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Posts Tagged ‘Interior Design’

Selecting Sustainable Flooring That Functions Best. The Arch Can Help Guide You

The Arch has carefully considered sustainable flooring companies  to work with since opening in 2004 as we value health and our environment. We can help you select a sustainable floor that works best for you. The following discusses some considerations.  Though The Arch showroom offers only sustainable flooring selections,  what works in one home might not function as well  in a commercial setting. The first thing you want to do is to consider the function of the space when looking for a  flooring product  as well as  the durability, quality and environmental values of the company.

ECO Fusion Strandwoven engineered bamboo Sandstorm. Plant in fused dyes. All ECOfusion Flooring products exceed indoor air quality standards as tested to CARB2012 and EO thresholds.

ECO Fusion Strandwoven engineered bamboo Sandstorm. Plant in fused dyes. All ECOfusion Flooring products exceed indoor air quality standards as tested to CARB2012 and EO thresholds.

We have worked with many people that are building homes from the ground up, but also with those that are renovating an existing home or business. Basements are a popular area of the home to invest in  but a basement on a concrete slab might not accommodate your first hardwood choice for example.  A wise selection would be an engineered hardwood or engineered bamboo strandwoven floor which are both very stable selections  and can be “floated” over an underlayment.  We also work with two regional companies that offer engineered reclaimed flooring in addition to their solid products. An engineered reclaimed floor was not easily sourced in this area not too long ago so this is a tremendous new offering to the market. It may cost a little more for a reclaimed floor, but the investment and beauty of this time honored flooring with unmatched character might be what you are looking for.

Reclaimed Heart Pine with history and character

Reclaimed Heart Pine with history and character

Many new engineered floors are also warranted over certain radiant systems.  Another excellent and very affordable choice  is US floors COREtec Plus engineered vinyl. It is a natural vinyl that does not off-gas as many of the big box store sheet vinyl goods will.  COREtec Plus won’t expand or contract, does not require an underlayment (reducing material and labor costs further),  and can handle moisture without damaging the flooring.

US Floors COREtec Plus engineered luxury vinyl. Water proof!

US Floors COREtec Plus engineered luxury vinyl. Water proof!

We have a long list of testimonials of how tough this material is including success in a hot yoga center (a very high heat environment), and a COREtec Plus flooring installation that suffered no structural damage after being immersed underwater in hurricane Sandy. I recently had a conversation about a COREtec Plus installation for an animal care facility. This flooring receives a great deal of animal and public traffic and is routinely hosed down with water!

This material is an excellent choice for commercial high traffic areas and we have all the samples to choose from and one of the best prices in Asheville that we know of.

Conservation Grade white oak Asheville residence. Woodright is one of the most sustainable sources in the region.

Conservation Grade white oak Asheville residence. Woodright
is one of the most sustainable sources in the region. Designer Victoria Schomer

If you are looking at flooring for every day living in your home, the choices are many.  Cork planks are an option that provides comfort,  is quiet, and offers a warmth that ceramic tile can’t offer for example. If you spend much time in the kitchen you know how sore your leg muscles can get after standing on a very hard surface. A cork product may be the answer for your home. There are many attractive cork product selections to choose from. If a water leak  or individual cork plank were to be damaged, they can be replaced easily. The cork we offer has a commercial finish which stands up to a number of commercial settings as well.

Traditional Cork Plank floors provide uniquely beautiful, durable, comfortable, and sustainable option for even the most demanding home.

Traditional Cork Plank floors provide uniquely beautiful, durable, comfortable, and sustainable option for even the most demanding home. Shown here: USFloors Mondago

Not all cork products are the same. Look for density, a quality finish and reputation. If you are looking for a natural flooring with wood grain that only a long leaf pine can offer for example,  then you might want to consider a reclaimed heart pine floor as they are much harder than new pine material of this day and age and they are the ultimate re-use of materials. The Arch doesn’t compromise. We have never offered any flooring with added urea-formaldehyde or other toxic  chemicals.

This specie is considered rapidly renewable because the harvest cycle is less than ten years. Another benefit of eucalyptus is that the trees regenerates three times before the tree is replanted.

Another benefit of eucalyptus is that the trees regenerates three times before the tree is replanted.

Species such as Eucalyptus is new to the market and a rapidly renewable one. This specie is considered rapidly renewable because the harvest cycle is less than ten years. Because it is a strandwoven product it is about as hard as any flooring can get with a Janka rating of over 3000. The Janka Hardness test measures the resistance of a sample of wood to denting and wear. The most common assumption that consumers make is that a high Janka Rating will prevent scratches on their new floor. This is not what the rating provides.

Eco Timber 7" Grey weathered white oak hardwood.

Eco Timber 7″ Grey weathered white oak hardwood.

It is true that the harder the wood is the more difficult it will be for that floor to be dented, but denting and scratching are two very different things. Even the hardest woods are prone to scratches, so no matter what type of hardwood you own, you should be cautious when moving heavy objects across your floor.   All floors require maintenance and care and the buyer should know how to best take care of their investment. A number of our customers have chemical sensitivities looking specifically for products that will not off-gass. Several have tested our products in labs or even slept with them before buying. It is a serious health consideration to purchase healthy materials that you live with every day.  Not only is the flooring choice a health decision but so is the finish.

Vermont Natural Coatings patented PolyWhey® technology has emerged as a new category of wood finish; delivering easy-to-use products that have established the highest performance and environmental standards. We use whey protein, a byproduct of cheese making, to displace toxic ingredients found in traditional finishes. Vermont Natural Coatings PolyWhey floor and furniture finishes and our new Exterior Penetrating Stain and Water Proofer Infused with Juniper, are the choice of professionals and do-it-yourselfers alike.

Vermont Natural Coatings patented PolyWhey® technology has emerged as a new category of wood finish; delivering easy-to-use products that have established the highest performance and environmental standards. A whey protein, a byproduct of cheese making, to displace toxic ingredients found in traditional finishes. Vermont Natural Coatings PolyWhey floor and furniture finishes and our new Exterior Penetrating Stain and Water Proofer Infused with Juniper, are the choice of professionals and do-it-yourselfers alike.

We offer Vermont Natural Coatings for unfinished wood, furniture, trim, and outside decking or siding. It offers a beautiful, healthy, durable finish and is easier to apply than many other sustainable choices. Most builders or home owners do not want to be out of their homes for a week or more waiting for a finish to cure so this is something to consider if finishing woodwork. Vermont Natural Coatings dries very quickly and offers one of the most durable finishes on the market. It will outlast a Bona finish and the coverage is greater. Timing is also something that needs to be considered when purchasing flooring. Though many of flooring products can be shipped within a few days, a floor that is specially selected from the Appalachian region that benefits our local economy  may take a few more weeks. Not always, but often. The wait is worth it though, so plan ahead!

Barn Doors. Reclaimed and popular in rustic as well as contemporary settings.

Barn Doors. Reclaimed and popular in rustic as well as contemporary settings.

For more information give The ARCH a call at 828 253 5455 or visit our showroom at 2000 Riverside Drive Unit 10, Asheville, NC 28804.

OR Complete our Flooring Contact Form online!

We can have samples and  flooring shipped anywhere in the country.

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Hand Finished, Hand Made, Brings Details Together For Small Bathroom

Handmade tiles, cast bronze switchplate, American Clay plaster

Waiting for the details you like for a room is well worth it.  So often it is evident that a room is “rushed” with whatever the “deciding forces” gather together just to have it all finished. That “hurry  up and finish attitude” often lacks a little vision. To me, it’s worth waiting on something that you know you are going to like and ENJOY!

Take the tiles in this small bathroom for example. They were selected to compliment the clay walls and woodwork which tied together the entire vanity area in a pleasant way.

  The room has a lovely American Clay finish (Clay type:Loma, pigment- Amber Grain).

It is a joy to live with – as it breathes with the humidity beautifully.  The mirror had been positioned on a “temporary” wood brace, just waiting for it’s friendly art tile to arrive one day.

Well, the tile recently arrived, as we ordered from one of the talented artists at The ARCH.

Detail

 We simply drew a line in the clay, scraped off with a scraper the area where the tile would fit within.

Removing clay in area to be tiled. Easy!

We taped off a few areas and installed the tiles.  Any slight touch ups in the clay can be made with the original clay- just re-hydrate what came off the wall(!), or we will use some from a container saved from the original application.

So there you have it, a small area revitalized where  all the natural elements work together.

Newsletter featuring this installation: May Newsletter 2011

Available at The ARCH:

American Clay plaster, application services

Knob detail on the cabinet by Notting Hill

Switchplate in cast bronze

Soy candles, plantlife soap

“Beauty in the Glaze” Blog – more on tiles featured.

Great DIY Network Video Released about American Clay Earth plaster

September 7, 2010 1 comment

Great new American Clay Earth Plaster video was recently released through DIY Network. The video is about four and a half minutes long with discussions about manufacturing the clay, safe pigment choices, benefits of the clay such as staying cleaner than painted walls due to the negative ions, application techniques, the great feeling it offers and more.  Call us at The Arch for your next project and questions!  www.thearchnc.com 828 253 5455.  We’ve been a dealer for over six years and we have a wealth of application experience. Here’s our gallery if you want to view some of our application work as well. Happy viewing!

To view video click here

Lime Gauging and Lime Washes over American Clay: More than Just a New Palette

Have you ever noticed how just a couple of new ingredients changes everything exponentially?  We’re hard at work introducing a variety of finishes, experimenting, and developing a new palette of options.  One of the finish options  we work with is American Clay Lime Putty.  The focus here is lime gauging and lime wash effects that you can create used in conjunction with the already beautiful  American Clay’s  line of award-winning earth plasters- Loma, Porcelina, Maritimo and Enjarre. It is a pure high-calcium lime putty mixed with  the clay itself (lime gauging) or diluted with water and pigment if desired you create a lime wash by brushing over a previously earth clay troweled wall surfaces. The lime will continue to harden over the days and months ahead creating a harder finish. Benefits include breathability, mold and mildew resistance, and humidity buffering qualities.

Wall example with American Clay earth plaster- Lime gauged and Lime washed Enjarre, 1/3 wild horse smoke, skip troweled

The amazing part of it all is that the more we work with the lime effects (along with all the other finishes we have worked with) it continues to teach us something historically, architecturally, and artistically.

Burnished lime gauged Porcelina wall with Lake Tahoe

This example along the stairwell shows a porcelina clay which is lime gauged. When burnished it highlights  the lime and polishes nicely.

This yellow wall  has a lime wash. On Loma, Maritimo or Enjarre, the lime wash will be more matte. It can be uniformly applied or more random as in this detail image.

Lime washed Loma random application, Tuscan gold pigment, skip troweled and burnished

For more information on how to gauge lime putty and lime wash click here to learn more. This is great tutorial on American Clay’s website that will discuss techniques.

Below is a sample board that shows the  Chesapeake Bay Porcelina clay hard troweled with two lime washes applied and burnished. The right white lime wash is pure with no pigment, the left green is the snake river pigment with the lime wash and you can see  how quickly the green takes over the underlying clay yet it peaks through. Both create interesting effects. Varying degrees of lime wash with or without pigment can be applied.

We welcome and encourage conversation regarding lime gauging and lime washes.
We will soon have some workshops for Lime Putty exploration for those that have taken a previous American Clay workshop.
Looking forward to having more fun with our artistic fellow clay friends.
Varying degrees of lime wash with or without pigment can be applied

Tiles and Finish Ideas for your Wood-fired Oven!



Working on a wood-fired oven design and “ovenscape”? What thought are you giving to the artistic elements? In addition to researching your options, be sure to sit in your favorite inspirational place with your sketchpad and cool drink to think through the fun part.  There are so many ways to finish an oven and the surroundings. As a dealer of Forno Bravo wood-fired ovens and American Clay  I’ve come to appreciate a finishes as well as a wide selection of brick, natural lime finishes, stone, custom concrete and tile. I can appreciate a setting for wood-fired ovens with indigenous stonework where the oven blends into the landscape as well as does Hermits Rest at the Grand Canyon. I can appreciate an eco-modern custom concrete minimalist style that will cast a shadow of a basil leaf.  However, I am a little less excited about finishing off a perfectly wonderful installation with uninteresting surfaces with little thought to the shapes and lines that surround it.  Go for something that you love that will greet you every time you walk into your new cooking oasis! Allow your oven to reflect the delicious food it will deliver!  The ARCH is into finishes as our name implies. We can recommend a local concrete craftsman to create surfaces for the oven face, hearth, counter or benches. We can also offer Jim Erskine’s skills- an Asheville area mason of over thirty years- who can face the oven or foundation walls with rock, brick, or our new offering of  natural lime plaster finish that is historically time-honored for thousands of years. Then there are tiles,tiles, tiles and more tiles. Create a great keystone in an arch, an array of insets, a mosaic that hugs the entire oven, a theme of plants,  herbs, natural vines, geometrics, three dimensional or flat.  There are endless ideas to consider!  Above is a gallery of images for inspiration. Think about each image and don’t be confined to the shape of one piece- it’s just a sample not a composition. Take the time to think your about your selection of finishes and  design elements and have fun with the process!

Handmade tiles at The ARCH: Beauty in the glaze

 A  rich glazed tile backdrop surrounding a fountain? Something dynamic behind the range that you cook near daily? A few low horizontal serene rows behind the vanity?   Whether it be a nook and cranny or a larger expanse, the radiance of hand glazed handmade tile will bring you a little more  joy as these tiles will influence your surroundings with a beauty that machine made, knock ’em out factory tiles just don’t provide. We’re talking about that special place you are considering- not the entire kitchen floor.  There is something about knowing and sensing the feeling of fingers actually smoothing edges, carefully drying the clay in a studio space, glazing and firing by hand. You can sense  something intriguing in handmade tilework.  Entered here are a handful of images of hand glazed samples and tiles by one of the incredible tile artists represented at The ARCH. This will be one of several entries about handmade tiles available through The ARCH.

The Arch hosts American Clay Advanced Applicator class

February 10, 2010 2 comments

Great job everyone! A big thank you to instructor Patrick Webb for guiding a great class. He has a wealth of knowledge and we really appreciated his insights and great instruction. Thanks to Jim Erskine and my brother Tom Silver for set up, assisting the entire event and helping with cleanup! Eleven great participants made this class a great one with their enthusiasm and high interest to continue on as advanced applicators.  Participants include finishers, builders, artists, designers. In attendance:  Sheila Harvey from VA, Sandra Frushour from Greenville SC, Gail Douglas from Wake Forest, NC, Dan Sullens from Charlotte, NC and Greenville, SC, Billy Sellers from Charlotte, NC and Greenville, SC, Mark Bondurant from Asheville, Justin with SEED from Asheville, Jonathan Gilbert from Asheville, Steve Westerlund from Lake Toxaway, NC, Brian Bell from Florida/VA,  and Tom Silver from Asheville.
The Arch wants to support applicators and with their support in return we will list them as applicators once they apply with American Clay to be listed online. So get listed!

Wishing everyone a successful year and journey with the clay!