By Julie Unger
When building a home, you start from the bottom and build up. Floor Specialists applies the same When building a home, you start from the bottom and build up. Floor Specialists applies the same premise when designing a home.
“Our tagline is, ‘It begins with a perfect floor,’” owner Cathy Ferris said. “That sets the stage for the entire interior, whether it be hardwood, beautiful porcelain large-format tiles, marble, laminate or beautiful luxury vinyl tile. Your settings will then reflect whatever is on the floor.”
For close to two decades, Cathy and Tom Ferris have brought specialty flooring to residents of the western communities. Tom, whose family has long been in the flooring business, specializes in hardwood floors, while Cathy’s forte is design.
In 1998, she was hired by a major manufacturer to select specifications for a large home builder. The specific products she chose for the floors and walls then became the standard for the models.
“I would set up their design center and train their designers, who would do the selections on how to put everything together in these homes for their future buyers,” Cathy recalled.
She gained vast experience in the 11 years she worked in that job, and offers her experience and expertise to her customers today. “As that grew, so did my knowledge of what works and doesn’t work,” she said.
Cathy has worked with high-end designers who have taught her a great deal about surfaces and fabrics, but those come after the flooring is chosen.
“Every designer will always start with, ‘What are we putting on the floors?’ That will set the stage on the rest of the furnishings,” she said. “That, in itself, says it all. It begins with a perfect floor.”
For example, think about the surface of the floor. If you use carpet, it provides warmth — and the color provides depth and affects how a room feels.
“The overall feel that you want to give to your home dictates the type of floor you want to start with,” Cathy said. “The first question I’m going to ask you is, ‘Tell me a little bit about your lifestyle. Do you have children? Do you entertain in your home? Do you have pets?’ You find out more about their lifestyle.”
The feelings evoked from the room, or home, as well as the budget and style, direct the product selection.
Popular surfaces include laminate, luxury vinyl tile, ceramic or porcelain tile, and wood floors. Laminate, Cathy said, is a great product, but it doesn’t work well in all circumstances, particularly in areas that could get wet. Luxury vinyl tile, on the other hand, is waterproof and feels softer on the foot than laminate. Carpet has transitioned from covering a room and adding color to something that adds patterns and textures.
Large-format tiles mean less grouting of joints. In the past, patterns would repeat frequently, but now they may repeat every 1,000 feet, rather than every four tiles. “Often times, people think that small rooms call for small tile. That is not necessarily true,” Cathy said. “In fact, incorporating a larger-size tile in a smaller room will visually increase the size of the space. And fewer grout lines will help create a cleaner surface appearance.”
Porcelain tiles, which are made of a fine powder, are increasingly more popular than ceramic, granular tiles, which are similar but thicker and grainier, Cathy explained. Both types wear similarly. Due to the surge in popularity, porcelain is more readily available, as factories have found it more cost-effective to focus on one product.
Wooden floors, she said, range from oak that looks like it grew where it’s installed, to wide, custom hand-scraped and distressed planks.
Cathy likes to find out how long a client plans on staying in their current home.
“If the floor is perfect, that’s a selling point,” she said, stressing the importance of doing bathrooms, kitchens and flooring correctly the first time.
Her expertise makes it possible to determine what will or won’t work both in the short-term and long-term for a client.
After Cathy works with the client on the design, Tom does the final measurements before the transformation begins.
“Often, customers put their trust in me because they really don’t know where to begin,” she said. “The most satisfying part is at the end of the project when I get, ‘Cathy, I cannot believe it. This is exactly what I wanted.’”
The best part of designing from the bottom up, she explained, is the process.
“Flooring is one of the most costly items that you put in your home. To know they trusted us, and they’re extremely happy in the end… and when they refer someone else — what a great compliment,” Cathy said.
The personal, specialty service that clients receive at Floor Specialists makes Cathy and Tom unique. They recently won “Best of Customer Service” on Houzz, a leading home remodeling and design resource, where Floor Specialists was chosen by members of the platform’s community.
Cathy offered the following advice for someone looking to remodel their home, or starting out fresh: “If you’re going to hire a designer to do your floors, you want to find somebody who has long-term experience, that when you go into their showroom and/or their flooring store, they’re not just trying to sell you on a product. They’re going to ask you about your lifestyle and help guide you to a product. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t right,” she said.
Trust and honesty are important to Cathy and Tom Ferris. “Beware the word ‘free.’ Nothing is free,” she said. “The bottom line of a proposal is what’s most important.”
The new Floor Specialists showroom is located at 11101 S. Crown Way, Suite 5, in Wellington. It is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. For more info., call (561) 514-1912 or visit www.floorspecialists.biz. premise when designing a home.