Hot New Product In Floating Floors

Submitted By:  Annette M. Callari, Allied ASID, CMG

Avaire_Interlocking_Floating_Porcelain_smallI’ve always loved the term “floating floors”.  It conjures up magical images of products that have hidden powers.  Well, there are no magic carpets except in the cartoons, but there is some magic in a new flooring system from Avaire Floors that offers consumers an interlocking, floating, porcelain floor. For those of us in the flooring industry, that raises a few eyebrows for sure. 

It means that now there is a way for you to have real porcelain tile floors with an installation system that floats (not fixed to the subfloor).  It can be installed over radiant heating systems, or directly over vinyl, linoleum or hardwood with no underlayment!  Here’s how it works:  Place, click, grout.  It’s that easy.  The tiles have a non-skid base which is self-leveling, sound deadening, and interlocking for precise spacing.  You already know that porcelain is harder and denser than most other types of ceramic tile, so that makes it ideal for high traffic areas as well.

Avaire has three collections they are offering, Standard, Choice and Select.  Very much like natural stone, there are inherent color shade variations in the different styles.  V1 ratings indicate a uniform appearance, V2 shows slight variations, V3 moderate, and V4 styles have substantial variations, which adds to the realism of the look.  The collections include authentic slate looks, travertine, and beautiful natural stone looks.  The colors are nature-based, earthy and yet very sophisticated. (Feel free to visit Avair floors for visuals and more information.)  Avaire also provides the appropriate flexible grout products specifically designed for these floors in both flexible grout/Urethane, and flexible grout/Acrylic options. 

Obviously, the fast and convenient installation is a huge benefit, but let’s analyze some of the other benefits you could expect:

–      Realistic stone looks, without the cost of real stone

–      Built-in acoustical properties to create sound absorption

–      Real porcelain tile manufactured with the latest screening technologies to produce natural shading

–      Fast and convenient installation

–      Excellent resistance to stains, water, bacteria, and scratches

–      AND (this one is pretty important) replacement of any damaged tiles in the future can be done much easier than traditional porcelain tile floors, even if it’s in the middle of the room

Avaire_Interlocking_Floating_Porcelain_1_smallIt is very gratifying to see something this innovative introduced for residential use.  And to bring it to your attention–since it is one of the very first flooring systems like this on the market.  I strongly believe that manufacturers today need to think outside the box and bring “smart” products to market.  Products that solve a problem for the consumer (installs over existing floors!), and serves a multi-function purpose (a beautiful floor that has built-in sound reduction properties!)  Who can ask for more than that?

No Fickle Colors

Submitted By:  Annette M. Callari, Allied ASID, CMG

no_fickle_colors_smI have just returned from an action-packed meeting of Color Marketing Group International.  233 Color Professionals from across the country came together to identify color trends, and just as importantly, meaningful marketing trends sweeping the country.  Do we now have the colors emerging for 2011 and 2012?  Yes we do.  Can I share some of that with you today?  No, I can’t—not just yet.  But I can tell you where colors are headed and why.  Then, later this year, watch WFCA.org Designer’s Corner segment, and the future colors will then be revealed.

But for the time being, let’s focus on what’s coming up for 2010.  Speaking of Designer’s Corner, the 2010 colors are posted (see “What’s Cooking in Kitchen and Bath Trends—PLUS COLOR!” )  These are the colors you need to know about right now, and many of these will carry over into 2011.  Look at 2010 and 2011 as years of color evolution rather than revolution.  And there is a good reason for that.  One of the major marketing trends identified at our conference in New Orleans focused on timeless, authentic designs, built on classic colors.  To accomplish that, steer clear of fickle colors—those that are here today and gone tomorrow. 

Given the current economy, nobody wants, or should have to, redecorate every two to three years.  It’s neither efficient nor economical.  So designers will be “cooking with interesting neutrals, and spicing with color.”  That approach is beyond smart, and here’s why:  spice colors can be changed more frequently, without major cost or upsetting the foundation of an entire design.  You can change spice colors via accessories, toss pillows, slip covers, lighting fixtures, and even selective re-painting (a single wall or perhaps only one room).  But the more costly basics of the design– window coverings, furniture, flooring and carpet–remain the same.  What an excellent way to create a fresh design without starting from square one!  Timeless colors can be described as interesting neutrals (complex neutrals created from a mix of several colors) that have chameleon qualities.  That means that these colors irresistibly change with the light of day.  Add to that clever new paint products that add opalescent, iridescent and pearlescent qualities to paint, and you’ve added radiance to your color of choice.  Now you have the makings of a design that is exceptional AND enduring.

Enter one more directional marketing trend that was identified:  our gravitation towards comfort colors.  These are the familiar colors that have been best sellers for over five years.  Professional designers know these colors well, and you can either consult a designer or do a little research on your own.  Most nationally recognized paint manufacturers have a list of their “best sellers”, and without a doubt, those colors fall under the “comfort” umbrella.  Soft greens, interesting neutrals, warm browns and “grayed” reds are a few of those hallmark colors.

One last prediction that goes hand-in-hand with the comfort trend:  look for colors over the next few years to be more “shaded”—not necessarily muddier colors (definitely NOT), but softly shaded by adding a touch of black or gray to a color.  This softens and tones down the intensity of the color.  It’s a sign of the times that we, as consumers, are now becoming cautiously optimistic—and that mindset translates to the colors we will use.

So there you have the latest news from the world of color for interiors.  It’s all good news in that it revolves around practicality, efficiency, and authenticity, with a bit of romance added in for good measure.  Here’s wishing all of you a Happier New Year…