25. November 2014 07:44
What if you could combine the beauty and warmth of old-world terracotta – or the rustic elegance of hardwood – with the durability and easy maintenance of porcelain tile? The Capella Porcelain Collection does just that.
Builders and homeowners are choosing porcelain tile options for flooring, backsplashes, countertops and other applications for good reason – it's extremely durable and is resistant to scratching, staining, and moisture damage. Above all, it is easy to keep clean and needs very little maintenance. There is no need to polish or wax it, seal it, or scrub it with more than just a damp mop.
Out of the benefits of porcelain the Capella Collection was born - a premium surface uniting the beauty of cotto and hardwood with the durability of porcelain! Hardwood floors and cotto tiles add tons of character and warmth to a room, but may not always be a practical or viable solution, especially for water prone areas. But with Capella, you can have it all! From the kitchen, to the bath, to all those high traffic areas, we’ve got you covered.
Not only does the Capella Collection offer exceptional durability, it also comes in 2 patterns and 4 color choices to suit your style. Choose the Clay or the lighter Sand and Talc cotto-look tiles in a large-scale grid pattern, or the rectangular Silt tiles which look great staggered. These tiles are full of old-world character and stunning color variation throughout, allowing them to enhance any type of décor. Pair them up with wood-look Capella porcelain tiles in dark-hued Java, medium-brown shades of Ash or Stable, or the light and refined Birch and you will have beautiful, durable porcelain options that work well either alone or together to create a unique look that will last for years to come.
12. November 2014 08:38
Accentuating your home’s distinctive features with natural stone surfaces has never been easier! Entry halls, fireplace surrounds, as well as backsplashes and the walls, floors and countertops of your kitchen and bath can be quickly remade into a striking space with some creativity and a talented installation team. Contemporary and traditional styles alike can be transformed with the innovative use of unique patterns, accents, and colors that will turn your home into the envy of the neighborhood.
Bold Looks for Floors & Walls
Let’s start from the floor and work our way up. Hardwood floors were all the rage, for many years. And while they do bring the essence of nature into your home, they are simply not as durable as tile flooring. One of the most dramatic ways to update any interior space, is by swapping out your hardwood floors for tile. Before you think of the simplistic square tiles laid in a grid format, imagine a floor with true character that reflects your creativity.
Once a design of the past, laying tiles in a herringbone pattern is making a comeback throughout the design world. With our Botanica Porcelain Tile (shown below), you can have the look of hardwood floors, without all of the maintenance. When laid in an interesting, non-linear pattern, your space can be immediately transformed.
Another design trend for flooring is to use mosaics or complementary tiles as an inlay for accent. For example, you can create a dynamic entry space in the shape of a rug or medallion by mixing patterns, colors and textures. For hallways, a combination of mosaics and tiles can create the illusion of a carpet runner, leading your guests into the heart of your home.
Let’s not overlook the opportunity to add drama to your entry hall’s accent wall! You can echo the color and pattern from the floor, or you can create something uniquely yours with stone ledger panels for an earthy natural feel, with mosaics for a contemporary splash of color and texture, or with complementary porcelain tiles for a continuous flow of design.
For another unique way to bring together both your horizontal and vertical spaces, consider using coordinating tiles of the same tone and texture for walls and flooring. Perhaps you like the look and feel of 6x40 planks on an accent wall that is grounded by 12x24 tiles on the floor like our Capella tile line (shown above). Or perhaps, you would prefer the 6x40 planks laid in a herringbone pattern on the walls, with the larger tiles on the floor. Your options are truly endless!
3. November 2014 14:09
You have many options when it comes to choosing a material for paving your patio, pool deck, walkway or other outdoor living space. Travertine pavers should be at the top of your list, for many reasons — they are practical, beautiful, durable and work well with any decorating style from rustic to contemporary. And unlike many hardscaping options available on the market today, the beauty of travertine will only improve with age.
Travertine is a natural rock, similar to limestone and marble. It's been used as a building material since ancient times; many of the famous landmarks such as the Roman Colosseum were constructed by travertine. This beautiful and durable natural stone is about 50 million years old and has many qualities that make it an exceptional choice for any project. Its unique composition allows for natural expansion and contraction in varying temperatures, making it resistant to the freezing/thawing cycle that can damage concrete and other materials. In fact, this premium surface is two to three times stronger than concrete… and more aesthetically pleasing as well.
The All-Weather Option
One of travertine's most appealing properties is its ability to stay cool to the touch even under extreme temperatures. This makes it perfect for installations anywhere it might be in contact with bare feet, such as a pool or spa deck or backyard patio. Our Tuscany Riviera Tumbled Paver, shown below, is one of the many popular travertine options for pool decks, not only because it stays cool but also because it's a non-slip surface even when wet. It will not grow mold, does not react to chlorine or other common pool chemicals, and comes in a wide variety of edging/coping options to create a finished, integrated design.
If you're in a cold-weather climate, you know how tough it can be to keep your outdoor surfaces from cracking and otherwise disintegrating through seasons of freezing and thawing. Repairs are often visible and unsightly. Travertine resists such damage, but even if you do need to replace one tile or a whole section, the natural color variation helps it blend in. After your new tile is installed, chances are you won't even be able to tell where the repair was made.
Ease of Maintenance
All natural stone products have benefits, and appropriate uses. Travertine is superior for many outdoor living applications because it is extremely easy to maintain. Like our Tuscany Scabas Paver, as seen below, these tiles do not require sealing and do not absorb dirt, so cleaning only takes minutes, with no scrubbing. Travertine pavers are not prone to discoloration, do not support mold growth and their color will not fade. In fact, many people believe that travertine's beauty only improves with the passage of time.
The Perfect Choice
Travertine pavers are the perfect choice for pool decks, patios, walkways, and other landscape applications. Because they are available in many sizes, these natural stone products can be used to create any shape your design application requires — gently meandering natural walkways and garden paths, curved patio edges, or a more formal layout. Select from an almost endless amount of patterns to suit contemporary style, formal, casual or rustic styles. Its natural color variation creates a beautiful end result every time, regardless of the application.
Your choice of travertine pavers for your outdoor living spaces will certainly provide a handsome return on your investment in terms of beauty and durability. For more information as well as some design inspiration, click here to watch this video which covers MSI's line of natural stone pavers and copings.
27. October 2014 13:39
Have you always loved the beautiful natural look and feel of granite, marble, and natural stone, but could never bring yourself to spend the money? Venetian marble could be the answer for you!
What is Venetian Marble?
Venetian marble is an environmentally sustainable and affordable alternative to cultured marble, granite, and other natural stone products. It is man-made and formed by taking recycled natural marble that is pressed and heated with resins, polymers, and pigments, to make a tough and impervious premium surface. The material is factory-made in slabs and then cut and polished by fabricators to allow for easy installation. It comes in a variety of colors and decorative edge finishes to complement any design project.
Venetian marble has become a popular renovation material and is often preferred over other natural products because it is easier to install, requires less maintenance, and has an excellent resistance to stains and bacteria. The resulting product is so durable it can be used to create custom countertops, backsplashes, shower enclosures, and floors. Venetian marble can be used anywhere natural marble, granite, and tile are used, and so much more!
“No Seam” Easy Installations
You are no longer restricted to the traditional 48" wide surfaces. Venetian marble is the first 60"+ wide engineered marble in the industry. Because it requires less seams, installation is easier, faster, and there is very little fall off waste. Venetian marble is one of the most environmentally sustainable products on the market today. "No Seam" back wall tub installations are now possible for standard 60" wide bathtubs!
A Variety Of Color Choices
Natural rock varies in color and pattern and will often have surface pitting and marks. Engineered stone, on the other hand, has a consistency in color and texture throughout the slab helping to minimize seam visibility, making it a good choice to use where color consistency is important. Venetian marble offers a variety of color choices from our popular Tibetan Beige and Coco Emperador and to our more traditional colors such as Vanilla Sky and Melange.
Care and Maintenance
Venetian marble premium surfaces are easier to care for and maintain than traditional stone and tile surfaces. All you need to do is wipe with a damp cloth, sponge or paper towel. For those more difficult stains, a mild soap or a neutral pH cleaner and nonabrasive scrub pad ensures your surface will provide you with many years of trouble free use. It is recommended that additional sealing be provided by simply using any available marble sealer. Highly sustainable, Venetian Marble countertops and backsplashes are an ideal option for those looking for the elegance of marble and granite stones with lasting durability and longevity.
With so many Venetian marble options to choose from, you will always be able to find one that matches your design preference, lifestyle and budget. Click here to view our entire line of Venetian marble premium surfaces!
20. October 2014 09:46
Do you love the look of natural stone, but fear the maintenance? If so, our Pietra Collection can give your design project the look and feel of natural stone, in a durable, virtually maintenance-free line of porcelain tiles.
From traditional to contemporary, this versatile collection offers a variety of colors, sizes (complete with bullnoses), designs, and finishes. With over 10 different styles to choose from, these long-lasting porcelain tiles offer unfussy, livable surfaces with the sophisticated movement and color variation of marble. Here are some of our featured items from this collection:
Calacatta – With sweeping whites and creams with darker veins of grays and browns, Calacatta is available in various sizes making it adaptable to any project. Reminiscent of Calacatta marble, these porcelain tiles are ideal for floors, showers, bathtub surrounds, backsplashes, and countertops. The quiet and timeless elegance of these tiles works well with both contemporary and traditional designs.
Dunes - Mid-tone beiges and tans blend with natural cream and darker veins to create a durable tile suitable for a variety of projects including flooring, countertops, backsplashes, shower surrounds, and accent walls. Available in 4 sizes, Dunes facilitates unique design of any living space.
Lagos – The rich mid-tone beiges and browns and lighter cream veins of Lagos is reminiscent of natural quarried stone. This durable tile is available in a polished finish, in a variety of sizes making it suitable for an assortment of design projects. The rich earth tones partner beautifully with a range of natural wood finishes, natural stone countertops, and stainless steel appliances.
Rio Rustic - Available in 12x24 matte finished glazed tiles, Rio Rustic is arguably the most dramatic piece in the Pietra Collection. Resplendent with reds, beiges, and grays swirled together for a natural earthy feel, these tiles are ideal for floors, accent walls, shower surrounds, countertops, and so much more. Rio Rustic tiles team up nicely with a variety of natural stone products to create a warm and inviting environment.
Travertino Romano - Travertine is one of today’s hottest surfaces. Travertino Romano, emulates the look natural travertine but with significantly less maintenance. Perfect to create a premium look in any entryway, kitchen or bath, when complemented with mosaics and natural stone, these travertine inspired tiles create a warm inviting atmosphere in any home.
The Pietra Collection was designed with durability in mind and can be used in most residential areas, as well as some light commercial flooring projects. With 8 additional tile designs currently available, and many more making their debut in the coming months, your project options with the Pietra Collection are virtually endless.
7. October 2014 11:40
One of the hottest trends in countertop design is natural quartz. Our Q Premium Natural Quartz is unmatched in beauty and durability - available in 29 wonderful colors, it is scratch, heat, and stain resistant and, unlike many other surfaces, is also relatively maintenance-free and easy to keep clean. The naturally nonporous surface of quartz is resistant to bacteria, mold and mildew. Quartz countertops have the potential to last for as long as you have your kitchen, keeping its like-new beauty for decades. In fact, they come with a Residential Lifetime Warranty!
Q Premium Natural Quartz products are the perfect intersection between natural stone and engineered materials. They are manufactured by fusing 90 to 93% quartz crystals with resins and pigments. The result is a material that can mimic the look of many natural stone surfaces, such as granite and limestone - or create a new look all its own - while maintaining superb durability that is, in many cases, superior to the natural stone alternative. It's also a versatile material, and can be used in methods that are impractical for natural stone, such as vertical surfaces - including the kitchen backsplash - and large areas that need to appear seamless.
Two of our newest quartz products to imitate the look of natural stone are Boletus and Mocato Brown, both offering the stunning beauty of limestone with the durability of quartz. Limestone has long been prized as a building material because of its timeless elegance; it is sophisticated, resembles marble and is a popular option for countertops. It is an excellent choice for those who understand its needs for special care. Natural limestone is, however, a relatively soft material, and may scratch, stain, or etch when exposed to cleansers and foods normally used in a kitchen. Our Q Premium Natural Quartz is easy to care for and gives the look of sophisticated limestone without the maintenance. It will last for decades and is an investment that will pay off handsomely should you ever decide to put your home on the market!
Not sure how quartz will look in your home? You can view these "limestone looks" in our Kitchen Visualizer Tool, which lets you choose a variety of colors and combinations, including backsplash designs, cabinets and flooring. You can also view your countertop choice with a variety of edge styles — rounded, beveled, ogee and more — with our Countertop Edge Visualizer. This takes the guesswork out of edge choices; you can choose between 12 of the most popular edge profiles and display the result right on your computer screen. This gives you a realistic view of how your finished countertop will look before you order.
Q Premium Natural Quartz countertops are growing in popularity for good reason. Their durability, ease of maintenance, versatility and beauty set them apart from other countertop materials. These premium surfaces give you the timeless charm of natural stone with less maintenance. You can feel confident ordering Q Premium Natural Quartz from MSI, which has provided premium surfaces since 1975. MSI is the leading importer of natural stone in North America, and now offers 29 premium quartz selections - including solid colors and granular patterns that resemble granite and marble. MSI also provides a full line of mosaics and wall tiles that complement these quartz surfaces beautifully.
29. September 2014 14:21
Does your bathroom, kitchen, entry, or living room need a makeover? Mosaic metallic tiles are an elegant way to bring depth, character, and life to any room. Available in a wide array of designs and natural stone blends, metallic mosaic tiles add drama and shine suitable for all design aesthetics providing a premium surface and backdrop to your design style.
Change the look of any space by adding metallic touches that echo throughout the room. Metallics are showing up in multiple applications. We are seeing actual brushed aluminum, metallic-painted slate, and shimmering glass – all with a hint of glimmer for a subtle sparkle. Available in neutrals, mid-tones, dramatic colors and everything in between, metallic tiles partner nicely when paired with organic elements. Glass, metallic, natural stone flooring and countertops, and wood cabinets and floors can come together in harmony to dramatically change your space. Here are some creative ideas to jumpstart your design process!
Decorative Wall Accents
Entryways are an ideal space to incorporate the timeless grandeur of metallic tiles. Dramatic Titan Interlocking tile features deep shades of charcoal and black accented by silver tones. For a more contemporary graphic look, Icelandic Blend combines soft whites and grays comprised of Arabescato Carrara, glass, and metal. Both of these choices are available in easy to install mesh-backed sheets that interlock naturally for a seamless appearance.
Stainless appliances, crystal stem wear, and light fixtures are complemented by metallic mosaics. Mosaics with metallic accents are ideal for backsplashes over the range, and over the kitchen sink to contrast or complement countertops, floors, and cabinets. Triton Interlocking is a unique mosaic that incorporates metallic paint in its design. As seen below, the rich brown porcelains blend beautifully with the copper-painted slate pieces. This neutral mosaic coordinates quite easily and will enhance your traditional kitchen design with a subtle hint of glam!
Shower and Tub Surrounds
If your bathroom borders on the “ho hum” variety, consider installing mosaic metallic tiles in your shower, as a backsplash, or on your soaking tub’s surround. Choices are endless, and the amount of shimmer and shine you want to add to your bathroom is at your discretion. Perhaps a dark shower would benefit from an entire wall of the blue glasses and silver metal accents of Cityscape Interlocking, or perhaps you would prefer just an accent stripe or two incorporated into the design. The warm tones of beiges and browns contrasting with the cool silvers of the Madison Avenue Interlocking pattern reflect light and add dimension to this eye-catching accent wall.
Cristallo Interlocking mosaic tile is a luxurious blend of Arabescato Carrara, glass, and metallic tiles that bring opulence and drama to a bathroom. The shades of white tile, some with veins reminiscent of Carrara marble and the glass tiles create a spa type atmosphere suitable for backsplashes, around soaking tubs, and in shower enclosures. As with other mosaics, marble, travertine, and granite countertops are easy to match.
With so many color and style options, mosaic tiles can enliven any décor. For an all-metallic backdrop, consider Silver Aluminum Metal tiles that provide for a graphic and sophisticated feel on accent walls, fireplace surrounds, in bathrooms and kitchens alike. Click here for more unique mesh-backed mosaic tile options and design ideas.
22. September 2014 06:29
Imagination is a wonderful thing, but it can only take you so far! When you look at samples of countertops, tiles, flooring and other options in a dealer's showroom or on a website it's not always easy to envision how those products are going to look when actually installed in the home. That's where these two great tools come in: The Countertop Edge Visualizer and Kitchen Visualizer.
The Countertop Edge Visualizer is a handy online tool for choosing the perfect edge for your new granite countertops. It includes two of our most popular stone selections: the gray/white Calacatta, and Netuno Bordeaux, a blend of brown hues. Choose one, and select between 12 of the most popular edge profiles. Want to see how a Double Ogee edge looks in a real kitchen setting? Just click.
Other edging options include Eased, Bevel, Half Bullnose, Bullnose, Double Radius, Double Bevel, Classic Ogee, Step Half Bullnose, Bevel Bullnose, Triple Pencil and Dupont Bullnose. These are only a few of the overall edging options available for countertops, however. A link on the Visualizer takes you to the full list, for countertops in sizes from 1 1/4" to 2 1/2" thickness. Although these are not all displayed on the Visualizer, you can easily compare plain, rounded options to the more ornate Ogee edge styles. After all, your choice of edge style makes just as much difference to the final look as the countertop material itself.
It's not just homeowners who can benefit from this handy visualization tool. Fabricators and distributors can view the end result of their natural stone products in a home setting, and retailers have a new way to display their premium surfaces to customers. This tool can be embedded on retailers' websites and can be a vital part of the design and sales process. What better way to serve your customers than to show them exactly how the end result will look?
The Countertop Edge Visualizer is the perfect companion to another tool that recently launched: the Kitchen Visualizer. This tool, which can also be embedded directly into retailers' websites, allows you to see the entire kitchen with a variety of countertops, including granite countertops; backsplash designs, cabinet colors and natural stone flooring.
With just a few clicks you can transform the sample kitchen into an endless variety of combinations. Try Espresso cabinets with Colonial Gold granite countertops, Honey Onyx subway tile backsplash (or just use the countertops for the backsplash) and California Gold slate tile flooring — and know instantly which choices clash in pattern and color, and which are just perfect. It's also a lot of fun to use!
These tools are easy to add to your own website. Instructions to do so are right on the Visualizer tools' pages; it's a simple registration process. Upon approval, you will receive an email with complete implementation instructions.
The Countertop Edge Visualizer and Kitchen Visualizer do more than just eliminate the guesswork in kitchen design. Once customers see how beautiful their new kitchens can look, they will want to get started on the installation process right away. And everyone will be confident that the end result will be exactly what they had in mind — a well designed and beautiful kitchen.
14. September 2014 19:51
Beautiful natural wood is an enduring, popular look for today’s homes – but it isn’t always a practical option for every room or every lifestyle. Fortunately, there is an alternative that lets us enjoy the aesthetic benefits of wood along with the durability of a manufactured surface: Sygma Ceramic.
Like porcelain tile, ceramic tile is a great choice for application in high traffic areas or those where moisture is present, such as bathrooms and entry ways. Ceramic tile is an affordable, entry level option that is available in contemporary colors like Café, Chocolate, Ebony and Ice – and a highly popular size: 6” x 24”. Sygma Collection planks are also hand-scraped with a matte finish and can be installed with tight grout lines for an authentic look.
Where wood goes, ceramic tile can go too – but ceramic, wood-look planks can go where you wouldn’t dare place wood. In addition to flooring, they make for a unique and striking backsplash tile that withstands grease splatters and keeps the walls and cupboard backs dry. They are durable enough to serve as a kitchen countertop, too, and these larger plank tiles mean fewer grout lines than a traditional tile countertop (for a modern, realistic appearance with less cleaning). Not only suited for the kitchen, these tiles are a match for bathrooms, basements, bedrooms and beyond. Unlike real wood, they do not need to be stained and sealed to maintain them.
Sygma Collection tiles are rich and textured and look great alone, but they also pair nicely with other materials. Natural stone will contrast nicely and make them appear more luxurious. Ceramic, wood-look tiles with a real granite countertop, for example, suggest an upgraded design – elevating all of the materials. Also, Sygma tiles can be paired with other ceramic tiles or porcelain tile for exciting variation. Mosaics are a great addition to a traditional wood look.
Pair an Ebony or Ice Sygma tile with contemporary materials like aluminum cabinetry or stainless steel countertops for an ultra-modern appeal – or keep things comfortably casual with a Café or Chocolate ceramic tile floor balanced with granite or marble countertops. With ceramic, wood-look planks you can create looks from sleek and modern to charming Old World.
Sygma Collection ceramic tiles are rectified. This means that after firing, their edges are finished with precision saws and grinders to ensure each tile is exactly the same size, creating tiles with perfect 90 degree angles. They can be installed with very small grout lines, ensuring that they will look more authentic and more like real wood, which wouldn’t have noticeable joints between planks.
MSI offers a complete line of ceramic, rectified tile for your sophisticated surfacing needs – giving you a fantastic, long-lasting alternative to expensive hard wood floors. Sygma is a timeless combination of look and performance that will take you beyond what wood can offer in many rooms in your home.
10. September 2014 11:52
Not every home improvement project is a big one. Not every upgrade is a significant investment in money or labor. In fact, sometimes the smallest projects can have the biggest impact – and that impact does not have to resound in the wallet. Natural stone pebbles and cobbles are a cost effective way to make a big splash on your outdoor living design without the worries that come with a big project.
The addition of natural stone in your outdoor living space is a simple one that can be both functional and beautiful. Pebbles and cobbles are a great way to achieve these benefits and prove that small additions can go a long way toward giving your space a polished look.
Pebbles can be applied in a number of ways for an immediate improvement to the overall look of a design. Around patios or walkways, they can create a border that restrains weed growth. They can help to regulate the soil from temperature extremes as well as prevent the washout of tender plants, shrubs and trees or even erosion of slopes and hills by creating a protective barrier or ring to control the rate of water absorption into the soil.
Pebbles are an inexpensive way to highlight foliage, add personality to a water feature, or lend a splash color where it is needed to liven up an older hardscape. Pebbles create a finished look – in plant containers, raised gardens, and borders, they are an attractive, natural addition with genuine authenticity. MSI offers polished pebbles in an assortment of colors and sizes for a refined look.
Cobbles are a charming way to create useable walkways and paths. As a winding surface through a vegetable garden, a pretty border, or as a little patio for your fire pit, cobbles are an easy way to add a defined space that will keep weeds at bay and give you a clean surface to walk on! Best of all, they are typically set in sand or crushed stone, which means they can expand and contract with temperature variations and, unlike a piece of concrete, won’t crack as they move. Repairs are easy – pop out the offending cobble and put another in its place!
Cobbles are a touch of old-world elegance. Because they are most popularly found in a tumbled finish (i.e., uneven lines and rounded corners for a worn appearance), they do not have to be set perfectly to look great. They will enrich the environment by introducing a natural stone that will blend into its surroundings with casual grace– granite cobbles or sandstone, MSI offers a variety of shapes and finishes to fit your style.
Changing the look and functionality of your outdoor living space is easy with just a few little upgrades. Pebbles and cobble stones are indeed little in size, but they pack a big punch when it comes to livening up your landscape. To see these wonderful landscape options in action, please view our video “Pebbles and Cobbles” and see how they transform a hardscape for premium outdoor living.