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New Hardwood Flooring Improves Value of Home and Quality of Life

When it comes to flooring your home, you can’t go wrong with hardwood flooring. Maple and oak floors don’t just look nice they have other benefits including:

  • They’re easily cared for
  • They’ll last a long time
  • They’re easily restored and maintained
  • They’re always in style
  • They have natural insulation properties
  • They work to improve the overall structural strength of your home


Maple Engineered Hardwood Flooring

There are many reasons so many homeowners turn to maple engineered hardwood when they wish to upgrade the flooring in their home.



Maple has a lovely creamy appearance that is quite unique and which creates a homey feel. Some homeowners choose to keep the natural cream color, but even those that desire a slightly different look will turn to maple since the wood does an excellent job absorbing stain, allowing the homeowner to create the exact, unique look they want for each room. Many have found that the stained maple flooring adds a great finishing touch for remodeling projects.



Maple engineered hardwood flooring resists wear and tear. It has a 1450 Janka Hardness rating which makes it a great choice not only for families with young children and pets, but also in office buildings.

After installing maple engineered hardwood flooring in your home, be prepared for lower heating and cooling bills. The flooring provides an additional layer of insulation.

Oak Flooring

Oak flooring is a very durable type of flooring you can install in your home. It’s one of the strongest types of wood that nature creates, so no matter how much traffic you get through your home, the floor will always look great. It’s a great choice for anyone who has pets.



Oak flooring is a great choice if you live in a humid environment or have a house that’s prone to moisture. Unlike other types of flooring that swells when damp, oak naturally resists moisture, making it a good choice for anyone who struggles with asthma, arthritis, or other conditions that are aggravated by damp conditions.



It’s important to remember that when you choose to have hardwood floors installed in your home, you take steps that significantly increases your home’s overall value.

Some realtors advise their clients to invest in hardwood floors before listing a house on the market. The new hardwood flooring may increase the value of the home, while also increasing the amount of interested buyers.

Author: Sara Rose

By |October 5th, 2016|Design, Modern design, Renovation, Surfaces|0 Comments

Energy Efficient Homes – Saginaw Sunset


Jim Guild and Nunzie Gould don’t just want to build places to live. They want to create homes that live forever.


© Jim Guild Construction

They approach every project with a commitment not only to their clients, but to community, and the environment.  They think deeply not only about the layout of the house, but how what they are building will live and evolve and fit in Bend, Oregon, where they have been master builders for three decades.

© Jim Guild Construction

© Jim Guild Construction

The married partners in Jim Guild Construction build high performance homes featuring solar arrays, high efficiency, energy-saving windows, fresh air flow technology and cabinetry and woodwork milled from recycled timbers (they are famous in town for their work with old wood). After decades in town, they know Bend’s climate and understand what materials age well there.

But the materials, their experience and their use of local artisans are only a few of ways they build enduring homes.

Take their latest project, Saginaw Sunset, a 20-lot community on five acres in the heart of rapidly-growing Bend. Saginaw is a property most developers drive right by, urban infill set on a steep, sloping site two blocks from the downtown core. For Nunzie and Jim, it was a challenge they embraced. “We don’t go looking for hard things, but we’re not afraid of them,” Jim says.

At Saginaw, they are creating homes with the aid of local architects and designers that fit into the high desert landscape and offer stunning views of the Cascades, where even in summer residents can see the glacier on the Middle Sister peak.

© Jim Guild Construction

© Jim Guild Construction

© Jim Guild Construction

© Jim Guild Construction

They are pieces that fit into a whole, parts of the fabric of the community.  “When you are committed to community, you build things differently,” Nunzie says. “It’s not just blow and go.”

Their focus on building quality green homes meshes with the growing number of people moving to Bend looking for a smaller, manageable city offering the best of the great outdoors and an active arts and foodie scene. The city is among the 50 finalists for the $5 million Georgetown University Energy Prize (GUEP), an award that will go to the community with the greatest progress toward energy efficiency in the next two years.

So the work Jim and Nunzie, active members of the town’s Environmental Center (Jim is on the board), fits right into the city’s growing green reputation. Saginaw Sunset is a way to meet some of the demand for growth in the city without adding to sprawl by expanding Bend’s Urban Growth Boundary (UGB).  Their first home in the development was featured on the Tour of Homes and won the coveted ‘People’s Choice Award’ on the Environmental Center’s Green and Solar Tour.

© Jim Guild Construction

© Jim Guild Construction

© Jim Guild Construction

© Jim Guild Construction

They are homes with a conscience, built to last. “We want to build something functionally and aesthetically attractive that will be enduring,” Jim adds. “Something that is forward thinking.”

That forward thinking extends throughout the process, from designing the roof line for highest solar efficiency to integrating the inside and the outside and using as many existing native trees as possible. Because comfort is just as important as sustainability, fresh air flows through each Saginaw home while high-tech utilities keep interior temperatures optimal.

“We take a lot of time to think about a finished product before we get going,” Nunzie says. “We think about how will it live? Is it practical? A house needs to fit how you live.”

Their homes are built to not only last a lifetime, but adapt to the changes of a lifetime.

© Jim Guild Construction

© Jim Guild Construction

© Jim Guild Construction

© Jim Guild Construction

Often people have wasted space in their homes, rooms they don’t use or a garage that serves as storage, she adds. A home needs to evolve. The living spaces that fit a family’s desire change from when their children are three to when they are 12 to when they are adults returning with a child of their own. Through careful planning, the Saginaw homes change with those families. Every house, for instance, has an elevator so they are accessible throughout a homeowner’s life. Every house is custom, created in deep collaboration with their clients. There are no prefab plans. Each dwelling, each site plan, is unique.

Form follows function, but beauty is not sacrificed. “I need a house that is handsome,” Jim says. “That seems like a strange word, but it sticks.”

Nunzie and Jim know how the inside integrates with the outside. “The relationship between the structure and the land needs to be respectful and symbiotic,” Nunzie says.

The high desert of Bend gets less than five inches of rain a year. So they’re not planting big lawns. They add soil amendments to help the volcanic soil of the city (using woody debris at the site to enrich the soil as well). They favor native plants that won’t send the water meter spinning. They use plants that attract bees and butterflies and other pollinators. “We’re being mindful of the bigger ecosystem,” Nunzie says.

© Jim Guild Construction

© Jim Guild Construction

© Jim Guild Construction

© Jim Guild Construction

Their homes cost more, but Jim and Nunzie point to the return on investment whether it’s in the solar array, which will start turning a profit in nine to 14 years, lower energy bills because of the HVAC system, or just the immeasurable value of living within the beauty their artisans create.

What, Nunzie asks, is the value of making an investment today on your return for tomorrow? What is the value of a super-efficient, long-lived home when it comes time to sell? “Part of it is what are we leaving our community?” she says. “Jim and I don’t want to build lesser quality homes, places that will be bulldozed in 50 years.”

“Our houses don’t age,” Jim adds, “and that’s a really, really important feature. It isn’t magic that makes it happen. It’s the dollars and time you’re willing to spend.”


CLT for Enduring Green Construction Infrastructure


A rendering of architect Shigeru Ban’s Terrace House. The hybrid residential building will be made of cross-laminated timber, concrete and steel. Source: PortLiving

History’s timeline of structural innovations – from ancient Roman aqueducts to cathedrals with soaring rooflines, castles to neighborhoods of mass-manufactured buildings – reads like a primer of Buildings 101. Each has helped us refine our construction methods and building efficiencies, but over time that progress has cost our planet precious resources.

Typical structural building components like masonry, concrete, and steel have large carbon footprints and require great amounts energy to produce. Concrete production alone represents roughly 5% of world carbon dioxide emissions, the dominant greenhouse gas. Weighted with data from the US Green Building Council that 40% of national CO2 emissions come from buildings, it is more than clear that we must reexamine our go-to for construction materials.

Rather than reinvent, though, consider a return to our construction roots. A product called Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) has been used in Europe for a couple decades now, and has proven to be a startlingly green alternative to traditional “industrial age” building materials. This engineered wood building system is made from several layers of solid lumber boards, stacked crosswise and bonded together, providing dimensional stability, strength and rigidity.


CLT Home in Seattle

Replacing concrete and steel with wood as a building material can have a significant impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  Starting with the product source, wood is the only structural building material with third-party certification programs in place to verify a product’s sustainably managed origins. At SmartLam, we procure all of our lumber from sawmills practicing certified sustainable forestry practices.

Wood building systems like CLT also bring the advantage of low embodied energy. Embodied energy refers to the energy needed to extract, process, manufacture, transport, construct and maintain a material or product. LCA studies consistently show that wood outperforms other materials in this area.

CLT is also a good choice for architects who want to meet Passive House standard for commercial building. Because wood has low thermal conductivity (compared to steel or concrete), buildings made from wood are easy to insulate to high standards. CLT and its precise manufacturing and milling creates exceptional air tightness, and its dimensional stability helps ensure the building remains airtight over time.


Little House On The Ferry – image source massivatrahus.se


CLT Home by SoNo Arhitekti

For green building, wood is an obvious choice. Unlike other products that deplete the earth’s resources, wood is the only major building material that grows naturally, is renewable, and requires less energy to produce. In fact, wood is the ONLY renewable building material. Using CLT in place of the old standards like steel or concrete is one way to reduce the environmental impact of your structure without compromising on the advances we’ve made in modern structural integrity. It’s a solution for the future.


© Smartlam

With proper design and maintenance, wood structures can provide long and useful service lives equivalent to other building materials. The key is careful planning and understanding of environmental loads and other external factors likely to impact a building over its lifetime.

Strength and Stability
CLT panels form a robust, structurally strong building system that outperforms anything currently available in the USA. Cross lamination provides for superior dimensional stability and offers significant shear strength performance at a very unique weight to strength ratio compared to other common structural materials.

Seismic Resilience
Because of their dimensional stability and rigidity, CLT panels create an effective lateral load resisting system. Researchers have conducted extensive seismic testing on CLT and found panels to perform exceptionally well with no residual deformation, particularly in multi-story applications. In Japan, for example, a seven-story CLT building was tested on the world’s largest shake table. It survived 14 consecutive seismic events with almost no damage. CLT also offers good ductile behavior and energy dissipation.

Test results show that because the mass of the wall contributes to acoustic performance, CLT building systems provide superior noise control for both airborne and impact sound transmission. CLT building systems offer additional acoustic benefits with the use of sealants and other types of membranes to provide air tightness and improve sound insulation at the interfaces between the floor and wall plates.

Thermal Performance

© Smartlam

© Smartlam

CLT’s thermal performance is determined by its U-value, or coefficient of heat transfer, which relates to panel thickness. Thicker panels have lower U-values; they are better insulators and therefore require little or no insulation. Since CLT panels can be manufactured using CNC equipment to precise tolerances, panel joints also fit tighter, which results in better energy efficiency for the structure. Because the panels are solid, there is nearly zero air infiltration into the building envelope. As a result, interior temperatures of a finished CLT structure can be maintained with just one-third the normally required heating or cooling energy.

Fire Resistence
CLT’s thick cross-section provides valuable and superior fire resistance. Due to its mass, CLT panels char slowly. Once charred, combustion slows and eventually stops as the oxygen source is removed.  CLT assemblies also have fewer concealed spaces, which reduces a fire’s ability to spread undetected. CLT structures suffer less degradation than concrete and steel structures in a catastrophic fire event.

Moisture Management & Vapor Diffusion
Wood is naturally hygroscopic and inherently serves as a moisture management system within a building envelope. Ideally manufactured at 12% moisture content, woods inherent ability to absorb and emit moisture can naturally stabilize an indoor environment. The vapor permeable nature of wood allows CLT to transfer molecular moisture without trapping it and creating conditions for mold and decay.  CLT buildings ‘breathe’, minimizing the risk for mold growth and maximizing the comfort of it’s occupants.


© Smartlam

© Smartlam

SmartLam CLT is manufactured from trees harvested in sustainably managed forests.  The raw materials for SmartLam CLT are sourced exclusively from small and medium diameter timber. This responsible cultivation practice maintains and even enhances the long-term productivity and health of the forest. CLT provides a number of environmental benefits in addition to its excellent thermal performance. Wood is the only major building material that grows naturally and is renewable. Life cycle assessment studies consistently show that wood outperforms steel and concrete in terms of embodied energy, air pollution and water pollution. CLT also has a lighter carbon footprint as wood products continue to store carbon absorbed by the trees while growing, and engineered wood manufacturing requires significantly less energy to produce than concrete and steel. This represents a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Healthy Indoor Environment

© Smartlam

© Smartlam

The only constituents of a CLT building system are wood and a non-toxic/non-VOC adhesives. CLT building materials do not introduce any toxins into the indoor environment providing clean indoor air quality. In addition, the CLT wall systems are naturally breathable, which, integrated with appropriate mechanical systems, will result in a healthy indoor environment that maximizes occupant comfort and health.

Life Cycle Analysis
The longevity of CLT components ensures that the future value of any structure remains high. CLT buildings are easily altered and remodeled and are also fully recyclable once they reach the end of their useful life. With the utilities located to the interior of the building, not enmeshed with structural and insulating systems, buildings can be easily remodeled.

Cost Effectiveness
Comparing the cost of CLT versus certain concrete, masonry and steel building types and including the advantages of faster construction time and lower foundation costs, the estimated total costs of CLT structures can be very competitive.

Design Flexibility

© Smartlam

© Smartlam

CLT has unique structural properties that allow architects and designers increased flexibility of design allowing for distinctive and innovative projects. Due to wood’s inherent ductility and unique strength to weight ratio, wood offers many advantages over the other common structural materials such as masonry, concrete, and steel.

Speed of Build
From one-person builders to large construction companies, CLT structural systems will arrive on-site ready to assemble, saving time and money with a swift and accurate building process.

Reduced Waste
CLT panels are manufactured for specific end-use applications, which results in little to no job site waste. Plus, manufacturers can reuse fabrication scraps for stairs and other architectural elements. SmartLam is a “zero waste” facility and utilizes all of our residuals either through re-purposing, as wood product constituents, or bio-fuel.

Author Bio
Casey Malmquist, President and General Manager of SmartLam, has served in this position since SmartLam’s inception in January of 2012, and has led the SmartLam team from the ground level to becoming a globally-recognized producer of Cross-Laminated Timber products. Mr. Malmquist has over 30 years’ experience owning and operating a successful construction and development company.


CLT Wood Innovation and Design Centre – Prince George, Canada


CLT Mixed Use Community – Arbora Montreal Canada


8 Story CLT Building in Finland


CLT Star Mill

CLT Star Mill

CLT Star Mill

CLT Star Mill


CLT Elevator Shaft

CLT Elevator Shaft

From Video conferencing to Emails: Character of a Modern Business is linked to a Greener, Better Tomorrow

Image Source ThinkGreen

Image Source ThinkGreen

“Climate change is real, it is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating. We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters, but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world, for the billions and billions of underprivileged people out there who would be most affected by this. For our children’s children and for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed.”
-Leonardo Di Caprio spoke these riveting words during this Oscar accepting at the academy this year. 2015 recorded as the hottest year in the history of the modern world, scientists and experts calling for a united stand of the leading Governments of the world to tackle the problem collectively.

Is Climate Change real?
Irrespective of which side of the argument you are on “Climate change” is indeed a real threat, and there is evidence that the world is facing ramification as a result. The wildfires of Australia or extreme drought conditions in Africa last year have been attributed to climate change. Heatwaves that swept every continent in the world last year is yet another proof that climate change is happening, and there is an impending need to address this problem on a global platform.


Image Source The Guardian

How is Climate Change linked to Business & Industrialization?
The world has evolved from an agrarian based economy to an industrialized one to a more technology-driven one. During the industrial period, energy consumption was the mainstay of the economy. Although this ear brought with it riches and gave rise to a consumerist society, the industrial revolution is often cited as the mean reason for the downward spiral of earth’s relationship with ecology and humans.

A Drive towards Sustainable Business Trends
cop-parisAs the world’s leaders met at 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris to reach a global agreement to reduce climate change, time has also come when entrepreneurial leaders of the world have to think about most sustainable ways to conduct business.

Thankfully, in the modern ear, business owners are more mindful of this and are aware of how business operations can harm the environment. Owing to several small and medium sized enterprises are adhering to norms and work culture that is sustainable and environmentally friendly. For instance, emails to a large extent have eliminated the use of papers in office spaces. Advancement in technology has also enabled businesses to minimize the use of paper as e- documents, e-bills, etc. take precedence.

Even work culture and place of work are undergoing an overhaul to reduce carbon footprints on the planet. There is an increasing drive towards designing eco-friendly buildings and office spaces that focus on water and energy conversation. The design philosophy of these buildings promotes rainwater harvesting, maximum incorporation of natural lighting and use of recycling materials. Green buildings and architecture are gaining popularity and eventually the cost involved in constructing such spaces will come down.


The onslaught of technology has not just driven greater business prospects. It also has allowed businesses to function in a more sustainable way. Modern businesses have no limitations and people work across geographical boundaries in the most efficient manner. Thanks to this advancement, business video conference services like BlueJeans, allows individuals and business associates to connect with one another without a glitch.


This method of communication also works well for people who perform professional duties from the comfort of their home. In the coming years, this trend is also expected to catch up. In most major cities in the world, peaks hours of the day which is usually the time when people are getting to or getting off work adds to pollution in the city. If only more and more people work from home rather than commute to work in their cars or public transport, the emission of carbon in the environment can be significantly reduced.

By |September 27th, 2016|Conservation, Corporate, Green Tech, Other Projects, Technology|0 Comments

Make Your Furniture Mock an Antique With These 7 Pro Tips!

Introduction: Distress Technique       


image source: InLiving

In the earlier times, if furniture was distressed, it indicated that those were there for generations and majority of the paint had faded due to nicks by too many movements or rubbing by hands for years. Nowadays, the distressed look has emerged as a desired option as may believe that it adds to the style and character of various types of décor. Surprisingly, the techniques are quite simple. Let’s have a look at the most sought after techniques to distress your furniture.

  • Wet-distressing technique: This technique allows you to develop a ‘natural’ looking worn off effect.
  • Dry-distressing technique: This is ideal for using when you want to uncover the actual wood layer and using only one color.
  • The ‘Resist’ technique: This highly simple technique helps you give your furniture a chippy paint look.

Distressing technique using Vinegar

© InLiving

image source: blogspot.ca

If you want a rustic, beat up look of your furniture, using vinegar is a simple way to achieve the goal. First, dust off the furniture with a damp, clean cloth and then paint it with your preferred color. You can make a couple of coats based on the paint’s quality and the darkness of your furniture. When the paint has thoroughly dried, pour vinegar (either apple cider or distilled vinegar) and small amount of water in a spray bottle and spray it onto the piece. Withdraw some of the paint by wiping down the piece with a white, clean cloth and you’re done.

Distressing technique using Vaseline

© InLiving

image source: lovegrowswild

With some materials easily available at home like Vaseline, damp cloth, paint and brush, you can give your furniture the much sought-after aged look. Before you paint the final color, add a thin layer of petroleum jelly (Vaseline) over the areas you want to have a natural worn look. You’ll need to apply a foundation coat either in stain or diverse color. Once you’re done with the painting, allow it to dry slightly and then rub over the desired areas with a damp cloth.

Distressing furniture with chalk paint

© InLiving

image source: handymaninmesa

For this distressing technique, you just need two main supplies – chalk paint and soft wax. Apply two coats of contrasting colors as the first and second coats. You can use a dark color as an undercoat and a light colored thinner coat, if you want the former to be visible after distressing the furniture. After the paint has dried, polish the finished areas with sandpaper. Now take the soft wax and start to apply it on the areas where you want it to be distressed. If you want to attain optimum amount of distressing, you can scuff the other areas as well.

Distressing technique using wax


image source: honeyandroses

First, you’ll need some natural wax and dark paint and blend the paint into the wax. Then brush on with a rag or any type of brush. Remember to work in small areas and allow the wax not to get too dry. Rub the wax and quickly wipe off the excess part. If you want to remove more of the wax, try doing it with a clean cloth.

Distressing technique using paint


image © countrychicpaint

In this technique, first you’ve to hand sand the piece to eliminate the sanding dust. Then cover the areas of the furniture that you don’t want to be painted. Apply primer, before doing the top coat of paint, and allow it to be completely dry and finally, paint your main color. If you want a glazing finish, you can use one of the many available things including acrylic paint, wood stain and faux finish glazes.

Distressing technique using sand paper

© InLiving

image source: woodworkerssource

This technique is just what it sounds. Depending on how antique you want your piece to look, you’ve to be careful with the sanding. Generally, you should sand away majority of areas leaving some untouched. This’ll allow the old finish to be viewed unevenly, which will enhance the weathered look of the final piece. Finally, clean the entire piece with a tack rag to eliminate any dust generated from the sanding process.


Distressed furniture provides an image of rustic, worn and rugged look. This look can add warmth and beauty to any home. Additionally, furniture with a sense of antiqueness and age works fine with almost any interior design scheme. All of the above techniques are quite simple and handy, which can be applied with some simple available-at-home supplies. What’s more! Most of distressing techniques are part of DIY projects so you don’t even need the help of professionals.

Author Bio
Nicholes Ammons is an editor and is working in Furniture industry for quite some time. He is currently associated with Austin Furniture Repair and is seen contributing on their blog too. Having worked in this field he has gathered enough experience and knowledge about the field and loves sharing it with others. His love for home interiors and writing has contributed well to make him an editor for the furniture world.

By |September 20th, 2016|Furniture, Tips|0 Comments

Bring Lasting Beauty to Your Home With Eco-Friendly Redwood


© California Redwood Association

When it comes to creating sustainable, eco-friendly homes, some homeowners may feel they need to turn a blind eye to beauty and appreciate the greener features that may not add to their curb appeal.

There’s a building material available today, though, that defies that assumption: redwood.

Grown and harvested under some of the world’s most stringent environmental guidelines certified well managed and sustainable, redwood is one of nature’s most versatile building products that will bring both strength and natural beauty to any design aesthetic. It is like the supermodel of softwoods.


© California Redwood Association

Redwood is a sustainable building product – start to finish. A Life Cycle Assessment study of redwood showed that redwood lumber is much more environmentally friendly than the production of engineered alternatives. Because redwood is all-natural, it can be recycled or repurposed after its project has reached the end of its life. Synthetic solutions such as composite decking can just end up in a landfill.

In addition, redwood trees continuously scrub carbon (CO2) from the atmosphere, converting that carbon to wood. Even better: that carbon remains stored even after a redwood tree is milled for lumber. That means the average size redwood deck holds on to a half-ton of carbon.


© California Redwood Association

More than just beautiful and eco-friendly, redwood possesses an excellent strength to weight ratio and can span greater distances than plastic composite decking, making it even more economical to use. In addition, it is naturally resistant to decay, termites, and even fire. With periodic maintenance – cleaning and refinishing – a redwood deck will last 25 years or longer.

Redwood’s versatility means it is the perfect addition to any part of the home; more than just a decking material, redwood can be the starting point of a dramatic outdoor kitchen, pergolas, exposed timber beams, full walls of paneling, and more. The only limit is really the homeowner’s imagination.

With its natural strength, universal aesthetics and sustainable roots, redwood is the perfect green touch to complete your eco-friendly home.

Author Bio
Charlie Jourdain is president of the California Redwood Association. Reach him at [email protected] or (888) CAL-REDWOOD.

Celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2016, the California Redwood Association is one of the oldest trade associations in the lumber industry. From the very beginning, the association’s primary mission has been to promote redwood products and educate builders and consumers on the advantages of using redwood. To learn more about redwood, visit the CRA at Real Strong Redwood.


© California Redwood Association


© California Redwood Association


© California Redwood Association

By |September 17th, 2016|Design, Modern design, Tips|0 Comments