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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 | granite countertops, | Kitchen | Marble | Natural Stone | onyx | Quartz | Quartzite | Travertine

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 | 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 | Flooring | Porcelain | Quartz | Tile

23 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, 23 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