Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mad Men and Carpet: Bathroom Blogfest 2010

Mad Men and Carpet: Bathroom Blogfest 2010
Betty and Don Draper's carpeted bedroom

Mad Men and Carpet: Going Up Against the Wall for Bathroom Blogfest 2010

~ Or, you can’t polish your wingtips on ceramic tile

Stuck in the Sixties?” Not me. I say bring them on. (Well, most of them, anyway. I can do without the girdles and the constant cigarette smoke.)

As a trend in furniture, interiors, fashion design and cocktails, the Sixties are hotter than a Sterno can at a fondue party.  And since I am a natural-born child of the Sixties, I am hot by association. Naturally.

The Sixties are back largely because of the AMC Network TV series Mad Men, which is set in the mid-1960s and follows the fascinatingly sordid lives of the denizens of a chic, Madison Avenue ad agency. The show has influenced popular culture is so many ways - trendy bars in Chicago are offering classic cocktails like Pink Ladies and Rob Roys, the ideal female silhouette is changing to emulate the Anita Eckberg-like curvaceousness of actress Christina Hendricks, one of the show’s regular characters. Costume designer Janie Bryant is introducing a retail clothing line based on the show.

Shaw carpet style: Art Reflects You
But nowhere has the show had more impact than on interior design trends. More than the abstract art, sleek furniture and drum lamp shades, the trend I notice most is the widespread use of carpet. Carpet plays a major role in the Mad Men sets, and not just as area rugs – carpet is installed wall-to-wall in rooms like Don and Betty Draper’s bedroom, as well as throughout the ad agency offices.

So, is wall-to-wall carpet coming back?

Maybe, says designer and fellow Mad Men devotee Emily Morrow. Emily is Director for Color, Style and Design for Shaw Industries, a Carpet and Rug Institute member company and the world’s largest carpet manufacturer. She's also a Great Designer.

One thing is certain, Emily says - while it’s easy to recreate the look of a 1960s shag or patterned carpet using products available today, technological advances over the last sixty years have made carpet a better product – and even better value – than it was back then.

Emily agreed to talk to me for the CRI Blog.

Shag carpet samples from the 60s
BR: What has changed about carpet since the 1960s?

EM: The biggest change has been the introduction of soft fibers - carpet today is much softer to the touch. A coworker recently brought in several samples of carpets that were actually manufactured in the 60s and I was amazed at how coarse the fiber feels. There have been many other technical advances in carpet manufacturing since then, like stain and soil treatment, improved backings, and of course, the introduction of carpet made with post-consumer recycled content.

BR: What about the look?

EM: In the Sixties, carpet color palettes were shorter – maybe eight to ten colors, but the colors were bold – deep blues, reds, golds and greens. Today, a style might be offered in 40-50 colors, but 80 percent of those will be neutrals and beiges. Fifty years ago, consumers really had a tactile sense – they wanted deep pile that you could dig your toes into – we may be seeing a return to that.

Shaw 60s inspired color palette
BR: So, are we looking at a fashion trend, or is it more than that?

EM: Sixties Retro is a definite trend, but beyond that, consumers may come back to carpet because of its acoustic benefits and the warmth and comfort it brings to a room. Plus, carpet is a great value. We’ve had hard surface, hard surface, hard surface for several years, and I don’t think that is going away. But we know how hard they can be on the joints and how bad they are with acoustics in a room. Carpet is a good choice for all these reasons – plus, it’s beautiful.

Thank you Emily!

Here’s a great article about Sixties carpet styles in England, plus a designer - James Rixner - who’s creating gorgeous high-end Sixties-look rooms using wall-to-wall-carpet.

Happy Mad Men inspired Bathroom Blogfest 2010!



C.B. Whittemore said...

Bethany, you may have outdone yourself with this post! I LOVE it and how you physically brought in the 60s with those samples. Lovely, too, to hear what Emily Morrow has to say about carpet styles and colors.

Thanks so much for being part of Bathroom Blogfest 2010!


Kelvin said...

Hi Bethany,

Thank you so much for the wealth of information about carpet cleaning and about the carpet industry latest news. Being in the carpet cleaning business it's a must to learn everything about carpet and rug.

Bethany Richmond said...

Thanks for the positive feedback - I had fun with this post. And thanks to Emily Morrow for the insight (modern and retro) on carpet design. If anyone has a Sixties-inspired room scene with wall to wall carpet, I'd love to see it!

Large Oversized Rugs Carpets said...

Bethany, Keep up the great work, we love the blog and the information is super fun to read!

Bethany said...

Dear Oversized,
Thank you for the kind words - what a pleasure!

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