Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Top Building Products Chosen by Readers

Throughout the year, our editor contacts with Professional Builder magazine provide news of the latest and best home building products. In the August 2015 issue, Professional Builder featured the “Top 100 Products” selected by the publication’s readers from the past year. The editors of the magazine, as always, did a top-notch job of covering the many products of interest.

The products chosen were grouped in eight categories: Windows & Doors, Exterior Products, Interior Products, Kitchen & Bath, Outdoor Living, Structural / Insulation / Housewrap, Mechanical / Electrical / Home Tech, and Lines & Collections- all the best from the Building and Construction industry.

Since all of the editorially featured products were based upon building professionals’ favorites, and the 100-featured products are indeed numerous, we decided to choose our own top product pick from each category to share with our blog readers in summary. 

Windows & Doors – Bi-Parting Patio Door | Ply Gem

Photo credit: Ply Gem
This patio door is unlike any other. It is available up to 12-feet wide and in 46 exterior colors. The Ply Gem Windows Mira Premium Impact series is also available in a variety of sizes, which can become a perfect way to customize both interiors and backyards. Whether you are an Interior Designer, Builder, Remodeler, or Developer, use this door to open up your clients’ walls and wallets. 

Exterior Products – Glass Mosaics | Marazzi USA

Photo credit: Marazzi USA
The glistening colors of Caicos glass mosaics from Marazzi USA have six mottled seascape colorways from which to choose. We love the modern touch on this art glass, and it looks great outdoors with its ever-changing light present within a space. Builders and Landscape Architects can upsell jobs with this truly impressive glass.  

Interior Products – Direct-Vent Gas Fireplace | Innovative Hearth Products

Photo credit: Innovative Hearth Products
Our most favored choice! The Astria Montebello DLXCD Direct-Vent Gas Fireplace is from one of our own PR clients, Innovative Hearth Products. This fireplace is available in an array of options, available glass media colors, and an adjustable flame height to modify the perfect look for any home or applicable commercial space. For Contractors, Builders and Architects, find information about this fireplace online here

Kitchen & Bath – Ensemble Shower with Freestanding Seat | Sterling

Photo credit: Sterling

Who wouldn’t enjoy the ability to sit while you relax in the shower? The Ensemble includes built-in shelves and is available in a neutral color to match any bathroom. The shower, with its convenience, was designed for the increasing number of buyers concerned about aging in place. Builders and General Contractors can specify this product as an upgrade for residential projects as well as medical facilities. Ensemble is worth a second look for Kitchen and Bath Remodelers and Interior Designers seeking innovative solutions for projects. 

Outdoor Living – Hardwood Deck Tiles | Advantage Lumber

Photo credit: Advantage Lumber
We are inspired by this unique deck because it gives the illusion of both a tile and hardwood foundation. Advantage Lumber offers four types of smooth-surface hardwood tile and has amazing durability. Landscape Architects and Lawn and Garden design specialists, take note of the eye-catching coloration of the tile, giving rise to new options for outdoor room design / build jobs. 

Structural / Insulation / Housewrap – Self-Adhering Underlayment | Tarco

Photo credit: Tarco
Tarco’s LeakBarrier EasyLay UDL SA has an impressive amount of uses as a roofing underlayment. It can be used in shingle, shake, slate, tile, and metal roofing applications in steep-slope roofing. It is also made from many hardy and robust components for long-term, weather-barrier performance that anyone from builder to construction owner can appreciate.

Mechanical / Electrical / Home Tech – Wireless Charging Surface | DuPont

Photo credit: DuPont
The Corian Charging Surface will make you want to get rid of those phone or tablet chargers forever. Nearly all smart devices can be charged with a charging ring from Duracell Powermat or a charging case. Just connect the ring or case to the mobile device, and voilà! If this isn’t a Kitchen and Bath designers dream, we aren’t sure what is. 

Lines & Collections – Keystone Hardscapes

Photo credit: Keystone Hardscapes
Keystone is a leading provider of hardscape products for landscaping and retaining walls as well as erosion control and surface stabilization solutions. The company’s portfolio consists of beautiful stones and borders for a stunning landscape design for any yard and to suit any Landscape Contractors’ outdoor room and patio project portfolio.

To see the rest of Professional Builder’s “Top 100 Products” and read the digital version of the issue, visit:

To learn how to develop media coverage and publicity for your own building products, take a look at our website’s What We Do and Our Industries pages. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Get a Jumpstart on Your 2016 Sales and Marketing Plan!

If you are like most business owners or marketing professionals, you know all too well that cultivating leads, prospects and sales requires advanced planning. Waiting until the onset of the new calendar year puts your marketing programs at a huge disadvantage.

In fact, it is any marketer’s critical question: What is the best and most strategic step to keeping powerful and creative marketing momentum alive for a successful calendar-year ahead? 

Strategic marketing plans can help you reach your target audiences, boost your customer base, enhance branding, qualify more sales leads, and, ultimately, increase your bottom line. Not to mention, having a well-written and executed marketing program lends to the process of setting clear, realistic and measurable objectives for your sales team and business.

For businesses focused upon residential and commercial interior design; architecture; building and construction; kitchen and bath; furniture, accessories and lighting; horticulture and agribusiness; lawn, garden and landscape; or hardware and homeware- we customize and execute long-term integrated marketing programs that generate qualified and quantified sales.

Take a look at the following video, and gain a whole new perspective about what it means to create upward growth for your business before the busy 2016 year is upon us.

Jumpstarting calendar-year marketing, with the help of a PR firm that fully understands your industry, guides your customers to recognize why your product or service is better than or different from the competition.

By way of our brief, no-cost marketing assessment, we can provide you with a proposed strategy for kicking-off your 2016 brand plan- one that will provision for getting and staying ahead of the new year.

Contact us at 404-574-2900.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Old is the New Trend

Calling all architects, designers, engineers, developers, and anyone who appreciates the art and science of repurposing older buildings for new residential and commercial uses…

Have you seen the May / June 2015 issue of Retrofit magazine? In case you missed it, take a look at the following images, showcasing a feature story our ECPR team secured, written by our very own Don Eberly, about one of our clients, the very talented Stevens & Wilkinson architecture, engineering and interior design firm.

Ponce City Market, the former Sears, Roebuck & Co. building in Atlanta, was redesigned into a live-work-eat-shop-play destination.

Atlantans have watched the adaptive-reuse plan unfold for more than two years, and the area is abuzz with new interest about what many are calling the building’s rebirth.

Stevens & Wilkinson, a full-service commercial architecture, engineering and interior design firm, served as architect for the adaptive reuse and historic renovations for the new and impressive FLATS at Ponce City Market.

As lead architect for Ponce City Market’s residential portion of the building, Stevens & Wilkinson oversaw the comprehensive creation of the FLATS to include a mix of studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom units, including 17 two-level lofts.

Stevens & Wilkinson had LEED certification in mind when finalizing how the FLATS would be designed. The energy-efficient appliances coupled with efficiently engineered mechanical and plumbing systems contributed to the coveted sustainable design designation. 

As the largest adaptive reuse project in Atlanta’s history, the entire Ponce City Market project is estimated at more than $200 million. The developer, Jamestown, was the originator for the project. The company conducted market research by consulting with neighborhood residents to determine the best uses for the building.

Kudos to Stevens & Wilkinson for an architecture design job well done, and our thanks to the magazine’s editor for her willingness to share this great story with her readers.

Read the online version of the article here:

Learn more about Stevens & Wilkinson:

Discover the ways in which we manage public relations for architecture firms and other clients as well as our creative approach to integrated marketing for building and construction companies, and more:

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Color Perspective: Embracing Trend Colors for Interior and Product Design

Twice each year, international color authority Pantone determines the upcoming season’s most popular colors in design and fashion called the “Color Report.” These coveted colors become ongoing inspirations for interior designers, architects, landscape architects, and residential and commercial product manufactures.

This season’s colors have taken a few steps toward the color spectrum’s earthy neutrals or, what we might call, a back-to-beautiful-basics approach. With the addition of select harmonizing hues, the new color trends are being accented with a range of soft-to-bold color statements and patterns.

Some of our designer clients are addressing the new hues by sourcing design and decor items with colors motivated from the fall color report- a color-inspired design concept that generates memories of less-encumbered times. These design themes stem from softer palettes and, at times, are used with floral patterns, geometric shapes, or even enchanting beach- or tropical-like settings.

With the announcement of the Fall 2015 Color Report, and enthused by the many breath-taking design projects we publicize, our team voted upon our favorite five color trends for the late-summer and fall seasons. See below, and let us know which you prefer for your 2015 projects.

Biscay Bay:  The ECPR favorite!
Photo Credit: Polyvore

Biscay Bay is our team favorite! It combines the serene qualities of blue with the stimulating aspects of green, and is one of the top Pantone colors for fall. The dreamy shade of blue, which we consider somewhat smoky-blue, yields a sophisticated and elegant look, while its cool hue inspires thoughts of tropical waters– both pleasant and inviting. The color is becoming a staple for wall paint options from select top paint brands as well as for lighting and fabric manufacturers. Look for this graceful blue to appear more and more as an interior design accent color.

Amethyst Orchid:
Photo Credit: Soirées Southern Events Planning 
Rich and vibrant, the Amethyst Orchid adds a distinctive pop of color to wardrobe, interior design accents and floral arrangements. The hue is intriguing by creating an eye-catching and bold look. For the floral industry, we see this shade taking form in centerpiece and decorative accent arrangements for both interiors and outdoor space.

Cashmere Rose: 

Photo Credit: The Rose Garden 
Cashmere Rose has a lovely soft-pink hue, with an upscale warm appeal. Some of our horticulture clients are breeding new flowers and plants to showcase this soft and subtle shade of pink. The color gives a sense of welcoming softness to landscapes. In a certain way, the same is true for interiors of homes, especially when shades of the color are used in home accessories or accents, such as blankets, cushions and pillows. Many designers we admire are experts at adding well-placed touches of rosy pink to houses and homes, ultimately coordinating a feeling of intimacy. Cashmere Rose is cultivated in design with its richness as a gentle and composed pink that is classic and upscale.

Dried Herb: 

Photo Credit: Knotting Hill Interiors
Dried Herb is an olive green shade that was once thought of as safari or military. It has now been evolved into a color we now perceive as sophisticated and chic. It closely resembles the nature of earthy fragrances as we are seeing this play out more in paint, fabrics, draperies, rugs, cushions, and other textile and textile-covered interior products for residential and commercial spaces.

Cadmium Orange:  

Photo Credit: Eric Trine
Cadmium Orange is a playful, optimistic color that still keeps a sense of sophistication. It is a great accent that will harmonize with other fall trend color companions for almost any color scheme, yet it is bold enough to stand on its own. Being design trend-watchers, our ECPR team has been eyeing this color being specified by designers for walls and furniture to create bright and cheery interiors as well as in in new plant colors for the landscape.


Photo Credit: Bella Homestaging
We couldn’t write about Pantone’s 2015 Fall color Report without mentioning color of the year, Marsala. Named for fortified wine, this sensual and bold color exudes style and complexity, making it a fitting hue for decorative fabrics and art throughout the home. In particular, we are seeing some design experts adopt the color for draperies, with varied shades like eggplant, reddish brown, brick, and similar pigments and tints.

Designers and editors, send us your ideas for future color blog topics. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Build It (with Products of Excellence) and They Will Come

ECPR’s Top-Pick Building Products of the Year...and New Year!

The construction industry saw a sharp uptick in 2014, and all indications are that this persistent rebound will continue in 2015. As builders and remodelers anticipate more design-build projects and begin the involved product sourcing and planning processes, our team of construction / building industry writers and publicists has rounded up some top building products, specifically ones we have seen select clients specify for residential or commercial jobs, along with few of the newest and most novel in the industry. 

Riverlite Expanded Clay Lightweight Aggregate

Weight should not compromise design or efficiency, which is a concept Big River Industries, an Old Castle Architectural Products Group company, took to heart when it first produced Riverlite, the lightest expanded clay aggregate (LWA) in North America. Companies and organizations in the construction, concrete, structural concrete, geotechnical, engineering, green roof, and filtration industries benefit from this structural aggregate’s low unit weight, high angle of internal friction, low-thermal conductivity, and high fire resistance.

The key to the LWA’s success resides in its base material: Clay that is mined, fired, calcinated, crushed, and graded.

What we admire most about Riverlite expanded clay lightweight aggregate is that its uses are innumerable; the aggregate is used in a variety of concrete products including structural lightweight concrete for buildings and highway bridges or decks; concrete masonry block; bio-swales, landscapes and green roofs; just to name a few.

Saving 50% in time and labor costs, Riverlite was used to manufacture lightweight masonry (E-lite) blocks for the development of the Maryland Science Center.

For this project and many others like it, the lightweight factor helps contractors and builders complete projects sooner rather than later, so they can generate revenue from the projects earlier, which is better for the property owners as well. In construction, we all known time is money, and if property owners can reduce the number of days it takes to construct a building, it helps them easily project when it can be rented or sold and begin earning revenue.

Haute and Hot 

Superior DRT2000 Merit Series Direct-Vent Fireplace

Fireplaces add visual and aesthetic appeal to any home and many commercial and hospitality spaces. With that said, we are heated up for Innovative Hearth Products’ Superior DRT2000 Merit Series direct-vent fireplace.

Builders, designers, remodelers, and contractors can take pleasure in knowing their clients will bask in the warmth and comfort of this fireplace’s traditional style without compromising quality or design. This highly efficient fireplace is perfectly sized to suit most any space or room, while offering a host of standard features, heightened performance and state-of-the-art technology to ensure its elegance and warmth last for years. Notably, Superior DRT2000’s specifications include a direct vent, optional remote, and a front view style.

Also offered in a contemporary style, the DRT2000 is an ideal solution for builders or architects looking to provide clients a high-end and modern design approach at an affordable price.

Floors with Flow 

DESSO Transitions Fuse Carpet Tiles 

Embrace movement and creative expression in the office with DESSO® Transitions Fuse carpet tiles. This striking carpet tile fluently meshes two contrasting yet complementary colors to separate large open spaces like those in offices. The carpet tiles allow an interior layout to transition from a large space into a smaller or more private area and are available in seven different color combinations.

DESSO specializes in producing high-quality, durable carpets and carpet tiles that are long lasting and easy to install in commercial settings ranging from offices, banks and retail stores to public buildings, schools and healthcare centers.

At first look, we were floored by the product’s high-tech traits and attractive design, and have known more than one of our design-build clients to specify these types of carpets when designing flexible and open spaces. Rather than adding walls and doors to close off a space, the sense of transition yielded by the placement of these tiles supplies an open office environment that is more collaborative and productive.

Made in the Shade 

Phantom Screens

We know just how disappointing it can be to have outdoor relaxation stymied by insects and blazing sun, among other things. With Phantom Screens, making the most of outdoor living spaces is a breeze. Beneficial for both residential and commercial screening projects, Executive screens provide extreme comfort by delivering shade, insect protection, natural ventilation, and privacy at the touch of a button.

Executive motorized retractable screens by Phantom are ideal for screening patios, decks, lanais, and other large outdoor areas. Executive screens can be incorporated into various architectural styles and offer homeowners or business owners the enjoyment of using every inch of their exterior areas.

One of the best things about these screen systems is that wall mounted switches or hand-held remotes can be programmed to lower or retract them whenever the owner needs some time in the shade. Executive screens can be recessed from view, or mounted on existing structures. Even better, the screens can be integrated into most any type of structure, including wood, brick, stucco, natural stone, and concrete.

Down with Dust

National Gypsum Company’s ProForm XP® Ready Mix Joint Compound with Dust-Tech

Another product that has certainly caught our eye, but won’t send sawdust into it, is National Gypsum ProForm XP® Ready Mix Joint Compound with Dust-Tech.

This product is an all-purpose, vinyl-based joint compound specifically formulated to reduce airborne dust while sanding. With less mess, builders can minimize the time spent cleaning up following these kinds of jobs. The XP Joint Compound with Dust-Tech can be used for all phases of drywall finishing, texturing, patching, and renovations. Among its various uses, the product is designed for tape application; faster spotting; complete joint finishing of gypsum board; to repair cracks in plastered walls; add texture to surfaces; and laminate gypsum board to other surfaces.

Two noteworthy features of the XP Joint Compound with Dust-Tech include the fact it reduces airborne dust by 60 percent and offers first-rate mold resistance per ASTM G 21 with a score of 0, the best possible score- which both contribute to minimizing impact on indoor air quality. This product also sands without clogging sandpaper; has a low VOC content; and is GREENGUARD Children and Schools Certified- making it perfect for commercial and residential use in spaces frequented by little ones and those who are environmentally conscience.

Builders and building product manufacturers, send us your feedback and information about must-have building product resources, and we just might feature them in a future blog post or include one or more of them in an upcoming media tour for our editor and reporter contacts in the field.

Learn about our integrated marketing services on our builders and building product manufacturers on our website.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Going BIG at the Smithsonian

Beginning in 2016, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. will undergo a proposed 20-year renovation. The master plan gives new life to the Smithsonian castle, adding expanded visitor services, new mall-facing entrances to the National Museum of African Art, and the Arthur M. Sackler gallery. Site enhacements will also include improved visibility and access from the Freer Gallery of Art to the Hirshhorn Museum and its neighboring sculpture garden. 

The lead architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) recently released renderings of the completed project mentioning, “The centerpiece of the proposed South Mall master plan is the revitalization of the iconic Smithsonian castle.” 

Bjarke Ingels Group reveals Smithsonian master plan for Washington, D.C. 
Image courtesy of BIG / The Smithsonian Institution.

In addition to updating the castle, another goal of the project is to instill more cohesion between the 11 museums around the National Mall by establishing more retail, cafe and public gathering spaces. BIG founder and the lead architect Bjarke Ingels believes these additions will “resolve the contradictions between old and new, and [help] to find freedom within the boundaries of strict regulation and historical preservation.”

Ingels plans to execute this by producing new links between the various specialized, planned, operational, and managerial requirements that will usher the Smithsonian South Mall campus into the future, while maintaining its firm historical origin.

The castle as seen from the entrance of the National Museum of African Art.
Image courtesy of BIG / The Smithsonian Institution.

As a whole, the estimated cost of the project is $2 billion, which will be funded by private and federal investments. Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution Wayne Clough says, “Bjarke Ingels Group has given us a plan that will…visually attract visitors who will have an unparalleled experience.”

The redesign seeks to establish clear entrances and connections between the site’s various museums and gardens. Image courtesy of BIG / The Smithsonian Institution.
The Smithsonian Castle, which opened in 1855, currently serves as headquarters of the institution as well as a visitor’s information center. The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum and research complex. Located in Washington, D.C., the national landmark consists of 19 museums and galleries, the National Zoological Park and nine research facilities. 

For more about the renovation, click here to visit the Smithsonian Institute project profile on the Bjarke Ingles Group website.

Daylight will shine into the visitor center for the first time.
Image courtesy of BIG / The Smithsonian Institution.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Corian® Countertops to Champion Cellphone Charging

Designers, builders and architects, as professionals, we know that no one likes the feeling of having a dying smartphone battery while out in public for the day. One faces the choice of going without a phone for the rest of the day or the hassle of locating an outlet and a spare charger. Needless to say, it’s not convenient to operate without the smartphone to which you are accustomed, in today’s need-to-be-connected world. 

Imagine entering your 3 p.m. meeting with 10 percent of your battery left. You take your seat in the meeting area, place your phone on the counter, and by the time your meeting concludes an hour later, your phone is fully charged. For that, you can thank DuPont!

While smartphone users have weathered rapidly draining batteries and inconvenient locations of outlets, DuPont has heard their cries for help, and brings a remedy of convenience and sheer genius with its newest Corian® solid surfaces.

Image via Engadget

DuPont and Power Matters Alliance (PMA) have joined forces to create wireless charging solutions for our increasingly mobile society by revolutionizing countertops. Wireless chargers will soon be integrated into DuPont™ Corian® solid surfaces as the company’s first consumer electronics venture. Charging pads from Powermat will be embedded under the surface of the countertops and supply power to both smartphones and tablets. Meeting rooms, hospitals, research labs, and a variety of other public and private spaces are among the many predicted sites for charging countertop installations.

Designing a Kitchen with Corian® and Zodiaq®

Though Corian® solid surfaces have been both well-known and integral parts of households for decades, DuPont’s executives are enthusiastic to evolve the product, making it even more functional and practical. “Now we aim to bring this level of performance to new heights, while meeting the emerging needs of industries and consumers to remain powered up throughout the day,” said Ruslan Yusupov, global marketing director of DuPont Building Innovations.

With the convenience factor and more than 30 patterns and colors of Corian® solid surfaces, these countertops may be the perfect fit for a tech-savvy client or even your own office space. An availability date for the charging surfaces has not yet been made public, but for more information, visit PMA.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Gaze Into the Abyss

Interior designers, we are sure there have been times when you struggled to find that one amazing focal piece for a space. If you are in this state now, then allow us to help! Let your clients and their guests explore the depths of the deep blue from the comfort of their living rooms.

London-based designer Christopher Duffy is known for creating cutting-edge, statement home décor with functional purposes. One of his latest projects merges the beauty and mystery of the world’s oceans with a common household staple, the coffee table.

The Abyss Table is a mesmerizing mix of glass, color and woodwork, complete with convincing topographical features. Reminiscent of an underwater cave, this conversation piece is a sight to behold. As a limited edition item, the Duffy London team took more than a year to develop the Abyss Table. By layering sculpted glass with Perspex and forest wood, they recreated the concept imagined by Duffy.

For your affluent clientele, The Abyss Table could stand alone or be a purposeful, yet exclusive, addition to most living spaces. Click here for more information and photos of The Abyss Table and Duffy London.

The Abyss Table by Duffy London, shown here in a loft space,
 is made of glass and wood, creating an interesting
contrast in the textured materials of the photo.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Renowned Architect and National Magazine Editors to Speak at BOLD Summit

As our blog readers and social media followers / fans know well by now, our ECPR team is a collaborative partner for the BOLD Summit. The following information and news stems from our current press release campaign. We welcome your comments and questions. ~ Jasmine Gurley. 

The Business of Luxury Design (BOLD) Summit, formerly known as the Business of Design (BOD) Conference, has announced high-level additions to the event’s line-up of presentations. The two-day event, set to take place Aug. 28-29, 2014, at the Wynn Hotel, Las Vegas, will feature celebrated architect Richard Landry and esteemed editors from national consumer home and industry-related trade publications.

Richard Landry, owner and founder of the award-winning, custom residential architecture firm Landry Design Group, Inc., based in Los Angeles, Calif., will be a keynote speaker at the 2014 BOLD Summit. His presentation will focus on nurturing designers’ passions while building thriving businesses. Landry will share educational insights for personal business growth and development from start-up to present-day.

Richard Landry of Landry Design Group
Named as one of Architectural Digest’s “AD100: Top 100 Designers” five-times since 2000, Landry has designed luxurious statement homes for celebrities such as Eddie Murphy, Mark Wahlberg and Wayne Gretzky. His BOLD Summit keynote presentation will take place Thursday, Aug. 28 at 10 a.m. PDT.

This year’s BOLD Summit will also feature a media / editor panel dedicated to sharing vital insight for designers and architects regarding the evolving design preferences of today’s consumer as well as trending themes for design-based editorial and photo content. Panelists to date include Amy Elbert, senior architecture editor for Traditional Home; Michela O’Connor Abrams, president at Dwell magazine; Lori Bryan, editor for Robb Report Home & Style; and Katie Kervin, managing editor of Hospitality Design. Others will be announced prior to the August event.

The panel will be moderated by our own Don Eberly and Jeff Collard, co-partners for the BOLD Summit and co-owners of Eberly & Collard Public Relations. The session “How to Serve as a Strategic Editorial Resource - Building Relationships with the Media,” will take place Friday, Aug. 29 at 3 p.m. PDT.

The BOLD Summit is designed to provide interior designers, architects, design-build professionals, landscape designers and architects, and other luxury design service-providers with resourceful information and networking opportunities, to powerfully align their strategic development and company positioning in the luxury marketplace. The event’s new host, Julia Molloy, founder of Molloy Management Group, brings over 20 years of business operations management experience to BOLD’s rebranded conference. Serving as BOLD Summit’s educational program director, a full spectrum of sessions and topics Molloy will be leading at BOLD Summit will be released in July.

For more information about the BOLD Summit and to request an invitation to attend, visit

Friday, June 20, 2014

Five Must-haves for Landscapes this Summer

The season to celebrate the great outdoors is upon us and moving quickly. We know as landscapers and outdoor room designers, you want to find the best tools and products that will get the job done quickly, and help your clients enjoy their outdoor living spaces to the max.

From saying goodbye to slithering things to paving the way to a more usable patio, we have highlighted five must-have products that will make the most out of the 2014 summer season.

Deer, Wildlife & Insect control:

Keep your clients’ homes and gardens free from unwanted snakes with Dr. T’s Snake-A-Way®. This fast-acting repellent starts working immediately after application. It temporarily disrupts the snake’s sensory receptors, called Jacobson’s Organ, which causes the snake to slither away disoriented and unharmed in search of fresh air. Snake-A-Way comes in granular form, making it easy to apply only to certain areas, and with its time release formula, it gives long-lasting protection.
To learn more click here.

Patio / Deck Furniture:

Summer is the perfect time to relax outdoors. With an outdoor bed designed by Floating Bed, create an outdoor living space that may just become your clients’ favorite place for down time. The versatility of the Floating Bed gives room to hang it anywhere in a backyard. It comes in a variety of colors and styles that will fit any family’s needs. The Floating Bed even comes with a canopy option that will protect homeowners from the elements, making it available to use nearly every season.
To learn more click here

With pavers from Nantucket Pavers, creating a unique walkway, patio, pool area, or backyard retreat has never been easier. Hardscapes are becoming more popular because of their low upkeep and easy maintenance. Nantucket Pavers carry a variety of sizes and colors of its blocks and stones to accent the whole garden design. They can be used to build a free-standing wall, a decorative wall around a fire pit or Jacuzzi tub as well as a uniquely designed patio.

To learn more click here.
Shade Systems:

Bring family and friends together with the Sonoma 12 Douglas Fir shade system. With expert design, the pergola is precision-cut and requires moderate assembly upon delivery. The optional lattice roof and wall kit can provide privacy as well as protection from the elements. The 12 feet x 12 feet size can accommodate large parties. The Sonoma 12 Pergola offers outdoor living spaces that are both functional and beautiful.
To learn more click here.
Landscaping Tools:

Black & Decker’s 22-inch cordless hedge trimmers keep lawns and gardens looking clean and polished. The long blade makes cutting in hard to reach places quicker and easier. The hardened, machined-steel blade stays sharp and provides the durability to maintain a perfectly manicured yard year after year. The powerful rechargeable 18V battery provides landscapers with the long runtime needed to go anywhere without being limited to the length of a cord.

To learn more click here.
What's "Hot" this Summer? Landscapers, tell us about your top tool and outdoor space products and why you like them. Also, Retailers, chime in with your best-selling landscape / exterior product options that you see as hot-selling trend-setters this summer. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Urban Agriculture Reformed: Gotham Greens’ Rooftop Greenhouse

The demand for locally grown food is increasing, but how can an industry meet this need? We see community gardens sprouting up across many neighborhoods of densely populated cities, but what about the masses? Gotham Greens has figured it out. Since its founding in 2008 as an urban greenhouse business and beginning production in 2011, it has become a global innovator in the urban agriculture industry, especially as one of New York State’s top suppliers of high-quality, pesticide-free vegetables and herbs.

The company opened its second of three greenhouses in New York City atop the Whole Foods Market in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Co-founder Viraj Puri explained how their operations worked to the Huffington Post:

“This facility uses the hydroponic technique, meaning plants receive nutrients from their water supply and are grown without soil -- a technique well-suited to urban agriculture where arable land and high-quality soil are scarce… Since the crops are sloped at a gentle angle, all irrigation water is reused…It's actually the most water-efficient form of agriculture in the world because we’re recycling all of our water… As droughts become a more consistent issue, especially in places where our food comes from, I think you’ll start to see more applications of this type of technology.”

As Americans are becoming more health-conscious, the demand for higher-quality foods is greater, which is why consumers are willing to pay more for better quality. For this reason Puri believes “urban agriculture will only get bigger, and will only complement and help our food system get more sustainable.”

Click to learn more about Gotham Greens and its initiatives.

From left to right: co-founders Viraj Puri and Eric Haley
with Chief Agriculture Officer Jennifer Nelkin Frymark.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Luxury Design Manifested at Hotel Hugo: Doors Open in Downtown New York

Hotel-Hugo Exterior – Hotel-Hugo website.
A luxury boutique property, Hotel Hugo is the product of a partnership between real estate developer Matthew Moinian and Fortuna Realty Group, LLC. Located in Hudson Square, the hotel’s appeal lies with its close proximity to shopping and cultural destinations offered by Soho, TriBeca and the West Village. Hotel Hugo is 20 stories high and features 122 guest rooms, including two must-stay top-floor suites and a must-see rooftop lounge that offers a 360-degree view of New York City.

Architect Marcello Pozzi, based in Beverly Hills, Ca, served as the project’s architect and designer. Beginning with the exterior, he implemented a sleek modern finish with exposed concrete that mimics the neighborhood’s 20th century, industrial-style warehouses. The interior includes 104 rooms with king-size beds and 18 rooms with two double beds; the two top-floor suites allow a double room to connect with a king room. 

Hotel-Hugo Guest Room – Hotel Design Magazine.
With custom-made Italian furnishings in each room, Pozzi offers a sophisticated residential-like design to ensure guests feel right at home. All rooms come with a great view, and guests can choose to view the Hudson River or the downtown skyline.

For the hotel’s entrance, Pozzi and his team installed a 17-foot glass façade that leads into a two-story lobby where guests are greeted by an environmentally friendly green wall behind the check-in desk. Vertical gardens can be found throughout the ground floor leading into the restaurant’s private dining room, which has an expansive skylight and uber amounts of gorgeous foliage. 

Hotel-Hugo Front Desk – Hotel Design Magazine.
In keeping with the thematic design and feel of the project, Pozzi used authentic woodwork by Italian craftsman throughout the hotel’s common areas and guest rooms, making this stylish get-away well-suited for vivacious city vacays or booming Manhattan business trips.

To learn more information about the new Hotel Hugo and Pozzi’s design inspiration, read the full article about the project on Hotel Design magazine’s website by clicking here.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Four Ways to Have Your Design / Architecture Expertise, Projects, Services or Architectural Products Published in the Media.

Being co-owners of an international public and media relations firm specializing in publicity for architects, designers, builders, and many products specified for residential and commercial structures, the number one question people ask us is…

“How do we have our just-completed architecture (or design-build) project or architectural products published in the media?”

Whether you have executed full press release campaigns or simply had a hand in attempting to contact an essential publication’s editor regarding your business news, you probably know there are near-countless nuances that come with pitching the staffs of consumer magazines, trade publications, mainstream newspapers, and significant journalists and bloggers.

There are rules and best practices that apply to media outreach for any type of company, and following these few, vital tips will give you a jumpstart on your public and media relations program:

1. Relevancy is Key: Editors and reporters seek and desire truly relevant news and information for their articles and other publishable content. Ask yourself (and your C-level management team) if your news and happenings hold tangible value for the media, and, for that matter, for your client or customer base.

Brainstorm pertinent information and angles for journalists – i.e., events or occurrences that will positively affect the industry or mainstream market at large; first-time architectural product break-throughs or enhancements that are (truly) significant; and, by all means, completed design, architecture or building projects with wide appeal and exceptional characteristics, to name a few.

2. Messaging is Critical: You may get one chance to connect with media members and editors at times when your company has product news or design-build project case-studies to submit. Make certain the message is on target, brand-sound, concise yet clear, germane for the editor’s audience; and is not too self-serving.

Remember, the media’s job is not to tout, hype or flaunt your news, but rather to report relational, engaging and relevant (ah, there’s that word again) information to their readers, followers or viewers. Give them the information they need to do so, while you serve as the quotable, expert and knowledgeable source.

3. Jargon is Out: If your company’s written press releases, articles, white papers, product launches, and project overviews are not crafted following the Associated Press (AP) style guidelines, stop submitting them to the media. Nothing is more inconvenient to an editor than receiving a document entitled, “Press Release” that reads and looks nothing like one.

While it is fine to incorporate industry-specific language in your releases, always write about your company, products, or services in accurate, well-founded, and unpretentious terms; and (for formal submissions to editors) always, always adhere to AP style. Otherwise, the journalist might click the “delete” key in no-time flat. If nothing else, he or she may move onto the next submission, one that follows editorial best practices and narrative content and style rules.

4. Outsourcing is Productive: If your company’s press coverage or branding publicity is under-performing, there are reasons. Usually, this stems from lack of understanding or internal resources for developing press campaigns and maintaining media contacts. Utilizing the services of an experienced PR firm leads to productive and proactive publicity. The right firm will manage communications between your company and the public (the media, your trade sectors or clients / consumers) to promote favorable relationships and portray a desired brand image.

This includes strategic communications with the community, business-to-business and / or business-to-consumer targets, investors, and other partisans. In contrast to advertising, these outsourced PR campaigns can glean exposure through public or customer / client interest and news, rather than paid advertisements, to give their messages third-party endorsement.

In closing… If you or your company leaders seek to be regularly quoted as experts in the publications and websites your customers, clients or prospects read…and your products or design or architecture projects are missing out on promotion or publicity, contact us for a free assessment of your integrated public / media relations needs.

Don Eberly and Jeff Collard

Co-owners / Founders, Eberly & Collard Public Relations

Friday, May 16, 2014

Internal Curing Holds Water

The February / March 2014 issue of Concrete Contractor features a byline article written by our team at ECPR, which is story that sheds light on our client, Big River Industries, and the company’s high-tech architectural product, expanded clay lightweight aggregate.

The story involves Colorado engineers saving project time and money while installing a second water tank for Denver Water, a public utility company that serves high-quality water and promotes its efficient use to 1.3 million people in the city of Denver and many surrounding suburbs. The installation was made possible by using the internal curing of concrete. Internal curing (IC) of concrete using lightweight aggregate increases hydration, which prevents shrinkage and cracking, improves durability, and ensures better quality, while ultimately reducing costs, according to the ASTM Standard Specification for Lightweight Aggregate (LWA) for Internal Curing of Concrete.

“Internal curing results in only slightly higher initial costs; however, when considering the extended service life, these costs are far outmatched by the value IC concrete provides,” says Jeff Speck, vice president of sales and marketing for Alpharetta, Ga.-based Big River Industries, the nation’s largest producer of high-quality expanded clay lightweight aggregate (LWA), called Riverlite. Speck chaired the ASTM Subcommittee C09.21 on Lightweight Aggregates and Lightweight Concrete.

The benefits are evidenced by Colorado engineers’ successful water tank installation for Denver Water in 2012 as well as three additional tank installation projects using IC concrete on the schedule for 2014. The project entailed challenges and well-thought solutions on the part of the project team, leading to an interesting outcome. Click here to view the full online version of the Concrete Contractor article here.