty

• Emily Morrow Home

• Dixie Kinard

• Kim L. Woods Construction Inc.

• Simply Outrageous

• Walnut Hill Farm

• The Yellow Bird

For more information on United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council contact amy.ross@ourunitedway.org or call (706) 876-2552

Something to Bark About…A Dog’s Life, Emily Morrow Finkell for NWFA Hardwood Floors Magazine 

Every dog has its day…right? These days it seems as if dogs are living the high life. We’ve seen a growing number of adorable pooches who have their own Instagram and Facebook profile pages as well as a large following. Everywhere I’ve traveled recently, it’s been easy to find hotels that are “pet friendly” complete with dog treats and courtesy leashes in the lobbies.

This past week, I listened to some entertaining “dog tales” from the National Wood Flooring Association team about Michael Martin’s dog “Woodrow Forest Barker” aka “Woody”. He’s become the NWFA’s adored mascot. As the NWFA team told cute stories on Woody, I couldn’t help but think there are a lot of “Woodys” out there who hold special places in the hearts of the homeowners who are also choosing furnishings and flooring for their homes.

“Woody” Barker Forest

Homeowners are now designing their own spaces around the needs of pets and are choosing products for their home that will live up to the daily wear of tiny (or large) paws. If you spend any time searching HGTV.com, Pinterest or Houzz you will easily find posted photos of “pet projects” which feature custom-tiled dog bathing areas, comfy indoor air-conditioned and heated kennels fit for a king or a King Charles Spaniel. Beyond “dog specific” areas, the human-occupied spaces also include custom details like built-in dog feeding areas within the kitchen cabinets and fashionable dog sofas and beds with cushions upholstered in colorfully patterned fabrics. Speaking of fabric, check out the expansive selection of upholstery fabrics by companies like Sunbrella, Crypton and other “performance” brands. For years, the family dog wasn’t allowed on the furniture becasue of the damage it could cause but now the upholstery choices are made based on what would be “pet friendly” and easily cleaned. Now the family dog might have its own sofa covered in Crypton fabric with designs by either “William Wegman” or “Thibaut”.

According to a 2015-2016 survey conducted by the APPA, sixty-five percent of U.S. households, or about 79.7 million families, own a pet. The pet industry is expected to surpass its $62 billion dollar record set in 2016 according to the American Pet Products Association. “The pet humanization trend is alive and well and continues to drive growth at the premium end of the market,” said Bob Vetere, CEO of APPA. “As millennials prepare to take the reins from the baby boomer generation as the primary demographic of pet owners, they stand to further develop this trend.” Pet owners are a very diverse group of consumers. Young singles, newly married couples, young familes, empty nesters, retired seniors are just some of the types who are dog owners. Regardless of the age or phase in life, dogs enhance our lives in some wonderful ways.Whether it’s young professionals or retired seniors who otherwise would live alone, they feel that owning a dog is an ideal solution. Pet ownership can provide for social opportunities with other pet owners. Pets, especially dogs, can help you connect with other people, helping reduce stress, loneliness and giving a sense of responsibility and sense of purpose which contributes to overall well-being.

We’ve witnessed the influx of “Pet Protect” carpet, resilient and WPC flooring over the past few years as the demand for products that perform has continued to grow. It goes without saying that stone, porcelain, ceramic tile, LVT, WPC are easier maintenance for cleaning up not only spills but also pet accidents and muddy paws. Don’t forget though that there are endless hardwood floor options which are incredibly durable and stand up to daily wear quite impressively. Aluminum oxide finishes have elimated a large percentage of typical surface scratches and current flooring trends happen to include many species like white oak and hickory species which are inherently harder than others. Further current hardwood trends such as low to zero-gloss, face-sawn, wire-brushed and various other hand-scraping techniques make for a very forgiving flooring aesthetic as compared to the higher gloss smooth wood floors of the twenty years ago. Suffice it to say, homeowners need not compromise on the style or quality of their hardwood floors if they have a dog to consider, merely to be cognizant of the wood species, the type of finish, UV or oil-rubbed, as well as adhering to the manufacturers recommended maintenance for cleaning.

As we move into this economy which follows the recent presidential election, we’ll continue to see the introduction of more and more pet services, pet-centric products and pet-home products. Hopefully we will also see more hardwood flooring companies provide comprehensive and relevant information to consumers on dog-friendly products.







FCW The Green Mile: Don Finkell talks sustainability in hardwood flooring  

This Floor Covering Weekly article is too good not to share. There are so many reasons to specify authentic hardwood flooring, especially when it’s our luxurious 5/8″ thick, sliced Emily Morrow Home engineered hardwood flooring proudly made in Tennessee.



By, Amy Rush-Imber: The Green Mile: Don Finkell talks sustainability.

[Burns, Tenn.] Don Finkell, CEO of American OEM, has been a champion of sustainable practices, particularly in the hardwood category, long before it was commonplace in the floor covering industry. He was, in fact, honored with FCW’s GreenStep Pinnacle Environmental Leadership Award in the program’s debut year 2009.

Finkell was recognized for his work as the chairman of the National Wood Flooring Association’s (NWFA) Environment Committee where he lobbied for the passing of the Lacey Act and helped develop the Responsible Procurement Program. And while these were not conversations spoken of industry-wide, he had the sense that they were necessary.

“I thought there was an opportunity to sell environmentally-conscious wood flooring products,” he said, noting that he got involved in the FSC in the mid- 90s.

Back then, Finkell was involved in procuring product from around the world. “I was fascinated by all the wood species and their looks,” he said, adding, “There were some people out there sounding the alarm on what was going on in the tropics. I started thinking about what was going on in the industry.”

Taking it to the streets
Armed with new-found knowledge, Finkell created a presentation called Seeking Sustainability that charted what was going on around the world in key forests. “I showed it to environmental groups trying to get to something that we could all agree was correct. The Hardwood Federation’s mood was to keep environmental issues far away from us. It was a different kind of environment then but we came out of it, despite the antagonistic relationship with environmental groups. We have a good story here in the U.S., especially in comparison to other parts of the world,” Finkell explained.

He also met with the NWFA board. “I said that, at the very least, we need to be against illegal logging. Everyone agreed and they formed an environmental committee (for which he became chair),” Finkell said, adding that combating illegal logging was a key target because, “It was something we would regret as human kind if all these wonderful forests were just gone — some are already gone and will probably never be back. But it occurred to me too that our product is 60 percent to 70 percent the cost of wood and if people can buy it cheaper or steal it, we would have issues.”


“The Lacey act needs to be enforced. Most of the enforcement with the Lacey Act has been environmental groups worrying about certain species. They’ve been courageous but our government needs to help.” – Don Finkell

Finkell’s green journey took him to Capitol Hill and the ITC on a number of occasions — first to lobby for the Lacy Act and then later for parity. “It’s hard to know what’s happening on the other side of the world. Here in America, the anti-trust laws are such that companies are restricted and unable to collaborate much. In China, the industry is very collaborative and the government is active in setting strategy. I worry that we are fundamentally in a non-competitive situation.” But while he looks to level the playing field, it’s illegal logging that remains his biggest concern.

Pushing forward
The many efforts, however, have resulted in progress. “I think the biggest thing in the U.S. is that with the Lacey Act, the U.S. took a leadership position on illegal logging and other major countries, including those in the E.U., have passed Lacey-type laws. In Japan and in Australia, too. Its created a worldwide effort to stop illegal logging and caused people to be aware of it.”

The other change Finkell has seen take hold is around the misconception of cutting trees down in general, even for himself. “When I first came into business, I thought cutting a tree was bad. Before I agreed to go to work at Anderson, I asked that question and went through a several months process going through forests. I came to the conclusion completely erroneous. The U.S. is in good position to grow back. I think one of the bigger achievements we’ve accomplished as an industry is that American hardwoods are recognized as a good environmental choice.”

“I think some of the things that FCW did at time of the Lacey Act gave it good press and had a hand in getting it passed. And the GreenStep Awards have created a whole movement.” – Don Finkell

Finkell also applauds the work being done by some of the industry’s biggest flooring providers. “Good things have happened — major companies like Shaw and Mohawk now do very rigorous due diligence around products that are coming in. It’s pretty extensive. For those that have a brand to protect, they are very diligent. You still have renegades but the big guys are really doing it right,” he said, adding, “I used to feel like the lone guy out there crying wolf. But now there are detail-oriented people out there with check lists. It’s taken on a life of its own, and that’s a very good thing.”

Home Grown
In 2014, Don Finkell launched a new hardwood flooring provider, American OEM, shaped in part by his experiences and understanding of the global hardwood market.

“I wanted to have an American alternative to private labeling products (from other countries). America used to lead in style and design but the Chinese kind of got ahead. We would be 100 percent American sourced, American wood and American made. And we would be innovative with longer, wider boards that weren’t already being met by American made.”



Made In USA Flag  Barcode On White
Made in USA







THE EVOLUTION OF HARDWOOD: Amazing Trends that Will Reinspire Your Love for Authentic Wood, Emily Morrow Finkell

Understanding hardwood trends requires a high level of awareness of what is being shown in multiple places and sources. It’s a never-ending cycle if you are a trend spotter. Twenty-plus years ago, hardwood flooring was mainly produced in narrow strip gunstock, red oak in high gloss finishes, and was found on the floors of McMansions and spec homes all across the U.S. … that was then, and this is now. What has transpired since has been nothing less than warp-speed innovations and changes, some due in part to all of the global and economic ups and downs, political changes, and even trade agreements. What we can deduce is that the market has been flooded with endless wood look-alikes. For this article, I will remove all the various and continually expanding categories that look like wood, and just address what is identified as genuine wood.

Wood looks began morphing after the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, around 2008 and 2009. If we created a timeline of this transition, it would also include runway fashion collections in various parts of the world that began to include gray and gray-beige, and no red or reddish-orange. It gradually went from high gloss to medium gloss, to now our matte finish. I’ve said it many times: if we stay in an industry long enough, you can see the pendulum swing one way, and eventually, it will swing back, always with some modernizations made to improve the original versions.

EMH “Refined Side” a warm gray sliced white oak offers a smoother surface with textural depth and dimension that speaks more to the luxurious quality of the materials and the steps taken to reach this level of sophistication. 

Our tastes and appetites have expanded along with our digital abilities to see the world, experience world cultures, and to lurk into the living spaces of our social media friends. One cannot unsee something they like online, and thanks to the technological advances of digital media, we can “find” and “follow” the things we like more easily.

reading mobile phone beside windowFrom the days of solid, glossy, thin, gunstock planks to today’s wider, longer, matte, barn wood gray boards, homes have also changed in size. I referenced the McMansions of the 1990s and early 2000s because they were being built on spec and flipped just before our housing bubble burst. When this was happening, I was practicing interior design in custom built luxury offices and homes and eventually transitioned. in 2002 to color, style, and design development for Shaw’s carpet and hard surfaces. Large parts of the flooring products were going into the builder’s design showrooms, and as homeowners built homes to be flipped, they worked with materials like travertine and travertine nocce, which was deliberately coordinated with the carpeting and hardwood flooring.

Hardwood in those days had expanded from the gunstock strip to hand-scraped looks. The scraped looks became “the big thing” as it offered homeowners and designers something different and new that they had not seen before in flooring options. This innovation served as a catalyst for other similar changes across the other flooring categories. We saw Berber flecks and heathered tweeds introduced in carpeting and a lessening of gloss and shine of the fibers. All of these colors fell within the neutral zone of warm golden- and red-based beiges. In hardwood, it was frequently called cider. Once the hand-scraped looks were knocked off by the cheap look-alikes, eventually and slowly, consumers started looking for something new.

That is until the recession hit and all bets were off. We hit the pause button on our taste evolution except to say we all migrated to the safe zones. Consumers’ big investments moved from home improvements to wardrobe improvements to maintain much-needed jobs in a tough market or to interview for new jobs. Wardrobes became a sensible mix of black, navy blue for reliability, and gray for safe and non-threatening career colors. The grays and navy blues in fashion were so new that the surrounding segments of shoes and accessories had to run to catch up with the clothing. The same changes occurred in the interiors market. Many designers had been let go or had evolved from residential to commercial interiors, taking with them their tastes and strengths.


“Meet your new best friend, neutral gray”

This is when and where we our new best friend, neutral gray… Get to know it because it’s not going away and will be staying for a while. With this influx of gray, we saw a tidal wave of looks and visuals in furnishings and flooring to match.

Without a doubt, we all fell in love with the looks of Restoration Hardware. Practically everyone received the stacks of massive catalogs beautifully designed to showcase the practicality and beauty of greige, reclaimed wood, and rustic metallics. We saw flooring in these shelter catalogs that looked different from those in our homes of that time, all of a sudden creating an urge to update our looks, finally moving homeowners to make an investment in their homes that they’d fought hard to keep from losing during the housing bubble, and held tightly to their budgets for as long as possible.

B2W0704_SuddenlySonoma_DrawingRoom 01_rm
Emily Morrow Home’s “Suddenly Sonoma” luxury engineered flooring.

The channels to pay attention to had gone from the builders market to retail replacement. Not suddenly, but eventually, we had homeowners looking for higher- end materials for their homes that they’d decided they not only were happy to own, but also wanted to make very personal choices of ways to upgrade its interior.

We saw the launch of upscale programs and collections at price points not seen before, sophisticated de-lustered matte hardwood styles that were clear of most character, in reclaimed grays and gray-browns.

These looks were not hand-scraped, but clean and smooth-ish, not narrow, but mixed widths of three, five, and seven inches to recreate the look of reclaimed at affordable price points with all the bells and whistles of engineered hardwood flooring. Consumers were able to buy hardwood looks in new engineered hardwood introductions that historically were unattainable in solid wood plank because of engineered hardwood’s versatility, multi-ply construction, and superior dimensional stability.

Thanks to advancements in engineered hardwood flooring, consumers were
able to use hardwood flooring on slab construction, in basements, and over radiant heated floors, and to find faces in veneers that efficiently used species that would not ordinarily have been available to the average consumer.

Homeowners were delighted to finally replace aged carpet that looked tired, finally releasing pent-up appetites to the plethora of hardwood flooring styles. Here’s when we see carpet lose significant market share to hardwood flooring, and solid hardwood flooring losing position to engineered hardwood flooring, significantly causing all the big companies to shift focus and attention from mostly carpet to more hardwood, specifically engineered hardwood. We saw companies make capital investments in hardwood manufacturing across the country and the world.

What’s next?

There has recently been a refinement of design styles. In the U.S., we have evolved from the travertine nocce of the pre-recession era to the timeless and classic Carrara marble’s white-and-gray veining and other similar Carrara-looking composite and natural stones. these interior design refinements are impacting a majority of our hardwood flooring

and furniture finishes. That does include special effects, some perhaps so subtle the human eye can barely perceive what it is other than it is beautiful and new. Look to the leaders of special effects, lighting, and accessories companies for these effects, coming soon to a floor near you.

Expect to see more magazine and online editorials about American-made and American-sourced products. In speaking and meeting with members of the media, I hear over and over that readers and viewers want to know where they can nd American-made home products.

Made In USA Flag Barcode On White
All of Emily Morrow Home Hardwood is sourced and made in the USA by American OEM in the heart of Tennessee where there’s an abundance of hardwood forests that are responsibly forested for future generations to enjoy.

We can also expect to see darker matte black accents as the opposing trend to the white- filled, cerused, sliced, white oak hardwood grain. There will be an expansion of existing trends; grays will continue to expand into silvery-effects, warm-gold accented grays, and even some more flaxen-gold clean white oak hardwoods for more of the blank canvas options. We will continue to see our skilled and talented installers and designers create more parquetry projects as herringbones and chevrons grow across the U.S..

Homeowners who want to invest in their homes will be specific about purchasing 100 percent genuine hardwood because nothing else looks, sounds, feels, and even smells, quite like hardwood.

Maritime by Emily Morrow Home 

Emily Morrow Finkell is an interior designer and CEO of Emily Morrow Home, a subsidiary of EF Floors & Design, LLC in Dalton, Georgia, a provider of hardwood floors and furnishings and an NWFA design contributor. She can be reached by email at emily@emilymorrowhome.com or 1.866.775.3877. Text “EmilyMorrow” to 96000 for a brief glimpse into the luxurious collection of EMH hardwood flooring.


Made in USA  |  Longer, Wider Planks  |  Handcrafted

Spring 2018

Facing the Giants with Joy & Love as your Weapons

Facing The Giants, Kiker Morrow Finkell Foundation for Cancer Care

“Emily Morrow Home was established in the fall of 2015 to merge my professional passions with my newly married life in a way that dovetailed and complemented the two worlds. In July of 2017, on my 50th birthday and 15 year anniversary of being Cancer free, the Kiker Morrow Finkell Foundation for Cancer Care was founded to be an integral part of my company.
This past Christmas, our foundation, with the guidance and help of another nonprofit organization, was able to help make Christmas happier and brighter for a family whose mom was going through her own cancer diagnosis and treatments. Tying my enterprise to a cause that is so personally meaningful is motivating in so many ways. It’s a testament that love can live in business and a challenge to all of us to do more good. This is my story.”

Facing The Giants, Kiker Morrow Finkell Foundation for Cancer Care

The saying “Don’t sweat the small stuff” is one of my favorite sayings. In fact I used it just today and can’t help but smile each time the words pass my lips. Why you may ask, it’s  because it serves as a reminder that there so many things most people “sweat” and stress over that really don’t phase me much. In 1997, a book was published using the quote as its title, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” written by Richard Carlson, and it was followed up with a sequel “What About the Big Stuff?” in 2002. In short, the books’ messages are: 1) don’t waste valuable mental energy worrying about things beyond your control that haven’t happened yet; and 2) there are some big things in life that one should worry about when it happens, the biggies, death, divorce, illness and other similar life-changing events. Suffice it to say, being the “over-achiever” that I am, I checked off a few of the “biggies” within one year of my life, and lived to tell the tale. One of the biggest that I faced was the big “C” word, cancer. When faced with the big stuff, the giants in life we don’t know if or how we’ll have the means to get through it…we don’t know what we’re made of until after our “mettle is tested”.

At age 35, while going through a major life-changing event, starting a career with a wonderful company, PatCraft, I found a lump in my breast which was ultimately diagnosed as “malignant”. My first thoughts were solely around my two children who were ages nine and five at the time…who would care for them if the worst happened to me…all the while stating emphatically “I’m going to be just fine”. The diagnosis and subsequent surgeries, treatments, experiences and expenses did not define me…they did however reveal to me the inner God-given strengths and blessings in my life. For starters, I already loved and cherished my family but never before had I realized that without them, my children could somehow suffer as a result of my medical condition. As a newly single mom, new to the corporate world, new to being head of household and new to having the entire weight of my children’s world on my shoulders, I surprisingly felt the load lightened without ever having to ask, a weight lifted by my family. We made it through that year and believe it or not, today we don’t look back with sadness. My children and I look back in awe at the joy we felt, at the happiness and peace we were given and at the indescribable feeling we experienced as a direct result of friends’ and families’ prayers and encouragement. Each morning before leaving our driveway for school and work, I’d say “What do we choose today?…We choose JOY!”. That year was our first Christmas as a family of three and I was in my final days of chemotherapy treatments. As you might imagine, treatments can leave your body feeling fatigued and I was also feeling mentally and emotionally drained by the weekends. My mother never failed to come and literally look at me “eyeball to eyeball” to see how I was doing. On one particular weekend she came to see what gifts I needed for my children’s Christmas. I had not done any shopping, this was before Amazon.com, and once she saw my defeated expression, she knew what had to be done. She said “put on your wig, we are going shopping”…and that is just what we did.

Each year since then, not only did I get stronger, but my children grew wiser and more mature…and the story of how “Grandmommy saved Christmas” became one of our Christmas morning traditions. What would have happened to us if my family hadn’t been there in our times of need? What happens to families who don’t have “Grandmommy” or a secure job with medical insurance like mine at PatCraft? These questions have haunted me over the years and it was not until my 50th birthday and my 15th Cancer-free Anniversary that I decided to do something meaningful about getting those questions answered. In July of 2017 The Kiker Morrow Finkell Foundation for Cancer Care was founded to be an integral part of the Emily Morrow Home. To me, each entity is as significant as the other…each entity serves a greater purpose. Emily Morrow Home was established in the fall of 2015 to merge my professional passions with my newly married life in a way that dove-tailed and complemented the two worlds. This past Christmas our foundation, with the guidance and help of another organization, was able to make Christmas happier and brighter for a family whose mommy was going through her own cancer diagnosis and treatments. Tying my enterprise to a cause that is so personally meaningful helps make it all the more of a challenge to see it succeed and grow, knowing first that there must be a thriving business before “proceeds” can go to a cause. The definition of “what success is” does become a little sweeter and the end result, as the enterprise grows and succeeds, is a blessing to many!


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