Friday, January 21, 2011

Natural Grass, Sisal, and Jute Rugs--What's the Difference?


The many offerings of natural fiber rugs have increased exponentially. The one shown above is actual size! This large and chunky pattern is 100% sisal. This is far more exotic than the basic sisals we started out with! It is made by Prestige Mills and can be customized to any size.

We are asked all of the time about what is better: sisal, seagrass or jute? Why aren't they soft and how come some stores have some that are so inexpensive compared to others?

Let's see if we can answer a few of your questions!
The photos below are from a company called Fibreworks.

Seagrass rugs and carpets are relatively non-absorbent and hard, do not often stain and dirt is easily brushed loose. They have a non porous surface that gives it a naturally smooth texture and sheen. It’s rigidity gives it natural durability.

Sisal is the most versatile of natural flooring materials. It holds up well with medium traffic. You should clean your rug twice a year to prevent accelerated wear. It is a little "itchy" and rough to touch.

Jute rugs are so soft, they are ideal for bedroom floors, but it is not practical material for areas of heavy wear, as it is difficult to clean and develops watermarks if it gets wet.

Price differences occur depending on the quality of the finishing process--mostly how the fibers were dried, affecting stain resistance and durability. If the rug has a latex backing it will add to the price but it also increases stain resistance and the longevity of the rug.

A few final words about caring for your natural fiber rugs:

Visible and loose dirt should be regularly picked up with a broom or vacuum cleaner. Dirt will not cling to the hard, non-static fibers. Regular cleaning is necessary because loose particles of dirt reduce the life span of the floor covering with their scouring effect.

Water can dissolve dirt particles and bring them to the surface. This may cause watermarks to form. Therefore spilled water or water from plant containers must be dabbed immediately with an absorbent white cloth and then dried with a hair blow dryer.

Spills which are still moist, are the easiest to remove. Remove the spills promptly by scrapping up solids and blotting liquids. Follow by dabbing with a damp cloth of water (add white vinegar to the cloth to cut grease). Dry with a cloth or hair blow dryer.


Repurposed Lighting (Old Stuff Lights Up!)

Conant Metal & Light has been a favorite supplier of mine for many years. I generally use their exterior lighting for my client's vacation homes. They are reliable, do great custom work, manufacture quickly and they sure are nice people to work with!

This repurposed ball jar was written up recently on their blog...all of the lighting ideas presented really caught my attention. I have seen so many repurposed items over the last year and none of them have been as memorable as these!

Here is where to use them: pantry, scullery, kitchen, recreation room, bar, laundry room, home office/studio, vacation home...
so if you have any old jars or bottles that could use a new life call Conant Metal & Light and I am sure they can come up with something clever!


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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A New Resource for Richmond Art Collectors

On a recent Friday I was pleased to see a number of galleries crowded with art enthusiasts enjoying and purchasing the many offerings.

And now a new resource has opened for business with a refreshing take on contemporary art and photography. There is really no other dealer I can think of for those classic black and white images of everyday America. Jill Gunter has collected art and photography for over 25 years. While adding to her own collection she learned the ins and outs of the hunt, and the ups and downs of auctions in many major cities. Her website shows a nice cross section of what she has to offer.

Is he using his fingers to count?

Some of the photographs Jill has will make you laugh and others may bring a tear to your eye.

I can see using these in a small hallway or a home office; all hanging gallery style to fill the upper half of a wall.

If you need art for your kitchen or pantry consider these framed menus from a variety of well known artists who frequented "Chanterelle"on New York's upper east side. In exchange for prime tables, an opportunity to market themselves and 5 star meals the artists contributed their talents to by creating art for the menus. It beats washing dishes!

Jill Wendroff Gunter Fine Art & Photography

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