Even though wall-to-wall carpeting was the fashion when Tim French was a boy when his mother decided to have their rugs taken up, they found beautiful hardwood floors underneath.
That childhood revelation helped lead him to a 25-year career in the flooring industry.
Today, as co-owner of 21st Century Flooring America, located at 12001 Shelbyville Rd., he uses his expertise to help customers find the best ways to make their own floors beautiful.
Tim and co-owner Greg Harmon, who has been installing floors for 20 years, opened the store in May, following the success of their New Albany location.
They are retail members of Flooring America, a Canadian-based organization servings the Americas.
“It’s a 500-member cooperative buying group that gives us an edge,” Tim said. “Large manufacturers, such as Mannington and Armstrong make special products for our group. We’re also able to offer better pricing across the board.”
Canada’s beautiful forests provide many lines of hardwood flooring carried at 21st Century Flooring America, with finishes ranging from hand-scraped to polished.
In-store designer Amber Hensgen works with customers to combine hardwood with carpets by Kane and other brands, or create area rugs that can fine-tune a room’s new look.
Customers also benefit from seminars presented by the Decorating Den and from the store’s monthly Wine and Design nights, which resume in January.
“Hardwood flooring is very classic, warm and rich,” he said. “You see it combined with other materials — not only area rugs, but also going right into a master bath with stone.”
Tim and Greg are intrigued by the versatility of stone and tile.
Their showrooms’ floors display many ways in which they can be used, including slip-resistant pebbles that invite touching.
“We call them feng shui for the feet,” Tim said. “People take their shoes off to walk on them. Pebbles are great for a shower floor. Stone lends itself well to bathrooms in general. Some people worry that their feet might be cold, but there are all kinds of ways to add warmth, such as radiant heating.”
The properties that make stone an appealing floor covering — it’s easy to keep clean and resists scratch marks from pets — also are found in porcelain tile.
Despite the teacup image that comes to mind, tile is quite durable. New technology adds colors and patterns to many kinds of flooring, including finishes that resemble wood.
For added style, Tim recommends borders or inserts made of glass, stone or metal tile.
“We call them the jewelry of the flooring industry,” he said. “They catch light and attract the eye, making an interesting accent. People like being creative by using them for trim, edging or even chair rails.
But if any material isn’t installed properly, it can crack or break. We own our installation companies, so we’re sure about the quality of their work.”
Tim is working on a flooring project of his own — in his family’s attic.
“We’re going to put in carpet with hardwood or stone around the perimeter, but with plywood under the carpet, to make it more economical,” he said. “When you’re in this business, it’s hard to keep from redoing your house a lot.”
21st Century Flooring America (12001 Shelbyville Rd.) is open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m.-2 p.m. For information, visit www.yournewfloors.com or phone 384-4919.
Category: Business Profile