Friday, February 29, 2008
If you're like me, possibly not so positive. At best something along the lines of scratchy, thin, plastic-y fake grass...
However, I've been reconsidering that perception ever since I noticed the really soft, plush and deliciously green grassy carpet that my daughter's school installed on the playground.
I became even more intrigued when I came across this article - The Little Georgia Town That Covers New York City in Turf by Deborah Kolben from 1/7/2008 - and I learned that Dalton, Ga [the carpet capital of the world] "has carved out a niche for itself as the manufacturer of New York's "grass" - the artificial turf that the city has been laying increasingly in parks and asphalt lots and ... public housing projects."
You see, I'm quite familiar with New York City and its so-called concrete jungle. I have first-hand knowledge of how hard and unforgiving many of those surfaces are. I've also seen some of what passes for park lawn... If it's off limits, it's a glorious site to behold. If it gets used, it resembles packed dirt more than grass. Anything offering additional cushioning has to be a plus.
The article continues "to date, the city has replaced 90 of its 800 grass or asphalt ball fields with artificial turf, and another 23 are scheduled for conversion." In fact, the city is "one of the biggest consumers of artificial turf in the country." Wow!
I decided to conduct research. After all, it is carpet and I remembered an additional connection...
...Which I found in About.com's the history of synthetic grass or astroturf. Two scientists from Monsanto [the company from which Solutia was spun off in 1997] invented Astroturf.
Interestingly, the impetus for creating the product came from wanting to encourage young urban folks to become more physically fit. AstroTurf hit the big league when it replaced the Houston AstroDome's playing surface in 1966.
AstroTurf, the company, no longer has anything to do with Monsanto. And its products have become much more sophisticated and specialized, with turf choices available by sport as well as by product. There are even DIY residential options [i.e, AstroLawn] with 9 product lines to choose from [including a sample set]!
Although I'm noticing more relating to artificial grass [e.g., in Marco Island Capriers roll around on new carpet and in Kampala, Uganda, Carpet laid at Lugogo], I hadn't expected the extent of options or the breadth of adoption.
From a practical perspective, AstroTurf doesn't require:
- water [a plus particularly in parched parts of the world]
- pesticides [although you may require AstroShield]
- mowing [an absolute time-saver].
All these benefits in a lush, plush outdoor carpet. What better way to encourage and cushion outdoor play!
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Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Carpet does not contribute to allergiesThat's right. Contrary to popular belief, rather than contribute to allergies, carpet alleviates allergies.
And there's proof. Lots of it.
In fact, the Carpet and Rug Institute has created the Carpet-Health site to address the misconceptions surrounding carpet and health.
I was particularly interested in the asthma/allergy section. It includes plenty of information to put your mind at ease. Did you know that the benefit of carpet for Allergies and Asthma is that carpet acts as a trap for airborne particles grounded through natural gravity. In other words, carpet snares all of those allergens that you find in a house allowing you to vacuum them up easily.
Hard surface, on the other hand, encourages the circulation of those irritants.
If you don't believe me, go to a house with pets. Pets shed, right? Well, watch what happens to those dust bunnies that furry critters contribute to. On a hard surface, the dust bunnies float around, playing chase with you as you try to round them up. On a carpeted surface, they go to ground; no problem grabbing them.
Now, what got me going on this subject is a recent study conducted by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification [IICRC] which they called the "You'd Be Floored" survey. No surprise, the Survey Suggests U.S. Homeowners Relate Health of Family to Cleanliness of Flooring. More precisely, 81% of US homeowners "feel that their family's health is directly related to the cleanliness of their floors."
What does come as a surprise is that "75 percent of respondents perceive carpet to be the least effective type of flooring in minimizing conditions that aggravate allergies."
Jeff Bishop, IICRC technical advisor, protests: “... scientific studies demonstrate that just the opposite is true: carpet actually traps airborne allergens that can easily be vacuumed out, whereas wood flooring allows irritants to be stirred up by normal traffic or sweeping and released into the breathing zone. Airborne dust, not carpet, is the culprit that triggers allergies.”
In my house, we have carpet. We also have allergies [especially my husband]. I can assure you that our carpet in no way contributes to allergic reactions.
So, if you have allergies, please consider carpet. You won't regret it!
P.S.: I originally became aware of the survey through FCW's 01/7-14/2008 article by Kim Gavin titled "Survey: Consumers tie cleanliness to health."
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Monday, February 25, 2008
During Surfaces 2008, Kemp Harr, publisher of Floor Focus Magazine and FloorDaily.net interviewed Wear-Dated's own Marianne Cone.
In the interview, Marianne, our director of marketing, describes Wear-Dated's presence at Surfaces 2008. [It took place from January 31 through February 1st, 2008 in Las Vegas.]
First, our overall theme: By The Foot, based on our award-winning marketing campaign.
By The Foot updates Wear-Dated's reputation for durability [our tagline is "You'll Wear Out Before Wear-Dated Does."] with fashion and beauty, making us more relevant particularly to women consumers.
By all accounts By The Foot continues to generate enthusiastic reactions, and - we're hopeful - spirited conversation around fashionable carpet options.
Next, Wear-Dated Natural Nylon.
First introduced during Surfaces 2007, Wear-Dated Natural Nylon has been successfully adopted. We now have a multitude of products from well-known carpet mills showcased in our booth. Many are already available or will shortly be available to consumers.
What is Wear-Dated Natural Nylon?
From a recent press release recapping Surfaces:
"Wear-Dated Natural Nylon combines the superior performance characteristics of Solutia type 6,6 nylon with a proprietary insert technology that binds individual fibers together. The result is a patented fiber structure with sharp pinpoint tip definition and a natural ‘wool-like-look’ in constructions previously limited to BCF fiber, all with superior appearance retention."
In other words, it creates carpet with the beauty, luster and hand of wool, in delicious pattern and loop styles, but with the durability of Nylon 6,6.
Creating Beauty. Comfort. Durability. Pretty exciting!
Finally, new carpet introductions made with Wear-Dated carpet fiber.
Marianne describes some of the carpet styles featured in our Surfaces 2008 booth. More specifically she talks about Marciano from Mohawk and SuperChic from Tuftex [both pictured here; SuperChic is the intensely thick area rug, atop Marciano].
We're pleased to share with you both the audio file of the interview with Marianne and the video version. [We heartily recommend the video version.]
We hope you enjoy the interview, and the glimpse it offers into the excitement of Surfaces 2008.
If you'd like to read more about our Surfaces 2008 experiences, you can do so with Surfaces 2008, The Elegance of Dupioni Silk and The Latest in Carpet Style Trends.
~ The Women of Wear-Dated
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Friday, February 22, 2008
Carpet buying isn't difficult, but it isn't something you want to take lightly. Don't panic, however. Take your time and a deep breath, and get to know the facts about carpet.
The first step? Research.
We recommend starting with trusted flooring sources like the World Floor Covering Association, an organization that wants to see you make an informed decision about whatever flooring surface you install in your home. From a virtual room designer to a flooring solutions quiz, the WFCA will offer you the intelligence you need to help get you started. Take the time to read through the Why Carpet? section of the site that details the strengths and benefits of carpet. And check out Before You Buy; it provides information that you need to take into consideration before purchasing, such as length and width of rooms, stairs, and necessary durability. [Don't forget, too, to check out WFCA's Floor Talk!]
Next, check out the Carpet and Rug Institute. CRI is a nonprofit trade association that is composed of nearly all the carpet and rug manufacturers in the U.S. and even includes many suppliers and service providers as well. Suffice it to say, they know carpet. This organization is dedicated to disseminating the best, most accurate information about carpet and the carpet industry. It even conducts primary research studies to gather information for the public, interior designers, architects, specifiers and others. Because of this, the Web site is extensive enough to spend days reading - you can pour over the history of carpet, check out the most frequently asked questions found in the carpet industry, or learn about the benefits of carpets and rugs in your home.
Regardless of where you find your answers, make sure you're asking the right questions. Which types of carpet are right for you, your family and your house? Do you know why? What color carpet will best fit your decor and your lifestyle? How much traffic will the carpet have to support?
[You can download from the Wear-Dated website a useful one-page Show-Me Sheet to help organize your questions, answers, ideas, preferences and requirements as you do your research. Added 9/9/10: I'll try to locate a copy of the Show-Me Sheet for you...]
In addition to the CRI and the WFCA, check out Fabulous Floors Magazine. This publication is geared toward consumers, and devoted to flooring styles as a key element in home decor. Back issues can be found online, and each issue includes vibrant photos of flooring choices set in the context of homes. The magazine offers a way for you to see carpet installed in a room with paint, furniture and accessories before you actually make a purchase.
As an additional source of information, research the carpet mills located in the U.S., or try going to carpet manufacturers' Web sites directly. This isn't necessary, but it will give you a better handle on who manufactures which brands, and the differences between all of them. You can find a list here at FloorBiz.com - an online magazine for the flooring trade - and on The Carpetology Blog's sidebar.
That should tide you over until the next step in the carpet buying process: Decision time!
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Wednesday, February 20, 2008
A Carpet of Peace. Doesn't that sound worthy and inspiring?
It reminds me of Miss Congeniality with Sandra Bullock and how 'world peace' progressed from insipid response to a truly worthy desire.
I certainly yearn for Peace across the globe. I love that a carpet might be both symbol and enabler of Peace.
The original announcement recently came out in Today.AZ All News From Azerbaijan and has been picked up by FloorDaily.net [although they did not include an image].
The story isn't long:
Azerbaijan likely to add to Guinness World Records with its "Carpet of Peace"
The due statement was made by Ashraf Geybatov, honored painter of Azerbaijan, currently residing in the Koblentz city of Germany.
He informed about a unique carpet of 3x5 meters in size, which will be weaven by 30,000 people from all over the world. It will be called a carpet of peace. Our compatriot will participate in the project, as a carpet designer.
"The carpet will be weaven in Newberg. Each tourist, a representative of any other country, will be invited into a special workshop to make a few knots. Those, involved into the process, will have to leave information about themselves and their work, on the site, which is to propagandize this project", Geybatov said.
The technical part of the issue is currently being discussed.
Imagine: 30,000 people involved in creating this symbol of Peace! And that each should leave elements of his or her individual story behind so that the carpet can also be the centerpoint of all of those stories. I'm eager to learn more!
I investigated further.
About the artist. Here is a photo of Ashraf Geybatov. I discovered his background after searching under the spelling Ashraf Heybatov: born in Baky, Azerbaijan; graduate of the Art Institute in Baky. He holds the rank of honored artist of the Republic of Azerbaijan; he is a member of the UNESCO International Federation of Artists. [UNESCO encourages international peace and universal respect by promoting collaboration among nations.] He has created large monumental wall pieces in Baky, Moscow and many cities in Germany [Images of Heybatov's works are available here], as well as a piece titled “9/11. New York.”
I learned that an exhibition of his works will take place in the Vatican, the first ever exhibit of a Muslim artist. Heybatov comments that "his works "The Hell" and "The Heaven" were presented in the framework of an international conference, held on Rodos island, where they were noticed by a representative of Vatican's Committee for Culture."
I'm not sure when the project will get started, but will report any updates here.
In the meantime, if you're not sure you can schedule a trip to Neuberg, Germany, then consider another approach to supporting World Peace: Stand Up For World Peace as created on YouTube.com by Maddogza [subscribers, click on Stand Up for World Peace to view video].
I yearn for World Peace. Let's create that Carpet of Peace and then, let's Stand Up on it for World Peace.
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Friday, February 15, 2008
While at Surfaces 2008 I experienced firsthand the carpet style trends that I've been reading about in the flooring trade press.
Trends such as "Beyond berber: Patterned carpet offers high fashion choices" by Janet Herlihy in the 10/1-8/2007 issue of Floor Covering Weekly or "Consumers influence design demands in 2008" by Amy Joyce Rush from the 01/21-28/2008 issue of Floor Covering Weekly or even Mohawk adds ‘stars’ to its 2008 lineup: Innovative styles ... [from the 01/18/2008 issue of Floor Covering News].
All exciting trends because they emphasize the stylish possibilities of carpet, and do so in the context of a consumer's home where hard surfaces will absolutely co-exist with soft surfaces. The combined end result can now be show-stoppingly glamourous, sophisticated and very comfortable.
[These two photos are of Horizon's Flamboyant. I love the textural quality of the product - both visually and to the touch. It's casual yet very stylish.]
Let me share some of the specifics from the articles...
The first article "Beyond berber..." discusses life beyond looped berber flecked carpet. That's the carpet that became so very popular across North American homes some years back. Usually made of olefin fiber, the loop construction and flecks of color forgave a whole slew of sins.
Unfortunately, it also 'uglied out' rather quickly - olefin, with its lower melting point, mats down, quickly losing its new crisp look and generally not performing as well as a comparable nylon product would.
The second article asserts that consumers are calling the design shots, and flooring suppliers are responding with "more diversity, luxury and color." Enter into a world where we as consumers are savvy about design, color and patterns, love the ideas available through HGTV, and want to bring greater sophistication and beauty to our homes as we express a greater sense of style.
No surprise, those berber loop styles just don't cut it anymore!
[And, by the way, berber refers not to the loop construction, but rather to the flecks of color in the carpet.]
Don't you agree? Our carpet selections can be as sassy as we want to be in one room, or as sophisticated as we need to be in another. The options are there! It's all up to us!
That boring ubiquitous berber loop can finally be ditched in favor of a fun, fresh-looking and better performing cut-pile construction. Not only does it have the berber flecks of color, but also unusual effects in how the carpet yarns get combined.
Patterned carpet now captures subtle designs that emulate hard surface swirls, patterns and striations. The pattern can come from combining loops and textures, or using different tones of similar color, or combining yarns of different thickness in one carpet, or even different luster levels in a same carpet. The end result is quite magical and definitely sensual: you can't help but feel it with your hands to better understand what your eyes tell you.
Did you read Marianne's post about Fabrica's Silk Weave and The Elegance of Dupioni Silk? I love that carpet can capture the look and feel of luxurious silk! Check out this post by Daily Danny titled Floored by Carpets in which he includes terrific photos of carpets that similarly convey both stylishness and exotic sensibilities.
Imagine having a swirly granite floor in a foyer area paired with a dreamy counterpoint swirl in carpet for the living room space off that foyer... It works for me.
From a practical design perspective, if you want to combine hard and soft surface in an open space, consider using inlays of carpet in the hard surface - as Vickie Gilstrap explains in the article - or even bind the broadloom carpet and create an area rug.
If you are considering combining different carpet patterns and textures in a space, consider an inlay of pattern in a less exuberant carpet, one that carries through the whole space. That will help to unify the whole look as Thom Filicia explains.
Have you noticed, too, the richness of color that the new hard surface options offer? What I love about that is that it forces going beyond beige [yeah for color!], and says that it's absolutely okay to mix and match surface types, patterns, colors and looks throughout the house, customizing for each room. All rooms don't have to be hard. Some can and should be soft and comfortable, while still expressing a sense of uniquely individual style!
That, to me, is the ultimate luxury.
NOTE: All of the products shown above - except for the room scene of my hotel room - feature new introductions from Surfaces made with Wear-Dated and Wear-Dated Natural Nylon carpet fiber.
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Thursday, February 14, 2008
Now, we've addressed red before in terms of Red Carpet Treatment and even with ideas to Create Your Own Red Carpet Experience! Here, though, we take a different approach. A global approach to red.
While we often say our world is shrinking and melding, in the world of color each family often has regional and cultural differences. Frequently color has very different meanings in different cultures – yet, other times the significance of a particular color has transcended cultures.
Think about the color red. What comes to mind??
Blood – power -- love – danger – excitement – fire – fast sports cars? The thought of red can even elevate blood pressure and activity levels.
Thus, in Western culture, red is often used in fast food restaurants to motivate patrons to eat quickly.
In England red double-decker buses and telephone booths are national icons.
In the Roman Catholic Church, scarlet red robes - are worn by Cardinals as a symbol of their willingness to defend their faith "unto the shedding of (their own) blood."
In India as well as China, the traditional color for brides is red. In China, the bride, groom and entire wedding party wear red. The use of red ink for the wedding invitations signifies celebration, good luck and success.
Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese philosophy of nature dating back 3,000 years. This philosophy promotes placement & arrangement to achieve harmony with the environment. Red is very popular on doors that are facing South, inviting prosperity into the home. [Check out Feng Shui and tips on how to apply it to bedrooms, homes and color.]
In Japan, the land of the rising sun, red is associated with the sun god. Japanese children learn from an early age that the sun is always colored red, unlike our children who usually color it yellow or orange.
In Russia, red has been the symbol of danger and revolution and is still associated with the Communist party.
Ironically, the root word of red means “beauty.”
Trivia Question: The red color of a cooked lobster is actually a carotene pigment that is held in bond. When cooked, this dark green crustacean turns bright red due to a chemical reaction affecting the carotene. Which 20th century painter used the lobster as his symbol, and utilized this color in several of his works?
Answer: Salvador Dali
As much as we associate Valentine's Day with flowers and candies and Western sensibilities, you might be surprised in reading the Valentine's Day description from Wikipedia to discover a global interpretation to the day. And, if you consider global in terms of a trip through time, you might enjoy this fascinating history of St. Valentine's Day. No surprise, it associates the following colors with Valentine's Day:
Pink - representing "warmth and loving kindness"
White - capturing "purity, faith, and devotion [i.e., the absence of passion and emotion]", and
Red - the color of the human heart, symbolizing "passion and deep affection"
[For more, consider The Origins of Valentine's Day.]
Also, check out Ann's recent Ultron Color News. It features the color red...
Happy Valentine's Day!
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Monday, February 11, 2008
The very word silk conjures up an image of luxury and elegance....
Did you know that there are many different kinds of silks? Tussah silk comes from silk worms that feed on oak leaves. The warp and weft yarns in tussah silk fabric are different, emphasizing the woven look, and is used extensively in home décor.
Silk Shantung is from the Shantung region of China. From the sheer silk chiffon used in loose flowing garments such as scarves and night gowns, to the much heavier silk peau de soie of evening and bridal gowns, whether used in our homes or in our garments, silk gives us a certain sense of style and sophistication. One of my favorite silks is the heavier weight matka silk. It’s taken from the short ends of silk from Mulberry silk worms and is usually spun by hand. Matka is typically all one color but the thick slubs and irregularities reflect light differently giving it a unique character.
In much the same way a silk garment easily goes from the office to dinner, the look and feel of silk on the floor can go from an active family room to an elegant master suite. Christine wrote about our recent trip to Surfaces where we saw some wonderful new floor covering products.
The tight construction is reminescent of dupioni silk fabric, and the high luster yarns used at random intervals remind us of slubs and create just enough shimmer to give it depth as natural light moves through the room throughout the day. The colored neutral shown here is perfect for a master suite that includes creams and brown accents….perhaps a chocolate brown dupioni silk accent pillow for the chaise lounge.
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Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Never before have I been so aware of the color in my environment. I have a Google Alert rigged up so that whenever the term "color trend" is mentioned in an online article or blog, a link to it arrives in my inbox. This simple term covers everything from haute couture to interior design to automobile paint. When I go to a retail store, instead of simply accepting what I find, I wonder why my color options are what they are; what factor in society, in the economy, in our psyche as a whole leads to the colors placed in front of me?
Color is not simply the whim or the random decision of a company executive. The colors that emerge each year on retail shelves and showroom floors have been exhaustively researched and studied, often years in advance. Indeed, companies will often have color and design experts (like Wear-Dated's very own Ann Hurley) on staff who are associated with organizations such as the Color Marketing Group, an international association of color designers. According to the group's Web site, "CMG’s major focus is to identify the direction of color and design trends. CMG members then 'translate' that information into salable colors for manufactured products." In other words, a great many people all over the world contribute their time, energy and research into color forcasts each year.
This year, CMG predicts four major trends in color for 2008: very natural, very pure colors that are undyed and look "green;" various shades of blue that reflect both environmentalism and trust in difficult economic times; metallics, echoing this age of technology in which we live; and an infusion of ethnic flavor. Other expert sources suggest similar trending patterns, especially the green trend in design. HGTV.com says that "huetrals" weathered shades inspired by nature, are becoming more popular. "Think shades inspired by nature or that have been weathered and faded. Dusty colors, pale colors—nature as seen through a fog. This is all good news for those of us who’re a bit freaked out by color and how to use it. These toned-down hues are gentle and forgiving."
Interestingly, these color trends permeate our society, influencing fashion first, then home decor and retail. They then trickle down to even the automobile industry. In a December news release, DuPont quotes a color expert from Pantone about the latest in hot car colors. "'We are not surprised to see a proliferation of white/white pearl in DuPont's report this year,' said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute and author of Color: Messages and Meanings.
"'It follows the global trends in home furnishings, fashion, consumer products and industrial design where we're seeing a return to white as a clarifying agent before change, a color of purity and minimalism,' Eiseman said. 'White also is considered a fashion statement. The car you drive is a fashion statement, and consumer preferences for white agree. White pearl itself is a combination of many colors, allowing an ability to change, reflecting, in effect, layers of white.'"
Color takes its cue (hue?) from many factors, including global outlook, economy and the general climate. For example, right now, the economy is down, so people are drawn to more soothing, natural colors. Green is big, so again, those naturals keep appearing. And the Olympics in Beijing this summer are expected to bring in the rich, saturated colors from the other side of the world.
In your own home, how do you use color? Does it appear in your carpet? Do the trends found in the community around you pop up in your living room or kitchen? Keep in mind that color is far more than just the objects in the here and now. Color is both history and prediction, as well as a strange representation of who we are as a culture.
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Monday, February 4, 2008
We're just back from Surfaces.
It's the only event of its kind bringing together in one place the floor covering industry -- retailers, installers, flooring manufacturers [hard and soft], fiber producers [like Solutia's Wear-Dated carpet fiber], educators and suppliers to the industry. It takes place every year in late January/early February in Las Vegas, Nevada.
It's massive -- in terms of scale, new product introductions, and learnings. If you don't believe me, then check out Surfaces - New Product Pavilion, Dal Tile at Surfaces 2008, and Live from Surfaces 2008!
I'm still breathless from the event.
I got to spend time with Floor Talk!'s Shannon Bilby. We've only met virtually until now, and it felt as if we had known one another forever. She has a glorious appreciation for flooring of all kinds, and the magic that the perfect floor can bring to home design [those are her posts above].
I soaked up as much as possible from the educational sessions [if you're interested, check out Flooring The Consumer where I'll share my learnings] and the retail experiences that Las Vegas has to offer [see Las Vegas and FAO Schwartz].
I took lots of photos of our booth and exciting product introductions.
I also got to meet with the folks over at the Carpet and Rug Institute to learn more about their programs so I can share them with you here.
All in all, a good week's worth of carpet related wisdom! And a promise to share the details, including photos, with you very shortly...
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