Today’s first speaker was Joan Brown of JB Decorating and The Design Coach in Denver, Colorado. Joan took her time today to discuss “Hardwood Flooring 101”. If you are looking into getting wood floors in your home Joan has some helpful tips for making the decision on which hardwood is right for your situation.

What to know before you buy or where are you planning to place it:

  1. Kitchen or Entry way – for this area choice a hard wood, oak or hickory that can handle heavy foot traffic.
  2. Bedroom and/or Home office – for these areas you can chose a softer wood like black cherry or walnut.
  3. Basement – it is recommended to not use solid wood for areas below sub-grade, due to the high humidity and water. The engineered or laminate wood floors are more stable in this type of environment.
  4. Bathrooms – not a recommended use of hardwood due to the moisture and humidity.

What is the flooring going over?

  1. Plywood – as long as it is solid, flat and clean you can install right over the top of this surface – any type of installation will work easily – whether it be glue down, nail or a floating floor.
  2. Existing Floor – with existing floor you will want to use a thinner or engineered board because of the existing flooring you need to be aware of the height of the floor and can cause issues with transitioning from the new floor to an older floor.
  3. Concrete Slab or Tile – since nailing is not an option – a glue or floating floor is you best option in these areas.
  4. Radiant Floor – use engineered flooring in the application, as it is thinner and more stable than traditional wood floors.

Hardwood Basics:

  1. Thickness – standard thickness on hardwoods is ½ to ¾ inch
  2. Length – standard purchase length is 8’
  3. Width – originally hardwoods were cut in wide planks around 5” and over the years they have become thinner and thinner to a 2” but the latest trend is back to the thicker boards
  4. Hardness – the softest of hard woods is the white pine followed by black cherry moving to a medium hardwood like red oak or white cherry and moving into the hardest of the woods Brazilian Koa or Brazilian chestnut.

Which hardwood is right for you?

  1. Classic – domestic woods that come in a variety of colors, grain pattern and hardness – these include stained red oak, white ash, black cherry and heart pine.
  2. Exotic – woods that come from the tropics and are renowned for their rich colors and extreme hardness – these include Brazilian hardwood, Australian cypress, Brazilian koa and black acacia.
  3. Distressed – flooring with an aged look from the day it’s installed – these include distressed hickory, hard scraped white oak and reclaimed flooring.

Easy DIY Flooring:

  1. Engineered wood – based with plywood, its top is pre finished wood veneer. Strips can be fastened or glued down or put in as a floating floor with no fastening at all.
  2. Cork – this flooring is made from the bark of the cork oak tree in Spain and Portugal, this works as a click together or glue down flooring – this is soft under foot, acts as a natural insulator and an excellent sound absorber.
  3. Laminate – this is a photo of wood glued to a fiber board substrate, they come in wide planks for easy installation but keep in mind once it is worn or scratched it can not be refinished.

Keep in mind that when purchasing either the Engineered or Laminate that they are sold in complete cartons and can not be order to the exact size of your space.

Protect You Investment!

  1. Stop dirt at the door – have an entry way or mud room where shoes are taken off or can be cleaned.
  2. Prevent scratching – put foot pads on your furniture so when they slide around there is no damage.
  3. Keep it clean – dust the floor often and use a manufacture approved product for cleaning.
  4. Renew the finish – this should be done every two or three years with a product approved by the manufacturer.
  5. Beware of buildup – avoid cleaners that contain ammonia, wax, polish or oil soaps.

Joan C. Brown * JB Decorating & The Design Coach * 303.399.6208 *

Our second speaker today was Suzanne Smith of Food for Thought Custom Catering in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. She was hampered in preparing for her talk today by a visit from her teacher and mentor when she first started her catering business. So with that she brought out a tray of chocolate covered strawberries for all of us to share. Suzanne, then explained how easy this wonderful dessert to make – how she prepares them is when doing a small batch she will melt the chocolate in the microwave doing a very small amount of Ghirardelli chocolate at a time. This is easier than using a dutch oven for the chocolate, because of the quantity you have to put in the dutch oven and the constant stirring that is required. Then make sure that your strawberries are washed and dried thoroughly– water and chocolate don’t mix and can make this dessert a disaster! While we were enjoying the strawberries, Suzanne started talking about past advertising that she did which included postcards with the recipe of the season printed on them. Here are a couple of those recipes.

Crispy Potato Quiche for spring

1 – 24 oz. package of frozen shredded hash browns

            1/3 cup melted butter

            1 cup shredded hot pepper jack cheese

            1 cup shredded Swiss cheese

            1 cup diced cooked ham

            ¾ cup half & half  

            3 eggs 

            ¼ teaspoon seasoned salt

Thaw and press moisture out of the potatoes. Fit hash browns into a greased 10-inch pie plate, forming a solid crust. Brush crust with melted butter, making certain to brush the edges. Bake at 425 for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle cheeses and ham evenly over the bottom of the crust. Beat the half & half, eggs and salt, pour over cheeses and ham. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.

Serve with spinach salad, fresh fruit, coffee cake, Danish or muffins.

Garden Vegetable Casserole for fall

          1 cup each:       Zucchini-sliced

                                    Yellow Squash-sliced

                                    Peppers-Green, Yellow, Red ~ diced



                                    Corn-cut off the cob

            2 cups shredded cheese

            1-2 cups milk


            Salt & pepper

Mix all the vegetables together with enough flour to coat all. Add salt and pepper to taste, 2 cups shredded cheese, and 1 to 2 cups milk. Bake at 350 degrees for a half hour or until vegetables are tender and casserole is bubbly. You can add cooked ground beef, turkey or ham to create a main dish casserole.

Pumpkin Delight for Halloween

½ cup butter                                         1 can evaporated milk

1 package spice cake mix                     1 tsp ginger

1 29oz. can pumpkin                            1 tsp cinnamon

4 eggs beaten                                       ½ tsp cloves

1 ½ cup sugar                                       ½ cup chopped nuts

Blend butter and cake mix until crumbly, set aside 1 cup. Spread remains in greased 9 x 13 pan. Combine all remaining ingredients, expect nuts – beat until smooth. Pour over cake mixture, combine reserved cake mix and nuts – sprinkle over pumpkin. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until knife comes out clean. Serve with whipped cream> Keep chilled after serving.

Brazil Nut Date Cake for Christmas

            1 lb. Brazil nuts                                     ¾ cup sifted flour

            1 lb. pitted dates                                               ¾ cup sugar

            1 cup maraschino cherries-drained                    ½ tsp baking powder

            ½ tsp salt                                                          3 eggs

                                                1 tsp vanilla

Pour nuts, dates and cherries into a large bowl. Sift in flour, sugar, baking powder and salt over nuts and fruit; mix with hands until nuts and fruit are all well coated. In a separate bowl, beat eggs until foamy and then add vanilla. Stir into nut and fruit mixture until well mixed. Turn into a greased and wax paper lined pan 9 ½ x 5 ½ x 3, spread evenly in pan. Bake in slow oven 325 degrees for 1 ¾ hour or until done. After cake is thoroughly cooled soak with brandy or fruit juice.

If you are a reluctant cook or just need a hand with a special event give Suzanne Smith and Food for Thought Custom Catering a call!!

Suzanne Smith *  Food for Thought Custom Catering * 303.425.5442  * www.foodfor  *