Posted on

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!

image001.png

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/

 

Posted on

Designing with Hardwood Floors at Emily Morrow Home

Designing with Hardwood Floors

By, Emily Morrow Finkell Published in NWFA Wood Flooring Magazine FEBRUARY 1, 2019

I’ve been in the interior design profession for what feels like a lifetime (nearly 30 years) and in the floor covering industry for more than 15 years. After all that time, it still always takes me by surprise when someone I consider to be experienced asks a question about where they can install hardwood flooring or the type of flooring they should use in specific projects. Recently while traveling, our guide said something that was both profound and witty: “I can explain it to you, but I can’t understand it for you.”

What I strive to do for my customers, friends, and the greater design community is to identify what they need to know, pinpoint what they don’t, and help them fully understand. One of the ways I do this is through a presentation I frequently present at designer events titled NWFA: Designing with Wood Floors. The CEU-eligible presentation analyzes the use of wood flooring as an element of design so that design professionals can become more familiar with wood floors to properly specify the product that will perform best in their clients’ projects. Being able to understand the advantages and maintenance of hardwood floors is part of growing in understanding hardwood flooring.

Furthermore, it dives in deeper in helping designers understand both the history and progression of the different types and species of wood floors so that they can specify hardwood floors in the best ways. Finally, the course helps explain how cut affects both the appearance and performance of wood floors. This is where I take off my industry hat and put on my designer hat and compare hardwood in the same light as diamonds, where the cut, clarity, and color change the look and value of the materials with which you are working. Hardwood floors are an organic material that naturally responds to its environment and can change over time. It’s important that designers have realistic expectations in regards to its performance and can explain that to their clients.

The Royals loved herringbone flooring

Historically hardwood floors were only enjoyed by royals and upper-class individuals because it required intense labor by expert craftsmen who would work on one floor for years. This is why many of the castles you might visit on a trip throughout Europe will still have the original hardwood floors intact. During our trip to Normandy, France, every interior we walked through, both modern and historical, had intricate herringbone and parquetry designed hardwood flooring. This is due to both the ease and accessibility of the smaller size of the wood used by the craftsman as well as the fact that these herringbone and parquet designs were, and still are, incredibly long-wearing if maintained properly.

Currently, we have a very diversified market where we can install on a wood subfloor or concrete slab, opening up more and more homeowners to the possibility of having hardwood floors in their homes. Today’s preferences are for domestic species like white oak, maple, and hickory with waterborne finishes due to increasing EPA VOC regulations. It has reached the point now where it’s expected that the products will be GreenGuard certified, and don’t be surprised for the specifier to ask about the safety of the product.

The shift in the marketplace has gone from primarily solid and partially engineered to the reverse due to the versatility and dimensional stability of engineered hardwood floors. There are plusses and minuses of each, but the plusses are now stacked more strongly behind engineered. Most people want a certain look at a certain price, and engineered hardwood floors allow manufacturers to take a particular cut of hardwood that might come at a premium and make that the featured surface layer of their products. Both solid and engineered floors can be sanded and refinished, but solid offers the opportunity for more numerous times than engineered. The sandability of engineered hardwood floors depends on the thickness of the top veneer layer. Additionally, engineered can be installed above, on, or below grade. Because of its cross-ply construction, engineered floors are more dimensionally stable, allowing for installation on wood or concrete subfloors, which includes basements.

 

What are the NEWEST Colors and HOTTEST Finishes?

Beyond solid and engineered, the options shift to finishing, which includes site finished, where the finish is applied on the jobsite. The other option is factory finished, where the finish is applied at the manufacturing facility. The manufacturing environment for factory-finished products also allows for enhancements like UV lights on the finish line, as well as adding aluminum oxide for scratch-resistant surfaces. Another aspect of finishes is that the color possibilities are truly endless; there is something for everyone. The 2019 Essential Trends: Color and Style Forecast for hardwood floors was recently released in the October 2018 issue of Hardwood Floors and further details my thoughts on the colors to watch this year. Grays are still strong, taupes are on strong hence the Emily Morrow Home 2019 Color of the Year being named “Tusker Taupe” as well as gesso-plaster white effects as well as the other end of the spectrum with the luxurious deep black of “Total Eclipse” and dark chocolate “William & Mary” (pictured below).

Luxury hardwood is like diamonds

As in diamonds, the cut of hardwood dictates its appearance. In the 1800s, quartersawn was typically used due to both the fashion and function of the times. Today, many hardwood floors are made from plainsawn cut wood because it is a more efficient cut with less waste. In the design world, I frequently get requests for rift and quartered partially for its look as well as for its cache. Rift and quartered is more efficient today with minimal waste but has a longer production time, which does add to the expense of the product. See the graphics below for additional details on how the different types of cuts affect the appearance of the wood.

Emily Morrow Finkell admiring the beauty of the rift & quarter hardwood medullary rays in the newest introductions “Emily Morrow Home Hardwood Exclusively for Louis A. Dabbieri” with Michael Standridge of American OEM.

 

 

Caution: Having Hardwood floors Can Make you LOVE your Home More

The bottom line and the sweetest part of this flooring material is that its advantages and benefits far outweigh any negatives. It adds stability and overall value to the structure, provides excellent insulation, and is durable, long-lasting, hypoallergenic, beautiful, sustainable, and timeless, creating a sense of pride and enjoyment for a life well lived.

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.

 

 

Posted on

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

Posted on

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.