Et Cetera

A night at the museum... with architecture


1022 Natoma Street San Francisco, CA
Photo courtesy of Stanley Saitowitz | Natoma Architects Inc.
Photo by Richard Barnes

Get your building design fix at these monthly Monday night lectures, presented by the Southern Arizona Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Each time there is an internationally renowned architect as a guest speaker. This Monday, March 11th: meet San Francisco based architect Stanley Saitowitz.

When: March 11th, 6 p.m.

Where: Tucson Museum of Art, 150 N. Main Ave.

How much: General admission $10, students free

Details: Food and refreshments available. For more info contact Raquel Padilla at AIA Arizona 602-252-4200 or [email protected]

Future speakers: Steve McDowell April 8th and Rand Elliot May 13th.

Home sweet art

This year's Tucson Opera League/Tucson Lifestyle Magazine Home Tour features eight homes with unique art collections and designer gardens, including two Josias Joesler-designed houses and an urban infill adobe. This year's theme: The Art of Living, Living with Art.

When: March 16th from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; March 23rd from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

How much: One day, $40 per person; Both days, $70 per person; Student (both days), $20 per person

Sonoran Glass invites you...

Glass art, live music, beer, and food...the perfect combination. Join the Sonoran Glass School and watch featured demos, plus enjoy huge discounts on glassblowing, glass art classes, one-day experiences, and professional glass crafting tools and supplies.

When: Saturday, March 23rd from 1-7 p.m.

Where: Sonoran Glass School, 633 W. 18th St.

How much: Free

Details: Call 520-884-7814.

* Want to learn more about the Sonoran Glass School? Read our article Glory Hole.

Spring clean your style

Screen shot 2013-03-10 at 3.23.49 PM

Photo courtesy of Monica Negri of Ten Outfits.

Join style consultant Monica Negri of Ten Outfits for monthly Sunday workshops based on 12 Fashion Resolutions. Each month is dedicated to a new resolution that spans wardrobes, make-up, fitness and overall well being. This month's theme? Enjoy your quality wardrobe and shop with mindfulness.

When: March 24th, 11:00 a.m.- 12 p.m.

Where: Reflections in the Catalinas Club House, 6255 E. Camino Pimeria Alta 85718

How much: $15 (but, the more you go, the more you save!)

* Read about Monica Negri's favorite space in 3 Story Issue 9.

Block Party with Calexico

It's a block party and it's coming to the streets of El Presidio neighborhood. Support community radio station KXCI and enjoy three stages of music, crafts, food vendors and more at the Festival en el Barrio. Music artists include Calexico, Sergio Mendoza y la Orkesta, and Heartless Bastards.

When: March 24th, (music starts at 1pm)

Where: The streets of El Presidio neighborhood at Tucson Museum of Art entrance, 166 W. Alameda

How much: General admission (advance), $24; General admission (day of show), $27; VIP, $42

 Don't judge a book by its cover

Get in on the national conversation about librarian style with a talk by the University of Arizona's Nicole Pagowsky, creator of the blog Librarian Wardrobe. Come dressed in your best Librarian outfit and join Pagowsky as she discusses current stereotypes of the librarian, and the implications for the profession and society.

When: March 28th, 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Where: MOCA Tucson, 265 S. Church Ave.

How much: Free for members, $5 non-members. Become a member!

* Read about Nicole in our feature in this issue.

Low_ResLIZVAUGHN-1-(2)In the raw

Come and celebrate the work of local up-and-coming artists of all creative realms. Enjoy a featured film screening, musical performance, fashion show, art gallery (including one of 3 Story's faves, Liz Vaughn), performance art and a featured hairstylist and makeup artist.

When: March 15th, 8:00 p.m.-12:00 a.m.

Where: Club Congress, 311 E. Congress

How much: $10 in advance at
$15 at the door

Details: 21+, cocktail attire

Car free, care free 

Leave your cars at's time to give our environment a break and put our bodies to work.

Cyclovia gives people from the greater Tucson region the chance to enjoy great weather, see neighbors, friends and people from throughout the area, and get a little exercise – all on  city streets that will be closed to car traffic and open to walkers, joggers, cyclists, skaters and all other forms of people-powered movement. Cyclovia isn’t a race, parade or competition.  Instead, it’s a chance to enjoy Tucson from a new perspective (outside of the car).

When: April 7th, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; April 28th 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Where: Armory Park, Barrio Histórico, Santa Rosa Park, Ochoa Elementary, Mission View Elementary, South Tucson, Santa Rita Park (Downtown to South Tucson); connecting Keeling Neighborhood to Mountain and Glenn, Hedrick Acres, Samos, the Campbell Avenue Drive Business District, La Madera, Cabrini Neighborhood and Dodge Blvd.

Pure genius

The MOCA Local Genius Awards honor those visionary and innovative Tucsonans whose activities have a global impact, and whose talents have been internationally recognized. Among this year's geniuses: architect Rick Joy and ecologist Dr. Gary Nabhan.

When: April 12th, 6:30 p.m.

Where: Leo Rich Theatre, 260 S. Church Ave.

How much: $200 per ticket



Pleased to Meet You

Landscape designer Elizabeth Przygoda-Montgomery on noise, lack of sleep and her new online venture.


Photo by Emily Jones

Early bird or night owl? "I'm naturally a night owl. Right now I have to get up early for my 18-month-old daughter, but it's by force. It's definitely for the love of my daughter. Then when she goes to bed at 7 pm I get a lot of work done. I usually schedule my emails to be sent in the morning so I don't look like I'm being unprofessional and working odd hours. I'm in bed at 10 pm or if I'm working, probably midnight or 12.30 am."

Favorite accessory? "My iPhone. I even have a booster charger for it, I use it so much during the day. I pay bills with it, there are apps for designing, I can measure with it, I can even print from my phone at my doctor's office..."

Favorite faux pas? "My husband and I went to Turkey. We decided to take an Ambien once we got on the plane so we could sleep the whole way. I'd never taken it before and it had the opposite effect on me. I finished two novels,  I couldn't sit still. I was wired.

"So there was 36 hours of not sleeping, and then we got to the hotel in Istanbul and went to the rooftop bar. It was the time for the call to prayer and the whole city's mosques have loudspeakers. All I heard was this music and, still wired myself, I said to this waiter 'Is there a party happening? Is there a parade going on or something? It sounds so pretty!'"

Who is your dream customer? "With my new business, an online curated store called Boxhill, it's someone who's interested in authentic and appreciates handmade items. Eighty-five per cent of our products are made in the U.S.A. and 40% are being made to order. Sometimes it will take six weeks to get to you because it's being made for you. So my dream customer is someone who really cares about quality over quantity. That doesn't mean everything is expensive. We have items that are $5. But I try to do a good job of being selective."

If I weren't a landscape designer I would... "When you're a designer you're always going to design. You're going to find a way to create. But I do have a passion for history. I like reading about why something is made, the reason why this trellis is designed that way because women wore these skirts in those days with bustles, and it was so they wouldn't get caught in them. So I would be some sort of nerdy history geek."

If I could change one thing I would… " "I would have started earlier with having kids. As women we want to make our lives better and we want to feel self-fulfillment. But I'm so scared of being the mom who was always on her iPhone. I've been really trying to create a balance. But it's hard, trying to keep all the balls in the air."

* Elizabeth Przygoda-Montgomery is a landscape designer and owner of online store Boxhill. Visit her store and blog at


My Space - Collector's Edition

Brent Davis, a former city councilman and current owner of Group Management Inc. (GMI), reflects on a boy's coming of age in 1950s Iowa and how that inspired a mini museum.

My Space - Collector's Edition

Photo by Madeleine Boos

"My theme is 1950's, Coca Cola and red, but really the collection spans the '30's to the '70's. People bring me '50's memorabilia all the time. I graciously accept things, but what I’m really looking for is vintage American made Coca-Cola signs. I’d say 90% of what I have is truly vintage.

My Space - Collector's Edition

Photo by Madeleine Boos

"In 2003 my partner Christine (Barfield) and I moved into this midcentury house and began a major renovation.  We started by designing a room for our ’57 Thunderbird, a one-car car museum. We enclosed the carport, threw down the checkerboard floor, had a workbench just for looks, and a jukebox for jive.

'The collection grew and we ended up moving the car to the garage about 4 years ago. Now we call it the '50's room. The difference between my museum and everybody else’s museum is you get to play here.

"My interest (for collecting) started as a young child in the ‘50's, growing up in an old house. I was old enough to remember things and understand that not every thing in the '50's belonged to the '50's. Not everyone could afford new GE appliances. They still had that 1948 washer. That’s the thing about interior design magazines. Not everything in someone’s house belongs to that era.

My Space - Collector's Edition

Photo by Madeleine Boos

I remember my mother’s Oriental lamp sat on top of the television. Styles changed. My mother painted that base from orange to red to black to stay with fashion. That’s what you did then. You didn’t just throw things away and get new.

When I was 15 in high school we’d all go down to Elmer’s Bar. We weren’t drinking, just shooting pool and playing snooker. There was a beer sign in the bar that read “You are a stranger here but once” - Grain Belt Beer out of Minneapolis. I’d always ask Elmer if I could buy that sign and he’d say, 'We’ll talk about it another time'. Must have asked him 40 times.

"When I was leaving for Tucson, for college, I went in and said 'I really want to buy that sign, Elmer'. He said 'Take it Brent.' I’ll never forget that. It was my first collectible.  Then I started collecting in college and got serious about it in the early '90s. I grew up in an old house in Iowa and always wanted a new house. Then I got a new home and watched it get old.


Photo by Brent Davis

"We antique locally and all over the country and the world, from Oklahoma to Iowa to Great Britain. We’ve found Coca-Cola signs at R&S Auctions Inc. here in town.

"Along the way we’ve acquired spats from the '20s, a Texaco cap from the '30s just because I liked them. We have lots of little items, one-of-a-kinds. Some items are from our childhood, the pedal car from Boulder City, Nevada. I made the ladder and added the bell. You've got to be careful though. Restoration gone wrong can destroy the value of an antique.

"The room is getting full. We don’t even drink Coca-Cola. We were Pepsi drinkers, but I don’t drink soda anymore. I gave it up."

Click here for information on GMI.

My Space - Collector's Edition

Photo by Madeleine Boos

You sexy (bookish) thing

There were women, there were books, and there was a whiff of sex. How a fundraising lark turned into something much more: the birth of the Sexy Lady Bookworms. By Gillian Drummond.

By Impulse Nine Media Sexy Lady Bookworms

Photo courtesy of Sexy Lady Bookworms

"We didn't have volunteers, we had disciples," says Steve McMackin of a project that doesn't come along too often for photographers: snapping women looking bookish and at the same time sexy.

When the call went out on Facebook for women who love to read, who'd be prepared to strike some come-hither poses, the volume of responses surprised everyone.

Sexy Lady Bookworms

Photo courtesy of Sexy Lady Bookworms

Sixty women came forward, some dressed as their favorite literary characters, some as superheroes, many bringing along their favorite books. Steve and three other photographers descended on Bookmans, Antigone Books, Mostly Books and Heroes &Villains comic book store in Tucson for about a dozen photo sessions. The result? The images went on calendars and sets of playing cards, with proceeds to national literacy charity Kids Need to Read. The Mesa-based national non-profit aims to get books in the hands of children by donating them to institutions that lack sufficient funding to buy them.

It all began as a conversation between Steve's wife, Rachel Garman, a public librarian, and a male friend of hers. He was ripping her about men's perceptions of librarians, and she shot back with the comment that it's not (and never was) pencil skirts and buns, that librarians are sexy in different ways.

So he suggested she get some librarians together for a sexy photoshoot. "I said, 'That's brilliant!'" In the cold light of the next day, she still thought so.

She cast the net wider than librarians - to women who love to read. The women who came forward ranged from models to feminist bloggers, Star Trek lovers to Superman fans. "My message was 'You're not too old, too big. We want women of all colors, all shapes, all sizes.' As far as I'm concerned, if you're a smart, intelligent woman you're sexy and that should be celebrated."

It was a potentially very challenging situation, says Liora K, one of the photographers. "To work with first-time models, especially if it's a sexy shoot, it's an intimate moment, and to have it in a public space, it's scary. But they really pulled together." How did she do it? "Jokes." Adds Rachel: "And there would be a couple of other girls behind them, putting them at ease and encouraging them.

Sexy Lady Bookworms

Photo courtesy of Sexy Lady Bookworms

What came out of it wasn't just playing cards and a calendar. What transpired surprised everyone. There was a feminist coming-together, a surge of empowerment. Ordinarily shy people found that they loved being in the spotlight. Others felt all the more strong about themselves, after reading the comments men posted on the SLB Facebook page. Women involved in the so-called "body positive" movement gave the project a thumbs-up and many got involved (feminist blogger Jes Schtimer of The Militant Baker was one of them). And lots of friends were made.

"It was life-altering. It gives you power. Bringing out this confidence I think was a huge goal for this entire group," says Lana Fawn, model, hairstylist and milliner, who took part in and styled some of the shoots.

"I put wigs on some of them, hair extensions, false eyelashes. A lot of the girls had never had a professional photo taken before. You're talking about people that have a couple of Facebook photos on their phone and that's it," adds Lana.

"It was totally a lark," says Steve. "I don't think we were thinking of it as a vehicle for positive social change. But it implied a certain attitude about the world that people jumped on."

Lana says they had to turn models down in the end. The feeling she came away with was entirely positive: that this was a project that was not only a worthy fundraiser, but made women happy, and opened up doors for women who were tinkering with modeling and photography. "There were so many good vibes, and it was all for the good."

Librarians have never been so celebrated, analyzed and discussed. Google 'librarian' and 'style' and you'll find a host of blogs about their wardrobes, and commentary about how librarians can be stylish, kooky and boundary-pushing. Why? "Librarians have changed, the job has changed. The perception is pencil skirts and button down skirts and a bun and glasses. But there's a lot of librarians that have piercings, tattoos, different-colored hair," says Rachel, who is already considering a Sexy Gentleman Bookworms project (Lana would like to see a Sexy Artists one too).

The job has indeed changed, says Anne-Marie Russell, executive director at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Tucson. "The organization of massive amounts of information is perhaps the greatest challenge of our era.  Libraries today are much more than musty stacks, they are data centers and community hubs, where we strive to make sense of the complexity of our world. What used to be called a "librarian" is now actually one of the most important positions in a global, digital world," she says.

"Personally, I'm obsessed with taxonomy and fashion," adds Ann-Marie. It was seeing Parker Posey in her hipster librarian role in the film Party Girl that did it for her. "Since then it's been a fabulous cultural trope that has come into its own."


Nicole Pagowsky
Photo by Alex Von Bergen

Anne-Marie is behind a MOCA Tucson talk on the librarian's wardrobe on March 28th.  The speaker is Nicole Pagowsky, Instructional Services Librarian at University of Arizona Libraries. Fitting, since Nicole's blog, Librarian Wardrobe, documents exactly that.

Her blog's function is two-fold, says Nicole. It not only shows people that librarians are "normal people", but it gives them advice, too. "New librarians are a little bit unsure about what's appropriate to wear to work. Some might wear jeans, some have to wear a suit."

But don't get Nicole started on the subject of 'sexy' librarians. Of the Sexy Lady Bookworms, a project she says she was asked to take part in but declined, she says: "I know they're trying to do something positive and raise money, but I don't think they realize they're reinforcing a negative stereotype." The librarian profession is 80% women, says Nicole. "Generally, overall, the majority of people in the profession are opposed to having this sexy stereotype following us around. It objectifies us."

Sexy Lady Bookworms

Photo courtesy of Sexy Lady Bookworms

The participants of Sexy Lady Bookworms would argue the opposite, since several of their members are strong in their feminist positions. One of Liora K's self-described "passion projects" is a set of feminist-statement images  involving women (and sometimes men) with statements scrawled on their skin, among them "Don't whistle, I'm not a dog" and "My birth control is not your business."

Liora gets similarly excited about the SLB project. "To me, oppression is when somebody dictates what sexy is. If you're getting up there and saying 'The fact that I love to read is what makes me sexy' then it's something different," she says.

For her part, Nicole says she certainly won't be turning anyone away based on how they dress. She hopes they wear what they want, and if there are pencil skirts and high heels, then all the more reason and opportunity for a good old debate.

* Hear Nicole's talk at MOCA, March 28, 2013, 5:30 pm-6.30 pm at 265 S. Church Ave., Tucson. Tel: 520 624 5019

* See Liora K's latest show on feminism and body love, Turns Out I'm Human, at Cafe Passe, 415 N. 4th Avenue, March 9th to April 31st.

Wax works

The ancient art of painting with melted beeswax is all the buzz, and Tucson is party central. By Gillian Drummond.


Photo by Gillian Drummond

Miles Conrad likes the instantaneousness of it. “You dip your brush in and you have three seconds before it becomes a thick paste. So you can’t sit there pondering your next move. Once the brush is loaded, you have to go for it.”

Encaustics, or hot wax painting, began as a way for Greeks and Egyptians to seal and brand their wooden ships. The technique was used by the ancient Greeks in portrait and mural painting. Today, thanks to a resurgence in popularity the last two decades, it’s the punk rock of the art world: a medium that’s fast, sometimes furious, and because of that, very intuitive, says Miles.

Miles Conrad

Miles Conrad
Photo by Madeleine Boos

Miles, who specializes in encaustic sculpture, is co-owner with his partner Ryan Wilde of Conrad Wilde Gallery. Miles has a fellow student to thank for introducing him to encaustics more than two decades ago. Amy Ellingson, a colleague at California Institute of the Arts, happened to ask their instructor to demonstrate it, and Miles was hooked. Today, not only is he a go-to locally, for private lessons and his own line of encaustic art supplies, he’s also made a name for himself nationally. Artists in the encaustic world laud him for his precision, his attention to detail, and his teaching and mentoring skills. The eighth annual encaustic show at Conrad Wilde Gallery currently features eighteen encaustic artists from all over the country, showing paintings and sculptures.

*Several works from the show are featured at the end of this article.

miles conrad encaustics

Photo courtesy of Miles Conrad

Painting with hot wax gives a matte finish that's like glazing on a scone or doughnut, and multiple layers of paint and clear wax make for a lot of depth - meaning an artist can then texture, scrape and sculpt with it.

encasutics - Miles Conrad

Photo courtesy of Miles Conrad

There's also the fact that beeswax is a natural preservative. Another plus for Miles? "I was always ruining oil paintbrushes by not washing them properly." The natural bristle paintbrushes used for encaustic art can be melted again and re-used indefinitely.

Miles' range of encaustic materials are mixtures of beeswax, damar resin and pigment, with desert-inspired colors with names like Citrus Blossom and Lantana.

The other accessories used in encaustic include metal loops and scraping instruments - often resembling something you might find at a dentist's office. These are used to spread the wax and gouge into it (some artists like the layering effect, and dig back into the wax to reveal those layers).

miles conrad - encaustics

Shop Miles Conrad Encaustics
Photo by Madeleine Boos

Diane Kleiss got hooked on encaustics after taking a class with Miles. Now she is president of the Southern Arizona Chapter of International Encaustic Artists. "With encaustic the tools, the surfaces, it's endless. I'm an experimenter. I would say 99.9% of artists in encaustic are artists in another medium," says Diane. "It does incorporate the punk [thing] of putting any kind of instrument together and the written word and present your vision... I would say art does the same thing with encaustic."

She likes picking up desert objects and using them as inspiration for her sculptures. And her love affair with encaustic makes sense. She used to be a candlemaker. "It never occurred to me that I was coming full circle. I haven't stopped since." 

Artist Helen Dannelly

"Earth Pod" 8th Annual Encaustic Invitational
Photo courtesy of Artist Helen Dannelly

Helen Dannelly, who specializes in sculpture, calls encaustic “the most versatile medium I’ve come across – a perfect solution for me to express myself. You can make prints with it, etch, carve, sculpt, cast, dip paper and fabric in it. Working with encaustics, I can do several paintings in a day. With oil paint, you wait for it to dry." Her current work - included in the Conrad Wilde exhibition - is inspired by nature: plant life, sea life, pods, seeds, leaves. It has been her aim to get into Miles' gallery for some time.

miles conrad encaustics

Photo courtesy of Miles Conrad

Miles' own encaustic sculptures are abstract, with one significant installation inspired by microbiology. The sculptures resemble intestines, cells, perhaps undersea creatures. Tucson lawyer Peter Goldman and his wife, Beverly Werber, bought the whole collection. It joins their extensive art collection, which includes a couple of more traditional encaustic paintings.

Miles' work is a shocker, say Peter and Beverly. "It challenges your expectations, your ideas about what art is. It's pushing off a little bit, it's no longer comfortable. It's somewhat repellent and somewhat attractive," says Peter. Asked to describe what they see in it, Peter says: "Asteroids in space." Beverly says: "Undersea creatures."

miles conrad encaustics

Photo courtesy of Miles Conrad

Beverly says she has watched Miles teach, and it's a wonderful thing. His teaching method is as self-effacing, yet encouraging, as his general demeanor, she says. "He's a real Tucson treasure." And, judging by his prominence in the encaustic world generally, he's a national treasure too. Encaustic is hot, and Tucson - thanks to Miles - is a driver in the movement.

Which brings us to a burning - or, rather, melting - question. What happens to all of those wax pieces in the extreme desert summer heat? It's a problem if you're ferrying encaustic art around in your car, say encaustic artists. But nobody's heard of any melting disasters yet. “Its melting point is 150-180 degrees," says Helen. "If you’re house is that hot, you’ve got bigger problems than melting wax."

* Visit the Eighth Annual Encaustic Invitational at Conrad Wilde Gallery, 439 N. 6th Avenue, Tucson. Tel: 520 622 8997.

*More encaustics at the Invitational. Not to be missed. Show ends April 27th.

















Be Floored

Vinyl, once the workhorse of flooring, is turning into a party underfoot. Say hello to luxury vinyl tile and some fun new looks. By Madeleine Boos.

Cover photo Glint Orb and Glint Void LVT Photo courtesy of Amtico-Mannington.

urban marble

Stone - Cool Light "Urban Marble" Photo courtesy of Amtico-Mannington

We've known of it as the workhorse of the flooring world: durable, resistant to stains and water, comfortable, and familiar to anyone who works in retail, hotels and supermarkets.

Vinyl flooring, once lowbrow and associated with checkerboard and speckled patterns, has emerged as a top home decor choice these last few years. It's even been made to emulate the look of stone, wood and tile, and spawned a whole new interior design term: luxury vinyl tile or LVT.

Amtico-Mannington LVT

Abstract - Odyssey "Marcasite"
Photo courtesy of Amtico-Mannington

Now thanks to advances in digital resolution and screening, there's a whole new category of offerings: abstract designs. Leading the way are visuals inspired by textiles; linear patterns and striations; and metallics and patinas.

FORS architecture + interiors in Tucson has used LVTs in some of the downtown restaurants they've designed, including Sushi Garden and Playground. "LVTs ROCK!....I was sort of joking, but I do really mean it," says FORS architect and owner Sonya Sotinsky.

Amtico, a European company recently acquired by USA-based Mannington Commercial, and now made in the USA, just launched a new collection of LVTs, with a wide array of options, (more than 70). These can be mixed and matched, and even installed in custom layouts. Their "Abstract" line innovatively combines texture, color and pattern and is built to last. The designs shimmer and sparkle, like Glint Orb, Fragment Orion and Shimmer Denim. Channel your inner Katy Perry with "Marcasite" or opt for "Fiber Carbon" which calls to mind the indelible Sandy Chilewich. Abstract Spectrum features bold colors that punch with names like "Rio," "Mumbai" and "Bangkok."

Amtico-Mannington Abstract LVT

A mix of Design Woods - "Cirrus Air," Cirrus Dawn" and "Cirrus Twilight"
Photo courtesy of Amtico-Mannington

Even its new "Wood" and "Stone" collections are pushing the envelope, with finishes that move away from replication, into patterns and designs that cross over into abstract art. Names like "Mica Mix Earth" and "Shibori Lapsang"  sit along side "White Oak" and "Limestone," something for everyone.

Fiber Carbon

Abstract Quantum - "Fiber Carbon"
Photo courtesy of Amtico-Mannington

Standard tile sizes are 12" x 12", 12" x 18" and 18" x 18", and the wood finishes are available in 'planks' of 3" x 36". They can be staggered or aligned and can be installed for a monolithic look or installed with “feature stripping”, which simulates grout lines.

The pros of LVT are obvious. It's cheaper than the stone or wood it replicates, at $6 to $10 per square foot. It's scratch-resistant and requires less maintenance than stone or wood. And it can be easier to install than natural flooring. Though not biodegradable, LVT is recyclable. Warranties range from 10 – 20 years.

But the biggest plus right now is the fun you can have with it. "Abstract LVTs are a great way for making a fast and stunning statement on your floor," says 3 Story's own Madeleine Boos.

AR0AEQ13 Equator Flow Cross Grain July 2012

Abstract - "Cross Flow Equator Grain"
Photo courtesy of Amtico-Mannington

An even cheaper, and more enviro-friendly, solution is linoleum, coming in at $4.25 to $5.25 per sq ft installed with a host of interesting finishes.

The leader in the field is Forbo Flooring Systems  with its next generation of Marmoleum - the company's trademark name for linoleum. New designs and modern lines are emerging, with geometric patterns, earth tones, subtle shades of concrete, and high-contrast blacks and whites with complimentary shades of grey. Forbo has introduced "Striato," "Concrete" and "Graphic," modern collections for modern environments.


Marmoleum Striato - "Trace of Nature"
Photo courtesy of Forbo Flooring Systems

Image 1

Marmoleum Striato - "Trace of Nature"
Photo courtesy of Forbo Flooring Systems

Invented in mid 19th century England and popular until after World War II, when the more durable vinyl flooring was introduced to the market, linoleum is made from renewable materials including linseed oil, pine rosin, ground cork dust and wood flour with added pigments. As the world has become more concerned with sustainability, linoleum is making a comeback. And who doesn’t love a good comeback?


Marmoleum Graphic - "Print"
Photo courtesy of Forbo Flooring Systems



The other pluses? It's naturally insulated from sound, heat and cold. It's anti-static, antimicrobial and 100% biodegradable. And it comes in rolls measuring 10 ½’ x 79” and can be cut and laid as desired. In other words, you can mix and match and customize your look. Its color is consistent all the way through, which means if the linoleum is scratched or scuffed, the damage will be nearly imperceptible, as the color and pattern will not change.

It's been a long, interesting journey for vinyl and linoleum. Their reputation has gone from institutional to retro to, now, cutting edge. The sky's the limit with where they go next. And it's safe to say we don't want any feet being kept on the ground.

Marmoleum Striato

Marmoleum Striato - "Water Colour"
Photo courtesy of Forbo Flooring Systems

* To see Forbo's Marmoleum collection locally, visit Originate Natural Building Materials.

*For where to buy Amtico-Mannington LVTs, visit Mannington Commercial. More than a few flooring showrooms carry the brand in Tucson.

*Mannington Amtico also offers the Spacia Collection of LVTs, a stylish series of stones and woods with a few abstract designs at a lower price-point.