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.

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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.

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Spring 2018

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

EMILYMORROWHOME.com

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:

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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.

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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

https://www.emilymorrowhome.com/contest/

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.

Cheers!

Emily Morrow Finkell

http://www.emilymorrowhome.com

Meet the faces behind the names at emilymorrowhome.com

 

Emily Morrow Home began with a love story…a life-long love for design that grew into a profession. After almost thirty years of practicing interior design, thirteen of which was directing Shaw Industries’ color, style and design development, I have recently entered a new chapter of life and launched a new enterprise, Emily Morrow Home, a collection of products inspired by my life and love.

I am most passionate about designing unique products that are not found in commodity retailers…inspired by travels to the most beautiful and amazing places on earth.  The Emily Morrow Home Collection is not only about making our lives and homes more beautiful, it’s also about making the process of designing the home a pleasure while avoiding the usual pitfalls. That is why I sell through professionals, people with proven ability and craftsmanship who stand behind their work, as do I.  Each product within the initial hardwood collection is inspired and designed to bring the world’s most beautiful visuals home to you, whether it’s Napa Valley or the Pacific Coast highway.  As with any well-executed design project, one should always begin with the floors…the most beautiful “canvas” from which a home filled with personal expressions of style can emerge.

Emily Morrow Home invites you to get inspired. Combining a love of travel and art, Emily Morrow has transformed her passions into unique and charming home interior design. You’ll find collections influenced by the most beautiful aesthetics the world has to offer. Add a pop of culture to your home or reinvent it entirely. The Emily Morrow Home Collection can help you do both.

Emily

                                         

 

To read more inspo, click here

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MEET THE FACES AND NAMES

BEHIND OUR PRODUCTS…

 

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By my side is the manufacturer of my line of premium hardwood floors, Don Finkell…who is the love of my life … my husband. If it weren’t for him, I would not have been inspired to create this line of products, which he has touted as being “the most beautiful products of my entire career”. Don is the CEO of American OEM and his team is composed of some of the industry’s greatest talents, including Don’s daughter Allie.

 

 

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Our boards really are up to 8 feet in length. Meet my daughter Mary Morrow who, even in heels, is still significantly shorter than our massively long planks.

 

 

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Hunt Broyhill of Aria Designs shows just how comfortable the seating and cushions truly are during a hectic High Point Market. He and the team at Aria Designs have created timeless pieces of upholstery that are not only luxuriously comfortable, but also durable…and guess what? They are made in Lenoir, North Carolina.

 

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This particular sectional at Aria is one of my personal favorites due to the fact that this is covered in “Performance” grade fabric that actually repels dirt, spills and so much more. For my family and our doggy Donatella the truffle dog (see below), it is essential to have seating that we don’t have to constantly worry about spilling or soiling.
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Donatella the Truffle Dog, our official “tough tester” for our incredibly durable scratch resistant premium hardwood floors and the performance fabrics on the upholstery.

 

 

 

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Brownlee Currey of Currey and Company and Emily Morrow Finkell at the Currey and Company recently expanded High Point Showroom. Launching with EmilyMorrowHome is also the gorgeous lighting and accessories from Currey and Company.

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My husband Don Finkell and my two children, Mary and William Morrow helped me celebrate my landmark 50th birthday. Join me in celebrating 50 years of “life” as well as 15 years of being cancer free. A portion of our profits from emilymorrowhome.com will go to the Kiker Morrow Finkell Cancer Care Foundation in celebration of defeating breast cancer 15 years ago.

FAQ

Q: How do I know how much hardwood flooring to order?

A: First have a professional installer measure your space for the square footage requirements as well as the recommended percentage of extra material for making any unusual cuts, typically that is around 8%-10% extra.

Q: How to find a certified hardwood installer?

A: http://woodfloors.org/certified-professional-search.aspx

Q: Why is Emily Morrow Home Hardwood better than all the others?

A: The wood is “premium,” and not just in name. Overall you get more wood, seven cross-plies of hardwood make it incredibly versatile and more dimensionally stable; thicker than the others at 5/8 inch thickness as compared to lesser 1/2 inch engineered products. Design is anything but ordinary; it is carefully researched to resemble looks that are timeless and yet contemporary; and did I mention it is sourced from 100 percent US responsibly forested hardwood? When you walk across these floors, they sound as if they’ve been there forever, making them authentic and luxurious…and they add lifelong value and charm to your home. Most importantly, we have the best manufacturer in the USA and arguable in the world, steeped in a long and proven history of manufacturing excellence as well as forestry and environmental stewardship, American OEM which is located just west of Nashville, Tennessee.

Q: Why American made?

A: When you buy our American-made hardwood, you can be sure that you’re buying the best flooring possible at a value unmatched in the industry. You’re also investing in an American industry, and an all-American legacy.

That’s because buying American means more than simply buying hardwood products finished in the USA. It means buying exceptional value, precision quality products that were grown, harvested, designed and constructed in America, by skilled American laborers with pride for their craft. Today, American-made hardwood flooring is making a comeback for those very reasons – people, tradition and quality you can rely on.

Q: Why Engineered Hardwood?

A: At Emily Morrow Home, we believe in eliminating the traditional waste associated with solid wood floor production of slow growth species, while still finding a way to showcase their incredible beauty. To do this, we use a mixture of woods to create a much more advanced flooring option – the engineered floor. Unlike a solid wood floor, an engineered (multi-ply) floor consists of at least two types of different wood products adhered together. This means that the top layer (what you see when installed) can be a highly desired species of wood, like oak, while the bottom substrate layer (what you don’t see when installed) can be those fast-growing tree species. Manufacturing floors in this way allows us to more sustainably harvest trees and produce more high quality floors with the same robust and luxurious feeling of solid wood flooring within the thickness of that top layer. When installed properly, an engineered floor is virtually indistinguishable from a solid floor – the very same look and feel with the added stability in a far more environmentally-conscious way.

Q: Do the Currey & Company chandeliers come with a canopy (ceiling plate)?

A: All Currey & Company chandeliers come with a canopy and chain that is finished to match the chandelier.

Q: Can I get extra chain for a Currey & Company chandelier?

A: Extra chains are available for chandeliers and comes packaged in 3′ or 8′ lengths. These lengths match the standard length of the chain provided with the chandelier.

Q: How do I know the correct size of a chandelier for a dining table?

A: A general guideline is to choose a chandelier that has a diameter equal to one-half the width of the table. The general appearance of the chandelier must be taken into account, too; that is, if it is a light airy piece it may be slightly larger than the standard.

Q: How low should a chandelier be hung over a dining table?

A: Generally there should be 30″ between the bottom of the chandelier and the top of the table in a room with an 8′ ceiling. If the ceiling is higher, the distance between the bottom of the fixture and the table should increase slightly. Remember that the chandelier should provide light for the table, but not be so low as to block anyone’s line of vision when they are sitting at the table.

Q: What guidelines should I follow in choosing a chandelier for a foyer or other room?

A: Add the room dimensions together. If the room is 14′ by 16′, add 14 + 16. The answer is 30, which means that your chandelier should be approximately 30″ in diameter. Again, remember that other factors such as the height of the ceiling may influence the proper size.

Q: How high should I hang a wall sconce?

A: Generally, sconces should be placed on a wall 60″ from the floor.

American OEM Information

Installation Instructions

Floating Installation Disclaimer

Care & Maintenance

Side Bend Technical Bulletin

Warranty Information

Aria Designs Warranty

American OEM Warranty
For more insights on design trends and hardwood flooring…

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