Seven Dining Room Ideas We Love

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Hardwood

Dining rooms went kind of defunct 20 years ago when our modern lifestyles evolved into the ‘go-go-go’ that we’re accustomed to these days. But they’re making a comeback as people are starting to realize that there really is huge value in dining with good company. Wondering how to bring yours up to date so it’s a place you love? Check out these seven great ideas!

  1. Replace the table setting after dinner. Pretty dishes, flatware, and place mats all make a dining room look more elegant and inviting. Rather than setting the table right before you dine, set it as part of the after meal clean up. Every time you pass by it during the day your eye will be pleased, and when meal time approaches the dining room will automatically seem comfortable and inviting. You’re going to set the table anyway, just switch up the timing!
  2. Invest in an exceptional overhead light fixture. Try an impressive chandelier for instance. More than any other space a dining area will feel most complete when unified by a main light source.
  3. Make sure that your floor is at its best.  Hardwood floors are wonderful for a dining room, but they do need maintenance.  Make sure your investment is working for you by having it cleaned professionally or replacing the floor to give your entire home a more elegant room. 
  4. Use bright colors. For some reason people tend to favor a reserved aesthetic in the dining room but that’s an outdated standard. If you want to get more use out of your dining space, then make it a cheery happy place where your family will want to spend extended time. Need a suggestion? Try lime, pink, blue, and black!
  5. When it comes to seating choose function over form. The bottom line is that sitting is what we do in a dining room. Skip the fancy uncomfortable chair, and opt for seating that makes dining a cushy experience.  
  6. Always feature a centerpiece, and keep it low profile. An attractive centerpiece makes meals feel more elegant and well thought out. At the same time, they can obscure the view from across the table which prevents ample human interaction at the table. Choose something that is short and wide rather than tall and narrow.
  7. Clean the china out of the china hutch and store it in a cabinet. Displaying china is rather out of date and it certainly doesn’t make for an interesting topic of conversation. Remove the glass from the doors and replace the china with a collection of family photos. When you’re dining with your loved ones, the space will feel homey. When you invite guests, they will enjoy perusing the photos while waiting on dinner to be served. 

All About Hickory

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Hardwood

There are many different domestic hardwoods that can be installed throughout your home. The most popular are red oak and maple, but these are far from the only domestic hardwoods on the market. If you want a floor that has a lot of character, and that can stand up to whatever it is your family has to throw at it, consider giving hickory a look.

Color and Grain

Hickory is the most exotic looking of all the domestic hardwoods. It ranges in color from a creamy white to a rich cinnamon brown, sometimes within the same board. The grain on hickory is wild and thick, which gives a lot of color and movement to the floor. Because of this, it’s usually advised that you use larger planks, rather than thinner ones; thinner planks could make the floor look a little too busy for the room.

Like all hardwoods, hickory can be stained a variety of different colors as well. If you want to quiet the grain a little, but still let its character show, consider using a dark stain; the two colors of the wood will take the stain differently, which will preserve the pattern but make it a little less obvious.

Strength and Hardness

Hardwood floors are rated on what is known as the Janka scale. The higher the number on the scale, the harder and more durable the wood is. Hickory has the highest Janka score of any domestic hardwood – 1820 compared to 1290 for red oak – rivaling some of the harder exotic hardwoods as well. This makes hickory much less likely to scratch or dent than maple or red oak, which is highly beneficial in a busy home. To make your hickory hold up even better, consider getting boards that have been presealed or that have a manufacturer’s finish. These floors tend to have a more even finish that lasts longer than unfinished hardwood does.

Consider Hickory

When it’s time to get a new hardwood floor in your home, give some consideration to hickory. With its strength and character, you’ll find that this floor far outshines the competition. 

The Difference between Wood and Bamboo Flooring

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Hardwood

There are a lot of choices on the market today for wood flooring. There are domestic and exotic wood species that come in a variety of different styles, colors, and finishes that can make it hard to choose. Then come newer flooring options such as bamboo that break most of the rules of wood floors. This green building option is not really made of wood, although it often falls under the hardwood category. Bamboo is technically a type of grass, and therefore has its own set of characteristics.

Engineered versus Solid

For a long time, all hardwood floors were made of what is known as “solid hardwood”. This means that each plank was one piece of wood. In the last several years, however, a push has been made toward engineered hardwood, which is made up of a lot of different layers of wood topped with a wood veneer. Bamboo falls into this second category; each plank is made of a bamboo veneer that is glued to the top of several other layers of wood.

This has advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that the different layers help make the bamboo more stable and able to withstand moisture, so you can install it below grade. Unfortunately, the veneer on top is not thick and bamboo is very soft, so when it scratches (and it will) you can only resurface it a few times before you hit the layer beneath.

Different Hardness Factors

Most hardwoods have a fairly reliable hardness factor. This indicates how dense and durable the wood is. Hickory, for example, is the hardest domestic hardwood, while pine is one of the softest. Bamboo is less easy to classify. Depending on the manufacturer, how old the bamboo plant was when harvested, and what color it is, it can range in hardness dramatically. In fact, a common method of deepening the color of bamboo is to heat it, which makes it darker. This also makes it softer and more likely to scratch and dent, but depending on how much it was heated this tells you just how soft it actually is.

For most residential settings, bamboo reacts and is treated just like hardwood. For high traffic areas, however, it may be considered too soft to withstand many years of use.

Reader’s Choice

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Floors, Hardwood

Hardwood Styles Part 2

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Hardwood

Board widths

  • boards come in various sizes
  • narrower board widths called “strips”
  • wider boards called  “planks”
  • board width visually impacts a room
  • narrow boards expand a room
  • wider boards work well in a larger room

Edge knowledge

  • floors come in either a beveled edge, or a square edge
  • Each edge creates a specific look and feel


Edge types:

  • square edge: edges all meet squarely for a uniform, smooth surface (contemporary and formal)
  • eased edge: boards slightly beveled to length and/or the end joints, hides irregularities, plank heights, also called micro-beveled edge
  • beveled edge: distinctive groove, informal and country décor, beveled edges sealed completely, dirt easy to sweep or vacuum out of the grooves

Hardness – Janka hardness test

  • measures the force needed to embed a .444 inch steel ball to half its diameter in a piece of wood
  • higher the number the harder the wood
  • one of the best methods to measure the ability of wood species to withstand indentations
  • general guide when comparing various species
  • construction and finish also important in the durability and ease of maintenance

WOOD SPECIES   HARDNESS RATING

  • Douglas Fir 660
  • Southern Yellow Pine (shortleaf) 690
  • Southern Yellow Pine (longleaf) 870
  • Black Cherry 950
  • Teak 1000
  • Black Walnut 1010
  • Heart Pine 1225
  • Yellow Birch 1260
  • Red Oak(Northern) 1290
  • American Beech 1300
  • Ash 1320
  • White Oak 1360
  • Australian Cypress 1375
  • Hard maple1450
  • Wenge 1620
  • African Pedauk 1725
  • Hickory 1820
  • Pecan  1820
  • Purpleheart 1860
  • Jarrah 1910
  • Merbau 1925
  • Santos Mahogany 2200
  • Mesquite 2345
  • Brazilian Cherry 2350

 

Hardwood Styles Part 1

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Hardwood


The number of hardwood choices, patterns, colors, textures and price points can intimidate even the most experienced shopper. Knowing the basic styles can provide you with a firm foundation upon which to begin your hardwood-shopping journey. Choosing your ideal hardwood style is all about knowing the right combination of aesthetics, performance and budget that meets the needs of your lifestyle.

Personal Style

  • designs: medallions, running on the diagonal, or creating borders

Types

  1. Pre-finished:
    • ready for installation
    • boards already sanded, stained and finished
    • harder, better- protected surface
    • wider variety of wood species
    • save hours of labor and cleanup
    • extended finish warranty
  2. Unfinished:
    • allow you to have a custom job
    • you choose the wood species
    • it’s sanded and stained on site
    • can level the surface after installation
    • no extended finish warranty

Location

  • look at installation site for location limitations
  • solid floors -susceptible to moisture, not recommended for basements, or concrete slabs

Grain and cut

  • styles are result of the species available
  • species: red oak, white oak, maple, cherry, white ash, hickory or pecan
  • Each species has unique graining and texture
  • graining on the boards determined by the way it has been cut
  • two cutting processes. “Sliced Cut” -more uniform pattern and “Rotary Cut”- displays a larger and bolder graining pattern

Color

  • each species gives choices of color and finishes
  • choose coordinating or contrasting with cabinetry and furniture
  • darker woods- more formal
  • natural colors- more casual

Finish

  • different types for pre-finished or job site finished
  • lower gloss levels- better for active rooms
  • lower gloss or matte finishes minimize dirt and scratches
  • high gloss finish for formal décor

Upkeep

  • no more waxing and scrubing
  • pre-finished- hard, durable, urethane-based finishes
  • chips of Aluminum Oxide added to increases the urethane finish’s life

Floor protection 

  • factory finished: several coats applied to the surface
  • many companies apply 6-10 coats of a ultra-violet (UV) cured urethane
  • UV cured urethane: difficult to duplicate on a job site finish
  • factory finishes – more consistent and durable
  • do not wash your floor with a mop
  • water is not a friend of hardwood
  • floors won’t watermark like old waxed floors
  • UV cured finishes do make floors easier to maintain than waxed floors

Pre-finished choices:

  • uv-cured – factory finishes cured with Ultra Violet lights versus heat
  • polyurethane – clear, tough and durable applied as a wear layer
  • acrylic-urethane – different make up than Polyurethane, same benefits
  • ceramic – advanced technology allowing ceramics to increase wear layer resistance
  • aluminum Oxide – Added to urethane finish for increased abrasion resistance
  • acrylic Impregnated – Acrylic monomers injected into cell structure for hardness, then finished with a wear layer

Job-site hardwood flooring

  • start with a bare (unfinished) floor, than sand, stain, and finish
  • if subfloor is acceptable you can have a custom stained
  • can have a floor to match existing trim
  • advantage: smoother floor between planks
  • process is messy and takes several days

Methods:

Water Based Urethane – water used as part of the make up of the finish
Solvent Based Urethane – oil used as part of the make up of the finish
Moisture Cured Urethane – similar make up as solvent based urethanes, finish needs moisture to cure

 

Why Caribbean Pine Floors Will Make Your Heart Sing

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Hardwood, Uncategorized

What is Caribbean heart pine, and why is it so popular?

The heart is the center of the pine tree, where the wood is harder and more durable, and usually a deeper color.  The softer exterior wood, surrounding the heart is known as sapwood.    In the United States, heart pine is only available as reclaimed lumber, since there is a small portion of living longleaf pine forest remaining.  True Caribbean heart pine (botanical name Pinus Caribaea) is native to Central America and Cuba where there is still a substantial living pine forest.

The beauty and luster of Caribbean heart pine makes it a popular choice for hardwood flooring.  It’s available in many different colors, grades and finishes.  Natural heart pine has a tendency to become richer and darker with age, and can feature yellow, red or copper tones.  The “knotted” look of heart pine is also part of its appeal, lending a more natural look to any space.   Heart pine floors will generally show less uniformity of color, especially in a larger space, than other hardwoods, which also promotes a more natural look and feel.

Of course, heart pine can also be used for ceiling beams and wall paneling.  When selecting heart pine flooring, consider the percentage of heartwood vs. sapwood as well as the amount of variegation, including knots and resin streaks, to fit your budget as well as your desired look. Since heart pine is harder than sapwood, it is more resistant to dents and scratches.

Engineered laminate designed to simulate heart pine is another great option for a lower budget.

Heart pine floors are very versatile, and can be used in either contemporary or antique design spaces.

Here are some examples of heart pine floors in a contemporary setting:

Hardwood Basics

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Floors, Hardwood, Hints, Tips and Advice, Tips and Advice, Uncategorized

4861971_SHardwood flooring has been trending in home design for the last few years and can even add value to your home.  We have decided to put together some information and a few tips we think you should know about the different styles and if hardwood is a material that fits your lifestyle.

  • The Location: Consider where the hardwood is going to be installed inside your home.  The location may change the grade or type of wood you choose.
  • Species: Common wood species are red oak, white, oak, maple, cherry, white ask, hickory, or pecan.  Each wood species has a specific grain and texture to it.
  • Color: Each species will have several colors and finish choices for you to decide on.  We suggest picking a color of wood that best fits your lifestyle and coordinates well with furniture pieces you already have.  Darker wood is more formal compared to lighter wood.
  • Finishes: There are many different finishes you can have on your floors.  Lower gloss levels are better suited for more active areas because dirt and scratches are harder to see versus higher gloss finishes.
  • Width Terms: “Strips” are narrower board widths and work well in smaller areas to help make a room look larger.  “Planks” are wider board widths that work well in a larger space.
  • Hardness Wood Rating: Wood is rated based on the Janka Hardness Test.  Basically, the higher the rating, the harder the wood is.

These items are a quick overview of some of the terms or questions you might have when it comes to purchasing your hardwood.  We hope these tips and information helps you in your decision-making.  For more information on hardwood, please visit our website.  If you would like to learn more about specific hardwood flooring topics, leave us a comment below and we’ll be sure to address them in a future post.

Making Your House A Home

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating, Hardwood, Hints, Tips and Advice, Tile and Natural Stone, Tips and Advice

13122566_SSome homes speak to us by saying “hello” and welcoming us with open arms.  What characteristics do these homes have that makes us feel welcome, comforted, and happy?

Below are three simple changes you can do to bring out your personality in your own home to make it feel just right!

  • Colors:  Paint your walls, install new carpet, add decorative pillows, or hang new curtains. A color scheme is very important and should flow throughout your home. If you are uncertain how to coordinate your colors, you could purchase a color wheel for guidance. This tool can be a very helpful resource.
  • Finishes: Flooring can be the first and easiest fix to change any room or an entire house. New carpet, wood, or tile is a quick fix and you will literally get miles of enjoyment for years to come.
  • Textures: Replacing tile on a fireplace can change the aesthetic of the whole room. For added texture use river rock or stone. Don’t be afraid to install tile and wood side by side on your floors; this looks great in the right space, as long as there is a “cut off” between the two rooms.

There is “no place like home” what are you waiting for?

Going Bare with Wood Floors

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Hardwood, Hints, Tips and Advice

Beautiful wood floors are sometimes too nice to cover up with area rugs and runners. Going bare on the floor can have pluses and minuses. Let’s take a look at reasons to leave your wood floors bare and then we’ll talk about when we should add rugs.

Bare wood floors are great for high traffic areas like kitchens and hallways. If you have a pet, especially a dog, bare floors might be a better option than rugs or carpet. The dirt that gets tracked in on shoes and paws can easily be swept and mopped up from bare wood floors. If you have a pet that sheds, it is easier to tackle pet hair on wood floors than area rugs and carpet where fur and other allergens can be trapped. For asthma sufferers or other allergies, bare wood floors leave no place for allergens and dirt to hide.

Those are a lot of the pros for leaving your floors bare. There are cons as well. Bare wood floors may leave your room feeling cold. Area rugs can add color and pattern as well as a soft texture underfoot. For stairs, a runner or carpeting can provide more traction for little feet and paws. Depending on the type of wood floor, pet claws may scratch or dent the wood and finish.

Thinking of going bare on your wood floors? There are both pros and cons to bare floors. It all comes down to what works best for you and your family.