It all started in the summer of ’73 when young entrepreneur Michael “Mike” Walker began looking for a way to make it on his own. Although successful, he quickly became bored with selling other peoples’ designs, and in a moment of inspiration, decided it was time to introduce something completely new and different to the vinyl flooring industry.
In his eyes, a floor shouldn’t just be practical, it needed to be beautiful as well. Travelling the world seeking inspiration for what are now the most realistic luxury vinyl flooring products on the market, Mike found a way to create more than just a floor – he created a flooring concept. With endless combinations of planks, tiles, borders and design strips – not to mention the ability to cut the product into pretty much anything required – his idea meant people were no longer just getting a floor. They were getting a Design Floor. A floor that was unique, a floor that was bespoke and personal - a Karndean floor.
In 1992 Karndean moved out of Mike’s car boot and into a little black-and-white house in Offenham. The Karndean team worked out of that house for several years with only a handful of employees and the family’s trusty dog, Smokey. Yes, the Great Dane who is still present on Karndean’s logo today.
In the 90’s, Mike’s daughter Fleur took over the reins of the business with her brother Chris out on the road selling. Building relationships with flooring retailers around the UK who were just as excited as they were to welcome this new customisable flooring product, these were the founding years of our company.
For the family and Karndean’s early employees - many who are still with us today - these years bring back many fond memories. Memories of working together to come up with exciting new designs, product photo shoots staged in the family’s Birmingham home, a certain business meeting when 130-pound Smokey ran across the board room table, and so many more. All of these memories have woven together the past 40 years and brought us to where we are today.