The Truth of the Matter is part of a blog series where Don Carlisle, founder and president of William & Henry Wide Plank Floors, talks personally about his appreciation for wood, its history, what he wants others to learn and understand about the industry, and his New England roots, values, and way of life.
I have grown up being ensconced in the beauty of wood and the romance of it from my dad. I was selling wide pine for my parents at age 12 just talking to people about what we did as a family to take care of the boards. Later, I worked directly with the sawyers who would source the magnificent eastern white pine logs and the craftsmen who helped us make it into flooring for homes all over New England.
So I came to appreciate wood at an intimate level. I spent countless days—that turned into years—talking to the most discerning architects, designers, and homeowners, teaching them about the beauty of wood. And in my former and present company taught those that worked with me to appreciate and sell the beauty of it. We built an entire industry from it, all stemmed from our collective passion for wood.
The sawmill owners that work with me approach cutting the wood differently, going back to the way it was done when the first American settlers used the entire tree—with no waste—and we revolutionized the way the entire design community looks at wood floors.
I like to believe that this passion for wood, and the gorgeous wide plank flooring that we make is still relevant today. Our team at William & Henry is always talking about the tree, the wood, design options, and we form a solution for each customer. It’s fun for us!
I think it’s unfortunate that today in the wood flooring industry people are afraid to tell the customer the truth about wood. They shy away from sharing the natural imperfections that keep wood so mysterious, so unable to be copied or homogenized, rather than embellishing this as a strength.
At William & Henry, we appreciate those customers who find the unique nature of each floor we make appealing. Once you own one of our floors, you continue to support a way of life that transcends generations, and you value the health of our forests through the responsible procurement that we practice, the art of the craftsmen who make the floors, and the simpler way of life that these floors represent.