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Floors from the Forest

WD Flooring and its Legacy of Sustainability

Article by Lisa Van Horne

Photography by Courtesy of the brand

Originally published in Boulder Lifestyle

For Peter Connor, fifth-generation company president of WD Flooring, sustainability is much more than a buzzword. It is a core philosophy and practice that remains a legacy of his 150-year-old business.

“Sustainability is our ethos,” Peter says. “It has been part of our lexicon since 1872.”

WD Flooring was established by Peter’s great-great-grandfather in Laona, Wisconsin, where the family owns and operates its vast timberland and sawmill. When WD Connor, Peter’s great-grandfather, inherited the business, he set out to establish it as a sterling example of sustainable forestry and manufacturing. He became the namesake of the modern iteration of the company as a tribute to his trailblazing in sustainable forestry in the early 1900s.

“Our floor products are 100% sourced, grown and manufactured in the United States from sustainable forests,” Peter says. “We’re proud that we have a zero-waste product and 100% utilization. While we have produced over one billion square feet of hardwood flooring, we have more standing timber today than we did in 1889.”

As the company has evolved over the decades, this foundation of sustainability has remained steadfast.

“We’re dedicated to the idea that we can bridge the divide between what consumers want and what nature can provide without harm,” Peter says. “Our timber is a net positive contributor to the environment. We’re capturing and sinking carbon from the atmosphere and storing that carbon first in the trees, then putting that carbon into a product that, in most cases, will outlive the useful age of the buildings in which it exists.”

This principle of sustainability also translates into how the company satisfies the needs and wants of consumers.

“We’re in control of every aspect of the manufacturing process,” Peter says. “We’re one of the last vertically integrated companies in the industry.”

This means that the company’s products—its prefinished hardwood floors in particular—allow for customers to be closely connected to the products’ origins. From the forest to the mill to the showroom, this process allows for a limitless platform for design—respecting the evolving styles that customers are seeking as well as the life of the forest.

Today, WD Flooring offers hundreds of hardwood floor products—what Peter notes is probably the most diverse product mix in the industry—to customers for a wide range of projects. From myriad residential renovations and builds—such as the Greystar project at Union Station—to commercial undertakings, sports floors, flooring for high-profile clients and much more, WD Flooring products are defined by their inimitable quality, craftsmanship, artfulness and longevity.

The company recently marked an expansion into Colorado with the opening of its showroom in the Denver Design District. This was a highly personal move for Peter, as he has a long-standing connection to the mountains and the Colorado lifestyle.

“We love all things Colorado,” Peter says. “People here just get things done, unless of course, it’s a good powder day in the mountains. For over 20 years Colorado has been a target market for us. We’ve been a big part of bringing a lot of Colorado’s new and changing design choices to the market.”

Nearly every floor that the WD Flooring team produces through its showroom is a custom creation. One such example is in a recently completed green-build home in Boulder, in which the design and build team was looking to partner with a company that shared its emphasis on sustainability. This project in particular involved creating flooring that could be used over Warmboard radiant flooring panels. In addition to its exquisite floors, the WD Flooring team is also known for the close collaborations that they forge with the designers and architects they work with to bring their beautiful flooring to life in spaces such as this.

For Peter, evolution and adaptation will continue to feature sustainability as WD Flooring extends its legacy.

“We essentially live at the center of a two-circle Venn Diagram,” Peter says. “One circle is what nature provides and the other is creative design. The nexus of these two notions is where we exist. It’s what keeps us relevant and always progressing.”

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