Fabrics for High-Traffic Commercial Spaces

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by Diana Delaney

Designers face unique challenges when choosing fabrics for commercial spaces. These high traffic areas not only tend to experience a lot of wear and tear but they also have to appeal to a broader audience while still creating a distinctive style statement.

So how do we determine the right balance between style and practicality, comfort and durability? When selecting products and material for a commercial design, there are several key considerations that I immediately take into account, as they may affect the rest of my decisions. It can be quite different from my approach to residential projects.

Commercial buildings often have special requirements in order for a project to meet building codes and various regulations. In terms of fabric selections, consideration must be given to abrasion resistance, lightfastness, fire-retardancy and antibacterial or antimicrobial requirements (most often required in healthcare settings). While we may occasionally use these standards as a guiding principle, they are not often a defining requirement in a residential setting.

_D3_9844Once we have established the general rules, objectives, and budget for the project, the next step is determining what type of furniture components are needed and how they will be used. Most clients have specific requirements for the life cycle of products they are purchasing, so my job is to ensure that the pieces we specify and fabrics we use meet the expected life expectancy, and this is notwithstanding any guarantees and warranties.  After all, once a project is installed and completed, the last thing anyone wants is the hassle of repairs or replacements.

Usage scenarios for each piece also helps us to determine how durable the fabrics need to be, whether they need to be spill and stain resistant or fade resistant. For example, consideration for things such as much natural light enters the space and whether it will be coming into direct contact with the fabric; where will window treatments be used and whether they need blackout options or adjustable shades. If we are putting an ottoman in a seating area, will people actually be sitting on it, or is it perhaps more likely food and drinks will be placed on it like a coffee table?  All of these things come into play as we move forward in the design process.

For contract furniture specifically, I like using faux and bonded leathers for sofas, then perhaps throwing in a bold or playful fabric on any accent pieces or in the accessories. Bonded leathers look great, are easy to clean and can be found at reasonable price points. Wearability is paramount here again due to the fact that they will inevitably be abused through daily wear and tear.

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For commercial bedding, I am a fan of clean, white linens. They can be washed at high heat and with bleach so it is a simple and classic option that never goes out of style and will be relatively easy to maintain. You can always update the look with various weaves and patterns that are still white-on-white. I recommend bed-ends or darker quilts to protect the linens, as one of the first things people do when they enter a new bedroom or hotel room with a freshly-made bed is jump on it and put up their shoe-clad feet!  Coming up with creative methods to meet practical requirements while maintaining the integrity of your design is sometimes a challenge, but is certainly a welcome one for both the designer as well as the clients and those who eventually end up enjoying the space.

Although the design process is often built upon inspiration, the project parameters and fabric application ultimately determine the final selections. You work backwards from the point of that inspiration; meaning, you may find a fabulous colour, piece of artwork or fabric that originally inspires you and although it is not practical to apply that fabric to a high-traffic hotel lobby chair (for example, that custom silk you fall in love with), you may still use the pattern or colour which may lead your design in a direction that is indeed suitable for that space and that project.

The universe never falls short on inspiration; it is simply keeping your eyes (and mind) open enough to receive it.

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Diana’s work with Custom Home Interiors over the past five years has largely involved creating design concepts for model homes, condos and lobbies, as well as developing corporate housing programs for our sister company Corporate Housing Interiors Ltd.
 
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Custom Home Interiors works with industry professional to provide leading edge furniture, appliances, home automation, fireplaces, window treatments and fittings for commercial and residential projects.

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Bathroom Renovations – From “Overlooked” to “Incredible”

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The bathroom is often one of the most outdated areas in the home as it is not a highly visible area.  But by tearing down the outdated wall paper and updating those mustard yellow fixtures, the value of your home can increase significantly.  So why not unveil the hidden potential that exists in your bathroom!

Minding your budget, you can choose to renovate your bathroom in one go, or work on it in stages. Either way, here are some helpful tips to make the most out of your bathroom space!

• The variety available in tiles today is endless.  Ditch the linoleum and install a beautiful porcelain tile for the floor, such as the one seen below.  This tile has the look of a linen suit, gorgeous and unique!

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• A fresh coat of paint goes a long way!  Think “spa atmosphere” and work with muted colours.  Some of my favorites from C2 include “Seraph”; a pale, soft grey, and “Parchment”; a warm fawn shade.

• Replacing the fixtures will make a huge difference.  The standard builder fixtures do not add any “sparkle” to your bathroom.  Consider the two sink faucets below.  Which one would you choose?

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standard builder Fixture

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“Dryden” Faucet by Delta

Lighting can make a world of difference in the bathroom!  A chic pot light in the shower and over head vanity light complemented by simple wall sconces make it easier to see when shaving or applying makeup.

• Small details and accessories go a long way, adding a sensible and aesthetically pleasing touch.  A stylish teak bench in the shower, glass apothecary jars on the vanity and a storage unit for towels marry practical and pretty!

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Image courtesy of: hyggenook.com

The bathroom should be a retreat.  Update this space to make the most of it now for your own use and to attract potential buyers for the future!  If you are considering a bathroom renovation in your own home, visit Custom Home Interiors Showroom & Design Center to “ignite your imagination”!

Say it with me, “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh”.

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Kiersten Lowden
Custom Home Interiors

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It’s a cocktail affair at the CHI Grand Re-Opening Industry Night

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To celebrate the recent renovations that we did to our fabulous design showroom in Ottawa, we decided to have a little party with our partners from the Ottawa Housing & Design Industry!! It turned out to be an amazing night with excellent food and music as guests mingled and schmoozed with friends and partners alike.

Here is just a taste of how the evening transpired:

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The stage was set. Lights, Food, Drinks. And we were in action…The CHI Showroom was
dressed to the nines for this auspicious night.

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CHI also had a silent auction which featured sponsors from Hot899, Miele, Strokes of Genius Painting, and a host of
other hotels & spa’s. All proceeds were donated to the Habitat for Humanity National Capital Region.

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Industry Guests from all over Ottawa had made an appearance

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CHI Sales & Marketing Director sharing a laugh with Penny Southam from Southam Design

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CHI Director of Operations Tyler Dren delivers his speech in introducing the CHI Team to the
Industry. Tyler highlighted that much of the success that CHI has enjoyed is down it’s most valuable asset, it’s employees.

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Now how can’t you have a party without a BIG CAKE!

Congratulations to the Directors of Custom Home Interiors. What was once
an idea from a business competition, is now an 8000 sq. ft reality.

On behalf at everyone at Custom Home Interiors, we would like to thank everyone who attended and made this event night to remember.

Thank You!

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Custom Home Interiors Wins 2010 Ottawa Citizen Peoples Choice Award for Housing Design!

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The Greater Ottawa Home Builders Association Housing Design Awards are essentially the Oscars for the Home & Design industry in Ottawa. This is the event where Home Builders, Architects, Designers and Industry Partners get to showcase their best work and wow the who’s who of Ottawa.

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Custom Home Interiors was eligible for one of the most coveted and prestigious awards of the evening, the Ottawa Citizen Peoples Choice Award.  This is where the people of Ottawa have a chance to voice their opinion on who they think had the best design project, and while according to the judges, it was a close call, CHI won!

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Custom Home Interiors Team Members (From left to right) Sean Howard, Tyler Dren, Michaela Shirley, Andrew Emmans, Suzy Kendrick & Tim Das

“Winning the Ottawa Citizen Peoples Choice Award is an absolute honour for CHI.  We are very proud of our team and our work and will ensure that our clients and potential clients will continue to see this from us. We will always strive to be the best we can be for the people.”  – Andrew Emmans, Director of Sales & Marketing

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Custom Home Interiors Directors Tyler Dren (left) & Andrew Emmans at 2010 GOHBA Housing Design Awards

The Housing and Design Awards features 41 categories that range from custom kitchens & bathrooms, builder homes, condos, green initiatives, renovator of the year and more.

Custom Home Interiors submission fell under the Open Category as well as the Ottawa Citizen Peoples Choice Award. The Open Category allows GOHBA members to showcase a housing project, custom home or renovations anywhere in North America.  Our submission was for a home that we had renovated and outfitted in Caledon, Ontario with furniture and décor that defined the home owners personality.  Our presentation board featured all the designs and inspirations that went toward bringing this home from concept to reality which beat out some tough competition to land itself a place in the finals amongst 3 other companies.

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CHI Director of Sales & Marketing Andrew Emmans presents an award at 2010 Housing Design Awards

On behalf of the entire Custom Home Interiors team, we’d like to thank the people of Ottawa for selecting CHI as your premiere choice for home outfitting and design in the nations capital.

By Suzy Kendrick & Tim Das

suzy@customhomeinteriors.ca
timothy@customhomeinteriors.ca

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How to Decorate with Colour?

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So the time has come to select  colours will  make up the fabric and décor of your space. Selecting a colour palette for your home can prove to be challenge. There are just so many choices that you just don’t know where to start. Here are some quick helpful tips to consider when selecting colour for your home:

1.    The easiest and most simple thing to begin selecting colours for your space is work off an inspiration. It could be a piece of furniture, painting or fabric swatch that catches the eye. These elements will give you a direction in terms of what colour you would be most comfortable with.

2.    Don’t be scared to work with non-neutral colours like grey, brown or cream as long as fill the space with accessories. Let the walls be neutral but add colour to the space with the use of pillows, window coverings, area rugs and etc.

3.    When you have selected a colour palette it is always recommended to purchase testers. Testers are small samples of the paint colour that you can either paint on the wall or on large pieces of bristol board.  If the location that you are at does not provide testers, you can also take a few of the paint chip of the colour and paste them on a larger piece of paper so that you are able to see it on a large scale. This is recommended to provide the true colour that is to be applied.

Below are two examples of how to use neutral colours on the wall and accent colours through accessories:

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Reference:  www.countryliving.com

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Reference: decorology.blogspot.com.

4.    Look at the colour in the morning, in the afternoon, and the evening to determine if that is the colour option that you are truly happy with. When selecting a colour at the store you are looking at it under different light then what you may have in your home. Light has a large factor in how the colour will actually look in the space.

5.    Having the right colour on your walls will make a large change in the space. Colour will create the right feeling in the space, so it is important that you select the right one for the right space for your home.

So instead at looking at the colour selection process as a challenge, have some fun with it. Experiment. Take the road less traveled and discover the endless colour selections that will ultimately set the tone of the space!

Amy Carter
Custom Home Interiors

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Make a Big Impact in a Small Way: Simple Ways to Give Your Kitchen a Facelift Without Breaking the Bank!

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Renovating a kitchen is no easy task.  It can be time consuming and expensive!  But, with the right information and your imagination, you can position yourself to save a lot of money for when that big day arrives.

Here are a few quick tips on how to make the most out of your kitchen renovations:

Re-stain, re-face or re-finish your cabinets

Give your kitchen a simple facelift!  Changing the look without having to replace them entirely is a great way to save money and still give your kitchen that new feel. It is best that you hire a professional to do this for you to ensure that it is done correctly.

Update your cabinetry hardware

Updating your cabinetry hardware is a simple and inexpensive way to liven up your kitchen.  For chic, modern cabinets, try a long pull handle to give your kitchen a sleek look. For a traditional kitchen, try to select hardware with a bronze or nickel finish to maintain it’s overall look and feel.

Add or change your outdated light fixtures

Lighting is a great way to accentuate the ambience in a space. Lighting adds warmth and creates a welcoming environment for guests and a wonderful workspace for the whole family to enjoy. Pendant lights over top of an island are a great way to add that extra little twinkle.

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Modernize your kitchen backsplash

Changing your kitchen backsplash from the drab plain white builder’s grade tiles will definitely give your kitchen new life.  For a modern kitchen, mosaic glass tiles are a popular choice.  For a traditional style kitchen, try a tumbled marble or travertine to give your kitchen the texture and warmth to create an elegant space.

Add new window treatments

Window treatments are a great way to dress up a kitchen and can add texture, pattern and colour. Custom Home Interiors works with the extensive line of Hunter Douglas products to offer beautiful window treatments that are functional and a great addition.

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These few tips will help you save on cash and have your friends envying your gorgeous new space!

Custom Home Interiors Showroom & Design Centre is a great place to start whether you’re just at the “getting ideas” stage or you’re ready to place the order for your new cabinet doors.  We’re here to help by giving you the right information for your kitchen renovation which will make all the difference in cost, style and overall satisfaction.  Come visit us at 2202 Thurston Drive or at 855 Industrial Rd, Ottawa, where our team of representatives will help you tackle that kitchen renovation you’ve always wanted to do!

Kayla Yenson
Custom Home Interiors
Kayla@customhomeinteriors.ca

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Uncover the Fabric That Will Re-Define Your Space

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When looking at the four blank walls in an un-defined space, it can be difficult and somewhat frustrating to imagine what the finished product will look like.  Getting started on a new project can be a tedious task.  However, with the right inspiration, you can make that blank canvas into your own personal masterpiece in no time.

A simple way to select a colour scheme for a room in your home is to start with a fabric you love!  A patterned textile will showcase colours that complement each other.   Once the appropriate fabric and colour are chosen, the rest is easy.  Use the fabric’s colour and style as a base style for the rest of the space.

Belle Maison’s Julie Thigpen (www.bellemaison23.com) put together a “Décor Inspiration Vignette” that I absolutely love.  The inspiration behind her     design came from the Amy Butler fabric (Nigella Twill Water Lotus Forest) at the top left.

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Resources: 1) Fabric Amy Butler Nigella Twill Water Lotus Forest – $14.98/yd; 2) Devon Mirror – $149; 3) Santee Sioux Pillow – $54; 4) Gold Festival Pillow – $128; 5) Jasper Table Lamp – $535; 6) Cinchwaist Iron/Glass Table (Arteriors Home); 7)Savoir Chair in Sangria Fabric – $899; 8) Jacqui White Chest – $1,525

In terms of some tips and key points to keep in mind, remember the following:

  • When dealing with large furniture pieces such as the sofa, they are best upholstered in light, muted tones.
  • Select a neutral hue from the palette of colours and punch it up with a bold colour on an accent chair with throw pillows in a selected patterned fabric.
  • Another neutral hue in the fabric is often great for wall colour.  Whether it’s rich or muted, this colour will translate well into a large area as it is neutral and will showcase unique items in the room.
  • A classic chair can be brought to life using a bold colour from the fabric, such as hot pink or peacock blue just as Belle Maison did.

Don’t be afraid to be creative and experiment!  Colour and pattern will bring other elements of the space to life.  Mix and match to create a room that defines you and expresses your personality. Discover the hidden potential your space has to offer, based on one simple fabric!

By Kiersten Lowden
Custom Home Interiors

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Birds of a Feather Flock Together @ Custom Home Interiors Tweet-Up

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Wow!  What a turnout at Custom Home Interiors‘ 1st Tweet-Up!  With the delicious food, fantastic company and wine flowing, we’re still trying to figure out what the best part of the event was.  So, for now, we’ll just say the whole thing!

Image and video hosting by TinyPicKimberley Seldon withThe Moggit Girls, Mary Taggart, Jane Daly & Heather Burke

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Custom Home Interiors’ Suzy Kendrick (far left) helps one event attendee with their first tweet

Behind the scenes, a lot went into getting the CHI Showroom ready for the Tweet-Up.  We are in the final stages of a total showroom renovation, so all the staff pulled together and worked really hard to make CHI shine.  We cleaned!  We organized!  We “made pretty”!

For some of the “pretty”, we’d like to sincerely thank @MVPetals (Florist Michelle VandenBosch).  Michelle prepared 3 amazing floral arrangements for us and WOW did they ever add to the beauty of the new diggs.

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Floral arrangement by @MVPetals a.k.a Michelle Vanden Bosch

A BIG special thanks to Kimberley Seldon, and her daughter, Raleigh, for coming up from Toronto to see us again.  We were thrilled to have her back.  Since Kimberley’s seminar at the CHI Showroom in March was such a huge hit, we knew a reunion would have to be arranged.  However, this one would have a little twist to it.  We wanted to put a face to all the names we “tweet” with so frequently.

Tweet-Up n. A real world meeting between two or more people who know each other through the online Twitter service.

Image and video hosting by TinyPicNames tags were worn by all showing their Twitter handle at the top and “real world” name underneath (ex. CHIOttawa/Tim or CCIOttawa/Suzy).  One person even did their very first “tweet” at the event.  Once everyone had arrived, we were treated to some insider tips from Mary Taggart from Ottawa at Home magazine on how to get yourself published.  Then Kimberley Seldon gave some tips on how to use Twitter effectively. (Credit to Design Ties for writing down these great points!)

  • 30% of your tweets should be about you and give some insight into who you are. Let people get to know the real you.
  • 30% of your tweets should be about your business (assuming you have a business you want to promote).
  • 30% of your tweets should be thanking people who mention you in their tweets. Share the love!!

For all you mathematicians out there, yes, that still leaves 10%.  So, we decided that the last section should be bumped up to 40%.  Make the extra 10% about recognizing your followers.  Keep sharing the love and give props!

Image and video hosting by TinyPicKimberley Seldon explaining the benefits & best practices of Twitter

On that note, we really wants to show Twitter some love.  Twitter has given CHI such a tremendous amount of brand exposure as well as introduced us to many designers in the Ottawa community.  Through these connections we’ve been given fresh & cool design ideas and found a great way to spread the news about different events.  As I’m sure you all know, news on Twitter travels fast!

So why should your business develop and maintain a social media strategy?  Here’s what we think:

“Twitter has enabled me to create and nuture meaningful business relationships as I am able to share and collaborate with my peers.  It’s critical that you manage your brand effectively on Twitter and especially pay attention to what people are saying about you.” – Tim Das, Custom Home Interiors

“Being new to Ottawa and the design industry, Twitter has been a fantastic way to meet people and find out what’s going on in the world of design and decorating in the nation’s captial.  Building and maintaining a reliable network of contacts is so important in business development and as I move forward with the development Custom Commercial Interiors, I know that Twitter will continue to be a powerful tool.”  – Suzy Kendrick, Custom Commercial Interiors

We’re not the only ones who think Twitter is great!  Take a look at this video from our Tweet-Up:

Thanks again to those who attended.  Until next time!

– Tim Das & Suzy Kendrick

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Calling all Design Professionals!!!!!

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Everyone has dreams, goals and ambitions. Certain dreams and ambitions might involve starting up a business or finally doing the thing that you love most. BUT! You are inexperienced, scared and unsure where to turn to?

Well now there is an answer………

When Kimberley Seldon held her Business of Design seminar at Custom Home Interiors in Ottawa, a common issue that arose among designers was that there was no actual place to go for help when it came to dealing with business issues and practices related to the design industry. Especially if you are just starting out and do not have the budget to hire a business coach.

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As a result, Ottawa based designer, Donna Hargrove of DH Designs, decided to start the Ottawa Design Network Group (ODNG) and mold it into a community of designers, decorators and students. The sole purpose of this group is simple. Share information and support each other in developing their design business and create an open forum where design professionals can express their concerns and find common solutions to the issues that they face on a daily basis.

The motto of the Ottawa Design Network Group is 80% Business / 20% Design

The ODNG held it’s first session at the Custom Home Interiors showroom and the attendance exceeded our expectations. Over 25 designers from all over Ottawa and its surrounding areas showed up with the right attitude and zeal to share and collaborate with their peers on design and business issues!

If you were unable to make it for the first session, the ODNG group has decided to meet once every 6 weeks at the Custom Home Interiors showroom.

Next meeting has been scheduled for:

Thursday June 24th 2010
6:30pm
CHI Boardroom 1

If you are a design professional and reside in the Ottawa region, and are looking for a place to connect and collaborate with other designers, please click on the link below to register for the next session!

http://bit.ly/cbyYTx

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Learning About Quality: Dutch Quality Stone @ CHI

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As the newest member of the CHI team, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to learn about all the fantastic products CHI features in the showroom.  One really great thing I love about the items we carry are the interesting back stories or company histories that accompany many of them.  Dutch Quality Stone is one of those products.
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Started as a family company in Ohio 20 years ago, Dutch Quality Stone prides itself on the fact that 85% of the people they employ to manufacture the product are Amish.  (Interesting Fact:  The world’s largest Amish Community lives in Wayne County, Ohio.)  Company Representative Bill Archibald says this is because the Amish are extremely fussy about their work; quality and consistency being their primary concerns.

“In our corner of the world, people believe in doing things right.”  www.dutchqualitystone.com

Curiosity got the better of me and I wanted to know about the Amish way of life.  I discovered that Amish children start learning trades as early as Grade 8.  No wonder they have a reputation for hard work and fine craftsmanship!  For your own education, check this video out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1ALGtEpbfU

Wondering how these manufactured stone veneers are made?  Basically, it goes a little something like this.  The stones come from a quarry where, I like to think, they are selected based on their individuality and “specialness”.  They’re brought in and a latex mould is made.  Then, the veneer is made using a combination of concrete and fired shale.  (Shale means broken down pieces of stone.)  From there, they are painted and have many different colour combinations depending on the layout you select.

“Dutch Quality Stone has been at the forefront of advanced stone replication for over a decade, perfecting the process of recreating incredibly vivid stone products.”  www.dutchqualitystone.com

At CHI, we specifically showcase “The Trillium Collection” which represents the best of what the company has to offer.  These stone styles and colours have been specifically selected for the discerning Canadian Homeowner.  Sample boards are available for designers to use as well.  These are my two favourite styles:

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Prestige Weather Ledge

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Natural Blend Ledgestone

Whether for the exterior or interior of your home, stone feature walls or store fronts, this products adds such beautiful character.  At significantly less than the cost of natural stone, accompanied by its 50 year warranty, it’s a great product to consider for your home or commercial space.  Come visit us in the showroom and check it out for yourself!  And make sure you say hi to me as well when you’re here, I’m looking forward to meeting you all!

-Suzy Kendrick

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