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One-of-a-kind looks define hardwood’s upper echelon

No category has suffered through the building market’s sag quite as much as hardwood, particularly in new construction. But consumers are still buying and certain parties want what they want—those who demand luxury still expect nothing less. To meet her needs, mills are producing unique products that transform her home into something exceptional.

Armstrong

Highgrove Manor is a collection destined to inspire admiration the day it is installed and for decades to come, said Milton Goodwin, vice president of pro- duct management-hardwood. High-grade North American oak, maple, hickory and cherry is used to construct the 3⁄4-inch solid hardwood line in 4- and 5- inch wide planks. On the surface, it is sanded smooth and completed with premium stains and durable finishes in shades ranging from clear natural and chocolate, and new neutrals including whitewash and soft gray.

DuChateau

The Atelier Collection by DuChateau is hand finished by Tom Goddijn, whose work can be found in historic European land- marks like the Louvre in Paris and the Queen’s Residence in Holland. The character-grade series of French oak comes in 16 colors and can be floated, glued down or nailed down.

“I have the Atelier Collection in my own home,” said Mitch Tagle, president of DuChateau. “This unique floor brings a personal touch into your space for an equally striking and luxurious statement.”

HomerWood

Made in Pennsylvania of hardwood from the Appalachian Mountain region, Amish handscraping is applied to 3⁄4-inch solid and 5⁄8-inch engineered boards in lengths up to 7 feet and widths up to 6 inches.

“Premium products command a higher price in direct correlation to the costs involved to produce our one-of-a-kind floors,” said Wendy Wescoat, marketing manager. Since the consumer is searching for on-trend products and designs that complement what she is finding in other areas of home décor, the company has focused on customization and design options such as Herringbone cut planks. “Our new flooring colors and surface treatments are relevant with today’s home trends and truly complement any style of home décor.”

IndusParquet

The Brazilian supplier has identified Golden Patina Metallic from the Coterie collection as a top-of- the-line product. Made with the mill’s unique Solidarity construction of solid-on-solid wood treated through it’s Breathe drying process, its strength allows for commercial and heavy residential use, said Jason Strong, vice presi- dent of sales and marketing.

“You have all the strength and visuals of a solid with the stability of an engineered construction,” he explained. “It allows us to do very wide and long planks at over 7 feet long.”

Golden Patina Metallic is unique because it has an actual gold metallic sheen. “We wire brush out the soft grain of the flooring, then fill it with a shimmery golden patina,” Strong said. “It really pops.”

Mercier

The Canadian mill enhanced its Heritage wood collection in red oak. Stressing the natural grain of the specie, wire brushing is applied for a time-worn look that accentuates knots and natural features, said Michel Collin, director of marketing. “Red oak is characterized by a distinctive grain and clearly visible growth rings,” he explained. “Mercier Heritage Red Oak cerates warmth that enhances the atmosphere of any dwelling in the city or country.” The Heritage collection is offered in six stains with the Mercier Generations Green- Guard-certified matte finish.

Mirage

The mill’s Sweet Memories series now offers 6½-inch widths and four new colors that simulate the look of antique wood flooring. “These additions meet consumer demand for floors with the rustic appeal of differentiated boards,” said Luc Robitaille, vice president of marketing. “Currently, there is a strong interest in floors that have a time-worn look yet retain a high level of quality.”

Appealing to a desire for unique flooring, Mirage has expanded its Exotic series with African Mahogany in three colors. The engineered, prefinished addition comes in 5-inch widths, tongue and groove installation with a micro-V bevel on four sides and the mill’s Nanolinx finish.

Mullican

Mullican has applied its proprietary AquaShield two-part installation shield to its Castillian collection. Originally unveiled in 2010 with 12 engineered products, Castillian represented the company’s first integration of whitewashed and sculpted-smoked surface treatments for high-end designer markets, said Brian Greenwell, vice president of sales and marketing.

Adding Aqua Shield-compatible solids to Castillian “only serves to strengthen this collection, which combines strength and durability with customized style elements,” Greenwell said. “It’s also exciting to be introducing additional consumer products that carry our lifetime moisture warranty.”

Shaw

Grand Canyon Vista affords unique structural integrity due to the fused strength of its recycled content, made 100% from mill-recycled maple, said Kevin Thompson, hardwood category manager. The collection comes in two colors on 8-inch wide, composite solid, handscraped boards that highlight grain pattern. It also comes with a 50-year surfaces warranty, due in part to Shaw’s ScufResist Platinum UV-cured polyurethane finish.

“Grand Canyon Vista is truly one of our most unique hard- woods, bringing together craftsmanship and artistry to create one of the most beautiful products in the industry,” Thompson said. “The combination of the time-worn, hand-crafted look and classic maple hardwood can evoke more of a luxurious atmosphere for the consumer’s home.”

-Emily Hooper