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!


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rugs, Mats and Bathroom Blogfest 2010

Mad Men's Betty Draper inspires Rugs, Mats and Bathroom Blogfest 2010
Mad Men's Betty Draper in her master bathroom

Bathroom Blogfest 2010: "Stuck in the 60s?" Times Change, but Bath Mats… Not so Much

There's a lot involved in going to the bathroom for women.

In the world of bathroom rugs, a lot has changed since the Sixties, but a lot has stayed the same. According to David Record, Bath Product Manager for Mohawk Home, solid color is still king at about 85% of the total market, and pricing is still very competitive. He says the average price for a 21 x 34 mat needs to stay below $20 for it to sell.

But while styling has more or less stayed the course, advances in technology have made big changes in how bathroom rugs are made, and how we experience them. Fibers are softer, plusher, and more colorfast. And designers are thinking outside the rectangle and designing rugs in interesting shapes, like Christmas trees, fish, this groovy, Sixties-inspired rug called “Flower Power”, and these other examples.

Just For Fun, Fuchsia Flower Power

Caress Garden, New Leaf

Just For Fun, Lime
David expects that you'll start seeing these in stores for the Fall 2011 Back-to-School/College season.

Mohawk Home's newest line brings a new dimension of comfort to the bath in the form of a quilted fabric mat that contains a core of cushy memory foam. David says, “It’s like stepping on a cloud.” Called “The Caress Collection” the ultra-soft mats are available at JCPenney  and will soon be featured at Kohl’s stores.

Bathroom Blogfest 2010: stuck in the 60s?
Thanks, David! 

Betty Draper would approve.

~ Bethany

Note: David Record last shared perspectives on Bath Mats in David Record, Mohawk Home, on Bathmats for Bathroom Blogfest '09.

Bathroom Blogfest 2010 takes place from October 25 through 29 as described in the press release.  Bathroom Blogfest Participants include the following bloggers and blogs. You can follow the week’s activities on Facebook and via Twitter if you follow #BathroomEXP or check out

BloggerBlog NameBlog URL
Susan AbbottCustomer Experience CrossroadsCustomer Experience Crossroads
Paul AnaterKitchen and Residential Design
Shannon BilbyBig Bob's Outlet
Shannon BilbyCarpets N More Blog
Shannon BilbyDolphin Carpet Blog
Shannon BilbyFrom The Floors Up
Shannon BilbyMy Big Bob's Blog
Toby Bloomberg Diva Marketing
Laurence Borel Blog Till You Drop
Bill BuyokAvente Tile Talk Blog
Jeanne Byington The Importance of Earnest Service
Becky CarrollCustomers Rock!
Marianna Chapman Results Revolution
Katie Clark Practial Katie
Nora DePalma American Standard's Professor Toilet
Nora DePalma O'Reilly DePalma: The Blog
Leigh Durst LivePath Experience Architect Weblog
Valerie FritzThe AwarepointBlog
Iris GarrottChecking In and Checking Out
Tish GrierThe Constant Observer
Renee LeCroyYour Fifth Wall
Joseph MichelliDr. Joseph Michelli's
Veronika MillerModenus Blog
Arpi NalbandianTILE Magazine Editor BlogTILE Magazine Editor's Blog
Maria PalmaPeople 2 People Service
Reshma Bachwani ParitoshThe Qualitative Research Blog
David PolinchockPolinchock's Ponderings
Victoria Redshaw & Shelley Pond Scarlet Opus Trends Blog
David ReichMy 2 Cents
Sandy Renshaw Around Des Moines
Sandy Renshaw Purple Wren
Bethany RichmondCarpet and Rug Institute Blog
Bruce SandersRIMtailing Blog
Steve TokarPlease Be Seated
Carolyn TownesBecoming a Woman of Purpose
Stephanie WeaverExperienceology
Christine B. WhittemoreFlooring The Consumer
Christine B. WhittemoreSimple Marketing Blog
Christine & Ted WhittemoreSmoke Rise & Kinnelon Blog
Christine B. WhittemoreThe Carpetology Blog
Linda WrightLindaLoo Build Business With Better Bathrooms

Thursday, October 21, 2010

CRI Commercial Survey - Good News For Carpet Industry: Werner Braun

CRI Commercial Survey - Good News For Carpet Industry: Werner Braun

Commercial Survey of carpet specificers and end-users is good news for carpet industry and its suppliers says Werner Braun.

In his August 5th, 2010 column - titled Survey good news for carpet industry and its suppliers - for the Dalton, Georgia Daily Citizen, Carpet and Rug Institute President Werner Braun discusses the results of CRI’s latest Commercial Survey of carpet specifiers and end-users. The survey examines current attitudes toward carpet, and mines information on floor covering preferences and satisfaction among purchasing decision-makers in the corporate, retail, education, health care, government and hospitality sectors.

According to the article,

“We want to know why people are buying carpet, what they look for in their floor covering, and most importantly, why they are not buying carpet. It’s these general attitudes which help us shape our marketing plans. After all, if you can’t measure something then you can’t improve it.”

A few details about the survey: it was conducted online by Charlton Research Company during March 2010 and netted 1,127 responses. The margin of error is +/-2.9 percent. This was CRI’s fifth Commercial Survey since 2003, and the first since 2008.

The new survey revealed an upward trend in both the usage and favorable opinion of broadloom carpet and carpet tile. It shows that carpet is highly competitive with other flooring choices and the perceived value of carpet continues to increase steadily across all commercial sectors.

• More than 60 percent surveyed report having increased their use of carpet tile over the past two years and more than half report having increased or maintained their use of broadloom carpet over the same time period.

• Performance ratings for broadloom carpet increased from 49 to 60%, and carpet tile ratings increasing from 72 to 80%.

• Of the decision makers questioned, those in the hospitality market continue to rate broadloom carpet performance the highest while corporate customers give the strongest rating to carpet tile.

• Long-term wear, cleaning and maintenance are the most important factors in making a flooring purchase decision. Commercial carpet scores the highest on price, safety and noise reduction.

• The largest change in the perception of carpet has been among government customers who have tripled their ratings for carpet in the last five years, from 18 percent saying carpet offers superior value in 2005 to 54 percent today. Value has improved 75 percent among the corporate market over five years, from 29 percent in 2005 to 51 percent today.

• The hospitality market continues to rate carpet performance the highest while corporate customers give the strongest ratings on carpet tile.

• Durability and ease in carpet cleaning and stain removal continue to be top concerns.

• Awareness of CRI and Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE), Green Label Plus and the Seal of Approval Programs all increased since last tracking.

Another important discovery - carpet sales reps are by far the most important information source on flooring, with nearly nine out of ten respondents saying they rely on sales reps for information.

Thanks for this excellent information about the CRI Commercial Survey of carpet specifiers and end-users, Werner!


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Green Cleaning, Schools, CRI's Seal of Approval

CRI Government Director Jennifer Mendez Speaks to Green Clean Schools National Summit in DC

Green Cleaning, Schools, and Carpet and Rug Institute Seal of Approval: CRI Government Director Jennifer Mendez Speaks to Green Clean Schools National Summit in DC

On Monday mornings I can generally be found roughing DC traffic to get from my home in Alexandria, Virginia to my office in Arlington, Virginia. It’s not a bad commute really, because I don’t have to cross the Potomac. This past Monday, however, I was forced to make a trek across the Potomac’s Memorial Bridge, where I passed the Lincoln Memorial (always an awesome sight that makes me proud to live where I do), and weathered the traffic heading into downtown DC. My destination was the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) headquarters, to attend the Green Clean Schools National Summit.

Green Clean Schools is a national partnership that promotes green cleaning in schools. The initiative brings together the cleaning industry, educational leaders, parents and advocates to support schools in adopting environmentally friendly policies, practices and products. The meeting was organized by the Healthy Schools Campaign and was being held at the SEIU building, which is LEED Gold certified.

The Green Clean Schools National Summit was a bit different from the usual conferences in that I wasn’t just going to attend, I had been asked to participate in a panel discussion on behalf of CRI and our SOA program. (I was a bit surprised to be asked to participate in a panel, because I had only registered to attend the week before!) Nevertheless, I welcomed the opportunity. The meeting was attended by a small diverse group of individuals that included representatives from both major teachers unions, a stay-at-home mom, members of the commercial cleaning industry and the EPA.

The keynote speaker for the all-day event was Peter Grevatt, PhD, and Director of the Office of Children’s Health Protection, for the United State’s Environmental Protection Agency. Dr Gravett is also the Senior Advisor to the EPA Administrator on Children’s Health. His speech centered on the importance of children’s health and the role schools play in keeping kids healthy, including nutrition, exercise and school building maintenance.

For my part of the program, I shared the stage with three other speakers. Our topic: “EcoLabel Updates – GS, EL, DfE, CRI – What Changes are Happening?” My co-presenters included Arthur Weissman from Green Seal, who spoke about his organization’s new GS52 program that will address specialty cleaning products. Clive Davies with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Design for the Environment (DfE)  spoke about his program’s goals for safer products. Stephen Ashkin spoke about Eco Logo, which is a Canadian environmental certification. Ashkin cautioned the group to be aware of the implications that exist as a result of Underwriters Laboratories purchasing Terra Choice, the company that owns EcoLogo.

I wrapped up the panel by talking about CRI’s Seal of Approval program, specifically the categories for vacuum cleaners and extractors. I had limited time to speak, but I also mentioned SOA spot removers and CRI’s Green Label Plus Indoor Air Quality certification. My information was well-received, which was gratifying.

After the panel discussion, I spent the rest of the day attending presentations on regulatory updates, new trends in training and employee education and updates on what other Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) like Green Clean Schools were doing. The session I found particularly interesting, probably because I’m the Director of Government Relations for CRI, was the update on state policy and case studies. This session addressed what Green Clean Schools has been doing to promote its program in different states, what has worked, plus what hasn’t worked and why.

Clearly, the Healthy Schools Campaign (which references CRI’s programs in their “Quick & Easy Guide to Green Cleaning in Schools”) is facing some of the challenges CRI faces as we promote the SOA program. It’s unclear who in the states has jurisdiction for these types of programs. Is it Department of Education, EPA, General Services Administration or Health and Human Services? It’s very confusing, and I sometimes feel like I’m looking for a needle in a haystack.

As a result of my day spent at the Green Clean Schools Summit, I believe there are synergies we share with this group. These synergies offer us opportunities; opportunities which we shouldn’t let pass us by….


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Carpet Industry's Sustainability Achievements: Werner Braun

Carpet Industry's Sustainability Achievements: Werner Braun

Carpet Industry Gives Green Light to the Environment - New environmentally-friendly lighting just one of industry’s green achievements. "Lots to be proud of," says Werner Braun.

In his August 27, 2010 article titled Lots to be proud of in carpet industry for the Dalton Daily CitizenCarpet and Rug Institute President Werner Braun discusses the carpet industry’s significant achievements in environmental sustainability. The article states:

“We have documented such things as reduction of water usage by over 55 percent since 1995, and reduced energy consumption per unit of product by over 70 percent since 1995. Our thermal fuels used per 1,000 square yards of carpet manufactured are down almost 50 percent in that time frame.

The hazardous air pollutants have been squeezed down to over 70 percent since 1990. In fact, our industry may be one of the few in the United States that meets the Kyoto Protocol. The industry today has the same CO2 emissions as it did in 1990, yet produces 42 percent more product.”

Braun tells of a CRI member mill that contracted for an energy-savings audit from Aelux, a company that specializes in upgrading their clients’ lighting systems to make them more energy-efficient. More than just switching light bulbs, Aelux performs an entire system retrofit that lowers the client’s energy use and carbon footprint. The CRI member reported these results:

• First year total energy consumption from lighting reduced by 1.3 million kilowatts

• Total annual savings of $94,563 (45% return on original expenditure)

• Estimated 10-year savings of $945,630

• Greenhouse gas reductions: Carbon dioxide, 2.74 million pounds, nitrogen oxide, 5,973 pounds, and sulfur dioxide, 16,478 pounds. (equivalent to removing 228 cars off the road and planting 31,881 trees per year

As Braun says, “Carpet companies are becoming focused on sustainable growth, creating high performance products while decreasing their environmental footprint for the value of future generations. Sustainability means more than just recycling; it’s an entire shift in the way a company thinks about its products and the manufacturing processes in relation to the environment.”

Thank you, Werner


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

CARE's Jeremy Stroop: 40 Under 40 in Georgia Trend Magazine

CARE's Jeremy Stroop: 40 Under 40 in Georgia Trend Magazine

CARE’s Jeremy Stroop recognized for environmental, community leadership, included in Georgia Trend Magazine's 40 under 40.

Have you seen the Dalton Daily Citizen article titled "Stroop recognized in Georgia Trends magazine"?

It seems the world at large has discovered the unique talents of Jeremy Stroop.  Jeremy is the operations manager for CARE, the Carpet America Recovery Effort, a group dedicated to carpet recycling and keeping old carpet from ending up in our nation’s landfills.

Jeremy was chosen by Georgia Trend magazine as one of 40 Georgians under the age of 40 who are making a significant mark on their professions and communities. He and the other honorees were selected from more than 300 nominations from the magazine’s readers. Read the full story here.

I work with Jeremy, and I can attest that he is a special guy – sort of a cross between a Renaissance man  and the Energizer bunny.  He expends his seemingly inexhaustible energy working for CARE, volunteering for church and civic activities, riding motorcycles, and serving with his wife, Sheri, as a parent and foster parent. He is funny, highly opinionated, never takes himself too seriously, and in general is just a delightful person to know.

The press release from Georgia Trend says Jeremy was selected, “because of the significant impact that he is making across the nation and in Georgia towards increasing the reuse and recycling of old carpet, as well as his community volunteer work. As the operations manager for CARE, Stroop networks with the carpet industry, entrepreneurs, consumers and government agencies to educate and implement programs that will help recover carpet waste in order to put it to new uses.

CARE Executive Director Georgina Sikorski says of Jeremy, “He epitomizes the slogan, ‘Make a sustainable difference’. Jeremy offers resources, support and information everyday to the hundreds of people involved in the CARE network, as well as aspiring entrepreneurs who either want to become carpet recyclers or who are working on new innovations to develop products from post-consumer carpet. He is knowledgeable and focused on growing the business.”

“This is the 14th year we have recognized an outstanding group of young Georgians,” said Georgia Trend Editor Susan Percy. “Our class of 2010 includes representatives from business, government, education, law enforcement, nonprofits and the arts. It’s an impressive group and it’s a pleasure to be able to share their stories with our readers.”

Congratulations, Jeremy!


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Social Media Spreads Carpet and Rug Institute Word: Werner Braun

Social Media Spreads Carpet and Rug Institute Word: Werner Braun

Social media is a useful tool for the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) says Werner Braun.

Carpet and Rug Institute President Werner Braun’s Sept. 3, 2010 column in the Dalton, Georgia, Daily Citizen - titled Spreading the word - addresses the success of the CRI Blog

The article begins, “Communicating a message is half the battle when sharing news about an industry. The thing is, I never imagined the other half of the battle would be learning how to ‘tweet.’"

Confused? Don’t worry, you aren’t the only one. The sea of social media boggles my mind — Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, company websites and blogs — just to name a few.”

The definition of social media is simple: content or conversations that take place online. The Carpet and Rug Institute uses social media in the form of the CRI Blog, which began publishing articles twice a week in April, 2009. The beauty of social media is that it allows for a two-way conversation, no matter what your opinion. Mr. Braun continues,

“But what many have underestimated, myself included, is not only the growth and power of social media, but really how effective it can be. The latest good news to roll across my desk reflects just this.

The Carpet and Rug Institute blog captured the No. 1 ranking position for influence in a recently published post in Christine Whittemore’s Social Flooring Index, with influence being measured as a function of page rank, traffic and number of postings. The CRI blog also ranked the most social — it links to other blogs and other blogs are linked to it.

But being social is even more than being clicked on by others. It is about what is being communicated. Over the past six months, blogs in the Social Flooring Index issued 1,532 conversations and of those conversations:

• 1,001 related to carpet, wood, laminate or flooring

• 450 focused on carpet

• 252 touched on design or fashion

• 143 addressed cleaning

• 89 discussed benefits

• 32 related to recycling

• 25 touched on allergy-related topics

• 25 addressed padding”

Thank you, Werner, for bringing this information to Dalton readers!


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

How To Clean Vomit From Carpet: Cleaning Tips

Image Credit:

Cleaning Tips for Removing Pet (and Anyone Else’s) Vomit from Carpet

[Or, chucking the upchuck from your carpet in 6 easy steps...]
Here’s a good article I found on Breakthrough Carpet Care’s website about Removing Pet Vomit from Carpet. I guess it would work for human vomit, too – how many parents get through their children’s lives without that particular cleanup duty? I have a few stories I could share – but I guess that would be content for a different blog.

Tips For Cleaning Vomit From Carpet:

Here’s the scoop on removing urp:

1. Work fast
2. Scoop the solids from the carpet
3. Sprinkle the spot with baking soda – let it dry, then scrape and scoop again
4. Vacuum
5. Blot with dilute detergent solution (the article says scrub, but that could damage the carpet fiber – CRI recommends blotting only). Repeat if necessary
6. Rinse with warm water
7. If this doesn’t work, call a professional

The entire article is very informative – you can read it here.

Another tip: a wet-vac is a useful tool for removing solids and liquids out of carpet – sort of a two birds with one stone deal.

Also, the Carpet and Rug Institute has a new category for Pet Stain and Odor removal products – these are carpet cleaning solutions that have been independently tested and certified to work to remove the stains and odor associated with urine and feces, vomit, and ground-in dirt. The program is new, and several products are in the testing process. As products are approved, they will be posted on the CRI website.

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