Emily Morrow Finkell: Safari Away ~ Serengeti Adventures Part II

This time of year around International Elephants Day, I cannot help but look back at my first ever safari, a photo safari I might point out, I was reminded of the rich inspiration I got from the endless ways that “Safari” lifestyle impacts our world of both fashion and interiors.

We are all constantly looking for clothes that feel good, fit comfortably and are “classic” styles…that never wear out or go out of style. Banana Republic began their company in just that “fashion” and Ralph Lauren has certainly taken cues from the safari lifestyle, just in a more luxurious light. As I traveled for ten days throughout Eastern Africa and celebrated my then 11 year anniversary of being a breast cancer survivor, I absorbed ideas, colors, impressions for projects both “interior design” speaking as well as for product design, hardwood, carpet and rugs. We launched an entire collection at Shaw prior to my first Safari with patterns, colors and style names drawn directly from the African continent.

Feel free to look through these images and to see more, click to my Pinterest Boards “Safari Away”.

The Tanzania trip was so impactful to me on so many levels, I simply can’t wait to share more pics and impressions from our next adventure, Nairobi and the Rift Valley with my sweetheart husband Don. You can almost hear the musical soundtrack from Out of Africa already playing in the background. Stay tuned for more impressions of our East African adventures at www.EmilyMorrowHome.com

out of africa 1

Out of Africa !



Banana Republic Catalog No. 19, Summer 1984

Banana Republic Catalog 19 Summer 1984 Cover by Patricia ZieglerBanana Republic Catalog No. 19, Summer 1984

Emily Morrow Finkell: Design Spectator…Everything Connects, Eames style

Emily Morrow Finkell: Design Spectator…Everything Connects, Eames style

“Eventually everything connects . . .” according to Charles and Ray Eames. 


ICE CUBE Eames Chair JPG

The fall of 2016 marked the 60th anniversary celebration of Charles and Ray Eames’ lounge chair design. It is nearly impossible to look around and not find some design element that was the work or influence of the Eames. When you see a stack of molded chairs, can you even imagine that there was a time before this curved plastic molded shape existed? Charles and Ray Eames are among the most prominent figures in the world of architecture and design who forced us to see and consider things entirely differently, oftentimes elaborating about something as simple as the number ten. “Powers of Ten”, was a short documentary film created by the Eames on seeing things differently within 10 seconds, 10 miles, across galaxies or within the human body in increments of ten. Watching it you’ll easily see that they imagined concepts and the world well ahead of their time. Charles and Ray Eames were not just a power couple of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, they were THE power couple of the 20th century, sensible visionaries who identified qualities worthy of their time and attention, and details that mattered in the making of a product.

If you have any awareness of Charles and Ray Eames, then your next thought goes to Herman Miller Furniture. In walking the halls of the Chicago Merchandise Mart during NeoCon,design eyes will no doubt be open for the subtle nuances as well as the obvious details of the Eames. There are endless other entities beyond Herman Miller who have found inspiration and have taken silent direction from the Eames work. What  those elements are and why are they important in today’s time beyond the 60th anniversary of the upholstered lounge chair, are more important than you’d imagine. Those elements and details include things that are now so deeply a part of our world that we take them for granted. Molding plastic, wire and plywood veneer into beautiful curved shapes and the integration of ergonomic design in such a way that form and function morph into something uniquely elegant, are some of the ways that the Eames permanently changed our world.

white ash eames® lounge chair without ottoman  - ebony eames® lounge chair without ottoman  - eames® aluminum group lounge chair  - eames® molded plywood lounge chair lcw  -

Herman Miller

We have been seeing a gradual but undeniable influx of mid century modern furnishings throughout the interior design and furniture industry for several years now. From the least expensive knock-offs of Eames molded plastic chairs at department stores like Target or Ikea to the better quality modern retailers like Design Within Reach, you’ll easily find evidence of the Eames’ legacy. Flipping through recent copies of HGTV Home magazine, Lonny Magazine and HOUZZ, the molded plastic, molded plywood and wire framed chairs, I can’t help but wonder if the designers who are selecting the furniture are choosing it for the fact that it’s tres chic or for its practical form and functional attributes that Charles or Ray originally envisioned? I think both perhaps. Some of the most interesting insights I’ve enjoyed knowing about Charles Eames is that he believed aesthetics could be a part of function and said “take your pleasure seriously”. Knowing this, we can all appreciate the ever-present Eames influence in the world around us. Each piece was obsessively studied and considered for our comfort, our pleasure and our appreciation of how it serves usl better than any other object could.
Ray Eames believed that “things were not separate in our lives…just because you painted didn’t mean you didn’t were not interested in weaving…you simply would not separate things….whether it was history, music or pottery”. She studied abstract art which is not surprising in that each piece of the Eames designs have a sculptural appeal and feels as if it’s a piece of art. The two Eames mutually respected and admired one another as the great talent and design mind that they were. Charles Eames said “Anything I can do, Ray can do better.” Their own unique histories and viewpoints complemented the others’ and the result was as simple as combining “work and play” which was what they strived to do in their projects. It seems as if their work and play combination was nothing short of the alignment of the planets within the galaxy where all that they created had a lasting and meaningful impact.



    1951 – 1993, 2014 – Present


    1948, 1996 – Present

    • slider-The World of Charles and Ray Eames travels to Belgium
      The World of Charles and Ray Eames travels to BelgiumExhibition on view at C-mine in Genk, Belgium, February 18 – May 28, 2017

Style in a World of Endless Choices NWFA Magazine June 1, 2017 Emily Morrow Finkell

Style in a World of Endless Choices


In a world where consumers can find literally every option ever considered, where does a flooring professional start when trying to identify a style for your customer’s floor if they haven’t already done so?

As an interior designer who is now entering my fifth decade, I’ve fine-tuned some techniques that have helped clients discern what they like over the years, as well as create their very own “look.” This is essential for most people unless they’re one of those individuals who strives for a cookie-cutter interior. But more often than not, homeowners want to have a home that reflects who they are, as well as their passions and interests. Pulling together the “likes” into something that has a cohesive and fluid effect on the eyes is what makes design a challenge.

You may ask, “How do I begin?”

The first step is one of the oldest tricks in the book, but it still works. Historically, I would ask clients to flip through the pages of magazines and catalogs and tear out or mark certain pages, noting the specifics of what they liked. The modern day approach to doing this same thing is utilized by millions of people, creating boards and collections online using apps such as Pinterest and HOUZZ.

These sites in particular provide your customer with the opportunity to see projects and homes from all around the world and share images with you as they look for flooring recommendations that match their style. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then an idea board is worth a gazillion words, especially when trying to articulate a look or style that’s hard to define.

Today’s design styles are a hybrid mixture of various genres mixed and updated to the point of an all-new look. Take the midcentury modern look as an example. It has morphed into an updated livable version, having mass appeal to many demographic groups.

If you don’t have an eye for design yourself, once your client has curated the looks into idea boards, share them with someone you trust who has a great design eye to give you some feedback, including manufacturers and distributors you work with closely. It is beneficial to bring in someone with a fresh perspective at various points in the design process who can help you see more than just the floor, but also the whole picture of an interior. It might be that a certain color emerges in the mix, or a design motif, like palm leaves for example. Then you can begin to tie together the floor with your clients’ overall scheme.

Flooring is often the last decision people make when working on a renovation project, but my recommendation is that it be the first consideration. If you begin a project with a firm foundation, in this instance, a well-chosen floor, then all the other decisions become easier. Hardwood floors are still considered the “premium” flooring material even in a world of waterproof and wood lookalikes. Like a beautiful diamond among cubic zirconia, there’s nothing quite like the real thing – the look, the feel, and even the sound is unique as you walk across real hardwood floors.

Consider this: There are endless options of hardwood floors out there to choose from and what a customer brings into their home matters not only for the years of enjoyment and the value added to the home, but also in terms of keeping the materials “healthy” to live on. Sticking with responsibly sourced and responsibly made hardwood floors is the safest way to ensure you’re utilizing materials that not only meet, but exceed, any and all governmentally required standards.

Here are other suggestions that can be shared with your customers who look to you for advice on bringing their overall design plan to life:

Use layers
Layering with a mixture of old and new objects is essential. None of these pieces have to be expensive, but should be chosen carefully and thoughtfully. Finding a “happiness meter” for the level of color and pattern used is a lot like preparing a delicious menu for dinner. You never want too many salty, spicy, or sweet things all at once, but rather a balanced variety of tastes that complement one another, not compete for the tastebuds’ pleasure. The human eye reads an interior in much the same way as we enjoy a good meal.

Don’t be afraid of color
Color is an effective and also an inexpensive way to guide the eye throughout an interior from the moment you walk in the door as well as the progression through to the innermost spaces. The color you wear the most is typically the color you feel the best in. Does the customer own an article of clothing that they absolutely love for its color or pattern? That can be a clue as to what color they should introduce as a starting point. Personally, I love black, but that certainly doesn’t mean that I have an all-black home. I do however use black lamp shades and accessories that are good for bringing in a little drama and definition to a space. I also have a favorite scarf with varying shades of blue that looks similar to some blue and white porcelain vases that I once had in storage. Suffice it to say, out of storage they came, and the blue and white porcelain pieces became the common thread from which my design scheme grew.

Find a balance
If the customer has some art or a collection of special items they would like to showcase, recommend keeping the walls as “quiet” as possible so they don’t overpower the space. Light gray, creamy off-white, or light taupe walls are perfect backdrops for bringing in furniture, art, or accessories that are bold either in color or pattern.

Don’t forget adjacent spaces
If there’s a specific upholstery or drapery fabric they plan on using, advise choosing two or three colors from that fabric, which can become the key colors for the adjacent spaces. The adjacent spaces matter a great deal in maintaining a sense of harmony between the rooms. How a customer feels as they transition from the foyer to the family room to the kitchen is important. Most homes feature an open floor plan and offer a particular challenge as to where and when the homeowner should transition to a different paint color. There are coordinating paint schemes offered by many of the nationally known paint companies that allow you to select colors that are specifically chosen to work beautifully together. If colors don’t work well together, even a design rookie can sense something is off, but when it’s right, you almost don’t notice anything; it just feels right.

Know your focal point
Identify the room’s focal point, the dominant area, perhaps architecturally, by placement of bold color or a large piece of furniture. It’s important to keep that in mind all along; don’t try to fight it, but use it as an advantage. We have minimalist as well as maximalist styles, battling for our attention. If you’re one who believes less is more, but bring something home from every special vacation as a memento, then you’re going to have a challenge in balancing your two conflicting worlds. There are endless ways to bring the two into harmony.

In closing, if the customer loves something enough, it’s possible to find a way to make it work. It’s all in the mixing, not in the matching, that makes a house a home.

Emily Morrow Finkell is an interior designer and CEO of EF Floors & Design, LLC in Dalton, a provider of hardwood floors and home furnishings, and NWFA design contributor. She can be reached at kikermorrow@gmail.com.




Emily Morrow Finkell, Design Spectator: Colorful Times for Colorful Minds in FCW


“The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love color the most.”

― John Ruskin, The Stones of Venice.

This is one of my favorite quotes on color…and what a great way to explain how colors impact us, regardless of our age, gender, nationality or ever the era we live in. It’s been so clearly proven that since living creatures first walked the earth, color has always played a critical role in both our existence and survival. Over the years, we have evolved in our sophistication of the endless ways we can apply color in our daily lives, and now have a long view of hindsight to draw upon. Over the centuries, we can see patterns in the shifts and subtleties of color as it pertains to fashion and interiors. With these color patterns mapped out, we can better understand what trends are just around the corner and what is going to drive them.


Back in 2009 Benjamin Moore published some intriguing color research titled “Colors of the Centuries” which compared and contrasted the even and the odd numbered decades and the color patterns that developed over those decades. bm-colors-of-the-centuries  . Their research begins in 1880 and shows how the colors of the roaring twenties were dramatically different from those of the depression and the decades that followed as well as the reasons why they were so different. For example in the 1940’s the color palette included cooler colors of blue and gray while the 50’s saw warmer colors come into vogue with high contrast black and white accents. The 60’s are so easy to imagine with the overly-vibrant tie-dyed psychedelic colors as well as the rebellious culture that drove those colors. From there, the 70’s moved into the earthy browns, golds, oranges and avocado greens. Think “Brady Bunch” colors which conjures up memories of shag carpets and wood paneled walls. While working in the floor covering industry, it has always been fascinating to find swatches of carpet from various decades. Practically everyone shares a fascination with the shifts and changes in both color and style regardless of whether or not they lived through it. Generations that followed like the millennials have only cable tv re-runs to be able to see what those eras looked like but have a genuine affinity for “mid century modern” and other “retro” design styles we are seeing thrive in today’s interiors and furniture markets.

Missoni Home at Maison et Objet 2011 is all about the retro 60’s design aesthetic with their iconic “tuning fork” or chevron design motif. 
Norwalk Furniture Upholstery Fabric “Big Top” Fall 2016 Introduction inspired by the tuning fork design made iconic by Missoni Home and Fashion Textiles in a similar color way.

Today’s marketplace is proving to be a very colorful one, although in gradual increments. While color trends generally can be found to begin in the european design shows like Maison et Objet and IMM, we can easily see the progression from there to our markets here in the USA. Look at the images from Missoni’s showroom three years ago and then find those same colors at our very own markets here in the US. Story boards featuring the gray finishes for furniture, fabric and flooring from three or four years ago are “spot on” for today’s US market. Accents of bright yellow, indigo blue or even shades of green and aqua are finding a home here as they’ve worked into the american tastes by way of various inspirational sources, be it social media, design blogs, websites and cable design shows. We don’t have to go far to tap into a rich source of color or design information simply by opening a fashion or shelter magazine. Oftentimes the very magazine cover of any given month can give immediate insights into the colors that are key colors for that particular season or year.



Now that we see we are safely out of the recession and in a healthy thriving market with the stock market surpassing a historical 20,000 mark, consumers are finding they can make their personal statements at home and in their wardrobes. Once safe “gray and navy blue” wardrobes are getting a huge host of companion colors. These accent colors comings and goings are thrilling to watch especially in observing how quickly trend upwards or spiral out of the picture. Those that have staying power you can be assured will look amazing with the still ever-present grays, taupes and mushrooms…as well as the newer desert neutrals of camel, golden sand, cinnamon, mocha and terracotta tan.


Gray, White, Taupe and Matte Black story board from Germany’s IMM show in 2011 showcases colors that can easily be found anywhere in today’s US markets.
The range of neutrals is the perfect color palette for the past 6 years and still hanging in there. The pop of warm color can be found in the golden yellow on the right.
The Hygge Danish Design trend was easy to spot in the past years markets of 2010, 2011 and 2012 Maison et Objet, Domotex and IMM in Europe.
Cinnamon, mocha and other variations of warm neutrals were shown in Germany’s IMM and France’s Maison shows long before we saw them here in the USA preferences.

DESIGN SPECTATOR: Journey to the biggest flooring and design trends in 2017

The Surfaces Issue

In order to prepare for a journey, you must first know where you’ve been, where you are currently, as well as where you want to go. I love planning trips and anticipating all the various twists and turns that I might encounter so that I’m sufficiently packed and well-prepared. In thinking about 2017, it is not unlike a journey. The next big product or design idea is probably already in the development process and without doubt will emerge this market season.

Where we’ve been:
It goes without saying, the floor covering and design world have been saturated with grays, taupes, off-whites and visuals that imply “reclaimed”, whether it’s hardwood floors, resilient vinyl, porcelain tile, carpet or rugs. We’ve witnessed a shift of market dominance from soft to hard surface, the softening of soft goods, the pendulum shift back from carpet that’s “too soft”, explosion of anything that is labeled as “waterproof”, and the clear expectations of the consumer for products that “perform” underfoot while looking beautiful.

Where we are:
It’s been eight years since we’ve had a change in the presidential leadership of our country, and no matter what your politics are, the change always leads to movement in things that impact our industry. We are already seeing an upswing in the stock market, optimism in new home construction, increases in existing home sales, and the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates for the first time since 2008. All these factors are going to result into some noticable new ideas coming to life.

Where we are going:
While there are so many trends for 2017 we can cover, the most interesting are ten mega-trends that we’ll readily see in floor covering.
1) If you’ve noticed there’s been an influx of marble, especially cararra and calacatta marbles, then you’ve seen the influence of “understated luxury”. The marbled effects are going to continue to grow in resilient vinyls and even reproduced in porcelain tiles.

Mohawk Style “Marianna Calacatta” Porcelain Tile falls directly into the “Understated Luxury” trend with its upscale calacatta marble visual in a wide variety of sizes, in both gloss and satin finishes.
2) For the ever-growing love for “uncluttered living”, look for more and more clean lines, little to no visible wood grain or character. This will mean less and less of the hand-scraped, chatter-marked or knotty wood visuals.

Mohawk Style “Vintage Vintique” – color “Winter Oak” hits the sweet spot of uncluttered living due to the clean wood grain visual in a cerused white-oak finish, with little character or knots showing.
3) While it may sound like a contradiction of #2, it’s entirely different and noteworthy. There’s a huge global or “travel inspired design” movement. This flooring influence will mean oversized geometric design motifs in rugs and carpet, more and more antique persian rugs, especially layered over jute, sisal or seagrass broadloom and hardwood flooring.

The wire-brushed hardwood floor is “Global Spirit” by Emily Morrow Home layered with Stanton Carpet Styles: “Bali” and “Belize” woven jute, Color: “Macadamia” and the iconic “Serengeti” woven polypropylene in color “Wild Root” from their “Kilimanjaro Collection”.
4) If you’ve seen HGTV, you’ve watched Chip and Joanna Gaines’ “Fixer Upper” show and their “Urban Farmhouse” look which is a blend of rustic, reclaimed, distressed paint treatments and wood everywhere.

The “Fixer Upper” Power Couple Chip and Joanna Gaines have created a major design movement with their easy-living “Magnolia Home” urban farmhouse lifestyle.
5)“Japanese and mid-century modern” influences are creating a hybrid design style where you’ll find traditional and modern details and clean lines. Light and neutral hardwood floors, long and wide wood planks with zero character or gloss, and neutrals will keep things light.

Amadeo - ADO-1015.jpeg
Surya Rug Fall 2016 Fall “Amadeo” features zen-style cross hatching in a quiet monochrome range of grays. Speaking to the need for uncluttered and simpler living, the subtle pattern and palette fit into many design styles.
6) The wood has migrated up from the floor to the walls and includes many of the wood trends from 2016 into 2017 like reclaimed gray barnwood and painted white or white washed ship lap boards, *another influence by the “Fixer Upper” designer.

Eastern Accents High Point Fall 2016 styled by Thom Felicia featuring wood wall decor
7) The “Danish movement” is working its way through hard and soft surfaces. We’ve seen glimpses of this in one of Shaw’s newest porcelain tile styles, “Glee” that has the look of concrete embossed with wood grain. Plaster, chalky or matte finishes have been working their way into the interiors world gradually. Initially we saw introductions of “plastery white” vases and vessels at the various interior design and home furnishings shows in Europe and the US, matte black automotive paints in luxury sports cars, and then black in virtually every category one can imagine…so when you pair two or more rather significant trends, what do you get? A mega trend that takes flight and has longevity in the marketplace. Check out the following examples of this mega trend…

Barbara Barry for Global Views highlights the “plaster” whites, off whites and dove grays in various vessels at this Fall 2016 High Point Show.

For more on the “matte” and “plaster” trend…

Check out my friends from HGTV Home Nancy Fire and HGTV Dream Home Designer Bryan Patrick Flynn on YouTube as they talk about Matte Black faucets in Delta’s showroom at KBIS https://youtu.be/4wW3OGoEA0U

Ties directly into the precursor trend of black stainless steel at KitchenAid as well as a little nod to LaCornue’s luxurious black ranges.

Matte, Metals and Black combined for a winning finish in 2017…combining multiple design trends into one mega trend #MatteBlack #BlackStainlessSteel #kitchenaidappliances #matteblackdeltafaucets

Stanton Carpets interpretation of the danish design trend “Hygge”
Stanton Carpets interpretation of the danish design trend “Hygge”

Take note of an unfamiliar term, “hygge”, a bulky cabled yarn found in throws. The bulky cabled yarns will be difficult to translate into broadloom carpets due to manufacturing and performance challenges but handmade rugs will be sourced from Denmark. Look for translations of the “knitted visuals” among chunkier tufted and woven loop pile carpets.

8) Vibrant jewel-tones in accessories for the home require a set of “new neutrals” beyond the gray and taupes of the past 10 years. Muted earth-toned shades of terracotta, camel and sand play nicely with the jewel-tones. These neutrals will be needed in backsplash subway tiles, large format porcelain floor tiles as well as resilient vinyls, hardwood planks and even laminates.

Surya’s Fall 2016 collection of rugs features this rug “Tessera” which is not only a montage of jewel tones but also an updated take on an ancient Persian design motif.
9) Blue, all shades of blue, is continuing to make its mark in homes. Painted kitchen cabinets in lacquered navy blue, gray-blue and robin’s egg blue are becoming more and more popular after their color panache has been brought to life at Kitchen and Bath shows as well as in Designer Showhouses.

Stanton Carpet wilton style: “Carnegie” color: “Marine”
10) Last but certainly not least, the final mega-trend is “open living spaces” in the home. The ability for families to eat, cook, work and entertain in an open floor plan gives everyone the flexibility to adapt the purpose and use of any given space of the home. With an open floor plan, flooring must cross seamlessly from one area to another harmoniously. Designers, architects as well as design-savvy homeowners need to be able to find floor covering that is long, wide and visually open. Patterned carpets that will be most successful will look “woven” or have patterns that are wide open, large in scale with little to no contrast. Designers of open living spaces allow the homeowners the opportunity to define spaces. For example, conversation areas need to have grouped seating that is clearly defined by rugs layered on gorgeous hardwood or natural stone floors. Traffic within the open layout home flows strategically according to the arrangement of furniture and flooring.

Due to the continuing demand for open living spaces in both remodeled existing homes as well as new home construction, wider and longer planks help to visually expand and open up areas, allowing the eye to flow harmoniously from one designated space to another. Mohawk’s SolidTech vinyl style “Vershire Steelgate” offers all the necessary attributes for an open floor plan.

In summary, each of these ten megatrends offer homeowners an important solution and that’s that they give variety, the ability to change or adapt the way they express their personal style in the home.

Design Spectator: And the 2017 Color of the Year is…

Design Spectator: The 2017 Color of the Year is…

It’s that time of year when all the color experts are huddling together making their final decisions, taking the last votes on what will be THE 2017 Color of the Year. It seems as if there are so many colors of the month, color alerts and colors of the year that it’s hard to discern which ones really are the most relevant.
Let’s start with some of the higher profile color experts…names and entities we all have heard of…Pantone, Color Marketing Group, Benjamin Moore Paint and Sherwin Williams paint…then zero in to the floor covering industry’s only color of the year to date, Shaw Floors.

The underlying purpose for designating any color of the year is to give a platform on which one can speak about the virtues, importance, and marketability of that particular color for a brand or product. With that in mind, I personally believe a COTY should be one that is currently running line and not something too far out in forecasting timeline that it looks or feels “lost” among the other colors in the marketplace at time of launch. It is difficult to explain why “Brand X” might choose a color to an “interiors” audience when it was most likely selected solely with “cosmetics” or “runway fashion” in mind. It’s another thing altogether when a company chooses gray, taupe or white because there’s been an abundance of those neutrals for years. There are still more Colors of the Year in taupe or gray because there are still so many new lines of furniture and accessories being launched at European and US furnishing markets which means they are still not only viable but quite salable as well.

For 2016, Pantone released two colors rather than just one, “Rose Quartz” and “Serenity” after years of their singular sensations, “Marsala” 2015, “Radiant Orchid” in 2014, “Emerald” in 2013, “Tangerine Tango” in 2012…and so on. The big names in paint like Benjamin Moore featured “Simply White” for their 2016 color and their pick in 2015 was “Guilford Green”, a silvery shade of sage. Sherwin Williams moved from their 2016 pick of “Alabaster,” and it’s “an understated and alluring hue of white,” according to Jackie Jordan, director of color marketing, to 2017 “Poised Taupe”…all basically neutral-neutrals.http://www.housebeautiful.com/design-inspiration/news/a6941/sherwin-williams-color-of-the-year-2017/.

Last year Sherwin-Williams chose “Alabaster” white as the Color of the Year and the 2017 winner is “Poised Taupe”. According to Sue Wadden, the director of color marketing for Sherwin-Williams,”It’s like gray and brown had a baby”. http://www.today.com/home/pantone-spring-2017-colors-t103095


Sherwin Williams 2017 Color of the Year “Poised Taupe”

Shaw Floors began pronouncing their Color of the Year in fall of 2013 just in time for the 2014 January markets. The first was a very big color story then and now, “English Royal Navy”, and was featured on multiple shelter catalogs and publications as well as in the Shaw Floors Smart Home designs by Linda Woodrum interior designer for HGTV Smart Homes and Dream Homes. Shaw Floor’s choice in 2014 of “Navy Blue” was to signify the company’s long-standing “reliability, stability and commitment to remain a leader in fashion for the floors” which was critical then and now, then it was a world that was just healing from the recession. Since then, “Lady In Grey” was their choice for 2015 and White Hot for 2016…and our sources have stated that the 2017 choice will “definitely be colorful, not neutral”. I’m making some predictions as to what their new COTY will be: Either a mint green, leafy green or sea glass blue-green, all shown very prominently at High Point Spring 2016 in trend setting showrooms like Global Views showroom and Bungalow 5.


What if the Design Spectator selected a Color of the Year for 2017? What would it be and why? Based on my travels and research at all of the international home furnishing shows and interior design expos, it is without a doubt a more colorful world than it was a year ago…a world where one cannot live without turning the corner of any given storefront window or shelter catalog and seeing this hue…that hue is blue…and even more specifically, “Nouveau Bleu”. Inspired both by great works of art as well as the recent discovery of a new color, the first new blue in over 200 years, known by scientists as “YInMn Blue”, “Nouveau Bleu” is vibrant and can work with dozens of other color families beautifully. After touring a few of my favorite art museums, the Metropolitan, the Louvre and most recently The National Gallery Museum in DC, I found myself immediately drawn to the great works of art by Van Gogh, Renoir, Cezanne and Gaughin who worked with incredibly vivid colors, especially blue. The interiors and the fashion worlds certainly are finding inspiration within the same color palettes as the artists. When polled on “favorite colors” blue often tops the list and it’s no surprise why. It feels good the very split second you see it.

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Bungalow 5
Barclay Butera for Eastern Accents
Barclay Butera for Eastern Accents
KBIS 2016 vanity in the Kohler Showroom

High Point Spring 2016 Bungalow 5 Showroom


Without any reservations, the Design Spectator’s Color of the Year for 2017 is “Nouveau Bleu”…. Based on my travels and research at all of the international home furnishing shows and interior design expos, today is without a doubt a more colorful time in our world…a world where one cannot live without this hue…and that hue, “Nouveau Bleu” was inspired both by great works of art as well as the recent discovery of a new color, the first new blue in over 200 years, known by scientists as “YInMn Blue”. After several tours of my favorite art museums, the Metropolitan, the Louvre, The National Gallery Museum and Musee d’Orsay, I found myself immediately drawn to the great works of art by Van Gogh and many others who worked with incredibly vibrant shades of blue. The interiors world is certainly finding inspiration within the same color palettes as the artists Van Gogh, Gaughin, Renior among others

Nouveau Bleu



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Shaw Floors Color of the Year 2016 “White Hot”
Shaw Floors Color of the Year 2015 “Lady in Grey”


Tory Burch’s The Blue Room

Pantone Color of the Year 2016 – Rose Quartz and Serenity



For the first time Pantone introduces two shades, Rose Quartz and Serenity as the PANTONE Color of the Year 2016. Rose Quartz is a persuasive yet gentle tone that conveys compassion and a sense of composure.


Top 10 Colors: Spring 2016 Pantone Fashion Color Report – from …



Top 10 Colors: Spring 2016 Pantone Fashion Color Report – from Pantone.com …… This continual cycle of redefining the pallet of the season or the year arises …

Pantone Color of the Year 2016 – Color Formulas, Guides & Standards



PANTONE Color of the Year 2016 can be found in the following color systems: ROSE QUARTZ.

Pantone Color of the Year 2016 – Shop Merchandise



Get your Pantone 2016 Color of the Year Merchandise in Rose Quartz and Serenity. Mugs, Notebooks, Color Swatches and more from Pantone.com.

The 2017 Sherwin-Williams color of the year is Poised Taupe. This …


EMILY MORROW – Shared privately

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Design Spectator: A fun look back at carpet trends with RetroRenovation

Emily Kiker (Morrow) Finkell says
September 20, 2016 at 3:09 pm

This was by far one of the most talked about and interesting discussions during my thirteen years’ tenure as Shaw’s Director of Color, Style & Design…in fact, we had more people stop in their tracks when they saw the swatches of these “vintage” pieces of carpet.

Pam Kueber, aka RetroRenovation, Thank you for your research into what continues to be a fascinating aspect of design…”RETRO”! I’ll be sharing your blog post on my own under “Design Spectator” as it is a timeless topic.

All the best,
Emily Morrow Finkell

http://retrorenovation.com/2012/01/16/wall-to-wall-carpeting-history-from-the-1950s-to-today-an-exclusive-interview-with-emily-morrow-shaw-floors/comment-page-2/#comment-978225Design Spectator: A fun look back at carpet trends with RetroRenovation

CARPETING HISTORY FROM THE 1950’s TO TODAY — Posted by: pam kueber • January 16, 2012

Above: Emily Morrow and retro carpet swatches


Wall-to-wall carpeting history from the 1950s to today — an exclusive interview with Emily Morrow

Is wall-to-wall carpet “authentic” and appropriate for midcentury homes? You bet! Consider this data, provided by Emily Morrow, Shaw Floors’ director of Color, Style and Design for Residential Carpet and Hard Surfaces:

In 1951 — as the post-World War II housing boom in America was still ramping up — the carpeting industry sold about six million square yards of tufted wall-to-wall carpeting nationwide. Fast forward to 1968 – and the industry sold almost 400 million yards.

Carpet manufacturing tufting machine – Shaw Floors historic photo

To the American family of the 1950s on, carpeting was a luxury previously out-of-reach. In fact, I’m going to compare wall-to-wall carpeting to electric stoves in the way they both epitomized a whole new level of comfort and convenience that had become accessible, affordable – and desirable — to the masses for the first time. Wall-to-wall in the new living room said, “We’ve arrived and are staking our claim to our little piece of the American Dream. Take your shoes off, and stay a while.”

I had the chance to speak with Emily by phone recently about the history of carpet from the 1950s through today. We also talked about how the industry determines its color trends – including today’s gray-love — and what’s up next. 1980s teal, anyone? Buckle up. Read on for this exclusive interview chock-full of delightful carpet history and tips –>

Inside Shaw’s Color, Style & Design Studio – Eyes on the future with a view to the past

Retro Carpet Swatches

While she was talking to me, Emily had a bird’s eye view to the big “history of carpet” table in her design studio. It was covered with a growing collection of carpet samples reaching back several decades. For the past few years, she explained, her design team has been on the lookout for vintage carpet remnants that visually capture the key colors, style and design trends. “The past is always relevant to the future,” she said.
This look back in time is particularly pertinent to midcentury homes, because the big boom in residential carpet did not occur until after WWII. So “history” starts in 1946, at least as it pertains to the mass market.

Of course, Shaw’s blast-from-the-past mood board is a cacophony of: Color! For example, Emily knew I would like to hear about the team’s latest prize: A piece of multicolored burnt orange sculptured carpet from the 70s – found by accident under the filing cabinet in an employee’s office when they went to re-carpet. Yeah, baby!

Photos of 1970s Carpets shown on Shaw History Wall

Emily is an interior designer by training, and has been with Shaw for 15 years. She leads a team of nine composed of colorists, designers and stylists whose focus ranges from color development to pattern design and encompasses residential carpet, commercial carpet and hard surface (i.e. wood, tile, laminate and vinyl) styling. “Our whole staff works within the research and development facility,” she explained….more on the website at retrorenavtions.com

Carpet Sales Trends by Region
“A large portion of the 2ndfloor in R&D is our area — the color library. It’s entirely devoted to color, style and design inspiration and trends. One wall demonstrates the ever-changing sales by color in flooring, both nationally and regionally. To do this, we take 2” x 2” samples of each color and arrange them into bar charts sliced into both colors and regions.”

Color Wall in Shaw R&D Color Library

The other half of the team’s working space, she says, is focused on developing future design strategies, specifically, their “research color forecast.” That’s where the historical samples are used as a point of reference. More importantly, I imagine “top secret” story boards and inspiration pieces strategically placed all over their R&D space – muses for the next-big-thing colors coming our way soon.

Color Wall in Shaw R&D Color Library 2
Color Wall in Shaw R&D Color Library
“The ‘new’ story over the past five years or so has been grey,” Emily confirms. “Looking ahead, we see the color story is moving towards blocks of “hothouse colors” like magenta and purple as well as the more traditional jewel tones. Color is very cyclical in nature.”

Yup: Cyclical – what’s old becomes new again. So let’s start at the beginning ish.

Key trends in residential carpeting, beginning in 1950

Emily explained that prior to World War II, most “carpet goods” were woven. Woven goods were often area rugs, but they also could have been installed wall-to-wall. After WWII, though, sales shifted dramatically to tufted carpet and to wall-to-wall installations.

Woven: The carpet is produced on a loom quite similar to woven cloth. The pile can be plush or berber. Plush carpet is a cut pile and berber carpet is a loop pile
Tufted: These are carpets that have their pile injected into a backing material, which is itself then bonded to a secondary backing comprising a woven hessian weave or a man-made alternative to provide stability. This is the most common method of manufacturing of domestic carpets for floor covering purposes in the world.
– Wikipedia

“The post-World War II era saw a surge in carpet sales that was primarily due to increased interest in home décor and new carpet fiber technologies,” said Morrow. “Carpet had been a luxury during the war – as many home goods had been – and once the war was over, there were plenty of stay-at-home moms that were ready to decorate their homes with products they couldn’t get during the war years. At the same time, there were technological advances taking place in the carpet industry – tufted nylon provided a similar look as the woven wool carpets and rugs from the pre-war years; however, nylon was more durable and much more attainable to the growing middle class. This combination of factors was really the perfect storm that led carpet to grow exponentially in the 1950s.”

carpet manufacturing tufting machine shaw floors

Carpeting trends in the 1950s

In the ‘50s, she said, carpeting was “Saxony” – smooth — style. Definition:

Saxonies are tightly twisted cut piles that are heatset straight. Saxonies consist of two or more fibers twisted together in a yarn. They provide a soft texture for formal and informal areas. Saxonies show every footprint and vacuum-cleaner mark. Source: http://www.carpet.org/types_of_carpet.htm

In the ‘50s and through to the 60s, colors tended toward the bold –reflecting consumers’ enthusiasm for the wide world of decorating now open to them.

Photo of Printed Kitchen Carpet

Carpeting trends in the 1960s and 1970s

In the ‘60s and ‘70s, there was a “revolution” in terms of the industry’s ability to create new piles and textures. “There were highly creative shags… textured sculpted multicolors creating all these different visuals… and imprinted carpet for kitchens,” Emily explains. These played into “people’s excitement about change in general,” she said. “Consumers liked anything hip and new.” Tastes were changing as consumers’ view of the world expanded through the evolution of media. By going from black and white to color television, they were able to see into TV homes such as “The Brady Bunch,” where colorful shag or sculpted carpet was used.

Technology played a key role in developing the shag carpets to be synonymous with the 1970s. Emily said that the industry was experimenting with endless combinations both in yarn types as well as dyeing multiple layers of color. She explains that tthe 1970’s were a time when consumers were trying new things “just because”. Shag carpets once made from 100% polyester evolved into 100% nylon, resulting in a much more appealing aesthetic and improved performance.

1960s-1970s Carpets

It’s important to note that polyester carpet fiber has come along way since the 1970s – today’s polyester carpets possess improved performance and softness, and they are very popular with a new generation of consumers who find polyester carpet to be generally quite affordable as well as durably attractive.

Color favorites were avocado green, brown, oranges, and multicolor. Emily adds that “layering” of single colors, like greens, was also popular, because the effect was very forgiving in terms of hiding dirt.

Carpeting trends at the end of the 20th century

Beginning in the 1980s and continuing into the 1990s and 2000s, she said, consumers were becoming lots more savvy about owning homes. We also began moving even more frequently for jobs. “Real estate became such a big topic for consumer-homeowners,” she said. “We also were a more transient nation, and the idea that we could turn a quick profit by buying and selling was born.” As a result, Emily said, consumers gravitated toward: Hardwood. Homeowners believed hardwood was neutral, luxurious and would add to their home’s value at resale.

Then, there’s always the pendulum-swinging factor.

“Oftentimes the next generation has a little contempt for what was in their parents’ house. They want something better and also different,” Emily says, explaining another of the reasons why kids who grew up in homes with wall-to-wall carpet went for hardwood with area rugs, instead. As our lives got ever more complicated, homeowners also wanted to do less maintenance. “For homeowners who chose carpeting, berbers were the thing. We call this ‘trackless’ carpeting. You never see the vacuum cleaner marks.”

Yikes. I bought my first house in the mid-80s. It’s all coming back to me now — everything that Emily is saying is true!

Carpet trends today

Fast forward to today and like hardwood floors, the mass market color preferences in carpeting remain in favor of neutral underfoot. Emily says that buyers are comfortable with beiges, chocolate, and two forms of what I always call greige – “taupe” (brownish grey) and what Emily calls “true taupe” (which I guess would be a grayish brownish gray.) “No pink in it very little yellow,” she says. Bedroom areas, meanwhile, get lighter off-white. “This is a sanctuary space, with not a lot of high traffic.”

Consumers also are buying pattern – medium-to-smaller scale designs such as blocks and diamonds. Also, they get a “little bit of a fleck, like a tweed,” Emily said. The whole effect is smooth and tailored, but not solid. She says that this style looks good with all the midcentury modern furniture going into homes today, but that it is neutral and flexible enough for buyers still skittish about the economy and the need to make improvements with future resale in mind. “Homeowners still are thinking they may ultimately sell. Choices are conservative, but they still want an element of style that’s attractive and which they can appreciate.

She also mentions that midcentury modern is a “standout trend” influencing interior design today. “Mad Men is in its fourth year, and now we have [other tv shows] like Pan Am.”

teal carpet from shaw.

Carpeting trends for the 2010s

Between now and the next five years, what colors might be coming our way? Emily says to expect: Color! “When the pendulum swings it always swings the other way.” She also says to expect more carpet per square footage, with hard surfaces used in strategic areas. A backlash against all that granite and stone? Methinks, yes. “Consumers that have been living with hard surfaces realize they miss the comfort of carpet, especially in family and playrooms,” Emily said. Regarding pattern, she says to expect an evolution toward both tighter, and looser looks – pointing to natural seagrass and sisal as inspiration in both color and pattern. Chevron, herringbone or very simple loops in a limited array of flaxen neutrals are simple yet sophisticated looks for floors. For those who crave softness in broader color options, then casual textures and modified shags fill the need. “I call it ‘toe appeal,’ — it’s that wonderful feeling you get when you step into that soft and luxurious pile of carpet… barefoot,” said Emily.

Teal? Yes, Emily says this color is ascendant. “It’s one of those great colors that bridges well with other colors… grays, taupe, plums, magentas and other vibrant colors.” She even mentions mauve…well, a new version of the color formerly known as mauve. “That’s the fun part of how colors come back around, there’s always something new and exciting about them,” said Emily. ”Maybe it’s the other colors that they are paired with, or maybe they look wonderful simply because they are from a very happy time in our past.”

I was very alive and kicking (and kickin’ back quite often in fern bars) all throughout the 1980s. Are there others like me who remember all the – teal? I can get my head around it!

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Tikimama says
January 16, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Just for kicks, photos of the carpeted bathrooms (oh, the smell!) and kitchen of one of my previous houses:


Main Bathroom

Kate says
January 16, 2012 at 3:24 pm

I have a teal area rug that is almost identical to that last picture! Mine is carpet tiles from FLOR (www.flor.com)

I love my teal rug!


Jamie D says
January 17, 2012 at 6:05 pm

I love your teal rug too! Great color scheme. We’ll likely get Flor for rugs in our house. We figure it’s nice to be able to pull up a tile and wash it in the sink when the dog horks something up on it.

Jordanna says
January 16, 2012 at 8:45 pm

As a kid I thought a house HAD to have wall-to-wall carpet or it wasn’t a house people lived in. I had only seen historic homes with hard floors (aside from in the kitchen and bathroom – those could be lino/tiled)

My oldest generation of living relatives were very fond of two colours in every apartment or house I stepped into: red or green.

Not a mossy grayed out green – a really strong, but NOT teal green. I’m not sure when this bright, strong, grassy colour was a thing but they loved it, in either dark but not diluted w/ gray or blue, or straight up kelly. This was the smooth, Saxony cut. I liked it. It “popped” their dark wood furniture.

The red looked okay to my child’s eye too, especially with white walls, but my mom said it looked like a church.

I had much less fondness for the shags and ’70s-’80s stuff, I thought the green and red which was earlier was much more classic. And it didn’t eat my Legos and Tinker Toys like the shag did.

“White carpet” is my mom’s definition of delicate, impractical luxury.

Laura says
January 16, 2012 at 8:59 pm

After having removed five room’s worth of wall to wall carpet in my 1939 Cape Cod I can’t imagine replacing it with new. There was perfectly gorgeous oak floor under most of it, VCT under the rest. There was even carpet in the bathrooms. Removing that carpet was some of the dirtiest, smelliest, grossest work I’ve ever done (shudder). Granted the property was neglected, but the experience doesn’t make me all that enthusiastic about wall to wall from the standpoint of cleanliness.

And here’s a memory: My best friend in high school had ultra-long green shag carpet in her bedroom, even though by then it was the 80s. We used to rake it with the shag rake to look for spare change. With gas as low as 69 cents a gallon back then, a productive ten minutes of labor with the shag rake could produce the wherewithal for a night out on the town!

Mike says
January 17, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Does anyone still make shag carpet? I would love to install some super shaggy carpet (the kind that comes with a rake) in my basement.

Katie says
January 20, 2012 at 7:29 pm

Hi Mike. I handle the public relations for Shaw Floors, and I wanted to let you know that Shaw makes a variety of textured, shag-like carpet styles today — and with the new advances in carpet technology, you don’t need a rake to keep it looking new! Check out Wild Thing from Shaw’s Tuftex brand: http://shawfloors.com/carpetDetails/search/Wild_Thing_Z6275-Almond_Silk

JKM says
January 17, 2012 at 2:09 pm

I saw my grandparents’ former home online a couple years ago on a realtor’s website when it was for-sale. The house, which they built in 1949 and sold in 1980, was immaculate and fresh and, thankfully, hadn’t been ruined by careless “updating” since they moved out 30 years ago – even the tile bathrooms and kitchen with its tile countertops were still there looking brand-new! What struck me most, however, when viewing the interior photos were the gorgeous hardwood floors in the living room, dining room and bedrooms. I’d never seen them before since all were covered with wall-to-wall carpeting at some point, probably around the time I was born in 1960. Wow!

Jamie D says
January 17, 2012 at 6:15 pm

I think the shag carpet we just ripped out of our “new” 1950 brick split is far more eye searing than any of the samples shown in this story. It was at least 3″ deep and was a white background (well, I’m assuming it was white sometime in the 60s) with red, fuchsia, pink, lavender, purple, and orange splotches. There was even a hint of baby blue if you looked really close, but overall from a distance, it read as bright red and pink.

It was so insane that I would have kept it if it wasn’t so grungy around the edges. And I’m sure it was stained…you just couldn’t tell with all the craziness.

Probably not the best floor covering for homeowners with bad allergies and a dog.

Now we need to get rid of all the 30+ year old high pile carpeting in the bathrooms. Ick.

JKM says
January 18, 2012 at 10:10 am

When my parents built a new house in Dallas in the early 1970’s, every room was carpeted. Thinking about it now I think “ugh” but it was the very latest in design back then. The formal living and dining rooms had gold plush carpeting (showed every footstep and vacuum track) and the balance of the house had rust colored shag except for the kitchen and laundry room, which each had flat “kitchen” carpet in a multi-colored pattern of gold, rust and brown. The only mopable (is that a word?) floor was the marble one in the entry foyer. Our previous home, constructed in 1964, had a carpeted living room, staircase and master bedroom with the rest of the rooms having cork tile floors. When designing the new house, our mother said she never wanted to mop or wax another floor so wall-to-wall carpet was what she got. She eventually came full circle, I guess, for the last house they had had all wood floors.

miblue1 says
February 7, 2012 at 12:43 pm

I remember in the 80s we put in kitchen carpet–OH WHAT A MISTAKE.My husband spilled a gallon of red Kool-aid on it and never stopped coming up through the padding.We then went with vinyl in the kitchen and baths and dark green carpet in the living room and hall.The prettiest green ever except it showed every little thing.Now in our new house we went with a total laminate in our upstairs living and sleeping area due to my allergies.They have so improved since we did that.We took the carpet from the upstairs and moved it into our finished basement.If I had it to do all over I would go with real wood and be done with it.
I loved the history lesson it was really a blast from the past.

Jay Cruz says
February 8, 2012 at 5:25 pm

What a great article. I’m so glad to see someone preserving the past.

I didn’t see anywhere that any vintage shag carpet is actually for sale. Is it for sale, and how do I go about speaking with someone about purchasing some? If it is not for sale, does anyone know of any resources for this stuff. Preferably the multi-color shag from the seventies.

Leigh says
March 2, 2012 at 1:47 am

My grandma used to work 2 jobs so she could have the home decor of her dreams, which included wall to wall carpeting…yellow background with formal red, purple, and green flower design…the reason she needed 2 jobs? $56/sq yd, in 1958! Her home was always very beautiful. As for me and my mid century carpet story, in our 1954 Alexander designed Palm Springs home, we removed the carpet to find 3000 sq ft of original white marble! We no longer live there unfortunately, but Im looking forward to renovating my “new” 1953 ranch : )

Maureen Bajeyt says
April 24, 2014 at 6:59 pm

I know this is an older post, but I admire how your grandmother worked two jobs to have the decor of her dreams. My folks went heavily into debt after borrowing $$$ for the decor of their dreams – we can learn a lot from our elders.

andrew says
June 25, 2012 at 2:37 am

This article provided me some great info… I’m buying a 1950 ranch and want to change the flooring… Part is a travertine tile I won’t touch, but the other part is a carpet that just doesn’t do it for me. Had been thinking about a bamboo floor, but now am thinking about some cool carpet that can create that cool vintage look… This piece has me thinking..

Any suggestions would be appreciated.. Here’s a link to the house.


karen says
July 1, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Finally, a fairly positive site about carpet.

After refinishing several hardwood floors in various houses throughout the years, I am now at least six months into a new carpet that we installed in our 1925 bungalow. I know, I know …”Gasp!” and “Why?!” There are beautiful hardwoods under there! Yes, the wood floors were in moderate condition and we could have spent at least 1500 bucks to get them up to snuff. However, for me, my carpet choice boils down to two words: luxuriously soft. I have been teaching senior high school students in a classroom with a hard floor for over 25 years and every day I wear my dogs out because I am a very physical instructor as a result of the way I move around the classroom.

I have found that now with carpet gleefully look forward to this nurturing bungalow at the end of the day. Suffice it to say I would not enjoy moving into a home with “mystery” carpet. The newness is a must for me. Moreover, I came from a childhood home with carpet that was very clean. My mother vacuumed and still vacuums nearly every day. I know, I know… carpet can never be as clean as hardwood. Well, my mother’s is darn close and I have been in too many homes where the hardwood floors have looked less than stellar and sometimes downright gross.

But the real turning point for me was when the family including teenagers and toddlers gathered for Christmas at my mother’s last year. Her house is smaller than mine but it lives bigger. Why? The carpet. Cousins were on the floor playing board games while I was leaning up against a couch with my niece looking at college photos and it hit me as I looked around the room that there were 12 us in various parts of the room and five us were on the floor.

When I came back to my bungalow I realized that we didn’t really use the floor except with our feet. It was simply a surface to get from here to there. That’s what tipped it and I have thoroughly enjoyed my carpet ever since. The floor has become a living and doing space, a soft refuge and retreat.

I try to vacuum every day ; )

pam kueber says
July 1, 2013 at 5:41 pm

Very very interesting points. Our basement family room is carpeted. Yes, I end up on the floor half the time. Very very interesting points!

karen says
July 4, 2013 at 8:08 pm

Thanks Pam.

Another thought…

I was hesitant for so long because I had always heard (and still do) that hardwood floors make a house look bigger. This was not the case with this house which was chopped up with various and sundry area rugs. Perhaps it’s relative to the actual size of any given house. Ours is quite small to begin with and carpeting actually “expanded” our space–possibly because the carpet is light and possibly because I am constantly working at “sparing” down the furniture and accessories so that I have plenty of negative space–a sward of carpet much like a well manicured lawn.

In addition, I am working at keeping a very limited and neutral color palette.

Catherine says
October 24, 2013 at 8:56 pm

Great article! We’re in the process of picking out carpeting for our 50’s basement remodel, and this was just the article I needed today. I’m going to look for Saxony carpeting… now just to choose a “bold” color! Not sure my husband is going to go for teal (although I do like that photo example above).

Chris says
October 24, 2013 at 11:48 pm

mother was the only career mom in the neighborhood. In a sea of maple country and poodle lamps, she dared to paint cocoa brown walls, with matching wall to wall, over hardwood, early pieces of simple line blond wood, with nubby orange loveseat. Leap to selling new homes, which she decorated, she fervently urged young couples in an era of quick work transfers to keep expensive basics, “light bright and airy” for quick resale. Color to be added in removable easy carry decor. She was always ahead of her time. Next personal change was move to danish style medium walnut, Steward McDougall, which after 49 years I am proud to own. Another hallmark of her style, was that in era of cookie cutter homes, hers had all different elevations, bricks, space between houses, no sheds, no fences, only decorative safe fences for in ground only pools. Those neighborhoods stand out today as unique, entirely eschewing a period of ghastly sameness, and remain beautified by the parklike back yards. Pleasant to pass through these communities, and still see her forward sense of design still at work.

sarah says
October 25, 2013 at 9:09 am

i have been looking for a star trek aera rug with the fedaration of planets logo on it to go in my lil office cubakle 10 x 7 ft wide ..can any one sugguest were to look thank you ……

Joe Felice says
January 27, 2014 at 12:39 am

The only carpet I remember from the ’50s & ’60s was sculptured nylon. And usually in bright colors–burned orange, avocado, gold, etc. And to think, everyone covered their gorgeous hardwood floors with the stuff!

tina b says
May 26, 2014 at 10:08 am

hmm? that reminds me, I think that I have a bolt of burnt orange shag carpeting in the basement (affectionately called the dungeon) given to me years ago,that I can shampoo and clean and lay down in the appointed breakfast nook area. It is a sunken room with almost a full wall of French type windows!!! Might be enough to cover that area 🙂

Emily Kiker (Morrow) Finkell says
September 20, 2016 at 3:09 pm

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hi Pam, this was by far one of the most talked about and interesting discussions I had as Shaw’s director of Color, Style & Design…in fact, we had more people stop in their tracks when they saw the swatches of my “vintage” pieces. Thank you for your research into what continues to be a fascinating aspect of design…”RETRO”!
I’ll be sharing your blog post on my own under “Design Spectator” as it is a timeless topic.
All the best,
Emily Morrow Finkell

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Design Spectator: Eye on Design in Dalton

It’s no secret that today’s marketplace is not what it used to be. You don’t have to go very far to see reminders that Dalton, Georgia was known as the “Bedspread Capital of the Universe” as cited in local newspapers from 1940. Look at how far we’ve come. We’ve evolved through wartime rations of nylon and fuel, the economic uncertainty of a few recessions, and thanks to so many entrepreneurs who believe in Dalton as something “special”, it has not only survived, it has emerged as the floor covering capital of the world that it is today and is filled with some of the most innovative companies in the world and has attracted some of the greatest design talents from around the world as a result. As both a native Daltonian and former director of styling, I can’t help but feel the excitement in the air as new skus are being finalized. You can almost feel the ground vibrating with the hum of the hundreds of tufting machines as they run new greige for upcoming introductions. With most of the big named manufacturers being located within a 20 mile radius of Dalton, I am taking advantage of my insider’s knowledge and enjoying some “behind the scenes” tours to get a sense of what’s just around the bend in floor covering.

This past week I spent some time looking behind closed doors of Shaw Floors and Mohawk at what’s new and exciting in their world of design, both in carpet and hard surfaces. Naturally, I can’t talk about the exact nature of the prototypes but what I can talk about are very successful 2016 styles which are catalysts for the next round of styles. According to Nicki Rayburn, Shaw’s Director of Public Relations & Communications and Deborah Houston, Creative Director, at Shaw and industry wide, there’s been a deliberate shift towards any flooring that fits into a casual lifestyle. Nubby, chunky loops and barber-poled tweeds create visual dimensions in carpet styles like “Nautique” and “Dunes” that are also very forgiving for busy homeowners. Large scale patterns continue to move onto the scene as many consumers are opting for room size rugs that can be sourced easily in programs like Shaw’s Cut-A-Rug Collection. Based on the continuing success of Shaw’s Caress Patterns, there are even more of the well-styled ornamental geometrics. Don’t be surprised to see big dense florals that harken back to the 80’s and time-worn distressed patterns as well.

Brittney Stanley, one of Mohawk’s residential designers, stated that “although almost everyone is still all about gray, they are seeing the changes in colors happening almost instantly. Grays have become warmer and their 2016 palettes are chock full of their newest neutral called greige.” *Greige is the term used for tufted and unbacked carpet fabric.
“Greige is what we consider the perfect neutral. It is the most versatile neutral which works with gray, tan or taupe.”

EverStrand_Scupltured Touch Collage

2017 Sherwin-Williams Color of the Year – Poised Taupe
Taken from our 2017 colormix™ forecast – our commercial neutrals showcase the best of 2017, anchored by our . . .
http://www.sherwin-williams.com/painting-contractors/color/ . . .

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As far as pattern trends go, Mohawk is enjoying a great deal of success with its record-breaking 2015 style “Sculptured Touch” from Aladdin and another top selling pattern “Artistic Charm” from Karastan. Each style is a tufted “linen strie” tonal pattern and the most recent launch “Artistic Charm” has owned the #1 position in sales ranking since samples went out in March or April. Beyond patterns the industry has certainly been enjoying widespread success in flecks and tweeds at all price points. The dated “spotty” flecks of the nea-shag friezes are gone and have been made to feel new and balanced with the smoother textures with near-100% space dye coverage in grays, taupes and browns. Brittney Stanley of Mohawk cited Karastan’s “Rustic Revival” and “Softly Elegant I & II” from Aladdin as perfect examples of what is selling well in this visual.

Karastan Artistic Charm
Both the Shaw and Mohawk design teams share similar approaches to market research for overarching themes and inspiration. They participate in trend forecasting organizations, in Color Marketing Group as well as attend markets and shows for inspiration. Mohawk’s Brittney Stanley said “Being able to attend Surfaces and see how well the dealers liked the new products and colors definitely made a big difference in her approach to new colors”. Typically at the end of each year, past years’ better color palettes are scrutinized, sales by color data is generated, the designers then create new trend boards according to their color families, and they pull from those color palettes throughout the coming year of development.


Shaw’s Deborah Houston said that the influence of “Urban Farmhouse design” sparked by personalities like HGTV’s Fixer Upper designer Joanna Gaines has been a very strong one. https://magnoliamarket.com/blog/. Beyond the urban farm house design influence, consumers’ are looking for ways to save their already limited time so that they can enjoy life. Marie Kondo’s book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” has been on the New York Times best seller list and has been so successful that the author’s name has become a verb. People all over the country are now “Kondoe-ing” their closets due to this need to simplify and optimize how we live. http://tidyingup.com

Consumers are today much more interested in and willing than in years past to take a chance on color and pattern according to Nicki Rayburn. Rayburn said they’ve witnessed online an uptick in interest in products which are both colorful and patterned. Speaking of color, it’s noteworthy that Shaw’s most recent “Colors of the Year” have been neutrals, this year being “White Hot” White hot board.rtfd . The only hint that was given about the soon to be released 2017 COTY is that it will definitely be a colorful color.

The migration in discussion from carpet to hard surface was seamless in that they all share similarly-hued color palettes which allow consumers the ability to make flooring selections that fit harmoniously into one interior effortlessly. Katie Ford, Shaw’s Hard Surface Marketing Manager walked me through 2016’s offerings in wood, vinyl, tile and laminate. The variety of visuals that I saw are a continuation of trends that, while they are not new, they are still selling well. Adjectives like “washed, distressed, rustic, industrial, and highlighted are among the words that describe each of the hard surface categories, and in vinyl, porcelain, ceramic, and laminate, the look of wood is still quite prevalent. Case in point is a porcelain tile style by Shaw named “Glee” which features an industrial “poured concrete in barn wood” aesthetic and represents a niche-look in today’s interiors. “Glee” can be installed in a herringbone pattern and includes a rhomboid shape as well as a listello trim. While it is definitely a wood look, it’s been taken one or two steps further in something new that offers homeowners something fresh while still not being too far outside their budgetary comfort zones.


There were endless iterations of barnwood, hand-scraped, reclaimed, cerused, chiseled, wire-brushed and sawn face planks in the offerings. Epic Plus includes new introductions with an innovation that alleviates the moisture issues within the builder channel with its “stabilitech core”. New styles are “Freemont Hickory”, “Ocala”, “Coral Springs and “Riverstone”. I can squint my eyes and still see a taupe influence over many of the new colors but the move towards more “natural” looks, low to zero gloss UV finishes give the look of a high-maintenance “oil-rubbed” finish, without the hardwork.

There was a great deal of excitement around one of Shaw’s newest “Floorte” vinyl introductions that is about to make a mid year appearance. “Alto Mix Plank” is an 8” x 72” format and according to Katie Ford, “Floorte’s Alto Mix Plank is all about the bevel” so much so that the marketing team is using “bevelish puns” on their samples going out this fall.

If Dalton was once a bedspread industry that turned into a carpet industry, it’s now quickly turned into a hard surfaces industry which is layered and sprinkled with carpet strategically. I believe we will always have a need for carpet and for so many wonderful reasons…it’s soft, it’s quiet, it’s a great value and it’s far more comfortable to sit on than practically anything else. I can’t wait to see the Dalton of our future generations and have hope that this very special industry is still growing, offering great careers and incomes for the families of the future.



DESIGN SPECTATOR for Floor Covering Weekly “Living With Color” by Emily Morrow Finkell



What is it about color that’s so important? Everything! In a world of color, we are all impacted in ways we sometimes can’t possibly imagine. It’s no secret that gray has been a major player in the fashion and interiors world, and that is not changing anytime soon. I have seen however a shift towards more and more vivid colors, practicallly technicolor colors at international furniture and design shows, New York Fashion Week, and even at the retail points of purchase. Architectural Digest’s annual “Living With Color” August issue quotes “The pureset and most thoughtful minds are those which love color the most” by John Ruskin in The Stones of Venice. From the fashion-forward color discussions to the more practical online consumer surveys, color matters and can impact the overall resale value of our homes.

“According to the analysis of over 50,000 sold homes from around the country, the online real estate company found that homes with kitchens painted in warm yellow hues yielded the highest sale premium. They went for $1,360 above expected values.The belief is that potential buyers look at the blank white walls and are concerned about being able to keep it clean.”

white kitchenfeaturePics


“Not a fan of yellow? No worries. Top-performing listings also had wall colors painted in other earthy tones, like sage green or dove gray.To get the biggest bang for your buck, stick with colors that have mass appeal so you attract as many potential buyers to your listing as possible,” explained Svenja Gudell, Zillow chief economist, in a statement. “Warm neutrals like yellow or light gray are stylish and clean, signaling that the home is well cared for, or that previous owners had an eye for design that may translate to other areas within the house.”

In terms of colors you may want to avoid, the report found that homes with white kitchens actually sold for $1,400 less than expected. While the stark hue gives off a crisp look, it apparently also deters buyers, many of whom think they won’t be able to keep the space clean.

While this sounds overly simple, it’s incredibly important to all of us, especially those of us in the floor covering and design industry. Consider this, we’ve seen a huge portion of homes shift from carpet to hard surface, and the carpet that is selling best oftentimes is a neutral tufted pattern, tonal or flecked product which definitely offers soil and dirt-hiding characteristics to the consumer.

Overall the neutral color palette is shifting annually in very subtle shades. The most essential neutrals are gray, taupe, sand, white, off white and camel. One great way to identify the catalyst behind the neutral color foundation is to examine the “commitment decisions” in homes, for example hard surface flooring, natural stone or solid surface countertops as well as case good furnishings, all of which have a life span of ten to twelve years before replacement. Neutral colors have always been cyclical and the pace of their cycle was slightly thrown off by the recession and rebounding market. The best selling neutrals of the pre-recession were golden neutrals, matching and coordinating with the vast hard surface materials like travertines and granites. Today we see a lighter cleaner palette strongly influenced more by calacatta marble and cerused or flaxen white oak hardwoods.


Thanks to color-loving fashion icons like Tory Burch who stated “I am drawn to the way colors interact with and complement one another” in her book Tory Burch In Color. She has famously featured “TORY ORANGE” in her packaging and stylishly demonstrates how beautifully colorful interiors can be tasteful (see The Blue Room below).


We will continue to see more and more vivid colors as well as fleshy-pink neutrals as a warm counterpart to the cool neutrals that have blanketed the market place. Color Marketing Group releases a monthly color alert, many of which are already applied in accessories for the home like rugs, pillows and draperies. What’s important to note about the neutral and color-colors of the current near future is how it makes a consumer feel. CMG’s ZEN is, “tranquil, relaxing, mindful and calm…relaxed and unworried, that is the state of the color of “Zen. This calming hue is a comforting neutral, with little chroma, and just a bit of black. Its simple nature allows effortless coordination with everything from soft pink to fresh green, and practically anything else.” Who doesn’t want a little more “comfort” in their lives?



The luxury ranges at La Cornue flaunt their color flair. For colorful options that are major investment items, check out these over the top La Cornue ranges at KBIS2016 in colors from light aqua to a saturated bubblegum pink.



2016 April CMG ZEN
“Watch for it to appear modern in high gloss finishes, elegant and refined in matte, and ethereal when enhanced with metallic and special effects. Whether a fashion accessory color or the color of the garment itself, a car color or enhancing a set of luggage, “Zen” moves quietly, with purpose, and in kindness with other colors.”


Read more about CMG CONNECTING IN COLOR @ http://www.blog.colormarketing.org

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CMG 2015 November EQUESTRIAN

Classically inspired, “Equestrian” embodies attributes desired by sporting enthusiasts and those that simply enjoy watching the game.
A golden brown, reminiscent of tooled leather, it is at once rugged and luxurious, familiar and aspirational. Beyond the world of equine sports, the color will grace everything from fashion to accessories. It adds a touch of “Country Life,” even in the city, suggesting a moment of peace and quiet that is always in touch with nature. Regal, elegant, earthy and reliable, “Equestrian” is a color that crosses borders, genders and bank accounts. It is a color of steadiness in 2015.

Design Spectator: Behind the Scenes Made in the USA Emily Morrow Finkell for Floor Covering Weekly




While considering which of the beautiful trends are most likely to succeed in the American homes, it is an ideal time to examine what matters the most in the world of design. Let’s consider the “curator” or design team’s design direction, overall aesthetics, the inspiration, what demographic group that the design is targeting and more.

One intriguing company in particular, Aria, is owned by Hunt Broyhill who opened the High Point showroom doors for a sneak preview of the newest market introductions. His team’s eye for design is laser-focused on what American homeowners are seeking for their homes, comfort, quality, performance and seamless design styles that work with practically everything they already own. Aria is bucking the trend of outsourcing all their manufacturing by making their furniture frames in Conover, North Carolina and is a model that seems to be shifting back stateside industry-wide. As far as why they’re being examined for “Design Spectator”, their design approach is a good correlation to what I see going on in the floor covering industry, the cross merchandising of the various flooring categories and the careful curation of specific looks, making it easy for consumers to find a well-designed look and for designers to put together projects quickly. These are responses to what American homeowners are demanding and it’s far easier to tune into the pulse of the consumers when it’s all done stateside.

Aria, like several floor covering manufacturers, sells to retailers across the United States and internationally and naturally the retailers have a great deal of input. Hunt Broyhill said Aria’s target audience is “the highest end of lowest end and the lowest end of highest end”. When asked about Aria’s design direction, Broyhill said he has the placed the design decisions into the hands of Ms. Robin Hoff. Ms. Hoff cited that they’re aware of the purchasing power of both millenials and baby boomers, each “wanting comfort and price point with the fashion, in furnishings, the pillows and accents are the accessories to the outfit. Colors include minerals, taupes, mushrooms and natural linens. Sofas for example are almost always a basic neutral where the colors and patterns are what adds emotion to the sale.” When asked about customization, their response is that there’s no need for any customization per se since the process of choosing the components is very individualized while still manufacturing friendly.

First the sofa frame, then the arms, thirdly the fabric and finally the pillows. Key trends for Aria are in step with interiors universally, gray is still essential, rock-tumbled linens, casual damasks, clean lines and overall must be lower maintenance. Performance fabrics have come a long way and have taken back a large share of what was once held by leather upholstery. Sounding very much like carpet and hard surface programs like Shaw Floors’ “Life Happens” and “Pet Protect” to name a few. The designs are not compromised by the protection and performance that’s engineered into the product.



Aria (above) makes an impressive statement on their facade drawing in record numbers of buyers this spring market. Their styling for Americans tastes is spot on.
Focusing on the most salable upholstery frames that interchange fabric colors and patterns, featured Greek key motifs, buffalo watch plaids as well as some chic acrylic legs for the smallest hint of an uber trend.


Grays, all shades from lightest dove gray to darkest charcoals, are holding their own strongly at every price point and in every “design style”.

Basic frames can create instant drama depending on the details…mega-sized exposed nail head trim, faux-fur accent pillows, or metallicized fabrics for example.

Textural, nubby solid fabrics pair nicely with many of the accent pillows, flame stitched ikats, chevrons and even other solids we a different texture. Visual interest is key while forgiveness of everyday lifestyles is essential.

Driftwood gray framed chairs mix it up  beautifully with shades of Navy Blues, Wedgewood blues and whites. There’s a sense of implied patriotism when you see the whites and blues in interiors.

Hunt Broyhill (above) of Hickory, NC explains how his team research consumers’ preferences. “It’s all about having the most important design details that are still attainable.”

For the floors, most of the newly purchased furnishings are going to be placed into home interiors with beautiful hardwood floors, softened by rugs. Today consumers who are tuned into social media and the news are asking for Made in the USA products and the dealers are responding. American-owned manufacturers are a necessity, whether it’s for flooring or furniture. Wood is one material that just about any demographic group desires, considering it a safe investment and way to increase their homes value.


Hardwood floors of wider widths and longer lengths were featured in multiple vignettes at this year’s High Point market such as this one (above) in Stanley Furniture.

For “To the trade” bespoke hardwood floors, contact Emily Finkell at EF Floors & Design or via the Design Spectator blogpost. Thank you!

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