True beauty found in the uniqueness of products

People are always striving for perfection, we have become a culture obsessed with a seamless, shiny life.

We have the money to pay for goods and services and we expect the very best, this is reasonable, isn’t it? Not always, especially in home design – if you are dealing with natural products there has to be some grace for what Mother Nature has so beautifully made.

When you are working with natural products such as wood and stone you will always find some small variances in these products.

The manufacturers have done their best to make them consistent and beautiful but there will always be some surprises in these items. The good news is, if you are expecting cookie cutter perfection and consistency, then you do have options in artificial replications of these items.

If you are choosing hardwood you can select colours and species from showroom samples but keep in mind that these samples are months and sometimes years old and have changed colours from exposure to light and air.

It is a good idea to actually order in a box of your desired hardwood to see the dye lot and batch that will be going into your homes.

Hardwood manufacturers have a tolerance for colour variances but colour is a very personal choice and their tolerance may be outside of what you think is acceptable.

Also, you can expect to get variances throughout the product as some pieces of wood accept stain differently depending on the graining and density of the wood. For those of you wanting close to perfection I recommend ordering an extra few cartons so you can cull out the offending pieces and choose what is put into your home.

We run into this often with natural stone and granite.

When a product is taken from the earth it is very difficult to predict the exact tone and colour that will arrive. As with the hardwood, looking at the actual batch is a very good idea which will require you to order a carton in advance.

Natural stone will give you a beautiful finish but the variance from tile to tile may be far and wide. There are many tiles on the market today which replicate the look of stone giving you a smoother finish and more consistent colour as they are printed or glazed in a factory.

Reputable granite companies will offer you your choice of slab and can give you a computerized view of what that slab will look like on your particular countertop configuration. This is especially important if you are choosing a premium granite with a larger pattern.

Smaller, repeated patterns of granite can be installed in multiple directions but the longer, linear patterns will require specific directions from the consumer.

Seams and patterns do not line up and if more than one slab is required for your home they may not be consistently coloured so it is a good idea to look at the actual slab before you order.

While perfection is a wonderful goal to strive for, it is good to remember that when dealing with natural products you will experience imperfection.

Our earth produces many beautiful products that we can choose for our home but nature is unpredictable and often the true beauty is in the uniqueness of the products.

Kim Meckler is an interior designer in Red Deer with Carpet Colour Centre.