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What's Old Is New Again... Even Floor Cloths

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We've all heard the old sayings that "there's no such thing as a new idea" or "all that's old is new again", and these sentiments are ringing true for me lately.

This summer marks my 15th year in TV, and in the past few weeks I've been transported back to my very first appearance on camera and reminded of how it all began. In 1993 I was a university graduate looking to make money and was taught how to paint "floor cloths" in Atlanta, Georgia by a good friend of mine's cool and stylish mom.

Within a short time I had decided to turn my new skill into a decorative art business (albeit not an entirely profitable business...), and in short order I was doing a favour for my old school friend Amoryn Engel (now the society reporter for the National Post) showing Canadian TV audiences how to paint their very own custom painted floor cloth in my very first DIY segment.

In case you've ever wondered... that was the day that started my adventure of where I am today in the world of design TV (more than 50 DIY segments later, I had pitched and landed my own TV show, and the rest is history).

Funny enough, this journey of reminiscence all started with the Huffington Post. After being asked to contribute to the Canadian version of this publication, I was poking around the home section to view current content. Immediately I came across an Apartment Therapy post on floor cloths and couldn't believe my past work life was coming around again.

When I was spending long nights painting in my mom's basement and churning out my own painted designs, I thought floor cloths were an incredibly clever solution to the challenge of creating high-impact, low cost, durable floor coverings. I can honestly say that I haven't touched a paintbrush to create one since the 90s, but lately they're everywhere I look.

Today I got an e-blast from the California style duo Serena & Lily and lo and behold, the feature page showcased a cool blue painted floor covering complete with instructions that will surely inspire and excite creative types looking for a great weekend project.

Centuries ago, floor cloths were popular in Great Britain and America as a way to cover the wide spaces in floor boards and prevent drafts in chilly homes, and as a means of adding some pattern and colour. They were embraced and celebrated through the beginning of the 1900s and then declined once linoleum had become widely used.

Painted floor cloths have held on in the folk art community as a decorative art form, and, if I'm not mistaken... may be ready to make a comeback if style setters from coast to coast continue to celebrate their handmade charm. Proof positive that "all that's old is new again," and that the creative process relies heavily on history to fuel the fire! Now, where did I put those old brushes of mine?

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