Look to Nature for Tips on Flooring
Wall to Wall with the Decorating Divas
December, 2004 - Issue #3
Flooring is often overlooked as a key ingredient to a finished room. While we won't suggest that you go out and have brand-new hand-scraped hardwood floors installed (although that would be great in an unlimited budget scenario), there are other unique options that are cost-effective and provide a truly desirable effect. Two of our favorite flooring options are both made of natural materials: seagrass and concrete.

Anne: Seagrass is a natural product, kind of a cross between a twine rope and raffia in terms of look and feel. It's woven and slightly resembles the cables on an Irish fisherman's sweater. It can be used as an area rug, often times with a canvas or cotton border. Most common is a seagrass rug with a 1-inch black cotton border. These can be found in most standard sizes at retail stores. For a more custom look, try adding a 3-inch border made out of leather, animal skin or tapestry. These options can be found at reputable carpet retailers; you should be able to order a piece to fit your specific needs and dimensions.

If you are looking for something larger than an area rug, consider using seagrass. A professional easily installs it by gluing it directly to the sub-floor or concrete slab. Seagrass is easy to keep clean - just vacuum it as you would any other carpet or rug. Finally, one of the best things about seagrass is that is goes with every type of decor, from casual to contemporary, even "Queen Anne" formal!

Donna: Another one of our favorite new finishes is concrete. If your home sits on a concrete slab (isn't that just about everyone in Santa Clarita?), you're in luck! Check out some of the various stains available today. Our favorite is Kemiko Concrete Stain - you can check out their website at to see a variety of finishes, as well as photos of actual rooms finished with their products. The concrete stain can be applied in a variety of ways, depending on your desired results. If you want an Italian limestone floor, but the limestone isn't in your budget, this is a great solution for you! Or the stain can be applied in a more mottled look to make the floor appear as though it's been around for a long time. This is a great option if you have existing cracks in the concrete that you you're trying to incorporate into the overall look.

The possibilities are endless. Just make sure that you test spots on the floor prior to working on the entire job, as colored stains will take on different appearances from application to application. Also, some existing concrete may already be finished with sealants, in which case there may be some added steps for you. Finally, concrete floors are not just for the contemporary home - they look great with almost any style. You can soften the look by adding small area rugs.

Anne and Donna: Seagrass and concrete are two of our favorite flooring finishes. Neither one is considered the "average" or "typical" flooring, but both offer cost-effective and easy to maintain solutions that are great for daily use. Now you can look at those old wall-to-wall carpets with new hope!


Donna Lacis and Anne Pryor met over a Crate and Barrel shopping bag in the middle of the Central Shopping District in Hong Kong more than eight years ago. They have been business partners and best friends ever since. They are awaiting the publication of their first book, The Naked Wall: Dress It - Accessorize It. Donna and her husband, Edmund, reside in Hong Kong. Anne, her husband John, and their two sons, Max and Ben, recently relocated to the Santa Clarita Valley from the suburbs of Dallas, Texas.

If you have a decorating dilemma and would like some help, e-mail the divas at
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