Kahlbom & Co: Transform your home with timeless elegance
By Hanna Margrethe Enger | Photos: Kahlbom & Co
Wooden floors have a long history in Norway. The properties of wood make it a sensible choice compared to stone and tiles, as it is much warmer to walk on. But wooden floors are more than just practical, they are an interior design element.
Established in 2011, Kahlbom & Co has been providing sanding and surface treatment as well as installation of wooden floors since the beginning. In 2013 they restructured and began also selling flooring. “The floor is the largest piece of furniture and a large surface that carries the direction of the interior design,” says CEO Thomas Kahlbom. “We would say it’s the most important interior element. The floor should not just be something you walk on, but an extension of your personality, style and interior design.”
A brief history of wood and floors
There is a lot of pine and spruce in Norway, so naturally this was commonly used for flooring, until the arrival of oak around 1920. Between 1920 and 1940 oak soared in popularity. The upper middle class installed solid oak floors in combination with solid oak herringbone or square-patterned flooring with or without a frame. For the working class and the middle class, oak was too expensive, so they continued using pine or spruce.
The first engineered floor construction was introduced around 1940. These new production methods and innovations made it both cheaper and easier to lay wooden floors. Flooring went from being an exclusive craft detail to a simpler, do-it-yourself product.
“We specialise in wooden floors and the flooring industry in general,” says Morten Bergstrøm, co-owner and floor sanding specialist. “Delivering a product of the highest quality from A to Z requires not only good manufacturers, but also a high level of knowledge and skilled craftsmanship.”
The classic Nordic style of the last 30 years has been characterized by light, white pigmented oak floors. Whether it’s a three-strip or wide one-strip floor, wooden slats or herringbone, the common denominator is light tones. “This probably reflects the fact that we have a long period of darkness, and want it light and airy inside,” Kahlbom explains. “However, we see that many people want deeper, darker tones, and other types of wood such as larch or Douglas fir. The classic herringbone floor in combination with random lengths is also something we do a lot of.”
Floors for everyone
At Kahlbom & Co there are floors for every taste and budget, for everyone from first-time homeowners who want to do it themselves to experienced renovators who want to realise their dream floor.
The high-end segment offers a huge choice of wood types, widths and dimensions. This is for those with the most exclusive taste. These floors are up to 450mm wide, in lengths of four to five meters, from manufacturers such as Italian Fiemme Tremila and Austrian Mafi. These producers also offer a surface treatment that is scientifically proven to provide a healthier indoor climate.
Or how about a patterned floor with merino glass, or black high-gloss Chevron floor from the Italian manufacturer Garbelotto? Imagination and budget are the only limits. The high-end segment really is more than a floor, it’s a lifestyle, and is a favourite of interior designers and architects.
The traditional wood floor segment offers solid or engineered wooden parquet in combination with herringbone, square and patterned floors. High demands are placed on both the manufacturer of the floor as well as the floor installer and sander. Kahlbom & Co call these floors generation floors. They fit perfectly in houses and buildings from the early 1800s to the late 1900s.
The mid-range category offers almost as many choices as in the high-end category. The floors come either hard wax oiled or varnished in many different colours, with different surface structures and dimensions. Kahlbom & Co can get the floor untreated and then sand, pigment and surface treat according to the customer’s wishes.
The next segment is do-it-yourself flooring with an exclusive touch. This segment has fewer options and only comes prefabricated. The floors are delivered with a click system and are suitable for those who want to install it themself. Here however, you will find a lot of exciting things that you wouldn’t think you would find in this segment, such as hand-scraped parquet floors and floors with an exclusive, aged aesthetic.
“Regardless of the project’s size or execution, we invest a lot of time in customers and customer relations,” says Kahlbom. “We carefully explain the wood technical aspect, laying technique and laying direction in addition to colour, dimensions, and surface structure. The most important thing for us is that the whole process is a pleasant and educational experience, while at the same time, the laying and wood technicalities are taken care of.”
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