Design Tips

With Nuheat’s Mats, stepping barefoot on a bathroom floor is a warm experience.
With Nuheat’s Mats, stepping barefoot on a bathroom floor is a warm experience.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Problem Solved!

Design challenges occasionally present themselves, but a little bit of ingenuity, creativity, and engineering can overcome these problems. MDC’s showrooms have several solutions to solve your décor dilemmas.

Stepping barefoot into the bathroom or kitchen, only to experience the discomfort of cold tile or stone, can be solved easily with Nuheat’s Mat Floor Heating Systems. Similar to an electric blanket for the floor, Nuheat Mats bring even, consistent warmth under tile, stone, laminate, and engineered wood floors – with no cold spots. They can even be used for shower benches. What’s more, Nuheat Mats heat the entire room, not just the floor. Available through Beaver Tile & Stone, Suite 101.

A frequent design conundrum is finding a table with versatility and beauty. That challenge is solved with An Antique from the Hall, from the Castle Bromwich collection for Theodore Alexander. With its Regency style and distressed surface, it looks like an attractive center table, and it can certainly be used for that. It’s also suitable as a dining table for two. But what if you’re hosting a dinner party? The quick and easy solution is to pull out the table’s leaves, which resemble wedges of a pie, and the fold-out extenders. Closed, it’s 38 inches in diameter; opened, it’s 47.25 inches. At Theodore Alexander, Suite 30.

Many people love the look of window shades, but those with young children or pets are discouraged by the hazards of pull strings. Others simply don’t want to deal with the hassle of lowering or raising cords every day. However, the new cordless Sonnette Cellular Roller Shade from Hunter Douglas overcomes those concerns. A battery-operated soft-touch button easily raises or lowers the shade without having to yank on a cord, and its curved shape gently diffuses light. Also, the wand can be easily removed for a clean, sophisticated look. Available in 48 colors and four textures. At Huntington Window Fashions, Suite 96.

Traditional center-drain showers require small tiles and four slopes for draining. But if you prefer the look of larger tiles, that doesn’t mean you don’t have options. FreeStyle Linear Drains, from Michigan-based Noble Company, provide design flexibility. Linear drains allow the use of large-format tiles and can be used at the entrance or back of the shower for better drainage. Further, linear drains require the shower floor to be sloped in just one direction. For those with mobility or safety concerns, linear drains obviate the need for the “curb” step in the traditional shower. They can be used at the entrance or back of a shower, and the sleek, minimalist look is attractive to many designers and homeowners. FreeStyle Linear Drains are available in six lengths and have a removable internal strainer for easy maintenance. At Beaver Tile & Stone, Suite 101.

Phillip Jeffries Blur | Photo courtesy of Phillip Jeffries
Phillip Jeffries Blur | Photo courtesy of Phillip Jeffries

Monday, December 11, 2017

Wall-to-Wall Beauty

Wallcoverings are back in a big way, adding style and flair to any room. The options in colorways, textures, and patterns are nearly endless, and the 2018 offerings available at MDC showrooms are making a splash with designers and their clients.

Mary Tennant, owner of Tennant & Associates in Suite 61, has been keeping track of what’s hot in wallcoverings for decades. “A new line of digital prints sold in panels from Phillip Jeffries are really beautiful,” she says. “The great thing about them is you don’t need to hang art on the wall because the wallcovering itself is the art.” Pictured is the “Blur” pattern from Phillip Jeffries, which resembles a large abstract watercolor.

Kristina McGee, former showroom manager at Schumacher, Suite 110, notices a growing trend for wallcoverings depicting scenes. “We just launched a partnership with Iksel, a British company that specializes in scenes. They have a beautiful Italian scene, a chinoiserie scene, and so on,” she says. “We’re proud to be the only distributor of Iksel in the United States.” Shown is Iksel’s “Bagatelle” pattern.

“We’re finding that people are more willing today to go out on a limb and be more adventurous and bold with wallcoverings,” comments Dawn Tennant, showroom manager at Rozmallin, Suite 60. To prove her point, she cites the popularity of the “Tibet” pattern, from Clarence House (pictured, in “Blues”). “When I saw it in a Grosse Pointe powder room, it looked absolutely spectacular,” she says. The print, available in nine colorways, was adapted from a watercolor by Japanese artist Kazumi Yoshida.

Virginia Tile Showroom Manager Lynne Moran says bold patterns have been making their way into tile design.
Virginia Tile Showroom Manager Lynne Moran says bold patterns have been making their way into tile design.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Wrapping it Up!

“Trend forecasting” is always a hot topic this time of year, so we asked designers and showroom staff which design trends they have seen emerge recently and believe will continue to gain steam in 2018. Conversely, we were curious to learn which trends they believe have overstayed their welcome.

“We are seeing more porcelain tile installations with bold patterns coming back. A great representation of this is the Terra tile collection by Marca Corona (pictured above), which incorporates geometries and patterns in a modern style. Another tile trend gaining steam is the three-dimensional look. Nilo by Wow Design Studio (pictured above) is one of the many collections available displaying this look.” 
– Lynne Moran, Showroom Manager at Virginia Tile

“It appears that the 2018 color trend is going to be B-O-L-D! All-white interiors and cool gray tones have exited the building and consumers are craving and embracing warm rich shades of brown, black, and green. It’s time to move to the dark side! Several paint companies have already announced their 2018 Colors of the Year and they are all intense, saturated dramatic hues:

  • Benjamin Moore: AF-290 Caliente (a warm radiant red with brown undertones)
  • Sherwin-Williams: 6496 Oceanside (a deep, moody blue-green)
  • PPG 1043-7 Black Flame (black infused with indigo)

In conjunction with this trend, dark woods are making a comeback for furniture and cabinetry. Rosewoods and walnuts are seeing a re-emergence. For my clients’ family room pictured above, we used Benjamin Moore’s Black Forest Green on the walls. It’s a dark inky-green that almost appears black. The room is blessed with plenty of natural light, but to offset the dark walls and the rosewood built-ins, we left the ceiling painted white and added ample recessed lighting. Accordingly, a light butterscotch leather sectional and lots of color in the fabrics, furnishings, and accessories help enliven the space.“ 
– Linda Shears, Linda Shears Designs

Maria Kramer, Gallery Director at City Lights Detroit – A Visual Comfort Gallery, expects several lighting design trends to expand in 2018. “Our Visual Comfort products will continue to feature an exciting range of natural materials like mixed metals, stones, ceramic, marble, and alabaster. Alexa Hampton, one of our top lighting designers, sums it up well when saying, 'As with all design right now, lighting is all about multiculturalism.'” Maria also foresees the continuing merging of technology and lighting. “With the advancement of LED technology, the possibilities in design are truly endless. LED technology now allows for new cutting-edge designs, which are tailor-made around much smaller light sources.”

Four of Duralee’s design directors even pitched in with their thoughts:

“I'm so over Chevrons, Ikats, and Suzanis. In terms of upcoming trends, I’m seeing an overarching theme of “wellness” emerging. Our homes are our sanctuaries and they should make us healthier, not sicker. I think we are going to see a rise in the movement for more natural, less toxic textiles. On the same note, most of our furniture needs to serve dual purposes, so performance fabric will become even more important.” – Samantha Baker, Design Director, Duralee Prints

“The all-white room is DOA. There’s a need for more personalized environments – rooms with a true point of view. With that, I’m seeing a return of color and pattern, with multi-colored prints and wovens making their way back into the marketplace. There’s also a renewed interest in classic design, with crisp, edited interiors and attention to detail that has been overlooked in recent years.” 
– Anne Hahn, Design Director, Bailey & Griffin

“I’m over Millennial Pink, Chevrons, Shibori and the mid-century craze! Warmth is coming back to interior spaces. Fabrics like wool, velvet, and leather in rich shades of camel and espresso are combined with lush, nubby textures to create a cozy environment. Mixing unlikely materials together like brass and cork, wood and marble, velvet and leather are being used in home and commercial spaces.  And we can’t ignore performance in today’s interiors. Our demanding lifestyles require more ease in maintaining our products, especially our fabrics, and we will see more choices available.”
 – Kimberle Frost, Design Director, Highland Court

“I'm over the bohemian trend. As a designer and buyer of fabrics, I enjoy the bohemian unabashed layering of pattern and textiles. However, I'm ready for a re-interpretation of the style that is refined with contemporary art and nuanced color palettes. And speaking of color, I want a new pretty hue that is not blush. Trends that I see for 2018 are, deep 'masculine' colors, a yearning for tactile textures that create a cozy and safe space, and a desire for artisan goods that support disadvantaged communities.” 
– Latoya Johnson, Design Director, Duralee Wovens