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  • Writer's pictureMatt Weber

Exotic Hardwoods turn a Decades-old Classic into a Work of Art

(guest post courtesy of William Chelak)

When Eric Prestbo of Seattle, Washington began the remodel of the three-bedroom, 2,600 sq. ft. house the family purchased in 2016, he thought immediately of the showcase home he visited in Curitiba, Brazil more than a decade ago. Owned by his cousin John McGlocklin, the 2,700 sq. ft condominium, which occupied the entire 18th floor of a 19-story hi-rise, provided a spectacular 360-degree view of the surrounding city, coastal mountain range and magnificent Athletico Paranaense Futebol stadium.

Prestbo’s focus, however, centered on the home’s gorgeous hardwood flooring which included four different exotic species: Cumaru, Tigerwood, Santos Mahogany and Canarywood as the signature piece. It also served as a showpiece for some of the exotic woods offered by Elemental Hardwoods, a company McGlocklin founded to provide wood flooring specialists, distributors and their customers with an eclectic mix of gorgeous, hardwood flooring products.

“The view from John’s home was breathtaking,” says Prestbo. “It didn’t matter if you gazed at the beautiful scenery and cityscape or just sat there and took in the exotic hardwood flooring that flowed throughout the whole level. And that was the inspiration for my new home – a one-of-a-kind, artistic experience that grabbed the attention of all who entered.”

To fulfill his vision, Prestbo redesigned his 1985 home with Canarywood, or Tarara Amarilla, as it is known in its source country, Bolivia. “With all its character, Canarywood is not a common wood by any means,” explains Prestbo. “Every piece is different. The patterns flow from a flaming blend of reds, oranges, and even purples on a strongly grain-figured base of golden brown. Once installed, the Canarywood floor then became a compelling work of art that set the stage for the rest of the remodel.”

Distributed to wholesalers by Elemental Hardwoods, Canarywood has for centuries been used to design everything from cabinetry and furniture to musical instruments. In recent decades, this value expanded into wood flooring due to its intrinsic hardness (1920 janka), natural stability and uniquely beautiful aesthetics.

In addition, Canarywood is the excellent option for any home seeking to showcase its flooring like natural artwork. Like most woods, Canarywood is moderately photosensitive and over time will “carmelize” as its bright rainbow colors evolve to a light-medium range of golden and caramel tones that retain its gorgeous grain figure and ages beautifully over time.

Canarywood aged.

Thanks to its natural stability and precise milling tolerances, the Prestbo floor was easily nailed to the plywood subfloor using 18-gauge cleats in this case without any glue assist. In solid 4-in. wide boards it is optional, and recommended with less naturally stable wood species, to use an S-bead glue assist with a quality adhesive; however it was deemed unnecessary in this case.

“We’re currently refinishing the home around this flooring masterpiece,” adds Prestbo. “The Canarywood is just so beautiful. We love everything from the way it feels underfoot to the warmth it exudes from every room in the house – a true piece of art that has literally awed and inspired both guests and family.”

Editor’s Note: Elemental Hardwoods was founded in 2000 to provide flooring specialists, distributors and their customers with an exotic mix of beautiful imported hardwoods, some of which are not available anywhere else in the country. For more information, visit, or call 504-756-8876.

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