Designer Answers: Carpet

This lovely lady grew up around flooring. She understands both the technical (here’s looking at you, analyticals) and the design sides of carpet, and she values equipping our clients with the information they need to make smart, beautiful selections. Behold, Missy Eheart’s knowledge:

Q: What are the fundamental characteristics of carpet that consumers should be educated on?
When it comes to carpet, there are four things I would consider:
• The fiber
• The density
• The twist
• The cushion

Q: Can you tell us more about each characteristic?
Different fibers have different features and benefits:
Nylon is very durable and stain resistant. Nylon performs very well in residential, high traffic areas.

•Stainmaster’s fiber is called 66Nylon. 66Nylon has a tighter molecular structure than “regular” nylon. What does that mean to you? Well, stains have a harder time infiltrating through your 66Nylon carpet. Because of its technology, Stainmaster has some of the best warranties in the industry.

Polyester often has vibrant colors and a soft feel. It can also be made from recycled plastics. It is a good value for normal amount of traffic.

Olefin has good stain and moisture resistance. It tends to be very durable in a loop construction. Outside of loop construction, and when considering wearability, you may want to look at Nylon or Polyester.

Density refers to both the amount, and how tightly packed together the fibers are within the carpet. The closer together the fibers are placed, the denser the carpet will be, and the better it will wear and perform.

Twist refers to how tightly the fiber (carpet yarn) has been twisted. This is especially important in cut pile carpet because the tips are exposed and can become untwisted, giving the carpet a matted and worn appearance. The tighter the yarn is twisted, the better the carpet will stand up to crushing and matting.

What is under your carpet is just as important (if not more important) than the carpet itself. Investing in a good cushion will pay off!!! Consider the Stainmaster UltraLife rubber cushion; it’s denser, softer, more impermeable to moisture, and adds 5 years to any Stainmaster carpet warranty!

Q: Is carpet an easy-to-maintain flooring choice?
In addition to regular vacuuming, you should have your carpet cleaned at least every 2 years. When having it cleaned, use professional, truck mounted hot water extraction! Do NOT allow anyone to use soaps or solvents on your carpet; once you have soap in the carpet fibers, you can never completely get it out, and it will end up attracting more dirt. And here’s a fun fact: if you care for, clean and maintain your carpet, it can be a great flooring selection for individuals who suffer from certain allergies. For instance, wool naturally filters the air, whereas hard surfaces—like hardwood—easily and quickly collect dust that’s constantly moving about with the impact of walking feet. Maintaining carpet is easy and healthy, comparatively!

Q: You love carpet! Why?
Carpet has held its value over time and has so many different aesthetics to offer. It’s a flooring option unique in its wide variety of patterns, loops, friezes, and traditional cut piles in hundreds of colors. Just like with paint or wall paper, you can have a lot of fun designing with carpet. Saving the best for last, let’s not forget how soft and warm carpet is, when you just want to lie on the floor and watch a movie! 🙂

Designer Answers: Tile

Today, Eheart designer Lela answers a few questions about tile–porcelain vs. ceramic, what’s trending, creative layouts and more!

Q: What’s the difference between porcelain and ceramic?
Lela: Ceramic tiles are generally made from red or white clay mixture, kiln fired, and are always finished with a durable glaze that carries the color and pattern. These tiles are often softer, more brittle and easier to cut than porcelain. Porcelain tile is made by a dust pressed method from porcelain clays, and they are nearly impermeable. Glazed porcelain tiles are harder than non-porcelain ceramic tiles, and are they’re suitable for any application–from residential to highest traffic commercial or industrial applications.

Q: Some porcelains are referred to as “through body” or “color body.” What does this mean, and why is it an important characteristic?
Lela: “Through Body” or “ Color Body” means the color or pattern runs all the way through the tile, rather than just on the face of the tile. This characteristic is important because if the surface of the tile starts wearing down or chips, it will be less noticeable in a through-body porcelain than it would be with other ceramic tiles (where the red or white clay would be exposed beneath the tile face).

Q: What are some examples of unique accent / decorative tiles to include in a tile design?
Lela: Accent tile allows the client to express his or her personality and add a punch to the design. A standard design I often use is the addition of an inlay of tile into a field of tile to make the design appear to look like an area rug. A while back, a designer asked Julie Anderson–a ceramic artist–to custom design fringe for an area rug inlay. The result was a classic, unique and timeless design.

Q: What are some factors to consider if a client is looking for sustainable tile products?
Lela: By choosing tile, the client has already made the first step to sustainability, because tile has a longer lifesplan than many other products. Ceramic tiles have existed for thousands of years. As a matter of fact, archaeologists have unearthed numerous mosaic floors beneath the ashes of Pompeii. Ceramic tiles are also free from chemical off gassing. I would recommend looking into where is the tile originated. Does the tile need to be shipped from a long distance? Many times, tile is shipped from other countries and just the fuel used to get the tile to your job-site is not sustainable. Another factor I would say to consider is to find out if the factory recycles unused raw clay and if they run the factory to conserve water and energy in production.

Q: What are some of your current favorite tile products, and what do you love about them? 
Lela: I am loving the trend of monochromatic tiles with a relief design! May I say, “texture.”








Q: What are your favorite creative tile layouts?
Lela: My new favorite layouts deal with color blocking and the non traditional way of having a tile set vertically versus horizontally. Color Blocking allows a designer to use bold color without over powering the room occupant. Tile set vertically in bathrooms is intriguing because it gives you the illusion of water falling.  

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Don’t be intimidated with color!

Recently, I had a client pick out a beautiful collection of neutral pieces to pull together her new living room.  She’s excited to toss in new pillows, accessories, or perhaps a rug to create a myriad of different color schemes.  But she had a question, and I imagine you do to…

How do you design with color?  How do you pull it together?

No need to be intimidated.  Here’s the first of a series of lessons on color.

This is a color wheel.  Interior designers use it to put together pleasing color schemes.  You can too.

Our first lesson will show you how to combine colors for a Complementary Color Scheme.

Simply pick a color you love on the color wheel and look directly across from it.  Easy!  That’s its complement.  Combine these two colors together for a beautiful look like this one:

Or, play with the intensity of one of the colors (go more pastel, or a richer earth-toned version of it, for example) for a look like this:

Tell us about your color woes.


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Designer Answers: Countertops

Designers field a variety of questions and concerns regarding the seemingly unlimited options available to consumers. Within any category–countertops, tile, hardwood, carpet, furniture, lighting–how does one narrow it down? What options are the best options, when aesthetics, maintenance, durability and value are all factors to consider?

Today, we’re excited to launch our “Designer Answers” series. Eheart designers are interviewed about various interior finishes and product, hopefully answering some frequently asked questions while also giving you insight into their personal style and preferences.

To start us off, Emily shares a wealth of knowledge (and a dose of witty humor) about countertop options.

Q: What’s the difference between granite and quartz?

Emily: Granite is a naturally occurring stone that comes straight from the earth. “Granite” is a fairly generic term that is utilized for a number of stones that, in truth, aren’t really granite. Quartz is made from natural stone, and is combined with a filler of some kind (depending on the manufacturer). Some use resin, some use polyester, some use other fillers.

Q: Is natural stone high maintenance?

Emily: Depends which one you pick. Not all granites are created equal. Some are more porous (typically, lighter colors) and some more brittle (for example, Cosmos) than others. Most natural stones require a small amount of maintenance that can typically be handled with a topical cleaner that maintains the seal on your slab and some require a re-seal every few years.

Q: Can I put marble on my bathroom vanity countertops?

Emily: Go for it, but don’t call me later! You can have your pick of surfaces, but some marbles are more porous than others, and some are quite sensitive. Check the labels on your cosmetics, lotions, and potions and make sure you don’t have a spill with your nail polish remover. That said, I’d put marble in a bathroom sooner than I would a kitchen.

Q: How do you feel about Corian and other man-made solid surfaces?

Emily: I’d rather die than use Corian, but I’m really enjoying the beauty of man-made solid surfaces that have been coming out recently (Cambria, other quartz products, etc).

Q: If you got to design your dream kitchen tomorrow, which countertop surface(s) would you select, and why?

Emily: Almost without a doubt, I’d pick Kodiak granite. It’s beautiful and has a nice blend of whites, creams, taupes, and a touch of black.

Q: What’s the average price point for granite?

Emily: I try my best not to answer this question, because there are so many variables, it usually feels like I’m lying. We can turn a quote around in about 1 day, so give us the opportunity to do it right. That said, most people’s kitchens cost about $5-8,000 and most master baths cost between $1500-3000.

Q: What’s your opinion of soapstone?

Emily: It’s beautiful, but I don’t love it for myself. It looks especially great when you oil or wax it. Also, it is a soft stone, comparatively, so that’s something to be mindful of.

Q: Concrete looks great, but won’t it chip and crack easily?
Emily: It’s fiberglass reinforced, so it’s not an extension of your driveway. It’s a whole new animal. Enjoy it for what it is!

This Just In! Playful Area Rugs Cure Spring Fever

spring fever (n). A feeling of restlessness, excitement, or laziness brought on by the coming of spring.

We’re thankful for the inspirational images (above) of rugs by Etsi Barnes, designer for London based company Top Floor. Fancy floral patterns? Here are a few more colorful carpets we like a whole bunch:

Fade into summer with a more muted area rug, like this one (above). We love the soft yellow and the pattern’s gentle nod to traditional ornamentation.