Your Holiday Home – 2010

Submitted by Annette Callari, Allied ASID; CMG

fire-ice-centerpieceThe countdown is on and Christmas is a nod and a blink away.  My Christmas tree went up the day after Thanksgiving, only because I really needed a head start on this holiday.  And, having found a realistic “fake” tree (oxymoron, I know), I can safely keep it up for the better part of a month without it becoming a fire hazard.  I love sharing new ideas with you at this time of year to jumpstart your creativity and holiday spirit.  So here are some Yule ‘embers’ to stoke your creative fire:

Let some fresh holiday colors add surprise to your living room or family room.  A stroll through Pier 1 Imports ought to give you adequate temptation.  Their selection of toss pillows suits the season beautifully.  Color Marketing Group International states that the hot 2010 colors for Christmas include pairing red with white (still pretty traditional) as well as red, white and silver.  But purple and silver are debuting as the surprise color combo for Christmas 2010!  Get crazy and choose some mix and match patterns for a quick holiday makeover—and the more glittery the fabrics, the better.

Auto-timed flameless candles have to be the hot item of the season.  These frosted white glass candles will glow for five hours every day, and can be programmed to turn on automatically at a specific time.  No more worries about having little ones around live candles with these.  They look like the real thing, flickering and mesmerizing your guests, without requiring 9-1-1 to be on auto-dial.  Costco stores are offering reasonably priced sets that include many different sized candles.

Let’s not forget a tried-and-true idea for holiday room makeovers.  Room-sized area rugs in holiday themes are an amazing makeover trick.  What a great way to add a burst of color to your room (and protect your broadloom carpet or hardwood floors from party spills at the same time)!!!

Here’s an idea that needs to be repeated for new readers.  I have yet to find a tree skirt that will fit the huge trees I decorate.  Fabric-by-the-yard to the rescue.  Fabric stores always stock up on glittery fabrics for Christmas, and gold, silver, red or ivory are exactly what you need—right off the bolt.  (You might check your local Walmart to see what they are offering in fabrics.)  You can finish off raw edges with pinking sheers to avoid ravels, but just tucking edges under to give a soft finished edge will work just as well.  Great solution—low cost investment, and one you can reuse next year as well.

Do you have a large rectangular Tupperware container?  If so, you have the mold for a stunning holiday centerpiece for your table.  Pine cones, small pine boughs, tea light candles, holly berries (or beads) and a silver ornament or two are all you need.  Place items snugly in the container, fill with distilled water and freeze until solid.  Just before dinner, defrost enough to release from container onto a silver tray.  Surround with greenery or fresh flowers, and prepare to be proud of yourself.  Be sure the tray has enough of a lip to catch any excess water as the ice block melts.  Just remember to refreeze or dispose before lights out that night.  (Complete instructions can be accessed by Googling “Fire & Ice Holiday Centerpiece”.)

I could go on for pages, but less is more when it comes to decorating wisely.  So let me know if any of these Christmas gems work for you.  FloorTalk always encourages comments (be kind—it’s Christmas), and I do want to hear from you—especially if you’ve got a gem of your own to share.

                                                  Happy Holiday.

Hard Surfaces – Soft Surfaces Shaw’s Got It Covered

Submitted by Annette Callari, Allied ASID; CMG

CS40D_00400_MAINShaw Industries is best noted for being a major carpet mill in the United States.  But things have taken a turn in that they have also joined the ranks of manufacturers offering stunning glass tile products.  One recent introduction that is gathering applause from the design community is their Bangle Glass series.  The pattern called “Micro Blocks” dances with crystal-like colors in both matte and gloss finishes.  Colors include Seaglass, Azure, Tortoise and Topaz.  What I am particularly drawn to is that the glass is lively.  There are variations and striations in each individual mosaic that combine stunning shades and tints of each color. What a great addition to any kitchen or bath backsplash!

So how do you coordinate something with so much personality with your countertops?  Carefully.  These beautiful designs have a lot of life to them, so it’s probably best not to pair them with high movement granite patterns.  But many of the quartz surfaces (Corian, Silestone, Caesarstone, etc.), “quieter” granites, and tile countertops would be perfect companions to Micro Blocks.

So what else has Shaw Industries been up to?  Shaw continues to amaze me as to their product development in carpets.  I’d like to spotlight their Kathy Ireland and Couture collections for a moment.  This is an ever-changing compilation of artistic, dimensional carpets.  I like the proportions of these patterns because they will suit most any sized room without being overpowering.  The subtle patterns are created by combining loop and cut pile constructions, which gives a luxurious but understated does of pattern to your room design.  Carpet makes such a strong statement in a room because of the expanse of the space, and Vogue styles add interest without screaming “pattern”. 

Let’s talk about color palettes for a moment.  This is one area where Shaw’s product development absolutely shines.  Shaw’s on-staff product designers pay a lot of attention to major trends and color preferences in different parts of the country.  Product design is most successful when input is gathered from a sound base of “field experts” who are interacting one-on-one with consumers. Historically Shaw has held design forums around the country where designers are asked to preview experimental products (and colors) and rate them. Shaw heavily weighs their new introduction decisions based on the information they gather from those forums. For any company looking to stay relevant in today’s consumer market, this is exactly the way to bring highly-sellable products to the consumer. 

The days of big companies designing for the masses from secluded R & D ivory towers are long gone.  The cost of introducing even one new carpet style can run in excess of a million dollars.  Reason enough for the manufacturer to utilize every tool possible to ensure success. Better built products, excellent styling, and awesome color palettes are the end result.  And the ultimate benefactor of all their research is YOU.