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DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTORS IN THE Bay Area – Hardwood Floors CATEGORY

Paul Nazarian is a 41-year veteran of the flooring industry and owner of McDecor Inc., a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (650) 239-6049 or by email.

Paul Nazarian

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Paul Nazarian: From Avocation to a Vocation

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN MATEO — After he graduated from college, Paul Nazarian thought he had his career path all figured out, but it wasn’t long before he realized a change of direction was needed. “Following graduation, I was working for a high-tech company, but after a while I began to feel it wasn’t my forte,” he recounts. “As an aficionado of Oriental rugs, I began to consider a career that would blend my avocational interest with my occupation. Eventually, I found a connection in the flooring industry, which led me to establish my own floor covering business in 1978.”

Today, as owner of McDecor Inc., Paul says his favorite part of his job is interacting with customers. “Customer service is an aspect of the business I very much enjoy, from meeting new people to helping them make informed decisions about flooring products.”

Originally from Iran, Paul came to the United States in 1970 to attend San Francisco State University, where he earned a master’s degree in marketing. Today, as a resident of Hillsborough, he says the Bay Area is about as good as it gets. “I’ve traveled all over the world, and I think the Bay Area is the best geographical location to live in. I love the beautiful climate and the diversity of the population.”

Outside of work, Paul enjoys a variety of pastimes, from traveling to far-off destinations with his wife, Lynn, to auto racing. “My main hobby is cars,” he says. “I have a couple of old cars, including a Ferrari that I race on occasion. I haven’t been quite as active as I’ve grown older, but I still like to get out on the track once in a while.” Additionally, Paul enjoys keeping up with his three grown children, Daniel, Davina and Michael.

In his life and career, Paul espouses the importance of honesty. “I’ve always made it a point to conduct business in an honest manner,” he affirms. “As a result, most of our business comes from repeat customers and positive word of mouth, which is something we’re very proud of.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, Paul says he would hop on a plane headed for an unfamiliar destination. “My wife and I love to explore other countries, and it’s something we try to do as often as we can. I’m not sure where I’d like to go next, but I’m thinking either Costa Rica or the Cayman Islands would make a fitting destination to kick off a retirement.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What was your first car?
A: A 1972 Alfa Romeo Giulietta.

Q: If you could drive any car, what would it be?
A: An Audi R8.

Q: Coffee or tea?
A: Both—coffee in the morning, tea at night.

Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: The Minnesota Vikings.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
A: An omelet with tomatoes, spinach and mushrooms.

Q: What’s your favorite band?
A: The Animals.

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The Best Technique for Maintaining Your Carpet

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SAN MATEO — When it comes to maintenance of any kind, it’s often the minor proactive steps that make the biggest difference in terms of maximizing performance and avoiding problems. This is certainly true for carpet care—while supplementary measures such… Read more

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Video: Caring for Your Carpet

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SAN MATEO — Host, Sarah Rutan: To maximize the longevity of your home's carpets, its important to understand proper care and maintenance techniques. Today we’re in… Read more

Steve Villa is president of Rafael Floors, Abbey Carpet Center, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (415) 669-4944 or by email.

Steve Villa

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Steve Villa: An Unlikely Ascent

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

SAN RAFAEL — Few people go from sweeping floors to managing operations at the same company, but Steve Villa did that and then some. “I started at Rafael Floors back in high school,” he remembers. “Ron Leach, the original owner, was my next-door neighbor, and he offered me a job in his warehouse. I would come in every day after school and sweep the floors, run errands, and make deliveries. From there, I became an apprentice installer and continued to work part-time through college. After graduating with a degree in business administration, I returned full-time as an administrative assistant. Later, I went into sales and did that for about 14 years until Ron made me a partner in 2005. When he retired in 2015, I took over as sole owner of the business.”

Today, as owner of Rafael Floors, Abbey Carpet Center, Steve says his favorite part of his job is helping customers find the right products for their needs. “Choosing a new floor can be challenging for people, especially since it’s both an expensive and semi-permanent decision. For that reason, I enjoy educating our customers about their options and helping them make wise, informed decisions.”

A resident of Novato, Steve spends his time outside of work on a variety of active pastimes. “I spend the majority of my time outdoors, whether hiking, biking, or playing golf or tennis,” he says. “I also spend a lot of time with my family. My parents and siblings all live in Novato and we’re very close, which is nice. We even like vacationing together.”

After 40 years at Rafael Floors, Abbey Carpet Center, Steve looks back at his unlikely ascent to ownership. “My experience has been pretty unique,” he reflects. “Most people go from one job to the next, looking for better opportunities along the way. I feel pretty fortunate that I was given those kinds of opportunities within the same company. All in all, it has been quite a journey.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

A: Actually, I’d like to see more of the United States…maybe get an RV and do the Route 66 thing.

Q: What’s your favorite season?

A: I like them all, but I’d probably choose spring because of the new growth and nice weather.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?

A: If I’m not working, I enjoy watching sports.

Q: What’s your favorite sports team?

A: It’s a tie between the San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers. I grew up rooting for the Packers.

Q: Do you collect anything?

A: Cars. I have a small collection that includes a 1966 Corvette Stingray convertible, a 1974 Chevy pickup and a 1991 Camaro convertible.

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Wood and Faux Wood Flooring Options

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SAN RAFAEL — If you’re thinking about installing a wood or faux wood floor in your home, you’ll want to know the full spectrum of your options. Here’s a summary of these options and their benefits: Authentic wood flooring The authentic wood… Read more

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Video: Wood and Faux Wood Flooring Options

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SAN RAFAEL — Host, Sarah Rutan: If you’re planning to install wood flooring in your home, make sure you know the full spectrum of your options. Today we’re… Read more

Amanda Lafferty is a design associate at National Blinds & Flooring Inc., a Diamond Certified company since 2013. She can be reached at (415) 690-7945 or by email.

Amanda Lafferty

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Amanda Lafferty: Born to Design

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Program Reporter

SAN FRANCISCO — For Amanda Lafferty, a career in interior design was a natural progression of her inherited flair for home decorating. “I’ve always been interested in creating beautiful spaces,” she says. “I think I got it from my mom, who is really design-oriented. I would see her rearranging and redecorating our house from an early age, so I guess I caught the bug.”

After she graduated high school, Amanda followed her passion for home décor in college, earning her B.S. in interior design at San Francisco State University. It was during this time that she made a connection which quickly led to an occupational opportunity. “I contacted National Blinds looking for information for a school project,” she remembers. “I came in and spoke with Israel, the owner, and we just clicked. As it happened, he was looking to hire someone in his showroom. In the end, I not only got a good grade on my project, I got a job, too!”

Today, as a design associate at National Blinds & Flooring Inc., Amanda says her favorite part of her job is improving the beauty and functionality of her customers’ homes. “Before working here, I never realized that window coverings could make such a big difference in the aesthetics of a space. Now that I understand it, I enjoy passing on that knowledge to our customers. It’s a very rewarding job.”

A resident of San Mateo, Amanda expresses her appreciation for the diversity of Bay Area life. “There’s no shortage of events and activities here, which makes it a really fun place to live,” she says. “I also think it’s neat living in an area that’s world-renowned for iconic features like the Golden Gate Bridge—it makes me feel pretty fortunate to have grown up around here.”

Outside of work, Amanda engages in a variety of activities, from walking her dog, Oliver, to keeping up with the latest design and fashion trends. “I enjoy staying up-to-date with the design industry, so I spend a lot of time reading blogs and magazines,” she says. “I also like taking advantage of everything the Bay Area has to offer, from exploring around San Francisco to going wine tasting in the Napa Valley.”

In her life and career, Amanda espouses the importance of pursuing passions. “I think it’s important to love what you do,” she explains. “Personally, I’ve always known that I wanted to do something in the interior design field, so I’m thrilled to be doing what I’m doing. When you’re passionate about your career, it’s hard not to enjoy it—plus, I think you’re more likely to be successful.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: Reality TV or documentaries?
A: I enjoy both, so it depends on my mood.

Q: What’s your favorite season?
A: Fall—I like the nice weather and leaves changing color.

Q: Do you collect anything?
A: Clothes.

Q: What’s one website you visit on a daily basis?
A: Pinterest.

Q: Who makes you laugh?
A: John Mulaney and Aziz Ansari.

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Considerations for Choosing Draperies

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SAN FRANCISCO — One of the best ways to enhance the aesthetics of your home is with custom draperies. However, in order to make the right selection, you’ll need to consider a lot more than just the color of the fabric. One… Read more

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Video: Considerations for Choosing Draperies

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SAN FRANCISCO — Host, Sarah Rutan: When picking out new window draperies, you’ll want to consider more than just their color. Today we’re in San Francisco with Diamond… Read more

Dan Yorke is a 28-year veteran of the hardwood flooring industry and owner of Danville Hardwood Company Incorporated, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (925) 838-1311 or by email.

Dan Yorke

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Dan Yorke: A Hardwood Life

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

DANVILLE — When Dan Yorke decided to expand his carpeting business to include hardwood flooring, he saw it as a lucrative opportunity to benefit from a growing trend. What he didn’t realize, however, is just how challenging the endeavor would prove to be. “I found out that working with hardwood is a lot more complicated than cleaning and installing carpet, which is what I originally planned to focus on when I opened my business,” he recounts. “It proved to be a pretty sharp learning curve, and it took us a few years to get a handle on it.”

Despite the rough initiation, Dan’s business gradually grew to excel at hardwood installation—so much so that he eventually sold the company’s carpeting division. Today, Dan says he’s proud that Danville Hardwood Company Incorporated continues to be one of the East Bay’s most trusted hardwood flooring contractors. “We really shine next to our competitors because many of them simply don’t know what they’re doing. With high-end homes in particular, people want to feel comfortable with a company’s level of knowledge and experience, which is why many local homeowners choose us.”

A longtime resident of Danville, Dan says he appreciates the close-knit character of his local community. “My wife, Laura, and I have many roots in Danville. We raised our three sons here, and I’ve personally served as president of the Danville Area Chamber of Commerce. After many years in business, our company has a lot of appreciation for the support our community continues to give us.”

Outside of work, Dan engages in a variety of hobbies, including salmon fishing and crabbing, gardening, and taking on home improvement projects. When he’s not in a boat or at home, he can often be found enjoying a meal at his favorite local restaurant, Pete’s Brass Rail. In addition to his everyday hobbies and pastimes, Dan likes taking trips to visit his three grown sons, Teddy, Ben and Sam.

When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, Dan says he’d spend more time both at home and abroad. “I work an awful lot, so my wife and I don’t get out as much as we’d like. Even when I do travel, it’s usually for business. So, if I retired tomorrow, I’d spend more time pursuing some of the activities I enjoy, as well as see some more of the world.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite season and why?
A: Summer, because I love the heat.

Q: What’s your favorite kind of tree?
A: Hickory. It’s nice to look at, and the wood is very durable and versatile.

Q: What animal best characterizes you?
A: A Golden Retriever, because I’m loyal, loving and friendly.

Q: Would you rather live in the city or the country?
A: The country.

Q: What do you read most: fiction or non-fiction books?
A: Non-fiction books.

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A Simple Way to Maintain Your Hardwood Floors

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DANVILLE — While most homeowners understand the importance of refinishing their hardwood floors, some don’t realize that if they have their floors refinished too often, they’re actually doing more harm than good. By combining routine cleaning and periodic professional service,… Read more

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Video: Cleaning and Recoating Wood Floors

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DANVILLE — Host, Sarah Rutan: To keep your hardwood floors looking their best, its important to refinish them on a routine basis. Today, we’re in… Read more

Reggie Keding is a 11-year veteran of the flooring industry and owner of Floor Coverings International, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (925) 679-5935 or by email.

Reggie Keding

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Reggie Keding: Fraternal Flooring

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

CONCORD — Reggie Keding and his two brothers had respective careers in the construction field when they realized they could achieve greater success together than they could apart. “My brothers and I were working for different companies, and at one point, we figured we may as well join forces and start our own company,” he remembers. “After a few years doing installation exclusively, we realized we could provide even better service if we had more control over the material side. So, we decided to add a franchise that would allow us to be material dealers as well as installers. Today, as the Concord franchise of Floor Coverings International, we’re basically a one-stop shop for all flooring needs.”

A resident of Concord (where he lives with his wife, Catalinia, and their son), Reggie expresses his appreciation for the Bay Area’s diverse, cutting-edge character. “There’s so much diversity here, with a wide variety of places to go and things to do. It’s also exciting to live in an area that’s on the forefront of industry and technology, where there are always new developments happening.”

Outside of work, Reggie spends the bulk of his time in his newly acquired role as a dad. “Life has changed a bit with the recent birth of our son,” he affirms. “It has been a lot of fun—I enjoy playing with him and watching him grow.” When he’s not busy caring for his son, Reggie enjoys taking his wife salsa dancing (“That’s how we met”) and on occasional weekend getaways.

In his life and career, Reggie espouses the virtues of continuous self-development. “I’m what you might call a ‘forever student’—I’m constantly learning and working to improve myself,” he says. “I have a passion for being the best in my industry, so I do a lot of ongoing training to stay on the cutting edge.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Reggie says he’d see the world. “I’d probably jump on a plane with my wife and son and do some traveling. I’ve never been to Europe, so I’d probably start there.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What’s your favorite restaurant?
A: Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Walnut Creek.

Q: Music or talk radio?
A: Actually, I prefer listening to personal development audiobooks and podcasts.

Q: What were you most known for in high school?
A: Being optimistic.

Q: What’s your favorite snack?
A: Berries.

Q: If you could live in the city or the country, which would you choose?
A: The city—I like being close to where the action is.

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Hardwood Flooring: Site-Finished vs. Prefinished

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CONCORD — When planning to install new hardwood flooring, you’ll need to decide whether to go with a product that’s sanded and finished on site or one that’s prefinished at the factory. Before making this choice, it’s worthwhile to learn about… Read more

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Video: Site Finished Versus Pre-Finished Hardwood

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CONCORD — Host, Sarah Rutan: When selecting hardwood flooring, you’ll need to decide between a pre-finished product and one that’s finished after installation. Today we’re in Concord… Read more

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