Friday, February 27, 2009

Ultron Color Trends - Designer Workshops

I'm fascinated with trends and the influences on color and design, and how they differ based on regional interpretations. Imagine, then, how intrigued I was when I learned that Ultron carpet fiber was bringing together designers in a first-ever series of four workshops to discuss color trends.

Ann Hurley set the stage for these events which took place in 2008 over an eight week period in four cities around the country: Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago and New York. Eight to 12 seasoned designers were invited to each event. Each was asked to bring to the sessions inspiring color chips, samples, magazine articles, photos and swatches. [Ann says that, in addition to magazine photos, participants brought in custom mixed nail polish colors , flower petals, hand knitted yarn samples, wood, fabrics, paint swatches, threads, eucalyptus stems, glass tiles, etc. Truly thought-provoking!]

The events took place in the evening so no daily work obligations would interfere.

Each event started out with Ann sharing and discussing three design boards she had put together to set the stage for discussion. These boards [see photo left] represented the influences and captured the process that Ann goes through as she puts together a color forecast.

Her sources of inspiration include global trends from the trade shows she attends [NeoCon, Heimtextil, and Maison et Objet], influences from Italy and Berlin (Bauhaus), photos from CMG and CAUS workshops and nature.

Next, workshop participants each had 5 to 10 minutes to introduce themselves, their firms, their specialities as well as show and discuss what they had brought - their inspiring colors and samples.

[While that took place, Ann created color trend boards of what they had brought to the meetings.]

And then the group discussed what each had brought, examining similarities and / or differences..... and thinking about international trends, regional trends, historical trends, and color trends for 2009 as well as "star gazing" for 2010 and beyond.

Afterwards Ann disassembled and reassembled the boards into color families by city.

Ann considered herself both facilitator or anthropologist for the events, recording and organizing thoughts and comments.

That's what the next few posts are about: sharing insights from these sessions! Next, then, are the findings from the individual workshops, starting with Los Angeles...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Foot's Perspective #23 - Wow! Mirage Hallway Carpet

This episode of A Foot's Perspective is about a Wow! carpet style that I came across at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, NV where I stayed for the yearly Surfaces flooring trade show.

In the previous episode of A Foot's Perspective, I showed you the carpet inside my room at the Mirage. This time, I take you outside into the hallway of the 22nd floor!

From the photos you get a feel for the animal print and nature inspired patterns and colors - which echoes the theme of the Mirage hotel itself.

The circular motif carpet pattern is what greets you as you step outside of the elevator bank. The pattern morphs from giraffe and leopard/cheetah patterns to butterfly or moth-like spots. Note the brown border surrounding this central focal point.

From there, three separate hallways - like spokes on a wheel - go off toward the guest rooms.

The hallway carpet pattern builds off of the central motif, but introduces tree branch motifs, in two alternating patterns: one stretched out vertically; the other, horizontal and bordered in red indicating guest room door entries.

In this video, I start out by the guest room section of the hallway where the tree branch and bark qualities are strongest. The flow toward animal inspired patterns works smoothly and naturally; it's also visually intriguing.

Note how color is used to indicate direction and destination. It works hand-in-hand with the pattern changes. It creates rhythm and flow - as you might in your own home.

See for yourself in this episode of A Foot's Perspective!

[Subscribers, please click on this YouTube link to view episode #23 of A Foot's Perspective.]

How might you apply some of these ideas to your home?

For the most recent episode, visit A Foot's Perspective - Episode 21: Wow! Mirage Carpet.

Or you can scroll through previous blogposts with links to all previous episodes of A Foot's Perspective.

Thank you for watching and reading!

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Carpet Style Trends At Surfaces 2009

I'm back from Surfaces 2009 and thought you might enjoy some carpet style trend info from the show.

Let me confess to you up front. Given the big news [Mohawk Purchases Wear-Dated Brand], I didn't get a chance to wander as I had hoped, camera in hand, absorbing flooring influences.

However, I do have friends in excellent places who were able to do so - namely, Shannon Bilby who blogs at the WFCA's Floor Talk!

Shannon has written up a wonderful series of posts discussing what she observed at Surfaces across flooring categories - carpet, area rugs, tile and hardwood.

More specifically, check out these posts relating to tile and hardwood:
+ Trends in Tile - Shapes, Sheen, Shades, Sizes, Style

+ Trends in Hardwood - Shapes, Sheen, Shades, Sizes, Style

As it relates to carpet and area rugs, before referring you to those posts, I thought I would summarize her observations.

First, she says that "area rugs this year are all about texture." Texture from thick yarns as well as from "felt discs and sculpted carpets." She refers to "linear striations, large oversized patterns as well as smaller scale more traditional patterns", color schemes ranging from soft shades to rich oranges, greens, greys and blues. For the full post, see Trends in Area Rugs - Surfaces 2009.

My friend Etienne Koth, from Flooring America, says she saw blue being used in combinations that she hadn't seen done before. It looked really fresh. [Think yellow with blue, and orange with blue...]

What struck Shannon most on the carpet side was a renewed emphasis on quality of product rather than quantity. That's something I've heard discussed quite a bit [most recently it came up in Consumer Choices And The Retail Experience] both at Surfaces and beyond: quality matters again.

Although neutrals reigned in product displays, she saw a wealth of delicious colors: oranges, greens, blues, grays and earthy shades of brown. Shannon says: "the oranges and blues were muted and rich. The greens were light and lively. The browns were earthy, coffee inspired and looked like great candidates for hiding traffic!.. and beautiful heathered products that have more range of color than I think we are all used to seeing in once piece of carpet."

In terms of patterns, she noticed all kinds of geometric patterns - grids, lines, texture on texture...

The three examples shown here, by Mohawk, come from the Wear-Dated booth and illustrate what Shannon describes - tonal, textural, linear-inspired and geometric patterns:

Gridlock, Metro Oasis and --- [I will get them properly identified]. The fourth pattern in the booth was Urban Links [see Greer's Carpet Fashion Underfoot: Urban Links Carpet Style].

Shannon reminds and urges you in her post to be sure to feel the carpet styles as they are delicious under hand and foot!

For her full post on carpet, please read Trends in Carpet - Surfaces 2009.

As it relates to color, I was able to attend Mark Woodman's presentation titled "Seek, Experience, Inspire" during which he urged us to seek inspiration from everywhere - be it the color of a Brazilian drink influencing what color to launch the new Saab 903 to unexpected textures and cultural combinations. He stated that "Color will take on more importance as an easy way to update a space, product or home.... The economy is key but consumers still want excitement with their value."

I'll capture some of his color observations in a separate post.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Annette's Carpet Corner: Removing Acrylic Paint Stains recently posted aaaahhhh! about acrylic paint. More specifically: "Does anyone know how to get black acrylic paint off of a carpet, or am I screwed? It says it's a "stainmaster" carpet...but when I tried to clean it up, it made a smeary mess so i stopped... Anyone have any advice?"

What a perfect subject for this episode of Annette's Carpet Corner!

Here's what Annette recommends:

As with all stains, it's best to deal with the stain as quickly as possible.

According to the Wear-Dated Stain Removal Guide, for a paint [oil or latex] stain, it's best to:

+ Remove as much of the paint itself as possible by blotting with a white paper towel or scraping with a dull knife.

+ Apply isopropyl rubbing alcohol to a clean white cloth, white paper towel or cotton ball. If the spot extends deep into the pile, blot until it is removed or no color transfers to the cloth. Do not allow the alcohol to penetrate the backing, as it will destroy the latex bond. If the spot is on the surface only, rub in one direction at a time.If rubbing removes the spot, blot dry and stack several white paper towels over the damp area.

+ Place a brick or similarly weighted object on the towels to keep them in contact with the carpet. The towels will absorb any stain wicking up from the backing to the carpet surface.

+ Allow the carpet to dry, remove the brick and towels, and brush up the pile.

Please remember never use a circular motion to remove a carpet spot as this may destroy the texture!

We also checked the Carpet & Rug Institute's Spot Solver. It makes several important points:

+ That you might want to pretest any spot removal solution (for color transfer to the cloth or damage to the carpet) in an inconspicuous area. If a change occurs, select another solution [Spot Solver offers several stain removal solutions].

+ Don't rub, but do work from the outer edges of the spill to the center to prevent spreading. Be patient. Blot.

+ Consider calling a Professional Cleaner who will have the ability and equipment to apply more aggressive cleaning solutions to remove stubborn stains.

Annette also located this resource aptly titled How To Remove Paint From Carpet. Acrylic paint is water soluble when wet, but not when dry. The author suggests mixing some laundry detergent [Annette suggests 1/4 teaspoon of hand dish washing detergent like Dawn or Joy mixed with 1 quart of water].

She also cautions against mineral spirits, preferring isopropyl rubbing alcohol. She worries that mineral spirits might affect the carpet's stain blocking ingredients. [NOTE: Stainmaster's stain removal guide suggests dry cleaning fluid and a detergent solution.]

What I've learned from all this is that it's best to avoid paint on carpet at all costs. If unavoidable, act as quickly as possible. If you don't notice the paint stain until it's too late, it's probably best to call a professional.

However, should you want to tackle removing acrylic paint from carpet, you have options to explore.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

In The Market For Carpet? We'd Like To Help.

originally uploaded by Happy Sleepy.
If you're reading this blog post, there's a very good chance you're in the market for carpet. Maybe you're ready to buy carpet? Or simply searching for information about carpet. We'd like to help.

According to a 10/15/2008 MediaPost article titled Karastan: Building Share Of Voice In A Recession, "every time a consumer shops for flooring, it's like the first time. Even if they've made a significant flooring purchase in the last five years, they need to learn about it all over again. And the place they want to do that is on the Web."

Not surprising -- the web is where I turn to for information. Is it the same for you?

But it's also daunting as flooring and carpet aren't always the easiest to connect with online or offline.

For that reason, we thought we should remind you that, well... we're here. As you're looking for that perfect color, just the right style and the price that matches your budget, Wear-Dated has tools and tricks to help you find exactly what you're looking for, and help you make carpet buying decisions. We even have advice to help you care for your carpet after you've made your choice.

Here's more specifically what we have available:

FIND CARPET - Here, you can peruse thousands of styles and colors. We have everything from shag to loop, so you can narrow your choices down to specifics or broaden them to include everything that might be a possibility.

DESIGN A ROOM - Let's say that you've narrowed it down to your top three options. Now you want to see what each of them actually looks like on a floor. Pick a living room, bedroom, dining room or foyer and view it with your favorite carpet made with Wear-Dated carpet fiber. It's easy and far less expensive than trying all three options at home.

ESTIMATING CARPET - We know you want to visit your local retail store already prepared. Just measure the room you'd like to carpet, then enter your calculations here. We'll crunch the numbers so that you have a better idea what to expect when you make a purchase.

CARING FOR STAINS - You're careful, but stains do happen. Use this handy-dandy reference guide to remove nearly all unwanted stains from your carpet. We also recommend the Carpet and Rug Institute's Spot Solver.

NEWS & UPDATES - All carpet, all the time, delivered right to your inbox. Subscribe via email or RSS.

Happy Exploring! If you have questions, please let me know.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Foot's Perspective #22: Wow! Mirage Carpet

This episode of A Foot's Perspective is about another Wow! carpet style that I came across at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, NV. That's where I stayed last week for the yearly Surfaces flooring trade show.

This was my first visit to the Mirage and I really enjoyed my room.

The style: definitely modern! And, really fun!

From the photo, you can see that the lines are clean and straightforward, almost sparse. If it weren't for the splash of orange accents, and the bold carpet pattern, the room might have seemed oppressive or uninspiring.

I can assure you that that wasn't the case! The room was a haven from the gaudiness of the casino scene and the hectic pace of Surfaces. It helped me recalibrate and rebalance.

The carpet, as you can see, features a large, contemporary circular pattern in chocolate brown and light-cafe-latte [i.e., a shade of beige]. I love that the color contrast is so stark and yet the textural contrast so subtle between loop and texture carpet construction styles.

The orange accents pop and that bolster pillow is preposterous!

See for yourself!

[Subscribers, please click on this YouTube link to view episode #22 of A Foot's Perspective.]

What do you think? Would you try something like this at home?

For the most recent episode, visit A Foot's Perspective - Episode 21: Wow! Dallas Carpet. Or you can scroll through previous blogposts with links to all previous episodes of A Foot's Perspective.

Thank you for watching and reading!

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Monday, February 9, 2009

Design Reviews From the Floor Up ~ 2Modern Design Talk

February's Design Reviews From The Floor Up introduces you to 2Modern Design Talk, the design blog for the 2Modern retail site.

2Modern Design Talk is filled with delightful inspiration. Originally launched in August 2005, the site now features the perspectives of 18 contributors all involved in varying aspects of modern design - from different parts of the world [Chile, Brazil, Australia and the United States], a range of designing angles [graphic, object, furniture, showroom, industrial....] and interests [trend spotter, buyer, artist, painter, writer, crafter...].

The end result is a rich site featuring a "wide-range of views and commentary focused on contemporary design" as About 2Modern Design Talk explains. It's also very approachable and visually inspiring with delicious photos about modern design topics of interest to us all.

Take Sushi Artwork. Or lighting fixtures from the 2009 Interior Design Show in Toronto. What about Biomorphism and Solar Design and Wallpaper From the 70's? Or amazing Big scarves for this season. Check out New Rugs from 2Modern & Emma Gardner Designs!, too.

2Modern Design Talk will definitely take you on an excitingly fresh journey through contemporary design. Even if modern isn't your preferred design style, you'll be surprised by the relevance of the ideas showcased, and you never know when something might make sense for what you're trying to achieve.

Let me know what you think.

For previous sites included in this series, click on Design Reviews from the Floor Up. Or, visit our sidebar also titled 'Design Reviews from the Floor Up.'

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Friday, February 6, 2009

Living Carpet Floors

Photo courtesy of Yanko Design. Designer: Nguyen La Chanh.
The notion of a 'living carpet' delights me to no end. Perhaps it's the science fiction lover in me thinking of Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land [which I loved].

Imagine, then, how happy this story from Inhabitat about a living moss carpet for your bathroom made me!

Designer Nguyen La Chanh created this Moss Carpet using plastazote, a decay-free foam, and combining three different types of moss - ball, island and forest - that thrive in humid environments like bathrooms.

I can imagine the delightful springiness of the moss underfoot. It would definitely energize me for the day.

Then, there's an indoor lush carpet of living plants in Idaho that also looks to soothe the soul and toes. I discovered it in Living Floor Like Heinlein's Grass Carpet: Science Fiction in the News. The living carpet not only feels good, but it helps to clean the air and cool the house [here's the relevant passage from Heinlein's story and a reference to Kurt Vonnegut's The Siren of Titan which I haven't read]. The plants also help humidify the air as the Seattle Times article on the story titled Home addition features a floor alive with plants describes.

Serendipitously, as I can across these stories, I also realized that the header on my friend Daria Radota Rasmussen's blog Social Hallucinations captures a similar sensibility.

Can you imagine anything more delicious than bare feet on [living] carpet? It certainly enhances the visual delight associated with a carpet of flowers [see Tapis de fleurs de Bruxelles and Brussels Flower Carpet 2008] by associating a tactile experience to the visual one.

Methinks I'm ready for living carpet floors!

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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Wear-Dated On Facebook With Floor & Carpet Tips

Did you know that you can find Wear-Dated on Facebook? And, in no less than two different places.

You'll find a group for the Friends of Wear-Dated and then there's the more serious Wear-Dated page where you can choose to become a Fan.  That's also where I post A Foot's Perspective videos...

I created both last summer after we launched the redesigned Wear-Dated website, drawing inspiration from Wiggly Wigglers in the UK who share marvelous tidbits of advice, humor and information in their regular communications. I decided to do something similar - although no one can come close to Heather Gorringe's deliciously delectable practical advice about wiggling worms and organic compost...

I decided instead to share care tips. With Elizabeth's help, we started posting carpet care tips. And, then, Shannon graciously offered to share non-carpet floor care tips, which we've interspersed in between carpet advice.

Here are the floor and carpet care tips we've shared to date:

Don’t forget to vacuum! Not only does vacuuming regularly maintain the appearance and condition of your carpet, but it also upholds your end of the warranty you have with your carpet manufacturer. Especially if you pinky swore. 

We know you don’t cook, but regardless, always keep cornstarch or cornmeal on hand to soak up greasy stains that may find their way to your carpet. Simply sprinkle it over the stain, wait, then vacuum the spot. Easy as pie. (Things do get a little more difficult, however, when the pie gets all over your carpet.) 

If a liquid spills on your carpet, soak as much of it up as possible with clean, white cloth, then remove what’s left of the stain using a mild solution of liquid detergent and water. Use a detergent that doesn’t contain lanolin or bleach. 

If you have hardwood flooring, you can and should vacuum every day to remove any harmful particles and maintain the floor’s appearance.

When removing carpet stains, always blot, never scrub. 

The best way to prevent dirt from overtaking your carpet is to stop it from even entering your home. Place rugs at your doors to capture the extra dirt that tries to sneak in and consider taking off your shoes before stepping into the house. Your carpet (and your feet) will thank you. 

So you’re having a romantic evening for two when you suddenly realize that the candle has dripped all over your carpet. To remove the candle wax, spread brown paper or terry cloth over the area and iron it on ‘warm.’ The wax will be absorbed onto the paper or cloth. Voila! 

Regardless of the flooring you have in your home, use walk-off mats at all exterior entrances to prevent outside dirt, sand and grit from entering and harming your floors. 

To remove chewing gum from carpet, freeze the area with an ice cube, then shatter the gum with a knife handle. Vacuum, and continue on your merry way. 

If you consider them helpful, please do feel free to share them with others. And, if you're on Facebook, consider becoming a Friend of Wear-Dated.  There are more tips coming and I'd love to see you.

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