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From Hiving to Nesting: EVOLVING WITH AN ERA OF CHANGE

EVOLVING WITH AN ERA OF CHANGE by Emily Morrow Finkell for Hardwood Floors Magazine

Just when we think we have things all figured out, the world changes, we are forced to adjust our compasses in order to move ahead. Undoubtedly our lives have been permanently changed by the 2020 pandemic as it wreaked havoc around the world, and we have racked our brains to determine the best path forward to avoid becoming stymied by it all. Looking back at the eras of major change, we can pin down points in history when color palettes and design trends evolved and with hindsight as our teacher, we can understand “why” those changes came about and predict what’s to come in the present.

FROM HIVING TO NESTING

One of those times was following the September 11th, 2001 attacks on the US and we saw a huge surge of interest in colors and textures that calmed and soothed the human spirit. Today, similarly we are seeing a similar shift towards colors that calm and soothe, and the home has become the center of work and rest. Only a few years ago, we were writing about the “hiving” of the millennials as they were moving into the city, driving the development of mixed use developments, and purchasing what many would call “disposable furnishings” from places like Wayfair or IKEA. We now find the same demographic groups migrating to the suburbs, snatching up fixer upper homes and shopping for second-hand items that can be painted or reupholstered. Once “hiving” seemed like a hub of social opportunities, it now looks like an opportunity to become infected by a virus.

NECESSITY IS THE MOTHER OF INVENTION

I’ve always found that “necessity is the mother of invention” and have almost always made my most creative decisions when hardest pressed. Supply chain disruption has become an unexpected hurdle in 2020, as raw materials are taking longer to source, stores have been indefinitely closed indefinitely in various parts of the country. When one can find furniture at resale shops, it benefits more than just the homeowner. It’s an immediate “sale” by the local business where it was sold, it brings “instant character” to a space, and generally offers a nice “story” of where or how it was “found”. Clearly our foundation of color has been shifting from gray-based to brown-based, it is essential to understand what else those changes lead us to and how those changes make us feel. But there are aspects beyond our color preferences that are shifting. The very materials we choose are also at play.

BIOPHILIC DESIGN CALMS THE SENSES

Bringing nature and sunlight indoors promotes a feeling of wellness. Brown, tan, green and yellow gold are all colors from nature, and integrating those same colors in the home mimics the feeling of nature while simultaneously solving the design challenge of merging the “second-hand” furnishings within the spaces. Natural materials in their own natural colors are long-accepted healthier options over their synthetic counterparts. Hardwood species like white oak has intrinsic properties that are “naturally” antibacterial as do metals like copper, brass, and bronze. Leather and performance fabrics are easier to clean and stand up to the daily wear that cleaning entails.

TRADING PLACES WITH SPACES

Anytime we endure a hardship of some kind, we learn something about ourselves and this time is no exception. If you’ve ever had physical ailments that required crutches or a wheelchair, it can be assured that you forever-after consider the “universal” design needs or , and saw steps as a challenge to someone on crutches. Those of us who have quarantined at home will forever consider things like: how to live in one home while another member “quarantines”, how to sanitize surfaces, types of air filtration, and the importance of quality interior design. Recently I pointed to the fact that many are now working from home, “commuting” from the bedroom to the family room for things like online classes, virtual meetings, and many have adapted to working this new way, and might prefer it over the previous break-neck pace of constant meetings and travel. With increasing time spent at home, there comes a need to examine how much square footage to allocate for the specific activities and how to use each space. It only takes a few design shows on cable TV to hear the words “open concept” come up frequently. Open concept has been the status quo for well over a decade. From Fixer Uppers’ Chip and Joanna Gaines to Property Brothers’ Drew and Jonathan Scott, tearing down walls has become an expected first step when refurbishing old homes. We can’t help but enjoy seeing the dramatic transformation on TV. All the “tear down that wall” drama is changing as we have identified the need for “specific” spaces for “specific” purposes and seeing the down-side of wide open spaces in a home. The future of interiors includes very specifically purposed spaces: a home office, a ready-made guest suite for quarantining, a media room, a game room, and most importantly a specific room with a well-designed backdrop for Zoom meetings.

FROM LUXURY TO NECESSITY

We are going to see previously accepted “norms” change in more ways than just people moving from urban spaces to rural places. The norms of where our walls go, or don’t go, or the purpose of a room change the very fabric of our lives. Specific purposed rooms are going to be needed. Once considered a luxury, we now find that home office, home gym, outdoor kitchens, outdoor living rooms each bring with them very specific furnishings are more essential than we could have predicted. Master bedrooms now need quiet and comfortable seating and internet connection to host virtual conference calls. Outdoor living spaces offer a place where a family can congregate safely. Outdoor spaces bring with them the need for smokeless fire pits, frost-proof/water-proof finishes, and performance fabrics for seating. Home gyms are another example of a space that has shifted from a “luxury” to a “necessity” in order to stay fit without going into public gyms, many of which might not be open depending on the state in which someone lives.

WHAT THIS MEANS

If you’re currently living in a home with an “open concept” design, how can you make changes without moving or remodeling completely? Consider the addition of pocket or sliding doors to separate spaces “ad hoc”.  What does this look like for those of us in the floor covering world? We can certainly state the colors are NOT going to change so much that they’ll make our recent furnishings look obsolete but rather slow down in their shift from cool gray neutrals to warmer gray, taupe, tan and brown neutrals. Hardwood flooring is coming to the forefront with this renewed focus on health and wellness and that benefits us all.

Home gyms and natural materials are among the most sought after design trends (Featured flooring: FIRST LEAF by Emily Morrow Home, MADE IN USA)

 

 

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PODCAST | WOOD TALK | Emily Morrow and NWFA Brett Miller | Part 2

Join us for PART 2!!!

https://www.buzzsprout.com/662815/6695368

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/nwfa-wood-talk/id1484504902

NWFA Wood Talk - All you need to know - Backtracks

NWFA Wood Talk

A Conversation with Emily Morrow of Emily Morrow Home – Part 2

DECEMBER 04, 2020 NWFA WOOD TALK

Brett Miller and guest Emily Morrow of Emily Morrow Home discuss the idea of hardwood floors as investment, and why hardwood flooring can be considered a healthy choice.

PART 2: Brett Miller and guest Emily Morrow of Emily Morrow Home discuss her perspective on hardwood flooring, including the value that real wood brings to a home, benefits and misconceptions about engineered hardwood flooring, and more.

 

Listen in: Designers Today Jane Dagmi, editor in chief and Emily Morrow Finkell CEO of Emily Morrow Home

 6-18-2020 SAID podcast titled “Passionate and principled”

Emily Morrow Finkell and Jane cover a lot of ground, recalling treks across the African continent and the importance of relationships in life, love and much more.

 

 

 

Emily Morrow Finkell traces her career path from interior design to product design, to designing her own collection of hardwood flooring, Emily Morrow Home. Her journey is peppered with sweet memories, challenging years, and lots of love and support which she is intent on paying forward. With great empathy toward interior designers, Finkell also explains why it makes great financial sense for designers to educate themselves about flooring and to handle both the specification and the procuring of hardwood flooring.

As a unique bonus addition to this week’s podcast, we have an extra written introduction to our guest. Often when we do our podcasts, we ask for help with our intros, from people who know our guests better than we do. For Finkell’s podcast, we asked her daughter, Mary, to assist, but Mary’s heartfelt words came in after our deadline. While we couldn’t fit them in the audio, we still wanted to share. Here’s what Mary said:

“I don’t only look up to her because she’s my mom, I look up to her for so many other reasons, like the fact that she was a single mom for 14 years and truly pulled herself up by her bootstraps and become an incredible woman, business owner,  talented designer and humanitarian. I look up to her so much and love her more than anything. With our trips to various countries around the world, I get to see her communicate despite language and cultural barriers — she is truly able to connect with anyone. For that and so many other reasons, she inspires me every day.

 

 

Fox & Friends Interview Emily Morrow Home at 1st ever Made in America Expo in Indianapolis

Fox & Friends – Emily Kiker Finkell, CEO of Emily Morrow Home

October 2019
Emily Morrow Home Hardwood was among featured manufacturers at the Inaugural “Made In America Expo” in Indianapolis, Indiana where Carley Shimkus of Fox & Friends News interviewed Emily Morrow Finkell, CEO of Emily Morrow Home, headquartered in Dalton, Georgia. Emily shared with Carley the importance of her eponymous American-made, higher-end, design-focused hardwood flooring. Emily’s story has a unique manufacturing model which was developed 24 years ago by her husband, Don Finkell, CEO of American OEM, where Emily Morrow Home hardwood flooring is made…inside a medium security prison outside of Nashville, Tennessee. Click here to see the interview in full…
Read More

[MPBOX id=27224]

Emily Morrow Home participated in the first Made in America Trade Show

October 2019
Emily Morrow Home participated in the first Made in America Trade Show, held in Indianapolis, IN from October 3-6. The event brought together 800 exhibitors and over 30,000 attendees, forming the largest-ever network of industrial professionals, keynote speakers and consumers for one common goal: raising awareness for the economic, environmental, and community impact of American manufacturing.

Read More

FLOOR COVERING WEEKLY

August 2019

Emily Morrow Home Debuts Louis A Dabbieri

The Louis A. Dabbieri by Emily Morrow Home Hardwood flooring was just launched exclusively through International Design Guild. Emily Morrow Home has partnered with the International Design Guild to bring customers the first exclusive collection luxurious hardwoods that carry the Louis A. Dabbieri brand.

Read More

DESIGNERS TODAY

February 2019

Emily’s Dark Side

Emily Morrow Finkell realized the rising significance of Matte Black and made it her Color of the Year. Over the summer, she also witnessed the eclipse; she and her husband Don were in Highlands, NC where it was a total blackout. At DOMOTEX USA, Emily showed her newest hardwood flooring, among the offerings, Total Eclipse, a blackened white oak plank with a gray cerused grain, the perfect synthesis between trend and travel

Read More

FLOOR COVERING WEEKLY

March 2018

Personalization Cuts Through Noise

Personalization and storytelling still remain prevalent as consumers work to weed through all of the static and noise on social media looking to find people and brands that allow them to authentically connect.

Read More

DESIGNERS TODAY

May 2018

A Group of Designers Walk into a Prison

When interior designer, Emily Morrow Finkell, CEO of Emily Morrow Home hosted her company’s first Designer Summit, the most mind-expanding part of the event took place in a prison, where Finkell’s products are made.

Read More

Emily Morrow Finkell receives the “2019 Women in Manufacturing Award

October 2019
Emily Morrow Finkell receives the “2019 Women in Manufacturing Award” at made in America Expo awarded by Don Buckner, CEO of Made in America.

Read More

BUSINESS OF HOME

May 2019

Inside a Nashville Prison a Hardwood Flooring Factory Thrives

Interior designers attending Emily Morrow Home’s first Designer Summit were treated to a tour of the prison plant, where the company’s products are made. Attending designer Stephanie Sabbe was so impressed by the experience that she pitched the story to Business of Home, resulting in an impressive article published in May 2019.

Read More

FLOOR TRENDS

January 2019

Emily Morrow Home Expands Distribution

Wood flooring manufacturer Emily Morrow Home has expanded its distribution with new partnerships with The Flooring Distribution Group (FDG) and B.R. Funsten, effective January 2019.

Read More

FLOOR COVERING WEEKLY

May 2018

Emily Morrow Home Designer Summit Shines Light on Interiors

Emily Morrow Home (EMH) held its first-ever Designer Summit last month, welcoming designers Svetlana Hanzyy, Stephanie Sabbe, Morgan Martin and Deborah Ryals; clients Amanda and Jeremy Underwood; and, FCW, to partake in a two-day review of the EMH hardwood collection as well as discuss current design trends and their inspirations.

Read More

HOUSE TIPSTER

February 2018
At her debut showing at The International Surface Event (TISE), Emily Morrow Finkell, owner of Emily Morrow Home, spoke with House Tipster and renowned interior designer Christopher Grubb about her show-stopping, award-nominated hardwood collection.

Read More

Posted on

PODCAST | WOOD TALK | A Conversation with Emily Morrow of Emily Morrow Home and NWFA Brett Miller | Part 1

NWFA Wood Talk - All you need to know - Backtracks
Brett Miller and guest Emily Morrow of Emily Morrow Home discuss her perspective on hardwood flooring, including the value that real wood brings to a home, benefits and misconceptions about engineered hardwood flooring, and more.

 

Listen in: Designers Today Jane Dagmi, editor in chief and Emily Morrow Finkell CEO of Emily Morrow Home

 6-18-2020 SAID podcast titled “Passionate and principled”

Emily Morrow Finkell and Jane cover a lot of ground, recalling treks across the African continent and the importance of relationships in life, love and much more.

 

 

 

Emily Morrow Finkell traces her career path from interior design to product design, to designing her own collection of hardwood flooring, Emily Morrow Home. Her journey is peppered with sweet memories, challenging years, and lots of love and support which she is intent on paying forward. With great empathy toward interior designers, Finkell also explains why it makes great financial sense for designers to educate themselves about flooring and to handle both the specification and the procuring of hardwood flooring.

As a unique bonus addition to this week’s podcast, we have an extra written introduction to our guest. Often when we do our podcasts, we ask for help with our intros, from people who know our guests better than we do. For Finkell’s podcast, we asked her daughter, Mary, to assist, but Mary’s heartfelt words came in after our deadline. While we couldn’t fit them in the audio, we still wanted to share. Here’s what Mary said:

“I don’t only look up to her because she’s my mom, I look up to her for so many other reasons, like the fact that she was a single mom for 14 years and truly pulled herself up by her bootstraps and become an incredible woman, business owner,  talented designer and humanitarian. I look up to her so much and love her more than anything. With our trips to various countries around the world, I get to see her communicate despite language and cultural barriers — she is truly able to connect with anyone. For that and so many other reasons, she inspires me every day.

 

 

Fox & Friends Interview Emily Morrow Home at 1st ever Made in America Expo in Indianapolis

Fox & Friends – Emily Kiker Finkell, CEO of Emily Morrow Home

October 2019
Emily Morrow Home Hardwood was among featured manufacturers at the Inaugural “Made In America Expo” in Indianapolis, Indiana where Carley Shimkus of Fox & Friends News interviewed Emily Morrow Finkell, CEO of Emily Morrow Home, headquartered in Dalton, Georgia. Emily shared with Carley the importance of her eponymous American-made, higher-end, design-focused hardwood flooring. Emily’s story has a unique manufacturing model which was developed 24 years ago by her husband, Don Finkell, CEO of American OEM, where Emily Morrow Home hardwood flooring is made…inside a medium security prison outside of Nashville, Tennessee. Click here to see the interview in full…
Read More

[MPBOX id=27224]

Emily Morrow Home participated in the first Made in America Trade Show

October 2019
Emily Morrow Home participated in the first Made in America Trade Show, held in Indianapolis, IN from October 3-6. The event brought together 800 exhibitors and over 30,000 attendees, forming the largest-ever network of industrial professionals, keynote speakers and consumers for one common goal: raising awareness for the economic, environmental, and community impact of American manufacturing.

Read More

FLOOR COVERING WEEKLY

August 2019

Emily Morrow Home Debuts Louis A Dabbieri

The Louis A. Dabbieri by Emily Morrow Home Hardwood flooring was just launched exclusively through International Design Guild. Emily Morrow Home has partnered with the International Design Guild to bring customers the first exclusive collection luxurious hardwoods that carry the Louis A. Dabbieri brand.

Read More

DESIGNERS TODAY

February 2019

Emily’s Dark Side

Emily Morrow Finkell realized the rising significance of Matte Black and made it her Color of the Year. Over the summer, she also witnessed the eclipse; she and her husband Don were in Highlands, NC where it was a total blackout. At DOMOTEX USA, Emily showed her newest hardwood flooring, among the offerings, Total Eclipse, a blackened white oak plank with a gray cerused grain, the perfect synthesis between trend and travel

Read More

FLOOR COVERING WEEKLY

March 2018

Personalization Cuts Through Noise

Personalization and storytelling still remain prevalent as consumers work to weed through all of the static and noise on social media looking to find people and brands that allow them to authentically connect.

Read More

DESIGNERS TODAY

May 2018

A Group of Designers Walk into a Prison

When interior designer, Emily Morrow Finkell, CEO of Emily Morrow Home hosted her company’s first Designer Summit, the most mind-expanding part of the event took place in a prison, where Finkell’s products are made.

Read More

Emily Morrow Finkell receives the “2019 Women in Manufacturing Award

October 2019
Emily Morrow Finkell receives the “2019 Women in Manufacturing Award” at made in America Expo awarded by Don Buckner, CEO of Made in America.

Read More

BUSINESS OF HOME

May 2019

Inside a Nashville Prison a Hardwood Flooring Factory Thrives

Interior designers attending Emily Morrow Home’s first Designer Summit were treated to a tour of the prison plant, where the company’s products are made. Attending designer Stephanie Sabbe was so impressed by the experience that she pitched the story to Business of Home, resulting in an impressive article published in May 2019.

Read More

FLOOR TRENDS

January 2019

Emily Morrow Home Expands Distribution

Wood flooring manufacturer Emily Morrow Home has expanded its distribution with new partnerships with The Flooring Distribution Group (FDG) and B.R. Funsten, effective January 2019.

Read More

FLOOR COVERING WEEKLY

May 2018

Emily Morrow Home Designer Summit Shines Light on Interiors

Emily Morrow Home (EMH) held its first-ever Designer Summit last month, welcoming designers Svetlana Hanzyy, Stephanie Sabbe, Morgan Martin and Deborah Ryals; clients Amanda and Jeremy Underwood; and, FCW, to partake in a two-day review of the EMH hardwood collection as well as discuss current design trends and their inspirations.

Read More

HOUSE TIPSTER

February 2018
At her debut showing at The International Surface Event (TISE), Emily Morrow Finkell, owner of Emily Morrow Home, spoke with House Tipster and renowned interior designer Christopher Grubb about her show-stopping, award-nominated hardwood collection.

Read More

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LIVING BETTER THROUGH HEALTHY DESIGN

 

HANDMADE HARVEST BY EMILY MORROW HOME LUXURY HARDWOOD

LIVING BETTER THROUGH HEALTHY DESIGN

Do you find yourself drawn to natural materials because of their beauty? Have you ever considered that it’s your most basic of instincts guiding you to choose something that is better for you. We spend a good portion of our lives in our homes, even more if you’re working from home, and can either choose to have healthy natural materials that make us feel good and look beautiful, or the alternative option of high VOCs, products laden with chemicals the likes of which we are only beginning to discover. As a survivor of breast cancer and an interior designer I’d like to help you see the many ways you can attain a healthy home for you and your loved ones.

 

Click to view Emily Morrow Home’s Holistic Living Video

 

CAN YOUR DECISIONS HELP YOU STAY HEALTHY?

Decorators and designers are experts at choosing what’s going to work best for their clients. We do continual research into what’s new, what’s going on in the materials world, whether something is going to last and look beautiful for a long time or wear out quickly. Designers want your decisions to be “investments” making your homes become more valuable, not necessarily so you can sell it for more money than you have in it, but so you can enjoy the value of it while you are living there. If you’ve ever prepared a home to sell by repainting the walls, installing new carpet or hardwood floors only to find yourself loving the transformation and wondering “Why didn’t I do this years ago?”.

WHY DIDN’T I DO THIS SOONER?

We are now looking ahead into what is even more important than aesthetics, health and wellness. If something is beautiful but makes you feel sick, can you really enjoy it? Oftentimes it takes time to discover the hidden costs of certain decisions and we find ourselves at a crossroads, between “cheaper” flooring, furniture and other products that are made with elevated levels of chemicals that have compromised the health of our homes and offices. If you’re not in the space for long periods of time, no big worry; however if you are quarantined at home and working from home, then you’re finding that the materials you want around you are made of the most simple ingredients. Natural hardwood is one of my areas of expertise and I have learned and seen the best and the worst in this specific industry over the past 30 years. What I hope to do is help you with finding not only beautiful hardwood flooring, but also flooring that is made in the United States, of the most natural of ingredients, that will last a lifetime if treated with a little love.

 

INCREASED SCRUTINY OVER INDOOR AIR QUALITY

Not to be too much of an infomercial, but it’s important to start by stating that all Emily Morrow Home hardwood flooring exceeds (and in some certifications are exempt) all the indoor air certifications because we do not add any formaldehyde, our manufacturing process is incredibly simple, using UV lights on our finish line, essentially “baking” in the stains and protection of aluminum oxide that in the end make it possible for the end users to install the flooring products and walk on them the same day. There is no need to allow them to cure, or sit for days and ours have zero VOCs or indoor air allergens to be concerned with. I think it’s important to design a space that, yes is beautiful, and even more importantly to be a space that everyone can relax and enjoy without worry or fear that it’s easily damaged or even worse, bad for our health.

Think about it~ Let me know what YOU are doing to stay healthy!

 

 

 

 

 

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COVID-19 and the Future of Interior Design

COVID-19 and the Future of Interior Design

The design business relies heavily on interpersonal connections between clients and designers. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve been keeping my finger on the pulse with peers via Zoom and teleconference.
Just as creative as designers are with color, styling, and interior architecture, we also can be just as innovative with how we conduct our business. Technology has been key to allowing us to do our jobs.

During a recent Emily Morrow Home Designer Pro-Gram Zoom discussion, one design team in Chicago explained how they were able to use FaceTime to “walk” their clients through the Chicago Merchandise Mart to show them looks they were recommending for their project. I asked how they were able to express the quality or texture or value of the products they’re selecting when the end-user can’t hold or feel it in person. Their response to me was that trust played an important role. That answer shouldn’t surprise anyone who understands the relationship and trust between design pro and client.

TRUST AND TRUE VALUE

Trust is at the heart of a great design project, as well as a design professional’s reputation. A client must trust a designer when it comes time to spend more on a particular visual or finish. Providing samples has long been a necessity to assure clients they were spending more money to get something more substantial. Sometimes it is “exclusive” or sometimes it’s a much better product, either by touch or weight. Because design consultation is considered a discretionary item, in today’s turbulent times, more and more designers are having to justify their work and price their services in ways that don’t seem to exceed the value they are bringing to their clients. More than that, designers are being asked important questions about the “why” behind their choices. Now more than ever before, designers are also being pressured to provide products that are “better” in terms of how and where they are made. As such, designers are working closely with retailers to learn the facts about where a product was made and by whom. Designers understand they have to have peace of mind that once installed, there won’t be pushback.

Because product knowledge is so important, sales associates must be ready to speak openly, easily, and with confidence about products. Designers are asking all of the right questions and providing solutions to their clients. One thing in particular that designers do best, both in commercial and residential design, is to put the human needs first. Today, consumers are demanding to know what each product contains.

OTHER CONSEQUENCES OF THE COVID-19 LOCKDOWN

Homeowners were quarantining at home and seeing the various cracks, chips, and fading materials that they cannot wait to replace or update. Flooring is no exception. We saw an immediate uptick in online sample orders during the first weeks of the COVID-19 quarantine. The idea that homeowners would be interested in home improvement after spending unprecedented time at home seems obvious in retrospect, as does the color and design trends that are now gaining traction. There is currently a desire for calming and soothing color palettes, as well as bringing cheer into a space. Blues, squad, greens, and warming earth-tones are all trending upwards. Beyond comforting and soothing color palettes, there is also a desire for bringing health and nature into interior spaces. One way to bring the health and nature themes into the home is through the use of natural materials, such as hardwood flooring that is light, matte, and has cleaner grain. Trends indicate this style of flooring will outsell dark or muted wood floors. Floors that are plasticized, still will have their place in the market, but in a head-to-head comparison for a quality custom built home, hardwood floors will take first place. If it looks and feels close to nature, it is going to be an easier sell to homeowners than the plastic-looking materials. From a broader trend perspective, healthy homes are homes that you would consider luxurious and beautiful. I fully expect that healthy homes, even if located in urban areas, will include hardwood as a primary building material.

Because product knowledge is so important, sales associates must be ready to speak openly, easily, and with confidence about products. Designers are asking all of the right questions and providing solutions to their clients. One thing in particular that designers do best, both in commercial and residential design, is to put the human needs first. Today, consumers are demanding to know what each product contains.

HOME IS THE NEW WORKPLACE

One final trend we are seeing during the past few months is that working remotely is the new corporate norm. This provides numerous opportunities for us as flooring providers and interior designers. We must help homeowners define spaces within their home more definitively. There is the resting “oasis” space and the “work” space. If homes are now our sanctuary from the work world and our work worlds are now within our sanctuaries, what shifts are going to happen as a result? We also expect to see more merging of commercial and residentially styled products that perform under the pressure of daily wear and tear. Commutes are now taking place just across the kitchen or just across the hallway from the bedroom. With the merging of spaces, we will see an uptick in the quality of the finishes being used. If you’re now spending longer days at home working, designers and homeowners are trending strongly already toward a preference for anything that lasts longer and looks good longer.

 

 

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Sustainability for Millennials: Our Future in the Hardwood Flooring Industry is in their hands, Emily Morrow Finkell

Paris, France – April 26, 2016: Close-up of sustainable building in Paris with green facade made of living plants. Three pedestrians are walking in front of it.

For NWFA Magazine: July 31, 2018: Look around you right now where you are sitting or standing and see if you can spot a “cloth shopping bag”, a collection of used aluminum cans or a reusable water bottle. Look a little harder, perhaps around your home, and you’re likely to see evidence of “sustainability”…or what someone thinks “sustainability” involves. Not to suggest that today’s newest consumers don’t know or understand “sustainability”, it’s merely to suggest the opposite, that WE don’t understand the “new” definition. It has expanded and evolved since the early days of the “Cradle to Cradle” discussions in the design world as well as our floor covering industry. Today it includes carbon footprint, “farm to table” and even checking hidden labels to see the country of origin where our products are sourced and manufactured.

Next, consider how frequently you’ve seen headlines or heard references made to the millennials generation. It’s known as the next frontier for brands who seek to connect with their spending power. According to recent statistics, millennials spend approximately $200 billion in 2017 and studies have revealed their willingness to spend on “sustainable” brands. According to an op-ed article in Business of Fashion and the State of Fashion report by B of F & McKinsey, “nearly 90 percent believe they will help create more sustainable products by convincing businesses and governments to change existing practices…and would be willing to boycott a fashion brand if it was not sustainable.” What this means in our floor covering industry is not yet known but we should certainly be paying attention. Not only are they our future consumers and homeowners, they are our future work force, employees and business leaders.

Today we have emerging professionalscoming into the work force with multiple degrees, motivated to live differently from their parents who are less motivated by wealth and more motivated by health. Whether they identify as “millennials” or “HENRYs”, (High Earners Not Rich Yet) this generation’s biggest challenge is discerning truth in advertising from fiction. I happen to know many of these HENRYs…in fact I might even be their mom or their friend’s mom. My son Will Morrow is a “twenty-something” and epitomizes who and what HENRYs are. He’s working hard, living lean, saving and investing his income and is also very involved in his community, with a deep-seated commitment to ensuring his future in his (and my) hometown of Dalton, Georgia. Just so you know, the future is in wonderful hands and I couldn’t be more optimistic about the future leaders when I spend time with my own young adult children and their friends. They are smart, kind and very savvy. They’ve seen the world, they’ve worked hard to get through college and are now entering the world filled with both knowledge and “heart” and just so you know, they also are wiser than you’d think. They have a broad reach of social connections. At any given hour of the day, they get Snapchats, texts and messages from friends who are thousands of miles away and are living a well-connected life where age and income matter less than their passions, hobbies or interests.

“Those aged 26 are smack dab in the middle of the millennial generation, “the group of 93 million comprises people born roughly between 1980 and 2000,” The Journal writes. By comparison, the baby boomers, born from 1946 to 1964 and numbering 78.8 million at their peak, have now declined to 74 million according to the latest census. Millennials, aged 17-37, are vital to every brands’ future, as they are “entering prime spending years as they buy homes and make improvements. Their outlays are growing as more of the generation moves into adulthood.” Their importance will only continue to grow up till about age 50 when their household spending is expected to peak, according to spending wave research conducted by Harry Dent.That means from now until about 2040, millennials will be the key consumer segment driving the U.S. economy.”

So many companies, for example those who produce food, fashion, flooring, have murky marketing campaigns that create an impression of being “sustainably-made”. It’s hard to see through the smoke and mirrors oftentimes and as an industry we do have a responsibility to make sure we are all being honest about what we make and how we make it. We all get that “feel good” warm fuzzy when we do business with companies who have been recognized for responsible stewardship only to find that some of these labels have been misrepresented.

In May of 2018, my daughter Mary Morrow traveled with a select group of Furman University students who spent three weeks studying “Slow Food Italy” on a small farm in Sora, Italy. Mary explained that we should seek out food that might take longer to grow, but is cultivated without harmful chemicals, fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, using the methods of our grandparents rather than mass-producing food is our best bet for quality health as well as the refined enjoyment of flavor and dining experiences. These students not only studied food, nutrition and “farm to table” methods but also visited the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. They examined the seeds, the plants, the animals, and the preparation of each as well as the effects on our health. Thanks to her explanation of what many US fast food companies do to potatoes in order to make “perfect French fries” I can no mindlessly longer enjoy them. As she described her own purpose in “Slow Food Studies” as a Health Sciences major, it occurred to me that the study of slow food is a movement going on around us all and represents a broader shift in how our younger generations are seeing the world and how they view quality living. Take the same concept of mindful eating, and apply it to mindful shopping…for fashion and the home.

Gone are the days when US designers and home owners thought bamboo flooring was a “sustainable” option because it was plentiful and grew quickly…now we know it is imported from China which contributes to its carbon footprint, we know it does not handle scratches or moisture well…and then there’s this to consider:

Certain bamboo flooring from China  potentially contains high levels of toxic chemicals, such as formaldehyde-based glues and finishes. As the bamboo must be sliced or shredded initially, it must then be adhered back together to form the planks that make up flooring.Sometimes, the adhesive used can release VOCs into the air over time, which makes the bamboo unhealthy for you and the environment.” – Brittney Smart, Home Edit.

The hardwood flooring industry can so easily be compared to our food industry here in the states. While we enjoy a vast variety of options of super cheap and super fast foods, we are paying a price that cannot be seen right or felt away. We are bringing materials into our homes that might be inexpensive and readily available as a DIY product, but it’s important to ask yourself: “how long will it look good, how long before it “uglies out” and how long will it last?” What if we saved up just a little more money and earmark it for US made hardwood flooring that doesn’t have to be replaced, that will look good for decades, that actually adds to the homes overall value and curb appeal? Why not fall in love with premium hardwood flooring rather than loathing the cheap base grade flooring we feel we must have as first time home owners? Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we considered our flooring as much as we do other things in our lives? It would make our homes more valuable in the short and long term, and help to make our indoor air quality better with low to zero VOC hardwood (especially Emily Morrow Home Hardwood) and will last a lifetime, which truly makes it a sustainable material.

 

 

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How to Care for Your Emily Morrow Home Hardwood Floors

***This post has been updated from August 2018

By Kate Toburen Kranzlein, Marketing Specialist for Emily Morrow Home

 

Do you want to take care of your new hardwood floors so that they last a lifetime? (They can with the right care, by the way!). Simply keep them free of dust and debris, no wet mopping, and no harsh chemicals. “Less is more” is the best rule of thumb!

Now that you know what to do, let’s talk about what not to do to your hardwood floors to keep them looking pristine.

Cleaning

While using a vacuum is physically easier to use when cleaning hardwood floors than a traditional broom or dry mop, vacuums can oftentimes damage the surface of your floors. To avoid this, do not use the beater bar on the vacuum because that can scrape and dent your floors. Also, vacuums can create denting if dropped. Using a dry mop with little moisture is one of the best ways to dust your hardwood floors. Swiffer Wood Cleaner and Bona Floor Care have products which are gentle and ideal for Emily Morrow Home hardwood flooring that removes the dust and debris of everyday life without leaving a dull or sticky film to attract more dirt later.

No harsh chemicals, furniture polishes, or wood waxes should ever be applied to Emily Morrow Home’s hardwood floors.

Additionally, wet mopping your hardwood floors can lead to long-term water damage due to the overexposure to moisture on the porous wood*. A better option would be a dry mop or Swiffer mop.

*Knowing this, keep your house’s air moisture levels consistent to ensure that warping and cupping do not occur

Shoes

Try to avoid walking on your hardwood floors with high heel shoes. High heels create a lot of pressure in a small area which can create indentations on the hardwood floors.

Moving Furniture

If you move any furniture, use soft gliding pads underneath to reduce any scratches or indentations. Otherwise, if you move furniture, pick up the furniture completely off the floor and gently place it back on the hardwood in the desired location. Do not drag or scoot furniture across your hardwood floors.

Pets

The Emily Morrow Home hardwood collection is pet-friendly, and our durable construction proctects against most everyday scratches that your excited pooch or feline might inflict upon your floors. With our UV cured Aluminum oxide finish, our hardwood floors can stand the test of your pet’s “Scooby-Doo” moments. We caution you, though, in remembering that long exposure to moisture can damage hardwood floors. So, if your sweet angel has an accident or spills his or her water bowl onto your floors, you will want to wipe it up as soon as possible.

Bottom Line

Hardwood flooring is strong and tough, and it can last a lifetime with proper care and maintenance. We hope these simple care and maintenance tips will keep your Emily Morrow Home hardwood floors looking gorgeous for years to come.

 

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Grown in Seconds: What Does it Mean for Hardwood Flooring? Emily Morrow Home

First published in NWFA Magazine August 1, 2017, Grown in Seconds: What Does it Mean for Hardwood Flooring? Emily Morrow Finkell

After nearly 30 years as an interior designer, one of my favorite things to do is mentor and see new design students and new graduates “get their wings” and begin working in the real world. One way I’ve been able to work with those coming into the design field has been at the university level where I have served as a judge for senior design projects. On a recent project, one of the project prerequisites was that the students specify finishes and materials that were either recycled, rapidly renewable, or reclaimed.

In the competition, all but one student included flooring that was either bamboo or reclaimed material. Those students all received words of praise from the panel of judges and the professor. I withheld any negative remarks until I was completely surprised to hear one student be reprimanded, nearly ridiculed, by the professor for specifying hardwood flooring that was made in the U.S. for her project.

I was happy to offer the student encouragement and supporting data that she, in fact, had chosen well with her flooring. I also recommended that she and the others should visit the NWFA.org and woodfloors.org websites to find more information on the subject. This occasion occurred on the heels of having given multiple CEU-eligible presentations on “Sustainable Floorcovering,” so fortunately, I had the most recent data memorized. Specifically, the fact that U.S. forests are regrowing faster than they are being harvested. To which the professor retorted that these trees are probably not the same quality as those that had been taken already and that we should leave the forests alone.

Although I’ve told this particular story several times, it bears retelling as it is indicative of the misguided and misinformed, although well-intentioned, professionals who believe using bamboo (or another wood-lookalike substitute) over hardwood floors is better for the environment.

Let us take this as a cue that we all have a responsibility to share useful information whenever and however possible. With that in mind, I wanted to share information I recently learned at the Hardwood Plywood and Veneer Association’s (HPVA) annual meeting in Vancouver.

The presentation was given by Mike Snow from The American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) and was titled “Grown in Seconds.” The simple message is this: it only takes seconds for the hardwood used in a project to grow back in the U.S. AHEC’s website, growninseconds.org, features straightforward and compelling data as well as graphics to support their message.

For example, the site states the amount of carbon stored, the carbon footprint, and the volume used per species. There are so many reasons to love U.S. hardwood, certainly for its beauty and overall variety in aesthetics, but add to that the knowledge that it comes from forests that are vast and diverse. Most importantly, these forests are “replenished by natural regeneration and harvested selectively.” Their research has clearly established that U.S. hardwood is a low carbon material and “as they grow, trees absorb carbon from the atmosphere, storing carbon while growing, when harvested, and after being manufactured into products.” The group’s collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service Inventory and Analysis program enables them to know the rate that American timber grows, as well as how quickly it’s replaced by species in states and counties all across the U.S.

Having grown up in a family that comes from a long line of builders going back three generations, I’ve always been keenly aware of the sweet smell of freshly cut wood and newly bulldozed earth that go back to my earliest memories of checking on all the job sites with my dad before or after school. Going even deeper for a moment into sensory memories, the kinesthetic experience gets even better for me as an interior designer as wood cabinets, hardwood floors, walls, or ceilings are being installed. The scent of wood is exceptional and unlike anything else, certainly better to breathe in than the smell of synthetic materials like polyvinyl chloride (PVC). For reasons that are sensory, kinesthetic, cerebral, and emotional, I am certain we will continue to see hardwood flooring and hardwood materials as a whole continue to remain a major player in the interiors industry.

Sometimes it is difficult to explain logically why one material is preferred over another, especially when there may be less-expensive and more easily obtained materials at every corner big box store to compete with. Logical, rational thinking can also sometimes dovetail nicely with very important factors when putting together a design project, and in the case of hardwood grown in seconds, it’s easy to justify why we love wood. Wood is naturally beautiful, and unlike the wood-look substitutes, its authenticity is immediately apparent to four of the five senses: touch, sight, smell, and sound.

Whether it be an architect, a design professional, a builder, or a homeowner who wants to be set apart from the pack, choosing quality materials that last and look not just good enough, but superior to the alternatives, makes hardwood a winner every time.

Let’s take our opportunities with students, interns, co-ops, newly hired sales people, or even our friends and family to share this incredibly important information about our forests and hardwood as a whole. Imagine seeing a forest replenishing itself even more quickly than the gorgeous hardwood floor going into your project.

Emily Morrow Finkell is an interior designer and CEO of EF Floors & Design, LLC in Dalton, a provider of hardwood floors and home furnishings, and NWFA design contributor.

Grown in Seconds: What Does it Mean for Hardwood Flooring?

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A Custom Connection | Luxury Hardwood Flooring

BY EMILY MORROW FINKELL AND PUBLISHED BY NWFA HARDWOOD MAGAZINE ON JUNE 1, 2020

What makes a wood floor “award-winning”?

Is it unique, showcasing something that no one else can recreate in any other material? Having been born in the carpet capital of the world and having worked in the flooring industry in all the categories, one of the first things I do (as do many of you) is look down as soon as I enter a building. It’s a blessing or a curse that comes from my upbringing in Dalton, Georgia, and is also a direct result of having been trained to know on sight “excellence” in materials, quality, and craftsmanship. My parents have been in the commercial and industrial construction business for more than 60 years and always modeled that behavior of observing a building and deeming that it’s of good quality or not so good quality.

A custom installation of Emily Morrow Home’s Authentic Luxury in a herringbone

Over the years of looking at flooring that literally “floored me,” some of the common attributes were very customized, thoughtfully designed, and installed according to the specific clients’ unique wants and needs. Customization is where we can connect with the hearts of consumers who love hardwood for its inherent warmth, quality, and the special feeling someone gets when they know their floors are “fingerprint individually” made just for them. That’s the moment when we find a significant shift in a consumer’s decision-making process; when they determine if or if not their floors need to be unlike anyone else’s or at least not feel like it’s at every big box store across the nation.

During our quarantine period and while almost everyone was shut down for business, my business was rolling along since most of what I create is “made to order” and the “customized” sense. Most of the consumers who aren’t impacted by recessions or pandemics want something “unique” that requires a series of back and forth conversations about species, quality, performance, color, and overall aesthetics. To make that dream a reality, it takes someone committed to delivering something beyond their expectations. Customization isn’t just the product itself; it’s how the relationship is handled, it’s the services you offer, and it’s the attention to their life and their needs. Perhaps this is a carryover from being an interior designer for so long, or maybe it’s my wish to treat others as I want to be treated, but the consumer’s experience is part of the package.

Color-wise, it’s essential to know without a doubt what colors are selling, what colors are trending, and even more important than that is to be able to understand and explain “why.” Anyone can parrot what they’ve read or heard some design maven or color forecaster say at an event, but it is a different level of knowledge for someone to possess to be able to rely on the perspectives of history, how colors have and will be trending, and knowing where and how it makes sense for various parts of the country.

Travel is the best teacher.

Attending markets is another great way to add to that knowledge base. The looks that are selling well and are trending strongly in this new decade are warmer than in the past five years. That’s not to say some hint of taupe isn’t important, just that “warmth” is more desirable today than before. Our vernacular is going to have to shift along with the trends and to make certain the homeowners, the retail sales associates, the sales reps, the brands, and the manufacturers are all speaking the same language. If someone is asking for a warmer “white oak,” that might not mean they are thinking “red,” but rather a “touch of gold.” Specificity is needed, with pictures.

Speaking of pictures, scan through sites like Pinterest and Instagram and see what many users are posting. You’ll see a subtle change in the look. Remember when we couldn’t get enough of Joanna Gaines’ Shiplap? Well, even Joanna has changed her look.

The “farmhouse rustic” has become more of a “cottage with class.”

Rough-edged planks have morphed into smooth millwork. Shiplap of gapped rough sawn wood is now shiplap of smooth painted planks –similar, yet different.

Lighting is also changing with the looks of interiors and flooring. Notice now that as our metallics have gone all out “gold” or “old gold,” lighting is also putting out more lumens, thanks in part to newer LED light bulbs that can be warm or cool. Although brighter, LED lighting is also less forgiving,
and the surfaces of the finishes need to be much less reflective (matte), so that there’s little to no glare in the interior. Everything adds up to “the new look” when combining matte, light, and bright.

Flooring that falls into the new look includes rift sawn white oaks with wood rays, which say, “I’m the real thing.” Faux finishes are no longer in designers’ repertoire, but rather natural materials like plaster,hardwood, wool, cotton, and linen. Polyesters and plastics have their place in the world market, they just aren’t “aspirational” materials and aren’t in the “dream homes” of 2020. Clean and natural are adjectives once applied to our eating,but those same consumers have studied up and decided they like the look and feel of authentic hardwood. It stands to reason, that something so natural, that feels so right, has to be better for us to live with. For these reasons and many more, we should be seeing a gradual and noticeable return to authentic, real hardwood floors.

 

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Emily Morrow Home | NWFA and FCW | Adapting to Changing Demands

Adapting to changing demands as featured in Floor Covering Weekly
Monday, May 4, 2020
By Morgan Bulman

[Chesterfield, Mo.] The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t the only disruptive challenge the hardwood floor industry has faced. For the second day of the NWFA’s first-ever virtual Expo, a session tag-teamed by Emily Morrow Home CEO Emily Morrow Finkell and Anderson Tuftex’s director of brand strategy Katie Ford outlined how to stay steady with wood in an unpredictable marketplace.

Define your business
“Our industry is continually being disrupted,” shared Morrow Finkell during the online webinar. “We have to accept that change is constant and that it really is up to us to adapt and evolve.”

Some of the biggest complaints listed by Morrow Finkell included internet sales, fake wood, cheap imports and the uncertainty of a post-coronavirus retail market.

“Ask yourself some tough questions: What is unique to your business? Who are you hoping will buy your products? Do you know how others see you? What types of products best fit your business and your customers?” she posed, while offering listeners to review and define their value disposition.

Elevate wood’s qualities
Authenticity as a business is key, especially in order to sell an authentic product. Morrow Finkell revealed one of the most important qualities of wood is its natural authenticity, especially considering the current wellness culture consumers are living in, particularly in light of COVID-19.

And although industry professionals have a tendency to get hung up on who to sell to, whether its Baby Boomers or Millennials, “the wellness initiative is huge for every one of these demographics and will continue to expand,” she said.

In fact, Morrow Finkell referred to the Global Wellness Institute, which reported “health and wellness” is now a 4.5 trillion-dollar market and that 134 billion of that amount is devoted to holistic-oriented real estate. This can include anything from available exercise equipment to sustainable building materials like flooring.

“Designers almost always advise their clients to go with natural materials, nine times out of 10,” she noted. Wood has always been the top, coveted flooring visual, but as the market becomes oversaturated with lookalikes, Morrow Finkell believes there’s untapped potential in offering premium, high quality products consumers are starved for.

“Wood is synonymous with wellness,” she stressed.

“Hardwood is truly timeless,” but a great way to stay on top of changing market demands is to keep tabs on what customers are looking for. And, right now, there are three aspects to keep tabs on:

1. Light and neutral colors: Plaster, jute, wool, linen and muslin – this is what has inspired the light and ultra-matte colors of Emily Morrow Home. “Organic is a huge buzz word,” shared Morrow Finkell. Natural, organic and plaster-inspired color palettes are trending.
2. Dark statement stains: Interiors in general are trending light – white cabinetry, light fixtures, fabrics. For these home choices, dark woods offer a great deal of contrast, revealed Morrow Finkell.
3. Premium cuts and graining: When it comes to wood, quality sells well. “If you have a premium brand, you need to have a premium sample experience,”. To receive free samples of Emily Morrow Home Hardwood, simply text EMILY2 to 900900.