USING TECH TO IMPROVE YOUR HOME
by Cassidy Mantor
The baking soda volcano is a science experiment you probably remember from elementary school. For some of us, it sparked a lifelong curiosity about chemistry or geology. Others may have blocked out lab reports and found a passion for the arts instead. In this feature, we’re going to demystify building science and offer suggestions for how to make your home perform better.
WHJ Will Review:
Automating your window coverings and improving your safety, energy efficiency, and enjoyment with Park City Blind & Design
Acclimating wood so that your custom floors have a lifetime of beauty with The Wood Man Floors
We hope you are inspired!
Experience, Service, & Beautiful Custom Window Treatments
Park City Blind & Design
Park City Blind & Design (PCB) is a full-service custom window treatment company, serving clients throughout Utah and surrounding states for over 25 years. They offer a full line of custom window coverings, bedding, upholstery, custom fabrics, and draperies. Their team specializes in the latest style trends and technologies of roller shades, romans, woven woods, blinds, shutters, exterior shades, awnings, drapery systems, motorization, and automation. They are a Hunter Douglas Gallery Dealer with a state-of-the-art showroom and fabric design studio in Park City, showcasing numerous products and control types to provide a hands-on experience to designers, trade professionals, and homeowners alike.
PCB’s owner, Clint Olson, has been a leader in the industry for over 30 years. His experience and knowledge of shades and drapery systems, along with his sense of design, allow Clint and his team to offer an added layer of expertise, guiding clients in how to combine real functionality and design style with a vast product assortment of the highest quality.
Steve Lee, PCB’s Manager of Sales and Business Development, explains what makes the company unique. “Nearly anyone can sell a blind or a shade,” he says. “But what we do is combine many years of product knowledge and experience with the waves of technology, immense product selection, understanding and vision of long-term function, and then we wrap all of that in the latest style trends and beauty—coordinating and enhancing the look and design of a home or business environment.”
Motorized Shades: Wireless Lithium-ion Batteries + Smart Home Integration
Motorized shades can be hard-wired or they can be wireless. PCB designs many projects that are pre-wired for motorization. However, the most popular tech components PCB installs on a daily basis are wire-free, rechargeable motors, used in nearly any type of window treatment. Steve acknowledges that there’s still a misconception that motorization is extremely expensive, but he adds that PCB’s offerings are affordable and user-friendly. Gone are the days when a homeowner must swap out a row of batteries in a battery pack or take on an even larger project of rewiring an entire house. Motorization provides child and pet safety, maximizes energy efficiency, and is now more accessible and affordable than ever.
“Technology has helped greatly in this regard, particularly with rechargable lithium-ion batteries,” Steve says. “We can motorize without prewiring, and the outcome is more cost-efficient. It’s like TVs or microwaves, which once cost thousands of dollars. Technology has improved so that we can now offer motors with batteries that are charged once a year and power nearly any window covering.”
“We can motorize without prewiring, and the outcome is more cost-efficient. It’s like TVs or microwaves, which once cost thousands of dollars. Technology has improved so that we can now offer motors with batteries that are charged once a year and power nearly any window covering.”
–Steve Lee, Manager of Sales & Business Development, Park City Blind & Design
Another aspect of PCB’s technological expertise is their ability to integrate smart home technology across a wide range of functions and budgets. At the ground level, having a smart home for some people might simply mean having remote control-operated shades that open or close with a push of a button on a remote or a wall switch.
A second level of smart home technology includes installing an affordable hub and a phone app so that homeowners can set timers for when their shades go up and down. This is appealing for clients who want to control their shades from anywhere in the world. A third tier of shade automation using smart home technology involves integrating with Alexa, Google Home, or a system such as Control4. PCB can set up IFTTP systems so that the shades lift or lower if you walk into a room and say, “I’m home,” or “I’m going to the store.”
Steve points out that home automation doesn’t have to be overly complex. The automated shade and blind systems can be installed whether or not the whole home is automated, depending on what the homeowner’s needs are and how integrated they want their shades to be with an automation system. Ultimately, it comes down to daily operation preferences.
PCB offers a wide range of products meant to fit all budgets. In situations where a homeowner feels inclined to work with an AV company that might already be wiring their home, the product options available typically come at a significant premium. PCB’s team is highly experienced with motorization and educates clients that the feature does not have to come at an exorbitant cost. The best motorization design for the project may be to have the window coverings hard-wired with line voltage or low voltage. And if so, again, PCB’s team has the experience, know-how, and resources to do so. However, in the world of motorized window coverings, there are many reputable product options available.
Park City Blind & Design has valuable relationships with multiple vendors, like Somfy and Lutron. Accordingly, that interaction leads to a steady source of information about cutting-edge products. The PCB team participates in monthly trainings and is constantly up-to-date about the best products for the market.
A second level of smart home technology includes installing an affordable hub and a phone app so that homeowners can set timers for when their shades go up and down. This is appealing for clients who want to control their shades from anywhere in the world.
Options: Customization and Service
The PCB showroom and fabric studio provide an experience to discover the products and technologies available to create the perfect window treatments. Virtual showroom tours are an option for out-of-town clients seeking more information and ideas about products. In addition to working directly with homeowners, Steve notes that a large portion of PCB’s business is through the design trade. He says, “Professional interior designers and tradespeople who know style, function, and design trust PCB.”
Custom window coverings need to be beautiful as well as functional. The team at Park City Blind & Design has over 100 years of combined experience in custom window treatments. They leverage their unique skills and experience to create beautiful solutions with the best technology available.
For info on Park City Blind & Design, visit parkcityblind.com or call 435.649.9665.
Custom Wood Floors for Lifelong Beauty & Durability
The Wood Man Floors
At The Wood Man Floors, designers, architects, and homeowners can specify the species of wood, width of plank, texture, color, and UV oil finish to get the exact custom flooring they want. The Wood Man Floors finishes both solid and engineered wood floors. The company has a showroom and a 10,000-square-foot warehouse in Salt Lake City that serves as inspiration as well as a resource to make the buying process easier.
The owners of The Wood Man Floors—Kyle, Karen, and Josh—offer custom stained and hand-scraped wood flooring finished with WOCA oil. For those unfamiliar with WOCA oil, it is a Danish finish that is remarkable because of its repairability factor. Compared to a traditional VOC finish that needs to be sanded down and reapplied every few years, WOCA oil involves a simple process of cleaning and refreshing the oil on the floor that keeps it looking beautiful forever.
Acclimation – What is it?
The Wood Man Floors is passionate about educating clients on the proper steps to acclimate and install a custom wood floor. If the floor is put in first in a new build, it will be subjected to unnecessary stress, humidity, and wear from other subcontractors. It is more costly to repair a wood floor than other elements, which is why The Wood Man Floors partners with builders and contractors to install their custom wood floors after the humidity in the house has been controlled.
Josh explains that if wood is stored in the garage, it’s not actually being acclimated. He says, “Contractors like to have the wood on site for a new construction, but they don’t have proper heating or AC functioning yet, so there’s no control of the humidity or temperature. Acclimating means adjusting the wood to the environment where it will actually live.”
“Contractors like to have the wood on site for a new construction, but they don’t have proper heating or AC functioning yet, so there’s no control of the humidity or temperature. Acclimating means adjusting the wood to the environment where it will actually live”
–Josh Larson, Co-Owner, The Wood Man Floors
Acclimating starts with a good product. While every wood flooring company kiln-dries their flooring, a rapidly kiln-dried wood has a lot of stress in it that can cause warping. Accordingly, The Wood Man Floors proudly uses Sheoga wood that is carefully dried to ensure minimum stress, resulting in a high-quality and consistent product. “Sheoga equalizes the moisture in the entire batch of wood,” explains Kyle. “When we visited the facility, they showed us a comparison of raw lumber cut with a bandsaw that had not been equalized, and it was evident that there was tension in the wood. It essentially sprung in on itself. Comparatively, with Sheoga’s process of kiln drying, the wood is dimensionally stable.”
Sheoga is an Amish mill in Middlefield, Ohio, that buys its lumber green. They grade it on site, air-dry it for several months, and then kiln-dry it to equalize and condition it to six to eight percent moisture content. A pallet of Sheoga wood sits very flat and shows no warping, unlike what might be seen from other brands. That stability and precision in the raw product allows The Wood Man Floors to craft high-quality floors for the consumer.
“We want the wood to be happy and we work to find that balance.”
––Kyle Larson, Co-Owner, The Wood Man Floors
Floors Install Last
Kyle and Josh are not just experts in their craft, they are also passionate in their roles as educators about the properties of wood and how to get the most enjoyment out of custom wood flooring. They point out that ideally, flooring should be the last thing done on the job after painting and sheetrock because those will temporarily skew the home’s true conditions.
“It’s so important that we try to maintain an equilibrium,” says Josh. “The wood needs to not take on moisture, so prior to installation we use a moisture meter and take a baseline moisture reading when the wood is delivered. We do another reading before installation to see if the wood’s moisture has changed and if so, to determine why.”
Kyle offers an example of how the moisture could change when a painter works on a house. Painting causes the humidity to skyrocket to 100 percent, and the wood takes on that moisture. “That’s where we run into a problem if it’s put in prematurely,” he says. “Wood is a hygroscopic material, which means that it’s subject to dimensional change with moisture, so when wood is put in too soon, it’s not actually acclimating. We want the wood to be happy and we work to find that balance.”
Correctly acclimated wood and using humidifiers in the home ensures the humidity stays consistent throughout the year. Installing at the end of the building process is the best way to keep custom wood floors in mint condition.
Homeowners and the trades are welcome in The Wood Man Floors’ showroom in Midvale, Utah.
The Wood Man Floors is a family-owned and-operated business.
For more information, visit thewoodmanfloors.com or call 801.561.0674.
“Wood is a hygroscopic material, which means that it’s subject to dimensional change with moisture, so when wood is put in too soon, it’s not actually acclimating.”
–Kyle Larson, Co-Owner, The Wood Man Floors