Welcome to the end of the tunnel
Welcome to the end of the tunnel, the place where we kept seeing the light, but never quite reaching it. We are there now and it’s the best feeling to bask in the warmth of the light and be thankful for having made it. While you’re basking in the warmth of the light, let me ask you a question or two. Did you move or stay in your existing home? If so, did you build a new home? Did you adopt a pet this past year? If so, what did you get, dog or cat? What prompted you to get this pet? Now that our states are opening back up, do you plan to go back to work-life as you once practiced it, traveling every week, going to shows across the globe, meeting with other business people in person rather than virtually? I can only speak for my family and myself, we are traveling significantly less, corresponding with customers virtually more times than not and (drum roll please)…we brought home a new puppy. We had already been on a waiting list for two years and so the timing seemed just right when we heard that a litter of puppies had been born and one would be available to us. Our first dog Donatella (#Donatellathetruffledog) is six years old, (wouldn’t she like a new little sister?) and we decided on the name for our new puppy, “Baci” (the Italian word for kisses). We had visions of cuddling with the furry little thing and imagined it couldn’t be too hard to go from one dog to two dogs (LOL). Across Dalton, my sister and her family have adopted several baby goats, peacocks, ducks, donkeys and chickens, all of which is ideal since they live on our family’s farm and have the space. In our own neighborhood we have been noticing some new things any time we go for a walk. Besides the few new homes under construction, we also noticed several homes get new roofs, and smaller additions like fire pits, outdoor kitchens, raised beds and fences being built for those who now have time to garden or get a new dog. It seems we all discovered extra time on our hands and wanted to add more of “nature” to enhance lifestyle and improve our health. In making this transition to having a more “nature-inspired” and harmonious lifestyle, we are adjusting our interior finishes…considering moving a velvet sofa or an oushak rug into a less-often used room, then you’re in good company. Are you looking at the color of your dog’s hair (on your pants) and wondering to yourself “what color of flooring would disguise the daily dog hair I’m cleaning up?”…then you’re thinking like a designer thinks, looking at how we live in a new light. We are universally feeling the desire to expand our walls of our home to the great outdoors. Transitioning to more time living outdoors does require planning. Are your floors protected just inside your doorway? What are you stepping onto as you go outside? Do the colors and finishes inside and out “harmonize” aesthetically? Is that important? Yes, of course! If not, you’ll not find yourself drawn to the space, you’ll not feel compelled to invite your family and friends to join you outside unless it is pleasing to you. Pro tips: add a great “scrubby” walk-off mat outside your door way; kick off your shoes inside your door; and look at where the sunlight is coming in through the windows and move around rugs or furniture so your floors don’t get a “tan line”.
Going beyond “Milled Naturals” Color Family of the Year, several mega-trends have emerged that will help explain why so many people are asking for performance hardwood flooring (and other types) that looks “natural” not “plastic”. Slow living has taken precedences and the element of “time” and sharing it with others offers us rejuvenating solace. Imagine finding a place to enjoy hot tea with a cozy blanket that says “I’ve got you covered”, let’s take the time to enjoy what has always been in front of us, with new-found profound appreciation. The cozy, calm, and comfort of things like being at home, surrounded with soft fibers, natural materials, sueded and velvet textures help soothe the senses. Things like healthy living, values like “real wood” and “natural materials” influence us viscerally, without thought. Why this matters is that it guides homeowners decisions and choices for what they bring into their lives. Recent reports from NAHB indicate that new home construction is slowing due to increasing material costs and slowly rising interest rates. (See more housing economics data on nahb.org)
Performance features for hardwood flooring has included the scratch-resistance since its introduction a few decades ago. Even today, after all these years, people really are amazed when they see the difference between hardwood with scratch-resistance and hardwood without it. Test it for yourself (videos provided in the highlighted links). Simply get a green abrasive cleaning pad and rub it vigorously on two samples of hardwood, noting which one is which. Immediately you’ll see how easy it is to get right past the finish if it isn’t scratch resistant and just imagine how quickly it would “ugly” out in an entire interior of unprotected flooring. Today we now have many manufacturers who are making performance hardwood flooring that really do resist water, spills, scratches and scuffs, and it’s affordable. The feedback I hear is that most people cannot tell the difference between samples unless you hold a sample up to the light and maybe then there’s a very slight difference. The fact that it doesn’t scratch, scuff, warp or swell far outweighs the nearly indiscernible visual difference, makes “our new normal”, “life as we know it” easier and more enjoyable.
So what happened with this new fur baby, Baci? First of all, we have worked our way through many rolls of paper towels, sanitizing wipes to clean up her little “OMG” accidents just inside the door, under the sofa, as well as the pantry. Only part of our home has the hardwood floors that we manufacture since the majority of square footage was already done in a lovely pine (previous homeowner) which we loved when we moved in. What has happened since is not a pretty sight. In some of the areas where both dogs have a habit of relieving themselves, the finish of the pine is delaminating badly. It should be the picture next to the definition of the term in the handbook of hardwood terminology. Additionally, there are several claw marks where Donatella skidded across the soft wood of the pine floors (she is only twenty six pounds). I wish daily for our own OMG Proof Protected hardwood floors to magically appear throughout the entire house, but in the meantime it’s fodder for my blog and articles. Our puppy Baci is now five months old and she is not 100% potty trained yet, but based on the amount of training treats we’ve bought and used, we must be getting close. My point in all this sharing of personal experience is this, hardwood flooring that is made with performance protection really does make life easier for the end-users, residentially and commercially.