2011 Design Trend: Metallic Surfaces

Hunter Douglas resident design experts, Jen & Sally, give their top ten insights for what’s going to be hot on the interior design scene in 2011. One of the trends they called and we are already seeing a lot of is a throwback to past eras of when the theatrical and dramatic glamour of metallic surfaces was all the rage. “Alluring and theatrical, metallic surfaces are back in style. You’ll see them as primary and secondary design elements throughout the home, from stainless steel furniture to gold leaf accessories.”

The trend hasn’t been lost on Hunter Douglas product designers either. You’ll find metallic finishes on hardware, blinds and many other products. Their blinds in particular are expertly made and give off the glamorous glint of precious metals. The following collections offer the widest variety of metallics:

Alustra Modern Precious Metals—available in ten metallic finishes such as aluminum, brushed aluminum, champagne pearl, twilight pearl and bright gold, Their  2” slat surface reflects the light beautifully when open and gives a good amount of privacy control at night. Use in any room and add a few metallic accents such as mirrored furniture or window side panels hung on metal hardware in bright metallic finishes.

Somner Custom Vertical Blinds—available in six metallic finishes such as bright aluminum, antique gold, bronze and golden honey. The 3 ½ vane size allows for a lovely glow for daytime and a privacy control of 5. Be sure to visit the link above to see all of the swatches. These are also great for any room especially the bedroom and living area.

Product to Watch – Marazzi Vesale Stone


There are times when natural stone is not the best product for an application, but the look is what you really want. In those cases, tiles such as Marazzi’s Vesale Stone is just the right product.

Vesale Stone is a glazed porcelian from Marazzi described as ” itcaptures the look of refined slates found in the ancient hills of Italy and transports that simpler, organic building material to modern dwellings and public areas. Asynchronous glaze applications create dramatic pattern diversity.

Rich tonal ranges and dramatic streaks suggest the natural layers and clefting of natural slate while the surface remains flat and easy to clean. A final granular frit application enhances slip resistance and textural appeal.”

This tile comes in several different sizes:







This tile can be used on the floors, walls, in decorative areas and in modular installations. I can see this tile everywhere from an outdoor patio (because its frost resistant) to a backsplash, sink splash, tub surround, custom shower or even a table top! The great thing about this tile is that with the range of color it will not require daily maintenance like some tiles can.

Where do you envision this tile being used? Call your local floor covering dealer today to see samples!

New Product Profile: Dal Tile Stone A La Mod


Put your design shoes on and get ready to get creative and have some fun with natural stone from Dal Tile! One of their new product lines, called Stone a la Mod will surely give you inspiration to start a new project or give strong consideration for tiling more than just floors and walls!

This series is made up of Contmpo White, Nouveau Nero and Bluestone. Basically – blacks, whites and grays. This series shows you endless opportunities to use these neutrals to give as much pop as a room full of color.

The best part about this series is all of the different size and shape options  including:

  • Wedges
  • Linear
  • Oval
  • Mosaic
  • Basketweave
  • High / Low random
  • High / Low split face
  • Random brick joint
  • Split face
  • Block random

Imagine the possibilities of what you can do with these products! Living rooms, kitchens, entryways, bedrooms, bathrooms, showers, tubs, backslpashes, decorative inserts, sink splashes, mixes with other natural stone products. (interior use only)

View all the products in this series by clicking here. You will fall in love with all of the texture!

If this product inspires you, tell us what you would do with it!

Armstrong Intros New Floating Floors

The authentic hardwood looks are breathtaking. The water-resistant performance is superior. The installation is incredibly simple. But the real beauty of Armstrong’s new Luxe Plank™ with patent pending Lynx™ Technology is the flexibility it provides, thanks to its revolutionary design and construction.

Luxe Plank, launching to retail now, is the best option for a beautiful, high performance floor, according to Armstrong Resilient Vice President Allen Cubell.  “A combination of beauty, performance and simplicity makes Luxe Plank superior to any other luxury vinyl tile glue-down or floating system available today,” he said.  “It’s the easiest LVT floating installation on the market.  Luxe Plank with Lynx Technology allows the installer to reposition planks as many times as needed, and still maintain the integrity and appearance of the installation – a practice unheard of until now.”

Lynx Technology, the next generation in floating floor engineering, starts with specially formulated super thick LVT planks combined with a manufactured rigid film with a highly advanced performance oriented pressure sensitive adhesive.

“Flexibility without compromise means fewer call backs because the installation is right the first time,” said Yon Hinkle, Product Manager, Armstrong.  “With Luxe Plank, the end result is always a beautiful, high integrity installation that our dealers and their customers can count on.”

“This is a true game-changer,” said Buddy Faircloth, president, Cain & Bultman.  “The genius behind Luxe is that it improves upon existing technology to offer the retailer a truly unique product – unbelievably realistic looks, superior performance and a fail-safe installation. This adds up to not only happy customers, but repeat customers.  It’s a product that promises to be easy to sell.”

“Luxe Plank fills a gap in the market by being more than just about installation,” said Ray Mancini, president, BelknapWhite.  “It clearly establishes a style/beauty first position that speaks volumes to the consumer.”

The vibrant hardwood colors and textures of Luxe Plank™ add instant luxury to any room and feature the most realistic hardwood visuals available in the category. Authentic plank lengths, along with beveled edges and ends, combine to make the visuals incredibly natural. Consumers can choose from a stunning array of the most popular traditional, exotic, rustic and distressed looks to recreate the style of genuine hardwood.

Luxe Plank is available across 33 SKU’s at three price points, in a total of 14 design categories. Its distinctive looks include the undulating textures of Exotic Fruitwood, with vibrant colors and cosmopolitan elegance, and English Walnut inspired by Europe’s great country estates, with a  rich palette and contrasting stained edges (Best Collection).  Peruvian Walnut captures the beauty of the species’ natural variations in color and graining, and the distinct pattern of Empire Bamboo adds a modern flair to any space (Better Collection).  Jefferson Oak seizes the character and versatility of traditional oak in four classic wood tones that enhance any room (Good collection).

“The wow factor is that this is one beautiful flooring collection, a sure crowd pleaser,” said Mancini.  “There is an amazing breadth of design, and just the finest looking and top performing planks I’ve seen.  It is clearly designed to be the best.”

With Luxe Plank, even bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms can have a natural hardwood look. The thicker, more durable top layer features enhanced urethane coatings that resist scratches, stains and wear, making Luxe Plank perfect for high traffic areas as well as high moisture areas.  One of the attributes of the pressure sensitive adhesive is that it also is resistant to various factors – water or chemical.  Plus, the floor’s bond only gets stronger and stronger with time, offering superior adhesion strength with a grip that is virtually unbreakable.

Installing is as easy as 1-2-3

Lynx™ Technology, with its exclusive pressure-sensitive adhesive, makes Luxe Plank incredibly versatile and simple to install. Because each plank attaches to the planks beside and above it – not the floor beneath it – it installs quickly and easily, over practically any surface in any home or business.

With the technology to revolutionize floating floor installation and design options to meet any decorating need, Luxe Plank™ ensures high referral rates and repeat business.

“Luxe Plank wins where it counts – better wear layer, more features, better visuals and great warranties,” added Faircloth.  “Plus, it’s developed and backed by Armstrong, the brand our customers can trust.”

For more information, visit www.armstrong.com.

Thermique Heated Glass Towel Warmers

Thermique towel warmers are just what you’ve been looking for as the weather starts to cool down. No more walls. No more bars. Thermique uses glass to heat your towels or linens. If your bath tile floors are not heated at least your towels can be! If you floors and your towels are heated, then pat yourself on the back for being lucky!

Ordinary towel warmers are made out of metal bars like an old-style radiator. Thermique Towel Warmers offer you a better choice. Instead, towels are draped over a stylish pane of heated glass. The freestanding frame requires no wall space or professional installation. You simply plug it in. The glass itself radiates warmth at the touch of a button with precise temperature control. Perfect for warming and/or drying linens in the bathroom, laundry room, bedroom and more.

You can even move the unit to be closer to the tub or the shower, depending on your needs that day.

Additional info:

  • Available in classic, metallic and designer finishes.
  • Available colors & finishes:
    · White
    · Cream
    · Black
    · Polished Chrome
    · Brushed Nickel
    · White w/ Chrome
    · Cream w/ Chrome
    · Black w/ Chrome
  • Dimensions: 15″ D  x  37 3/4″ H x 28 1/2 W
  • For the  free standing unit, all you need is a GFCI wall outlet.
  • With a patented control unit, the glass temperature can be adjusted manually or automatically anywhere from 75° F (23.9° C) to 350° F (176.7° C).

There is a manufacturing limited warranty as well as a finish limited warranty. You also have a 30 day return policy with your purchase.

For answers to more potential questions, click here. Have you used one of these gorgeous towel warmers? If so, let us know what you think!

Featured Floor: Shaw Penthouse Suite

Today’s featured floor is from Shaw Industries. It’s called Penthouse Suite. This floor caught my eye because of the exotic species and range of color within the boards. This floor could be used across a broad range of design styles and provide long lasting beauty and durability to any home.

Some features of this floor:

Style: SW173 Penthouse Suite Color: 00927

Collection: Shaw Hardwoods

Price Range: $9.00-9.99SF

Species: Jatoba

Construction look: Engineered Plank / Installation type: Glueless

Plank width: 8.25” X 86.63” / Plank length: 86.63” in.

Thickness: 5/8″

Edge: Square

Call your local flooring retailer today to see if they have a sample of this beautiful product to see if it is right for your home. If you have already used this product and have it in your home, please let us know how you feel about it!

Sultry Brazilian Hardwood Creates New Possibilities For Floors—And Walls

BR-111 Pioneers an Entirely New Category of Exotic Hardwood Flooring Where Luxury and Strength are Matched Only by Eco-Friendliness


Rarely does a floor stop visitors in their tracks. Yet for anyone who’s never seen, say, Santos Mahogany, the first impression is nothing short of breathtaking. It’s just one of the many luxurious selections offered by BR-111™ Exotic Hardwood Flooring, the company that has pioneered an entirely new product category, aptly described as three times stronger than oak—and ten times sexier.  The BR-111 color palettes, graining, and unique shapes inspire new design concepts for floors, walls, and accent areas alike.

The offerings from BR-111 defy comparison to traditional oak flooring. The colors reflect exotic species, such as Brazilian Walnut, Tiete Chesnut, and Tigerwood. “Our palette is unlike anything you’ve ever seen,” says BR-111 president Ricardo Moraes. “There are more than 15 different species and 30 different colors. It’s a radical reinvention of what people think of ‘hardwood.’”

While traditional plank-style products are certainly available (in wide and narrow, solid and more-affordable engineered wood), BR-111 also offers high-style mosaics, in patterns such as Cubix, Corduroy, and Blox that simply outdare the conventions of wood for the floor and walls.  “It’s a design revolution. You’ve just got to see what these exotic wood species do when they take on the horizontal and vertical,” notes Moraes.

BR-111 wood is harvested from Brazil with strict adherence to official Brazilian and third-party forest-sustainability guidelines. And since they last virtually forever, BR-111 hardwood floors don’t end up clogging landfills, as do lesser floor-covering products. It all adds up to a clean conscience for any homeowner, designer, or architect.


BR-111™ Exotic Hardwood Flooring has been transforming ordinary rooms into extraordinary spaces for nearly 20 years.  As the pioneer in exotic hardwood flooring, BR-111 offers the largest selection of exotic species, color palettes, shapes and finishes with a level of high-style and durability unattainable with common domestic hardwoods.  Three times stronger than oak and ten times sexier, BR-111 exotic hardwood is ideal for making a bold statement from floor to ceiling.  Adding to its intrigue, all BR-111 timber is eco-consciously harvested under forest management regulations stipulated by the Brazilian Environment and Renewable Resource Institute.  In addition, BR-111 is the proud founder of The BR-111 Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering socio-economic progress in Brazil. For more information, visit www.br111.com.

The image shown is:  Macchiato Pecan (BR-111– 5/16” Solid)

ECO Countertops by Cosentino

Are you tired of the same countertop choices? Are you looking for something new? Innovative? Green? If so, keep reading to learn more about ECO countertops by Cosentino.

This durable countertop surface is made from 75% recycled content (either pre- or post- consumer depending on color), which is bound by an environmentally friendly resin which comes in part from corn oil. ECO by Cosentino is a sustainable substitute for natural and/or engineered stone.


* It won’t scratch, stain or scorch (but you should always use a cutting board to protect your knives)

* Doesn’t require sealing because it’s low in porosity

* Available in 10 designer colors and two textures (Leather™ and polished)

* Available in 63”x 128” slab and standard size tiles

* Backed by a 5 year limited warranty

* LEED credits: MR Credit 4.1 and 4.2 : Recycled Content

There are other eco-friendly surfacing materials in the market today, but no other like ECO by Cosentino. ECO by Cosentino reutilizes materials that have reached the end of their life cycle, thus saving on the creation and consumption of natural resources. Most of the raw materials used in the creation of ECO are: Porcelain Mirror, Glass Corn Based Resin

and Crystallized Ash Stone Scraps.

One of the best features:

To maintain ECO surfaces’ beauty and shine, simply wipe the surface with soap and water on a regular basis.

Thanks, CaraGreen for the introduction of ECO by Cosentino!

What's New With Hunter Douglas

I just took a field trip outside the blogoshpere (a.k.a away from the laptop) to spend some time at the Hunter Douglas Coffee Talk Training. WOW was it inspiring! Stations were set up demonstrating each product showing all of the new features, colors and offerings. Hunter Douglas really does a fantastic job of keeping up with trends in color, style, fabric and technology.

Some Notable New’s

  • Chalet Woods Wood Blinds have specialty finishes in 3 stylish motifs. Enhanced Grain Finish that resembles beautiful cherry wood grain, Antique Finish (my personal favorite) with an aged rub-thru look in colors like “toasted marshmallow” that would be perfect for a beach cottage, mountain home or shabby chic space and Distressed finishes are comprised of a stained base coat accented with gentle worm- hole distressing and a matte sheen. You can also now get the lite rise cordless feature for a cleaner look that is also safer for households with pets and children.
  • Silhouette and Nantucket Shadings have a new installation bracket that features a locking lever. The lever makes a click sound to indicate the shadings are properly installed and in the locked position.
  • Silhouette, Nantucket and Vingette Shadings have the new UltraGlide designer tassel that was introduced on Duette Honeycomb Shades in May 2009. This tassel features a clear, frosted base and a color coordinated cover. The tear drop design fits better in one hand, allowing for increased control when operating the shading or shade. Also, to improve the PowerRise with Platinum Technology, Hunter Douglas has implemented a software upgrade and hardware improvement that includes low battery detection, visible indication of reception and dry contact pins to accommodate harness connectors for input/output communications. This enables their usage with the advanced control systems used for home automation.
  • Designer Screen Shades, Designer Roller Shades and Provenance Woven Woods feature  great new motorization option with a proprietary new offering for residential hard-wired motorized shades.
  • Skyline Gliding Window Panels are now available with PowerGlide 2.0 with Platinum Technology!

Visit Hunter Douglas’ website for more information.

Avaire Interlocking Floating Porcelin Tiles

That’s right – you read it correctly….. interlocking floating porcelain tiles.

Avaire, made in Omaha Nebraska, began with a vision 5 years ago to provide consumers with a floor that is much easier to install than traditional, difficult and time consuming methods and a floor that will perform much better when faced with inevitable and natural structural shifts and environmental changes. After extensive research and testing, their vision because a reality with Avaire interlocking floating porcelain featuring their patent pending SnapSys Interloc technology. They are determined to provide the most user friendly, highest quality and best performing floor products.

These real porcelain tiles are designed utilizing the most advanced screen technologies available. What does this mean to you? A real, natural looking stone product at a remarkable price! Also, the installation process is faster and easier. The installation system floats rather than being fixed to the subfloor. (the tile is permanently bonded on an interlocking tray and rubberized base)  This eliminates the need to purchase thin set or backer board that can release dust into the air and allows for easy replacement of tiles should you damage a tile after it is installed. AND YOU CAN GROUT THE SAME DAY saving you time and getting your living conditions back to normal faster. You can even install over existing floors keeping your existing floors out of the landfill or remove it and reuse it later.

If that’s not enough, the tiles are less moisture absorbent than traditional tile which makes it easier to clean.

For those of you that didn’t stop reading at “….which makes it easier to clean.” to go purchase these tiles you may be wondering what the catch is. Are there different styles? Colors? Sizes?

There are different collections giving you a variety of colors,sizes and styles to choose from with 15 coordinating grout colors and transition and trim pieces to complete the job.

Interested in seeing the product? You can order samples here or locate a dealer here. To see what others are saying about Avaire, check out their testimonials. To learn more about their warranty, click here.

If you have used this product in your home or office, send us some pictures and let us know how easy the installation process was!