Smith & Fong Plyboo: The Original Bamboo Panel.

Smith & Fong Plyboo: The Original Bamboo Panel. Smith & Fong created both the product and th

Simply Fish — Sustainable Food in an Eco-Friendly Environment

Simply Fish features FSC Smith & Fong Plyboo plywood for interiors

Massachusetts General Gets Gold

Massachusetts General Hospital, The Lunder Building is recognized by Architectural Record for its LE

 

Interview with Kari Whitman

August 5, 2011 in Interview

Smith & Fong Co. did an exclusive interview with celebrity interior designer, Kari Whitman. In the interview, she outlines tips, tricks, and inspiration to incorporate her design aesthetic into you daily life.  To learn more about Kari, visit her website at: www.kariwhitmaninteriors.com.

Smith & Fong Co.: I read that you were an early adapter to environmentally focused interior design. What got you interested in this? When did you know you wanted to be a designer?

Kari Whitman: I’m from Bolder Colorado, a Tree Hugger Hippie, there’s no other way to be. I’ve never NOT been green. To recycle and reuse, even for a modern sleek home, I find pieces to redo, mix old with new, to find more personality in diversity. Older products are typically made with better ethics and better quality materials. I bring things down to the wood frame and re cover them.

SF: I first became acquainted with your work after seeing what you did with the home of Jessica Alba. Was she initially interested in green design or is it something you were able to explore together?

KW: She hired me because of my green knowledge. She understands sustainability and she will do everything she can to be non toxic. Jessica knows the value of creating a healthy home and worked with me to promote her standards through a designer’s aesthetic.

SF: What were the aims in the Alba home? Indoor Air Quality? Using rapidly renewable materials. What were the two of you going after when you collaborated on her home?

KW: Mold testing is a standard for about 65% of the homes, especially for a baby’s room. There are many issues about vocs (volatile organic compounds). So everything down to cleaning supplies was an issue. No quick fixes using chemicals. For maintenance, we used a combination of hemp oil, vegetable oil, and a splash of tea tree — wipe and clean everything, even on wood floors, they look great.

SF: I read in an interview not too long ago where you mentioned our Durapalm product (thanks by the way!) What drew you to it initially and what made you feel it was a product worthy of recommending by name?

KW: Plyboo is easy to work with as a company, has the most variation with different dimensions, and a large variety of products. I’m obsessed with Durapalm and it’s many ways of being used, along with coconut palm products having so many textures and tones. I love all the different grains. It is a sleek, yet gives an organic feel, but it can also look modern. Because it has a sleek look, I love to add metals to create a balance and harmony.

SF: Which projects did you use our products in? Do any come to mind? I am currently working on an estate, in Texas. We are creating furniture pieces with Plyboo, and possibly incorporating flooring. We might even use some of the materials to create an indoor and an outdoor look. In Aspen, with Tony Banderas’ house, I am using Plyboo to modernize a very rustic cabin to have a better balanced feeling.

KW: What challenges do you face when suggesting ecologically friendly building materials to homeowners? Challenges with manufacturers are finding those who are actually green and meet high sustainable standards. I want to use smaller companies, who are passionate. I do a background check to make certain they live up to what they say. Also getting a client to understand that green products can be sleek and modern.

SF: I see that you have a pretty large influence in green design, and you’re covered quite heavily in popular magazines. What advice would you have for a homeowner interested in making more environmentally sound design decisions — improving indoor air quality for instance? What advice do you have for renters?

KW: Find pieces of furniture, which are timeless. Also refurbish, reuse and give another life to a product. Take a chair and gut it. Perhaps use a beautiful royal blue fabric with cream piping. You can after five years take that same chair and use a silver grey fabric with nail heads and create an entirely different look. There are fantastic green no voc paints. I like AFM Safecoat. Take a few of their vibrant colors, add some lighting at lamps plus (a store known for green products, kooky and funky with a bit of hollywood glam). Find a few pieces of lighting, add some timeless pieces of furniture, use a Plyboo woven palm panel in a key place, and you have great design. It does not have to put you into debt to make your space sleek and well designed.

SF: Which eco-focused media do you follow? Any blogs in particular?

KW: I read the Bolder Magazine, Bolder Daily Camera, my home town is so profound they seem to be one step in front of everyone else. They even started their own sustainable place, Boulder Sustainability Network. CU has an education center which is tremendous. Dwell is great for ideas. Also Solar Row, reading from my roots, listen to lectures from CU sustainability project.

SF: Do you feel it’s difficult to transition into running a sustainable household?

KW: Not at all. Once you take steps, starting with cleaning solutions, fabrics, carpets — they all add up to a better organic aesthetic. You can feel the healthy environment. it becomes evident!

SF: I noticed that you’ve also done commercial design, and even have extended your brand to designing pet spaces. Is there any one area you feel people should really reconsider impact on their immediate environment when making their design to-do lists?

KW: Design with Paws in Mind, my book, is in the works. Pets and children, should use durable, non-toxic products. Chemicals and petroleum based products interact with pets and kids. I recommend when working with Don Henley when they were expecting their child, to look at all household cleaners. We also made certain that no carpet or other materials on the floors were going to be toxic. As we researched chemicals used in carpet I became more ware of how unhealthy carpet can be with all the added chemicals for stain resistance and simple binders they use for backing. Kids and pets are so interactive with materials that we focused on natural organic flooring and coverings. Also, take a look at Greener Pup Dog Beds. Remember use natural products, meaning few chemically developed fragrances and harsh solutions. The more simple it is the better.

SF: What would you like to see happen with the future of interior design?

KW: I’d like to see mandatory laws to really guide. I’d also like for sustainability not be a trend but a reality, from fad to a way of life. We should figure out a way for really green companies to be noticed and validated and be successful.

The views expressed are those of the interviewee and may not necessarily reflect the views and policies of Smith & Fong Co.

How hard is bamboo flooring?

July 26, 2011 in FAQ series

There are several types of bamboo flooring offerings available, each with winning aesthetic attributes and varying hardnesses.  The hardness of bamboo flooring, hardwood flooring, and plank flooring of other categories is determined by the Janka Hardness Test.  This test is most commonly used to decide a species’ average hardness for flooring use.

The Janka Hardness Test uses a steel ball to measure the resistance of the bamboo or wood flooring surface to denting and wear.  The test measures the force required to embed the ball halfway into the surface in pounds-force (United States), kilograms-force (Europe), or in Newtons (Australia). This entry will refer to the pounds-force measurements for the United States.

The pounds-force measurements are listed as PSI, or pounds per square inch. When reading hardness measurements, for example, you’d likely encounter something like “natural bamboo flooring: 1800 psi.” This means that it takes 1800 pounds of force per square inch to wedge a steel ball into our natural flat grain bamboo flooring.

Many people assume that hardwood floors are the strongest, however, this isn’t always the case. The chart below shows how Plyboo’s bamboo flooring product line stacks up against traditional wood flooring.

This chart illustrates the PSI or Janka Hardness results of various flooring surfaces.

As you can see, bamboo flooring made by Plyboo is quite tough, especially the strand bamboo flooring.  PlybooStrand bamboo flooring is 3000psi and is much harder than oak birch,  or maple wood flooring.   Plyboo Edge Grain and Flat Grain bamboo flooring, both in natural, are considerably strong as well at 1700psi and 1800psi, respectively.

Aside from the important aesthetic considerations of your flooring choice, it is important to consider your durability requirements as well.

Whether commercial or residential, high or low traffic the hardness of your flooring product will be an important decision in your choice of flooring product. If you’d like to discuss the specifics of your next flooring project, Smith & Fong’s knowledgeable staff is ready to help. Please contact at – sales@plyboo.com or call 866-835-9859.

PlybooSquared makes a Cameo on TakePart.com

July 21, 2011 in Installations, Uncategorized

As you know, PlybooSquared was featured in the EcoFabulous Modern Living House in the Dwell on Design Show in Los Angeles last month. It was a wildly successful showing, and the media center made with Plyboosquared bamboo plywood and bamboo veneer got lots of attention; it even makes a cameo in this video featured on TakePart.com.

Inside Ecofabulous’ Modern Living Showhouse from TakePart on Vimeo.

The house was recently sold on Ebay to a lucky individual.

Contact sales@plyboo.com if you’re interested in purchasing PlybooSquared plywood or veneers. For flooring visit: www.plyboo.com/plyboodirect .

FSC Certified Bamboo Flooring

July 19, 2011 in FAQ series, How Green is Bamboo?

Now that we know the answer to “how green is bamboo flooring,” there’s room to explore the merits of what FSC® Certification means and why you should buy FSC®Pure bamboo flooring from Plyboo. Smith & Fong has always been committed to sustainable forestry practices. In 2008, Smith & Fong Co. received FSC® Certification for its bamboo resource marking a significant change in the industry. FSC® is the acronym for the Forest Stewardship Council™, an organization established to set standards for socially and environmentally responsible forestry.

The FSC® was formed in 1993 and has been setting the global standard for responsible forestry for 20 years, with criteria that span economic, social, and environmental concerns, and require annual audits to ensure compliance. Almost 60 countries around the world abide by FSC® forestry standards. Also all certified products are linked to a chain-of-custody (COC) number representing an FSC® Certified third-party that ensures product compliance to FSC® standards.

Smith & Fong Co. is committed to responsible forestry, and this is something to remember when looking for socially responsible bamboo flooring. “We have been working with the bamboo forests and telling our story for more than a decade now, and we’re grateful to both FSC® and IMO for validating our efforts.” Smith & Fong president and founder Dan Smith said. Smith & Fong’s certified Plyboo products qualify for the FSC® Pure designation, as they are 100-percent FSC material from an FSC®-certified forest and have been sold and/or processed by an FSC® chain-of-custody certified company. The company’s sources use no irrigation, pesticides or fertilizers in growing the bamboo. “This is not only a success for the forests and the farmers who grow our bamboo,” says Smith. “It’s a victory for everyone who believes in an environmentally responsible future.”

Plyboo brand FSC® Certified bamboo flooring, bamboo plywood, and bamboo veneers are available worldwide. Contact the company directly for details if you’d like to know how to get Plyboo in your country (sales@plyboo.com). You can also buy FSC® Certified bamboo flooring directly from Plyboo at www.plyboo.com/plyboodirect/

Plyboo Bamboo Flooring Video

July 19, 2011 in Installations

Here is a video to explore the many uses and types of bamboo flooring offered by Plyboo.  The video introduces it’s easy to install fitness flooring appropriately named PlybooFit.  All of the bamboo flooring featured in the video is appropriate for residential and commercial use.  To learn more about which type of palm or bamboo floor will work best for your space, contact us: 866-835-0577.