Tartan With A Twist

By Annette M. Callari, Allied ASID; CMG

Three_tartansWe’ve all heard the term “Tartan Plaid”, and our thoughts immediately go back to a design of Scottish origin.  After a bit of research, I’ve found out that part of our assumption as to the definition of a tartan plaid is correct, but use of the word “plaid” has a different connotation in North America than it does in Scotland.  According to Wikipedia:

Tartan is a pattern consisting of criss-crossed horizontal and vertical bands in multiple colors. Tartans originated in woven wool, but now they are made in many other materials. Tartan is particularly associated with Scotland. Scottish kilts almost always have tartan patterns. (Tartan is also known as plaid in North America, but in Scotland, a plaid is a tartan cloth slung over the shoulder, or a blanket.)  Tartan dates back as far as 1782, when it was adopted as the symbolic national dress of Scotland.

The reason for giving you this back story is to bring a point to your attention.  Today’s textile and carpet designs often draw from history to create a fresh version of a proven winner.  That’s exactly what Shaw Industries did as they featured a Tartan design as the center point of their new introduction, “Bentley”.  As part of their Woven Expressions collection, “Bentley” captures the essence of a traditional tartan in updated, easy-to-live-with colors.  Burnished Gold, Wheat, Garnet and Ebony are the color-rich choices (learn more at ShawFloors.com).

shawThe scale and replication of true Tartan design is beautifully represented in “Bentley”.  Not only is it available in 13’2” width broadloom, but also in a large selection of area rug sizes.  This definitely enhances decorating possibilities.  Using the same stunning Tartan design, you can carpet entire rooms, and then punctuate hard surface floors with a matching area rug.  Continuity is one of the key elements of good design, and here’s a great way to achieve that.

The entire Woven Expressions collection is constructed from 100% Marquesa™ solution dyed olefin.  This yarn system offers outstanding stain and fade resistance, and superior durability is a given.  The warranty validates the manufacturer’s confidence that this carpet will perform:

  • 10-year Stain Warranty
  • 10-year Texture Retention Warranty
  • 10-year Abrasive Wear Warranty
  • 10-year Quality Assurance Warranty

I love a new product that has a real story behind it. It adds a bit of romance and authenticity to any introduction. Given the Gaelic roots and Scottish traditions behind “Bentley”, I’d say its international flavor is bound to make some history of its own.

The Best Floors Are Authentic

By Steve Cooper

amish_hs_solidYears ago, I spent a few days at fabulous new home just built on the shores of Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota, It had incredible wood and stone flooring, a classic living-room inglenook offering seclusion and a staircase that spun down from the second to the first floor. At that lower-level landing, a visitor would step onto a very memorable piece of Italian limestone. Embedded in the stone tile was the fossilized shell of some ancient sea creature. It was lovely and it was real.

The best floors are real. I’m not being metaphysical here. By real, I mean that quality floors are marked by something genuine that sets them apart as worthy of praise. They have to show care in design, offer characteristics that aren’t seen in every other house on the block, and they have to be authentic. The shell was a real shell; not a poorly produced fake.

But what if it had been a very well done fake? What if it had been painted on quite exquisitely or if it had been a casting precisely installed in the tile? Then, it might have stopped guests, who would admire it. It would have been authentic art. That’s OK. That’s real, too.

Here’s the deal when you are seeking something special for your new floors: We can’t all afford fossil-bearing limestone imported from Italy. But most of us can certainly look for ways to give ourselves a story to tell about our flooring. One homeowner can have a fossil to talk about, while another may have that impressive art fossil crafted into a tile. Which is a better story? I bought this fossil or I worked with an artisan to create something unique and lovely for my floor. If it’s well done, I would probably go with the later.

another handscrapedOther types of authenticity include floors that are hand-scraped, made from salvaged wood, or a richly grained species of wood that is also sustainable. In all these cases, you will have a story to tell about your new flooring. That’s the hallmark of authenticity: It will give you something to talk about, something to offer in conversations with guests, and something to build your pride-of-place.

That’s what makes flooring authentic. You care about it so much you want to tell your friends.

For more information on flooring visit the World Floor Covering Association’s Consumer Carpet & Flooring Guide.