Trend Spotting – Cobalt Blue

Posted by on 2013-11-12 1:16 pm in blog, Design

By Denise H. Smith Cobalt Blue, used for interior decoration, dates back to the Ancient Egyptians. This stunning, vibrant pigment has been praised by artisans through the ages and across the globe. Popularized by craftsmen potters in China for centuries, it became the signature tone of the Renaissance. Cobalt is making a resurgence in the design pallets of fashion trend setters on the runway and in home furnishings. Karastan showcases Cobalt in many of their carpet styles, but none are as beautiful as the blue in the line Indescribable, shown here in Pure Indigo. The revolutionary carpet fiber, SmartStrand, allows not only superior color retention, but the inherent stain resistance of this fiber means the color will remain stain free. Karastan also features cobalt in their Elegance line, shown here (under) in Sapphire Ice. Cobalt can take center stage in a design scheme even in a kitchen. An on-trend pairing of white cabinets with Silestone quartz in Azul (first picture). Enjoy on the counters would create a dynamic space. Balancing both with a gray tone on the floor with a hint of blue, such as Armstrong’s Coastal Living laminate in Oyster Bay Pine, would finish the space to perfection. If Cobalt on the counters is too bold, perhaps choosing it in place settings would be a safer option. Fiesta dish ware has been collected for generations, and it’s no surprise that Cobalt has been a running color line in this America-made pottery since it’s inception in 1927. Due to the popularity of rich blue, this year Fiesta decided to also feature an updated, lighter and brighter tone for its annual...

read more

Van Gogh’s Countertop – Natural Stones

Posted by on 2013-11-01 5:43 pm in blog, Design

By Jessica Cannon Walking through the rows of natural stone slabs, looking at stones like granite and marble, is like walking through an art gallery for me.  Each stone is a piece of art – beautiful and unique…like a Van Gogh painting.  I often joke with my clients that I wish that I could take a slab and hang it on my wall at home like a piece of art…nature’s art. Natural stone countertops are often the centerpiece of a new kitchen or bathroom remodel because each stone is one of a kind.  In remodeling the showroom at our Fairfax location, I chose several natural stone countertops as the starting point of the design.  Bianco Antico (click here to see other slabs) One of my favorite natural stones is Bianco Antico.  It is a dramatic and sexy stone with a sharp contrast between the light and dark colors.  It is truly moody in nature and is always the focal point of any design it is in.  I’ve used this stone in a variety of applications, in both kitchens and bathrooms.  Bianco Anitco works well with both light and dark cabinetry – my favorite is to partner it with either white painted or black painted cabinets.  In our showroom, Bianco Anitco is featured in our elegant master bathroom.  It is an intense and rich countertop that gives the bathroom its WOW. The variation and beauty of the art created by nature in a stone countertop can’t be matched.   Our show stopper natural stone in our showroom is our textured granite countertop.  The finish of the stone is a leathered finish on a Cosmic Black slab.  The stone itself is a dark black/gray with accents in white, silver, and wisps of maroon to deep red.  The leathered finish brings out the textures of the natural movement in the stone.  Most natural stone countertop that we are used to seeing are either polished or honed – both a smooth, cool surface. The leathered countertop’s texture follows the natural variations in the stone.  It feels how it looks with undulating ripples and waves.  The stone invites you to brush your hands over it– just by looking at it, you can imagine how it feels. Natural stone falls into 2 major categories for me – consistent and varying.  The Bianco Antico I mentioned previously would be considered a natural stone with heavy variation.  Each slab looks different and has unique characteristics.  I encourage my clients to select the actual slabs they want to use at their countertop if the stone has any type of variation.  Tropical Brown granite A more consistent natural stone, like the Tropical Brown granite that we installed in one of the kitchens in our showroom, does not necessarily require a slab selection.  There is very little variation in the color and overall pattern of the stone.  I chose the Tropical Brown granite for this reason in our display.  You can count on this stone to always work with cool tan, brown, taupe, gray, and black.  It also has a hint of iridescent blue specks throughout the stone under certain light that give this stone it’s pop.  Tropical Brown works with both a traditional or modern aesthetic and is often used to tie together other elements in the design including the...

read more

Custom Rugs – Not as Difficult as They Appear

Posted by on 2013-10-31 5:52 pm in blog, Flooring

By Susan Garfield Nothing can pull a room together like a great area rug.  Whether you are doing an entire room renovation or just freshening up a room you already love, the perfect rug makes all the difference.   The challenge is finding the ONE.  It can be a daunting process.  The color is perfect, but that design is completely wrong.  Love the print, but it only comes in shades that do nothing for your color scheme.   There should be a way to make this process easier, and there is:   Fabrica “custom” rugs. You personally create your rug in styles from simple one or two borders to intricate designs and patterns ranging from traditional to modern.  Custom creating your rug is easy, just look through the extensive pattern book, chose a style, chose your colors for each designated area (think paint by numbers), tell us what size, and you’re done.   All borders and designs are carved, of course, for that extra touch of elegance.  Come in to Fairfax and let me help you find the right style and colors to elevate your room to spectacular. The 2 border rug is by far the most popular of the custom rug program with Fabrica. Designing a great 2 border rug is easy if you follow these steps: 1- Pick a center field in a style and color that accents your room but contrasts with your furnishing to create depth and interest. 2- Pick the outer border, normally this is a color that will contrast with your floor to define the rug AND picks up a color in your décor. 3- Pick the inner border, this is normally much smaller and picks up an accent color, like the cranberry in this rug that reflects the red pillows on the...

read more

What we Love about Wool Carpets

Posted by on 2013-10-30 4:39 pm in blog, Flooring

By:  JC Gibbs Wool is a natural product. It is incredibly durable and strong; it is a product that lasts.  Wool is a non-allergenic fiber; it does not promote the growth of bacteria or dust mites, or give off harmful emissions. Wool Carpets are great for your home because in the hot months the wool absorbs moisture and in the cold winter months the wood carpet releases moisture.  Our team agrees with Karastan’s views on wool.  These are our favorite features: 1-    Easy to clean 2-    Strong and Durable 3-    Crush Resistant 4-    Inherently Fire Safe 5-    Comfortable Click here to read more about Karastan Wool Carpets  Karastan – Oakworth Wool Carpet I asked our team of flooring and design experts to share their personal thoughts on Wool: Q1- What’s your favorite feature/benefit about Wool Carpet@f0 Q2- Name a specific Wool carpet (brand/name/color) that you would love to see in any of the rooms of your home and why@f1 Matthew: A1. In-door air quality is always my first thought on wool. A2. I recently priced out a rug of Karastan’s Berwick Tweed that I really liked for my living room. Jessica: A1.  Wool is a sustainable and renewable resource. It is great carpet in your home because in the hot months the wool absorbs moisture and in the cold winter months the wood carpet releases moisture. A2.  Karastan Wood Opulance – it’s very soft and is available in beautiful colors. It also has a linear pattern that I really like and I would place it on my family room. Susan: A1.  It’s GREEN renewable, sustainable. A2. I LOVE Berwick Tweed, color Mare’s Tail in my Living room… Mark: A1.  My favorite feature is its subtle look. Most wall to wall wools are understated. A2.  Karastan’s Cobble Shore for my living room! Katie: A1:  I love wool because it is naturally stain resistant! There is a reason sheep stay white! A2:  I can’t wait to make a Godfrey Hirst wool area rug for my bedroom. Needlepoint 4M in blue will be so soft over my hardwood. Joe: A1:  My favorite feature/benefit is its wearability A2:  Annete from Stanton’s Wool Carpet, because of the beautiful floral and ribbon pattern. Karastan – Gingham Stitch Wool...

read more

Accessorizing Your Home With Hardwood Floors

Posted by on 2013-10-29 7:37 pm in Flooring

By Katie Reitmayer Hardwood floors are the gold standard of flooring. Hardwood is permanent, beautiful, and rich looking. The most beautiful element of a hardwood floor is that each floor has a distinct character all its own. If you are in the market for a new floor there are considerations you need to make about wood. Wood is beautiful because of its distinct qualities. No two pieces of wood are going to look the same nor are they going to be the same color. It is the variation in the wood that makes it so spectacular to look at in your home. Products such as the Armstrong Hand-Scraped provide a distressed look that is unique to each plank and works with both modern and traditional décor. If the variation is going to bother you, perhaps wood is not the best option for you. It is the variation in the wood that makes it so spectacular to look at in your home. The best way to think about wood is to think about buying a diamond. We love our diamonds because they are distinctly ours. The light that comes off your is not the same as someone else’s diamond. Your diamond has its own color and shape that cannot be replicated. Each diamond has its own special character, and that is why we love our diamonds so much! Hardwood floors are the same way. They are going to take light and color differently when they are in your house and each floor is going to have a unique personality. While there are a lot of wood look options available such as laminates, these are just CZs next to the diamonds of the wood floors. Just like in your diamonds, there are some “C’s” you need to look at in your wood: Color: The color variation is what is going to give your wood floor a rich look. Lighter woods, such as natural maple, are going to give you a modern look. Darker woods, such as cherry are going to give you a more traditional look. Cut: How the wood is cut determines how the grain is going to look. The more grain, the more distinctive the wood plank is going to be. Clarity: Wood is imperfect; however, it is possible to get higher grade wood products that are of a more of a uniform appearance. What kind of hardwood would you like to have at home? Armstrong American Scrape – Oak – Nantucket W:...

read more

Best Flooring Types & Products for Bathrooms!

Posted by on 2013-10-16 5:07 pm in Flooring

By Denise H. Smith There is a lot to keep in mind when choosing your bathroom flooring. Consider the following: –  Safety (Is the surface slippery?) –  Water Resistance (Is the area prone to moisture?) –  Durability and Maintenance (How long with the material last?) –  Personal Style (Do I really like it?) Here are some  choices of  the flooring types and products that  we recommend to our customers. Of course, some flooring choices are not conductive to wet spaces, such as carpet, hardwood, and laminate. 1.   Luxury Vinyl Tile: (or LVT) LVT can be grouted for realistic visuals just like ceramic tile, hardwood, or stone. For homeowners who want to put a wood look in a wet area, LVT is the answer.  Some of our most popular brands for LVT are Armstrong, Mannington, Downs, and Kraus. Only DIY folks who are proficient in tile installation should attempt to install grouted LVT.  2.  Porcelain Tile:  Porcelain has many advantages: it’s long lasting, cleans up very well, and is water resistant.  There are endless varieties, colors, and styles of tiles from which to choose. Porcelain Tile’s downside is that it can be cold to the touch.  This can be fixed, however, by installing heated or radiant tile. Or you could always add a rug! 3.  Sheet Vinyl:  Sheet vinyl is not the same as linoleum, although the two are  often confused.    The  pros for this product for your bathroom flooring is it is water-proof and soft underfoot. It tends to be one of less expensive flooring options so if you’re on a tight budget, this is your best choice.  Armstrong and IVC are two popular manufacturers.  The wide range of options and realistic visuals make them two of our bestselling brands. Care must be taken when moving heavy things across the bathroom, as sheet vinyl can be susceptible to tearing. We have many selections of any of these flooring types to satisfy your modern, traditional, and/or contemporary style.  Feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding Bathroom Flooring...

read more

Fall Giveaways – 2 FREE Round Trip Airline tickets!

Posted by on 2013-09-27 7:49 pm in blog

Join our Biggest SALE of the Year! (Armstrong up to $1000 OFF and Karastan up to $1000 Mail-in-Rebate!) Giveaways 2 FREE Round Trip Airline tickets anywhere in the Continental US! New $1,200 6’x9’ Karastan Oriental rug of your choice! New 9’x10’ Hardwood floor, completely installed! How to participate? 1.  Visit our Store (Woodbridge, Fairfax or White Plains). 2.  Drop your name and email address at the reception desk’s. (until Sunday November 24th) 3.  Like us on Facebook! We will announce the winners on December...

read more

Flooring Changes in the Last Decade

Posted by on 2013-09-20 1:20 pm in blog

By Susan Garfield Since returning to the flooring industry after almost a decade of absence, the question I get most is what has changed. Well most everything and almost nothing. I know that may seem inconsistent at best, but it’s the most accurate response I can offer. In the early 2000’s, new products were coming on fast and strong. The “green” movement was also just starting to bloom, pardon the pun. Customers were asking about sustainable floor options for both hard and fabric surfaces. Enter bamboo, cork, and dare I say it, wool. Many of us can remember grandparents having one of those beautiful old “oriental” rugs in a room somewhere.  Worldwide, these products have been around seemingly forever and cycle in popularity as fashion, tastes, and budgets dictate. While bamboo and cork are still relatively new to the United States, wool has a glamorous lineage. Many of us can remember grandparents having one of those beautiful old “oriental” rugs in a room somewhere. The colors were lovely and it seems like they lasted forever, some often handed down from generation to generation. In fact, today’s wool carpets and area rugs still have those enduring attributes admired by many past generations. They are durable and will last for years to come. They are also classic and will complement any decorating style from traditional to ultramodern. Wool carpet is like a great string of pearls, it elevates the whole look to more than just the sum of its parts. Wool attributes, however, are more than style related. Wool repels soil, is highly durable, sustainable, natural, hypoallergenic, and fire retardant. Also, did you know wool absorbs moisture in the summer and releases it in the drier winter months to help to keep your home cooler in summer and warmer in winter. Who says it’s not easy being green@f0 Did you know wool absorbs moisture in the summer and releases it in the drier winter months to help to keep your home cooler in summer and warmer in winter. Who says it’s not easy being green@f1  Stop in and let us show you our newest selection of wool carpets. I think you’ll agree that everything old is new again.  Featured carpet – Karastan Woolcheck Classics  ...

read more

Flooring for Residential and Commercial Landlords

Posted by on 2013-09-18 5:28 pm in blog

By Kevin Yohey Landlords face a difficult decision when choosing the correct type of carpet for their properties. Whether a residential unit or a commercial unit, one must take into account a couple of factors such as price and durability. Saving a little in the interim may mean having to buy new carpet for their property much sooner than expected. Likewise, selecting the wrong carpet for the type of rental they are offering for the tenants occupying the space may mean buying new carpet much sooner than expected as well. Typically for a residential rental unit, most landlords must assume that the tenants will not take the same type of quality care that they normally would themselves. Because of this the suggested type of carpet to be installed would be builder-grade nylon or Smartstrand fiber. Because of the low cost ($2.00-$3.00 per foot installed) these products can cover more square footage for a cheaper out-of-pocket cost. Both products have the same durability, however the newer Smartstrand fiber does have a superior stain and soil feature that may allow for multiple tenants if cleaned properly. Typically one can expect these products to last 3-5 years in most rental situations. Typically for a residential rental unit, most landlords must assume that the tenants will not take the same type of quality care that they normally would themselves. In regards to commercial landlords, most usually follow the lead of the residential landlords with a few minor differences. More times than not commercial carpet products are made of either Olefin (Polypropylene) or Nylon. Olefin based products give a good wear durability and can start much lower in terms of price ($2.25-$3.25) for a builder-grade quality. One can expect this type of builder-grade quality to last in the 3-5 year range. For a low traffic business Olefin would be a nice economical selection for while a high volume business would be wiser going with a Nylon that would show less traffic over time.. Nylon products are exceptional for durability and will typically cost about $1.00 per foot more on average but may last an additional 2-3 years.  The decision of what type of yarn to use will need to be made based the type of business that will be run in the location being rented. For a low traffic business Olefin would be a nice economical selection for while a high volume business would be wiser going with a Nylon that would show less traffic over time....

read more

Fairfax 203K Project Notes

Posted by on 2013-09-04 11:23 am in blog

By Jessica Cannon This project was a full house remodel using a 203K home loan. This home, located in Fairfax, VA, was a great structure and in good condition – it just needed some love inside. We totally made over the interior of this house. The client had a great design sense and decorated it beautifully to create a real comfortable and homey feel. Our project consisted of the following: – More open floor plan – we removed & cut back several walls to create a more open layout and open one room to the next. This included opening up doorways, cutting down walls to create knee walls, and totally removing other walls. – We “finished” a work room in the back of the house to create a family/recreation room – in the work room took down the wall separating it from the rest of the house – we also installed drywall and a new lighting/electrical plan and installed carpet to create a finished & livable place. – Kitchen remodel – new chestnut color cabinets with dark brown glaze, Colonial Cream granite countertop, new appliances, new tile floor (Dal Tile – Brixton 12”x12”), backsplash tile, and under cabinet lighting. – Powder room converted to a full bathroom – new layout to include a tub/shower, plus new pedestal sink & faucet, toilet, tile floor and tile wall surround in tub/shower area, and new lighting in bathroom at ceiling & above pedestal sink. We had to rework the ground plumbing (in concrete) to relocate the toilet and add in the tub/shower area. – Remodel of two bathrooms (master bathroom & hall bathroom) to include new vanity cabinets and countertop, sinks & faucets, new tub in hall bathroom, new tiled/mudset shower pan and shower in master bathroom, sliding bypass shower door, new floor and wall tile, new tub/shower fixtures/plumbing, and new lighting. In the hall bathroom we removed the wall between the vanity area and the toilet/tub area to create one large bathroom rather than two separate rooms. This allowed us to create a larger vanity with two sinks and two sets of drawer bases (since the client has several children using this bathroom). – Reworked the entire electrical system in the house and created a new plan for lights, outlets, switches, etc. We also installed new decorative lighting fixtures throughout the home and upgraded several outlets to be GFCI protected per Fairfax County code. – Removed wood paneling throughout the living room, patched and repaired the drywall and prepped for paint. – Removed existing concrete patio in front of house – installed new stone/brick pavers at walkway and front porch. – Installed 10” of blown insulation throughout entire ceiling of home in attic. – Wrapped front porch columns with white PVC trim coil and installed PVC molding at top of each...

read more