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24 New Granite Colors to Love

by msiblog 31. August 2015 11:32

Granite is the most sought after natural stone in the U.S. In fact, granite accounts for over 50% of natural stone product sales. Granite is virtually maintenance free, is etch resistant, stain resistant, and heat resistant, and it is available in hundreds of beautiful colors and patterns. And now, 24 new stunning colors are available from MSI, adding to the over 200 color options already available. From subtle tones and veining, to more dramatic, bold colors and variations, there is natural granite to fit your design style. We hand-selected these new granites to meet the demand of our customers seeking on-trend colors for countertops while still experiencing all of the benefits of granite. Ranging from white to black, and many beautiful shades of gray, these new colors bring bold flair and high-design to any room in your home.

Wonderful Winsome Whites
The 10 new white granites offered by MSI expand the color selection from simple to extraordinary. New colors include white backgrounds with high contrast veins and flecks including Antico WhiteBianco FrostVenus WhiteWhite Ravine, and White Sparkle. More subtle whites in the collection include White SupremeWhite OrnamentalWhite AlphaValle Nevado, and Aspen White. Lend an air of sophistication and beauty to kitchens, baths, entries, and living spaces with one of these exquisite new white granites.

Featured: White Supreme

Cool Contemporary Grays
Update a kitchen, bathroom, or other space with one of the hottest colors today – gray. MSI features 5 new gray tones including BlizzardGanacheGray MistRomanix and White Storm. White and gray backgrounds with darker gray veins and flecks make these new granites ideal for a variety of design styles and applications. Use gray granite as a way to incorporate this on-trend color in a timeless and beautiful way. Create a statement kitchen island, add flair with a granite countertop, or clad an accent wall with durable, beautiful gray granite.

Beyond Basic Black
Black granite countertops have been a design staple for decades. Like a little black dress, black granite complements a variety of design styles, is easy to accessorize, and is timeless. MSI’s new introductions feature three extraordinary blacks – Agatha BlackNero Mist, and Nordic Black. Nero Mist and Nordic Black have subtle veining and flecks, while Agatha Black is more dramatic, making it ideal for statement islands, or even feature walls. These three new black granite patterns could soon be the new classic. 

Featured: Agatha Black

Warm Earthy Tones
Adding comforting warmth to any room is easy with our new rustic earth tone granites in Barcelona and Caravelas Gold. Barcelona’s soothing creams and beiges are contrasted with dark black flecks, creating movement and drama.  Create a custom look in any room with Caravelas Gold granite from Brazil where warm creams meet cooler grays for dynamic style.  Cozy up your fireplace with one of these lovely, warm colors for a natural look and relaxing feel.

Featured: Caravelas Gold

High Style
Feeling bold? Hidden TreasureRocky Mountain, and White Ravine are 3 of our new offerings that boast dramatic colors and high movement veining. If you love the look of the dramatic veins and patterns of natural marble, but desire the durability of granite, these choices are ideal. White Ravine is the most subtle of the three, with sweeping shades of cream, gray and lavender.  Hidden Treasure is at the other end of the spectrum, reminiscent of a dynamic sunset with rich golds, red and black tones. For kitchen islands and countertops, partner with cabinetry that complements one of the deep veins for a contemporary and chic look.

Featured: Rocky Mountain

Whether you desire a subtle look, rustic earth tones, or dramatic colors and patterns, MSI’s entire collection of granite slabs has you covered. If you are searching for a durable and elegant piece for countertops, backsplashes, or other design projects, visit our website where you can browse through all of our new product introductions. Need more help? Get inspired to create the space of your dreams with our Kitchen Visualizer Tool and our Bathroom Visualizer Tool where you can view a virtually endless number of combinations of cabinetry, flooring, countertops, and backsplashes.



Countertops | Granite | granite countertops, | Kitchen

4 Easy Ways to Finish Tile Edges

by msiblog 13. August 2015 12:44

Shopping for tiles to create a beautiful space is fun. Today, there is an endless supply of natural stone, mosaics, glass, and porcelains tiles available on the market. In every shade of the rainbow, and virtually every dimension and design available, premium tiles can transform a ho-hum space into a show-stopper.

Image Courtesy of Houzz

One of the challenges that many homeowners face is how to finish the raw edges of tile walls and floors to ensure proper installation and a striking finished project. Many tiles lines offer coordinating bullnose pieces to match with varying tile sizes; however, some of the newer products, especially popular porcelain wood-grain looks, don’t yet have bullnose tiles available. But, this doesn’t need to discourage your selection. You have options!

There are several alternatives available to make sure the transition from the tile to the wall or ceiling is a smooth and refined one. Here are 4 easy ways to finish the edges of tile.

Featured: Salvage Musk

1. Caulk the Edge. This is the easiest and most cost-effective solution. Mosaics, tumbled stone, and some porcelain tiles have edges that are more suited for this solution. Examine the tiles from the side; do they look raw, or finished? If it looks finished, after installation and grouting, you can apply a thin bead of caulking to the edge to create a clean, water-tight seal. However, if the edges are raw, we would recommend selecting one of the other solutions below.

2. Rail Moldings. Coordinating tile moldings in natural stone and porcelain are usually readily available. Thin, and decorative, these moldings can help you transition between different types of tile, or from tile to drywall. They provide a clean, cohesive transition that finishes the project beautifully. If the tile you’ve selected doesn’t have moldings, you can select one that closely matches, or you can choose one that contrasts to bring some extra pizazz to the space.

Featured: Greecian White

3. Metal Edges. Metal edges are available in a wide array of styles and finishes. They can be used indoors, and out, for flooring stairs, showers, and other accent walls when you want a clean and contemporary transition to another surface. Metal edges are becoming very popular and create a really nice look. Sometimes homeowners will choose a metal color that coordinates with a sink faucet or shower head. For example, if you have polished chrome fixtures in your bath, polished chrome edges can be chosen for a cohesive and elegant feel.

Image Courtesy of Houzz

4. Create a Bullnose Edge. This is the most challenging, but not impossible. If you have selected a tile that doesn’t have a matching bullnose, dislike the idea of using metal edges or other moldings, you can (or have your installer) make custom bullnose edges from the tiles you have selected. However, this only works for natural stone and some porcelain tiles that are solid throughout. Prior to installation, grind, sand and polish the edge of the tiles to create a rounded edge. If you are DIYing it, make sure to practice, practice, practice, for the best results. 

Featured: Emperador Light

When planning a new tile installation, remember, the devil is in the details. Grout lines, proper grout application, and a smooth transition from tile to the wall, ceiling, or other surfaces are necessary for the project to look great. Don’t despair if the tile you have fallen in love with doesn’t have a matching bullnose tile; use one of our favorite tile edging solutions above. Whether you select a contemporary modern metal edge, a more traditional natural marble stone rail molding, choose to caulk the edges, or spend the time creating your own custom bullnose edge, be assured your project will look complete and finished.



Backsplash | Bathrooms | Ceramic Tile | Flooring | Kitchen | Marble | Natural Stone | Porcelain | Tile | Tile Planks | Travertine | Wood Tile

Trend Alert: Natural Stone Planks

by msiblog 1. August 2015 07:16

The beauty of natural stone is undeniable. The instinctive veining, colors, and textures simply cannot be duplicated in a laboratory. Tile floors and walls add dimension, character, and distinction to any space, creating a timeless elegance. While 12x12 tiles and even 12x24 tiles have been growing in popularity for a decade in the United States, the new trend in interior design is plank-sized tiles.


Featured: Roman Vein Cut Travertine

MSI’s collection of plank-sized natural stone tiles is offered in marble, travertine and slate. Thirteen new colors are available from warm creams and browns to cooler shades of gray and black. The colors are on-trend, meeting the demand of discerning customers seeking beautiful natural stone surfaces throughout their homes. While planks have been readily available in other materials, the addition of natural stone updates the classic splendor of these pieces, to be on-trend, yet enduring in style, and are ideal for a variety of home interior design projects including flooring, countertops, and accent walls.

Modern Dimensions – Classically Marble
Marble tiles and slabs have been used for thousands of years for monuments, temples, buildings, and works of fine art. From subtle whites with gray veins to more dramatic colors and veining, marble adds a special panache to every space.

Featured: Gray Oak Marble

In our new collection, Gray Oak planks lend warm gray tones, and linear veining to create a contemporary backdrop. For cooler tones, with the same dramatic veining, White Oak planks bring a subtle gray tone to a space. Both of these marbles are vein cut creating the look of natural wood grain, in beautiful natural marble. White Oak and Gray Oak planks are perfect for more dramatic installation patterns, including chevron and herringbone patterns; let your creativity soar!


Featured: White Oak Marble

Time-Enduring Travertine
Large format travertine planks are the choice of many interior designers and homeowners, and for good reason. It is a beautiful and luxurious stone that transforms walls, floors and countertops into gorgeous backdrops. Our plank collection features both vein cut and cross cut styles creating a unique look that will enliven your space, and remain timeless for decades to come. From the subtle and classic, to dramatic and contemporary, these travertine planks highlight the finest in natural stone.

Our ever popular Durango Cream travertine, now available in planks, is the most subtle in tone in our new collection. Soft, yet rich with light shades of cream, these planks will adapt through the years to changing trends and design choices.  

Featured: Durango Cream Travertine

Adding to the mix, our exquisite vein cut Machu Picchu travertine hails from Peru. It features creamy warm beige tones suitable for a variety of design styles. This natural stone with its warm tones is perfect for a contemporary space; a variety of colors and textures complement the rich colors and veins.

The look of our Caramel travertine planks are reminiscent of vanilla ice cream, with a caramel drizzle! Cross cut to create movement, these planks add interest, dimension, and style that complement a variety of decors, from traditional to contemporary.

Roman Vein Cut planks are elegant and sophisticated with subtle linear movement in light creams and beiges. For a more dramatic and modern look, the Silver Vein Cut planks, shown below, feature darker tones of gray in the on-trend linear pattern.  

Featured: Silver Vein Cut Travertine

Reminiscent of old world style, our Tuscany Beige, Tuscany Classic, Tuscany Ivory, Tuscany Storm, and Tuscany Walnut travertine planks have gentle swirls and movement, updated with the new on-trend dimensions of a 6x24 size for a completely modern look! Whether you want to create your perfect spa-like retreat, a contemporary kitchen, or a dramatic entry or living space, these planks will bring the timeless elegance to your home.

Simply Slate
One of the hottest colors in interior design is gray! Gray complements virtually every other color on the planet, and every design style. With slate tiles, you can easily update the look of your room by swapping out accessories, paint color, and leave the natural stone flooring and accent walls alone. Feeling sleek and modern? Pair a slate floor with bright whites and modern clean lines. Feeling more casual and cozy? Soften the room with colorful fabrics and accessories. Our new Montauk Black slate planks pair well with today’s trendy gray tones to bring a room completely together.

Updating your home is an investment. It is wise to select materials that are durable, and that can adapt through the years as your design tastes and design trends change. Frankly, no material adapts better than natural stone. It is simply chic, durable, rich with character, and luxurious. The addition of our new 6x24 natural stone planks opens up a new world of endless design possibilities and the opportunity for more creative installations. They are ideal for any interior design project and are durable enough to stand the test of time, even in the busiest of spaces.


Flooring | Kitchen | Marble | Natural Stone | Slate | Tile | Tile Planks | Travertine

Extraordinary Outdoor Entertaining Areas

by Bryn Huntpalmer 20. July 2015 09:02

Are you making the most of your outdoor space? Creating your dream oasis is easy with premium hardscaping products from MSI. With durable natural stone you can design extraordinary expanses that serve as the centerpiece for social gatherings and feature functional, luxurious, beautiful patios, pool decks, and driveways. Read on for the many ways to use MSI premium hardscaping products and enjoy outdoor living to the fullest!

Create an Elegant Entertaining Space with Natural Stone Pavers
MSI’s premium natural stone paver collection includes pavers comprised of travertine, granite, slate, quartzite, and limestone. Available in a variety of colors, textures, shapes, and sizes, MSI’s pavers come together like an elaborate puzzle to create your custom patio, pool deck, walkway or driveway. Cool to the touch, these pavers may also be a smart choice for protecting bare feet in hot weather.

Match Coping to Create a Cohesive Design
If you have a pool, water feature, hot tub, or even a small border wall, you’ll want to make sure to match the coping and wall caps with your pavers to create a cohesive design. MSI offers a full collection of coping, caps, and treads to match its pavers. With an extra thick consistency, these products are also great for matching steps, wall caps, column caps, and a variety of pool applications. 

Enjoy Meals from Your Outdoor Kitchens
An outdoor kitchen takes your entertaining possibilities to the next level. No need for guests (especially guests who were just in the pool)  to cluster inside your home to make a plate. Skip the traffic jam and the wet floors with an outdoor kitchen that includes a grill for quick and freshly prepared food, a mini-fridge for cool drinks, and a large open countertop space to comfortably enjoy meals. With an outdoor kitchen, you can also avoid overheating your home while cooking during the hot summer months. You’ll also have the flexibility to enjoy a romantic dinner under the stars whenever the weather is pleasant. MSI Stacked Stone is a great way to significantly upgrade the appeal of a standard kitchen island. These ledger panels can add warmth, texture, and drama to any outdoor area.

Cozy Up Next to the Fire Place
A fire place can extend your ability to entertain outdoors beyond the summer. Whether you're enjoying a glass of wine and conversation with a group of old friends, or creating an impromptu camping experience (complete with s’mores and ghost stories) with family, gathering around the fire will surely make the evening feel special. Consider adding colored polished pebbles around the fire place for a decorative accent that will prevent weed growth and help with any drainage problems. MSI’s stacked natural stone ledger panels will make your fire place durable, while blending seamlessly with the rest of your premium surfaces.

For more ideas for how to upgrade your outdoor entertaining space with natural stone, check out MSI’s inspiration gallery and hardscaping videos. Now all you need to do is fire up the grill and grab some pool floats!
Bryn Huntpalmer is a mother of two young children living in Austin, Texas where she currently works as an Editor for Modernize and nurtures her HGTV obsession. In addition to regularly contributing to Home Decor and Design websites around the web, her writing can be found on Lifehacker, and on her personal blog Her Own Wings.


General | Granite | Hardscaping | Marble | Natural Stone | Outdoor Landscaping | pool tile | Slate | Stacked Stone | Travertine

4 Ways to Light Up Your New Kitchen

by msiblog 6. July 2015 09:07

Proper kitchen lighting ensures a safe and efficient work area, which also works as a welcoming entertainment hub that invites folks to gather. Thoughtfully selected and placed light fixtures highlight a kitchen's surfaces and cabinet profiles, help establish specific design styles, and bring furnished-room warmth to practical spaces.

When remodeling a kitchen, devise a lighting plan that introduces layers of light arranged in ways that ease passage through the kitchen, directly illuminate workstations, and draw attention to your kitchen's best-looking elements, such as countertops, backsplashes, and flooring. Incorporate brighter or extra illumination in kitchens with tall ceilings, rich cabinet finishes, and dark-hued premium surfaces. Equip your new light fixtures with bulbs that emit the color of light desired for specific areas of your kitchen.  Bulbs that emit yellowish light are good choices for fixtures meant to enlighten eating areas and cast a warm glow on backsplashes or countertops. Neutral, bright, and cool white bulbs energize kitchens and are ideally suited for fixtures that provide ambient and task lighting. Remember to put at least a few lights on dimmers so you can control the room's ambience with the flip of a switch.

Here is a closer look at four types of lighting you should include to amplify your new kitchen's purpose, increase its usage, and magnify its aesthetic appeal.

Ambient Lighting
Ambient or general lighting sheds light across the whole kitchen; it's the lighting you are most likely to switch on when entering your kitchen. Recessed lights, like those showcased in this kitchen, are a popular method for producing diffused light that ricochets off polished natural stone countertops, stainless steel appliances, and glass-front cabinets to pleasingly illuminate an entire workspace. Recessed can lights should be centered in the room, set between 4 and 5 feet apart, and positioned so light from the bulbs falls onto islands, peninsulas, and perimeter countertops. Other types of fittings that emit ambient light include chandeliers, track lights, fluorescent fixtures, and semi-flush and flush-mounted ceiling fixtures. Select fixtures with finishes that play off the colors seen in the kitchen surfaces. Choose polished nickel recessed lights to echo a marble countertop's silvery veins, coppery-shaded pendants to complement slate floors, or bronze-detailed chandeliers that echo a travertine backsplash's earthen tones.

Task Lighting
These types of perfectly focused lights are all about lighting whatever task is at hand. They are the brightest lights in a kitchen and direct light downward to illuminate countertops and sink areas to guarantee kitchen operations run smoothly. Under-cabinet lights are a good choice for illuminating perimeter countertops; in addition to lighting work surfaces, they set glass and metallic mosaics shimmering and highlight natural stone countertops crystalline details. Aim recessed spotlights and floodlights so they illuminate cleaning stations, hang pendant lights that cast light directly onto your island top, and choose range hoods equipped with task lights focused on the cook top.

Accent Lighting
Accent lighting does just what its title describes; it accentuates a kitchen's loveliest details. Use spotlights on wavy tracks, picture lights on framed artworks, and lights installed inside glass-door cabinets to draw attention to your kitchen's finest features. Under-cabinet lights and range-hood lights do double duty as task and accent lighting, especially when shining light across mosaic-tiled backsplashes or behind-the-range murals. 

Decorative Lighting
Think of decorative lighting as jewels that impart light while adding razzle-dazzle to your home's hardest working room. In old world designs, like this kitchen outfitted with marble countertops and travertine floors, antique wall sconces and vintage-style schoolhouse pendants underscore the room's classic appeal. Crystal-draped chandeliers, tubular glass pendant lights, and simply shaded wall sconces are other decorative light options that contribute stylish silhouettes to your kitchen's design plan.

Decorative fixtures team up with ambient, task, and accent lighting, cabinet finishes, and premium surfaces to optimize a new kitchen's utility and good looks, while supplying bright lights of interest at every level . . . which is what the ideal kitchen lighting plan is meant to do!


Backsplash | Countertops | Flooring | Granite | granite countertops, | Kitchen | Marble | Mosaics | Natural Stone | Slate | Tile | Travertine

When Only Real Stone Will Do

by msiblog 26. June 2015 07:18

In the universal scheme of things, natural is considered superior to synthetic. Organic foods, soft cotton fabrics, sustainable building materials, and natural stone surfaces continue to grow in popularity because of their health, environmental, and aesthetic benefits. The same holds true for stacked natural stone ledger panels: valued for their inherent warmth, enduring character, and timeless appeal, the premium natural surface is popping up more and more often as kitchen backsplashes, focal-point walls, home facades, and patio partitions. Stacked natural stone ledger panels offer designers, homeowners, and installers many advantages over their faux-stone counterparts. Here's a look at some of those advantages.

Featured: Sierra Blue

Good Value
Though much higher-end in appearance, stacked natural stone ledger panels are similar in cost to synthetic versions. They are designed for quick and easy installation by professional and do-it-yourself installers, which make them an economical choice for numerous applications. The modular panels lock together in puzzle-like fashion to create surfaces that have a seamless appearance, which in turn emphasizes the panels' earthen beginnings and rustic profiles. Unlike synthetic panels, which are often manufactured using environmentally unfavorable processes and materials, stacked natural stone ledger panels are crafted from trimmed pieces of limestone, slate, sandstone, travertine, or quartzite, making them handsome, eco-friendly, and appropriate for living-green designs. 

Featured: Roman Beige

Durable Character
Stacked natural stone ledger panels hold their good looks for much longer than faux polyurethane or plastic-composite panels. After all, real stone has already withstood year’s worth of wear and tear from eroding winds, streaming water, corrosive minerals, and earthen pressure. So, you can be sure that ledger panels crafted from real natural stone will stylishly endure for a lifetime or more when used in interior and exterior installations. They will retain their integrated color and pleasingly rough details through inclement weather, temperature changes, cooking splatters, and vacuum-cleaner dings. Faux-stone panels are more likely to erode and lose their color with time, which makes natural stone ledger panels the more durable surface selection.

Featured: Brown Wave

Versatile Performer
Touch natural stone and you'll immediately realize it's the real thing (and not formed by man!). Authentic stacked natural stone ledger panels feel good and bring warming textures, a touch of drama, and look-at-me surfaces to interior and outdoor spaces. Available in an array of colors and color combinations, these versatile pieces take on starring roles in styles ranging from classic to contemporary. Beige-shaded stone panels promote a sense of laidback serenity that works well in modern indoor and outdoor living spaces. Bluish-gray hues perfectly partner with dark wood finishes in transitional quarters. Brown and copper shades take the chill off bathrooms, kitchens, and patios furnished with white or stainless steel fittings. Whether used to upholster a wall or face an outdoor fireplace, stacked natural stone ledger panels bring stylish silhouettes to spaces of all sizes and styles.

Featured: Cordoba Noce

When all is said and done, stacked natural stone ledger panels are a much better choice than manufactured because they are the real deal. Compare the genuine and faux panel types, visually and by touching, and you'll appreciate the fact that natural stone panels are one-of-a-kind surfaces that will bring everlasting beauty to your home and landscape.  

For more information on everything MSI has to offer, visit our website where you can check out our new Stacked Natural Stone Ledger Panels brochure and also view our handy video on how to install Stacked Natural Stone Ledger Panels. Our trimmed pieces of natural stone uniquely interlock, which allows for streamlined installation and gives a more custom look and seamless appearance. Offered in two styles, they can be used on the façade of a home to enhance the appeal, outside to showcase a barbecue island, on a backsplash to spruce up a kitchen or inside to beautify an interior wall.


Hardscaping | Ledger Panels | Natural Stone | Stacked Stone

Striking New Quartz Colors Expand Possibilities

by msiblog 19. June 2015 10:44

If you’re remodeling a kitchen or bathroom, most people may automatically think about using granite or tile for a surface. But think again.  Quartz – one of the hardest materials in the world – is versatile, durable, easy to maintain and comes in a wide range of looks. But don’t limit yourself to applications since quartz slabs and tiles can be used on the kitchen and bath, as well as on backsplashes and even fireplace surrounds.

MSI introduces 9 new Q Premium Natural Quartz colors. These designs can replicate the many looks of stone, granite, marble and limestone. They include: Carrara Grigio, Montclair White, Perla White, Romano White, Pearl GrayBabylon Gray, Fossil Taupe, Fossil Brown, and Fossil Gray.

Mix it Up With Neutrals

A colorful mix of tile or new paint on the walls and cabinets can add a selected punch to a neutral countertop and backsplash. Designers generally rely on white, grey and brown to set the tone – and then accessorize with color, texture, fabric and furnishings. MSI’s 9 new quartz colors work seamlessly in modern, traditional or contemporary spaces. 

The range of colors and designs means that you have more flexibility to blend styles. Whether you’re searching for a marble-type look, a dark flavor, or want to incorporate something more neutral, these new colors can bring a new, exciting dynamic to your space. 

Featured: Carrara Grigio

White Right Now

White is the perfect accent to any kitchen or bathroom’s color palette. Pair white quartz countertops with gleaming floors and stainless steel appliances – or maybe even a high-end range in a signature color (think fire-engine red or turquoise) or a vintage fridge – and white quartz countertops can be the subtle touch to make your kitchen pop. Since quartz is less expensive than marble, but can be manufactured to look like marble, you can invest in other deluxe design details, such as cabinets. The new Carrara Grigio, Montclair WhitePerla White and Romano White will fit any interior and create a stunning look in any kitchen!

Featured: Pearl Gray

Go for the Gray

The recent Covering’s 2015 show featured cement and concrete as a hot trend (Top 5 Premium Surface Trends Seen at Coverings 2015). As neutrals, our new Pearl GrayBabylon Gray and Fossil Gray can either add rich granite-like texture or a solid backdrop to a bolder design scheme. If you want to go completely modern, gray quartz is the ticket. This sleek, streamlined look would be perfect in a modernistic kitchen or bath in a mid-Century home.

Brown is Beautiful

Browns in the kitchen and bath have been popular for many years. This year colors include Fossil Taupe and Fossil Brown, consist of subtle detailing that adds a unique fossil texture to the quartz. If you’re interested in something outstanding for your countertops, Q Premium Natural Quartz will give you stunning earth-tone options. Choose from the lightest brown to rich, dark hues to accentuate any cabinet.


Featured: Montclair White

Quartz countertops can be a lovely accent to your kitchen or bath. Durable, versatile, gorgeous and easy to install, quartz can add value and beauty to your home. Consider all that MSI has to offer!


Countertops | Kitchen | Quartz

What Is Your Tile Style?

by msiblog 11. June 2015 12:38

Tiles add appealing texture, color, and pattern to walls and floors and lay the foundation for establishing specific decorating styles. The trick to designing with tile is knowing which decorating style suits your individual aesthetic and your home's architecture, and then knowing what tile treatments further that style. This overview of popular decorating styles and the premium surfaces that accentuate each look will help you determine which tile treatment best reflects your personal style.


Old World Spirit
If you like rustic patinas, high-impact details, and historic references, you are likely to love old world spaces. Whether inspired by Tuscan villas, French farmhouses, or Mediterranean manses, old world rooms fuse refined and rough surfaces, formal woodwork rendered in antiqued finishes, and warm-toned neutral finishes. Good tile and surface choices for creating this assembled-over-time style include travertine-tiled walls, richly veined marble or granite countertops, and floors crafted of honed limestone tiles, blue slate tiles, or porcelain tiles with the appearance of salvaged wood.

Modern Cachet
Do you revel in sleek surfaces or enjoy streamlined furnishings? Most likely you're a modernist: you value function over form, appreciate calming spaces, and use geometric shapes presented in neutral tones as building blocks for fashioning progressive quarters. Enhance modern designs with walls and wainscots fashioned from blends of stone, metal, and glass tiles, black and silver steel mosaic tiles, or interlocking glass tiles laid in a brick pattern. Opt for black, gray, or white quartz or polished black granite countertops that complement (or contrast with) the color of your kitchen or vanity cabinets. Anchor kitchens, baths, and living spaces with easy-on-the-eye floors that have the appearance of concrete or gray-washed wood.

Transitional Attitude
If you're a free-thinker who borrows elements from both classic and contemporary styles, your style is transitional. You like to mix earthen surfaces with chic furnishings and touchable textiles to create comfortable, uncluttered spaces that invite folks to gather. Generally, transitional style relies on neutral, naturally textured backdrops that supply interest but still allow homeowners flexibility to change out accessories at a whim. Use tile with the look of ledger stone, brick, terra-cotta, wood, and natural stone, mosaic-tile applications rendered in tone-on-tone patterns, and light-colored limestone, granite, and quartzite for floors and countertops.

Cottage Charming
Nostalgic nuances, buoyant white finishes, and sea and sky palettes guarantee that cottage-style spaces are sure to appeal to your living-easy sensibilities. Today's cottage-style designs present old-fashioned materials in updated ways to create bright and breezy spaces. Think white subway tiles for kitchen, bath, and shower walls; use black and white octagon tiles to fashion a period-perfect floor or an eye-catching wainscot. For a warmer look, consider using large-scale wood-toned porcelain tiles. Like a bit more color? Use glass or seashell-glass tiles to create wall treatments that introduce surf's-up shimmer and water-music hues.

Traditional Character
You're a classicist if formal furnishings, posh surfaces, and refined materials start your blood flowing. You find comfort in orderly spaces that are attractive, cushy, and noteworthy. Understated surfaces boasting plenty of natural beauty are ideally suited to enhancing traditional-style designs. White marble tiles, countertops, and flooring are conventional choices for traditional spaces, but travertine, limestone, and neutral-hued ceramic and porcelain tiles also complement the dark furniture finishes, gilded accessories, and plush fabrics often seen in traditional spaces.

We hope that all of the above has helped you identify your decorating style and preferred design look. For more style-apt tile ideas, take time to explore images in our new online Inspiration Gallery: you'll find a bounty of creative applications that use tile and premium surfaces to establish styles from classic to contemporary and everything in between.


Backsplash | Bathrooms | Countertops | Flooring | Granite | granite countertops, | Kitchen | Marble | Mosaics | Natural Stone | Porcelain | Quartz | Tile | Travertine | Wood Tile

Tile 101: Choosing the Right Grout for Your Tile

by msiblog 5. June 2015 17:07

Grout is more than just the glue that holds your tile together– it is a vital part of the design. Often overlooked, grout selection is as important as your tile selection; it is the key to loving the end result.

Grout selections have grown over the years and, today, you can find grout in virtually every shade of the rainbow to blend or contrast with your tiles. By simply selecting a different color, the look of the tiles can shift from traditional and classic to modern and sleek.

Blended Perfection
Generally speaking, a grout that blends with the base color of the tile allows the detail of the tile to shine through; the tile itself becomes the focus. The color and tonal inflections, pattern, and veining of marble, travertine or porcelain tiles comes forward when the grout is matched to the tile.

Featured: Versailles Manoir Grigio

This works well in small spaces when you want to visually expand the room; instead of the installation pattern of the tile being the focal point, the graphic nature fades into the background, and the beauty of the tile itself shines through.

With marble or other natural stone tiles, sometimes the default choice is a grout color that matches the base color of the tile. This can be a great option when you want a simple and classic look that draws the eye into the marble’s natural color variation and veins. 

Featured: Arabescato Carrara Marble 12x12

But, when natural stone tiles, like the Greecian White Octagon marble seen below, is paired with a grout that is matched to the veining of the tile, the end result is much different. While still subtle, the pattern of the installation is more prevalent, giving a classic, old-world feeling to the whole room.

Featured: Greecian White 2” Octagon

Creative Contrast
Contrasting grout, on the other hand, highlights the graphic nature of the installation. But, using contrasting grout doesn’t have to be visually jarring. As in this kitchen below, when paired with a darker tile, light grout picks up the colors of the natural stone countertops and backsplashes, creating a cohesive and beautiful look.

Featured: Focus Graphite Porcelain

If you want a more contemporary take, using classic white subway tiles, gray grout is the answer. In fact, this is one of today’s hottest trends. White subway tiles are clean, simple, and classic; but this design twist, using dark gray grout, transforms the look and feel of the space highlighting the tile layout, as shown in this spa-like bathroom retreat.

Since the contrasting grout, whether darker or lighter, is going to bring the design pattern more into focus, consider a chevron, herringbone, or vertical offset pattern for additional visual interest. This photo below shows how to incorporate this look into your outdoor spaces as well.

Featured: California Gold Flagstone

Choosing the right grout is more than just about color and whether to contrast , or not.  Make sure to pay attention to the type of grout you choose. The two most common are “sanded” and “non-sanded”.  Sanded grouts are less expensive, but can scratch certain tiles, including glass and marble, so be cautious.  They are, however, generally safe for porcelain. Non-sanded grouts tend to cost a bit more, but don’t let price be the sole determining factor. Work with your installer to choose the right grout for your specific project.

Quick Tips for Selecting Grout

  • Install tile on a piece of plywood, with a couple of different colors of grout. Allow it to properly cure, and then place it in the room to see how the lighting affects your choice. Colors look different depending on if the room is flooded with natural light, or is lighted with incandescent, fluorescent, or LED lighting.
  • Grout can take several days or even weeks to fully cure. If you have chosen a colored grout, give it time to cure before making final judgment.
  • White and lighter colored grouts should be sealed, particularly in heavy traffic areas, and in showers.
  • Darker colored grouts do a better job of hiding dirt and discolorations, but they can fade from direct sunlight.
  • Sealing grout helps to protect the color, but also helps to protect against mildew and mold.
  • Always keep a bit of grout (not mixed) from the installation in the event you need to make repairs in the future.

When designing your project, grout selection is an important step. As you start to narrow down your tile choices, start looking at the myriad of grout colors available. Ask yourself these key questions: “Do I want the tile itself to stand out, or let the graphic pattern take center stage?” “Do I want a more seamless appearance, or a more linear one?” For more ideas and inspiration on how to create your perfectly tiled space, visit our new online Inspiration Gallery!


Backsplash | Flooring | General | Kitchen | Marble | Mosaics | Natural Stone | Porcelain | Tile | Wood Tile

Subway Tiles: Out of the Darkness and Into the Light

by msiblog 22. May 2015 06:12

Over 100 years ago, subway tiles made their debut in the New York City subway system. Chosen because they were easy to clean and maintain, durable, and versatile. Soon, the style caught on, and subway tiles started to appear in fine homes and commercial properties across the globe.

They were an emerging trend back then, but today, they are a classic design element that adapts to a wide array of design styles. They are now available in more colors, materials, and sizes, than ever imaginable. Glass, marble, and handcrafted ceramic tiles are sleek, stylish, and readily available to enhance any space.

Backsplash Beautiful
From classic, to traditional, to contemporary styles, subway tiles transform ho-hum bathrooms into spectacular spaces. Select contrasting cabinetry for backsplash walls to highlight the beauty of the tile. Pair traditional cabinetry with a more traditional tile – or pair sleek cabinets with a more contemporary glass tile – to create your personal bathroom retreat.

Featured Subway Tile: Antique White Glazed Handcrafted

Featured Subway Tile: Arctic Ice 3x6

Fresh and Clean
Whether we want to admit it or not, bathrooms have germs, it is the nature of the room. With tile walls, showers, and floors – cleanup and disinfecting is a breeze. If you have been thinking about using bead board in the bathroom, consider instead using tiles installed to the same height.  It is significantly more durable than wood, easier to maintain and will stay looking fresh indefinitely.

 Featured Subway Tile: Calacatta Gold 3x6

Featured Subway Tile: Subway White Glossy 4x16

Busy Kitchen Backdrop
Don’t limit subway tiles to just bathrooms; they are perfect for kitchen backsplashes too. With the myriad of colors, sizes, and materials available, you can find just the right one to coordinate with your countertop and make a statement in your kitchen. Natural stone and stone-look porcelains pair beautifully with the simple elegance of a quartz countertop. Select tiles not just for color and texture, but a choice that will really highlight the architectural features and the appliances in your kitchen.

Featured Subway Tile: Classique Beige Breccia 4x16

Pattern Perfection
The traditional horizontal installation isn’t your only option with subway tiles. Their dimensions lend flexibility to creative patterns. To make a room look taller, or to take advantage of a high ceiling, run the tiles offset, but vertically. For visual interest, consider a herringbone, crosshatch, or chevron pattern. Make a statement with a unique layout to compliment the color and texture of the tiles. 

Few design trends have stood the test of time like subway tiles. Since their humble beginning in the subway system, they have become a symbol of refinement, elegance, and beauty. We continue to lead the charge of bringing new life, new style, and unique designs of subway tiles to market. Visit our website to explore the options available to help you transform your space, into perfection.


Backsplash | Bathrooms | Kitchen | Marble | Mosaics | Natural Stone | Porcelain | Quartz | Tile