Randy and Linda Prewitt with their dog Shaun in front of the new Cape Cod style house they built in Terre Du Lac, Mo.

Every day of our lives we are faced with decisions. Some need immediate attention while others can be pondered for a while. Some decisions are reversible. Others will have a lasting affect on your life and the lives of others. As corny as it may sound, selecting a floor covering, especially when it involves hardwood, is a long time commitment for you and anyone else who resides in your house in the future. Remember to select wisely: Future occupants will recall you fondly or curse your memory-depending on your decisions.

Wood is not only the dominant theme inside the house, there is a lakeside deck and even the steps from the sidewalk are made from wood.
My wife, Linda and I decided to fulfill our dream by building a new home on our lake front property in the foothills of the Ozarks about a hour's drive south of St. Louis. The community, Terre Du Lac, Mo. has been around since the mid 60's. My mother and father in-law were among the early "pioneers." It was always their dream that we too would make this beautiful area our home as well. Not being a "track home" development, Terre Du Lac offered us the opportunity to be creative. Just as any hardwood flooring installation, no two homes in this community are exactly alike.

After researching the builders in the area, we settled on a family owned builder with the folksy name "Our House." It was one of the wisest moves we ever made. "Our House" built our house as if it was their very own. Whenever you need to choose a service provider, I suggest you choose one with ethics and principles similar to those of Judy, Jeff and Joe Stocker. I can proudly report there are indeed flooring contractors that practice what I preach, believe me.

Now for the details: We wanted a view of the lake from every room possible. With the help of "Judy the builder," a configuration of windows made there way to the drawing plans. The son, Jeff the carpenter, literally made a paper drawing into reality. We also wanted our new home to resemble the construction of yesteryear. A Cape Cod design with a wrap around porch with a walkway connection to the lakeside deck became our design of choice. Palladium windows were installed on the front and rear of the home. The roof trust that were designed and installed was a challenge in itself. Studio ceilings merged with inverts creating angles that give geometry a whole new meaning.

We also opted for a 5 1/4 inch treated decking material for the front porch in lieu of concrete. Even the steps from the sidewalk are made from "wood." (Old world charm does not call for concrete.) All that porch and wrap around deck was then "captured" with a white picket and rail fence. A "welcome" gate was even installed for weary family and friends traveling to see us from the big city. A front door with 3/4-inch length stained glass insert added an additional greeting and a cottage ambience.

My experience coordinating with the builder for the requirements involved in the floor covering installation was excellent. Imagine that. The HVAC system was up and running during the humid months to enable us to meet the requirements of acclimation.

Another decisions we made was my commitment to install "all" the flooring products that we had selected.

The house would require 3000 sq. ft. of multiple types of flooring products.

Obviously, hardwood flooring would "dominate" the installation.

The main level over suspended subfloor was approximately 1800 sq. ft. This area could have been larger but I would have forfeited my 770 sq. ft garage. Guess what, that wasn't going to happen. Six cars of various makes and four motorcycles require my love and attention as well year round. The lower level with walkout access to the lake was 1200 sq. ft. over concrete with the majority classified as "below grade."

The following are our selections and the reasons:

Hardwood in the kitchen (complete with protective mats).

Main Level

We used 3/4 by 3 1/4-inch prefinished white oak from Somerset in a natural finish for the entry foyer, great room, kitchen, breakfast area, dining room and master bedroom. I truly believe that 3 1/4-inch wood flooring products reveal additional color and character vs. the traditional 2 1/4 -inch strip. The flooring was installed parallel to the long wall and perpendicular to the flooring joist. Linda selected maple cabinets with just a touch of stain for the kitchen area. The blend of maple cabinets with the natural finished white oak was like a match made in heaven.

Reason: Simply put, it is the value and universal appeal of hardwood flooring. We went with prefinished in lieu of job site finished due to time frame restrictions.

Bathrooms and Laundry room

Mannington Stainmaster Xtra Pattern: Canyon Slate

Reason: Resilient vinyl flooring for wet areas and overall durability. Impressive in both design and construction. Excellent companion floor covering for hardwood flooring.

Lower Level Recreational area, Office, Guest Bedroom and Stairway

Mohawk Multi-tweed commercial carpeting.

Reason: Below grade installation. Non-Slip for Grandchildren with wet feet. Excellent for direct glue application. Provides warmth over concrete subfloors. Relatively easy to clean and maintain and minimizes the foot traffic pattern appearance associated with conventional carpeting.

Master Bath Walk-in Shower and Tile Surround Gas Fireplace:

American Olean 12 X 12-inch Ceramic Tile with 3-inch wide Border Feature Strip with 2-inch Bull Nose Cap for Accent and Finishing. American Olean Porcelain 12 X 12-inch Tile with 1-inch Black Porcelain Edging for Accent and Finishing.

Reason: Upscale for Bathroom vs. Fiberglass one piece units. Porcelain Tile surround for heat resistance and ease of maintenance vs. rough texture brick veneer.

As you can see, there was plenty of "room" for all the entities of floor covering to contribute to finalizing "Our House." With one exception, no laminates for flooring. After all we would not be "Wood or Wood Knot" if we let an "impersonator" through the door now "Wood We?"