When Mike and Jean Ysbrand adopted their third rescue dog last October, they were confident they could handle the addition, but would their house stand up to the challenge? With Riley, a hound mix, the Ysbrands knew a few things would have to go, including their old laminate floors.
The couple turned to Floors of Distinction designer Colleen Kelly; they wanted to enhance the upper level of their house with a “rural chic” look and wanted floors to match. But they also wanted to camouflage scratches and pet hair left from their furry friends. “We wanted a bit of texture,” Mike Ysbrand says. “We didn’t want hardwood, and we didn’t want to refinish the floors in five years after the dogs scratched it up.”
So Kelly introduced the couple to one of the hottest trends in 2014: luxury vinyl wood-plank flooring. This material is gaining in the marketplace as a replacement for sheet vinyl and laminate flooring. It also helped land the Ysbrands’ remodeled home in the Remodeler’s Showcase last fall.
“It has the look and integrity of a rustic wood floor, but requires hardly any maintenance,” Kelly says. She adds that because the floors are already authentic-looking, scratches just blend in.
“Most people just think it’s natural wood. It has a texture that feels like old, weathered wood,” Ysbrand says.
Floors of Distinction is celebrating its 25th year in business, and Kelly attributes much of their success to repeat customers and referrals. The four designers on staff are quick to recommend one of the most popular colors this year: “There’s a big influx of grays, mixed with some brown tones,” Kelly says. “We’re seeing this combination of warm and cool colors together, even in flooring.”
Kevin Ebensteiner wanted to combine his home and cabin into one relaxing getaway right here in the metro area. “I travel 40 to 50 percent of the year, and it’s not realistic for me to get a cabin up north,” says the electrical engineer at Tetra Pak Processing Equipment Inc. “Now I can enjoy my cabin every day I’m home, not just a couple of times a year.”
After adding 1,000 square feet to his current home, Ebensteiner wanted something practical that would turn his casual living space into a northern retreat. Kelly says Floors of Distinction helped him select an oil-finish floor, another trend that’s taking the industry by storm. “With just a touch of oil, scratches literally disappear,” she says.
Ebensteiner had to put this to the test right away. “I scratched the floor when we were putting furniture in, and sure enough, with a little oil, the scratch disappeared.”
Shaughnessy Flooring, a newcomer to the local flooring scene, is also touting the benefits of wide-plank, hand-scraped and rough-finished flooring. Though the company just opened in January, owner Pat Shaughnessy says his installers are extremely busy, a nod to the improving economy.
Shaughnessy, who grew up in a family flooring business, says carpet remains popular, but the industry has shifted to a silkier product that’s durable and soft. “We’re seeing lots of muted and neutral tones,” he says.
“We’re coming to the business at a very good time,” he adds. “The market’s not overly saturated like it was a few years ago. It’s fun to be a part of this resurgence in home remodeling.”
Floors of Distinction
12642 Bass Lake Road
14332 21st Ave. N.