Thursday, October 29, 2009

Color Series: October Green

As you may remember from the first post in our color series, we will be sharing the hottest colors of the season with you, what they mean, how they can be used in interior and exterior design, and, simply put, why they are great colors.

October is the epitome of autumn, the changing of leaves and the first touch of frost in the air in many places. Because of this, we tend to steer away from bright colors in all things design – from our own wardrobes to the colors of our place settings – to initiate the tranquil months of the season. Not to mention one of the largest associations people make with the month of October, Halloween.

So, based on trend research and our own experiences in design and related publicity work, we have narrowed down our October color to a soothing, khaki green. A similar color was selected as one of the top ten new colors for spring 2010 by Pantone, but we thought we would write about it now because it is greatly relevant.

We continually see new home and garden products every year in the marketplace adopt this color, as it is a classic neutral for design. It matches everything, blends well into the background, or can be combined with other colors to create striking focal points. It is also the perfect complementary color for common rustic fall décor items in orange, burnt-reds, browns, and other color hues.

What does green denote?

Green, especially the soft, soothing olive or flax color, is often associated with nature, nourishment, balance and stability. You’ll often see this color in commercial buildings, offices, spas, and hotels, as it is frequently used to promote physical and emotional well-being. Designers also enjoy using the color when re-designing an outdoor living area for a rejuvenated and natural look. An example: Summer Classics, a manufacturer of high-end casual / outdoor furniture, uses this color in one of its premier garden collections, part of the Skye line:


A few ways to use green:

In the Home: Green remains one of the most commonly used colors in design. This neutral khaki green is incredibly flexible within a space and can easily find a well-suited fit in a large room or small nook. Many designers suggest using this color en masse because it so easily adapts to new accessories and furniture. Furniture fabrics and draperies are an excellent choice, as the color is not too dark to overwhelm the space. However, accent pieces should not be overlooked. Lamp shades, mirror frames, art, throw pillows, linens, and accent chairs are easy ways to supplement and harmonize this shade of green.

In the Landscape: As fall brings in the cooler weather, foliage becomes a focal point more so than blooms. The color of dried herb can be found in dozens of groundcover and perennial varieties for beds and border. However, while plant options are in abundance, we highly suggest accessorizing with this color in the landscape, much like one would with interior design. This color can often have a provincial or sylvan feel, yet add gorgeous ambiance to spaces in the forms of potted containers, accent or vertical garden walls, outdoor furniture, and even painted shutters or doors.

Our favorite shade:

Terrapin Green by Benjamin Moore is a perfect shade of green for flexible, calming design. With just a touch of gray to add neutrality but with enough green to make it pop, this color can be used in hundreds of different ways in interior or exterior design.

We also recommend the color selected by Pantone, called dried herb. A bit more khaki colored and with just a touch of brown, this is a perfect color for relaxed settings or areas designed to convey homey atmospheres.

How have you used or plan to use green in your interior and / or exterior design work this year? Or, if a member of the media, what types of color information, sources and photos would be most applicable for your audience members during 2010?

Watch our blog and follow our tweets for more about our take on color and the ways in which industry designers and manufacturers are coloring our world.

~ Leslie

Domus Ventures America Wows Market Attendees

Dave Hill of Domus Ventures America is one of the most knowledgeable and friendly people you can meet on a trade show floor or at one of the casual furniture / home industry markets. Talking with Dave offers fresh insight surrounding the industry’s latest trends and product innovations, especially some of the leading and cutting-edge products at the hands of Domus Ventures America. He was on site at the latest Chicago market and offered us an enlightening view of all things modern and gorgeous for outdoor spaces.

After viewing all or almost all of the participating exhibits and showrooms at this year’s International Casual Furniture & Accessories Show in Chicago, Jeff, the other co-owner of ECPR, and I had a hard time selecting our pick of a dozen or so top innovators. Several companies, like Domus Ventures America, made the task a bit easier, given such evident technological advancements juxtaposed with high design. (We were on site at the show / market for our own writing and article research, to speak on Garden Design magazine’s product / design trends panel, and on assignment for a number of editor contacts of ours).

Since the show / market, many of you have touched base to share your opinions about our related event product picks and trends research. We have enjoyed your emails. Feel free to also post your comments here, on our blog.

Well, back to Domus... The new Isle of Pines Massage Lounge from Domus Ventures America utilizes the latest high-tech features while offing the ultimate in outdoor comfort. Possibly our favorite product pick of the entire market, this spectacular piece has a waterproof remote-controlled Shiatsu massage unit incorporated into a beautiful reclining lounge. When I showed the photo to an editor friend, she said she wanted this piece on her patio…and in her office for breaks on those pressing deadline days. - No kidding! Talk about relaxation, an ion battery with AC charger provides up to 14 hours of continuous use. A solar panel side table is also available to charge the battery, making the entire reclining massage lounge totally self-contained and waterproof. This is a lounge that sets the standards for others to follow.

A breath-taker at the show was the marine-grade vinyl especially designed for Domus Ventures. Jeff and I had a chance to take a seat on the company’s Luxor Collection, and it looked just like leather. The collection offers tight seats and backs with deep seating comfort, without the headaches and inconveniences of dealing with cushions. After stitching, the covers are sealed from the inside, making them totally water proof. The covers are attached to Aluminum frames with a marine adhesive like that which is used for inflatable life rafts.

Being marine grade means the covers are not only highly UV resistant but also UV reflective, reducing the absorbed heat. The Luxor Collection includes dining, deep seating, single and double sun-loungers, and canopied lounges in two sizes. The best-kept secret… Hidden in the back cushions of the larger size piece is a ready-to-use cooler, a good example of function meeting form.

Sure to fit the photo and editorial needs of some magazine editors reading this post, the Santa Cruz Double Massage Lounge with its beautiful and angled canopy from Domus Ventures America utilizes the latest high-tech features and offers the ultimate in outdoor comfort. This piece has two waterproof remote-controlled Shiatsu massage units incorporated into a reclining canopied lounge. The canopy can also be collapsed for tanning while getting a relaxing massage. Then, when sun becomes too much, up it goes. A solar panel side table is also available to charge the battery, making the entire reclining massage lounge totally self-contained and waterproof. In our estimation, this is a must-have, pool-side piece for vacation homes. And, what a benefit for high-end hoteliers and resort managers / owners who have outdoor relaxation or spa areas to furnish.

Last, but not least, Domus Ventures America’s Corentine Collection is made of powder-coated, welded aluminum frames. They are hand-woven with 100% virgin HDPE resin wicker. Elegant and sleek, the sculptured design is true-modern. This dining set is well-matched in design and function for home use as well as alfresco spaces and cafes utilized by hotels and resorts.

Domus Ventures America impresses us by setting, rather than following, the standards for unique and modern design of outdoor furniture. You can learn more on the company’s site at www.domusventures.com. Members of the media, please post your comments and let us know if you have interest in sharing any of this information with your readers, viewers, etc.

~Don

Re-Post: A Few Design / Decorating Tips on Color

Due to a great number of comments recently from interior and outdoor room designers, and requests for more information on color design, we are re-posting this brief article on decorating tips. This post was originally written back in August, but still conveys important color design concepts applicable to everyday décor.

Original Post:

The use of color in interior and exterior design and decorating should demonstrate order and harmony. When the elements are unbalanced they radiate chaos, leaving an unfavorable impression.

Red – Whether positive or negative, the color red is an attention grabber. The use of red should be used sparingly in the home, it is a vibrant, powerful color. Accents are an essential aspect of interior design, the color red possesses the illusion of depth as it seems to spring these items forward.


Brown
– Often paired with red for a warm, rustic texture, the color brown is frequently associated with the age or richness of the space. However, lighter shades of brown such as tan, beige, and sand offer a clean earthy feel. When used in an interior setting, brown helps other colors appear fuller and brighter, conveying a sense of wholesomeness.


White
– White is one of the most widely used colors in interior design and decorating. The use of a white background offers a sharp contrast to other colors, like red curtains amongst white furniture and walls. However, white should be used carefully as it can be seen as cold.
What are some of your design techniques and / or tips regarding the use of color?

~ Adam

We’ve already heard from some great furniture manufacturers and other interior design professionals, and we look forward to receiving additional feedback as we gather color trends for 2010!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Virtual Tours: International Casual Furniture and Accessories Market in Chicago

For those of you who were unable to attend the International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market a month ago in Chicago, Casual Living offers several virtual tours of highlights on the magazine's Web site. Really, it’s great even for those who did attend! With approximately 350 manufacturers from around the world filling more than 350,000 square feet of exhibit space, it was incredibly hard to explore everything.

The videos cover several showrooms and new products from companies such as Pride Family Brands, Les Jardins and Agio. For a bit more information about the show, see our previous blog post here, which delves into 2010 trends and a panel discussion with Eberly & Collard Public Relations' president, Don Eberly.

~Leslie

Please Take a Seat

The great outdoors should be embraced for entertaining all-year round, and creating a versatile, inviting setting to host a fall fireside BBQ or winter get-together is the first step. The design of an outdoor room or patio serves as a backdrop for the event and the outdoor furniture, color selections and accessories play significant roles in ensuring guests will be able to easily visit with one another while they dine and drink.

One of the exhibitors at this year’s International Casual Furniture & Accessories market that caught our attention, Homecrest Outdoor Living, established in 1953, combines a rich history of quality and classic design with today’s demand for affordable luxury and versatile living. Through trend studies and years of listening to sophisticated customer demand, Homecrest Outdoor Living offers customers furniture that flows seamlessly from the indoors, out.

After spending some time with casual furniture expert Scott Coremin, vice president of sales / marketing for Homecrest Outdoor Living, at the ICF&A market – and reviewing his 2010 product lines – it was obvious to us the company is making trend-based strides in product development and design. A few of our top picks that offer both beautiful form and practical function are as follows:

Havenhill Dual Motion Loveseat featured in Hickory frame finish and Mojito padded sling:

This is an outdoor loveseat anyone can love. The Havenhill collection includes a new twist on a Homecrest classic with the introduction of the Dual Motion Loveseat. This unique seat features a patent-pending Butterfly Basket®, which provides guests with the ability to rock independently while enjoying another person’s company.

Havenhill Dining chairs in Flagstone finish and Aloe sling fabric with granite dining table in Kenoran:

Sleek, clean design sets the mood with this set. Peace and tranquility are easily attainable with the Havenhill collection in the cool tones of the Flagstone finish and spring green color of the Aloe sling. Havenhill’s modern frame design and uniquely flared sling provides the maximum in comfort, style and value.

Havenhill Balcony chairs in Flagstone finish and Creole sling fabric with Sorrento table:

Sure to make a splash on the balcony of a condo or in the backyard of any home, the Butterfly Basket® is one of Homecrest Outdoor Furniture’s newest collections. It has been engineered with the standards of quality and craftsmanship that have made Homecrest a trusted, American-made outdoor furniture resource for over 50 years.

Wescott Dining chairs in Sedona frame finish and Bocha fabric with Sandstone dining table in Mesquite:

Traditional in styling, the new Wescott collection is designed with the Butterfly Basket® and is handcrafted with conscientious details. The intricate finials and quality construction of this classically inspired collection will suit the grandest estate or the most charming garden setting.

Swivel Rocker Balcony stools in Bessemer Padded Sling and Hickory finish with Cast table in Hickory:

Comfortable and stylish, the Wescott is a handsome addition to the Homecrest Sling collections. With ornate detailing and international flair, the classic look of this seating collection also features the patent-pending Butterfly Basket®. Balcony chairs – not too tall or short – that rock and swivel are an enhanced trend for 2010, as evidenced by these and other lines addressing the application.

Do you have a favorite collection? Visit the company’s Web site and let us know your opinions. If you are an editor, publisher, or Home Industry show producer, we’ll be glad to connect you with the furniture experts at Homecrest Outdoor Living.

Read more on our blog about trend products and innovative companies from the various markets, shows and events we attended this summer. Watch for ongoing, new product reviews and trend picks for 2010 from us in the coming days and weeks.

~ Leslie

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

KuulAire Offers Cooler Options

On occasion, there are circumstances when traditional products or equipment are simply not practical. Thinking outside the box can oftentimes lower overall costs and provide sensible solutions for spaces around the home, office or facility that may seem impossible to perfect.

Air conditioning or cooling, for example, may seem like a no-brainer, as many of us have central air in our homes or buildings. However, the installation plus energy costs of traditional A/C can quickly add up. Central air and ample cooling are also sometimes not available for certain indoor spaces. From indoor construction projects to offices with older A/C units to third-floor bedrooms that never seem cool enough in warmer seasons, many people find themselves looking for ways to “cool it.”

Then, too, there are many outdoor areas that cannot be enjoyed or maximized all year given hot temperatures and bright sunshine. Rooftop decks are a trendy new outdoor room for many homeowners. But, hot weather and sun exposure can cause them to remain indoors, missing out on the full benefits of their rooftop spaces. Patios, decks, and backyards from coast to coast serve as backdrops for entertaining and family fun. Yet, when things heat up, people tend to head inside to find cool air.

Port-a-Cool, a company that offers popular, state-of-the-art air conditioning units for commercial businesses, has recently introduced a product line for consumers, called KuulAire. The company’s five consumer-suited cooling systems are sleek, clean and streamlined to solve problems for unique areas such as outdoor rooms, personal storage facilities, garages, offices, and any other areas where central air simply does not quite make sense or do the job.

Our favorite is the KuulAire KA50 portable, evaporative swamp cooler because it is easy to operate, easy to clean, and easy to maintain, while providing cool, fresh and filtered air. The strength of the cooling is fully adjustable with three fan speed settings, a cooling capacity of up to 350 square feet, and automatic swing louvers.

For convenience of operation, a remote control and timer are included with the KA50 cooler. These permit ease-of-use and more efficient energy consumption. And, how does it look? Well, the unit design is also attractive, compact, portable, and includes a one-year limited warranty.

The other four cooling units also have their own perfect fits for the home and office, including the following:

KuulAire KA40: Perfect for small spaces at only 27 inches by 15.4 inches by 14.6 inches, and 22 lbs.
  • 3 Speed Settings
  • Automatic Swing Louvers
  • Time and Remote Control
  • 2.5 Gallon Water
  • Capacity Cooling Capacity of 150 Square Feet
KuulAire KA70: With a sleek design, this unit is perfect for office or home.
  • 3 Speed Settings
  • Automatic Swing Louvers
  • 4 Gallon Water Capacity
  • Low Water Censor
  • Cooling Capacity of 150 Square Feet
KuulAire KA12: This unity is energy efficient while cooling the indoors or out for as far-reaching as 500 square feet, making it a unique solution for outdoor rooms and spaces.
  • Touch panel controls and 2 speed settings
  • Automatic Swing Louvers
  • Timer and Remote Control
  • 8 Gallon Water Capacity
  • Low-Water Censor
  • Safety Lock Feature
KuulAire KA15: The largest available unit in this series, this cooler is powerful, all-natural, and works for indoor or outdoor use.
  • Touch panel controls
  • 2 Speed Settings
  • Automatic Swing Louvers
  • Time and Remote Control
  • 12 Gallon Water Capacity
  • Safety Lock Feature
  • Cooling Capacity of 750 Square Feet
The company’s site offers a good overview for learning more of the product benefits and viewing photos: http://www.port-a-cool.com and http://www.kuulaire.com. These products would make for good inclusions to the “Innovative Products” and “Accessories / Products” sections of magazines geared for the Casual Furniture & Accessories market, the Hospitality market, Construction / Builder market, and others. If you are an editor and would like high-resolution photos, just let us know.

~Leslie

Habersham Gardens Supplies Locally Grown Food to Atlantans as Part of CSA Program

If you’re from Atlanta, you may be familiar with our very own local Habersham Gardens, a fun-filled garden center business specializing in unique plants, how-to sessions, garden accessories and landscape services.

And, you might be excited to hear the garden center owners have announced an innovative new program to advance business objectives, sales and community outreach by serving as a major in-town Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) participant. By becoming the newest food pick-up site in the CSA program, Habersham Gardens is supporting 20 local farmers who grow sustainable produce and supplying locally grown food to Atlantans.

Atlanta consumers may participate in the program by procuring food-purchasing memberships in return for weekly deliveries of seasonal, ultra-fresh produce such as fruits, vegetables and other organic food items. Regional farmers, in turn, are able to market food products to urbanites and receive membership payments early in the year prior to harvests. The advance-pay food memberships lead to steady cash flow for farmers’ crop development and address common interest in organic food among Atlantans. Habersham Gardens serves as the link between the two, given the garden center business acts as a significant food drop-off and pick-up location for in-town locals.

In the photo (just below), Deborah Harrison, founder and co-owner of Habersham Gardens – who is also a professionally trained chef – is preparing a weekly pick-up for one of the participating members. Items can include vegetables, fruit, eggs, meat, and more.


Eberly & Collard Public Relations’ vice president, Jeff Collard, joined the program recently, and can’t stop raving about the freshness of the veggies! We even woke up in our office the other morning by drinking locally grown coffee that was part of a recent food delivery. If you are in Atlanta, consider visiting Habersham Gardens and joining the CSA membership.

~ Leslie

Friday, October 16, 2009

Everything but the Kitchen Sink: New Catalog, New Web Site, New Plants, New Video

We are excited to share that Terra Nova Nurseries has announced the launch of a redesigned Web site and 2010 catalog which target grower / retailer audiences with solution-based information and photos. The site and catalog were created in tandem to serve as informational tools for industry customers and end-consumers, and to position Terra Nova Nurseries as a destination breeder for wholesalers, re-wholesalers, retailers, and professional landscapers.

The new 2010 catalog and site contain rationales behind various new plant or genus improvements, along with explanations as to how the plants have been improved over previous cultivars. Plants were specifically bred to match unique customer needs and to address undesirable cultural traits. Some noteworthy examples of this innovative breeding include a new leucanthemum without an unpleasant scent, hardy echinaceas with sturdier stalks, and several tiarellas with trailing habits for extended landscape applications.

The catalog – encompasses all-new features such as content-rich boxes placed throughout the 80-page colorful booklet that supply grower customers with breeding and plant cultural insights. The graphically designed boxes consist of Grower Solutions, Breeder Goals and Native Species maps.

The Web site – has been organized by relative sectors: home gardeners, professional growers and media professionals. Notable highlights from the new Web site include:
  • Extensive photo library with downloadable high-resolution images for customers and media members
  • Updated access to current plant availability
  • News section with the latest ready-to-print press releases
  • Marketing section with a downloadable version of the 2010 wholesale catalog
  • Detailed plant information for every product offered by Terra Nova Nurseries
Check them out, and let us know what you think about the new Web site / catalog! Are there any new plants this year from Terra Nova Nurseries that solve any particular problems about which you have been hearing from your readers?

~ Leslie

P.S. In case you haven’t seen it, Terra Nova Nurseries and Dan Heims were recently featured in the popular gardening program, GardenTime. It’s a warming story about the perennial contributions from Terra Nova Nurseries to Portland’s famous Rose Garden and other public gardens across the country. Watch the video here

Thursday, October 15, 2009

All Covered Up!

Moss Acres, a leading supplier of live moss since 2001, released news at this year’s IGC and ASLA shows about a new product for shady garden areas – the Moss Milkshake. This dry mix is a unique blend of fragmented moss plants, powdered buttermilk, acidifying agents, and a special water retention gel powder. By simply adding water to the mixture, gardeners, landscapers, and moss enthusiasts can create a gel-like “slurry” that is ideal for spreading over most any firm, bare surface. A lot of folks with whom we talked at both of these shows said they thought the product name and milk carton-shaped (for consumer / retail sales) packaging were ingenious. We agree.


Mosses thrive in shady landscapes. Most any shaded or partially shaded area can be ideal for utilizing the Moss Milkshake technique. For shaded lawns where grass is limited, moss is an ideal alternative. Instead of fighting nature by attempting to grow grass in shade, many homeowners and professional landscapers are turning to moss.

Once established, moss is low maintenance. After installation and cell nodes have a chance to activate, moss plants do not require frequent watering to survive. However, watering does help maintain lush and green moss over time. For a look at various moss products from the company, take a look at www.mossacres.com.

~ Jeff

Things that will make you “grow,” hmmmm…

Spending a few minutes with Dolly Webster, owner of Garden Things, will give you a big smile on your face and make you want to get out and garden! This energetic and passionate entrepreneur who gained valuable experience from the textiles industry has created a new line of gardening products that are sure to keep even the most disorderly gardener in check and fully organized.

Here are some unique descriptions of the newest products offered. All products are made from PVC coated polyester for the ultimate in UV resistance and durability.

The Garden Harvester – No more dirty vegetables in the sink. Use this clever ¾ bushel tote to gather and rinse your garden produce before bringing them indoors. It stands open for harvesting but folds flat for storage. Designed as a harvesting tote, it is also useful for farmers market shopping, clamming and beach toys. The unique design keeps the tote open for hands-free gathering, even when worn over the shoulder. Additional outside pockets are perfect for smaller items.

The Garden Quiver – No more losing what you need. It organizes all the needed materials used to stake and tie plants into one easy-to-carry tote. And, it even has a string dispenser. This product is so convenient, it stands at your work site with the support of a stake and hangs in the shed for storage.

The Garden Padd – No more sore knees. Inspired by a backpacker’s sleeping pad, the high density foam in the lily pad-shaped kneeling pad offers ultimate comfort when kneeling. This fun design provides a lot of surface area to move around but rolls up neatly and tidily for easy storage – just like with a yoga mat.

According to Dolly, 87% of the demographic shopping for products at garden centers are fashion conscious women age 30 years and up. This was a major factor in her decisions related to product design and merchandising support.

If you are a retailer, consider carrying these products in this age of streamlining and getting organized. Members of the media are welcome to contact us with questions.

~ Jeff

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

New Product Offerings from Novelty

At the IGC show this year, Novelty Manufacturing displayed a mix of gorgeous, affordable new products for 2010. Checking the Web site is a good and easy way to become familiar with the company, its best practices (which are pretty impressive), and the latest products and lines.

The new Ella planters, with their square contour, stand out to us as having some incredible wide appeal. These chic containers bring a modish new twist to the ArtStone Line. They are trendy in color and durable in strength. Tall Ella containers can bring endless beauty to doorways and patios with their striking form. The Ella rectangle containers are the perfect choice for adorning a table top or accessorizing a windowsill.

Here’s the best part… Novelty believes in sustaining the environment. Most of the company’s products are made of recyclable polymers and alloys. They use pre- and post-consumer recycled materials in some of their best-selling items. This unique selling proposition can then be passed along to retailers, which we all know, is important to end-consumers.









To learn more about Ella planters or other product offerings from Novelty, visit, www.noveltymfg.com. – Also, post your comments / questions about these and other trend containers.

~ Adam

Friday, October 2, 2009

“Heuchera Happening” in Mill Creek


Dan Heims, national horticulturist and plant explorer, will be speaking about “Everything New in the Heuchera World” at the Second Annual Heuchera Happening Event at My Garden Nursery in Mill Creek, WA. Dan is president and co-owner of Terra Nova Nurseries and has helped introduce more than 600 new plant varieties to gardeners all across the United States. Heuchera is one of his team’s specialties as they continue to push the limits with this genus, making each new introduction more hardy, heat tolerant, and beautiful.

Event details are as follows:

What: A fun discussion led by Dan Heims on all things new in the Heuchera world, including the newest introductions and breakthroughs in the genera. All attendees will be given a free Terra Nova Nurseries Heuchera to start or add to their own collections with any purchase at the garden center.

When: Saturday, October 3, 2009, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. PDT.

Where
: My Garden Nursery
17414 Bothell Everett Hwy
Mill Creek, WA 98012

Web sites of Interest: For more information on My Garden Nursery, please visit www.mygardennursery.com. For more information about Dan Heims and Terra Nova Nurseries, please visit www.terranovanurseries.com.

R.S.V.P: Your readers are welcome to RSVP by calling 425-402-1842. (There will be a small fee of $5.00 for attendees). Note: All members of the media are welcome to contact me via email or phone by 5:00 p.m. EDT, Friday, October 2, for a VIP / media pass. (Contact: Eberly & Collard Public Relations, 404-574-2900).

If you have interest in the event, we are happy to provide photos and additional information, and answer any questions you may have. Interviews with Heims can be scheduled through our office. We hope you can make it if you’re in the area!

~ Leslie