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Coverings 2014 – Country Floors

Coverings 2014 - Country Floors

The annual Coverings trade show has been a constant in the stone and tile industry for a quarter century. The good folks that organize the event say that, “Coverings is for the industry, by the industry. If tile + stone is your business, Coverings is your show”. As always, we are happy to be a part of Coverings 2014 – Country Floors. This year the industry will gather in Las Vegas from April 29 to May 2 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Country Floors can be found at Booth #S110C . To help expedite your visit, the online exhibitor list can be found here and you can register here.

A key incentive for anyone to attend Coverings is the educational activities. In the words of the show, “Coverings provides the most in-depth tile + stone education program in North America – and it’s completely free. For the 25th Anniversary, Coverings has pulled out all the stops to produce the most remarkable and exciting conference program to date. This year’s program is so large and impressive, we’ve taken the unprecedented move of adding a FIFTH day to the conference program so you have enough time to see and do it all”.

This year, Country Floors will again have a beautifully rendered booth presence, where we will place emphasis on such Collections as, Odyssey, Glamour, Miradouro, Tiffany and a very timely reclaimed French terra-cotta.

As we conclude this post, there is a great deal of enthusiasm bubbling about in anticipation of Coverings 2014 – Country Floors. We look forward to seeing you there!

Milano Porcelain Collection

Milan or Milano, if you please, argues its case as the design and cultural capital of Europe. This is over and above the undisputed fact that it reigns supreme as the primary industrial, business and financial city of Italy. Of course, in football (soccer) mad Italy, it is also the home of A.C. Milan and F.C. Internazionale Milano, bitter rivals in the Italian Serie A league. On the design front, Milan is one of the primary fashion centers in the world, along with New York, Paris, and London. This is especially true in menswear. Milan’s International Furniture Fair is one of the premier events of its kind in the world and inspires on going furniture trends year after year. Culturally, the famous La Scala opera house, as seen at the top of this post, has been the site of the premiers of Falstaff, Madame Butterfly and Turandot. The Milano Porcelain Collection from Country Floors maintains the high design legacy of its namesake city.

Milano Porcelain Collection

As depicted in the imagery above, both the famous city and this porcelain collection share a clean sparse design style. This is a fairly pure and symmetrical approach that finds many a willing audience amongst the design professionals of 2014. The size flexibility that the collection presents allows for the patterning, banding and inserting that is the calling card of fashion forward interior design. This is evident in the image below.

Milano Porcelain Collection

The iconic brand that is Country Floors, is proud to present the Milano Porcelain Collection. As always, thanks so much for reading and please contact us here for any assistance that you may need.

Kitchen Trends 2014 from KBIS

Kitchen Trends 2014

The annual Kitchen and Bath Industry Show  was recently held in Las Vegas.Here are a few pertinent kitchen trends 2014 from the Country Floors viewpoint: 

Quartz - Journalist Rachel Wright, reporting from the event, says that “quartz is the new granite or at least it will be in 2014, according to the annual design survey conducted by The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA)”. This is confirmation and validation for some thoughts that we have had for some time now. Our Quartzite Slabs Collection makes perfect sense for the client addressing this trend.

Clean Lines - Again from Ms. Wright, “Contemporary clean lines are in. Most industry insiders at the show agreed that action on the floor was all about the rise of a more spare, contemporary aesthetic focused on clean lines, space efficiency, and universal design features”. Again, this sentiment works for us. Take a look at our Vecchio Cemento Collection of crisp porcelain tiles and the equally important Bedford Collection of ceramic tiles below.

Decorative Tile - Architect Ronique Gibson discussing the show said, via Freshome.com, that “Decorative tile becomes the showstopper over the appliances. There used to be a time when you walked into a kitchen and all eyes went to the appliances. While appliances are still a major opportunity to wow guests, decorative tile is the perfect crowning glory to a dynamic kitchen”.  Country Floors has always understood this. Take a peek at the Talya Collection and the Odyssey Collection and you will be assured.

The design pros at Country Floors pride themselves on keeping very current on the world of design. As always, they are here to help you. Thanks for reading and good luck!

Stone Waterjet Designs 2014

stone waterjet designs

America’s interest in Moorish art, culture and civilization may have been sparked by the publication in 1832 of Tales of the Alhambra, by Washington Irving. The work reflected an extended visit by Mr. Irving to the Alhambra Palace in Granada where he had been granted extraordinary access due to his personal fame as a writer. The notes and detailed sketches that the visit produced became the basis for the work. Tales of the Alhambra was critically important for its introduction of the Alhambra and Moorish themes to a rapt American audience. What Mr. Irving wrote and thought then stills extends to stone waterjet designs in 2014.

stone waterjet designs

via Wikipedia

The Alhambra Palace has continued to captivate and inspire artists, designers and those that appreciate style and grace. According Wikipedia “the Alhambra endures as an atypical example of Muslim art in its final European stages” and “the decoration consists, as a rule, of Arabic inscriptions that are manipulated into sacred geometrical patterns wrought into arabesques”.

In 2014 the fascination continues unabated. Designer Sara Baldwin has fashioned a crisp collection of patterns that bring forward her unique vision of stone waterjet designs. Country Floors is very proud of the Talya Collection with its flowing Arabesque flourishes and Moorish styling. As you can see in the Justinian pattern at the top of this post, Ms. Baldwin has managed to make the collection appear both subtle and striking. A rare feat indeed!

The professionals at Country Floors are very aware of the unique capabilities that stone waterjet designs bring to any design plan. As always, they are here to help you. Thanks for reading and best of luck!

 

Marble and Glass Patterns

Country Floors marble and glass patterns

The world of interior design cannot seem to get enough of patterning as we open 2014.The appetite appears endless for everything in pattern and shape. There are many diverse elements driving this with some of them being floral, animal, geometric and even preppy schemes. Not to be denied their place at the table are hounds tooth, Greek Key, plaid and tribal motifs. Each one is aptly adding more to the ever growing mix. In the stone and tile world, technical advances have made the creation of marble and glass patterns all the more viable.

marble and glass patterns

Make no mistake; no one in this space is suggesting that the use of marble and glass patterns is in any way new. Rather, it has never been so easy to invest your energies into a complicated design plan featuring these two classic materials at a reasonable cost in both money and effort! The Glamour Collection from Country Floors offers ample evidence in both style and substance to the value that technology and tasteful execution can create. Drawing it’s inspiration from sources both old and new, this collection offers a carefully curated selection of stones and glass that create both elegant and sublime patterning. Each material can assist the other. The glass may “cool” the stone in one instance, while in the next case the stone in the piece may serve to add greater “depth” to the glass element. All the more fun can be had by the design team in the mixing and matching!

Country Floors will always stay true to its decade’s old mandate to be a fashion leader in all things stone, tile and glass. As you start down the path to using marble and glass patterns in your design plans, we are here to help you. As always, thanks for reading and best of luck!

Color Trends for 2014: European Style

Cologne

imm Cologne – the International Furnishing Show

The design world never tires of trends and especially not of the new color trends for 2014. We also know from long experience that certain ideas which spring up in the Western European design community work their way across the pond to the USA. One of the early events that indicate color trends is imm colognea furnishings show with a long history which is held in Cologne, Germany. Reporting from that event for decor8 was Gudy Herder a Barcelona based interior stylist with a significant following. So let’s take a peek at this, according to Gudy:

  • Red was presented as a powerful and emphatic color for space brightening.
  • Purple had a softer and almost feminine tone.
  • Pink continued to be expressed as a pale color. However, still the dominant pastel.

Country Floors Colors 2014

 

  • Yellow was seen in collections of more Northern than in Southern European ideas.
  • Green and the trend toward indoor gardening were omnipresent.
  • Blue also took on a pastel theme and was used to lighten.

Country Floors Colors 2014

  • Gray, Black and White were together in pattern after pattern.

 

Country Floors B & W

We now see a quick picture of the European version of color trends for 2014. So what can we do here in the States? Country Floors prides itself on keeping current in the marketplace and so we are now. Here are a few of our collections that can deliver the color values expressed above.

The Bedford Collection offers a wide range of ceramic tile color ways in both soft and dramatic glaze statements. Our Luminere Collection gives you 48 glass colors in tile form to work into a design plan. The finest in hand made ceramic tile is exemplified by the California Collection featuring 80 colors. As always, thanks for reading and let us know how we help. We have showrooms across America.

 

Ceramic Tile Patterns

 

Ceramic Tile PatternsCeramic tile has the interesting ability to create patterns in quite a few ways. For example:

  • multiple pieces in one or many colors can be used to form the pattern.(above)
  • a graphic pattern can exist on a single piece and then that same piece is repeated as much as space and intent allows.(below)
  • different colored tiles can be combined for ceramic tile patterns that are color based and oriented.

Now, let’s think about patterns from the general perspective of the professional designer. The oft quoted and much admired U.K. stylist Cristina Colli believes that “pattern is the decorative design or ornamentation of a surface, usually obtained by repeating a design motif”. Allison Jaffe is an Austin, TX based interior designer. We recently found her saying that “using graphic patterns in a space can be seen as an art. When applying these graphics to a space, I take into account the size of the pattern, the color of the pattern, and it’s placement in a room”.

At the top of this post is a setting that features material from the Country Floors Tapestry Collection. Observing even casually, you can see three featured patterns in the backsplash, with the two smaller flanking the larger. This backsplash consists of four colors, four sizes and a molding piece. The essential modularity of the tile allows for proper joint alignment and integrity in the ceramic tile patterns.

Country Floors Tapestry

In further discussing graphic patterns, Alison Jaffe also says that, “it may seem like an intimidating process but….be brave and have fun” . We certainly agree with Allison on the twin points of bravery and fun. However, we understand that not all of our clients have experience with ceramic tile patterns. So give us a call or stop into one of our Country Floors showrooms. It will be our pleasure to share our professional experience with you.

 

 

The Honeycomb Pattern in Tile and Stone

Bedford CFA

The honeycomb pattern in tile and stone is a decidedly powerful trend. In fact, honeycomb patterns are everywhere in design and perhaps rightfully so given the innate versatility of the shape. Wallpaper patterns, shelving, light fixtures, cabinets, rugs, pillows, fabrics and more all are strutting the honeycomb.

Validating this further, the very interesting bloggers at vianza.com  tell us that we should look for this shape to power on through 2014. To illustrate this they comment that “the honeycomb shape, typically a hexagon form duplicated in a pattern, is one of nature’s strongest structural forms and has been an important design element for humans for as long as we’ve known bees.  But what’s exciting about honeycombs this year is that they are often used purely decoratively, and in neutral shades, to create a visual pocket of negative space that draws the eye to the ‘hole’ rather than to the structure.  And in this way, you may actually miss the structural element of the honeycomb for noticing the space between”.  

Country Floors is nicely prepared to deliver on the honeycomb pattern in tile and stone. At the top of this post are two simple but indicative colors from our Bedford Collection of ceramic tiles. Naturally, these hexagons nicely form a classic honeycomb. Additionally,the collection features a vast array of colors and finishes to accentuate the power of the shape.

Country Floors Honeycomb Limestone

As you see above, Country Floors also adds texture to the honeycomb  by using one of our select limestone collections to further the motion and the mood of the pattern. Combinations of color and texture in both ceramic and stone can be manipulated to achieve whatever honeycomb style the client may be after. There is at least a good chance that this is best done in a showroom setting. With that said, we have showrooms across the USA and now also in Puerto Rico. We are ready to help!

 

Four Tips for Renovating the Luxury Bath in 2014!

CFA Bedford Collection

The Country Floors “Bedford Collection”

While the kitchen is generally considered to be the focal point of the American home, the bathroom is #1 in terms of renovations and the budgets they command. The National Association of Home Builders will consistently report on  the primacy of the bathroom in remodeling in the many surveys  that they conduct. So here are four tips for renovating the luxury bath in 2014

Get professional guidance: Selecting the professionals that will do your work is obviously very important. The internet provides a wealth of information. Two very reputable professional organizations are NARI and the aforementioned NAHB. Naturally, the suddenly famous  Angie’s List has a strong presence for peer to peer reviews. In the end, nothing is better for professional selection than great referrals from happy clients.

Be ready to adjust your life: In most cases a family will continue to live in the home as a bath renovation is underway. Workers will be all over the place and privacy may seem to be compromised. Your basic bath functions may need some alternative plans. Expect noise and real dirt. Nerves will be on end. This all seems obvious. However, time and time again we have seen clients that seemed surprised at what was finally going on in the remodel.

Understand the budget process: How a bathroom remodel is priced and produced is not that simple for everyone to understand. Take some time to “get” the basics. A “schedule of values” will tell you what each item of labor and materials is costing you. Learn this as best you can. An easy example is an under mounted sink replacing an over mounted sink. Knowing both the labor and material cost for the original will allow you properly value the potential up charge for the new item . Sounds simple! Sometimes not so much, so pay attention!

Get dirty: Remember that this is your life, your home and your money.  Those big scary construction types doing the work in your home are being funded by you! If something is bothering you, ask questions. Be proactive and courageous and this process will work out to your satisfaction.

Pasadena showcase house

Country Floors “Odyssey Collection”

Hours and hours of time and 10,000 more words could be devoted to this topic. At the end of the proverbial day, this is a blog post and not a reference book.  So stop into one of the Country Floors showrooms for much more than just four tips for renovating the luxury bath in 2014.

 

Fall/Winter 2013 – Four Design Ideas for Right Now!

Recently, while thinking about what Fall/Winter design has brought us, I found a very interesting post by Jo Ridout that inspired a few thoughts. So, here are four design ideas for right now!  

Say Hello to Shapes. We have already discussed in this space the diamond shape. Of course, elongated rectangles are now on the tips of many tongues in the fashion forward design world. Now, let’s throw a few other shapes into the mix! How about pentagons, crosses and bubbles from our Bedford Collection? There are some interesting design opportunities here that will enhance most design plans! 


Black and White. Sure… I know this never goes away, but the fashion scene  was seriously indulgent in its use of this timeless combination this year. Moreover, in speaking about 2013 design trends, the site Marie Claire goes beyond just black and white and cites monochrome style in general by telling us “for those who like things a little more black and white, classic monochrome styling is here to stay; at least for the next season anyway. They’ve always gone together, but will they ever go out of fashion? Not for a long time” Take a look below and you will see that our North Bay Collection puts an interesting spin on this using Cast Iron and Gloss White in ceramic tile. 

Gray is the New Gray. This is said with tongue firmly in cheek…….but perhaps not so much! No question that gray is the neutral of the moment but gradations of gray can play all by themselves! Particularly when a few gray values are matched with white. Then gray in no longer so neutral. As you can see below, the new Country Floors glass collection Luminere suggests Feldspar, Smoky Quartz and Charcoal to help populate your Gray world.

Bright and Bold. If these monochromatic thoughts and gray dreams don’t excite you too much, then maybe you should go for it!. Make a bold statement with a strong splash of color. Recently, we discussed the Pantone Color of the Year – 2014, Radiant Orchid. There is not much doubt that this color value is both bright and bold. Should this be a little too much “statement” then consider, again from our Luminere Collection, Mango, Lime and Lemon in a gently rippled glass, as shown below.

 

Many thanks again to Jo Ridout for the inspiration. She can also be found at APassionforHomes. We appreciate you reading this post and all the best. Country Floors has showrooms across the United States and now in Puerto Rico. Why not stop in and discuss what inspires you?

Pantone Color of the Year – 2014

We just saw the Pantone Color of the Year – 2014 and it is Radiant Orchid. The announcement was released yesterday from Carlstadt, N.J. and it is somewhat surprising in its boldness. The renowned color and style organization says “spruce up interior spaces by incorporating this eye-catching hue in paint, accent pieces and accessories. As adaptable as it is beautiful, Radiant Orchid complements olive and deeper hunter greens, and offers a gorgeous combination when paired with turquoise, teal and even light yellows”.

As you can see in the swatch at the top of the post, this is not necessarily a color for the timid. However, as always, the research behind this is solid. Pantone describes the process as follows,  ”the color of the year selection requires careful consideration and, to arrive at the selection, Pantone quite literally combs the world looking for color influences. This can include the entertainment industry and films that are in production, traveling art collections, hot new artists, popular travel destinations and other socio-economic conditions. Influences may also stem from technology, availability of new textures and effects that impact color, and even upcoming sports events that capture worldwide attention”.

Janel Laban of  ApartmentTherapy.com believes that “its going to work well for interiors. It is a color that coordinates beautifully with light yellows, and, the neutral of the moment, gray, as well as with pale, warm taupes, creamy whites and soft metallics, both silver and gold”. Let’s speak for a moment to Janel’s point above on coordinating Radiant Orchid. Country Floors presents (above/below) our Luminere Collection, a noteworthy glass line featuring a rippling surface and offering the light yellows and neutral grays, amongst its 48 colors, that Janel alludes to.

It is safe to say that many designers and sophisticated homeowners will consider  Radiant Orchid, the  Pantone Color of the Year – 2014 to be somewhat playful. Fair enough! Since Country Floors has showrooms across the United States and now in Puerto Rico, why not stop in and learn more about the Luminere Collection  and lets have some fun working with it and Radiant Orchid. As always, thanks for reading!

Grout Tips for the Homeowner

Our friends at Wikipedia define grout as “a construction material used to embed rebar in masonry walls, connect sections of pre-cast concrete, fill voids, and seal joints (like those between tiles). Grout is generally composed of a mixture of water, cement, sand, often color tint, and sometimes fine gravel (if it is being used to fill the cores of cement blocks). It is applied as a thick emulsion and hardens over time, much like its close relative mortar.” That is all fine and well, but what we really want to get to is what the homeowner needs to know about grout. So here are a few grout tips for the homeowner!

Usually, the homeowner  will view grout as the “stuff” between the tile or stone. A little more knowledge is obviously very helpful. Typically you will find either sanded or unsanded grout as a choice. As a rule of thumb, the wider the joint the more likely that sanded grout should be used or has been used. Quite often very thin joints, like those used in marble installations, are filled with unsanded grout. The grout joint is of course the “space” between the tiles or stones. Please take some time to understand this distinction.

The grout color is a supremely important selection for the user to make. In its natural state, absent of colorants, grout is sort of a dull grey. However, fashion forward design trends demand more color options and they are certainly out there. But a word of caution here. Some grout colors can be a little bit unstable. After mixing and installing, the “moody marine” color  that you thought you were getting may end up as a mixed up blotchy mess. So, not to be too conservative, but you might want to stay with more neutral color values in the cream, light brown, off white and gray families.

Also of great importance is the potential contrast between the color of the grout and the color of the tile or stone. Usually, the installation of grout entails a still moist material being “smeared” over  the entire surface of the tile or stone. This serves to fill the open joints. The grout then cures or hardens. In an alternative and perfect universe, gray colored grout over a gray colored tile or stone would be really neat and quick.

However, outside of that perfect universe, let’s imagine that a member of the design team  has a black/white combination planned. The idea might be for  a black grout joint and a white country type ceramic tile. This might be successfully accomplished by painstaking effort from a real pro….but maybe not! In truth, this is probably not the greatest  idea since in the installation process that black grout might linger as a haze over the white tile. So, please dance very gingerly with this devil of a design concept.

In closing, these are but a few grout tips for the homeowner.Country Floors has showrooms across the United States and now in Puerto Rico. As always, thanks for reading!

 

Fleur-de-Lis. Regal Tiles and French Style

The style that Fleur-de-Lis tiles represent in 2013 design is permanently anchored in the European and notably French portion of the American design character. Long a symbol of monarchal society, according to Wikipedia “the fleur-de-lis has appeared on countless European coats of arms and flags over the centuries, it is particularly associated with the French monarchy in a historical context, and continues to appear in the arms of the King of Spain“. This elegant shape allows tiles patterned after it to bestow a classic expression on stylized current interior design.

Perhaps the best translation for Fleur-de-Lis is “flower of the lily”. It is said that “the three petals represent the medieval social classes: those who worked, those who fought, and those who prayed”, or at least according to French historian Georges Duby.  While such depth of knowledge adds background, it may also help explain the allure the shape has held for centuries. On this topic, the very interesting site Style at Home posted Get the look: French design”. The author , Lauren McPhillips, suggested you “incorporate these 10 design elements into your home for a touch of classic French style”. Number Seven on this list was the Fleur-de- Lis, about which Ms. McPhillips said, “the fleur de lis has always held importance in French culture and design”.

Since its founding in 1954 by Norman Karlson, Country Floors has believed that certain elements of style transcend trends and periods. Certainly the symbolism of the Fleur-de-Lis and the place it holds in French history and design is a perfect example of this idea! Take a look at the very top of this post and also immediately above. The Country Floors brand proudly offers you ceramic tile Fleur-de-Lis options as part of our Alhambra Collection.

As always, thanks very much for reading and remember that Country Floors has showrooms across the United States and now in Puerto Rico.

 

Terracotta Tiles: Part Two…..Antiqued Terracotta

The second part of this post will focus on antiqued terracotta. In Part One we discussed a few of the mysteries that seem to surround terracotta in general. Firstly, some clients think of the word terracotta as being synonymous with a Mexican produced tile or pot that appears to be adobe. Secondly, how is it spelled…one word or two? Well, to clear things up a bit terracotta  can be Mexican, Italian, French, Catalan, Portuguese etc. etc. As far as spelling is concerned both “terracotta” and “terra cotta” are considered correct.

Since “terracotta” is more or less translated as “baked earth” or “cooked earth” how is it manufactured? Well, as previously stated, Saltillo tiles from Mexico are simply baked in the sun and are relatively porous and require proper installation to overcome this porosity. On the other hand, there are many other terracotta materials that are kiln fired and therefore much denser than their sun dried cousins. Country Floors will, in general, prefer the more dense product for practical purposes.

As mentioned earlier, the point of this post is antiqued terracotta. So what do I mean by that? Right now, and on and off for years, reclaimed elements have been significant in the fashion forward market place.These reclaimed items are numerous but do include the likes of farmhouse lumber from the South of France, brick pieces from various historical periods, almost anything from a Frank Lloyd Wright design and of course terracotta paving and flooring pieces. There are, understandably, a few issues with the reclamation process such as scarcity, price and logistics. For example, the client that absolutely must have reclaimed terracotta tiles from the proverbial Tuscan farmhouse may ultimately blanch when confronted with the “if, when and how much” parts of that proposition.

Country Floors is renowned for providing  ”antiqued” terracottas that present visuals of great character and distinction. This provides the discerning client with a solution to the problems that are often presented by reclaimed items. Over the years, we have made major design contributions to successful Mediterranean and Urban Rustic themed design plans with this approach. This being particularly true in kitchens,wine cellars and garden rooms.

Get the process started towards a fine antiqued terracotta project by taking an online look at our terracotta collections, Pedralbes, Europa, and Fiesole. Then, stop in and say hello to the nice folks in one of our professionally staffed showrooms. As always, thanks for reading.

The Warm Kitchen : Trends in Tile and Stone

At this time of year, many of us turn to remembrances of Thanksgiving past while in the next breath hoping for the chance to give thanks again later this month. Not incidental to those memories and hopes are images in our heads of warm kitchens that contain the most wonderful smells and visuals. The turkeys, the hams, the gravies and the stuffing’s all intermingled with the ubiquitous sounds of football in the background.

A common theme taken from the musings above is warmth. Wonderfully enough, HouseBeautiful.com quotes renowned designer Peter Dunham via MSN Living on the topic which they referred to as Homey Kitchens.  Mr. Dunham shared that “we’re moving toward a more organic modernism with warm, modern materials that look vintage: slate, irregular floors, weathered concrete, natural crackle-glazed tiles that look handmade. Less slick kitchens!”  Of course, when you are Country Floors, the warm and homey kitchen is right in your wheelhouse. So let’s take a look at a few of our collections that will help you achieve the warm kitchen for Fall 2013.

Our Royal Makkum Collection of Delft tiles are certainly in keeping with the concept of the “homey” kitchen. The farmhouse above in Bedford, New Hampshire by LKM Designs ably illustrates this point, as do the individual tiles to the right. Since we would like to follow Mr. Dunham’s thoughts, take a look at the flooring material below. The irregularity of the material, which is a part of our Seashell Harmony limestone collection, serves this artistically inspired kitchen perfectly! 

The last element we will touch on while discussing the warm and homey kitchen for Fall 2013 is slate as a flooring. Specifically our American Slate Collection as shown below. This collection defines organic elegance and imparts an intrinsic sense of warmth!

Since its founding in 1964 by New York photographer Norman Karlson, Country Floors has consistently strived to deliver the finest in luxury ambiences through the stylish use of tile, stone, terracotta and glass. Today’s homeowner seeking the warm and homey kitchen will feel right “at home” in our fine professionally staffed showrooms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kitchen Trends Fall 2013: Via Houzz

It is safe to say that calling social media a “phenomenon” is really no longer accurate.It is now a simple fact of life and not just for the young. Rather, if you look carefully you will discover that various social media sites have segmented themselves by targeting particular user interests. A perfect example is Houzz. The site describes itself as ” the leading online platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish.” From our perspective, it is becoming a hugely valuable tool for observing trends and monitoring style in the architecture and design space! The basis of the Houzz experience is the “ideabooks” section. Here, users upload home design imagery that they love, like or simply want.. This content is highly sharable thus creating creative synergies amongst users!

The folks at Houzz recently posted their Fall Kitchen Trends Survey 2013 and this will be the topic for today’s Country Floors post. According to this work, the “big ideas” that the survey produced are:

  • “Younger homeowners go contemporary.”
  • “Stainless appliances cohabitating with appliances in other finishes.”
  • “Bigger isn’t better, but open concept still a strong trend.”
  • “Granite and quartz capture countertops, mixing materials a popular option.”
  • “Conservative color schemes dominate, but color tied to kitchen style preferences.”

As we address a few parts of the survey, we are told that “under 45′s go contemporary” and that white tile was the selection, as a kitchen backsplash, by 50% of those responding. Country Floors is nicely positioned to fulfill these trending client expectations. As you can see at the top of this post, crisp and clean works for us. More to the point, white tiles, white marble and white glass have been Country Floors staples for decades.

Again, if we go back to the Houzz results we find that “bright colors are trendy for décor, but most people are choosing a light, classic scheme for their kitchens.”  Again, this is a distinct long suit for Country Floors and has long been a part of our design philosophy and product matrix.. We are coming to the end of this post and as always we thank you for stopping by. Country Floors has showrooms across America and we will be happy to extend our design expertise to help you realize your kitchen aspirations for Fall 2013.

 

 

Timeless Tunisia

Timeless Tunisia

The North Africa of American Hollywood lingers in our minds. Bogart and Bergman and what might have been, in “Casablanca.” George C. Scott reminiscing on a previous life in “Patton”, Gary Cooper in the French Foreign Legion of “Beau Geste” and back to Bogart in the grit of “Sahara.” The Los Angeles Times said that ” ever since Rudolph Valentino’s nostrils flared and his dark eyes glistened in 1921′s “The Sheik,” Hollywood and movie audiences have been fascinated with North Africa.”  But inside all that mood and atmosphere there always existed an ancient world that helped define the arts and sciences of civilization. Today we will spend a little time on a small slice of North Africa while we examine a bit of Tunisian artistry.

 

Situated in the cradle of the Pan-Mediterranean world that spawned Western Civilization, the history of Tunisia is one of change. In fact, the rulers and occupiers of this land reads like a Rolodex of history. Berbers, Phoenicians, Romans, Vandals, Arabs, Bedouins, Ottomans and French all strutted and fretted their “hour upon the stage” that was Tunisia. According to our friends at Wikipedia, Tunisian skills in ceramics and pottery that were “developed and practiced for many centuries under the prior Phoenician-derived, urban culture”, were extended into the Roman period. Furthermore, “ceramics were also crafted into various statuettes of animals, humans, and gods and pottery “complemented the local production of olive oil” as a vessel to hold it for transport known as the amphora.

Mosaics were a lively art form, again per Wikipedia, “plaques showing biblical scenes were designed and made for the churches.”  Hand cut mosaics were also a part of this as shown in the mural below:

Today, Country Floors is proud to bring this cultural heritage to the market place with, Baba Chic, an eclectic collection of limestone and marble. We were able to interview the Tunisian artisans who craft this product and were told that, stone work has been a tradition for centuries in Tunisia, and especially in areas of Roman influence”, and that “from mountain to mountain and quarry to quarry, we choose the stones“. Then, “we cut the collected stones into small slabs” and “we draw all the parts that will complete a design of an individual piece.” From there, the process maintains the classic Roman traditions of hand cutting and hand finishing that still resonate with the luxury stone and tile client in 2013!

Think of the versatility that working with two mediums such as Tunisian limestone and marble can afford the the design purposed user! Then take a look at the patterns below. From left to right you will see the trending Arabesque shape, then the timeless Scallop form and lastly a Cubist dream.

The muted color values serve to accentuate the patterning. Now consider that these can be both residential and commercial interior floor solutions and you see the elegant simplicity of Baba Chic in practical terms.

There are Country Floors locations all over America. Allow our teams to help you blend Hollywood dreams with Tunisian artistry to complete your design plans for 2013!

Gray is Good: Trending Colors for Fall 2013

Gray is good for 2013. At least according to our friends at Pantone and Sherwin Williams. Pantone announced its Fall 2013 colors which included the color “Turbulence” shown below left. Sherwin Williams gave us “Outerspace” and “Rare Gray” which are shown below center and right. As we look at these three color values we see a medium gray, a blue gray and a very cool crisp gray.

As previously discussed in this space, the well respected color psychologist, Ms. Angela Wright, on the site Colour Affects, says that eleven emotional colors exist  and  gray is thought to be “psychologically neutral”. To quote from one of our sister sites ” Gray moves through our consciousness like a color looking for a friend.” What we are trying to say is really simple. As a trending color in 2013, gray is quite often paired with more aggressive color values in order to achieve a design whole. So with that said, here are few tips on using gray stone and gray tile.

  • Glass is great

There are so many ways to use glass in 2013 that it is hard to suggest where to start. At the top of this post you will see hints of gray paired with white marble in a very artistic interpretation from our Odyssey Collection. Then you can see below an item from the Sorbetto Collection that pivots away by using pencil type shapes to achieve a linear thought.

  • Porcelain tile is tough

In a space that may need to stand up to some rough treatment, why not use a hard wearing porcelain tile? Bring gray into the equation with a product from our Vecchio Cemento Collection. The color “Gris Argento” or silver gray is presented  below.

  • Ceramic is simple

In so many ways an artful ceramic glaze in gray can move the color from being the understudy to being the star. The Bedford Collection effortlessly elevates gray to stardom.

  • Metal is hip

Everywhere we look metallic accents are being talked about . So let’s work with that in silver/gray expressions.

As always, thanks for stopping by, and there are Country Floors locations all over America. Stop in and let them help you turn your gray ideas into beautiful spaces that you will love!

 

Porcelain Tile as We See It Now!

Porcelain Tile as We See It Now!

In the early 1980’s the design profession was offered a new product to specify as a commercial floor. Porcelain tile arrived with very little fanfare but held some distinct market changing advantages over the incumbent products.

In those days this market was dominated by American produced quarry tile. On occasion, in an upscale area, a European split tile might have been selected. Quarry tile was most often produced in a red color with gray, brown, tan and a few other colors also available. The imported material, known as split tile or klinker, offered a more colors, especially a few “autumn” type color ranges. The sizes were also somewhat limited with 6”x6”, 4”x8” and 5”x10” being the norm. Another fact of life was maintenance, since a sealing program was necessary.

On the other hand, porcelain tile was composed of kaolin clay, feldspar and quartz and had a water absorption rate of less than 0.5%. Sealers were normally not required. Porcelain also offered more size and color options than either quarry tile or split tiles. It became a fairly simple Darwinian exercise for porcelain tile to gain market share very quickly.

Fast forward to today; porcelain tile now dominates the hard surface commercial flooring market. With the introduction of additional colors, stone visuals, textile visuals, wood visuals etc. porcelain has now also secured a solid place in the luxury residential market. Based on the images at the top and bottom of this post, these tiles are a profound fashion forward statement.

Country Floors is happy to introduce our  Q Stone Porcelain Collection . Since they are a “rectified” material, meaning their facial dimensions have been made more exact, a virtually  joint free installation is possible. A quick visit to one of the Country Floors locations all over America will help you discover more statements to be made with this hard wearing and easily maintained product!

 

Color, Mood…. and Designing for Both, Part Three.

Color, Mood…. and Designing for Both, Part Three.


Since this is the third and final post in our trilogy, let’s recap. We have covered nine colors so far and by way of review we have noted that there are very distinct human responses to color. For example, I have always been drawn to saturated, vibrant colors. Of course, individual human response to color is a tremendous variable.The respected Ms. Angela Wright, on her website Colour Affects, tells us that there are eleven emotional colors and we then described them below:

WHITE is hygienic.BLUE is intellectual.BROWN is serious GREEN is balance. PINK implies physical tranquility. RED is physical.BLACK is sophisticated and glamorous. YELLOW is emotional. VIOLET is spiritual. ORANGE is about physical comfort. GREY is psychologically neutral.

One last time on white since it is so often the clean neutral background on which so many other color values are “painted” in the context of stone and tile. Very often our Country Floors clients begin to plan through their kitchen tile ideas and their bathroom tile ideas with white as a design staple. Examples have been given of white on white ceramic settings and black and white marble mosaics where each color is a separate piece of marble. Our last example of using white will be an instance where white is the background color and the feature color is on the same piece of ceramic tile as you can see in the wonderful Delft pieces below from our Royal Makkum Collection.

If orange is about physical comfort, then how can you you design with the color and the mood in mind? How about combining the imagery of a comfort food and a physically comfortable color as seen below from the Novelda Collection?

Our last color is grey. As a psychologically neutral color it can also be used as a design neutral back drop similar to white. Another easy incorporation of grey is as a statement making vein in a white marble such as our Carrara.

This concludes our thoughts on designing with color and mood. We appreciate your attention and hope that you stop by again.Until then, there are Country Floors locations all over America. Stop in and let them help you design with color and mood!

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