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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Going Up or Coming Down?

Let's talk about your staircase.  Staircases are something that are so much a part of our homes that we take for granted. They're there, most of us use them every day, but we don't really know "what makes 'em work."

There are a surprising number of components to a staircase. Here are some of the most used parts, the name they are known by, and what role they play in the whole:

Baluster- the vertical post that fits between the handrail and either the tread or the base rails

Balustrade- The whole baluster and rail system

Cove Molding-The decorative strip that is attached under the stairnosing, which covers the joint between the riser and the tread

Handrail- the horizontal piece of the balustrade system, sits on top of the balusters and is supported by newel posts

Newel- The major support post for the balustrade system, located at the bottom and top of the staircase,  and at turns and critical support areas

Nosing- the edge of the tread that projects beyond the adjoining riser

Riser- The board that forms the vertical part of each step

Rosette- The round or oblong piece that attaches the handrail to the wall

Skirtboard- the usually decorative trim piece that fits along either side of the stairs along the wall, or the "baseboard" of the staircase

Stringer- the framework upon which the stair structure rests, usually two pieces

Tread- the horizontal portion of each step, the part that is walked on

And here's the bonus stair trivia- that space under the stairs (where most of us have a coat closet) actually has a name! It is the spandrel.

Stairs are functional, that is why they exist. Yet since most stairs are at or near our front door (sometimes the first thing one sees when they walk in), we need for them to be pretty. Stairs can be carpeted, wood, or a combination of these- stained wood with a runner.

There are a couple of good reasons to have carpet or a runner on the stairs. First, especially if you have children in the house, having the stairs covered will cut back on the noise. Nothing says teenage boy like the noise they make thundering up or down the stairs. And while wood stairs are beautiful, we feel that a covering of some sort makes them safer as well. For dogs, for children, and especially for older adults, a slip on the stairs can be tragic. A runner is a nice compromise that is safe and beautiful. Runners can be made from any carpet that we sell here in the store. Some of our patterned carpets make especially great looking runners. As a rule of thumb, a runner should cover 80 to 90% of the stair tread. Runners made from carpet can be serged or bound. Serged is somewhat like a blanket stitch, sewed around the cut edge. Bound means a piece of material (usually fabric) is sewn on to the carpet forming a new finished edge.

We do also carry an extensive selection of premade runners
from Karastan and from Stanton. They are all beautiful and easy to care for, while making a real decorating statement in your home. Some are traditional, but there is a good selection for more contemporary tastes as well.

As well as runners, we also carry a huge assortment of choices for new balusters and handrails, from simple and traditional, to much more detailed and "out there." wood, which can be painted or stained, or wrought iron, available in many finishes.

Consider coming to the store and let us show you how we can completely change the look of your staircase. We can sand and stain the treads, replace your balusters, newels, and handrails, and create a beautiful new runner for you!  And appreciate your stairs- they work for you every day!

Design Tip
Don't forget about the lighting.  The most beautifully designed staircase will not be noticed and is not safe when there is poor lighting. Many staircases are located in the center of the home, away from main windows. And if you have a back staircase and/or a staircase to your basement, chances are it has no natural lighting whatsoever.  Use artificial lighting to turn your staircase into even more of a feature and choose chandeliers and other light fixtures that offer enhanced visibility on your staircase.

How Much Does It Cost?
A typical staircase with new treads and risers will cost around $2100. A staircase (13 steps) with all new balusters will average between $1300 and $1800. A staircase TOTALLY redone (new treads and risers, new balusters, handrails, and newel posts-not including new carpet) usually costs around $5000--$8000. Adding a carpet runner will range between $600 and $2000, depending upon the cost of the carpet chosen and the details of the installation.

I Was FLOORED By Enhance
Jenny in Canton writes "Enhance Floors did incredible work. They were very courteous and kind, and they were very thorough. I think they did an excellent job. They put in wood floors and a new staircase. They're tremendous, easygoing people. I've already recommended them to others."

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

This Floor Lasts Forever!

Tile is the workhorse of flooring.  It is durable in even the heaviest traffic, virtually stain proof, and beautiful---all at the same time. It is tough and resilient, even though it looks delicate. And treated right, it will support you through anything.

Tile has been around for thousands of years. There is a great deal of it still intact in the remains of ancient construction, the earliest known from the 2nd Century- that's a super tough floor!

Tile is inhospitable to mites, mold, germs, and bacteria, and keeps its good looks through anything that bad little kids and their dirty dogs can drag through the house. Tile floors are simply the most pet friendly floors possible, as well as being hypo allergenic. They are more expensive to purchase and install, but the most cost effective over time, as they last indefinitely. Broken down in a time study, tile costs four times less, over twenty-five years, than carpet and half as much as wood!

There is a difference between ceramic and porcelain, but to most homeowners, the difference should not steer their decision about which to buy. Ceramic is less expensive, and suitable for almost all our residential uses here in Georgia. The only exception is outdoor use. Because porcelain is made from a more refined clay, it is denser than ceramic, and fired at higher temperatures. It can thus be used outside, where it will be more exposed to the elements, and possibly freeze. Ceramic cannot be used outside, because it would absorb water and crack.

Tile is easier to clean and maintain than any other flooring. It is impervious to water, so is especially well suited to use in areas that tend to get wet- kitchens, mudrooms, bathrooms, and foyers. It is more expensive to install, as it demands a more perfect subfloor than other flooring, and must be installed exactly flat and level.

If environmental issues are a priority for you, tile is great. Most tile producing factories are now "closed loop" meaning they reuse their water and scrap materials, so there is minimal effect on the environment. Tile is stain proof, almost impossible to scratch, and super-easy to clean. We recommend one of the new single component grouts, specifically we use Fusion Pro grout, because they do not mold or mildew, do not stain or absorb odors, and do not have to be sealed.

Tile can be laid in a myriad of different patterns. Google tile patterns and you will see dozens and dozens.  There is regular grid, brick, diagonal, herringbone, Versailles, and variations on all of these. You can choose a more subtle tile, and then install in a more complex pattern to add visual interest.

Of course, there are negatives to tile. It is more expensive to install. It feels colder on bare feet, but can also be installed with a radiant heat system. It can be harder to stand on for extended periods (there are anti-fatigue mats that will help.)  And if you are planning to put it on the bathroom floor, you will need to look for one with a higher slip coefficient.

Tile now comes in so many beautiful looks. Lately we have been installing a lot that looks like wood, and we have lots of wood look tiles to choose from.  There is also a strong trend towards Carrara marble looks- we have plenty of those too. Really large format tiles (24" x 24", 30" x 30") are gaining in popularity- more tile, less grout! Come in and let us show you some of the beautiful new styles, shapes and colors of tile available.

Design Tip
There's a reason tile is often the material of choice in the bathroom: it reflects light, it's durable, it's easy to clean and makes the space look polished.  Keep in mind that the grout between tiles can become  grimy if it's not cleaned properly, and regular maintenance is important in preserving an aesthetic that looks fresh and not grungy.

More clients are installing tile on their bathroom walls, not just in the shower.  Floor-to-ceiling installations on at least one wall are trending, in lieu of painting. If that is too big a commitment to tile for you, consider using tile to create pseudo-wainscoting and paint the top half of the wall the color of your choice.

It's good to think about resale value when updating your bathroom. You want your tile selection to be timeless and clean, and to not turn off potential buyers. White, off white, and grey are the most popular tile colors for bathrooms year after year.  Add pops of color with paint, towels, and accessories. That said, your powder room is a space that all of your guests will likely see at some point; so, if you want to make a statement, this is the place to do it.

How Much Does It Cost?
We recently installed tile on the floor of a guest bath for $1200.  This includes removing the existing ceramic tile, 44 square feet of new tile installed with Fusion stain resistant grout, removing and reseating the toilet, and new baseboards and shoemold.

I Was FLOORED By Enhance
Tom in Marietta writes that Enhance recently replaced the tile in his master bath and the guest bath. He adds that we "ripped out the old shower in the master bathroom and installed a new tile shower with all new hardware and glass surrounding it on two sides because it's in the corner. And then they put tile on one wall and that was all master bath, and then guest bath tile flooring and then tile up above the shower and tub. I like that the owner of the company comes out to do the estimate himself, and he's just a really nice, easy guy to deal with-Don Stubbs."  We really enjoyed working with Tom and his wife and know that they are loving their new bathrooms!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

How To Select A Wood Floor

Hardwood floors hold a dear place in many peoples' hearts. In fact, many people consider wood to be the "best" when it comes to floors. And in many ways, wood floors are great. Easy to live with, easy to keep clean, durable, and classic. While there are a few up and comers on the market (laminate, LVP), wood still rules.

There are a lot of choices in wood floors, and these go way beyond color. These are things you haven't given any thought to unless you've purchased a wood floor lately. When customers come into the store, we ask a lot of questions, trying to identify what someone is really looking for. Sometimes we get the "deer in the headlights" look. Let's try to clarify:

The most basic information is- do you need Solid or Engineered? Whatis the difference?  Solid wood is exactly that-- a solid piece of wood, cut and trimmed down to a plank.  As solid wood is moisture sensitive (i.e. will warp, buckle, cup when exposed to damp conditions), there are specific situations where it should not be installed: basements, cement slabs (all slabs contain moisture), and full use bathrooms are some of the most common "no nos."

Engineered wood is an all-wood product, but not one solid piece of
nullwood. It is several layers (usually 3 to 5) of wood, put together using high pressure and heat, to form a super stable plank. This is achieved by layering the plies perpendicular one to the next. All the plies are wood, but the top one identifies what you're purchasing. This is the product you need if you are on a concrete slab, as the inherent moisture will not normally affect it.

The next two "types" of wood available to purchase really refer to the finish, not the construction. Site-finished is raw wood that is installed on site, then sanded, stained, and coated with polyurethane. Fifty years ago, this was all there was (and the finish was paste wax or shellac.) Installing site-finished wood requires several days of sanding, staining, and polyurethane coating, with drying times in between.

Pre-finished wood refers to wood that has its finish applied in thefactory. It is sanded, stained, and then coated with polyurethane with aluminum oxide (almost always), a compound second in hardness to diamond. Prefinished floors have a longer lasting finish, as polyurethane is softer without the aluminum oxide, and the technology does not currently exist for aluminum oxide to be used in site finishing or refinishing applications. Prefinished wood is a much faster installation, as it is already finished and needs only to be installed at your home - no drying time needed!

Now here's where we sometimes lose people: Site finished wood canbe solid or engineered. Prefinished wood can be solid or engineered. That is because solid/engineered terminology refers to the composition or construction of the wood, and site-finished or pre-finished refers to where the wood is finished (stained and coated).

Other factors or characteristics that influence the look of a wood floor include wire brushing, hand scraping, saw marks, character grade, gloss level, and most importantly, the type of wood used. If you love the swirl and movement of grain, then you'll tend to like Oaks and Hickories. If you like a softer, less grainy appearance, then Maple or Birch are going to appeal more to you. There are always exceptions to this, so shop with an open mind, simply looking for what you like. It is our job to help steer you to the product that works best for your needs. An active family with dogs in the house will need a wood that is somewhat distressed, either by wire brushing, chatter marks or saw marks, or other purposely applied distressing. A formal home looks best with a smoother, darker, glossier plank. Hand scraping was very popular a few years ago, but the visual has been scaled back and is much more subtle now.

Taking care of your wood floors will be the same whether you choose solid or engineered, site finished or prefinished.  Grit is the biggest enemy of your floor's finish, so sweep or dust mop frequently. You should be able to use a dry mop with just a spritz of Bona or other good quality wood cleaner occasionally to keep your floors looking beautiful. 

There is more to learn about wood floors, but these are the basics to get you started on your search, without looking like dazed or confused!

Got Dogs?
Are you one of the 65 percent of families in America with a pet? And maybe you've been told hardwood floors aren't the best choice for those of us with pets.  There are some types of wood floors better suited for pets. They aren't indestructible, but they are certainly more practical than others. Look for these dog-friendly flooring types:

~~ Wire Brushed. These wood floors are distressed by a machine to remove the sapwood (soft wood) and enhance the wood grain, adding texture and character. Its weathered, elegant, antique look hides scratches particularly well due to its matte finish.
~~ Character Grade. This flooring keeps the wood's natural appearance and displays its full characteristics. Color variations and knots occurring naturally show clearly. This visually less "perfect" wood hides damage well.

~~ Distressed Hardwood Flooring. This wood is intentionally scratched and scraped to create an antique look. Planks' edges can be darkened, wire brushed and sculpted, resulting in lots of texture and character. You won't know if a dent in your floor was one that you paid for or one your dog made! Scratches can be easily hidden using a touch-up pen.

~~ Low-Gloss, Satin or Matte Finishes. These sheen levels help hide normal wear and tear and show footprints less. The glossier and
darker you go, the more light reflects off the floor-showing more dirt, dust and imperfections-not what you want with pets.
~~ Sliced Cut Engineered. A cutting method for the veneer on engineered hardwoods that minimizes the soft grain. Also look for a top veneer at least 3mm thick, so you can sand and refinish it once or twice.

~~ Oil-Rubbed Finish. This very low-gloss finish uses oil instead of polyurethane or wax and tends to make wood look vintage. Oil penetrates and becomes part of the wood, so it isn't nearly as sensitive to scratches or wear as a urethane finish. It's easy to maintain (DIY) and, if done properly, will prevent a floor from ever needing sanding. Expect these floors to be on the upper end of the price scale.

Still unsure what you need?  Come in today and meet with an Enhance Design Consultant. We will help you find the perfect floor for your lifestyle!
Design Tip
Open floor plans are popular everywhere, in new homes and in remodels.  No matter if you are using one flooring type throughout or multiple flooring types in your open floor plan, you should definitely consider using area rugs. Area rugs will break up the space a little bit and provide some eye-catching variety. They are also an excellent way to give each "room" its own personality, so to speak, and even its own color scheme. You can also use different thicknesses, sizes, and shapes of area rugs to give your open floor plan more diversity. Area rugs also serve a practical purpose if you have hard surface flooring in your open floor plan. For spaces you want to feel more comfortable, such as the living room, area rugs are perfect for adding softness and warmth.

How Much Does It Cost?
When you have site finished wood (remember our earlier lesson?) and want to add more, you almost always have to refinish your existing hardwood floors at the same time so that it all matches.  A recent project involved adding 680 square feet of site finished hardwoods in the Family Room and Living Room (big rooms!) and refinishing the wood in the Dining Room, Kitchen, Breakfast Area, Hall and Foyer (630 square feet) for a little over $8800.  This included removing the carpet, moving furniture and appliances, and new shoemold in all of the rooms. We were on this job for six days, plus another day to come back out and replace the furniture. The family had to have the work done while they were away on vacation, as this was their entire main level, and they could not live in the home while the work was being done.  

I Was FLOORED By Enhance
Lorraine in Marietta writes: "Enhance has been great to work with. We had major issues with our wood floors downstairs. The prior contractor we used could not fix the problems they created and essentially stopped working with us altogether.  Don came in, assessed the situation, and laid new floors down for us. We have had no issues and in fact we're so happy with their work that we used them for carpet and wood floors upstairs as well. Great group to work with!!" Thank you, Lorraine.  We are sorry that you had to find out the hard way that all companies and installers are not equal in quality and expertise. We are glad you found us and that we could earn your trust and loyalty.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

What's The Best Floor For Me?

You may already know that we here at Enhance are serious animal advocates. We have rescued, birthed, and raised two litters of kittens here in the store, and have all personally fostered and housed many many dogs on their way to their furever home. On any given day you may or may not find a pup in our office.

So, when a customer comes into the store and says they need floors that are compatible with their four dogs, or that they have a dog 
who has special "needs", or they are changing carpet because their old cat passed away, we all immediately zone in on them! We love other animal people!

We have an answer for your animal related floor needs whether you want carpet, wood, or some other hard surface. Almost all our carpets have some level of pet protection, from a standard Stainmaster or Scotchgard, up to the Mohawk All Pet warranty, which promises that ANYthing that comes out of ANY pet is covered. And we know all about "pet proof" pads with liners and antimicrobial treatments to help with any smells.

Hard surface flooring offers a dizzying array of choices these days, and they all offer various benefits. Wood of course is beautiful and comes in so many different colors, widths, and finishes. If you want to have wood floors and dogs, we will steer you towards a wood that is already more distressed, so that every paw print and every nail scratch will not send you into a panic.

Laminate is the toughest floor of all, other than real tile, so if you're a dog lover, and especially if you have big dogs, laminate is a great alternative. Laminate has come a long way in looks, so if you haven't looked lately, come check it out again.

The category that has made revolutionary changes in the past couple of years is vinyl. Thirty years ago, we all had sheet vinyl in our kitchens. It was so practical, and came in lots of patterns and styles. But, what we have now shares almost nothing in common with that product except a name!

Luxury Vinyl, also referred to as LVP or LVT, comes in wood style planks or tiles that look like, well, tile. The graphics on both are excellent, especially the wood looks, which are incredibly realistic. Today's vinyl is a thicker product, usually meant to be installed "floating" which means with little or no adhesive, and the product clicks together.  Don't get tripped up on the "luxury" title, it is a hardworking, super practical flooring choice. It is extremely water resistant, and some are even classified as water proof! And don't freak out over the word "vinyl"---these floors do not look cheap or like plastic.

LVP and LVT can be installed over an imperfect floor, as they are thick and sturdy enough to hide some minor floor imperfections, and our installers know how to do the prep and levelling that is sometimes needed. They are easier on the feet and joints than tile, and more family and dog friendly than wood. The planks are usually 5 to 7 inches wide, which gives them a very up to date look. We have installed LVT in basements, kitchens, playrooms, and even in commercial offices.

We carry Mohawk, Armstrong, Tarkett, CoreTec, Mannington, and Congoleum Luxury vinyl floors. If you have a need for a new floor that is hard working, impervious to water, and gorgeous, come in and see the new vinyl floors- you will be amazed!

Design Tip
When selecting a real or faux wood floor for your home, color is the biggest decision that most of our clients agonize over.  Very dark floors have been popular for the past four or five years, but many homeowners have learned that super dark floors are hard to take care of---they show every little scratch or ding or dog hair or speck of dust. Really red tones are not currently in vogue, and maybe you aren't ready yet for grey or white washed floors. What's left?

Consider brownish, mid-tone colors like Provincial, Special Walnut, and Chestnut.  Special Walnut is a little browner than Provincial, and Chestnut is a little lighter than Special Walnut.  Provincial tends to work well in traditional homes, while Special Walnut fits well in more contemporary decors.  

And light colors have not gone away.  Lighter tones are neutral, cheerful, and make your rooms look bigger.  Consider Natural, Golden Oak and Fruitwood for wood colors that are light but not white.

Please be aware that prefinished manufacturers have their own proprietary names for colors.  What is called Butterscotch in one line may be called Golden in another. Look for the color, not the name as you shop.

It's Like Free Money
We reward our clients for referring their friends, neighbors, co-workers, and family to us.  When someone you recommended to us makes a purchase and mentions your name, you will get Decorating Dollars that you can use at Enhance Floors & More on your next purchase.  Think it doesn't happen? Last week we mailed out 10 certificates totaling almost $5400 in Decorating Dollars. Were you one of the lucky people that got one? If so, we will see you in the store soon!

We thank you very much for your referral.  We will take good care of your friend, we promise.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Bang for Your Buck

So, what is trending? As we've mentioned in the last few newsletters, more natural looks, more wood tones, more green spaces inside your home, all are trending. More light, and more bold colors. Cabinets in kitchens and in bathrooms that look more like pieces of furniture. Classic marble and marble looking tiles are popular and enduring. Clean and fresh looks. Looks that are beautiful but also super-durable and user friendly. Looks that work for families, real people with real children and real dogs.

Many of the clients in our showroom are remodeling their bathroom or kitchen.   As the economy improves, we expect to see more and more of this, as well as homeowners replacing carpet, or adding new hard surface floors. Here are some pointers for you to consider as you embark on these long-awaited improvement projects:

~~Be sure when you are making changes to your home that you are not OVER-upgrading. You don't want to invest $75,000 in a kitchen for a $300,000 home, unless you are a gourmet cook and plan to stay in your home forever. That is money you will not recoup.

~~On the other hand, DO price your upgrade appropriately. Don't skimp on the Master Bath remodel for a $650,000 home. Cheap materials and make-do work look shoddy and turn off potential buyers.

~~Be careful when choosing the new look of your space to know what is trending, but not trendy. Trending means a slow measured movement towards a general look or feel. Trendy means something more specific, more impulsive, of greater degree, and usually shorter lived.

Trending is the increased use of wood-look tile, or natural fibers, or more color (like Turquoise, Warm Rich Yellows, Blush/Dusty, Rose, Fiery Red, or Lime.)
Trendy is (forgive us Joanna) shiplap.

And what is trending more specifically? Wood look tiles are very popular and get better looking all the time. They are so realistic, and so incredibly durable. Porcelain is the toughest, easiest to take care of surface that we sell--but also one of the most expensive. If you are looking for a long term smart purchase that will stand up to kids, dogs, water, and dirt, tile is what you should be looking for. We offer several brands: Interceramic, Daltile, Mohawk, and Happy Floors. Come in and let us show you these gorgeous floors!

~~ Smart everything.  From doorbell cameras to window treatments, lighting to locks. Your home can be controlled from anywhere by your phone or your intelligent personal assistant.  Smart appliances are another trend--refrigerators that make your grocery list, coffee makers that have your morning cup of joe ready and waiting, and a dishwasher that knows when it is time to run.

~~Sinks are becoming more and more important in a fabulous kitchen. The choices are staggering! Ceramic, copper, concrete, granite, and good old stainless steel. Squares, rectangles, and circles. Troughs, farmhouse, or divided. Any color of the rainbow! With air buttons for disposals, toe kick switches for water, and any number of other cool tricks.

~~Today's color trends are botanical---a subtler color palette defined by nature. Forest green, celadon, young birch bark, hyacinth violets and sky blues. Bring the outside in with these color selections.

~~Curves are back! Look for softer, more organic curves versus the popular sharp-edge designs in all types of furniture from armchairs to coffee tables to rugs.  Ruffles and ruching are trending in bedding, accessories, and furniture.  

~~Open dining rooms are in.   If you are remodeling, how can you open up your dining room?  A large case opening or perhaps removing entirely a non-load-bearing wall?  A dining room that is not boxed in will create a sense of flow throughout the space and brings socializing back to the dinner table.

Need Help?
If you need assistance navigating through what's new and what products will work best for you, be sure to attend our next in-store event:  Tuesday, March 13, from 4 til 7 pm.  Meet with the industry experts, see exciting product demonstrations (yes that floor really is waterproof) and win a great prize just for stopping by, maybe even a 50" Smart TV!  Heavy hors d'oeuvres, wine, and beer will be served to make this a special evening out.  We look forward to seeing you there!

How Much Does It Cost?
Maybe you have a bonus from work or an income tax refund heading your way.  Instead of spending this unexpected money on bills, you can upgrade your home with new hardwood floors.  A client in Marietta just had Somerset prefinished oak hardwood floors in the popular 3 ¼" width installed in her Family Room for a little less than $2500.  This price included taking up and disposing of the old carpet, pad, and tack strip, moving all of the furniture, and installing new stained quarter round.  Most realtors agree that a home with hardwood floors sells faster and for more money than a similar home with carpet and sheet vinyl.

I Was FLOORED By Enhance
Sandra in Marietta writes "I'm very happy with Enhance Floors. I just can't rave about them enough. They were fantastic to work with, and they had a very nice selection of materials. Their workmanship was really, really nice. They laid my carpeting and did the tile in my bathroom. I would definitely recommend them, 100 percent. They were wonderful. A+."

Keeping Up With
Love this newsletter?  Be sure you have Liked us on Facebook to enjoy more decorating tips, stay up-to-date on design trends, see pictures of recent installations, and keep up with all things Enhance.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Why All The Questions?

Can you believe we're on the doorstep of February?  December and January have been brutal, "survival of the fittest" kind of weather, and we are glad to see them go! When the Valentine month is here, Spring is just around the corner, and very welcome. But meanwhile, we have a few more weeks of the cold stuff, and no better time to make plans and daydream a bit about some of the changes we want to make in the coming months, while we are snuggled up in front of the fireplace.
Of course, there are the "I'm gonna be a better me" kind of changes: eat better, do more charity work, spend more time with our families. But for most of us, changes to our environment are more realistic, and a lot more fun! How would you like your home to look? How will that change the way it functions? What really works for you and your family? Are you more concerned about looks? Saving money? Spending less time cleaning? These are echoes of the questions we ask folks when they come  into the store.

We are trying to determine what product will be the best fit for our client.  Sometimes a customer will come in with a picture in the head (or in their hand) of what they think they want. And sometimes that is exactly what they get. But there are times when the want is just not what will really work best for them and their family. Smooth grain, beautiful maple floors, for instance. Gorgeous, yes. With two big dogs that you adore? NO! You'd regret those floors in a few weeks, and we would have done you a disservice to sell them to you. With big dogs (or with active children) you need a floor that won't show every little ding. Because, really, dings are gonna happen. So, rethink your vision, and let's look at a floor with better wearability for active families and big dog lovers. A nice distressed hickory floor, or a beautiful laminate, or one of the gorgeous luxury vinyl planks. There's your sweet spot!

And carpet! If you have been in the store lately, you've seen how many choices there are: textures, patterns, colors, weave, pile, fibers..... it can be overwhelming!  We ask a LOT of questions, trying to steer you towards the best decision for you and your family. There are so many different situations, so many carpets.  Relax, we've done this before.  Once we understand your lifestyle and what you are trying to accomplish, we will recommend the right product for you.  

This should be your mindset whenever you are making a purchase for your home- what works best for me and my family? Is this a realistic purchase, something that will really serve you and the kind of life that you want for yourself and your family? Who lives in your house? Who will live there in 5 years? Are you an empty nester who may be downsizing in the next few years? Less responsibility, more fun! If so, congratulations! Then consider, when redecorating, what will make your house more attractive to potential buyers in the coming years.

Less Is More
As you're thinking ahead, go ahead and unload some of your unneeded possessions. Start small-- go through kitchen tools. Throw away the ones that have been limping along for years, the tongs without a spring, the cake pan that always sticks, that hand can opener that never worked right. Toss 'em! You will find it is like losing a bit of weight! And it is addicting! When you realize how liberating it is to get rid of stuff, you may become a Minimalist!
There are a couple of great books with guidance on decluttering and letting go of the possessions that weigh you down. Sometimes we don't throw something out just because we've always had it. Sometimes we have an emotional attachment to things, or perhaps an attachment to the memories they bring. Yet there are so many good reasons to give things away-- that benefit you and the recipient.

Read "The Life-changing Art of Tidying Up" by Kondo for some help for the emotional part of letting go.  Also check out "New Minimalism"by Fortin and Quilici. They offer some real and realistic methods for getting rid of things and keeping clutter at bay. Fortin and Quilici have some good ideas for organizations that would be grateful for the items you are looking to give away:
~~Local libraries for books and periodicals
~~Preschools for paper, art, and office supplies
~~Church organizations that accept unopened toiletries and unexpired non perishables. (Here in Marietta we recommend Must Ministries)
~~Pet rescue centers are always grateful for worn but usable towels, sheets, and blankets.

Meet Rosy Robin
If you have been in the store recently, you probably know that we currently have a canine visitor. Rosy is a sweet pit/boxer mix who is a foster through Angels Among Us Pet Rescue. She is looking for her forever home. Rosy is the latest visitor in our "foster facility." We are all dog lovers, and work in rescue on our days off. We are always happy to talk about dogs!

Design Tip   
When designing a room, many people tend to stick to the comfort and ease of neutral colors. While an all neutral palette creates a space that is easy on the eyes, warm, and sophisticated, the neutrals can begin to wash out and the end result is a bland space. How can you successfully execute a neutral color scheme? Read on to find out.
 ---Use variations of the neutral hue:  If you're afraid to design with color, try using different shades of the neutral color throughout the room.  Yes, you'll want to take a monochromatic approach, but use several undertones of the color. For example, in a greige living room, you might use the darkest of the shade on the windows treatments,  a lighter shade for the couch, and other beige or grey tones for your pillows and accessories.

---Contrast with textures:  Utilizing just one texture in a room of neutrals is guaranteed to make the design fall flat.  If you have a microfiber or suede couch, then try adding hints of leather and matte textures. Light absorbs and reflects various textures differently, so always use a mixture of weave or coarseness.

---Create interest with shapes:  Since we've removed the color element from the design, it's time to play around with shapes to really catch the attention of your guests. You might use side tables or an ottoman that features a unique shape. Chairs and sofas with details on the arm and legs also work.

---Play with patterns:  Don't shy away from patterns. A large-scale pattern on the upholstery that features colors from your neutral palette allows you to stick to the theme while creating some visual interest. You can also use pattern pillows and textiles. Use pattern pieces of different composition, some with a shine to them while others that are matte.

How Much Does It Cost?
What's hot in hardwoods?  Wide planks and low gloss finishes. And lots of wood---we are doing entire main levels of homes in wood floors.  We are installing a 5" butternut oak with a matte finish in almost every room of the home for a Marietta client.  Living room, dining room, three bedrooms, hall and foyer:  almost 1600 square feet for a little over $13,000.  This price includes removing the existing flooring (wood and carpet), moving all the furniture, new shoemold and transition strips.  As our client told us:  this will be the last floor she has to purchase for her home.