Maybe the French are still trying to get even for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's snide comments about Old Europe's irrelevance. They know that we upstart colonists in the States are fascinated with 300-year-old, stone-clad homes found everywhere in industrialized Europe.
A 30-year-old company called Modulo, based in France, is making a play in the United States, hoping to introduce affordable interior stone finishes. The product, made from reconstituted minerals, is designed to emulate the look of medieval manor walls in various regions of France. Of course, several other U.S. companies, such as Cultured Stone in Napa, Calif., already have a firm grip on the interior stone veneer niche, but Modulo hopes to use its medieval authenticity to turn heads.
Einar Hafstad, spokesperson for Modulo's U.S. presence in Hanover, Minn., says the company has just begun gearing up to supply builders and homeowners with its 60 product lines.
"The interior product is not used much here yet," says Hafstad, "but we sell 20 million square feet a year in Europe."