If you don’t have much experience with cork flooring, you might have the wrong idea about what it looks like. No one is suggesting you cover your floor with an Office Max bulletin board. And it certainly won’t resemble your sister-in-law’s DIY wine cork art.

Cork flooring can look like your typical solid wood floor. But is it the right choice for your home? Read on for the surprising pros and cons of cork.


The Insider, an in-depth look at the creative ways we Brooklynites renovate and decorate our homes, is written and produced by Cara Greenberg, a veteran design journalist. Find it here on Brownstoner every Thursday.

One of the highlights of last weekend’s Bedford-Stuyvesant House Tour was the impressive level of craft in house #8, a bay-windowed 1890s limestone. Christiaan Bunce and his wife Jules Gim bought the building 3-1/2 years ago and recently completed something between a renovation and restoration on all four floors, the lower duplex that is their home and two one-bedroom rental apartments above.

Christiaan is a principal of KGBL, a multi-disciplinary firm whose work ranges from 20,000-square-foot from-the-ground-up Hamptons homes to urban interior renovations and modern furniture design. Christiaan met his business partners, David Khouri and Roberto Guzman, both architects, ten years ago at the ICFF Furniture Fair; they now have a showroom in Chelsea and a workshop near the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where Christiaan oversees production of the company’s unique custom furniture.

Dig those stunning zigzag-patterned floors of white oak and walnut in the new kitchen, above; they run the 45-foot length of the parlor floor. Throughout the building, details and trim are uniform and mostly new. “Some might argue I could have restored the parlor floor, but it was almost impossible,” Christiaan says. “The house was really rough, with bad water damage, and lots of detail had been stripped.” Instead, he re-created it, trying to stay true to the house’s spirit with his choice of materials and decorative treatments. He even made silicone molds of existing cornices and other architectural details, and cast them in plaster. “But I would never call myself a restorer,” he adds.

Essentially, Christiaan created a fresh envelope with strong echoes of the original architecture. “It’s important that the architectural foundation and the decorative components be solid and unified,” he says. “Then you can insert modern furniture and it becomes a dynamic relationship.”

Read all about it and see more photos after the jump.

Photos: Alan Tansey