Spotlight On Daltile Inspirations

By Annette Callari, Allied ASID; CMG

It’s a New Year, and along with that come wishes, dreams, and yes, even resolutions.  Designers fully expect that 2013 will continue a trend towards homeowners’ remodeling their personal spaces (especially kitchens and baths) and making a few of their design dreams come true.

Time for some inspiration, and my good friends at Daltile certainly offer the stuff dreams are made of.  Shame on me for calling it “stuff”, because (as you will see) their portfolio of stone and tile is actually “treasure”.  I cruised their room scene Gallery at length, to bring you some of the brightest and best ideas for 2013.

DINING-ROOM_300Let’s start with a classic dining room that accomplishes a transitional look.  Not quite traditional, not quite contemporary, this room captures elements of both to carry off a dramatic, but timeless look.  The introduction of the black marble grid in the floor design moves it towards contemporary.  The furniture and accessories are traditional, but strategic touches of black also sway them towards a contemporary feel.  Clever and memorable!

MATERIALS FEATURED:  Mediterranean Ivory Travertine honed with Stone Á La Mod in Nouveau Nero Marble

Fireplace-Wall_300Next is a stunning room with a natural stone fireplace wall.  The design incorporates two important trends:  first, materials with a subtle shine or glimmer make designs come alive! (Dal’s mosaic City Lights on the wall carries that off beautifully.)  Secondly, natural materials are trend-wise because they never go out of style.  Notice the floor in this room—natural slate in a mix of sizes to add visual interest.

MATERIALS FEATURED:  Franciscan Slate in Desert Crema 18 x 18 and 12 x 12 field tile on the floor. Fireplace features City Lights in Barcelona 1 x 1 mosaic.

STONE-MIRROR-WALL_300Are you ready to see a room defined by its chiseled good looks?  That’s exactly how I would describe this beautiful entry wall, adorned with sconces and a signature round mirror.  Foyers set the stage for the whole house, so never underestimate the importance of design in your entry.  This one says “welcome” in a big way, with high-definition character in a chiseled manufactured stone.

MATERIALS FEATURED: Manufactured Stone in Chiseled Ready Stack Spring Moss on the wall.

CIRCLE-MOTIF-FLOOR_300My final selection is a formal living room with an amazing floor design that became the focal point of the whole room.  Look carefully.  The room features a baby grand piano and beautiful, stained-glass French doors.  Still, there is no doubt that the floor design wins focal-point status.  Unexpected and artistic are the reasons why.  That’s a powerful combination when you are putting together your own designs.  Always add an element of surprise to spice up a room.  The circle motif inset, done in granite and travertine, brought that spice to this otherwise “predictable” traditional room.  Well done on many levels.

MATERIALS FEATURED: Absolute Black Granite polished, Mediterranean Ivory Travertine, and Café Au Lait Travertine on the floor.

It’s so much fun to share with you good principles of design, along with emerging design trends.  Daltile gave me a perfect forum to do just that.  Take a look at their full Inspiration Gallery at  Your personal inspiration is “to be continued…”  Happy New Year to my loyal readers (I love when you leave me your comments).  And, much more to come in 2013.

Neoconnect – Contract Interiors 2012

By Annette M. Callari, Allied ASID; Chair Holder CMG

lamontage_300The Orange County Fairgrounds in Southern California was the site for this year’s IIDA NeoConnect Expo. Commercial designers came out in force to find out what’s hot on the commercial frontier.  Floor coverings were definitely well represented for this great evening.

Designers were treated to designs by Liora Manne, created exclusively for Lamontage Textiles.  The Lamontage process blends acrylic and/or polyester fibers to make floor covering, wall covering, fabrics, pillows, and even placemats in artist-inspired patterns.  Looking for carpet that matches your placemats?  They’ve got it. This is a patented manufacturing process that combines handmade artistry with high tech machine processing and interprets that into carpet, wall covering, upholstery and accessories—a novel idea, to say the least.  The color palettes range from soft neutrals to high-intensity reds and oranges.  Each color palette supports 25 mix-and-match patterns to choose from.  The bottom line here is that Lamontage is making the commercial designer’s work much easier.  One source gives professional designers a definite time-saver, with coordinated choices for floors, walls and upholstery.

Mannington Mills supported NeoConnect with a well-designed booth.  Commercial carpet tile was the foundation of their exhibit space.  Designers were introduced to “Taking Shape Now” in color Storm.  This patterned loop carpet is constructed with Mannington’s Quantum Nylon in a blend of solution-dyed and yarn-dyed fibers.  The random-lay design yielded a crisp, contemporary look suitable for home or office.  Well done!

Residential30_300Amtico International is always a crowd-pleaser.  Their couture luxury vinyl flooring system can fool the most seasoned professionals.  Vinyl tiles simulate true travertine or slate, with impeccable attention to detail.  Vinyl planks simulate high-end hardwood floors, without the care and maintenance worries.  For commercial applications, Amtico is highly specified in health care, hospitality, retail and corporate interiors.  But all of their products are cross-over choices for residential application.  If you require a family friendly, pet friendly floor with the richness of all-natural materials—definitely investigate Amtico.  (

WF-Swirling-Dyes-3-copy-700x465_300Let’s move to vertical surfaces and introduce you to “Wallflower”.  This exhibit made a big impression on all.  The artist who creates these amazing wall appliqués was present at the show.  Imagine giant, high resolution, photographic prints that are applied to your wall as self-adhesive decals or wall paper.  You can dramatically transform a room in minutes with this wall art.  It’s washable with a damp sponge, easy to install (or remove) and suitable for home, office, or public spaces.  Wallflower offers full-scale wall paper as well, on black or white backgrounds.  Want a giant elephant, butterfly, or leopard adorning your wall?  Here it is.  Check out  My favorite was a free-form wine “spill” on a white background.  The grace and movement of this colorful decal was fine art at its best.

Space Solutions Group  (To Market) featured Unicork.  Green products were the common thread throughout NeoConnect.  There is no doubt that environmentally friendly products are the first choice of designers.  There is a meaningful commitment to green design in the commercial sector, and that commitment is every-growing.  So, it is no surprise that cork floors are getting a lot of attention.  Cork oak trees are not harmed or cut down in order to produce cork.  The bark of the tree is sustainably harvested.  Unicork showed their style “Linea” for the first time—a cork floor with high-interest, natural good looks. Cork floors continue to make headway both commercially and residentially. (

A final exhibit of merit that deserves mention was Modern Nature Design area rugs.  The area rugs showcased were breathtaking.  This Florida-based company distributes hand-knotted rugs, made in Nepal from the finest natural materials in the world.  Their collections utilize Tibetan wool, pure natural silk, and other eco-friendly natural materials.  The options are totally customized to the needs of the designer and his/her client.  122 nature-inspired designs are the foundation of this line.  Add to that custom sizes, colors, shapes and designs made to a designer’s specifications, and this line becomes the “go to” resource for customized rugs.  Organic, nature-based themes by this manufacturer are calming and timeless.  You can research more at

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this quick tour of NeoConnect 2012.  Once again IIDA hosted a very successful show for commercially-oriented designers.