Recently, I found myself in the very posh Rhodium Floors speaking with the owner, Roy Akirov. Straight-to-the-point and extremely hard working, he’s constantly moving between designing new floors, talking to visiting designers, and giving instructions to his small staff. Among all the movement, I snagged some snippets of flooring wisdom from the master himself.
Eric: Can you tell me a little about Rhodium Floors, why it is so well-known in the Design Industry, and what makes it so special?
Roy: I started in Flooring in 2004 when I formed a company with my partners in London. I came out to Los Angeles in 2010, and soon after started Rhodium Floors, right here on Melrose, next to the Pacific Design Center. What makes Rhodium special, is the amount of work and time we spend creating colors, & handpicking all of our samples and materials from all over the world. Our collections include Italian Wood Floors, reclaimed wood, natural stones and metals, and our own line of exclusive products - our floors are truly bespoke.
E: How is the wood reclaimed, and where do you reclaim it from?
R: Italian Reclaimed Wood, which is our most prestigious Reclaimed material, is pulled out of the canal beds and dried, as well as made of the old Gondolas in Venice. Each piece tells such a great story! French Reclaimed Wood comes from the peripheries and countryside Chalets which are derelict. Some floors are pre-century!
E: What are the current trends in Flooring?
R: Usually, Europe is about 3 years ahead of local US trend, but for the most part, clients are still looking at wide and long boards, 9-12” wide is starting to show up more now, as are lengths of up to 20 feet. Very few mills are able to work with sizes that big, but we always manage to satisfy our clients’ needs, no matter what it takes.
E: You say European trends are about 3 years ahead of the US, what do you see as the trends coming up in the next few years?
R: I can tell you the current Euro trends, but they don’t always stick in US. For example, Europe is going back to Narrow planks or Multi-width planks. Here in the US, I sell a small amount of Multi-width floors, but the narrow planks haven’t caught on as yet. Perhaps it’s the sheer size of the homes here that doesn’t allow for small planks. Colors differ globally so each country has their own style. We are experimenting with very Earthy colors with different types of hand distressing at the moment. I find that trends in the US differ from State to State as we ship custom floors all over.
E: What would your personal entryway to your home look like, assuming unlimited budget? Not just the floor, but style, decorations, etc
R: I’m British so Very Traditional Red Brick homes with pitched roofs are my style. Inside you'd find a reclaimed herringbone in a medium smoked oak, laced stone in some areas and a lot of Old paintings on the walls. I’m all about English Cottage as eternal style. You can never get bored of Windsor Castle!
E: What happened to Ash wood? It was everywhere and easy to get a few years ago, but it seems much harder to get, today.
R: You can ask that of Maple or Cherry. I can’t say ash was that popular. But Maple and Cherry are hard to manipulate in the way of today’s heavy stains you see on Oak. Plus, the stigma with those species is that, because they were lacquered years back and owners didn’t like how they turned orange or red in the sun, they drift away from wanting to refinish/reclaim them, so they rip them out and replace with what they can find in their desired color.
E: Lastly, is there anything else you would just like to say to the people out there?
R: Yes, floors vary hugely in price. It’s worth noting that a cheap floor is like a cheap bottle of wine: Once corked, the glass used to make the bottle and the cork cost the same whether it’s an expensive wine or not, the experience is in the quality of the grapes and the taste of course. With floors we source the finest raw lumber available and our methods of manipulating the color to form something unique is where we differ. We also invest a huge amount in making sure our floors are non-toxic and VOC friendly.
So call Rhodium up, make an appointment, and drop on by to start designing your bespoke flooring to add that perfect touch to your home. Some areas were off limits to me, as a lot of the very fine detail of his flooring designs is kept under tight lock and key, (his designs are so well known, that others in the industry often try to steal them). So you’ll have to visit in person to see the exquisite detail and fine craftsmanship, and trust me, they truly are a sight to behold.