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!


Emily Morrow Home Hardwood & Christopher Grubb of HouseTipster


House Tipster: Published on Feb 21, 2018

At her debut showing at The International Surface Event (TISE), Emily Morrow Finkell, owner of Emily Morrow Home, spoke with House Tipster and renowned interior designer Christopher Grubb about her show-stopping, award-nominated hardwood collection.

Happy Spring to the friends of Emily Morrow Home,

It was wonderful meeting Christopher Grubb at TISE2018 and being a part of HouseTipster’s Surfaces interviews!!! HouseTipster is both a written and video based content website catering to trade professionals and consumers, looking for home design information and inspiration.

Find out more about us at www.emilymorrowhome.com for USA-made Luxury Hardwood Flooring Inspiration

Text us for your digital samples @96-000 and send the style words of the month “Maritime” or “AuthenticLuxury”…or find us at

https://www.emilymorrowhome.com/product-category/flooring/ and be sure to request your unique dealer or distributor login ID.

Emily Morrow Finkell


1-888-775-3877 toll free



“My products are made for and by the discerning luxury female consumer, and my story sets the brand apart from the brushed metal logo to the dramatic photography. – Emily Morrow Finkell”

Emily Morrow Finkell: How Personalization Cuts the Noise and Equates to Sales

As we look forward to 2018 trends, the themes of personalization and storytelling still remain prevalent as consumers work to weed through all of the static and noise on social media—to find people and brands that allow them to authentically connect. When we look at the positioning and language that major brands use in their marketing materials, it’s difficult to feel like a real person is behind the scenes. I’m oftentimes left wondering, “Does this brand really care about me, my family and my needs?”
Interior Of Busy Design Office With Staff
What most people want and need are solutions to their unique challenges or problems.
Because of the barrage of information, promises and claims in the digital realm, in particular, consumers are wondering who they can really trust. Research from Mashable.com shows us that Millennials are 50% more likely to trust user-generated content, because the stories are told by actual people with real lives. Trust is built with transparency and authenticity- the reassurance that this brand has invested in the time to really get me.
After thirteen years as the director of color, style and design for Shaw Floors carpet and hard surface, I had time to really reflect on what the consumer wanted in her home. Countless designer summits, conversations with industry colleagues and deep dives into industry data shaped my perspective. And two years ago when the time felt right to begin my own endeavor, Emily Morrow HOME, I knew that a personalized story had to be the heartbeat. Never having pursued anything half-heartedly, I knew this endeavor was especially important. This step was the beginning to a saga which involved all that I cherish…faith, family, design, travel and connecting these seemingly disparate parts into beautiful products for the home.
My life is a quilt that’s pieced from a beautiful combination of my commitment to family, a rich Dalton-based heritage, a lifetime in the design industry, a love of travel, an appreciation for culture—and the list goes on and on. The components that make up my perspective and my story are unique… every board and plank from the Emily Morrow HOME collection represents my viewpoint. The marketing materials are designed to communicate my personal experiences with vibrant visuals and rich story-based content, engaging the senses and evoking emotions that connect on a very human level. My products are made for and by the discerning luxury female consumer, and my story sets the brand apart from the brushed metal logo to the dramatic photography. When the story is your life and your love, it doesn’t get more authentic than that, and the consumer instantly connects.
As we all look forward to a fruitful and successful 2018, I beg the question, “What is your story?” When in the market for flooring, she is faced with so much noise. With so many brands and retailers fighting for her attention, ask yourself how you set your business apart to build trust by telling your own unique story in the marketplace. Decide how your unique life experiences magnify themselves into brand attributes that build affinity for your brand versus the competitor. Once you’ve written this story, brainstorm how to communicate it through your website, social media, video and in your community.
Another piece of my quilt is that I’m a breast cancer survivor. Supporting the cause through the Kiker Morrow Finkell Breast Cancer Foundation has become cornerstone to my business philosophy and goals. Not only is it an important cause, but it gives me a platform to tell my story- while connecting with others. In 2018, just be your authentic self—because today’s seasoned and savvy consumer expects it.

E|M|H: Our First Featured Designer Spotlight  

It’s beginning to look and feel like “spring” here in Georgia…and with this beautiful sunshine, our thoughts turn to tackling home improvements and design projects, doesn’t everyone’s? We want to help you with inspiring and informing your customers and clients in meaningful ways, perfectly suited to your unique needs. Please let me know what you want and need.

In April, Emily Morrow Home and team will be hosting a Design Summit in Nashville, Tennessee for discussions and presentations of current design trends as well as presenting the coming mega-trends that I recently shared in Dallas, Texas at the CCA Global Carpet One National Convention. It was there that we launched the Emily Morrow Home 2018 Color of the Year, Matte Black. Stay tuned for more details on this Design Summit.

We are going to be hosting regular designer spotlights that we’ll share with you throughout the year. You’ll see and get to know both residential and commercial designers, all of whom share insights and details about their projects as well as their perspectives regarding hardwood flooring. In addition to meeting our own Emily Morrow Home Designers of Distinction, we invite you to submit your own “designers of distinction” for us to feature on our website and in our upcoming blog posts, some of the content is viewed and shared via publications with readership well over 1 million in print and even more digitally. We love making new friends and look forward to introducing our friends to you!

Thank you,

Emily Morrow Finkell


Our First Featured Designer Spotlight  |  Mollie Surratt Interiors 

Today, we’re so excited to introduce you to our dear friend, Mollie. She is usually speeding in with an oversized Louis Vuitton bag full of pull ups, pink lip gloss and paint swatches—with a Starbucks in hand.  She’s got a great eye for interiors that translates to, well, real life.

Born and raised in a suburb north of Atlanta, Mollie grew up in her family’s growing couture bridal business. Today, her family’s business, bridals by lori, is the stage of the hit TLC reality show Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta. You may sneak a peek of Mollie on the show from time to time alongside her mother, storeowner and star, Lori Allen.

While a love of fashion captured her heart from an early age, Mollie’s world collided with interior design during her teen years. A dear family friend, Lillian Tate, started a small interior design firm and invited Mollie to High Point market. During this trip, a passion for interior design was ignited as her hand ran along the curves of elegant furnishings and luxe fabrics. It was magic!

A journalism and mass communication major at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., Mollie joined her talents of writing and communications– and love of interiors- after college. Her first entrepreneurial adventure was beginning Cosmopolitan Events, an upscale event design firm. During this time, Mollie planned over 30 weddings and special events throughout the south. From intimate gatherings in the Savannah Room at the Four Seasons Hotel, to lavish weddings for 1,200 guests, her unique style and ability to listen to her clients created unforgettable soirees.

Upon meeting her husband and relocating to north Georgia in 2006, Mollie spent 12 years in a blazer and heels leading two of the world’s largest flooring and carpet manufacturers in public relations, communications and inbound marketing. Here, her teams won over 20 local and national marketing awards, and Mollie was named the national Digital Communications Leader of the Year by PR News in 2017. While exciting and full of new experiences, Mollie’s entrepreneurial spirit still burned bright in her heart.

In 2018, Mollie finally decided to take a long-awaited leap of faith. Feeling the pull to spend more time with her daughters and follow her dreams, Mollie left the corporate world to begin Mollie Surratt Interiors.  But, with her, she’s bringing rich experiences in couture bridal fashion, worldwide travel and multiple interior projects she completed while in the flooring industry. Her perspective is eclectic, considerate and sophisticated- with a huge dash of fun and humor in the mix. After all, what is life without a little laughter.

We love Mollie’s style and know you will, too.

Emily had the pleasure of meeting Mollie during her first days at Shaw Floors. New to the area and full of questions, Emily took Mollie under her swing as a little sister, if you will. Emily mentored Mollie and, before long, their lives and families became intertwined and so dear. Emily was there for Mollie’s wedding 10 years ago as well as the birth of both of her daughters. Such a special friendship was formed, rooted in the love of family and design.

Like Emily, Mollie is crazy about black. And we just knew Mollie’s design inspirations would include a piece of her signature Mackenzie Child’s Courtly Check. Many of the pieces in Mollie’s vision board can be found in her personal home, like the legendary Artichoke Lamp from Stray Dog Designs. When asked about her pallet, Mollie explains what she loves about matte black. “Not only is it forgiving and durable for busy homes like mine, but it’s just so darn chic. It will never go out of style, and I love it with a pop of red or magenta. My favorite look is when a client is bold enough to do black walls and black trim. Now, we’re talking!”

Mollie’s favorite floor: https://www.emilymorrowhome.com/product/authentic-luxury/

Authentic Luxury is my favorite Emily Morrow Home hardwood floor. The sliced white oak plank is distressed by hand for a true craftsman’s finish. I’m a huge fan of wide plank floors and Authentic Luxury is 7” wide and up to 8’ long. The natural graining and detail of the floor is accentuated by the finish, and it fits with many different design styles. I’m completely in love!! (And don’t you adore those leopard Kate Spade Keds?)

Copyright © 2018 EmilyMorrowHome, All rights reserved.

Get Inspired at:


for unmatched visuals and “saleable” styling, backed with over a century of manufacturing expertise making ours the best in the industry. 12 styles of easily-installed 8 ft long tongue and groove 7 inch wide gorgeous hardwood planks.

Made in the USA 🇺🇸  from American hardwood

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Emily Morrow Finkell for NWFA Magazine: What’s Your Herringbone IQ? Designs in Hardwood Flooring

Why we love herringbone? Emily of Emily Morrow Home Hardwood explains

Looking through all the endless iterations of hardwood flooring, hardwood “looks” and all the porcelain tiles can cause one to get inspiration overload, especially if you’re looking at it from “outside” our industry. Even professional designers sometimes are overwhelmed by the variety and need some guidance to what’s hot. Let’s test your knowledge on the various designs in hardwood installations that are trending today.

For instance, did you know that the herringbone was used a far back as in Roman times as road pavers? I’ve referenced in previous design articles that the Palace of Versailles fueled my love and appreciation for the herringbone floors as it speaks to the timelessness and classic beauty of not only hardwood floors but also of herringbone hardwood floors. In researching for some of this material, my husband and in-house expert of hardwood flooring Don Finkell questioned what I meant by my claim that “herringbone” was stronger than other types of installation types. He, an architect, and I, an interior designer and part of a multigenerational family commercial construction business, decided this was a fair statement and did a deep dive into the reasons “why”.

Herringbone is a very stable installation type to use for hardwood floors (or road pavers) by design, wherein each of the sides push against the others at an angle and allow for expansion and contraction under weight or traffic. For example, the length of the wood “paver” was not overly large and easier to cut and work with than large planks for laborers or skilled artisans. There’s even more reason why herringbone and other parquetry was used. Practical reasons oftentimes explain the presence of certain things found in historic construction of homes and buildings. The angular installation of the herringbone allows for uneven subfloors or earthen road beds. It can undulate over the highs and lows with little concern for trip-hazards. Today and always, herringbone floors speaks to elegance or pattern play and always makes an interior feel extraordinary. We can find it and its “cousins” chevron and double herringbone all around us, in backsplash tiles, in textiles, inside fireplaces and more.


Parquet patterns - collection of most popular flooring samples with names - isolated outline vector illustration on white background.
Parquet patterns – collection of most popular hardwood flooring samples

With that in mind, here we are with the low-down on all that and more. Hardwood flooring has never had so much “sex appeal”, and curb appeal, as it does today. Every type of material is mimicking the lovely “bois” pattern…and patterns that are similar to wood grain, such as zebra, chevron and watermarked, are very much in vogue in both interiors and fashion. We can’t help ourselves when it comes to zigs and zags in wood and fabric. Herringbone for instance goes back to ancient Egypt where woven twill fabrics were discovered (Herringbone: Dropping Knowledge | GQ ) and its impossible not to notice the herringbone wood in iconic architecture like The Palace at Versailles. Currently there are endless herringbone and chevron flooring designs in VCT, rigid core product, porcelain, laminate and of course hardwood itself. For the winning look, hardwood takes first place although the other look-alikes offer consumers a high-end look at a great price point.

Why are we seeing so many interior designers and homeowners install herringbone hardwood? It is an excellent way for designers to set their projects and portfolios apart from the other designers, and homeowners love the look. Herringbone hardwood flooring makes a large design statement of elegance and timelessness at first glance… it’s certainly not a “spec house” look found in all your neighborhood’s other homes. Furthermore, herringbone floors are just busy enough, especially in open floor plans, that they create depth, dimension and visual excitement. In small spaces like entries and foyers, the zig-zag design visually leads the eye across the threshold into the desired space. What professional designers and skilled installers know is this, herringbone flooring can add to the value of the home, and depending on the quality of the product itself and the direction of the installation, it can actually wear better longer due to the fact that the traffic is going over the strongest parts of the board.

“These classic parquet floors are always in style” by,“For a twist on standard hardwood flooring, try a classic chevron or herringbone pattern—the parquet styles have been around for more than a century. Choosing between the two comes down to personal taste: Chevron planks meet in perfect points like a long string of arrows, while herringbone planks look slightly staggered. Often found in formal living rooms, dining rooms, and entrance halls, both of these elegant zigzag designs elevate a room from the ground up.” 24 Elegant Chevron and Herringbone Flooring Ideas Photos | Architectural Digest     

In looking at all the most beautiful herringbone installations published in shelter and design magazines, it’s apparent that the installers are genuine artists in how they are using depths of color, lightness and darkness, and direction to make the installations fit the style of the interior. From a traditional English manor home, a Bel Air, California residence to a modern Scandinavian apartment, the floor’s metamorphosis is inspiring. The creative magic happens because you can intermix the planks and produce any style or pattern dependent upon your installer’s ability.

One important thing to make note of when looking at floors as a life-long career, you’ll see all levels of quality of flooring. Ask yourself why carpet got a bad wrap or why people covered the hardwood floors in the 70’s only to uncover them in the 90’s…American consumers love change and are far too quick to trash something that would be cherished and well-maintained in Europe, so we’re losing that sense of what “quality” flooring looks and feels like. We have, generally speaking, opted for cheaper imports simply for the sake of something new when we could have spent just a little more money and or time, invested in superior American-made hardwood flooring that can last a lifetime, or multiple lifetimes, if you so desire.

It’s easy to be captivated by the wide range of installation configurations in hardwood but, without doubt, the biggest story is in the herringbone and chevron. I’ve observed design influencers around the world being wooed by the opulence of well-made, well designed hardwood boards, oftentimes getting down on their knees to feel the wood grain’s texture, contoured edges and overall finish. Listening in on design professionals discussing how they could include hardwood boards in their design plan makes it all worthwhile and gives me hope that hardwood will never go out of style. The look, the feel, the sound and especially the scent of hardwood can’t be duplicated by any other type of flooring in the world.



News Flash: Emily Morrow Home Hardwood loves to share good news, and with an audience of 81.7 million…we are just getting started with good news

Thank you to all the media outlets and websites who have shared our exciting journey since it’s inception in the fall of 2015!

Find our gorgeous hardwood flooring in Booth 665 within the space of my favorite manufacturer (aka husband Don Finkell) American OEM – Hemisphere.

We have more good news to share with you as we move into a broader market. At your leisure feel free to read through the links along with our potential audience of at least 81.7 million.

The Emily Morrow Home Launches Home Décor Shopping Site release was deployed through the newswire on Wednesday morning.

So far, in the first 24 hours, it has run in 244 publications/websites nationwide with a total potential audience of 81.7 Million…with more to come…







Be a part of the E|M|H Instagram #VoteEmily Contest & Visit us at Surfaces Booth #665

Good news is hard to keep and we have lots of great news to share. Check out our latest updates which include details about our 2018 E|M|H Color of the Year “Matte Black” as well as our new national ad in Floor Covering Weekly below.

Surfaces 2018 is just days away. Things are bustling around here as we pack up our beautiful new luxury hardwood products that are sure to wow and inspire you. We would like to personally invite you to visit our space, located within the American OEM/Hearthwood Booth #665, to view our new products.

This year, Emily Morrow Home is a nominee in the Dealers Choice Awards in both the Merchandising and Hardwood categories. We humbly ask that you vote for Emily Morrow Home by visiting the Floor Covering Weekly booth #813. Your vote means the world to us and our growing brand.

The link to be a part of the Instagram FCW #VoteEmily contest is emilymorrowhome.com/contest
Please share this link with others who will be at Surfaces so they can go #VoteEmily too!

We can’t wait to see you and get your feedback on all that we’ve been creating.


Emily Morrow Finkell
PRESS RELEASE: The Emily Morrow Home Launches Home Décor Shopping Site release was deployed through the newswire on Wednesday morning.

So far, in the first 24 hours, it has run in 244 publications/websites nationwide with a total potential audience of 81.7 Million.





Made in USA  |  Longer, Wider Planks  |  Handcrafted

Copyright © 2018 EmilyMorrowHome, All rights reserved.

Get Inspired at:
for unmatched visuals and “saleable” styling, backed with over a century of manufacturing expertise making ours the best in the industry. 12 styles of easily-installed 8 ft long tongue and groove 7 inch wide gorgeous hardwood planks.

Made in the USA 🇺🇸  from American hardwood
To join our program call 📲 1-866-775-3877

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We personally invite you to #VOTEEMILY

Dear Valued Retail Partners:

On behalf of the Emily Morrow HOME Team, we hope you enjoyed a wonderful holiday with your family and dear friends.

Believe it or not, Surfaces 2018 is just around the corner. Things are bustling around here as we put the final preparations on our beautiful new luxury hardwood products that are sure to wow and inspire. We would like to personally invite you to visit our space, located within the American OEM/Hearthwood Booth #665, to view our new products.

This year, Emily Morrow HOME is nominated for the Floor Covering Weekly Dealers Choice Awards in the Merchandising and Hardwood categories. We humbly ask that you vote for Emily Morrow HOME by visiting the Floor Covering Weekly booth #813. Your vote means the world to us and our growing brand.

The live link to our fun Instagram #VoteEmily selfie #IVOTED contest is


Please share the link with others who will be at Surfaces so they can go #VoteEmily too!

We can’t wait to see you and get your feedback on all that we’ve been creating.


Emily Morrow Finkell


Install Confidence: Consumers Need Skilled Professionals: EMILY MORROW FINKELL

Emily Morrow Finkell for NWFA Magazine
Hardwood Floors for Savvy Consumers October 16, 2017

HardwoodFloorsMagArticle by, EMILY MORROW FINKELL

If you, or someone you know, are thinking about tackling some renovations to your home this year…you’re probably a little torn between “if, how much and where” to use carpet, hardwood floors or rugs…or a combination of each. The first things to ask yourself are how much of the legwork are you willing to do and whether or not you want to bring in the help of a professional. Perhaps it would be money well-spent to tap into the expertise and guidance you’d receive from someone who does this type of thing regularly and knows the potential pitfalls as well as the newest latest things to choose from. What compels someone to call a professional and who exactly do they consider a professional?

Installing New Laminated Floor

Recent years’ research released on HOUZZ and ASID state that out of 260,000 survey respondents, 84% hired some sort of “professional” or specialist to assist them with their home renovation project. Half of those responding to the survey hired an actual interior designer and the other half was divided between hiring kitchen and bath designers and design-build firms. Overall most homeowners find themselves challenged by things like determining their budget, working out the scheduling of work to be done, selecting products, finishes and materials, identifying their style, and coordinating the pros within their own schedules.

Service Makes the Difference in Selling Interior Design

Interior Of Busy Design Office With Staff
As homeowners are evaluating whether or not they want to hire a “professional”, they are planning on renovating the kitchen usually in order to upgrade and update countertops and to create a more “open floor plan” and the number one reason for 80% is to create a more beautiful space, simply put, to “please themselves” for their longterm enjoyment. Other still-significant reasons to renovate given by the respondents are to improve organization, improve function or to upgrade features like appliances and finishes. The decision to hire a professional designer is guided by an overall expectation that a designer can help the process go smoothly and avoid costly and time consuming mistakes.

Houzz Study Finds Kitchen Remodelers Want Open, Not Larger, Spaces

Over the past two years since launching a “to the trade” line of premium hardwood floors, I’ve been surprised by one revelation that seems to have changed during the years that I was not practicing “100% full-time interior design” which has to do with hiring skilled installers of flooring, specifically hardwood flooring. Having grown up in my family business of industrial and commercial construction I’ve taken for granted having the resources of skilled tradesmen like electricians, brick and stone masons, finish carpenters and flooring installers. Having had my own interior design business and subsequent career in the flooring industry of Dalton, Georgia, I’ve taken for granted the resources for all these same skilled contractors and subcontractors but in the past two and a half years while developing my new business Emily Morrow Home, a division of E.F. Floors & Design in talking with designers and specifiers, it’s come to my attention that not everyone feels they have the resources or the competency to handle the hardwood flooring portion of their design projects as they might handle other parts of their design projects. “Why?” I asked. The responses varied from their concern over not having a tight enough control over the succession and timeline of jobs or the variations in all of the hardwood flooring types, leaving that part to the contractor, all the while, perhaps being limited to the flooring choices that their “go to guy” had to show them. As with everything, there are exceptions and there are always scenarios where I’d find designers who held in their resource rooms very beautiful flooring options, many of which had obscure labeling with elegant and european sounding “brand” names. Why is this information important? I’d like to think we have an opportunity to bring our professional groups together in an effort to better connect them to not only a higher level of skilled installers, a better variety of hardwood products and more importantly a more in depth knowledge of what to look for in “quality and premium” hardwood flooring.
As a professional interior designer and a floor covering expert, here are some of the typical questions people ask me…
Q: Where can I install hardwood floors…can they go on my slab floor or in my basement?
A: You can install engineered hardwood flooring in areas that solid wood floors cannot go, due to their dimensional stability of the cross-plies of hardwood, the flooring is an ideal flooring material chooice.
Q: How do I clean hardwood floors?
A: The less you do, the better. Due to advertised “cleaners” for hardwood, many homeowners are misinformed into thinking that they need to buy expensive or complicated wood cleaners. A barely damp mop of spot cleaning with a soft cloth will do nicely. Hardwood floors do not need to be wet mopped as hardwood is a living material and will expand and contract with changes in humidity and temperatures. Keeping the interior environment stable is the best way to keep hardwood floors looking beautiful for generations.
Q: What do I need to consider when shopping for hardwood floors?
Q: How do I tell the difference between “real hardwood” flooring and “wood look” flooring?
Q: How long will this look be in style?
Q: Do hardwood floors add value to my home or is that a myth?
Q: How can I find a good installer that I know is reliable and skilled?


So for sake of time and interest, let me walk you through the basic process of how and why certain colors, finishes and “looks” are created in flooring today. For starters there are major trends going on in the world and more specifically the USA that serve as a guideline for what we will see in new product introductions. If for example, single family, new home construction starts are up and remodeling projects are up, you’ll see many more higher quality “enduring” products enter the market place. Like a see-saw, if the multi-family households increasing then you’ll find more of the value-engineered and performance products come into play. Homeowners want to know that the materials that they build into their homes or update their homes with will not only endure, but will stand the test of time. Many home projects are showcasing custom-type kitchen cabinets, luxurious bathrooms, very specific and unique aesthetics that go well beyond the “beige options” of the early 2000’s. Grays, taupes, creamy off whites and white-whites are clearly making homes look and feel entirely fresh and certainly not dated for the early 2000’s but positioning them for the next decade of color and design trends.
Today’s flooring options, especially hardwood flooring, is durable beyond what one would expect if they based their judgement on flooring of twenty years ago. We have technology built into each layer of hardwood from the face, to the core, to the back. Advanced aluminum oxide finishes not only resist surface scratches and daily wear, but also popular hardwood species like white oak become even harder and more stable when pressed and cross-plied with similarly-hard species. Many imported hardwood products are often imposters to “European oaks”, having “genteel sounding” names and romanced with wonderful storylines but when the rubber hits the road, or the can of soup hits the floor, the truth comes out and the shortcuts can be seen and felt, leaving many homeowners disappointed in their flooring choice, perhaps disillusioned in hardwood unnecessarily. If one does hire a professional designer and or a professional installer, then their chances of loving the outcome are much greater since professionals have typically worked with their “tried and true” products and brands, knowing that their reputation and livelihood is at stake with word of mouth and social media being one of the primary platforms on which they showcase their work.
How does one clean a hardwood floor? There are some great options today for keeping hardwood flooring clean, and like many flooring types, the less you do, the better. For wood, only a barely “damp” mop or dry “swiffer” type pad will work well. Little to no moisture is best. Assuming your floors are pre-finished, it doesn’t take much to keep them looking like new as long as you’re not dancing in heels, abusing them carelessly. Oil based hardwood flooring, is another thing altogether. I can hear the “Cinderella song” in my head right now just thinking about waxing oil-based floors. Knowing the right type of flooring for the right areas is so important once again going back to the values of working with a professional designer or installer. There are some basic things you should consider when choosing hardwood flooring for your home. I’d suggest sticking with porcelain tile or vinyl flooring for the full bathrooms where showers and bathtubs create a constant moist environment. Powder room type bathrooms on the other hand are beautiful when hardwood flooring is used and especially so if there’s a harmonious and continuous flow of the same hardwood flooring going throughout an open floor plan. Many times, I am asked if hardwood flooring is okay for kitchens to which I always answer “YES, absolutely”. In face, hardwood flooring is my personal favorite option for kitchens as it adds so much warmth, character and personality to the kitchen which has become the #1 area of the home where families and friends gather and generally the largest part of a home’s budget. Hardwood flooring and kitchen cabinet styles have both evolved over the years to provide homeowners wide options of colors, stains, finishes…giving a high end, luxurious first-impression for the rest of the home. Kitchen cabinet companies have been showcasing whites, off-whites, grays and even some robins egg blues at recent builders, kitchen and bath shows. Some “stained wood” finishes still sell but the biggest trends are found in painted finishes as they give a super-custom furniture effect when base cabinets might be one color and island bases are another and mixed together skillfully so that it looks and feels like actual furniture.

So how can designers and homeowners better connect with skilled installers? NWFA has several resources including the “Find a Professional” feature at woodfloors.org, the NWFA Industry Guide at hardwoodfloorsmag.com, as well as a team of experts that designers and consumers can tap into to locate credible, certified installers that they can rely on to bring their vision to life. If you are an installer who has not joined NWFA or gone through certification with the NWFA, I encourage you to consider the importance and value of the program. Certification sets you apart from the rest of the pack and allows you to force the competition to step it up in their credibility. I encourage my fellow designers to start with this impressive pool of skilled professionals.

Similarly, I encourage installation professionals to reach out to local designers, introduce yourself and share the value of working with a professional for wood flooring projects. The ASID “Find a Pro” feature at asid.org puts you in contact with North America’s most talented professional designers. In addition, the NWFA has a set of presentations that can be used to provide education and CEUs to designers. Forging these relationships will help improve the overall quality of any flooring project.

Emily Morrow Finkell is CEO of Emily Morrow Home and EF Floors & Design in Dalton, Georgia. You can contact Emily at 1-866-775-3877 or emily@emilymorrowhome.com

An important message from EmilyMorrowHome.com Help us give JOY to families with cancer this holiday season

This time of year, when the leaves are falling along with the temperatures and we see the beginnings of Christmas here and there, I am acutely reminded of the gift I’ve been given. As with all gifts, there comes some level of responsibility and when the gift is “life”, the responsibility is the greatest. Fifteen years ago, many of my friends know of my breast cancer diagnosis and journey to wellness. Since then, I’ve shared posts of the many reasons I am thankful, there are so many, but suffice it to say one of the biggest is the love of my family. Fifteen years ago, while recuperating from a chemotherapy treatment and Neupogen injection (a bone marrow stimulant which helps make white blood cells) my mother came to my house and ordered me to get dressed, we were going to shop for my children’s “Santa Claus” Christmas gifts. I had been so fatigued that it hadn’t occurred to me that it was time to do that. This was my first Christmas with breast cancer and my first Christmas as a single mother. So many things had changed and so many things had become so difficult. One thing that was constant was my family’s love and encouragement, and my mother’s selfless “filling in the gaps” on my behalf for my children, who were ages five and nine. I will never forget and will never allow my children forget the selflessness of both my parents and especially that of my mother, the best grandmother anyone could ever ask for. She has inspired me through her lifetime of giving to others, living her recipe for “Joy”, J-Jesus first, O-Others, Y-Yourself last, to launch our family foundation whose mission involves giving to families impacted by a cancer diagnosis. I am sure there are many mommies (or daddies, or guardians) like me who are tired, stressed both financially and physically, and need a helping hand. I am asking for your support with the campaign we are launching via www.emilymorrowhome.com to “fill in the gaps” that so many might have. With the coordinated efforts of other foundations and affiliations, we are identifying these families in our area and will prayerfully help to make their holiday season sweeter and brighter.

The Emily Morrow Home hardwood brand is allocating a portion of our proceeds from sales to this wonderful cause and invite you to join our campaign. If you’re interested feel free to email or message our family team at help@emilymorrowhome.com or 1-866-775-3877. The Kiker Morrow Finkell Foundation for Cancer Care will be receiving donations at P.O. Box 1465, Dalton, GA 30722 or via the PayPal link below.

Thank you,

Emily and family


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