In their high-end flooring market in the Hamptons, Julia and Phil Valenti of Ronkonkoma, N.Y.-based Valenti Flooring Inc. don't do prefinished. "We take great pride in our woodworking," Julia says. For the past two years, that woodworking in the beachy homes of Long Island clients has remained steeped in light gray tones. "They work very well with contemporary décor—people who have open-concept homes," Julia says, adding that gray floors can make a space feel larger. The Valentis typically use oil finishes to achieve the gray on the area's popular white oak and red oak flooring. Julia says she encourages clients to go with lighter tones, but in the end it's really about the craftsmanship: "If the customer loves a color, then that's my favorite color."

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Ryan Kushner signed on as assistant editor at Wood Floor Business in February 2018 after a year and a half as a staff writer at The Smithfield Times in Southern Virginia. He grew up in Pennsylvania and graduated with a degree in English and Communication from Mercyhurst University. He is constantly in search of wood floor stories and terrible puns and wood love to hear suggestions floor either.