At Home, a New Book by Bill Bryson

Sometimes a book can make you take a second look at an everyday idea or product. This is certainly the case with At Home, a new book by Bill Bryson. It focuses on things we take for granted in our homes and discusses how they developed over time.

This month all the newest in flooring will be shown at Surfaces, the largest flooring event in the U.S., so now is a good time to consider the start of flooring and the progress we’ve made.

Initially, homes were constructed to protect people from the elements. Not only were style and design unimportant, so was something as basic as comfort. Floors were simply the dirt a home was built upon, generally packed down.

Over time, wealthier people in England and other parts of Europe added layers of rushes over the dirt to keep down the dust and make the ground softer and warmer to walk on. These rushes were replenished about twice a year generally. However, don’t picture nice clean green grass or dry hay underfoot. People generally didn’t remove the old rushes; simply placing new rushes on top. This meant that floors were deep, natural havens for insects as well as worse options such as mice and rats.

Eventually wood, stone and tile replaced this practice, but choices were limited to what was available locally. Carpets, which often came from far away or were woven at home, were so valuable that they were hung on the walls or placed on tables. Certainly no one expected to walk on one.

It’s worthwhile to think of the challenges homeowners had in the past the next time you come into our design center. You have an amazing selection of a variety of materials gathered from across the world.

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