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Inspired by: The Louvre

The Louvre Museum is a Paris landmark and must-see for any visitor. The miles-long museum is renowned for its impressive collection of artwork including pieces like the Mona Lisa & Venus De Milo. But while enjoying the 35,000 pieces of artwork, sometimes visitors miss the most prominent piece of art: the building itself.

Louvre Museum
The Louvre Palace was first built in the 12th century. When Louis XIV choose the Palace of Versailles as his place of residence instead of the Louvre Palace, it left the Louvre as a home for the royal artwork collection.

The wood floors underfoot in the Louvre are as inspiring as the artwork on the walls. Simple oak planks are cut to size and put together to create unique patterns.

This two-tone herringbone is striking even with all the character marks.
The Louvre two-tone herringbone hardwood floors

This room featured an intricate hardwood pattern with star inlays.
Hardwood with inlay stars at the Louvre

A close-up on a stunning diamond pattern.
Diamond pattern hardwood flooring at the Louvre

In the Napoleon III apartments exhibit, visitors can see what these patterned wood floors would look like at home – if you home also happens to be decorated in an opulent Second Empire style.
Napoleon Apartments - Wood Flooring

Tile floors are used throughout the Louvre as well – we love this pattern.
Patterned tile at the Louvre

With 9.7 million visitors traipsing through the halls in a year, these floors are put to the test. On the stone steps, you can see how the middle of the step, where most people walk, has been worn down.
The Louvre Stairs

Get the look at home

To get the classic look of the Louvre at home, try Herringbone floors like these options from Kentwood, available in both natural oak and walnut.
Kentwood Herringbone - Walnut and Oak
Kentwood Couture Collection Chevron Herringbone Walnut and Oak Natural

To mimic the elegance of the natural stone and patterned tile used in the Louvre, try this combination of Carrara marble style tiles and basket-weave mosaic from C&S tile.Carrara marble style tile and basketweave mosaic
C&S Tile I Marmi series colour Carrara

Hardwood Trends: White Hardwood Floors

Whether you call them white-washed, limed or “pickled”, white hardwood floors are beautiful. The growing popularity of Scandinavian design kick-started the design community’s love affair with white-washed floors.

If you’re not familiar with Scandinavian design, think white walls, light coloured wood floors and minimalist interiors. Choosing light interior finishes is a utilitarian decision for these northern countries. The long cold winters and few hours of sunlight need white walls and floors to brighten up the space. While Vancouver may not have Scandinavia’s snow and never-ending nights, a bright interior adds cheer to a long streak of Vancouver grey rainy days.

The white-washed look allows the natural beauty of the wood grain to shine through the finish. It’s softer and more natural looking compared to painted white floors. Here are a few of our favourite white-washed hardwood floors.

White-grey hardwood newbury-locking-arctic
Newbury Locking Oak colour Arctic – $

The light-wire brushing adds a touch of texture to this classic 5″ wide oak hardwood.

White-washed hardwood - Shaw Castlewood Oak colour tower
Shaw Castlewood Oak colour Tower – $$
Castlewood Oak has a lightly-whitewashed surface that preserves the natural charm of white oak. Its knots, mineral streaks and natural splits add a touch of rustic character to these 7.5″ wide boards.

White hardwood floors - Vintage Etched Maple Iceland
Vintage Hardwood Maple North Solid Sawn Etched Iceland – $$
The subtle grain pattern of the maple keeps these white floors simple. We love the low-gloss oil finish and variety of widths. (3″, 4.5″ and 5″)

Kahrs Oak Bloc White

Kahrs Oak Bloc White – $$$

The Oak Bloc is perfect for creating beautiful patterned wood floors. Its three sizes (12″x12″ 24″x12″ and 36″x12″) can be mixed and matched to create a unique pattern. The light wire-brushing and white oil finish add to a touch of simplicity to balance busy patterns.

Karelia Ash Story Shiny White
Karelia Ash Story Shiny White – $$$
Go for an authentic Nordic look direct from the experts at Finnish company, Karelia Hardwood. Similar to oak, ash hardwoods have a strong grain. The shiny lacquer finish mimics the look of painted floors without losing the beautiful wood grain.

Just like white shoes or a white sofa, white hardwood floors can be tough to keep clean. Following basic hardwood maintenance rules like taking shoes off indoors, using walk-off mats and cleaning often will help to keep your floors white.

CARB Compliant Flooring FAQ

The safety of laminate flooring has come under fire in recent months with the 60 minutes story on Lumber Liquidators and Lowe’s pulling Chinese laminate over formaldehyde concerns. At a recent home builder’s trade show we were still fielding questions of how to talk about California Air Resource Board (CARB) compliance with customers. Everyone just wants to know their floors are safe for their families. Here are a few  frequently asked questions about CARB compliant flooring.

What are California Air Resource Board (CARB) regulations?

The California Air Resource Board requires all composite wood products (e.g. particleboard, medium density fibreboard and hardwood plywood) for sale in California to be certified as complying with California’s formaldehyde emission standards. For flooring manufacturers, this means their laminate and engineered hardwood flooring has to be manufactured with certified composite wood products. Composite wood producers are required to have their products tested by a third-party certifier. Flooring manufacturers must label their laminate and engineered hardwood flooring boxes to indicate they were made using CARB compliant composite wood products. CARB regulations only apply in California. In Canada, there are no similar rules to regulate formaldehyde emissions from wood products.

What flooring does CARB regulations apply to?

CARB regulations apply to laminate and engineered hardwood since these products are made with composite wood products. They do NOT apply to solid hardwood and vinyl flooring.

What is formaldehyde?

Formaldehyde is a colourless, strong-smelling chemical often used to make home building products. In everyday life, we are exposed to formaldehyde through tobacco smoke, cars, fires and even some glues and cleaning products.

How can I tell if my flooring is CARB compliant?

The CARB indoor air-quality standards were implemented in two parts. The second phase implemented in 2012 lowered the formaldehyde limit to a more stringent 0.05 parts per million. We recommend checking that laminate and engineered hardwood meet this second phase of CARB standards, known as CARB 2.

In the wake of the alleged issues with Lumber Liquidators laminate, flooring manufacturers are being more transparent about their supply chains and CARB certifications. The recent news has taught the flooring marketplace the value of asking more questions. Does the flooring manufacturer produce their own products or buy from others? If they buy from other suppliers, what do they do to ensure the products meet air-quality standards? Do they sell CARB compliant products to all customers or just those in California? Do they do additional testing? Do they go above and beyond CARB compliance by submitting their products for additional certification from independent third-parties?

Two flooring manufacturers that are exceeding expectations in their commitment to safe, sustainable products are Shaw Floors and Armstrong. Read the Shaw Floors laminate and hardwood certifications statement and the Armstrong’s eco-friendly laminate page for more information.

Trendspotting with Shaw Floors: Waterproof LVP and Grey Tones

Last week we visited the Shaw Floors Market Show here in Vancouver. As one of the world’s largest flooring manufacturers, Shaw Floors stays on top of the latest flooring trends. The market is an opportunity for us to peruse new samples and discover the next big things in flooring for 2015.

Waterproof Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) Floorté

This innovative new product from Shaw has the potential to change the luxury vinyl plank marketplace. Why is the vinyl plank so revolutionary?

  • It’s completely waterproof. Floorté is made from an EVP polymer plastic that can withstand being submerged in water. Most vinyl plank flooring on the market is just water-resistant.
  • A new locking system similar to a Tupperware lid. Thanks to the locking system, it’s easy to install and keeps water out of the joints for up to 48 hours.
  • Unmatched realism. Since Floorté is more rigid than glue-down LVP, it feels more like hardwood underfoot. The bevelled edges add to the realism.
  • No underpad is needed for Floorté.
  • Wear layer features durable Armourbead nano-ceramic particle finish.

Shaw Floorte Classico waterproof luxury vinyl plank
Shaw Floors Floorté Classico LVP colour Colori

 

Grey tones taking over

Grey is the trendy neutral colour in interior design right now. Flooring colour palettes are changing to keep up with the trends. Colours with names like sand, honey and coffee are being replaced with new colours names like fog, silver and concrete. Expect to see even more grey options available in carpet, laminate and hardwood. Here’s a few of our favourite grey options from the show:

Castlewood Oak Hardwood
The Castlewood Oak collection exudes old world charm. The natural beauty of the wood shines through with knots, mineral streaks and natural splits. Four rich grey-toned options give the grey-lover plenty of options to choose from.

Shaw Castlewood Oak hardwood colour Armory
Shaw Castlewood Oak Hardwood colour Armory

Shaw Castlewood Oak hardwood colour Hearth
Shaw Floors Castlewood Oak colour Hearth

Shaw Castlewood Oak hardwood colour Drawbridge
Shaw Floors Castlewood Oak colour Drawbridge

Shaw Castlewood Oak hardwood colour Tower
Shaw Floors Castlewood Oak colour Tower

 

Truly Relaxed Carpet
This luxurious nylon loop carpet is the redesigned sibling to one of our best-selling carpets. With many grey options to choose from, you can find the perfect shade to compliment your decor.

Shaw Truly Relaxed Loop carpet
Shaw Truly Relaxed loop carpet

Hardwood Trends: Random Width Hardwood

The resurgence of random width hardwood is inspired by the days when hardwood flooring was hand sawn. At the time, random widths weren’t a design choice. It was done to use as much hardwood as possible and prevent unnecessary waste.

Today the random width look is making a comeback in homes looking for a rustic or vintage inspired aesthetic. Random width floors can be custom made to your specifications or you can pick from the many pre-finished options available. While custom hardwood offers more design flexibility, it also brings more decisions and costs. With so many pre-finished options now available, it is easiest to see if your dream random width hardwood is available in pre-finished option. If it is not, then a custom hardwood solution would be best.

We have a collected a couple of our favourite unique random width hardwood options.

Mannington Pacaya Mesquite Random Width Hardwood

Mannington Pacaya Mesquite 3″/5″/7″

The hand-crafted Pacaya Mesquite random width hardwood is a truly unique find. Mesquite is known for its natural character with mineral streaks and small irregular cracks along the grain. Pick your favourite of the six volcanic-inspired colours.

Shnier Berkshire Random Width Hardwood

Laurentian Berkshire 3″/5″/7″

Hickory, maple, white oak and American walnut – this random width hardwood has options from a wide variety of hardwood species. The planks are full of character, embracing all the natural imperfections of each wood species. Heavy bevelling and handscraping add to the overall worn, rustic look.

Anderson Elements Random Width Hardwood

Anderson Elements 3″/5″

This pine floor exudes old world charm. The handscraped planks have a unique texture that suits either a cozy wilderness cabin or a beach house.

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