A Healthy Hardwood Floor

By Annette M. Callari, Allied ASID; CMG

I love to bring to your attention floors with a story.  While searching my way through the maze of exhibits at Surfaces (TISE) this year, I found a great story brought to life by UA Wood Floors.

They have a mission; a focus that pervades every plank of hardwood flooring they produce.  That mission is to provide a totally non-toxic floor that can be considered proactive in benefiting your health.  That’s quite a statement, so I wanted more information as to how they actually accomplish this.

According to UA’s marketing team, “…In manufacturing wood flooring, the use of improper glue during the construction process can produce harmful formaldehyde content. Formaldehyde is a highly volatile organic solvent and has now been declared by IARC as a first-class carcinogen.  High concentrations of formaldehyde can cause irritation of the eyes, nose and throat and can worsen asthma symptoms in children and infants”.

This isn’t news to everyone reading this blog, we’ve known for some time about the toxicity of formaldehyde.  But what is new is the steadfast pledge UA Floors has to meeting, and exceeding, standards worldwide.  UA Floors not only meet the CARBII (California Air Resource Board Phase 2 Formaldehyde Emission Standards), but also both the EO (European formaldehyde emission standards) and the Japanese Emission Standards JIS/JAS F.

UA has another story to add regarding their contribution to healthy interior environments.  The nano metal-oxide contained in their protective surface coating is actually a bacterial inhibitor!  Their bacteriostatic technology has been proven to inhibit the growth of mold, mildew, bacteria and viruses.

Beyond the technologies, this is the product line that offers a unique aesthetic.  Their newest addition, The Manhattan Collection, looks just like it sounds. A sophisticated “uptown” collection of woods, offering ten beautiful finishes.  Modestly grained 5 ¼” planks suit both contemporary and traditional interiors.


At the other end of the spectrum is their Olde Charleston Collection.  One of the featured products in this collection uses planks constructed from reclaimed Heart Pine, salvaged from old textile mills.  All the natural markings from previous use are embraced in the finished product.  The rustic good looks tell a story of previous lives lived on these floors.  The different wood species featured in the Olde Charlston Collection all have character and history built in.

Of course, there are more collections for you to see at your local flooring store. But hopefully I’ve painted a picture for you in this blog of just how different (and pro-health) these wood floors really are. Explore and enjoy.

Need to know where to buy your hardwood flooring, or help from a local, hardwood flooring expert? Find your local, specialty hardwood flooring stores.

Color-Defining Spaces

By Annette Callari, Allied ASID; CMG

IL_PALAZZO_-_SAN_DIEGO_021_250Several blogs ago, I outlined the top color trends and trend drivers for 2012.  One major development was the fact that consumers have become much more comfortable living with color.  We are consistently exposed to global colors through fashion, the internet, and of course, HGTV.   Given the predictions, it’s pretty exciting to be able to report to you a real-world example of this key color driver.

Il Palazzo is a newly-remodeled, luxury townhome project in downtown San Diego.  Its proximity to Little Italy and its higher-elevation ocean views make this property a stand-out.  But what really adds to the Old World charm is the continental color palette utilized inside and out.  The models I toured were unfurnished, but the courageous use of color more than compensated for no furnishings.  Well-chosen finishes (from floors to countertops to ceilings) gave an ambience of high luxury.  Let’s take a look at some of those finishes and color harmonies to see how they worked their magic.

IL_PALAZZO_-_SAN_DIEGO_013_250KITCHEN – The chef-friendly kitchens featured a transitional design style.  Not quite contemporary and not quite traditional, this design mode walks a fine line.  It’s a hybrid style that is more linear than traditional and appeals to a large segment of the market.  Granite countertops add to the upscale look.  The designer chose stainless steel appliances and achieved a great continuity by adding a metallic tile backsplash.  The colors chosen for kitchen and family room were a warm taupe and vibrant blue/green (Reference color “X-hale” from the 2012-2013 color forecast).

IL_PALAZZO_-_SAN_DIEGO_009_250BATH – The transitional cabinetry was carried into the bathrooms. Flooring for kitchens and baths was Amtico’s LVT, Linear Metallic Steel.  This dramatic floor gave each space a sophisticated look, and the large format tiles (18” x 18”) visually expanded the space.  Just a hint of metallic sparkle in the tiles added an element of luxury.

BEDROOMS – Different shades of taupe were used on walls, soffets, and ceilings. Ceilings were finished with a beautiful crown moulding. The monochromatic use of color added interest and character to each bedroom, without sacrificing the restful feel.  The darkest shade of taupe was used on the ceilings!  Does that shock you just a little?  I hope so, because it was fun and unexpected.

Let’s talk about the exterior color scheme for a moment.  If you’ve travelled to Italy, you  know that their cities are a visual feast of warm, rich colors.  Taking a lesson from the life-loving Italians, the façade of Il Palazzo is an artistic mix of unexpected colors.  (Take a look for yourself at the pictures included in this article.)  Deep and mid-toned violets work in harmony along side a true green, sunny yellow and rusty orange.  Wow!  That combination took guts and the risk paid off. The impact is memorable, and each vibrant color helps define the architecture.

If you have any doubt about color’s power to define spaces, Il Palazzo provides a real-life example.  If you just happen to be a life-long lover of color, design or architecture, downtown San Diego is a field trip well worth taking.  Treat yourself to dinner in Little Italy (just a block away).  Colorful surroundings, authentic Italian cuisine and a glass of crisp Chianti–who could ask for more?