Recent innovations include a bamboo composite made of shredded bamboo. It's denser than laminated bamboo and twice as hard as oak, but you see long wiggly lines instead of those charming nodes. Then there is End Grain, exclusive to Silkroad Bamboo Flooring, Canada's oldest supplier of bamboo building materials, with the exotic look of mosaic because it shows the ends and tips of individual bamboo strands on the surface of the planks.
To dine in eco style, France's Ekobo offers a slick, contemporary line of housewares that includes cups, serving trays and salad bowls, available at Target stores and through Illicodesign.com and Vivre.com. Target also offers the Global Home bamboo Roman shade with tan-toned woven bamboo and brown stitching. Ekobo gets an extra green stamp because of its effort to create jobs for artisans making these wares in their own villages.
INSTALLING A BAMBOO FLOOR
\o7Installer beware: Bamboo, like a lot of woods, needs room to breathe. Otherwise, like any other wood-floor installation, may end up with a surface that buckles badly when the weather changes.\f7
* Bamboo right off the boat, like other tropical woods, has a 20% moisture content. Make sure the supplier has dried the planks to 10% humidity or the floor may shrink and pull apart.
* Ask the supplier to drop off the wood a couple of weeks before the flooring contractor arrives to let the bamboo adjust to your house's microclimate.
* Since bamboo is an organic product, color variations may occur. To ensure that your floor doesn't look like a giant patchwork quilt, randomly mix up the planks from different boxes before laying them.
* Don't install the planks flush to the wall. Leave a half-inch of space for the material to expand on hot, humid days. You will need to conceal the gap with quarter-round or other moulding. So if your heart is set on a minimalist Modernist decor, forget about bamboo flooring.
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COVER: Plyboo Parquet bamboo floor, at Smith & Fong Co., South San Francisco, (866) 835-9859, www.plyboo.com. Sande "Wave" eco-friendly plywood coffee table, at David Brunicardi, Oakland, (510) 649-8895, www.dbfurniture.com. Magazine bowl, at the Gardener, San Francisco, (415) 981-8181, www.thegardener.com. Green bamboo branch painting, at Zinc Details, San Francisco, (415) 776-2100, www.zincdetails.com. Journal by Lauren Lamotte, at Rock Paper Scissors Collective, Oakland, (510) 238-9171, www.rpscollective.com. Cork lamp, at FINDecor, San Francisco, (415) 437-6789, www.findecor.com. Bamboo cup set, at Dandelion, San Francisco, (415) 436-9500, www.tampopo.com. Glass vase, at Therapy, San Francisco, (415) 621-5902. PAGES 16-17 and 59: Silkroad Bamboo Flooring, Toronto, (866) 882-6482, www.silkroadflooring.com. Linda Loudermilk, Los Angeles, (323) 874-7088, www.luxuryeco.com. Livingreen, Culver City, (310) 838-8442, www.livingreen.com. Design Studio, Santa Barbara, (805) 563-2003, www.sbdesignstudio.com. PAGES 18-20: David Hertz Architects, Santa Monica, (310) 829-9932. Warren Wagner, W3 Architects, Venice, (310) 396-5885. Behnisch Architects, Venice, (310) 399-9003. PAGES 24-30: John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects, Los Angeles, (213) 253-4740. Landscape architect Michael Schneider, Orange Street Studio, Los Angeles, (323) 874-3378. Inline sofa with Koto White fabric, $5,757, and Ark chair with La Strada Silver fabric, $2,595, to the trade at Cisco Brothers, L.A. Design Center, Los Angeles, (866) 247-2652. Linea dining table in oak with ashy taupe stain, $3,030; Linea armchair, $1,398, and Linea side chair, $1,212, all at CottonWood on Arroyo, Pasadena, (626) 584-1273. PAGES 34-38: Pugh+Scarpa, Santa Monica, (310) 828-0226. PAGES 40-42: Design21, Marina del Rey, (310) 574-8805.