Design Tips

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

MDC’s All-American Road Trip: The Southeast

Summer is officially in full-swing and we’re hitting the road! So pack your bags, buckle up, and join us as we travel around this great nation of ours – exploring the people, places, and companies behind the quality furnishings found throughout our showrooms. The first destination in our month-long road trip is the southeastern United States:

Rich with generations of craftspeople dedicated to creating quality, investment-grade pieces of furniture, Hickory, North Carolina, is arguably one of the most important regions to the American Furniture Industry. Whether you’re in the market for a new sofa, dining table, bedroom set, or console, there’s a good chance the piece you’re looking for will be manufactured in or around this area of western North Carolina. Companies like Henredon, Lexington, Hickory Chair, Hancock & Moore, Chaddock, Bernhardt, and Vanguard Furniture are just a few of the many manufacturers available at MDC that have deep roots in this area. So next time you visit MDC,  have a seat on one of our custom sofas or chairs and take pride in knowing that you relaxing on a piece that was sanded, finished, tied and sewn by the fine craftspeople from “America’s Furniture Heartland.”

Our next stop brings us to northwest Georgia, an area that has been nicknamed the "Carpet Capital of the World," home to more than 150 carpet mills. In fact, more than 80 percent of the U.S. carpet market – which supplies 45 percent of the world's carpet – is controlled by mills located within a 65-mile radius of Dalton! Why are there so many mills in such a concentrated area? Near the end of the 19th century, a young Dalton woman, Catherine Evans Whitener, started making and selling bedspreads. Inserting threaded loops of yarn into blankets, she revived the handcraft of tufting and it spread like wildfire across northwest Georgia. Today, many of the carpet manufacturers available in MDC showrooms are headquartered in or around Dalton, including Milliken, and Mohawk Industries, which has become the world's largest flooring company by expanding into different flooring types such as hardwood, laminate, and tile.

Our final trip in the Southeast is a scenic one, taking us through the ridges and valleys of the Appalachian Mountains. But instead of zip-lining through trees and hiking, we’ll be visiting two of America’s great tile manufacturers – Crossville and Florida Tile. Named after the small Tennessee town for which it is headquartered, Crossville is a leader and innovator in the tile industry. Not only did Crossville introduce the nation’s first large-format porcelain tile, they are the first and only net consumer of tile waste materials – meaning they recycle even more than they produce! Florida Tile, which is based in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, is a world-class manufacturer and distributor of porcelain and ceramic wall tile, as well as natural stone, decorative glass, and metal tiles. Taking note from Crossville, Florida Tile joined the large-format tile game by becoming the first company to produce large-format glazed wall tiles. In fact, Crossville and Florida Tile are two of only three American tile manufacturers that produce large-format tiles.

Check back next week as we visit the northeastern United States for the second leg of MDC’s “All-American Road Trip”, and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as we feature more All-American products throughout the month.

Diane Hancock, AIA, LEED AP, Diane Hancock Designs | photo by Taro Yamasaki
Diane Hancock, AIA, LEED AP, Diane Hancock Designs | photo by Taro Yamasaki

Monday, June 1, 2015

Color Matters

Color is a powerful tool that can make a room feel calm, cheerful, comfortable or energetic. We asked a few top designers to share how they incorporate color into their designs.

Color is unexpected in this modern living room as designer Diane Hancock uses a yellow ceiling paint against a stark white wall to draw the eye up and emphasize the ceiling height of the adjacent room.

"The first question I ask a new client is – what colors do you like? Do you want to be bold with color and saturate the room or just add a pop of color against a neutral background? Color is one of the biggest influences on the human mind. It affects us aesthetically, emotionally and psychologically. Color even impacts our perception of the size of the room. Colors are all around us and have a voice: green with envy; in the pink; feeling blue. Because they affect both the mood and the interior design of a space, color is my first inspiration when designing a room." – Linda Shears, ASID, Linda Shears Designs

"Use of color is as individual as the person using it. It can be the “personal stamp” on a room. What are your favorite colors? Do you want to use color on the walls and/or main pieces in the room, or only as accents? Do you have a favorite item that you love (a rug, piece of clothing, scarf, etc.) to use as inspiration? Color can create great impact and drama in a room, and should be used thoughtfully, but fearlessly." – Sharon Kory, Sharon Kory Interiors

"Inspiration for color can come from almost anywhere. Whether in the form of nature with a new spring leaf green, or a purse or coat with a fuchsia and pink fabric lining, the possibilities are endless! The living space pictured was actually inspired by computer technology, specifically, an Apple iPad box. The use of silver came from the device itself, while I incorporated white as an accent on the fireplace, mats on the framed art and the wooden spools in the étagère." – Margaret Skinner, Allied ASID, Margeaux Interiors

To learn more about the impact color has on design, be sure to attend MDC’s “Color Matters” event on Thursday, June 18. Linda Shears will host a discussion about the psychology of color in the Marie-Howard Showroom, while Margaret Skinner will transform MDC’s lobby into a vibrant and relaxing space inspired by color. Click here for more info!

Rita O’Brien IDS, Rita O’Brien Design Group | photo by Jeff Garland
Rita O’Brien IDS, Rita O’Brien Design Group | photo by Jeff Garland

Monday, May 4, 2015


May is officially upon us, which means the weather is warmer, the flowers are blooming, and remodeling projects are getting underway. While it may seem a daunting task, remodeling can add function to your most used spaces and value to your home. Five top designers share their tips to help you get the most from your next remodeling project.

1. Plan Ahead
“Whether you’re looking to do a complete or a partial remodel, proper planning is key. First, determine what changes need to be made out of necessity and then look at changes that make sense for floor planning, product selections and permanent surfaces. Consulting a design professional at the start will help you decide what to keep and what must go. Getting these things in order from the very start will help keep you on-budget and can prevent later unexpected delays.” – Donna Brown NKBA, Dazzling Designs

2. Start with the Kitchen and Bathroom
“For most of us, our kitchens and bathrooms are the spaces we use the most, so why not invest those hard-earned remodeling dollars where it counts? Give your kitchen or bath an updated, fresh look simply by changing the countertops, backsplash, lighting, a faucet, paint colors or even cabinetry hardware. Often the simplest and easiest change can have the most impact!” – Sharon Kory, Sharon Kory Interiors

3. Work with Your Space
“Removing a wall is a great way to create a more livable space that is instantly brighter and more inviting, but that may not always be an option. Luckily, there are other things that can be done to help maximize your space. Open shelving, tucked-away seating, and mirrors are great ways to open up a room. Also, when dealing with narrow spaces, flooring with linear lines helps to elongate the space.” – Rita O’Brien IDS, Rita O’Brien Design Group

4. Recycle
“Not everything needs to be replaced when remodeling. In some cases cabinets can be reused with a new finish or paint, and furniture can be repurposed by simply reupholstering with a new fabric.” – Donna Brown NKBA, Dazzling Designs

5. Don’t overlook the Fireplace
“In a circa 1980s-'90s house we look to the fireplace for an easy update. They're often made of a dark, tired brick, or white painted trim. The fireplace can be refaced with stacked stone, a new mantel, and updated enclosure. We even turned a standard, rectangle-shaped fireplace opening into a fabulous linear shape, which really gave the room a nice update.” – Terry Ellis ASID NCIDQ, Room Service Interior Design

Using any of these tips is a great way to get your next remodel off to the right start! For more tips and inspiration, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and Houzz.