452 North Pearl Street, Albany, NY / 518-434-0155
Hours: Mon, Tues, Wed & Fri: 8am-5pm / Thurs: 8am-7pm / Sat: 9am-1pm.  Closed 12/23 thru 12/30.
 
 
FINE FLOOR COVERINGS, LUXURY TILE, STONE & GLASS

Design Trends and Ideas

Learning Every Day

You can learn something new every day.  I was recently in Denver and visited the oldest Denver hotel still in operation: The Oxford on 17th Street, downtown.  I love and appreciate the thoughtfulness, detail, and craftsmanship that went into the 127-year-old hotel.  Below is a photograph of The Oxford’s lobby floor.  The pattern on the tiled floor is a double pinwheel – the first that I have seen.  Back in the day, the craftsmen even used locally-sourced stone .  You will need a fairly large space to pull it off, but in the right space, such a double-pinwheel pattern would make a grand statement.

And the color of the year is?

The answer is, it depends on who you ask . . . The paint manufacturers have stepped-up first . . . Sherwin Williams announced ‘Poised Taupe’ (SW6039) as its 2017 color of the year a few weeks ago.  PPG recently announced ‘Violet Verbena’ (1169-5) as its color of the year, and Benjamin Moore followed up with ‘Shadow’ (2117-30) as its color of the year for 2017 – all are much more colorful deviations from last year’s ‘Alabaster’ (SW7008) and ‘Simply White’ (2143-70).

 

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Pantone is the ultimate color authority – its color of the year announcement is not due for another few weeks so we’ll wait . . . I’m betting on a shade of blue . . .

Looking for Color

Color forecasts for the coming year will be released soon. At ATCR, we are yearning for some real color, somewhere. The photo below shows the latest rendition of our ‘gallery’ wall as you enter our showroom. You can see that this cross section of our tile and stone selection is very neutral – white, cream, beige, and gray. It makes sense when you think about the permanence of a tile installation – you want to make sure it works in your space for many years to come. The same is true of our carpet selection with slightly more color range; rugs tend to have more color still, but those, too, tend to be fairly neutral now. Benjamin Moore recently released its ‘Color of the Year’ for 2016 – ‘Simply White.’ Initially, we were disappointed with this safe, noncommittal, neutral choice. But upon further consideration, it makes sense given the absence of color in so many other interior finishes. ‘Simply White’ is certainly versatile as it can be used with both warm and cool color palettes leaving the opportunity to accent and accessorize with almost any color. We will have to wait to see what the Pantone Color Institute has in store later this year when it announces its color of the year . . .

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A New Shape for the Tile World – Pentagons?

We love pattern, symmetry, and balance in design finishes.  Whether it’s fabric, flooring or wall finishes, there are plenty of ways to successfully use pattern in your space.  Our showroom is full of patterns and their building blocks.  But, here is a new one for us: pentagons! Take a look at “A New Way to Tile Your Floor (Using Pentagons).”    We won’t bore you with geometric details of the pentagon floor pattern, but it works if you notice that the ’tiles’ are the same shape and mirror imagess of each other.  Will this tile pattern be the next geometric design trend?  If the tile installers have a say, we bet not ….

Check out some interesting patterns:
Tiled Pentagon Flooring

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Jump into Summer!

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Summer is here, and with it comes summer dresses, pool parties, s’mores by the fire and, for most home owners, a fresh start to their interiors. During the colder months, couches are covered in blankets and wood is stacked near the fireplace, but with the cold days behind us and sunshine over our heads, it’s time to switch your home to summer mode.

The first step in kicking winter out and welcoming summer is to stow all winter accessories and anything that adds a sense of heaviness to your room. Replace darker artwork for a piece or two that pops with color, or consider a light blanket and colorful throw pillows to replace a heavier blankets.

Now that your spring cleaning is done, open your windows, light a candle in a citrus or fresh linen scent or fill a decorative bowl in a summery shade with seasonal potpourri, and let the fresh air and summer energy into your home.

The Color Tide is Turning

This year is proving to be a transitional one for color.  Thank goodness!  We are finally seeing warmer colors creep into what has been a very cool white and gray world.

Carrara marble — white marble with cool gray veining — that has been the foundation for many kitchen and bath projects, is still very popular.  Recently, however, warmer grays, beiges, and cream tones have been playing a larger role in the projects we have been working on.  Blues, especially navy blue, have been used with both gray and beige/cream tones in ceramic wall tiles, carpet and area rugs.

Below are several photographs that illustrate the cool-and-warm-tone combinations gaining favor:

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Wood-look 2.0 Installation

This is a follow-up to our February 1, 2014 posting about ever-popular, wood-look, porcelain tile.  These are in-progress photos from a Capital Region, residential project where the client is using the 30”x30” parquet wood-look, porcelain tile in a basement remodel.  Wow, what a statement!  It looks like real wood and has all the added benefits that come with porcelain tile!  We are hoping to follow the evolution of this project, so more photos to come ….

Parquet wood-look, porcelain tile in residential basement. Large Format, porcelain tile in residential basement.

‘Brown’ is Still a Popular Neutral

Gray is the current go-to neutral.  Most clients who visit our showroom these days are looking for grays, whether in tile, stone, carpet, or even hardwood. We’ve seen the many of the neutral color offerings from our suppliers morph from predominently beige/brown tones to gray tones in a short period of time. But one color, brown, has seemed to stand the test of time as a go-to neutral.  Brown is very versatile and never seems to go out of style.  Light and dark browns can be paired together to create a calm and relaxing space.  Add a soft blue, green, or yellow as a pop of color….

ATCR Retro Brown Living Room A ATCR Retro Brown Living Room B

The Color of the Dress & Your Interior Selections

The DressOkay, by now we’ve all heard about the color of ‘the dress.’  Do you see blue and black, or gold and white? We’ve read the scientific explanation about the why our brains interpret and our eyes see ‘the dress’ in different colors, but what no one is talking about is the fact that the image of ‘the dress’ is a photograph viewed on computer monitors and cell phones.  The story of the ‘dress’ and its color has something to teach us about interior finishes and selections: you should NOT rely on the colors shown on your computer monitor to choose finishes for your home.  Similarly, you should NOT rely on the colors shown in a photograph on your cell phone to choose finishes for your home.  Clients use their phone cameras every day in our showroom.  They snap photos for different reasons, e.g., to document a room selection, or not to forget the perfect tile, stone, or rug.   What’s troubling is the use of these photos to choose and coordinate materials for a space.   Please don’t choose your kitchen floor tile based on your phone photograph of your granite counter-top and/or cabinets – get a real sample.   Please don’t choose the carpet for your bedroom based on a phone photograph of your douvet cover fabric – get a real sample. Take a real sample of tile, stone, carpet, or wood from our showroom.  Take it to your space and look at it at different times of the day . . . If you rely on the photograph on your phone to make these important choices, you may unpleasantly surprised and sorry that you did.

Cold Outside, Dry Inside & Your Hardwood Floors

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Latham, NY Home at 20% Relative Humidity on Feb. 19, 2015

Man, it’s been a cold winter in the Capital Region, Catskills and Berkshires! Unless you have a whole-house humidifier (and despite concerns about bacteria, you use it), it has also been a dry winter in your home. Perhaps it has been a little too dry for your solid hardwood floors. Mirage Floors  — the premier, North American manufacturer of hardwood floors — recommends that you maintain relative humidity at approximately 45% at all times in your home as the optimum humidity level for your solid hardwood floors. Insufficient or excessive humidity may cause excessive shrinking, cupping, or expansion of the individual boards of your solid hardwood flooring; this excessive shrinking and expansion can cause small cracks in your boards. Over time, especially under dry conditions, these small cracks will expand further, resulting in splitting, splintering, and other permanent damage you want to avoid. So, there are three steps to take.   First, choose engineered hardwood  rather than solid hardwood.  Engineered hardwood is more tolerant of moisture variations than solid hardwood, i.e., engineered hardwood will remain stable between 40% and 60% relative humidity.  Second, during the summer months, use your air conditioning as a dehumidifier; air conditioning works by extracting humidity from your home’s indoor air.  Third, during the winter months, purchase and utilize either a whole house humidity solution for your furnace or individual humidifying units for your rooms with hardwood flooring.