BLF&R Interior Designer Featured in Regional Magazine

Paula Drury, Certified Interior Designer at BLF&R Architects, recently addressed the latest trends in commercial design in the September 2015 issue of Cape & Plymouth Business Magazine. Here’s a reprint of the story that was published:

Wondering What the Latest Trend In Office Design Is? Just Look Down.

By Paula Drury, NCIDQ

Flooring. It’s the palette upon which all other interior design choices are made, but often it’s selected as an afterthought. Most people focus on the furnishings and wall colors when thinking about office design. They simply want a floor covering that is subtle, durable, and easy to clean. I’d like to challenge you to think of the floor covering as the foundation of the design. It is one of the first things a visitor will see and “feel” as they walk into the space. It has the capability of brightening or darkening the room. It can direct the flow of traffic. It can partition space. It can convey a sense of warmth, professionalism, luxury and more.   

As an Interior Designer, I’m constantly challenged to keep up with the latest trends and research available and I’d like to share a collection of the more interesting trends in commercial tile flooring.

Long gone are the days of 12 x 12 tiles with unsightly grout lines.  Advancements in the tile industry are reshaping the industry and have opened up many new possibilities. The following are some examples.

Large Format: 3-by-10-foot porcelain tiles offer many possibilities. In the past, whenever you opted for tile, you also had to live with grout lines running everywhere. With 3-by-10 foot tiles, you can cover large areas of walls and floor in pure color or a textured finish with very few grout lines that are nearly invisible because the tiles can be set very close together. The 3-millimeter thickness of these large tiles is also beneficial to remodelers because it makes the messy, time-consuming step of removing old floor tiles unnecessary; in most cases these tiles can go over the old ones. The large 3-by-10-foot tiles can also be used for counters and vanities. Not only do you get a great look, but only a single tile is used, so there are no grout lines to keep clean.

Planks: Wood look tile flooring has become one of the hottest trends in the flooring industry today. With the advancements in manufacturing processes, porcelain tile that looks like natural wood are being used in projects large and small. No longer limited to traditional sizes, tile can now be manufactured in what are called planks, or tiles that are rectangular in shape. Thanks to advancements in technology and manufacturing processes, this tile flooring contains a level of detail not previously possible. Detail so innovative and precise that these products can mirror the look and feel of a hand scraped wood floor.

Rectified:  A tile that has been rectified has had all of its edges mechanically finished in order to achieve a more precise dimension. The benefit to a rectified tile is that you are able to use a much thinner grout joint, as narrow as 1/16”.

Digital Technology: In today’s market the demand for natural stone tile is declining as it is now so simple to replicate the look of stone, despite the fact they inherently fluctuate in their design. Not only do you get the same aesthetic, but because the engineered stone is actually porcelain, you get a stronger and more durable material that is more environmentally friendly.

Microban: Microban technology is permanently integrated in the tile surface during the manufacturing process to help prevent the growth of bacteria on the tile surface, providing 24/7, long lasting, durable protection for the life of the ceramic tile. This provides an amazing tool in the hands of architects and designers looking to develop environments with high performance when it comes to hygiene, cleanliness, safety and ease of maintenance for healthcare projects as well as hotels, restaurants and wellness centers.

Carpet Tile: Just like floor tile, the carpet industry has jumped on the plank trend. Carpet tiles are now available in various sizes including many rectangular “plank” sizes. The design possibilities are endless and can truly become a feature of your project.

These are just a few examples of the endless possibilities when considering the interior design of your new or renovated office. Each project brings its own list of challenges and considerations. Remember that one of the most important steps in the design of your new office – choosing the right flooring – will impact every other design choice you make.

Paula Drury is a Certified Interior Designer at Brown Lindquist Fenuccio & Raber Architects, Inc. with more than 15 years of experience in Commercial and Residential interior design.