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Mosaic Monday: Designing with Mosaics

by Team MSI 22. November 2015 10:00

Can’t decide between glass mosaics or natural stones for your kitchen backsplash? No problem! Backsplash designs with a mix of materials are all the rage—and for good reason. Not only do mixed material backsplashes look timeless, but they can easily add a stylish dimension and interest to your kitchen walls. So how exactly do you go about mixing mosaics and natural stones? Grab your closest home decor magazine and notice how interior designers layer throw pillows on a sofa. The throw pillows are usually a blend of various patterns, materials, and colors. Separately, the pillows might not look like they go together, but put together they give you a highly stylized, thoughtful arrangement. 

Mixing and matching mosaics and stone in your tile backsplash are similar in concept. The first step is to make sure that the glass mosaic tile and stone backsplash you choose is varied in scale. In other words, the tile for each respective material should be different sizes—usually one is small while the other is medium to large in size. This technique harmoniously balances contrasting backsplash types as it allows for two different characteristics to be simultaneously featured, such as the size in one material and the color in the other.

From there, your next step is to make sure that the colors are similar in tone. Are the natural stones you chose bright white or more cream in color? If you choose a bright white, the color is on the “cool” side meaning that you’ll want to choose a complementary cool glass mosaic tile, like a frosty blue or grassy green. If the stone backsplash is on the warmer side, like cream, for example, then you’ll also want to choose a warm color for your glass mosaics, such as brown, tan, or taupe. 

Simple, right? With these two key elements in mind, here are some of our favorite ideas for combining mosaics and natural stones for a kitchen backsplash: 

1. Arabescato Carrara and Keystone Blend Interlocking Pattern

The cool, grayish Carrara marble looks great when combined with cool-toned greens and neutrals. This glass tile and natural stone combination is ideal for a coastal home or those who love the serene outdoors.

Featured Tiles: 

Arabescato Carrara 1x1 Honed

Arabescato Carrara 3/4x3/4x12 Honed Pencil Molding

 Keystone Blend Interlocking Pattern 8mm

2. Arctic Storm Brick Pattern

More traditional in aesthetic, these glass tiles are reminiscent of bricks that you might find on a colonial style house. Greecian white tiles continue the brick motif but on a larger scale.

Featured Tiles:

Arctic Storm 5/8x2x10mm

Greecian White Pen Mldg Pol 3/4x3/4x12

Greecian White 3x6 Pol/Bev

3. Black Marquee Stone & Glass and Arabescato Carrara Marble

A black and white palette is the ultimate in sophistication and this backsplash design is no exception. The glass mosaic tile, laid in a diamond pattern, further ups the chic style.

 Featured Tiles: 

Black Marquee

Arabescato Carrara 2x2 Honed

Arabescato Carrara 3/4 x 3/4 x 12 Honed Pencil Molding

4. Brown Blend Glass and Ivory Travertine

Laidback and earthy, this backsplash palette matches well with natural wood cabinetry. Here, the ivory travertine tiles lead the show while the glass mosaics support with interesting detail.

Featured Tiles:

Brown Blend Mosaic

Ivory Travertine

5. Aspen Interlocking Glass And Ivory Travertine

For a kitchen backsplash that draws the eye upwards, try laying mosaics in a vertical pattern. The warm-toned colors visually connect the two different types of tiles. 

 Featured Tiles:

Aspen Interlocking Mosaic Pattern

Ivory Pencil Molding

Ivory Mini Versailles Mosaic Pattern

6. Arabescato Carrara Herringbone Pattern 

Multidimensional white marble displays a surprising depth when it is laid in a distinctive woven-like, herringbone mosaic. The timeless pattern is especially well-suited for backsplashes where an understated elegance is desired.

Featured Tiles:

Arabescato Carrara Herringbone Pattern

Arabescato Carrara 4x4 Honed and Beveled Tile

Arabescato Carrara 3/4x3/4x12 Honed Pencil Molding

7. Sonoma Blend and Emperador Dark

Crackle glass tile is paired with a  rich chocolate shade marble tile to give us a look that is both rustic and divine. The classic brick pattern further complimented with broad mocha Emperador marble tiles with veins of cream and latte.

Featured Tiles:

Sonoma Blend

 Emperador Dark 6x6 Tumbled

Emperador Dark 3/4x3/4x12 Honed Pencil Molding

8. Crystal Vista and Highland Park

Various neutral shades of tan, grey and nutmeg brown combine to create a warm and welcoming wall tile mosaic. The design featured below also has an antiqued white subway tile that accentuates the earthy palette.

Featured Tiles:

Crystal Vista

Antique White Subway Tile


Backsplash | Backsplash Design Guide | Mosaics

5 Top Tile Trends at CERSAIE

by Team MSI 19. November 2015 23:46

Oh, the marvels we saw at CERSAIE, the International Exhibition of Ceramic Tile and Bathroom Furnishings held in Bologna, Italy. Wandering the show floor, we viewed a vast array of fashion-forward installations rendered in porcelain and mosaic tile, natural stone, and other equally distinctive premium surfaces. Inspiration abounded at every turn; trend-setting tableaus left us awestruck as we considered the wonders that result when nature and technology join forces."Each and every year, CERSAIE offers thrilling experiences and original design concepts unrivaled by other industry shows," says Emily Holle, MSI's trend and design expert. "Design professionals that need to be in the know about surface trends make sure they attend."

The most notable trends at this year's show revolved around the notions of more variety, larger shapes, perfected patterning, organic textures, and looks that combined rusticity and refinement. Here are the industry trends that captured our attention and had every member of our design team taking copious notes.

1. Shapely Tiles

Brick is back . . . in a big way. Brick tiles were showcased in varying sizes, shapes, finishes, and surfaces by nearly every show presenter. Cobblestone forms, colorful painted finishes, and heavily textured surfaces are sure to make the newest brick tile offerings a commonly requested material when it comes to backsplashes, feature walls, and floors. "I was delighted to see brick-look tiles pop up in almost every booth," says Holle. "MSI jumped ahead on the brick trend; we have already introduced porcelain brick tiles in our old world Capella Collection". Holle says that another noteworthy tile trend revolves around wood-look tiles, which have grown wider and longer, come in hexagon and chevron shapes, and sport color-washed finishes and heavily textured surfaces. Rectangular plank tiles created a buzz, appearing as fetching floors and wow-powered walls. Planks showed up most often in stone and wood looks. Expect to see more plank tiles added to existing tile lines in 2016.

2. White Marble: The Return of a Classic

White marbles are getting whiter, offering a clean, crisp look that satisfies consumers' love of bright, breezy spaces. Vein patterns are more pronounced, which gives marble tiles and slabs more visual weight when installed as floors, countertops, and shower walls. Vendors offered a number of coordinated white marble collections comprised of square-shaped, plank, and mosaic tiles. Conversely, a plethora of exhibits highlighted tile treatments that combined different types of white marble to create high-impact installations that presented classic materials in avant-garde fashion.

3. Patterns with Panache

Though hexagons made a big splash, the hottest shape at this year's show was chevron. Forecast as the "must have" motif in the upcoming year, dramatic chevron patterns appeared as meshed components, printed and embossed details, and tile-works created with tiles sporting clipped corners. "Unlike herringbone patterns, chevron patterns are all about the zigzag," explains Holle."In chevron patterns, tiles run point to point and the ends are cut at an angle to create a continuous zigzag design. In herringbone patterns, tiles finish perpendicular to each other, which results in a broken zigzag."

4. Mixed Finishes

Interior designers will have to master the mix to create on-trend spaces. Show presenters featured walls and floors that combined different premium surfaces in high-style ways. They showcased designs that fused contrasting textured tiles and melded matte and polished finishes. They displayed patterned treatments that merged large and small tiles. Touchable tiles and natural stone surfaces, many with brushed, chiseled, and hand-scraped faces, will be all the rage in 2016.

5. Editorial Outlooks

Unlikely unions of materials, colors, and shapes supplied a few delightful surprises at this year's show. The unconventional wall and floor treatments combined wood and marble as well as white marble and concrete proving that opposites do attract! Other showcased items included multiple types of stone in a single application, and exhibited smart ways to use one material to frame another. We predict the luxurious, streamlined looks will appeal to modernists and design editors, who are always on the lookout for innovative designs using traditional materials.

Though the aforementioned design trends were standouts at CERSAIE 2015, other show-stopping looks garnered a fair amount of attention. "We will soon be seeing many different forms of white tile and more metallic surfaces," predicts Holle. "Watch for tile treatments with the look of carpeting and fine-tuned floors comprised of framed tiles. One of the coolest upcoming trends? Thin porcelain slabs aligned in book-page fashion to create a unique pattern." The MSI design expert adds, "No matter what tile trend proves to be the strongest, each and every one of these design ideas will promote original thinking and inspire some fabulous applications."


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design | Tile

Current Obsessions: 7 Dreamy, White Quartz Countertops

by Team MSI 18. November 2015 06:54

From all-white kitchens to gleaming counters, floors, and backsplashes, white is making a big comeback. Creating a crisp, open feel with white can make any space look bigger—from kitchens to floors and bathrooms. White quartz countertops deliver that coveted, stark-white look while still appearing exquisite and trendy. Like a blank canvas ready for anything you desire, the possibilities are endless with white quartz. Crowning each room with an understated elegance, white quartz provides an ideal backdrop to applaud other design elements—wood floors look richer, artwork gains depth, and lights shine more brightly.

Whether you’re set on white quartz, or just window shopping, let these seven designs whisk you away to a dream home of your own.

1. Arctic White Quartz


Featured: Arctic White Quartz

Arctic White Quartz—available in 2 and 3cm slabs in regular, jumbo, and prefab quartz—is a solid, bright-white product with a perfectly. pristine polished finish with no veins or pattern. Like freshly fallen snow on a sunny winter day, the details are simple and understated, yet naturally bright and beautiful. This versatile, contemporary quartz is ideal for a variety of interior projects, from walls to backsplashes, countertops, and flooring.

2. Frost White Quartz

Featured: Frost White Quartz

With a dreamy, frosty finish, Frost White Quartz offers a delightful deviation from all-white quartz. With delicate, glass-like flecks throughout—and a gentle balance of white and off-white elements—this quartz provides a beautiful and luxurious surface for a variety of residential and commercial spaces where a touch of frost is desired.

3. Glacier White Quartz

Featured: Glacier White Quartz

Like a vast sheet of glacial ice, Glacier White Quartz is naturally sparkling. The milky, polished quartz glistens with a faint cloud of frosty heather and is available in prefabricated 2cm quartz countertops suitable for a variety of projects. Eminently appropriate for residential and commercial flooring, walls, and backsplashes, this time-honored combination of white and muted gray is right at home in a range of settings and themes.

4. Fairy White Quartz

Featured: Fairy White Quartz

Delicately threaded with light-sterling and dove-grey and stippling, Fairy White is a brilliant, porcelain-white quartz. Like the snowy peaks of a ski chalet on a sunny, midwinter day, this modern quartz is gleaming bright and refreshingly white. Available in polished, 2 and 3cm slabs, this quartz is sparkling, beautiful, and suited for a variety of interior residential and commercial applications—including floors, walls, countertops, and backsplashes.

5. Snow White Quartz

Featured: Snow White Quartz

Like frost-covered tree branches on a snowy winter morning, Snow White Quartz is understatedly exquisite and naturally beautiful. This solid-white quartz is ideal for bathrooms, kitchens, foyers—and any other room where a clean, white appearance is desired. Recommended uses include flooring, counters, and walls in both residential and commercial properties.

6. Peppercorn White Quartz

Featured: Peppercorn White Quartz

With a beautiful blend of soft whites and warm grays, Peppercorn White Quartz countertops emanate the natural, peaceful magnetism of a pebble-scattered stream. Neutral in nature, these beautiful slabs are ideal for a variety of designs and formats, including interior residential and commercial applications. Available in 2 and 3cm slabs, this design is equally stunning on floors, countertops, and accent walls.

7. Stellar White Quartz

Featured: Stellar White Quartz

With a harmonious blend of subtle gray flecks against soft-white surroundings, Stellar White Quartz countertops are understatedly beautiful. Easy to clean and virtually maintenance free, this stunning quartz is exquisitely suited for floors, waterfall islands, backsplashes, and counters. Simultaneously modern and classic, this stellar quartz serves as a beautiful backdrop in a variety of settings.

Whether you crave a simple or ornamented look, MSI’s white quartz countertops are crisp, clean, and classic. With a plethora of patterns, styles, and formats to choose from—from 2 and 3cm in regular, jumbo, and prefab—there’s a perfect fit for every project.


Quartz | Quartz Countertops

Tile Style = Porcelain Perfection: 3 of Our Favorite Porcelain Tiles

by Team MSI 17. November 2015 18:14

Easy to care for and enduring porcelain tiles are a comfortable addition to any decorating scheme or architectural style. MSI offers three collections that easily bridge the gap between old-world elegance and sleek modern designs. Porcelain tiles that mimic the look of other materials are extremely popular choices for tile flooring thanks to their extreme durability and easy maintenance. They allow for an incredible flexibility in architectural décor, allowing for designs that are impractical with the materials they are designed to look like — and in many cases, it's hard to tell the difference. 

Capella Porcelain

Classic terra cotta tiles get a 21st-century update with the Capella collection. Offering the warmth and variegated, rich colors of old-world cotto pavers, this collection includes 12" x 24" and 24" x 24" Cotto tiles with coordinating 6" x 40" wood-grain planks. The cotto tiles and wood-grain tiles are designed to blend perfectly, offering endless possibilities for use either together or separately to create dramatic backsplashes, countertops, flooring, wall tile, and shower surrounds. The Capella collection is the perfect choice for whole-home installations, allowing you to create a variety of designs that transition perfectly from one room to the next.

Imagine having the beauty of natural hardwood without the work of polishing or the worry of scratching and staining! The Cotto Tiles, likewise, need no sanding, waxing, polishing or other maintenance. You can install it and forget it…as if such beauty could ever be forgotten.

Featured: Capella Porcelain in Clay

Cemento Porcelain

The concrete floor look is a popular choice among those who favor the industrial feel in their interior décor. It's versatility and durability are unsurpassed, but can portray a "cold and uninviting" look. Our Cemento line changes that. Our modern, cement-look, monochromatic porcelain tiles, are available in a range of gray shades that give any room a velvety polished feel. The Cemento line is a dramatic way to update your space with a modern mix of high style and design.

MSI's Cemento porcelain tiles are offered in both rectangular and large-format square tiles, with just enough shade variation to add intrigue. Although inspired by real cement, there is no need to limit Cemento to the rec room or gym. Unlike real concrete flooring, Cemento needs no sealing, scrubbing, or waxing--so it's perfect for any room in the house. Concrete look flooring can easily complement existing carpet, wood and tile flooring… and your active lifestyle.

Featured: Cemento Porcelain in Novara

Antares Porcelain 

For a truly dramatic, sleek, modern style that tips its hat to rustic roots, you can't beat the patina of weathered, oxidized metal. The Antares collection of patinated metal tile works well in a variety of applications — flooring, shower surrounds, backsplashes, countertops, and anywhere else you desire an impervious and durable material.

The Antares line from MSI includes two distressed colorways — Jupiter Iron (a warm hue) and Saturn Coal (cool). The surface both reflects and absorbs light, creating a multidimensional effect that looks a bit different from each angle. These tiles are imported from Italy and are available in two sizes that are sure to inspire you: 16" x 24" and 20" x 20". Antares tiles are equally at home in an urban or rural setting, as well as the suburbs in between. And unlike real oxidized metal, it's safe and long-lasting so you won't have to worry about further deterioration; it's frozen at just the perfect peak of beauty.

 Featured: Antares in Jupiter Iron


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Porcelain | Porcelain Tile | Tile Flooring

Take It for Granite: 9 Popular Black Granite Countertops

by Team MSI 10. November 2015 10:04

From solid black to gold flecked, MSI's elite collection of black granite countertops can be used for a multitude of styles and designs. And now with two more premium natural stone choices, Nero Mist, and Agatha Black, sleek black is back and in your kitchen.

1. Nero Mist

Featured:Nero Mist

Rightfully and regally named, Nero Mist exudes the audacious splendor of Roman design. Fit for a king's court, Nero Mist is a dramatic black granite with slight speckles and veins of white that give it its characteristic "misty" appearance. Enduring and exquisite for a variety of uses, from countertops, floors, and backsplashes, one simply cannot fail with Nero Mist Granite.

2. Agatha Black

Featured: Agatha Black

Known for its effortless and stunning elegance, Agatha Black's bold appeal is softened with delicate flowing veins of white throughout the pristine granite. Reminiscent of gentle waves in a dark and serene pool, this cool and crisp granite can add a touch of zen to a variety of living spaces like countertops or flooring, and is durable enough for commercial application as well.

3. Black Galaxy Granite

Featured: Black Galaxy Granite

Black Galaxy, speckled with flecks of gold or white, creates a starry-eyed look in any space. This granite is ideal for countertops, floors, and walls/backsplashes in a range of commercial and residential applications, transforming any space into a universe of your own. To suit a range of design aesthetics, this granite is available in a number of finishes and formats—including polished and honed, and slabs and tiles.

4. Black Pearl Granite   

 Featured: Black Pearl Granite (Houzz) 

A pearl symbolizes all things rare, cherished, and valuable. Like a shimmering treasure on the ocean’s floor, Black Pearl granite is lustrous and beautiful. This breathtaking countertop is comprised of a semi-solid color tone, with delicate flecks of black, gold, silver, brown, green, and shades of gray. This durable granite countertop is recommended for both indoor and outdoor use and is available in a variety of finishes.

5. Absolute Black Granite 

Absolute Black granite, hailing from the far corners of India, is reminiscent of a pitch-black night sky. Like the walls of a great, Indian palace, this design exudes a simple, understated elegance with a consistent color and texture. A great fit for both indoor and outdoor usage, this exquisite granite can be used on countertops, floors, and outdoor cladding.

6. Ubatuba Granite

Featured: Ubatuba Granite

Ubatuba granite from Brazil is a finely textured granite that makes a perfect statement piece for a variety of indoor and outdoor applications, from countertops to floors and backsplashes. With black, gold, gray, and green speckles reminiscent of a shimmering seaside landscape, this design is equal parts mysterious and beautiful.

7. Impala Black Granite

Featured: Impala Black Granite 

Return to the motherland with Impala Black granite from South Africa. Like the shadow cast downward from a thick tree cover—with shades of dark grays and blacks, and low variation in pattern—Impala Black granite playfully balances light and dark. This durable granite is ideal for use in indoor and outdoor applications for a variety of projects, including flooring, walls, countertops and landscaping projects.

8. Black Beauty Granite  

Featured: Black Beauty Granite 

Like a piece of ancient mosaic art, Black Beauty granite tiles exquisitely blend hues of black and gray, with hints of rust and white. Recommended for both residential and commercial applications—from flooring to countertops, landscaping projects, and walls—this Italian, polished-slab granite creates an eclectic, vibrant look.

9. Black Marinace Granite

Featured: Black Marinace Granite

Pave your way to style with Black Marinace granite, a one-of-a-kind countertop that exudes the quiet charm of a timeworn, cobblestone road. With blends of blacks, grays, and golds, this simply dramatic countertop creates a unique, polished look. This durable, polished slab granite is a great fit in a variety of residential and commercial settings, including exterior wall cladding, countertops, flooring, and landscape features.

Whether you're looking for something tried-and-true or modern, black granite countertops don't have to be boring or basic. Ideal for a variety of residential and commercial applications, a beautiful granite countertop from MSI creates an air of extravagance in any space.





Countertops | Granite | granite countertops,

The Commercial Side Of Porcelain Tile: Exquisitely Simple, Beautiful & Practical

by msiblog 3. November 2015 12:04

Porcelain tile flooring is right at home in a range of light to medium commercial applications, from retail establishments to office spaces, medical practices, and hotels. Durable, easy to clean, and virtually maintenance free, porcelain tiles effortlessly blend beauty and practicality.

Today’s porcelain tiles feature designs and colors reminiscent of fine fabrics, natural stone, hardwood, and metallics, with an abundance of colors and textures to complement an array of design aesthetics. With porcelain tiles that score as high as four on the Porcelain Enamel Institute Wear (PEI) scale, MSI porcelain tiles are as stunning as they are strong.

From soft and full-bodied to shabby and rustic, breathe life into any space with the low-maintenance beauty of porcelain.

Soft & Full-Bodied
A sought-after product for commercial flooring, full-body porcelain carries the tile color throughout with printing and glazing on the surface. Ideal for light commercial applications, this outstanding engineering provides a beautiful aesthetic, added durability, and top-notch resistance to abrasion.

The MSI Cemento Collection (PEI 3) is a full-body porcelain tile inspired by the monochromatic nature of concrete. Cemento is available in large-format tiles, rectangular and square, to mix and match as desired. Offered in six colors, the MSI Dimensions line brings an urban edge to any space.

Featured: Cemento Novara

Contemporary Lines, Creative Design
The Focus Collection (PEI 3) from MSI features large-format tiles with subtle directional stripes for a contemporary feel. In this retail store, a daring and unfamiliar pattern provides visual interest, enticing the eye to the back of the room for further exploration. While one color could have easily been chosen, the interior designer elected to go bold, providing a refreshing deviation from the expected. The end result is a striking, patterned look.

Featured: Focus Glacier – Graphite – Olive

Modern Appeal, Functional Reveal
Stained concrete floors create a contemporary, urban aesthetic. However, concrete floors need extensive maintenance and protection from dirt, abrasion, and the elements, requiring sealing and specific waxes formulated to keep traffic from damaging the floors.

Available in 12x24 and 3x12 bullnose in a variety of colors and tones, the Metropolis Collection of porcelain tiles (PEI 3) from MSI creates the modern look of stained concrete—without the labor-intensive upkeep. In this space, an ultramodern aesthetic is complemented by a stained concrete look, providing an air of sophistication and modern charm.

Featured: Metropolis Porcelain

Sleek & Unique
The MSI Loft Collection (PEI 3) features subtle textures reminiscent of fine, natural fabrics. Offered in large format 12x24 with rectified edges, the Loft Collection is available in popular contemporary tones suitable for accent walls in lobbies, entryways, and restrooms. These breathtaking tiles are easy to clean and maintain, and create a distinctive, stylish backdrop.

Featured: Loft Olive

The Rustic Warmth Of Wood
If you’re looking for a premium surface that exudes the natural beauty of distressed hardwood, look no further than the MSI Salvage Collection (PEI 4). These 6x40 tiles were designed to mimic the look of traditional hardwood planks, but with the hassle-free maintenance of porcelain.

For a restaurant or bar, natural hardwood countertops are challenging to maintain and properly clean. To create an effortlessly charming, weathered look—minus the maintenance—opt for porcelain tiles with a wood graining instead. 

Featured: Salvage Brown

Old-World Inspired
Capella Collection (PEI 4) tiles borrow inspiration from Old Europe. With subtle tones and shading resonant of pavers that line the streets of Italy, this collection is stunning, charming, and surprisingly low-maintenance. 

For a highly sought-after aesthetic, the Capella Collection includes wood-look and brick-look tiles. In this design, wood-look porcelain tiles were chosen for the floors, for the warmth of hardwood without the upkeep. To create this impactful aesthetic, select wood-look tiles for the floors and brick-look tiles for the walls. If you crave that coveted, stacked-stone look, open up a mosaic of style with a porcelain-stone blend on the walls.  

Featured: Capella Stable

From modern to traditional and rustic—and everything in between—porcelain tiles are lovely, versatile, and suit a wide range of design schemes. Ideal for a variety of light to medium commercial applications, there’s a durable porcelain tile from MSI to meet almost any commercial flooring need.


Commercial Tile | Flooring | Porcelain Tile | Tile

Stylish Living: Decorating with Quartzite Countertops

by msiblog 22. October 2015 10:32

Style-savvy homeowners and designers often opt for quartzite countertops when creating fine-looking kitchens, lovely bathrooms, and elegantly appointed living spaces. Those in the know value quartzite—a metamorphic stone that started life as sandstone—for its crystalline sparkle, earthen toughness, distinctive hues, and luxurious appearance. The versatile stone boasts a marble-like look that appeals to traditionalists, but is as tough as granite. Generally seen in neutral tones of gray, white, and beige, quartzite countertops complement most color schemes and work with all decorating styles. Those with a flair for the dramatic will find quartzite varieties, such as green-spattered Amazonite and blue-striated Azul Imperiale, that they can use to create theatrical focal points. No matter the colors they sport, quartzite shines in designs from classically posh to streamlined chic.

Featured: Madreperola

A Handsome & Hardworking Work Surface
Quartzite countertops are a good fit for kitchens meant to accommodate recipe-testing chefs, family meals, and friendly gatherings. This gorgeous premium surface requires less maintenance than marble and wears as well and endures as long as its igneous cousin, granite. Quartzite countertops are rock solid and resistant to chemicals, extreme temperatures, and etching. Proper sealing not only ensures quartzite countertops will resist stains and scratches, its application also highlights the surface's shimmering flecks and characteristic veins. Though quartzite countertops can be costlier than granite, they are well worth the extra expense because of their unique appearance, remarkable patterning, and natural stone textures they supply. In the kitchen below, Sea Pearl polished quartzite countertops pick up on the silvery tones of stainless steel appliances, sinks, and faucets. Rich in color, the quartzite countertop stands out against the white cabinetry, while working in concert with the earth-toned tile backsplash to generate an interesting interplay of finishes and an engaging balance of warm and cool hues.

Featured: Sea Pearl

Artistic Media
Quartzite provides the makings for some very cool countertops, including this shapely furniture-top crafted of Onyx Bamboo quartzite. Composed of the gem-like mineral quartz, quartzites widely differ when it comes to color, pattern, and outlook. These differences result from impurities and minerals present at the time the original sandstone morphed into quartzite; other factors that affect quartzite's appearance include the region of origin and the age of the stone. All these factors combine to make quartzite an incredibly unique and adaptable material to design around. Here, the beige veined quartzite countertops partner extremely well with natural wood finishes in a very contemporary airy space. The quartzite adds a layer of warmth and an organic quality that softens the room's hard angles and straight lines.

Featured: Onyx Bamboo

Versatile Material
Not just for countertops, easy-on-the-eye quartzite dazzles in a variety of applications. Below, this Azul Imperiale quartzite creates a noteworthy buzz when used to punch up a fireplace wall with pattern and pizzazz. 

Featured: Azul Imperiale

As well, White Macaubas quartzite creates a multifaceted interest in this bathroom below, not only as a countertop but as a stunning tub surround, accentuating the room's white cabinetry, paneled woodwork, and strand-of-pearl light fixtures.

Featured: White Macaubas

And, that's the beauty of quartzite. It's an exquisite, adaptable material that can be used as singularly striking countertops and wow-powered wall treatments. Quartzite countertops provide timeless appeal and hard-wearing surfaces that enhance every decorating style and all private and public spaces. Thanks to the natural stone's unparalleled charm, quartzite creates one-of-a-kind rooms that stand well above the crowd.


Countertops | Kitchen | Quartzite | Quartzite Countertops

Top 5 Designer Countertops

by msiblog 28. September 2015 12:33

Do you have a favorite countertop material? Countertops in kitchens and baths must be beautiful, yet durable and able to stand the test of time. From simple and sleek quartz countertops to dramatic and bold granite, there is a surface that will be a perfect match to complement your taste and your family’s lifestyle. We’ve asked three top interior designers to weigh in on their favorite picks for kitchens and baths. Get ready to be inspired to transform your space with new countertops from MSI!

Leslie Wolfe - Leslie Wolfe, owner of Benton Parker Design, attended Auburn University, where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Interior Design from the FIDER accredited program. After working two years for a talented designer, she established Benton Parker Design in 2006. Her designs have been showcased in regional publications. Her business continues to expand and includes clients from across the southeastern United States. 


Leslie’s Top 5:

1. Calacatta Gold Marble
Timeless and classic, Calacatta Gold Marble countertops bring an air of sophistication and refinement to a room. Marble is a great surface for countertops, and statement islands, and coordinating mosaic tiles can complete the look. In addition to kitchen countertops, marble slabs and mosaics can be used in bathrooms, as accent walls, for fireplace surrounds, and much more.  “They work well with warm or cool tones and add instant elegance to any room,” says Leslie Wolfe. This line also includes moldings, borders and mosaic sheets in a range of styles and finishes.


2. Bianca Onyx
This is a beautiful onyx that is made for backlighting. It has dramatic impact, but you can still dress it up or down depending on your needs. Onyx is a classic stone used in many elegant, traditional and modern designs. When considering an onyx slab, you should know that it takes special care to seal and regularly treat it since acids will etch and damage it.


3. Silver Travertine
Travertine adds a very unique texture to any kitchen or bath. The surface is combined with cement before it is smoothed and polished to provide a more uniform surface in a similar way  granite and marble countertops are polished. “What makes a travertine countertop shine,” says Leslie, “it’s honed natural finish and the ability to purchase in either a tile or slab is ideal for both commercial and residential countertops.”  Leslie finds that travertine’s soft color – a perfect blend of cream and warm gray creates a stunning, subtle movement. “It can complement any surrounding color or space because it’s a neutral so it’s a very flexible surface in any environment,” she says.


With more than 10 travertine colors to choose from at MSI, you have options to match your home or commercial space. Its smooth and durable finish provides an optimal surface in combination with its natural visual appeal.

4.Taj Mahal Quartzite
Quartzite is a very hard metamorphic rock that originated as sandstone. Through a process of high heating and pressurization, the sandstone is transformed into Quartzite. It is an extremely strong and durable natural stone. “It feels like marble without the maintenance,” says Leslie. When heated, individual quartz pieces recrystallize, giving it a beautiful and decorative sparkling pattern. Leslie adds, “It is a perfect creamy neutral that is rich with depth and character.” When deciding on what to use for your next countertop surface, consider quartzite countertops for its strength, beauty, and overall durability.

5. Fusion Granite
Fusion is a dramatic multicolor granite with deep bluish grays, creams, and rust colors. “It looks like a piece of art. It creates a definite ‘wow’ factor in any setting,” notes Leslie. The dramatic movement and colors make this piece the hero of any design project and an ideal choice for statement islands in a kitchen or as a vivid accent wall in an entry foyer. It is durable enough for both residential and commercial properties, and can be used indoors or out.

Jennifer Foresman - Madison & Wells Design is a full service interior design firm based in Marietta, Georgia.  Jennifer Foresman, owner of Madison & Wells Design, specializes in creating classic interiors with a modern twist.  Her focus is designing meaningful spaces that reflect her client's spirit and lifestyle.  Jennifer's style has been shaped by her time spent scouting design trends from around the world and translating them into products on the shelves of Home Depot stores nationwide.  She is also influenced by her experience designing hotels and convention centers with Atlanta based architecture and design firm, tvsdesign.  She holds degrees in interior design as well as business administration from Harrington College of Design and Georgia Institute of Technology. 


Jennifer’s Top 5:

1. Cashmere Carrara™ Quartz
Quartz has become the go-to countertop for clients who want a beautiful and low maintenance kitchen. Cashmere Carrara from the Q™ Premium Natural Quartz Collection captures the spirit of marble with its beautiful color and veining. “The fact that it is extremely easy to care for is a huge selling point for my clients with young children at home.  It is the perfect complement to a timeless white, gray or black kitchen,” she says.
2. Chakra Beige Quartz
“I love countertops that are versatile and this one certainly fits the bill!  Its gorgeous blend of off-white, taupe and caramel mixes beautifully with a variety of cabinet colors,” says Jennifer.  “While it is gorgeous with cream and gray cabinets, it looks equally great with maple and walnut stains.” 


Chakra Beige is also a great way to incorporate a mix of warm and cool tones within a kitchen.  White and gray kitchens and baths have seen a steady increase in popularity, but it can sometimes be difficult to create an element of warmth with these color palettes. Also, many homeowners want to incorporate gray tones without replacing all of their floors and cabinets. Chakra Beige can bridge cool and warm tones and allow them to blend together beautifully.


3. Bianco Antico Granite
Many top designers find that Bianco Antico is a great way to add movement to a kitchen.  Shades of white and charcoal gray create a beautiful crystallized pattern that adds interest and depth.  It is a great option for someone who wants a light countertop with lots of movement and veining. The range of colors also makes it easier to pair with a wide variety of tile backsplashes.  “On a recent project, I paired it with Keshi Blend, a beautiful white, gray and metal mosaic.  The pair made for a beautiful combination,” says Jennifer.


4. Black Soapstone
“Soapstone always reminds me of my favorite pair of broken-in jeans. The look is authentic and lived in,” notes Jennifer. She believes is it also an easy way to warm up a modern kitchen or bathroom. “I love that it can stand up to acidic liquids and cleaners that you have to avoid with most natural stone countertops.” 


5. White Macaubas Quartzite

Many clients are not initially familiar with quartzite countertops, but tend to fall in love with them at first glance. For Jennifer, they are another option to create a marble look with less maintenance. The long, beautiful veining within White Macaubas make it a striking option for a large island. 

Emily Holle - MSI’s trend and design guru, Emily Holle, finds much of her inspiration from her travels and study of textiles. Her strong background in textile design and love of ancient handmade techniques continues to influence her personal style and design aesthetic. She spends much of her work musing on her next designs while creating product collages and mood boards. Her passion for bringing affordable designs to the North American market, coupled with her keen since of style, offers products and designs that will make their way into your next design project. 


Emily’s Top 5:


1. Madreperola Quartzite
This dreamy, creamy quartzite stunner is Holle’s go-to choice for those that love the marble look but don’t want the upkeep. The depth in this natural stone is one-of-a kind because each slab is unique. “I recently renovated my kitchen and just had to have Madreperola as a main feature,” Emily says.


2. Black Forest Granite
This granite gives the feeling of power, warmth and excitement -- it wakes up a room! Black Forest Granite is a showstopper that will be the designer statement in your kitchen. Try a waterfall edge on your island with this beauty and watch your kitchen shine. Many of the latest granites we are finding around the world boast fresh colors of rich blacks, cool whites and subtle grays all with amazing movement. “It is truly unique and created from Mother Nature herself,” notes Emily. “I love for our customers to have a story behind their countertops about where it came from and that they hand selected the perfect slab for their project.”


3. Glacier White™ Quartz
Crisp and clean like a breath of fresh air, Glacier White™ Quartz offers customers that perfect white they are looking for with layers of depth to add richness. White countertops are hot right now in interior design as customers are looking to update their spaces.  Glacier White™ Quartz complements modern and contemporary design styles when paired with flat panel lacquer door cabinetry, and finished with a straight edge. Just like a little black dress, white countertops never go out of style. As your style changes, this countertop material can easily adapt to a more traditional and classic style.

4. Alpine White Granite
“Alpine White has become my recent favorite granite of choice,” adds Emily. “It boasts beautiful movement that is more spectacular than traditional speckled granites. The creamy-white base color is complemented perfectly by reflective taupes and warm grays that come together like a match made in heaven.” What makes this granite stand out from your neighbor’s granite countertops are the subtle sparkling flecks.


5. Statuary Venato Marble
An all-time classic, white marble has become the new darling of countertops in kitchens and bathrooms. The dramatic veining cannot be replicated and exudes a luxurious feel that is priceless. The hunt is on for the best looking white marble! Emily credits Statuary Venato as one of her favorites for its thick and very distinctive veining – perfect for creating a knockout kitchen island.


What are your favorites? Are you ready to start choosing new countertops for your home? MSI carries a variety of the most popular countertop material – whether granite, marble, travertine, soapstone, or quartz – you will be in awe of their beauty, timeless elegance, and durability. Granite is available in virtually every color of the rainbow and with MSI's 23 new colors of granite added to our already extensive selection, we offer a complete collection to choose from.  Our quartz countertops continue to grow in popularity as well, and are now available in 19 new striking colors. Explore all of the countertops available at




Bathrooms | Countertops | design | granite countertops, | Kitchen | Marble | onyx | Quartz | Quartzite

Fall in Love, Brick by Brick

by msiblog 23. September 2015 08:29

Have you ever been inspired by brick walls or flooring in an urban loft in New York, a funky bar, or a grand atrium? During a home remodeling television show, do you wait anxiously for the reveal of a hidden brick wall? You’re not alone! Bricks add instant warmth, create a nostalgic texture, and bring a refined rustic charm to any room. Yet, many homeowners are hesitant to install bricks inside the home – particularly in the kitchen – due to installation challenges, weight and maintenance. But there’s no need to fear! Brick-look tile is the perfect solution offering the authentic look and style of real bricks in effortless and durable porcelain. Brand new Capella Bricks from MSI can help you achieve a dreamy brick style with three incredible colors – classic Capella Red, soft white-washed Capella Ivory, and warm Capella Taupe.

Capella Red                      Capella Ivory                     Capella Taupe

Mix, Match, and Create
Backsplashes, floors, accent walls, fireplace surrounds, and virtually every other area of your home come alive with one of today’s hottest trends: brick-look tiles. Available in a highly sought after 2x10 size, these new tiles add the charm of brick with a contemporary flair and were designed to mix and match with other tile looks in the collection – terracotta-inspired and wood grain tiles.  Use together or separately to create incredible backsplashes, countertops, flooring, and shower surrounds. Perfect for whole house installations, the line is especially designed to coordinate between the Cotto, Wood Planks, and Bricks, transitioning seamlessly from one room to the next – a dream solution for homeowners craving the look of a professionally designed home. For example, in the scene below, Old World terracotta-inspired Clay Cotto partners perfectly with classic Red Brick in this stunning dining room.

Featured: Capella Red Brick Inset & Capella Clay Floor

Recreate the storied feel of an old loft with a Red Brick wall – or a French or Italian farmhouse with Ivory and Taupe Brick. These new brick looks complement a variety of other surfaces including traditional hardwood, porcelain, granite, and marble and can be used to design a kitchen, living and dining room, bathroom, or entry that is uniquely yours. 

For added visual interest and design, try using two different colors of brick-look tiles together. While this may seem counterintuitive, because these tiles are designed with the same qualities, in the same sizes, they can balance an entire room. For the other hard surfaces, select colors and textures that complement each of the brick-look tiles chosen, to weave these beautiful accents into a cohesive design. In this beautiful kitchen, colors and textures are repeated, with just a twist. Light creamy tiles are placed on the floor, echoing the soft hues in the Ivory Brick backsplash. The natural hardwood countertops bring out the rich, warm tones in the Red Brick accent wall. The combination makes this kitchen warm, inviting, and visually interesting.

Featured: Capella Ivory Backsplash & Capella Red Brick Accent Wall

Mudroom Spruce Up, Anything But Ordinary
Mudrooms and laundry rooms don’t have to be dreary or dull. Great for busy families, and especially families with pets, mudrooms should be outfitted with surfaces that are durable, easy to clean, and virtually maintenance-free. Celebrate the use and utility of this space by updating it for function and beauty. Move your laundry out of the dark dingy basement and into a space with abundant natural light and that’s more accessible to the busy center of your home. When designing with a modern aesthetic in mind, adding in classic elements — like a brick floor — makes the home more interesting and appealing. Above all, mudrooms and laundry rooms must be functional, easy-to-clean, and require little maintenance. The perfect solution? Capella Brick on the floor. Install in creative patterns like chevron and herringbone to turn an ordinary space into an extraordinary one.

Featured: Capella Taupe Brick Floor in Herringbone Pattern 

Neutral Tones, Comfortable and Cozy
Looking for inspiration that sets the foundation for a warm, inviting and cozy home? Look no further. Taupe Brick has subtle undercurrents of many different earthy neutral tones. Select wall colors, furniture and accent pieces that bring out these undertones to produce a cohesive and elegant environment that makes you want to dive into an evening conversation with loved ones or curl up with a great book. When used as an accent wall, the charm of brick tiles grounds the room and creates a charming and relaxing area.

Featured: Capella Taupe BrickAccent Wall

The Look of Brick – Without the Maintenance
While traditional bricks are beautiful, they do require significant maintenance and special cleaning. MSI’s Capella Bricks bring you the classic rustic nature of Old World bricks with the easy cleaning and care of porcelain tile. These brick tiles can be used practically anywhere, including high-moisture areas like bathrooms and mud rooms— they make great backsplashes in even the busiest of kitchens. A simple wipe down or damp mopping is all that’s needed to remain handsome for decades to come.

Browse the entire Capella Collection and be inspired to mix and match the Bricks, Wood Planks, and Cotto tiles. Pair rich brown Java Wood Planks with Red Brick for an old-style look or Ivory Brick with Sand Cotto for a traditional feel, or even Taupe Brick with Talc Cotto or Silt Cotto for a lighter and more contemporary feel. Let your imagination run wild!






Backsplash | Bathrooms | Fireplaces | Flooring | Kitchen | Mosaics | Porcelain | Porcelain Tile | Tile

White-Hot Style = Palette Perfection

by msiblog 14. September 2015 13:03

Clean. Crisp. Classic. The color white rises to "gotta have it" status when it comes time for designers and homeowners to select premium surfaces for kitchens, bathrooms, and living areas. Valued by modernists and traditionalists alike, white tiles, countertops, cabinets, and flooring bring sun-reflective surfaces that cause rooms to appear lighter, livelier, and lovelier.

White is the most versatile and brightest of neutrals, works in styles from contemporary to cottage, and partners beautifully with every single color. It is especially valued by those with a penchant for cheerfully breezy spaces, classically elegant chambers, and stylishly streamlined designs.

White is especially impressive when presented as expansive installations. Picture the welcome of a formal foyer's bright white porcelain floor. Envision the luxurious appeal of a shower walled in elegant Carrara marble. Dream of crisp white quartz countertops contrasting with a  vanity's rich mahogany finish. Now imagine runs of white cabinets accented by black granite countertops.
Recognized in Southern California for her incredible work, Houzz-featured interior designer Susan Thiel ( made a powerful statement with white in this redesigned master bathroom. We asked her to share her strategies for incorporating white in all types of designs, including this amazing bathroom remodel.

Inspirational Cues
When Susan Thiel's clients requested a contemporary bathroom featuring clean lines and river rock accents, the designer turned to dramatic Pietra Calacatta 24x24 porcelain tiles as her style-setting building blocks. Unlike natural stone, the tiles' vein patterns are uniform, which allowed the tiles to be laid out to create a zigzag effect on the floors and walls.

"Design is a balancing act of form, color and texture," notes Thiel "I needed to find materials that were visually strong enough to balance the river rock and the custom-formed black concrete tiles. Adding the porcelain tile created a great combination."

The white surfaces help showcase the beds of river rock running beneath the tub and next to the shower; the black rocks take their cue from the tiles' vein color and help to visually delineate bathing and showering stations. In addition to the rocks, the porcelain tiles complement the black walls and the distinctive barn door at the room's entry.

This High Style = Bold Appeal idea repeats at the vanity—an Arctic White Quartz waterfall edge countertop charmingly encases espresso-brown cabinets outfitted with black hardware. 

Complementary Companions
Thiel believes that the beauty of working with white is that it performs brilliantly in different looks.

• Sea green and white equals ‘beachy’

• White with pops of vibrant hues always pleases

• Chic black and white designs excite 

• Soft white and gray palettes soothe

"White is a wonderful backdrop," says Thiel."It allows you to bring in contrasting colors and textures. Clients can easily update a look if the bones of the design are white. You are able to add pops of color with furniture or decorative elements, which can be easily changed over the years." 

Though weaving white into any kitchen, bathroom, or living space is an easy thing to do, Thiel warns that using white in contemporary rooms requires special attention. Streamlined designs are short on moldings and ornamentation, so it's important to mix in contrasting colors, varying textures, and furniture with sculptural silhouettes, such as the tub used in this bathroom remodel. She adds that white-on-white palettes work well in traditional spaces that boast substantial architectural elements and are furnished with cabinets, counters, and floors sporting ornate details.
No matter the decorating style, white is claiming its proper place in homes great and small. Its popularity continues to grow as more and more homeowners and designers tune into the merits and appeal of white finishes.

Thiel sums up the reasons for the white-hot trends in today's design scene: "With white, there are endless beautiful combinations that can be created. White is a classic, so you can't go wrong."

It seems that with some strategic planning and expert input, white is perfect for every room in the house.




Bathrooms | Countertops | Design Trend | Flooring | Porcelain | Quartz | Tile