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While Quarantined…Where do you go to find inspiration for your designs?

A serengeti sunset is beautiful until you figure out that in the distance is a burning prairie in Kenya, photo credits – Emily Morrow Finkell August, 2019.

When asked recently by a member of the press, “Where are you finding creative inspiration during the quarantine?”…and my first thought was that there really wasn’t a creative moment in this whole adventure of staying at home. Then it dawned on me…I had been going back through photos of our treks, clearing out memory cards from my camera and one in particular was from our 2018 trip to Kenya. As any good photographer would do, I didn’t immediately “delete all” but instead “viewed all”…and am “keeping almost all” of the images. So many of the photographs are astonishingly beautiful, causing me to ask myself “how in the world did I miss this one?”. You know how it is when you first get home from a trip, there’s a rush of activity, the usual stuff you have to do when you’ve been out of pocket, and for us, when we got home from Kenya we moved right into product development of the new Emily Morrow Home hardwood styles, all of which were inspired by our travels, many of which were the Safari, and then we ran right into winter market. Quite honestly I never really got a chance to sit down and absorb all the photos I had taken, only a few of the ones that fit the story line of my products. Now that time has elapsed, and now that I have some spare time to do this, I’m amazed at the phenomenal images that have managed to go unseen until this week when I found them, they are treasures. One of my favorites is this shot. I just love the textures, the mix of colors, the contrast of the gorgeous sunset and the threat of danger from the fires. It’s amazing how immediately one image can call to mind such a rich blend of sights, the smells, the sensations in my memory banks. Once again, I am so inspired!

 

Enjoy the journey!

Emily

P.S. Share your favorite travel photos with me at emily@emilymorrowhome.com

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Sharing Her Story by Burt Bollinger for NWFA Magazine

SHARING HER STORY BY BURT BOLLINGER

Published February 3, 2020 NWFA Magazine
Emily Morrow Home

Emily Morrow Finkell is providing her customers with American-made hardwood flooring with a very personal touch. With the launch of Emily Morrow Home, she has infused her life-long love of interior design into a series of made-to-order flooring collections that both tell stories and bring her unique life experiences into customers’ homes. This life experience includes more than three decades as an interior designer and flooring expert, including serving as Shaw Industries’ Director of Color, Style, and Design. “I’ve worked with a lot of wonderful people who taught me so much. Beyond interior design, I’ve learned so much about curating products into a collection as well as creating and launching a brand. I’ve learned the importance of knowing how to tell a story and how to make it easy to understand,” explains Morrow. Morrow’s first step to build her story outline was in-depth research. To do this, Morrow traveled the country, visiting with friends and flooring experts to seek out their input on what they wanted to see. She came away from those conversations knowing that they wanted something unique…something that could not be found at big box locations. “Those I reached out to wanted a brand that spoke to quality. However, they also wanted something they did not have to inventory, but rather work with sources that know the art of working with the design trade,” says Morrow. In addition to a brand that met these criteria, Morrow says she knew she wanted to speak to the idea of social responsibility and giving back. It’s a story that she has been able to tell through Emily Morrow Home’s manufacturer, American OEM’s unique set up, where the hardwood flooring is made-to-order in a plant located inside of a medium-security prison in Tennessee.

“Working with American OEM not only helps these men become reformed citizens, but they also become trained skilled craftsmen,” says Morrow. “By the time they are released, not only have they been paid, but they are frequently able to get jobs with us after they are released. It’s a program my husband, Don Finkell, developed in eight plants during his career in manufacturing hardwood flooring.” From a practical perspective, Morrow also believes this unique manufacturing process leads to stunning visuals. “It gives us so much design flexibility, and when so many dedicated hands can come together on a product, it allows us to do amazing things with wood. For example, some of our designs feature heavy scrapes, with black rubbed into the scrape. That said, for customers who have refined tastes, we also provide more traditional looks,” says Morrow. The unique manufacturing approach provides her collection to designers in a somewhat non-traditional way. “Rather than having to inventory all of this in their warehouses, because the team can turn orders quickly, buyers don’t have to commit a lot of capital for truckloads or freighters,” explains Morrow. As another way to make her brand unique and stand apart from others on the market, Morrow says it was vital that she told personal stories with color, style, and design.“It’s important that every style has a personal story behind it,” says Morrow. As one example, she was even able to gain color inspiration from her family trip to Kenya. “We were enjoying being unplugged, in the middle of the Serengeti plain, and while there I was completely filled with inspiration by the great migration of wildebeests. From the two weeks on safari came our EMH Color of theYear for 2019, Tusker Taupe, as well as our other newest colors, Great Migration, Moon River, and Serengeti Spirit.”

SPREADING THE WORD

Following Emily on Instagram yet? If not perhaps you are on Facebook? How about Twitter?  For Morrow, the final piece of her brand’s puzzle would be how she communicates her brand’s story to the world. In addition to creativity and finding inspiration from life experiences, Emily Morrow stresses the importance of digital marketing as a way to share her brand’s unique story. “Social media is essential, and everyone should be engaging with consumers through it. My advice with digital marketing is that we should make it personal if at all possible,” explains Morrow. “Today, there are so many ways to reach out to not just retailers and designers, but end-users to create demand and brand recognition. Ultimately, everyone has to do it their way and do what makes the most sense for their customer base, but everyone should try to find a way to tell their brand’s own unique story in as personal a way as possible.”

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Unplugged: Powering Off Digital Allows Creative Inspiration to Flourish

Unplugged: Powering Off Digital Allows Creative Inspiration to Flourish

What Inspires You?

Inspiration. It’s at the heartbeat of the flooring industry and what keeps us all in the cycle of evolution. What inspires you? How are you inspired? When are you inspired?

Being a “creative” today is both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that we are all constantly infiltrated with new perspectives, fresh ideas, more accessible travel, and, well, ideas. Within an instant, my newsfeed is taking me to an emerging high-rise project in Dubai; I’m in a train buzzing through wine country during harvest in an Instagram story; I’m watching a blogger’s design journey as she renovates a midcentury bungalow in San Francisco – while I am on Wi-Fi and in the air from LaGuardia to Paris. Information – too much information – is at my fingertips at breakneck speed.

Market Watch recently revealed that the average American adult spends 11 hours per day consuming digital media, which is up from 9 hours and 32 minutes only four years ago. But I did not need a study to tell me this news. My newest iPhone XS Max reveals my screen time usage, and the daily notification is staggering, to say the least. It leaves us all wondering, “Did I really look at my phone that much today?”

Do I Need Digital Detox?

While we’re consuming all of this media, how is our brain processing it? Studies show that the overconsumption of digital makes us feel differently, react differently, think differently, and sleep differently. According to a Mashable article from just a few years ago, some cognitive experts have found benefit in digital exposure and its effects on the human brain, whereas others worry that too many distractions have left our brains uncreative and impatient.

Digital has its place in the creative process; let’s be honest. After all, it’s 2019. Sites like Pinterest, Houzz, and the world of influencer marketing have made interior design and the floor shopping process engaging and attainable, and for that, the industry is grateful. But as “creative” professionals who are focused on pushing the design envelope ever forward on behalf of both the industry and our brands, how do we cut through the noise?

Slide to power off.

True creativity is not happening behind the screen. While the screen may reaffirm our ideas and give us a sense of belonging, the creative process does not begin or end on the screen. At the risk of sounding unapologetically cliché, the creative process is all around us in the most present and current sense. The creative process is sitting on the ground surrounded in paint swatches, white oak slices, frayed pieces of fabric, and a team of experienced professionals with sawdust in their eyes. It comes from digging deep in the parts of our minds, our hearts, and our souls, which technology cannot power up or power on.

Creativity is connectivity – with the human spirit, not a cable.

My most recent and prevalent example of unplugging for authentic creativity to prevail was during an African safari this past summer with my family. A once-in-a-lifetime experience, the journey allowed us to soak in the majesty of nature in all its raw splendor. From the journey, one of my newest collections was born.

Unplugging has become key to my creative process. And my wish is that it becomes key to yours as well. Keep that pen and notebook in your bag. Pull it out when an idea or inspiration strikes. Start up a conversation with the person in the plane seat next to you. Sit in a local coffee shop and people watch. Walk through a museum and read every exhibit marker. Laugh out loud with your chin up. It’s within all of this living and all of this connecting and the moments unplugged that creativity – true creativity – will flourish.

Whether or not we unplug from digital, the world isn’t going to stop. But as the future of the flooring industry and as “creatives,” it’s up to us to quiet the noise – so that we can create and continue to propel the industry forward. So, when you see me in the airport chatting up a stranger, sketching in my journal, or soaking in a beautiful moment, you’ll know it’s intentional.

Let us power off and create.

Where do you go from here? How do you power off more often? Here are some simple tips from Digital Detox to help you unplug:

  • Start your day right: Get up, relax, and eat a healthy breakfast instead of reaching for the phone.
  • Go old school: Get an old-fashioned flip phone instead of a smartphone.
  • Do more: Pack your day full of person-to-person meetings where you commit to not reaching for the phone.
  • Bring a book: Pick up a good read.
  • Download an app: Get some tech help in monitoring the time you spend on the phone.
  • Go on a digital diet: Reduce your time online by 10 percent.
  • Take a mini break: Leave your phone at home for a day.
  • Streamline your work: Ask that people connect with you only through one medium.
  • Get active: Jog or bike to work, phone free.
  • Leave your work behind: Consider a work phone and personal phone and utilize out of office.
  • Involve your friends: Invite your friends to keep you accountable.
  • Lock up: Ask a friend or partner to take your phone for a bit.
  • Set a strict technology bedtime: Your technology needs a bedtime, too.
  • Schedule some free time: Schedule tech time and then turn it off.
  • Be more in the moment: Go for a walk and soak in your surroundings.
  • Just switch it off: Enough said.

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

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The World is Not Flat

 

Are We E-volving into Digitized Flat-World Consumers?

Did you know that the world is not flat? (Tell me something I didn’t know, right?) Well actually it’s way more than just round... Ancient greek philosophers like Aristotle, Eratosthenese and Pythagoras theorized that the world was a sphere and then centuries later explorers like Galileo and Magellan went out and proved them right. Navigating by the constellations above the horizon or seeing the round shadow of the earth during a lunar eclipse was ample proof that the earth was indeed not flat. “How does this tie into our modern day world of design?” you might ask. The world we live in today is round and yet many designers, consumers and hosts of companies who provide products for them treat the world as if it’s one dimensional. Look around you and consider all of the decisions you’re making based on a flat digital image. Our very tastes and behaviors are evolving towards what looks good on our Instagram accounts.

What looks good online doesn’t always look good in real life

As a professional interior designer who started my career 30 years ago, just before the internet became a thing, I have ALWAYS been drawn to textures that begged to be touched, memorable experiences that were intended be shared and artfully-layered interiors that beckoned me to sit for a while. Truly GREAT DESIGN, in my humble opinion, is steeped in art, science, architecture, culture and even a little bit of psychology. If done right, a well-designed space should invite the eye to come in, look around to find a focal point, experiencing the room in not only 3-D but by engaging the five senses.

Luxury Hardwood Flooring with “Good Sense”

With all of these thoughts in mind, take a little “Design Journey’ of your own through our newest collection of hardwood flooring, designed by an interior designer (yours truly), intended to be experienced by all five senses, and made to be a cut above everything else you’ll find in any big box store. Our hardwood flooring, like a luxury-performance vehicle, is not only beautiful, it demonstrates artisanal excellence that’s hand-crafted in the USA by an American hardwood flooring icon like my husband Don Finkell and his expert team who are passionate about what they do.

I am beyond thrilled to bring you luxurious hardwood flooring that, although is GORGEOUS, it performs well under a variety of conditions…whether it’s for a city dweller who sometimes spills a little coffee, or a dog-lover like me whose pooch splashes a little water or the busy family dashing out for a run or to tennis practice…bottom line, Emily Morrow Home is proof that beautiful design and great performance can be one and the same.

Cheers!

 

 

 

William & Mary: The dark, cultured color of William and Mary has an heirloom quality that imbues a home with European grace.

 

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A trip to Africa inspires EMH 2019 by FCW Morgan Bulman

A Trip to Africa Inspires EMH 2019 Products…Originally Published in Floor Covering Weekly on Wednesday, November 14, 2018


Storyboards are essential to the design process and help Emily Morrow Finkell transform inspirations into products.

They heard it before they saw it. For several days, Emily Morrow Finkell, CEO of Emily Morrow Home, waited to witness the “Masai Mara,” a migration of nearly two million wildebeest across Africa in search of greener plains and savannas. On the second to last day of her trip to Kenya this past August, while perched atop a safari jeep with husband Don Finkell, CEO of American OEM, cameras and scopes zoomed in, Morrow Finkell saw movement across a nearby river. They felt the wildebeest hooves echo like a rumble of thunder as they took off in a blur of color — a moment that would later serve as the chief source of inspiration behind Emily Morrow Home’s 2019 hardwood collection. For a short video clip of this experience, click this link “Emily Morrow Home’s Design Journey“.

“You can see the dust, the wildebeest, the zebras and other smaller animals all getting caught up in the herd as they’re migrating. They’re giving birth, they’re dying, there’s this whole circle of life story that was the biggest key for my products,” recalled Morrow Finkell. “Our products are natural and when you bring them into your home, you’re living on them, you’re experiencing important chapters of life with them. And they’ll last, they’ll be there for it all.” 

Dalton, GA: The Emily Morrow Home collection for 2019 is twelve-SKU range of cooler browns and warmer grays, drawn from scenes Emily Morrow Finkell, CEO, observed of lion fur, zebra manes and the hides of rhinos, elephants and, of course, wildebeests. But her recent visit to Kenya isn’t the only story — a mixture of other memories and travels also appear in the upcoming collection.

For example, Paddock, a gray brown with subtle shading, ushers in sights from the Kentucky Derby. And, similar to that, Justify is a warm brown that mimics the Triple Crown-winning racehorse it’s titled after.

“The one thing I can’t not be is personal. Even when we have had designers and architects help with the inspiration, providing so much input into the products, colors or finishes, we work together on the naming process,” Morrow Finkell told FCW during a visit to Dalton. “There’s a reason behind why we do it. I think everyone likes to have a connection to a name. It makes it more memorable and we can immediately call to mind with our imagination the reasoning of the names.”

Each SKU is different, whether it comes down to an oil-rubbed look, a super dry low gloss, an ultra-micro bevel or a white plaster imitation. Yet despite the variability, there’s still some flexibility with the possibility of further customization.

“We find ourselves collaborating with a number of groups, such as for luxury high-rises, when there are times a project calls for something more unique or special to best fit that space,” said Morrow Finkell. “Everything is semi-customizable and we’re going to take that to the next level. That’s not to say that people won’t find exactly what they want with our original creations, but if our customers feel they need to make something more custom, we do have that design flexibility.”

One aspect that is the same across the collection is the addition of MorCore, which will give the floors an enhanced 3.55 mm wearlayer. The thicker platform, Morrow Finkell mentioned, is in response to designers asking for a little bit more when it came to the wearlayer, which is previously 2.5 mm thick. Both, however, also come with a “Donatella the Truffle Dog” scratch resistance.

New to the collection is the upgraded MorCore, which features a sturdy 3.5 mm wearlayer.



For Morrow Finkell, the collection now has even more to love. With a greater durability, an increased width and length, and a higher impact resistance, Emily Morrow Home wood flooring can be used for both residential and commercial undertakings. In fact, the new white oak option in taupe, which features a smooth surface and is seven inches wide, is currently being installed with Apex Wood Floors for a commercial project to elevate a luxury appliance showroom in Chicago.

“Because our products are so incredibly well-made and constructed — all the way down to the wearlayer, warranty and finishes — they can go across all categories with no issues or hesitations at all,” explained Morrow Finkell.

Morrow Finkell also suspects there will be a few winners in the new collection of twelve, but she’s excited to see the market’s real response. For her, it’s about creating something fresh, but not something so new that people can’t embrace it and put it in their own homes.

Currently, advance previews of the collection are being shared with select customers across the U.S., but is set to be fully unveiled at the Carpet One winter convention in early January with Emily Morrow Home as a vendor to CCA Global Partners, then at TISE later that month and Domotex USA in February. The collection announcements will also include EMH’s 2019 Color of the Year.

 

The 2019 hardwood collection from Emily Morrow Home will feature a product inspired by the company’s 2018 color of the year, a matte black, called Total Eclipse.

 

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Emily Morrow Finkell: Safari Away ~ Serengeti Adventures Part II

In my last blog post, I shared the many ways safari lifestyle has worked its way into our world. Who today does not enjoy wearing clothing that is designed to wick away perspiration or is easy to wash and dry? Performance fibers and apparel has changed the landscape of our expectations of how clothing and even textiles for interiors should stand up to wear. Of my two safari experiences, Tanzania trip of November 2013 and the Kenya Safari of August 2018, each was so impactful and on so many levels… I simply can’t wait to share more pics and impressions from our adventures in Nairobi and the Rift Valley with my sweetheart husband Don. Below I’ve shared some of the Tanzanian safari and all the wildlife we viewed. Just look at those lazy lions snoozing in the shade. They almost look like you could go up to them and feel their soft furry coats. If you close your eyes, you can almost hear the musical soundtrack from Out of Africa already playing in the background. Stay tuned for more impressions of our 2018 Kenyan adventures at www.EmilyMorrowHome.com where we viewed the GREAT Wildebeest migration “live”…THRILLING!!!

Are we not 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 as well as an entire color forecast utilizing the colors of the African continent. Truthfully it was probably one of the most memorable ones that I ever composed due to the images that were conjured up when speaking of color names like “Kudu Berries” or “Lioness”.

Feel free to look through these images below, and to see more, click here to go to my Emily Morrow Home Pinterest Board titled “Safari Away”.

 

 

 

Banana Republic was certainly drawing INSPIRATION from Safari living

 

out of africa 1

 

Tanzania

 

Banana Republic Catalog 19 Summer 1984 Cover by Patricia Ziegler
Banana Republic Catalog 19 Summer 1984 Cover by Patricia Ziegler

Banana Republic Catalog No. 19, Summer 1984Banana Republic Catalog No. 19, Summer 1984