2008 Trends in Review

It’s never too late to vamp up your humble abode.

Turn Up the Heat

Typically, February is the month cabin fever kicks in. And while it’s almost impossible to think warm thoughts when you’re shoveling snow or scraping ice off your windshield, now is the best time to start thinking about your outdoor living space.

Along with a pool, full kitchen and lounging and dining areas, fireplaces are a must-have amenity for outdoor entertaining. “Over the past three years, outdoor fireplaces have continued to grow in popularity,” says Jay Stong, president of Salter’s Fireplace, Patio and Grill in Eagleville. “People are spending a lot of money on their outdoor rooms, and fireplaces help extend the enjoyment into the cooler spring and fall months.”

Outdoor fireplaces can be as modest or over-the-top as the homeowner wishes, with materials chosen to either match the house or complement it. “We can give the fireplaces a formal look with a granite surround or keep it more informal with stone,” Stong says.

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These days, more and more indoor fireplaces are of the convenient gas variety—and the same goes for the outdoors. And if the area is spacious enough, more than one fireplace may be a good bet, or some of Stong’s customers opt for a fire pit.

Another much-requested item is the Tempest Torch by Travis Industries House of Fire. Its one-of-a-kind spiral gas flame provides an immediate focal point in any space, with numerous display options for a personalized look. “It’s purely aesthetic, but it brings another fire element to the space,” says Stong. “And people definitely want multiple fire elements in these outdoor rooms.”

3130 Ridge Pike, Eagleville; (610) 631-9372, saltersfireplace.com.

This article originally appeared in the February 2008 issue.

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Totally FLORed

Wall-to-wall carpeting isn’t always the answer for every room in the house. But tile or hardwood isn’t desirable in every case, either.

Compromise is easy with FLOR carpet tiles, which are available in hundreds of colors and patterns. Stop searching for the perfect size or color for your space and create your own rug: Mix and match patterns and solids to make a bold statement, or use solid colors for a more traditional look. The tiles can be arranged wall-to-wall, as an area rug or as a simple runner for the hallway—the options are endless.

FLOR tiles are also simple to install: Stickers applied to the back join each to its neighbor, not the floor. So there’s never any fear of glue or tack damage to anything underneath. FLOR tiles are perfect for high-traffic areas because each can be washed individually—or replace just one without having to do the same to the entire carpet.

Another reason to love FLOR is its environmental commitment. The company’s R&R (Return-Recycle) program allows customers to share in the responsibility of living green. When you’re ready to dispose of existing FLOR tiles, simply call the company to have them picked up for free. The tiles are returned to the mill, where they’re recycled into new product. The company promises that none of it will ever end up in a landfill. FLOR carpet tiles also have the lowest levels of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in the carpet industry.

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Available online at greenable.net or flor.com.

This article originally appeared in the April 2008 issue.

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Deck the Walls

There’s no excuse for bare walls in any room, especially now that Leanne Avellino-Blair’s Ozwalled is here. A founder of the local vehicle graphics company Fingerprint Media, Avellino-Blair has created a line of innovative, multifunctional wall decals that can be easily applied—and some are even reusable. A designer, graphic producer and installer for more than 10 years, she knows a thing or two about vinyl and vehicle graphics. “I began to realize their flexibility and envisioned them as a much larger creative outlet for interior walls,” she says. “The concept of wall graphics is common in European countries, where they have boutiques filled with racks of designs.”

The Ozwalled line includes digitally printed, self-adhesive, fabric DeNovo graphics that can be peeled off and repositioned (leaving behind no residue). The popular brushed chrome style brings a contemporary flair to stainless steel appliances. For those with more discerning tastes, graphics made with 22-karat gold offer some serious bling factor. “The gold line is a commitment because it can’t be reused and is very expensive,” says Avellino-Blair. “But it does make a powerful impact in a room.”

If nothing strikes your fancy, you can collaborate with a roster of artists and designers on custom wall graphics. “We welcome and encourage any client to do this, and we will work with you to translate your own creativity,” says Avellino-Blair.

The Ozwalled line is available on the Web, and Avellino-Blair offers consultations. Call (610) 399-4544 or visit ozwalled.com.

This article originally appeared in the June 2008 issue.

New Terrain

If you haven’t noticed, there’s been a spike in the number of Americans willing to get their hands dirty to satisfy their newfound love of gardening—this according to the Garden Media Group (GMG) in Chadds Ford. “There’s a huge new interest in gardening, especially among the younger demographic of 18-34,” says Susan McCoy, GMG’s president. “We’re calling it the G.I.Y. (Grow-It-Yourself) trend. Everyone is planting vegetables, herbs, perennials and shrubs—anything they can grow themselves—with enthusiasm and gusto.”

Coming along just in time is Terrain, the home and garden lifestyle store from Richard Hayne, the creative genius behind Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie and Free People. The local version, Terrain at Styer’s, is located in Glen Mills, and it’s unlike anything you’ve experienced, with an eclectic mix of garden-inspired products from all over the world—everything from Egyptian pinhole lanterns to clay pots from Indonesia. “Innovation is the hallmark of our brand,” says Terrain at Styer’s general manager Jennifer Brodsky. “We want this to be an inspiring environment.”

Terrain offers a full range of landscape design services, including a complete design-and-build team, and helpful, knowledgeable staff members at every turn. “This is a wonderful place to come whether you’re a gardener with no experience or a lifelong gardener,” Brodsky says. “We have manageable ideas for any skill level.”

To increase that skill level, Terrain hosts monthly hands-on workshops on a variety of topics. “We want to help people beautify their homes,” says Brodsky. “We’re here to provide the community with knowledge, lend support and provide inspiration.”

914 Baltimore Pike, Glen Mills; (610) 459-2400, terrainathome.com.

This article originally appeared in the August 2008 issue.

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Paint Job

Looking for a big change inside your home? Start with the paint.

“Color sets the mood in a house,” says Michelle Hansen-Yeager, color consultant at Haley Paint, with locations in Ardmore, Paoli, West Chester and Exton.

Earth tones are among the hottest hues for fall, and Benjamin Moore’s Aura line offers more than 140 varieties—all of them eco-friendly with low VOCs. Warm colors like taupe and tan always have a place in a home’s décor. “Neutrals are richer now,” says Hansen-Yeager. “There’s much more depth to the colors.”

So what’s the perfect neutral? “There’s no such thing,” says Hansen-Yeager. “There are hundreds of neutral colors. It’s a personal decision that’s based on lighting and accessories in the room. People get stressed out more about off-white than any other color.”

Gray is another popular option—and it comes in a range of hues, from warm to cool. It’s an accommodating choice that goes well with many other colors.

According to Hansen-Yeager, people are becoming less afraid of color, opting for vibrant gem tones with names like Black Raspberry and Asian Teal to accent walls. Rich brick-red paint is showing up in many dining rooms, as is the increasingly popular chocolate brown. Green both soothes and complements other colors. For accent walls, try soft yellow-green hues or deeper forest greens.

“Color trends come and go,” says Hansen-Yeager. “So it’s more important to select colors you naturally gravitate toward—and that you’ll want to live with.”
Various locations; (800) 892-5917, fhpaint.com.

This article originally appeared in the October 2008 issue.

Our Best of the Main Line & Western Suburbs Party is July 25!