But expanded color palettes and unusual surface treatments emerge
January 30/February 6, 2017: Volume 31, Number 17
By Reginald Tucker
As dealers and distributors traversed the show floor at Surfaces last month, they caught glimpses of something familiar. Many found themes that emerged from Surfaces 2016—longer boards, wider widths, innovative surface texture treatments—carried over into this year’s show. Not that it’s a bad thing—dealers and distributors asked manufacturers to develop more products consumers are clamoring for today.
At the same time, suppliers were not content to rest on their laurels. Several companies looked to expand the boundaries by pushing the limits in terms of color combinations, unique surface textures and treatments.
Case in point was Armstrong’s new solid and engineered offerings in its TimberBrushed and TimberCuts lines. Based on consumer and end-user demand, the award-winning TimberBrushed line is now available in both solid and engineered construction.
Likewise, TimberCuts is now available in both solid and engineered construction to meet all installation needs. Rounding out the new offerings is the addition of hickory to the Prime Harvest collection along with extensions to the popular American Scrape line.
Another eye-catching product line extension was uncovered at the Mannington space. In keeping with consumer demands for hardwood flooring designs that combine rustic elements with softer, less saturated hues, the company rolled out additions to popular existing collections. These introductions included wide, long planks that are subtly textured and distressed, then stained in an on-trend color palette.
The new patterns include: Iberian Hazelwood, marked by a lot of character with subtle hand scraping and deep multi-layer hand staining. Iberian Hazelwood offers a refined yet dramatic look and features an on-trend matte finish in planks that are 6 ½ inches wide and in lengths up to 7 feet. Available in four hues: almond, chestnut, macadamia and pecan. Next is an update to Normandy Oak, the best-selling design in the Maison Collection. Refreshed with two new colors, Normandy oak is a classic European-inspired look that’s lightly wire brushed and dual stained to create subtle variation from plank-to-plank. Planks are 7 inches wide and up to 7 feet long and come in two new, light hues—bistro and brulee—which speak to today’s interior decorating trends, according to Mannington.
“These floors are at home in interiors from classic to contemporary; urban to farmhouse,” said Dan Natkin, vice president, hardwood and laminate.
Armstrong and Mannington weren’t the only companies drawing traffic and interest with their new offerings. HF Design launched a whopping 52 new styles at Surfaces in a strategy designed to “freshen up the offering and also to stay ahead of the curve,” said Alex Shaoulpour, president. Also unveiled was an entirely new collection called American Relics. This line offers products that feature a multi-texture, dual hand-staining process that delivers a greater degree of variation from plank to plank.
“There is no better way to start off the new year than with a tremendously successful show,” Shaoulpour said. “This year Surfaces was even more important for us as we introduced many of our new collections with high remarks such as American Relics, Montara Reserve, Montage Ferno and Aquasense. It was very uplifting to see we are right on point with our forward styles and designs.”
For HF Design, the aggressive expansion was not only about building its SKUs. It was also about ensuring its retailer and distributor partners get the support they need in terms of competitive products.
“Our initiative for 2017 is to strengthen our partnerships with our distributors as they gain market share and also build upon our reputation as market leader in all three product categories—hardwood, laminate and waterproof LVT,” Shaoulpour said. “We are dedicated to working closer with our partners to develop styles and decors that speak more to their local market trends at competitive price points.”
Other major suppliers used Surfaces as a platform to showcase their new product extensions. Quick-Step, for example, expanded its popular Elongé wider/longer collection to now include wire-brushed floors with a soft finish cerused wood visual. The new Elongé designs evoke a hand-crafted quality and appeal to the large number of consumers seeking hardwood floors that bring a rustic, time-worn look to a room.
“Like Quick-Step laminate, Q-Wood hardwood is a fashion-driven product line that offers the richest, most sophisticated premium looks available in tandem with low maintenance and resistance to the wear of daily living,” said Roger Farabee, senior vice president of laminate & hardwood for Mohawk North American Flooring. “Our new Q-Wood Elongé ceruse designs offer style and craftsmanship through unique artisan hardwood floors designed with the latest trends in mind. Three of today’s hottest trends are longer/wider planks, wire-brused surfaces, and cerused visuals. The new Elongé line additions offer all of these attributes in a spectrum of fashion-forward colors with ceruse staining that features a combination of gray, white, and beige tones.”
On the higher end of the spectrum, DuChâteau displayed a bevy of new products in categories across the board (including porcelain and concrete), but it also stayed true to its hardwood origins by putting the spotlight on additions to its signature Atelier Series.
Products in the Atelier Series do not contain aluminum oxide or polyurethane finishes like the typical 3- or 5-inch products you see out there, according to the company. Instead, it focuses is on the hard-wax oil visual, which provides a rich patina and refinement consistent with upscale European styling.
In that same vein, Provenza, another high-end hardwood flooring supplier, displayed its broad offering of custom finished floors. Dealers flooded the booth to preview collections that ranged from custom parquetry to stained wood floors all the way up to products featuring detailed weathered treatments. “Our goal is to provide our distributors and retailers with products they can’t find down the street or at a competitor,” said Ron Sadri, president.
Mohawk also broadened some of its signature wood lines to keep up with consumer demand. Weathered Vision aims to capture the rustic, reclaimed beauty of a Midwestern barn loft, while Modern Vision is designed for consumers who lean toward more modern, cool visuals. Lastly, Coastal Impressions features a neutral color palette of whites, grays and light beiges in long, wide planks.
(Look for more Surfaces coverage in future editions.)