Author Bill Bryson is always interesting, and his newest book, At Home, takes us on a tour of our own homes, discussing the origins of many elements of our everyday lives that we simply take for granted.
One area to take a special look at is flooring, since this is the month of Surfaces, an annual international flooring event that brings retailers together with some of the best flooring suppliers and manufacturers in the world.
According to Bryson, flooring started at its most basic. For many thousands of years, a home’s floor consisted of the dirt the house was built over. Even into the 20th century, dirt was not uncommon as flooring in rural England.
The next step up was a covering of rushes, replaced twice a year on average. While the idea was to add some softness and warmth, cleanliness was not part of the equation. This is evident by the fact that the old rushes were not removed, but just covered by the new ones. This led to a floor that was a natural habitat for insects as well as mice and rats. Not exactly inviting to us when we think of home décor.
Over time, wood, stone and tile developed in Europe for flooring, but most people used locally available options because transportation was either not available or much too costly. Carpets were so rare and valued that they never appeared on a floor. Instead, people hung them on walls or covered tables with them.
So as you walk into our showroom, although no rushes are available we hope you relish the rich variety of flooring options we offer from around the world, and carpets at a such a price and strength that we actually encourage you to walk on them regularly.