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A Custom Connection | Luxury Hardwood Flooring

BY EMILY MORROW FINKELL AND PUBLISHED BY NWFA HARDWOOD MAGAZINE ON JUNE 1, 2020

What makes a wood floor “award-winning”?

Is it unique, showcasing something that no one else can recreate in any other material? Having been born in the carpet capital of the world and having worked in the flooring industry in all the categories, one of the first things I do (as do many of you) is look down as soon as I enter a building. It’s a blessing or a curse that comes from my upbringing in Dalton, Georgia, and is also a direct result of having been trained to know on sight “excellence” in materials, quality, and craftsmanship. My parents have been in the commercial and industrial construction business for more than 60 years and always modeled that behavior of observing a building and deeming that it’s of good quality or not so good quality.

A custom installation of Emily Morrow Home’s Authentic Luxury in a herringbone

Over the years of looking at flooring that literally “floored me,” some of the common attributes were very customized, thoughtfully designed, and installed according to the specific clients’ unique wants and needs. Customization is where we can connect with the hearts of consumers who love hardwood for its inherent warmth, quality, and the special feeling someone gets when they know their floors are “fingerprint individually” made just for them. That’s the moment when we find a significant shift in a consumer’s decision-making process; when they determine if or if not their floors need to be unlike anyone else’s or at least not feel like it’s at every big box store across the nation.

During our quarantine period and while almost everyone was shut down for business, my business was rolling along since most of what I create is “made to order” and the “customized” sense. Most of the consumers who aren’t impacted by recessions or pandemics want something “unique” that requires a series of back and forth conversations about species, quality, performance, color, and overall aesthetics. To make that dream a reality, it takes someone committed to delivering something beyond their expectations. Customization isn’t just the product itself; it’s how the relationship is handled, it’s the services you offer, and it’s the attention to their life and their needs. Perhaps this is a carryover from being an interior designer for so long, or maybe it’s my wish to treat others as I want to be treated, but the consumer’s experience is part of the package.

Color-wise, it’s essential to know without a doubt what colors are selling, what colors are trending, and even more important than that is to be able to understand and explain “why.” Anyone can parrot what they’ve read or heard some design maven or color forecaster say at an event, but it is a different level of knowledge for someone to possess to be able to rely on the perspectives of history, how colors have and will be trending, and knowing where and how it makes sense for various parts of the country.

Travel is the best teacher.

Attending markets is another great way to add to that knowledge base. The looks that are selling well and are trending strongly in this new decade are warmer than in the past five years. That’s not to say some hint of taupe isn’t important, just that “warmth” is more desirable today than before. Our vernacular is going to have to shift along with the trends and to make certain the homeowners, the retail sales associates, the sales reps, the brands, and the manufacturers are all speaking the same language. If someone is asking for a warmer “white oak,” that might not mean they are thinking “red,” but rather a “touch of gold.” Specificity is needed, with pictures.

Speaking of pictures, scan through sites like Pinterest and Instagram and see what many users are posting. You’ll see a subtle change in the look. Remember when we couldn’t get enough of Joanna Gaines’ Shiplap? Well, even Joanna has changed her look.

The “farmhouse rustic” has become more of a “cottage with class.”

Rough-edged planks have morphed into smooth millwork. Shiplap of gapped rough sawn wood is now shiplap of smooth painted planks –similar, yet different.

Lighting is also changing with the looks of interiors and flooring. Notice now that as our metallics have gone all out “gold” or “old gold,” lighting is also putting out more lumens, thanks in part to newer LED light bulbs that can be warm or cool. Although brighter, LED lighting is also less forgiving,
and the surfaces of the finishes need to be much less reflective (matte), so that there’s little to no glare in the interior. Everything adds up to “the new look” when combining matte, light, and bright.

Flooring that falls into the new look includes rift sawn white oaks with wood rays, which say, “I’m the real thing.” Faux finishes are no longer in designers’ repertoire, but rather natural materials like plaster,hardwood, wool, cotton, and linen. Polyesters and plastics have their place in the world market, they just aren’t “aspirational” materials and aren’t in the “dream homes” of 2020. Clean and natural are adjectives once applied to our eating,but those same consumers have studied up and decided they like the look and feel of authentic hardwood. It stands to reason, that something so natural, that feels so right, has to be better for us to live with. For these reasons and many more, we should be seeing a gradual and noticeable return to authentic, real hardwood floors.

 

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Emily Morrow Finkell for NWFA | WOMEN INSPIRING OTHERS 

Emily Morrow Finkell for Hardwood Floors Magazine NWFA | WOMEN INSPIRING OTHERS 

The February March 2020 issue of Hardwood Floors celebrates the talented and dynamic women in our industry who have gone before us and worked amongst us. They smoothed the path, opened doors, and showed other women the way forward. I am so inspired by these women and would not be where I am today without their wisdom and guidance. Looking back on the lessons I’ve learned, and taking stock of how many influential and passionate women have inspired me never to stop growing, I hope what I do today will inspire others in the same way. While my career has gone through a series of changes, I know my journey would not have been possible with the support given to me by women in the industry.

THE VITAL ROLE OF WOMEN IN FLOOR COVERING

I’m fortunate to have a unique perspective on the power of women in flooring history, starting at a very early age. Growing up in Dalton, Georgia, I’ve witnessed generation after generation of women entrepreneurs acting as trailblazers and role models. If you’re familiar with the history of carpet, you’ll know it all started in Dalton along “Peacock Alley” with the crafting of hand-tufted chenille bedspreads, an industry started by extraordinary women like Dicksie Bradley Bandy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During the great depression, Dicksie and her husband’s country store had given credit to their customers who had no money to pay for the goods they needed, only their possessions, what they could make or grow themselves. The country store eventually became indebted to their suppliers and although there was no way to recoup the money from their customers, Dicksie and her husband were determined to repay every dollar. Determined to find a way to raise the funds, she boarded a train to Washington, D.C., carrying a suitcase filled with hand-tufted chenille bedspreads to sell to large department stores. She came home with enough money to repay her suppliers AND with enough orders to give several families an income for their craft. That simple cottage industry grew and evolved to the point where Dalton is now known not just the “carpet capital” but as the “floor covering capital of the world”. 

In this industry, not only are many of my peers women, but the majority of our customers are as well. We speak of “Ms. Consumer” as making more than 91% of the purchasing decisions for the home. With the purchasing power of women in the United States ranging from $5 trillion annually, we certainly MUST consider “her” in our business decisions, and we certainly MUST consult women on what goes into a new product launch. 

WOMEN INSPIRING OTHERS

As I look back on my career path, I am grateful to the incredible women who so generously opened doors and encouraged me to go further and do do better. One such women was Evelyn Myers. In 2001 I had moved back to my hometown of Dalton from Carrollton, Georgia where I’d practiced interior design for 12 years. Although I was known in Dalton as Emily Kiker, I was not known by most as Emily Morrow, the interior designer. I did however know Mrs. Myers through my own mother and in some of our exchanges, she shared some of her upcoming “design-related” endeavors. It was that same year, 2001, Evelyn Myers invited me to be a guest designer in her “Judd House Designer Showhouse”, which would provide valuable networking opportunities with our local community, other designers and architects. If not for her invitation, I might not have had the change to meet the many contacts who later became my colleagues and bosses at Shaw Industries. 

Emily Morrow Featured in Atlanta Magazine November 2001 The Judd House owned by Evelyn Myers and the Myers Family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LESSONS IN RESILIENCE AND PAYING DUES

Looking back, some of my early jobs were excruciating. One example was working for a family-owned women’s wear manufacturer whose owners would inadvertently exhale their cigarette smoke into my eyes causing me to leave work many days in tears. At the same time, they also gave me the chance to work with fabrics, color-ways, and the people that would be selling the apparel across the U.S. That experience was priceless. Soon I found myself training sales persons about the designs and colors of the coming collections.

Along the way, I learned about perseverance, resilience and the importance of hard work – even when it it seemed at the time like I was being pulled in the wrong direction. Balancing competing priorities had been modeled by my mother, a fantastic entrepreneur in her own right. As I began my own journey into motherhood as an interior designer, I carried with me the power of the examples and lessons that only magnified in importance over time. 

While I loved the work I was doing, after the arrival of my firstborn William, I was inspired to take a huge leap. The result was that my own interior design business was born. It was the culmination of all that I had learned and experienced up until then – and just when I thought I had it all “balanced” along comes Mary. Juggling motherhood to two small children with an interior design business taught me how to put first things first. My first design business operated in the West Georgia area for nearly 12 years, doing both commercial and residential design projects. 

Those years allowed me the experience of putting family first. It’s a lesson I’ve tried to live by since. I learned to be a mother first and foremost, and I had the flexibility and freedom to schedule design appointments around the schedules of babysitters, mothers’ mornings out, and my children’s own evolving schedules. 

ANSWERING THE OPPORTUNITY

The women in my life have taught me so many powerful lessons that I try to pass on to those who I have had the good fortune of knowing. One of the most important things I was taught is that like doors, opportunities can open and close quickly. Recognizing the opportunities requires a certain kind of “sixth sense” to know when to take them. Unfortunately, too often opportunities can seem daunting and present themselves as “risk”.

This lesson became a huge blessing as I faced a professional crossroads in 2002. Having just become a single mother, and after operating my own interior design business for many years, I was encouraged to move into the corporate world to provide the benefits my children and I would need. While there was some risk involved (would I be able to work the corporate hours? What if my kids needed me? How could I juggle my children’s activities with my travel schedule?…and much more) it was a leap that I was well-prepared to take for my family. 

So when asked if I could direct a large group of corporate professionals and juggle continually changing business priorities, I actually laughed out loud. That had become second nature to me. For years, at any given time, I had teams of painters, carpenters, flooring installers or other tradespeople going in and out of the businesses and homes of my clients, on time and budget, all while being a mother of two. Speaking of juggling priorities, one very important project, a medical arts building was being installed the very day I was in labor with the birth of my daughter. Needless to say, both “projects” demanded my attention that day but in the end, my family was only thing that truly mattered.

THE IMPORTANCE OF FAMILY

I hope that my experience demonstrates to other women – and men – in the industry that you can prioritize family and still have an enriching and successful career. That is perhaps the most important lesson of all, and one I hope to be remembered for, the same way I remember all of the incredible wisdom and support that was shared with me.

I encourage all of us to prioritize family and to allow everything else to fall into place. Following my own advice, I opted to leave a life of constant travel while working for a massive company, to instead revel in family. I chose to instead take a moment to savor my time being a new wife, a mother, and an empty nester.

When the time was right, I again took another risk, following my instinct, and formed a new enterprise, one that would eventually become relevant to husband’s own company. Who encouraged me to take that step? It was the same woman who inspired me nearly thirty years prior, my mother.

 

 

 

 

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DO YOU HAVE 2020 VISION? | Emily Morrow Finkell for NWFA Magazine


2020 Vision BY

Published By NWFA Magazine on  

As an over 50-year-old person who wears bifocals and has astigmatism, I can assure you that I don’t have perfect vision. What I do have, and offer to share with you, is my 2020 vision for design trends. The year 2020 is going to be one where we see that our specific market preferences are not entirely unlike 2019, but what will drive these preferences will be new and altogether unexpected. 

If you look at what is watched most often on streaming platforms, you’ll see that circa 1995 is very well represented. Shows like Friends have recently been rediscovered by the millennials (as they didn’t get to watch it when it was broadcast 25 years ago). Besides Friends and the reboot of Beverly Hills 90210, you’ll see cultural influences as seen on these shows from the ’80s and ’90s interiors emerging in 2020. As with every trend that has cycled from decades past, I asterisk them with this: Any trends from years past will undoubtedly be improved upon thanks to modern innovations.

These fashion trends aren’t just a passing fancy that will come and go quickly. Most likely, you can expect to have many “blasts from the past” making a big comeback. 

Behind almost every interior design trend, are the runway fashion trends that spark it, and haute couture houses like Louis Vuitton, Balmain, Saint Laurent, and Celine are hot on the ’80s while J. Crew specializes in making the ’80s trends applicable for the everyday person. Without going too far into “back to the future” mode, let me list some of the fashion trends that will impact interiors for 2020. 

From these trends, there will undoubtedly be some impact on our interiors choices, not in hardwood flooring, but as pops of color and sparkle for accessories. 

You may have already seen some of these examples in a Target or Home Goods store near you. For those of us in the floor covering world, we are all striving to stay one step ahead of trends, in the sweet spot of what matters most. Many years ago, I said there’s a big difference between trends and trendy, and to sum it up simply, trendy includes things that pop up and go quickly like reversible sequins on pillows, while trends are things that have a much longer shelf life, such as brushed gold lamps, fixtures, and accessories.

My eye is always on the longer sustaining trends, but knowing full well that the trendy can impact us unexpectedly.

Color and design professionals understand that the colors that are trending are affected by finishes, gloss levels, and even practical things like cleanability. That said, hardwood flooring colors are easily going to be well within the matte range of gloss levels. We can say with confidence that glossy-shiny is passé and will be for some time. We can also say that the reds, oranges, and wine-colored woods from the late ’90s and early 2000s aren’t coming back anytime soon. We do see the old-fashioned hand-scraped cider-colored floors on occasion, but it’s typically in an installation where the project was built without a designer or specifier involved.

In 2020, we will see a darkening neutral palette with more warm grays, charcoal to full black, as well as espresso browns.

The counterbalance to these dark neutrals will be accent-colored walls as well as lighter case goods and upholstery colors; creamy off whites with bright pops of color in trims; contrast welting, fringe, and tassels. 

With major companies tapping into the performance brand fabrics like Sunbrella, Crypton, and Revolution, consumers now are becoming more and more knowledgeable and thus confident in their expectations of life with a dog and an off-white sofa. (It can work.)

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Step into performance flooring, and you’ll find a wide variety of options as well. The hundreds of wood-looking vinyl, composite core, and ceramic products have so over flooded the market that consumers are looking around for something special. 

More times than not, they’re looking for the real thing…real wood is a real as it gets. 

Without a doubt, our digitally overstimulated appetite for ease and convenience is shifting to what is lasting and enduring. This is no different from when the over 50 crowd decided they wanted sophisticated and timeless classics instead of trendy styles that they tired of easily, or simply didn’t last long enough. My research time and again is turning up consumers who are asking for quality materials, and working with retailers and contractors who know their stuff and can guide them through the very confusing process of selecting hardwood flooring.

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What’s possible today wasn’t possible a few years ago, and that is waterproof and splash protection for hardwood flooring. 

Innovation, as defined by Merriam Websters Dictionary, is “a new advancement or a change made to an existing product, idea, or field” and manufacturers of floor covering are always innovating. Things that work for one category can sometimes be applied to an altogether different category, much like the transfer of using aluminum oxide in laminate flooring to hardwood flooring resulting in scratch-resistant surfaces. In the tidal wave of products that are “waterproof,” we can now find a handful of hardwood flooring brands that are protected from splashes, spills, and the occasional pet accidents. This is a giant step for our industry, which allows consumers new-found confidence that they can indeed turn back to real wood flooring.

Knowing that the Baby Boomers continue to age gracefully and carry their purchasing power with them into the decade of the ’20s, they will be a major catalyst that will influence our decisions for what they demand and what we manufacture. The same needs might apply to the performance of finishes to what they want and need.

The top design styles based on age is something to watch.

According to a recent Architectural Digest article by Lindsey Mather, “Millennials (those ages 18 to 34) are seemingly obsessed with modern, minimal midcentury design, called ‘mod visionary.’ Alessandra Wood, a design history Ph.D. and the director of style at Modsy, isn’t surprised. ‘Younger generations living in cities are likely living in smaller apartments and condos, so a minimalist aesthetic is more appropriate – perhaps even necessary – for the size of their spaces,’ she explains. ‘Midcentury-style furniture tends to feel more open and less bulky, and is known for being livable, which translates to both comfortable and stylish. Urban areas are also the prime location for the industrial aesthetic, with tons of converted lofts and newer buildings mimicking the loft-feel.”

The article also highlighted that the 55- to 65-year-old Baby Boomers, most often received ‘refined rustic’ as their result on the style quiz. “‘Refined rustic, in particular, blends classic forms with a more informal rustic style, suggesting that these generations are looking for a comfortable feel to their homes,’ says Wood. Perhaps life has taught them that a sharp-lined, sculptural armchair – a sure bet for millennials – isn’t what you want to cozy up in, well, ever.”

Besides performance innovations and the ’80s and ’90s fashion trends, which we will see in 2020, expect to see some familiar trends. 

Gray, taupe, greige, and chalky off-white are going to remain strong depending on where you are geographically. These neutral colors serve as long-standing timeless trends that won’t go away for quite some time as they are very practical, forgiving colors that help disguise the tracked-in dust and dirt of pets and people.

In a recent design project, my client showed me a photo of swept up shed dog hair from their chocolate lab. I emphasized the importance of that practical knowledge stating that it can be the perfect palette for their home so they won’t struggle with unsightly dog hair on their furnishings and flooring daily. In the same week that this client showed me their dog’s hair color, I also spoke to a group of regional flooring retailers and designers where one of the attendees stated, every person I know has a dog, and that dog rules their home or apartment. Employers are even permitting employees to bring their dogs to work as a way to attract and retain skilled and talented employees. We will see more and more performance, and pet-friendly features work their way into our world. With both fabrics and flooring already addressing this need, what will we see next?

Emily Morrow Finkell is an interior designer and CEO 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.

SOURCE: architecturaldigest.com/story/top-interior-design-stylesbased-on-age

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The State of Interior Design 2020

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Emily Morrow Home: Women in manufacturing are featured leaders at the Made in America Trade Show October 3-6th

We are BEYOND excited to be exhibiting with these amazing women-owned and led companies! I look forward to this week in Indianapolis. Be sure to check out the Emily Morrow Home Hardwood Floors in the Made In America LIVING ROOM and BEDROOM! Loominaries Handweaving​ Patricia Lukas, Holder Mattress Home Collection​ Lauren Taylor, Thomaston Mills​ Janet Wishnia. Individuals interested in attending the Made in America trade show can visit https://madeinamerica.com/event-attend/

Thank you!

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Women in manufacturing are featured leaders at the Made in America Trade Show, Jason Blount, 2019 Event Announcement, News 10/01/2019

First ever Made in America Trade show in Indianapolis, Oct 3rd to Oct 6th showcases consumer products Made in America. Features a Made in America Bedroom where all of the products are manufactured by women run businesses.

According to Consumer Reports, 8 out of 10 American consumers say they would rather buy an American-made product than an imported one. Entrepreneur Don Buckner became frustrated in 1998 when he attempted to find several American-made products online. That was the start of his journey which has culminated in his deciding to go all-in on the #AmericanMade plan.

His team searched for USA manufacturers, large and small, and established the first-ever Made in America Trade show. Come see a wide variety of American made products on display in Indianapolis running from Oct 3rd to Oct 6th

Did you know that more than 11.6 million firms are owned by women, employing nearly 9 million people, and generating $1.7 trillion in sales as of 2017? In fact, women run businesses are helping to lead a resurgence in American manufacturing. All of the firms chosen to display in the “All American Bedroom” are women run businesses.

The products, made by women lead companies, in the Made in America bedroom are as follows:

Bedding from https://americanblossomlinens.com

Mattresses from https://holdermattress.com/

Flooring from https://www.emilymorrowhome.com/

Rugs from www.loominaries.com

Emily Morrow Home

A woman-owned hardwood flooring company based in Dalton, Ga., Emily Morrow Home beautifully represents the American Dream. Although hardwood flooring has been a male-dominated industry that has sadly evolved into importing poorly made hardwood flooring, Emily Morrow Home is breaking the mold with quality, domestically-crafted products— and a commitment to doing things better…differently.

Like any good story, Emily Morrow Home began with a love story- a life-long love for design that grew into a profession. After almost 30-years of practicing interior design, 13 of which directing the design team for Shaw Floors, founder Emily Kiker Finkell entered a new chapter of life and launched the eponymous Emily Morrow Home. Included in Emily’s to-the-trade brand are beautifully designed collections of upscale hardwood flooring and luxury home décor, all proudly made in America.

From being inspired by the stunning vineyards of Napa Valley or the great wildebeest migration across Africa, each product within the Emily Morrow Home brand is designed to bring the world’s most stunning visuals home to her customers through local retailers. Emily Morrow sells through experienced small business flooring retailers across the nation, people with proven ability and craftsmanship Finkell donates a portion of proceeds to the Kiker Morrow Finkell Breast Cancer Foundation and participates in a prison work program that teaches inmates invaluable skills and work ethic.

For more inspiration and a more in-depth look into Finkell’s craft, visit her blog, https://www.emilymorrowhome.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-living-a-beautiful-life/, where you’ll find useful ideas and insights into home interior design as well as the simplest touches for adding joy to a day.

1-866-775-3877

American Blossom Linens

Thomaston Mills, a family owned textile mill, has been making bedding for over 115 years in the town of Thomaston, Georgia. While nearly all USA textile manufacturing and production moved overseas, decimating factories and jobs, Thomaston Mills continues to thrive and keeps manufacturing here in the USA. For the past 20 years, Thomaston manufacturing focused on the healthcare and hospitality market. Hilton, Marriott, Radisson and Intercontinental hotels have all used their sheets. Now they are offering a brand called American Blossom Linens direct to consumers.

In response to a massive rise in consumer demand for organic cotton and USA made products, Janet Wischnia, one of the owners of Thomaston Mills and granddaughter of the founder, decided to reenter the retail market in December 2018 with the launch of direct to consumer brand, American Blossom Linens. She brought back a brand, originally called Blossom that was created by Thomaston in the 1940’s with the goal of capturing the time tested quality of their origins. The collection, available now on the American Blossom Linens website, americanblossomlinens.com, includes sheet, pillowcase and duvet sets and a crib sheet. The linens are generously sized with extra deep pockets to provide an excellent fit on almost any height mattress. “Top or Bottom” labels act as visual cues to help you place the fitted sheet correctly on the mattress. Thomaston Mills wanted to make environmental responsibility easy, so they made the sheets more substantial, which helps them last longer and uses an advanced all-natural finishing process that softens the cotton to ensure a smooth feel.

American Blossom Linens bedding is made only in the USA using 100% traceable organic cotton grown in West Texas by family farmers. Their bedding is grown, processed, finished and sewn in the USA, drastically reducing its carbon footprint while supporting American workers all along the way. Thomaston Mills brought back American Blossom because they perceive people are looking for sustainable products, impeccably made in the USA by friends and neighbors, products that will last and last and never go out of style. American from the farm to the bed.

https://americanblossomlinens.com

888-825-0110 ext 2275

Holder Mattress

Since 1947, the Holder family has built a tradition of excellence by using the finest materials to construct their own mattresses and box springs. To this day, each set is still hand-crafted in their own factory in Kokomo, Indiana. All materials are carefully selected and sourced in the United States, meaning every Holder Mattress is not just made in Indiana but truly American Made. Attention to detail and craftsmanship and a standard of building a two-sided mattress or flippable mattress assures the Holder Mattress Factory standard of quality that has become notable throughout central Indiana.

In 2003, the granddaughter of the founder, Lauren McAshlan Taylor, assumed the reins as a third-generation owner. Lauren strives each day to build the quality of product her grandfather would have built himself, along with providing the highest level of customer service to her clients.

https://holdermattress.com/

1-800-879-9484

For as long as she can remember, Patricia has been intrigued by the art of weaving. Her first introduction to multi-harness looms was on a childhood visit to Sturbridge Village, a re-creation of an 18th century town in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. The gift Patricia received from her parents and husband upon her graduation from college was a four harness, 45” wide floor loom, which enabled her to create a greater variety of woven pieces. A magazine article about rag rugs shown to her by her mother sparked her interest and soon she began weaving her own rugs.

Patricia’s rugs began to catch the attention of interior designers, as well as home furnishing shops, and soon her business was transformed to the production of custom rag rugs which can be woven in any size up to twelve feet wide and any length. A move in November of 2015 to western North Carolina, surrounded by beautiful mountains and abundant wildlife, is the setting from which Patricia draws inspiration to create rugs which complement every style of home design.

Loominaires

www.loominaries.com

828-633-2187

The Made in America trade show runs from October 3rd thru 6th, more than 450,000 square feet of the Indiana Convention Center will be used to showcase hundreds of manufacturers including many small and women owned and run businesses who make products ranging from aerospace and automobiles to apparel and textiles. Organizers expect thousands of attendees. Events include a concert with country music duo Big and Rich, a talk by My Pillow founder Michael J. Lindell, a celebration honoring U.S. military veterans and “Made in America Awards” to recognize the accomplishments of American production heroes.

Individuals interested in attending the Made in America trade show can visit https://madeinamerica.com/event-attend/

 

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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.

 

Contact Us
Call Us (866) 775-3877

 

 

 

 

 

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Top Trends You’re Going to See Everywhere

Top Color Trends You’re Going to See Everywhere

By, EMILY MORROW FINKELL, Published by Hardwood Floors NWFA Magazine April 2, 2019

To borrow a fast food phrase, this season you can really “have it your way.” Do you want to use deeper, darker hues, or enjoy the ethereal effects of a layered off-white interior? Both are possible if you can’t decide.

Let’s say you’ve been eye-balling everything that pops up on social media feeds featuring navy blue or charcoal grey, but are afraid of being tied to that depth of hue. Do you think you might not want to live in so much darkness? Perhaps you’re imagining yourself coming into your home with the dreamy, creamy coolness and luxurious layers of off-whites and soft tans? That too is possible. In fact, you can do it all; it’s just a matter of balance – balance and a little smart strategy. The market certainly is offering endless options to consumers and providing tools making it easier to imagine via Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

Just yesterday, I opened my Instagram feed to see several posts from paint companies, design firms, and furniture companies featuring headlines like “dark walls are amazing, especially when paired with a pop of brushed gold and a lot of natural light.” Usually, when anything is trending upward, people can get stuck in a wait-and-see mode until they start to see the various ways it can be done and they find one that seems familiar and doable for their own home.

Don’t Be Afraid of the DARK

When designing any category of flooring for upcoming trends, it goes without saying that we know quite well what colors homeowners are going to be drawn to and what they’ll be choosing for the new colors as they plan their updates. For me, it’s always fun to find a few surprises, and believe me, there are quite a few right now. One of the biggest surprises is that grey is still right in the mix. Seriously, since 2007 I’ve been pontificating about grey and eventually dealers started seeing the “value” of the color (if you’ll pardon the pun)…consumers were asking for it, and the dealers responded by buying pallets and rolls of grey flooring to fill consumers’ demand for something new, grey.

Whether it’s the Color Marketing Group (CMG), Pantone, Elle Décor, or House Beautiful, fashion and interior designers, design editors, and homeowners are still loving grey. It is making gradual changes and is finding new ways of entering spaces, either by undertones of other colors or by partnering with vibrant hues or extremely light neutrals. But no doubt about it, grey is still strong. Personal expression is going to be driving the trends – while they seem to be going in every different direction, the personalized element is the common thread.

My home is a petri dish

My own home has always been the best petri dish for anything going on in design, and I’ll admit that my paint colors have been grey since 2006 or 2007, starting with my Revere Pewter at both my former and my current homes. From our current home’s front door, which is “Bear Creek”, to our living room and keeping room, which are “Wrought Iron” and “Chelsea Grey”. What I love about grey is what the rest of the world loves about grey: it is so easy and looks smart. Whether your metallic finishes are oil-rubbed bronze, nickel, or the newest brushed gold, grey simply works. I know we will reach a day when we are ready to pitch it all out for something that is inconceivable today. I do remember when grey felt old and tired and we were drawn to warm colors like Hepplewhite Ivory and Adams Gold, circa the 1990s.

Emily Morrow Home Hardwood style “REFINED SIDE” contrasts nicely with the crisp white cabinets and walls.

Inhale and Release
I think the best way to encapsulate our new color trends discussion is to start at the end of 2018, where we began to see and feel “Inhale” and “Release” from CMG, a creamy white associated with deep meditative cleansing breaths to minimize stress as well as open up smaller spaces, visually expanding them. Who wouldn’t love that? White isn’t the only option for a small space.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blurred Lines

City Grey
Then we turned the calendar page and leapt right into 2019 and discovered a new grey, City Grey, an internationally acclaimed dark neutral that is very dark, 70 percent black. Darker shades can play up the size and make it feel cozier. Dark colors blend and blur lines and corners much the same way they do in fashion and flatter practically everything that surrounds it. While we may have felt the “ahhhh” of the “Inhale and Release” in December, that was just to get us through the end of the year and ease us into the urban vibe and faster pace of 2019 with City Grey.

What’s new about this grey, you may ask? This has a little sheen to its finish, unlike the matte and muted greys. We are finding these greys influencing our other colors in the trends list. For example, our deep green certainly is deepened by black, and greyed pastels are tinted by lightening it with the addition of white.

According to CMG Contributors Judith van Vliet, Sandy Sampson, Mark Woodman, and Maryanne Cole, “Urban and urbane, City Grey is the look of color modernity. Originally emanating from CMG’s Asia Pacific 2017 color forecasts for 2019, its appeal is international, and its applications seemingly endless.

“Strong, decisive, and influential, City Grey is appealing as a neutral color that is anything but neutral. Its depth defines its bold stance, its contemporary attitude, and its decisive industrial edge. It connotes the foundation of the urban landscape, the hushed night as it falls over a city, and the fortitude of a cityscape.

“For interior, it casts a like attitude. Simple enough to coordinate with other aesthetics, City Grey is capable of standing on its own. As an accessory piece it takes on new substance; as a background, it demands to be seen; and in furnishings, flooring, textiles, and more, it creates an interior environment that comforts with its depth.”

The Dark Side

 

Overall, when you turn the pages of shelter magazines in the coming months, you’ll see deep, dark, not gloomy, but certainly dramatically dark receding walls, and mid-value darkish flooring accented with large-scale patterns in various pops of color in accessories. The deep greens we are seeing are akin to the hunter and pine greens of the late 1980s, as are the inky navy blues. The combination of the navy blue, hunter green, and a swath of black make Black Watch Plaid, which has made its presence known across various categories from runway fashion to interiors. Ralph Lauren elevates this trend well with the Black Watch Plaids from RL Home and RL Mens and Womenswear, as does Barbour for men, women, the home, and pets.

What does our industry do with this type of information? For starters, this information is applicable to your graphics, your logo, your brand imaging, and even your room scenes. And don’t forget that your retail and digital presence should reflect that you not only know the design trends but also know how to pair them with flooring. Your team should also be well-versed in the design and color trends so that they too can reflect your company well.

Great Migration Herringbone by Emily Morrow Home

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

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Emily Finkell: A LIFE REIMAGINED: Chapter, Choices & Careers, Doing What You Love

NWFA Magazine’s 40 Under 40 December 2018 Issue

Collaboration, mentorship and remembering who opened doors for you are valuable life and work experiences that should compel you to pay it forward to those around you.
Photo courtesy of Emily Morrow Finkell.

While considering what to write for the “40 Under 40” issue of Hardwood Floors, I was reminded of some vital life lessons, ones that we all can learn at any age, and at any level of success. Typically, my articles focus on topics such as color, consumers, or design trends with titles like How to Use the Mega Trends or How to Design Your Interiors. This time, there’s a different insight I’d like to share, How to Design Your Life.

In my hometown of Dalton, Georgia, I am surrounded by some amazing success stories of industry icons. Known as the “Floor Covering Capital of the World,” Dalton is famous for entrepreneurial, hardworking, forward-thinking individuals. It’s also one of the most productive manufacturing areas in the U.S.; our hometown values emphasize “going to work and rolling up our sleeves,” according to the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce. There is an energy and a sense of community pride. Dalton is not unique in the number of individuals who are in their encore careers, but it is special because it’s the heart of the floor covering industry and our enterprises.

How many of you have wondered if your career path was the best direction? Or was your decision made out of necessity due to your circumstances? Regardless of your answer, my experience has taught me that each path you take always helps to build and prepare you for the next one. We all experience moments in our lives, either following graduation or a geographical move, when we accept a job where we don’t feel we are fully utilizing our skills, passions, or abilities, or the culture is not a good fit.

Look inward and think about your journey. Mine, for instance, began with a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design with a concentration in textiles. After I graduated in December 1989, job openings for college graduates were down 13.3 percent, and the job market had become one of the most competitive times since the early 1980s. Lucky me, right?

It’s true that necessity is the mother of invention, and so I took a job with a womenswear company in West Georgia, where I did everything from emptying the trash cans, to answering the phones, to assisting at sales meetings, to helping choose fabrics, patterns, and accessories for the collection. The owners, a husband and wife team, were the second generation of a menswear manufacturing business, and they gave me an opportunity at a time when I needed it most. I was and will always be grateful for that year because those experiences enriched my resume and expanded my skill set, even though that job had nothing to do with interior design.

Next, I took another opportunity with a retail furniture company that was expanding to Carrollton, Georgia, from their base in Rome, Georgia. They needed a professional interior designer on staff to organize their resource room of fabrics and finishes, to put together vignettes for their store, and to sell well-designed rooms to their customers who expected a white-glove experience. The store owners, another second generation family business, were well-versed in how to treat their customers with the highest level of attention. I have adopted this white-glove service mindset as part of my work ethic and infused it into my daily approach.

In year three, I was finally able to start my own interior design business, doing both commercial and residential projects. It was hard work, and I did it while being a mother to two young children. Life has a way of throwing us curves, and I found my children and myself back in my hometown of Dalton, Georgia, as a single mother with a heavy responsibility. After a few design projects were completed, I realized I needed something much more reliable. So I transitioned from an interior design business to the corporate world for the much-needed stability and benefits.

Enter Shaw and PatCraft. From the entry-level Associate Colorist to Senior Stylist, and eventually Director of Color Style & Design for Carpet and Hard Surface, I consider this the fourth chapter in my journey. It was in this chapter that I could finally look back and appreciate each of the previous steps. Every step allowed me opportunities for exposure to new things, professional and personal growth, as well as platforms from which to fine-tune my strengths and passions. After 13 years working at Shaw, I found myself at a very happy crossroads with some hard decisions to make. I ultimately decided to wrap things up with a neat bow and say my farewells to my Shaw family, with a wink that I might want to return someday, and retired early.

No one told me how much our identities and self-esteem are wrapped up in our profession. I didn’t expect to find myself longing for work, but after a few months off, I created a grand plan to make my personal life and my professional life come together in a way that dovetailed all of my strengths and passions with my husband’s. I formed a corporation, EF Floors & Design in September 2015, which quickly evolved into a brand, and thus Emily Morrow Home was born, aka my fifth chapter. I have loved every step of this chapter, even the hard ones. There have certainly been unseen challenges that have come along, but they’re also some of the most significant opportunities I’ve had to learn and grow.

The best part is that I’ve found myself looking around seeing others who are in the fifth, sixth, or even 10th chapters, later-in-life career changes or altogether new pathways. Some close friends have gone from respiratory therapists or accountants to interior design. Others have gone from stay-at-home moms to heading up large foundations and executives in corporations. You may have been noticing articles and news stories on “encore or second act careers;” they’re fascinating. AARP is one of my new favorite magazines (don’t knock it till you try it). Two of the best headlines they’ve featured are 70 Is the New 65 and New Rules of Retirement. They are worth pausing to read.

One that I’ve had on my desk for a week is titled Really Ready to Retire? by Jeri Sadler and Rick Miners, co-authors of Don’t Retire, Rewire! They compiled a list of seven things to consider before retiring, and these same questions apply to all of us at any age. Some of them include:

  • What ambitions are you waiting to fulfill?
  • What will make you rise each day as excited as you were at the high points of your career?
  • To what extent will you be in service to other family members once you retire?

So many young and “less young” professionals change careers and ask themselves if they’re making the right decision.

The good news is that we have generations of mentors surrounding us that we can look to for examples of how, in retrospect, each step is critical in building a career. Obviously, for those highlighted in the December/January issue of the magazine, you’re doing quite well and are to be commended for taking the initiative and learning all you can in your current chapter. If you are on the “Fabulous 40” list, you might consider taking on a mentoring role with someone less experienced or not as connected as you are as a way of paying it forward to those who have helped you. We all have so much to learn from one another; the 20 somethings can teach the 50 or 60 somethings a thing or two and vice versa.

I once had a handful of direct reports who were twice my age and possessed 10 times more experience than I did and yet each one of them was incredibly gracious and shared their knowledge when and where it was appropriate. Take some time to think of all those who walked before you to open a door, or worked shoulder to shoulder with you to teach and train you so that your journey was better. We should not only give them some credit, but we should also give ourselves some credit for having open minds, eyes, and ears to their wise counsel and example.

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

Featured Article in Atlanta Magazine November 2001 Issue
Dalton: Small Town, Big Business

 

Emily Morrow Featured in Atlanta Magazine November 2001 The Judd House owned by Evelyn Myers and the Myers Family.

Here are some compelling reports on the subject of careers and choices of work, income, culture and priorities:

Forbes: Job-Hopping Millennials Offer Benefits to Employers While Being “Selfish”

Job-hopping is in, and being stuck in a dead-end job is on its way out — and that’s good for everyone. Job-hopping millennials are more likely to earn a higher wage, develop their career on a faster track and find a better fit in work culture by changing jobs more frequently. The stigma is lessening as the positives are revealed. One CareerBuilder survey shared employers expect 45% of their newly hired college grads would remain with the company for under two years, and the study showed that by age 35, about 25% of young employees would have worked five jobs. Employers are aware they’re hiring job-hoppers as millennials find their footing in their career development, learning to make healthy choices rather than staying stuck and unmotivated in a job that’s not beneficial for either the employee or employer.

Generation X — not millennials — is changing the nature of work

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/11/generation-x–not-millennials–is-changing-the-nature-of-work.html

Demonstrating loyalty, a willingness to take on a heavy workload, and a powerful combination of digital and traditional leadership skills, Gen X is producing highly capable leaders that are in danger of being overlooked. Organizations that want to retain and develop their Gen X leaders should:

– Provide leaders with more external guidance. While Gen X leaders are loyal, they are craving insight and knowledge from mentors outside of their organization. In fact, 67 percent of leaders said that they would like more external coaching, and 57 percent wanted external development. Employers should invest in helping Gen X leaders participate in outside professional organizations, industry conferences and other groups to foster relationships with external peers and mentors who can provide coaching.

– Encourage leaders to challenge the status quo. Many organizations may look to millennials to lead innovative projects, particularly those that are tech-based. But Gen X leaders are likely to thrive when given the opportunity to experiment with new approaches and challenge existing methods. Ideally, a cross-generational team — perhaps led by a Gen Xer — may deliver the most innovative solutions.

– Leverage technology to support traditional development. Like those in other generations, Gen X leaders said they still want traditional learning methods, such as formal workshops, training courses and seminars. However, they also enjoy the personalization and convenience offered by technology-based tools. Blending traditional learning methods with tech-enabled tools to enhance and solidify learning will help them make the most of their development opportunities.

The oldest Gen X workers will likely still be in the workforce for at least 10 years, and the younger members of the generation may still be working for more than 30, meaning that Gen X will be forming the backbone of organizations’ leadership for quite some time. Those that overlook Gen X in favor of focusing only on the youngest generations entering the workforce will miss out on a deep and valuable source of leadership potential.

Now is the time to focus on strengthening the skills of Gen X and further developing their broad range of skills.

 

So many times colleagues have an opportunity to let others talents shine, and along the way we learn what makes these people “leaders” and “mentors” even when they might not have the “title” to accompany their leadership. Being able to share our color and design inspiration allowed my team the ability and opportunity to grow in ways we couldn’t have imagined.

 

Never underestimate the power of sending a handwritten note…I’ve kept so many notes sent from friends over the years and they serve as a reminder to never be too busy to pause and recognize a friend’s or colleagues (or competitor’s) accomplishments.

 

‘No Man is an Island’

No man is an island entire of itself; every man 

is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; 

if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe 

is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as 

well as any manner of thy friends or of thine 

own were; any man’s death diminishes me, 

because I am involved in mankind. 

And therefore never send to know for whom 

the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. 

MEDITATION XVII

Devotions upon Emergent Occasions

John Donne

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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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2019 Essential Trends: Color and Style Forecast

Emily Morrow Home “REFINED SIDE” a warm gray white oak engineered hardwood flooring

Emily shares the Essential Trends in 2019…Color and Style Forecast with NWFA Magazine October 1st, 2018 issue. Read below for the entirety…

While it’s still 2018, those of us in product design and the development world are already living and working well into the 2019 calendar year. What, you may ask, does next year have in store for design trends, especially those that will impact our hardwood flooring choices? Here, I will share some very important and exciting insights that might just surprise you.

As someone who has not only professionally forecasted design trends and applied them into successfully selling collections, but has also practiced interior design for 30-plus years, I absolutely love this time of year when we start seeing product design shifts.

In my past life as Shaw’s Director of Color Style and Design for soft and hard surfaces, my scope had to be much broader. I had to focus on the aspects that all fit together so that the carpet colors and the hard surface colors would not only be trend forward, but also be salable. These colors had to have broad application across the United States, and that part has not changed one bit. It is that deep and wide background that enables me to successfully forecast well into the coming year with significant accuracy, knowing what’s essential for flooring collections that will be selling. Now that I’ve explained the groundwork, let’s dive into what we will see in 2019!

Many people ask me whether I think gray is staying or going away. My answer is based on the responses I have gotten when working with specifiers and designers, and looking at what finishes are going into projects a year from now. Gray is still with us, and still a very viable and necessary part of a product mix, perhaps even more so in hard-surface finishes like hardwood flooring. You also might see very colorful trend alerts from professional organizations like the Color Marketing Group, where pastel pinks, bright yellow golds, and blues are trending upward. There should be footnotes on these trend reports that spell out in fine print that these are accents and relate to broader product categories like apparel, interior accessories, cosmetics, and even automotive colors. That being said, these accents are like the colorful necktie on a stylish navy blue suit. The foundational color palette is what matters for us in the hard surface floor covering world.

Over the years, when speaking at design events and presenting trends, I have referred to the foundational color palette as “commitment colors,” indicating the big pieces of furniture, built-in cabinets, or other types of large surfaces that are not easily installed, replaced, or moved. This means that specifiers and end-users acknowledge that this surface color will be there for an average of five to seven years before it’s replaced. This space, this very myopic color palette, has been my primary focus recently.

The catalysts driving the foundational color palette currently are not just color-related, but also visuals and textures that are nature-derived and can be best described as aspirational luxury. Make note: This overview is what many would call the high-altitude view. You can expect to see marbles, granites, and limestones that are above and beyond your ordinary colors or names like Baltic Brown. The look is slightly more unique; the names and veining are a little on the exotic side. In general terms, these are names that most homeowners are not acquainted with, like Pietra Grigio or Nero Marquina. Aged travertines, Bianca Dolomite whites, gray-veined Carrara, and gray-gold veined Calacatta marbles, gray and black soapstones, and even gray poured-concrete slabs. Overall, this naturally derived color palette is generally cool; you will also see emerging warmth from luxurious onyx, Emperador Dark Marble and wood species like walnut.

2019 Color Forecast: Nature’s Neutrals

Black Eclipse: feeling more dark charcoal than a straight-out ebony black, Eclipse is just as the name implies, a shadowy black that works best in premium-quality hardwood where the grain is straighter, certainly no application on a rotary cut hardwood. Again like a shadow or an eclipse, there is no reflective quality to the darkness, simply matte darkness, velvety, if anything, in its appearance.

Emperador Dark Brown: Emperador Dark Marble is a rich brown marble that can change from slab to slab depending on how much and where the white veins run. Rich browns are on the horizon in hardwood flooring in the form of rich matte chocolate browns, especially in the walnut species. Walnut, in the right color family of brown, is and always will be timeless and salable. Walnut, although not as hard as other hardwoods, is making a strong showing in both commercial and residential interiors. Overall, one of walnut’s best attributes is that it can be mixed in with a variety of design styles and with a variety of other surfaces.

Bermuda Stone Gray: gray is enjoying a very long and successful life span. Since its first showing in 2007, gray continues to reign strong in every consumer goods category as a go-to neutral, backdrop blank-canvas type color, which bridges easily with other colors and also serves well in a wide range of design styles from mid-century modern to rustic farmhouse. Gray continues to become more and more refined as it evolves. Currently, grays have segued into that look and feel that is silvery, patinaed, and aged, yet smooth in texture.

French Limestone: The chicest hardwood color is in the same family as reclaimed French limestone. A quarried look and feel is the target texture. Not quite scraped, not quite wire-brushed, not quite chiseled, this actual color creates its warmth through the just right off-white with zero yellow, zero pink, just warm like the stone you’d see in an old château in France.

Sea Salt White: Speaking from recent experience of admiring the Bermuda sands on a recent trip, Sea Salt off-whites are akin to a mist with hints of color only from reflections of the surf and sand. Looking to find off-whites, you can certainly find the similar influences from my mega trend of plaster-gesso whites from 2017 and 2018. In keeping with gesso and plaster, Sea Salt is matte, and more importantly is not flat, nor opaque.

 

I look forward to the year ahead and hope that the Nature’s Neutrals palette explanations I’ve shared help clarify and define in your mind what is going to be the essence of 2019 design for wood.

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