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From The Ground Up

Flooring experts weigh in.

A variety of cork flooring you can find at Pieri Tile & Marble Co.

craig mulcahy photographs

Fall is a time when many of you are thinking about making small or not-so-small modifications to your living space. From indoor to outdoor, we checked in with a few of the premier flooring material and design providers in the Greater New Orleans area to see what they have to say about going green, navigating the humid climate of the Gulf South and professional tips to successfully update your space to complement the unique style of your home.

Green is more than just a color. In the age of energy efficient appliances and windows, it’s no secret that many people are looking to consider the environment and their impact on the planet when renovating. Growth in the industry leaves the buyer with a huge range of choices for any size project and budget when it comes to flooring that is earth-friendly, functional
and beautiful.

Lindsay Swenson of Floor & Decor suggests reclaimed pine sourced locally from Louisiana and Mississippi, scoring points for both eco-friendly and overall aesthetic. Another option offered by Floor & Decor is engineered hardwood flooring. This uses synthetic core material in lieu of premium hard wood trees resulting in a product that is more moisture-stable and a great option for our subtropical climate as it is less likely to buckle or fail in changing humidity.

Another option for those interested wood is bamboo. This super-hard wood is not limited to the light tone that initially comes to mind. How does it measure up? As one of the fastest growing plants on earth – and also the sturdiest – this strand woven flooring option continues to increase in popularity among buyers because of its durability and multiple color options. With locations in both New Orleans and Gretna, the design team at Floor & Decor is available to help navigate selection of these and other products.

In business for almost 50 years, Pieri Tile & Marble Co. offers a diverse selection of quality materials that fit in with any budget. Dina Pieri Chevalier, of Pieri, notes that cork floor is growing in popularity. This durable, sound-resistant and long-lasting material is not just to keep your wine fresh. Cork flooring comes in a variety of patterns and colors, making it another versatile option for indoor living spaces.

Floor & Decor offers reclaimed pine sourced locally from Louisiana.

For large spaces, the wood tile look is a perfect way to get the aesthetic of wood flooring with the durability of a tile floor. Pieri Tile & Marble Co. carries porcelain tiles in wood like “plank” sizes, 12-by-24 inches, 8-by-30 inches and 12-by-30 inches that are ideal for high-volume areas and people with pets, because there is no worry of paws scratching the floor.

Jeff Taaffe of Palatial Stone & Tile suggests natural stone or tile when designing for southern living. “With these products,” says Taaffe, “You don’t have to worry about water issues, whether that’s plumbing issues or issues that come from natural disasters.” Options are endless in this category, and their showrooms carry a multitude. If you’ve already done some research and know of an exotic material that isn’t represented, the team at Palatial Stone & Tile will do what it takes to find it.

More than just purveyors of stone, Palatial Stone & Tile offers flooring such as engineered hardwood, bamboo and cork flooring. New finishing techniques and improved technologies have revived interest in cork, making both a conversation piece and a functional, aesthetically pleasing addition. Another way to create a unique space, suggests Taaffe, is by installing a mosaic of completely different products used together fashionably to make one beautiful pattern. Taaffe suggests combining stone and wood, or wood and metal, stating that blending “hard and soft materials in unison makes for a flooring that has great depth and texture.”

Adda Carpets and Flooring offers custom-made area rugs with a wide rage of colors and pattens

To update a space without tearing up floorboards, custom-made area rugs out of different colors or textures is a great way to update a space, says Chris Judge of Adda Carpets and Flooring. With over 40 years of industry experience, they strive for repeat customers, and it’s a one-stop shop for everything from flooring to cabinets and appliances. They recently added a new line of carpets, Smart Strand, made from recycled plastic that are stain-resistant, can be cleaned with bleach and water and come in a variety of styles and colors. Another neat design feature, says Judge, are arabesque-shaped tiles or stones that are grouted in and “create a Mediterranean look.” These can be purchased in a variety of different colors and choices. What is unanimously agreed upon when it comes to tile is that square is out. Take advantage of the variety of options, and get creative in your space.
White on white on white is a great way to handle permanent features. Dina Pieri Chevalier suggests while marble mosaics. They are great for bathrooms and match any wall color. By simply changing the wall color and fixtures, a bath or powder room can have a completely different feel a few years down the road if you select something timeless such as white.  They also offer flagstone for both the floor/deck area of outdoor living spaces and go great with the increasingly popular outdoor kitchen.

Carr Stone & Tile Inc.’s main focus is on natural stones, including granite, marble, limestone, soapstone and flagstone. They also offer several lines of quartz and porcelain – materials that are environmentally friendly. They work with architects, contractors and designers to create beautiful interior and exterior spaces for both residential and commercial clients. For large, open spaces, “use of a single natural stone for flooring can provide an interesting look” says Paula Pike, of Carr Stone & Tile, and “changing floor designs from straight, running bond or diagonal in a large room can give a homogenous feel to the space.” When asked about design tips for melding mediums, Pike suggests using stone, porcelain, wood and metals as great options for thresholds and defining spaces for aesthetics and function.

As a final note, if you are hoping to have renovations done before the holidays, “Don’t wait,” warns Lindsay Swenson of Floor & Decor. “Start planning now, because booking can become a challenge when lots of people have the same idea.”


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