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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 WhitePearl GrayBabylon GrayFossil TaupeFossil 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 White, Perla 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 Gray, Babylon 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, and 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

Top 5 Premium Surface Trends Seen at Coverings 2015

by msiblog 15. May 2015 09:44

Back from the Coverings 2015 tradeshow in Orlando, Florida, the largest tile and stone exhibition in North America. We’re excited about the newest trends in premium surfaces – some which may surprise you.

“Tracking trends takes on a new meaning at Coverings. After visiting international shows, it is great to see what all vendors decide to showcase for the American Market,” says Emily Holle, MSI’s trend and design guru. “It is also exciting to see trends that start to pop up in different suppliers booths and notice that many of our products fall right in line with some of the most fashion forward manufacturers.”

Take a look at the five top premium surface trends we found.

1) Concrete and Cement Looks
Known for its durability and versatility, concrete was a popular look on the tradeshow floor. Many manufacturers featured concrete with a dark, weathered, industrialized feel, as well using lighter colors to blend into a neutral décor. Tying into this trend was also a cement look, which incorporated a lot of different textures and patterns and was seen a lot throughout the show floor. We showcased our Cemento line of cement-look, monochromatic porcelain tiles, offered in both rectangular and large format square tiles.  With a modern mix of high style and design, our Cemento line offers the latest gray colors to update any space and create modern drama in a range of creative combinations.

2) Dimension
Three dimensional mosaics and wall tiles were all the rage at this year’s show! They are a way to add depth and construct a more unique look to any space. Specialty stone and glass tiles can create a captivating backsplash and ledger stone can lend a beautiful 3D charm to accent walls, fireplace surrounds, outdoor barbeque islands or exterior walls. MSI has an extensive line of Natural Stacked Stone Ledger Panels that can easily add visual dimension to an otherwise flat surface and create a distinctive look.

3) Cotto Looks
Enduring porcelain tiles take on the look of terra cotta. Using large format tiles on walls, floors or countertops, it’s a versatile design element that’s at home in an urban loft as well as a suburban backyard patio. We were thrilled to see all of these cotto-looks at Coverings! They were a welcoming trend and were offered in a range of hues to fit any décor. Our Capella collection, featuring the cotto-look, fits right in and highlights the best of the show offerings.

4) Large Format Tiles
Twenty five years ago, it was easy to pick out tile for your countertops or floors. There were standard sizes and only a couple of colors available. People used to say you can have any color you want as long as it was white. Today, looking at the choices from the Coverings show, the sky is the limit. Large format tiles can look like natural stone, wood, marble, granite, concrete – whatever you desire. Even better, they can make your room look much larger than it is. Selections go up to 36X36, 36X48 tiles. Additionally, lots of thin slabs were seen at Coverings and MSI will soon introduce the latest and greatest in this large format style!

5) Porcelain Brick
Follow the yellow brick road…or red, blue, black, white. Porcelain brick adds an urban feel to any home or business. “One of my favorite trends that I see coming is the porcelain brick trend,” says Holle. “It is nothing revolutionary, but reminds me of the wood planks that showed up a few years ago.  Porcelain brick tiles are inspired by an old favorite, masonry brick, however it’s perfected and modernized with technology and colorations…bricks are going to be big.” Look for 3 new colors to be added to the MSI Capella line soon!
Whether you prefer a classic look or a new twist, there are so many choices in premium surface materials and design options to create unique floors, stunning countertops and amazing backsplashes. Visit the MSI website today for all of our 2015 New Product Introductions and learn more about using them to produce the home of your dreams!




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

Affordable Updates Give Your Kitchen New Life

by msiblog 2. May 2015 08:51

Without a doubt, a complete kitchen re-do can be expensive – costing nearly as much as a new car or a year’s tuition at a private college.  According to the 2014 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report, the average price to remodel your kitchen can range from $40K to $55K.

However, there are several budget-friendly – yet stylish – ways to upgrade your kitchen with quartz, porcelain, mosaics, and natural stone. Here’s how you can get the most bang for your buck.

Make a Splash

With so many tile colors, textures and designs, you can make a real statement throughout the kitchen. Or maybe you simply want to highlight specific regions such as the range, sink or prep area. Bright marble, shimmering stone or contrasting neutral tiles make a statement without having to change your cabinets or countertops. Take a look at all the types of tiles available and let your imagination run wild. Play around with colorful combinations of natural stone, glass, and metal. Then take a look at all the ways you can mix and match patterns and textures to create a unique backsplash that will make your.

Featured: Emperador Light 1" Hexagon Marble  

Featured: Whisper White Arabesque

Create “Pop” with Paint

An easy way to transform your kitchen is with a couple of cans of paint. Whether you want to go bold with primary colors or stay neutral, your choice of palette can complement your cabinets, backsplash and countertops or help them stand out with contrast. In a classic kitchen, offsetting white cabinetry with a wall of color combined with a herringbone-patterned backsplash or a quartzite countertop can create a cool, sophisticated kitchen with a pop. 

Featured: Arabescato Carrara Herringbone Backsplash Madreperola Quartzite Countertop

Step Up Your Cabinets and Appliances

If your kitchen cabinets look a bit tired, you can inexpensively update them with paint, new hardware or even crown moldings at the top. Many companies will reface your cabinets for less than it would cost to completely replace them. Also, look for opportunities to purchase “scratch and dent” appliances or cabinets from big box store outlets and other retailers. You can realize some significant savings on pieces that have only minor – and even invisible -- flaws. Of course, carefully inspect any appliance or cabinet before you buy. Then, take the money you’ve saved and consider a mosaic backsplash to add real punch and dimension to your kitchen. 

Featured: Stonegate Interlocking Mosaic

Don’t Forget the Floor

Love the look of real wood but dislike the upkeep? It’s now easy to create the look of hardwood flooring, without the fuss, by installing easy care wood-look porcelain tiles. Your choices come in everything from maple to redwood to match any design scheme. The tiles can add continuity from the dining room or great room while being less expensive and virtually maintenance free. Simply sweep, mop and you’re done! 

Featured: Redwood Natural

Consider Quartz

It’s durable, long-lasting and a beautiful addition to any kitchen. Even better, with its refined engineering, you can ensure that the slab meets your color, texture and pattern specifications. Quartz can also be a budget-friendly alternative to natural stone.  It is often more affordable and comes in a variety of looks that mimic marble, granite and even limestone to easily match any décor. Quartz is also hygienic, non-porous, requires little maintenance, and is guaranteed to look gorgeous for many, many years.

Featured: Chakra Beige Quartz

With just a few simple, inexpensive changes, you can transform your kitchen from a dated space to an extraordinary cooking and eating experience. Take a look at what we have to offer by visiting our website for everything to help make your kitchen dreams a reality.





Backsplash | Countertops | Flooring | Granite | Kitchen | Mosaics | Natural Stone | Porcelain | Quartz | Tile | Wood Tile

5 Ways to Personalize Your Kitchen with Unique Countertops

by msiblog 23. April 2015 10:50

Without a doubt, countertops can make or break a kitchen. But they’re not just there for chopping veggies or to house your appliances. Gone are the days when the only choice you had was ceramic tile or Formica. Countertops made from unique – often unexpected materials – can add beauty, as well as a sophisticated style to your home. Whether you just want something fresh and exciting, or you are selling your home, new countertops add significant value and make your home more appealing.

Here are some ideas to get you started on your new kitchen:

Make a Statement

Sometimes less is more in a kitchen. Clean lines, modern cabinetry, and a neutral perimeter set the stage for a stunning centerpiece – the statement island. Of course, an island with a second sink serves a functional role as a prep station, storage unit, and gathering place for friends and family.

Featured: Nilo River Granite

Whether you’re working with a designer or have your own eye for design, the rule of thumb is to choose a material that complements yet contrasts the cabinets, such as granite. A statement island can be the jewel of the kitchen. A bit flashy, it may evoke a “Wow!” from everyone who enters the room.

Go Clean and Modern

Waterfall countertops – or risers – are a modern kitchen trend. However, they work well with a traditional home as much as a contemporary home. With a waterfall countertop, the stone continues down both sides of the cabinet, giving a visual continuity, as well as connecting with the other countertops and the floor. Although granite or marble are commonly used, another popular material is quartz that can work as an alternative statement option for your kitchen.

Featured: Fairy White Quartz

Mix It Up

One of the hottest trends in kitchen design is the use of mixed materials to create an ideal space. Just as a chef would combine ingredients to craft a delicious meal, designers love to mix and match textures, colors, and materials in design. Combining contrasting cabinets and cutting-edge countertop materials together, like quartzite and metallic-flecked granite, creates an interesting look that partners beautifully with natural stone mosaics & wood-look floors. This type of unexpected partnering can make a big impact.

 Featured: Madreperola Quartzite & Metallica Granite

Kitchen Chameleon

Usually you think about porcelain as the go-to material for floor tiles or bathroom walls. Well, think again! Porcelain is a perfect material for your stunning kitchen. It’s durable, beautiful, and very low maintenance. You can go for classic black or white, simulated marble, or even mirror the look of vintage wood. Porcelain’s versatility is what makes it a unique choice for homeowners, designers, and builders.

 Featured: Salvage Brown Porcelain

Like granite, porcelain is heat and scratch-resistant – plus it is non-porous like quartz. If you’re looking for an easy-care countertop with endless design possibilities, consider this durable option.

Create Drama with Contrast

Nothing makes a statement like using contrasting colors in your design. Bright white countertops that cover dark cabinetry create a clean – yet dramatic – statement in the kitchen. Combined with modern stainless steel appliances, you can have a showpiece kitchen. Or mix it up with dark countertops and white cabinetry for an equally dramatic and beautiful space.

 Featured: Arctic White Quartz

With its striking solid color options, quartz is an excellent choice for adding contrast. It comes in a range of colors, as well as with sparkles and veining for the look of granite, marble, and even limestone. And the beauty of quartz is that it requires little to no maintenance, and is easy to keep clean even in the hardest working kitchens.

If you are longing to freshen up your kitchen, there are so many premium surfaces to choose from that weren’t readily available just 10 or 15 years ago. Our personal design styles have evolved too; no longer are avocado colored refrigerators cool. Today, we design our kitchens to reflect our personal style and for easy care and maintenance. Beautiful kitchens with durable surfaces are what we expect today, and with the wide range of materials available, we can create a distinctive space transforming our kitchens from daily drab into interesting and unique.


Backsplash | Countertops | Granite | granite countertops, | Kitchen | Mosaics | Natural Stone | Quartz

Show Stopping Bathrooms: Unique Takes on Tile

by msiblog 10. April 2015 12:30

You don't have to be an interior design pro to create a stunning bathroom. Bathrooms are functional, but also offer a place to decompress and relax — and should reflect your personal sense of style. Not only is natural stone and porcelain tile easy to maintain and keep clean, its beautiful colors, textures and patterns make it simple to create a fresh and exciting bathroom. Whether your style is classic, rustic or contemporary, you can use the following designer tips to transform your boring bathroom into a showstopper.

Classic Design with a Creative Twist

In your bathroom design, don't settle for traditional bead board. Marble and other natural stones — available in slabs, mosaics, and various tile sizes — create a solid, upscale ambience. Try a pop of pattern in a classic hexagon shape; geometrics are a hot trend in home interiors, familiar yet updated for today's designs. Using the same type of stone in varying sizes and shapes creates a cohesive look and feel. In this bathroom, the hexagon backsplash blends flawlessly with the subway tiles, the matching baseboards, and the rail moldings.

Featured: Greecian White Marble Collection

Rustic/Modern Mash-Up

Mix it up to create a look that's all your own: Try pairing traditional materials that, together, aren't traditional at all. For example, combining wood plank tiles with metallic mosaics seems unlikely… but it works to create a showstopper. This design features 6x40 porcelain tile planks. In addition, the floor tiles are used to wrap both the bathtub and the sink, for a more cohesive look. This surprise pairing contrasts the refinement and modern aspect of the mosaic accent wall with the rustic feel of the wood-look flooring. 

Featured: Salvage Musk Porcelain TileMadison Avenue Mosaic

Contemporary Design with Down-To-Earth Accents

Mix creative design elements to make a sleek, contemporary look feel cozy and down-to-earth. This featured room combines the warm, rustic look of wood with the easy-maintenance durability of porcelain tile. Placing the wood-look tile on the wall instead of the floor offers a unique take on the "cabin in the woods," and perfectly complements the focal point of the luxury bathtub. The soothing color and intricate texture draw you in, unifying the space perfectly. 

Featured: Forest Natural Wood Pattern Porcelain Tile 

Mosaics add the Playful Touch

Mosaic tiles break up the stark, ultra-modern look of this luxury shower, adding a playful feel and lively visual interest. Continuing the dramatic black and white pebble meshed-back insert from floor to ceiling brings a cohesive look to the space, contrasting with the linear pattern of large format tiles. The seamless glass enclosure makes the space look larger while allowing the combination of these tiles to be the showstopper of the room. 

 Featured: Focus Porcelain TileBlack and White Pebbles Mosaic 

Timeless Elegance

The key to creating a timeless design is to use a variety of premium surfaces in traditional formats and materials — mixing and matching with flair. This bathroom is the perfect example. The light large format tile flooring displayed here contrasts with the traditionally styled cabinets in a dark rich finish. The classic, polished 1x1 Italian marble mosaic tiles in the shower continue to the recessed arch above the bathtub, and the quartz countertop bridges the divide between the lighter tiles and the cabinetry.

Featured: Pietra Pearl Porcelain Tile, Lagos Azul Quartz Countertop, Calacatta Gold Marble Mosaic

Embracing the Dramatic

Combining three different sizes of green tile can create a dramatic bathroom design. It requires careful planning to ensure the proper balance, but the result is stunning — the ultimate retreat, reminiscent of a walk through the rainforest. The "wow" factor in this bathroom comes from the 1x1, 4x4, and 12x12 Multi Green Onyx tiles.

Featured: Multi Green Onyx Collection 

With today's natural stone and porcelain tiles, you can create the perfect bathroom. Start by creating an "inspiration board" of your favorite colors, textures and patterns. Large format tiles work great for accent walls or flooring. Combine tiles from the same family of stone in different sizes to add interest. Most important of all, embrace your own creativity and think "outside the box" when brainstorming that design; sometimes the most unlikely elements combine in the perfect way to create the ultimate showstopper!












Bathrooms | Mosaics | Porcelain | Quartz

Bold Interiors Focus on Natural Stone

by msiblog 2. April 2015 13:23

Stunning architectural designs and stylish room décor fall flat without one crucial element: A Focal Point. This statement feature is the first thing you notice when you walk into a room; it brings all of your design elements together, communicates your personal style and livens up your space — and natural stone makes it easy.

Center of Attention: Rockwall Fireplaces

The fireplace is a natural focal point of any room. Take full advantage of this feature by using a neutral surrounding palette so as not to compete with your focus on the accent wall. The natural quartzite stones in this room are Golden Honey Ledger Panels with great variation and warm tones of gold and white. A rustic mantel in a wood tone that complements the room's décor adds even more visual interest. Coordinate with rich, textured fabrics and leather, and your space will be cozy and welcoming.
Stunning Stone Accent Wall

Turn your space from boring to spectacular with a richly toned stone accent wall of California Gold Ledgers Panels. This artistic element is complemented by neutral colors that enhances its natural beauty, but does not compete. Keep your furniture, walls, flooring and accessories in lighter tones, and let the wall's texture and dimension speak for themselves. This look is the perfect design element for a living room or home office.

Bold, Custom Waterfall Islands

In the kitchen, the center island is the perfect place for a bold statement that brings the room together. Waterfall islands continue the granite to the floor; the high variation and dramatic color contrast make this feature truly pop. A simple quartz countertop and tonal mosaic backsplash remain quietly in the background, letting the island shine as the star of the room. In this kitchen, Aruba Dream's white background with the high contrast veining of dark grays with hints of reds lends sophistication along with its stunning visual interest.

Subtle, but Striking, Statement Island

Softly toned, soothing kitchen spaces can also benefit from a bold focal point. In this kitchen, Statuary Venato Marble from Italy turns the center island into a statement piece. The creamy white background of the marble is echoed in the cabinets' colors, and the gray veins pull in the color of the Shadow Gray Quartz which is used as a backdrop. The effect is sophisticated and timeless, with all design elements working perfectly together as a whole.

Contemporary Elegance: Mosaic Tile Accent Wall

The architecturally rich bathroom below has its focal point built in with the use of trendy graphic pattern mosaics and wall tiles. Here, our Tundra Gray Basketweave Mosaic is used to create a stunning backsplash that adds elegance and style while still maintaining the neutral feel of the room. The darker tones of the wood, along with the light ceilings, match the high and low points of color within the mosaic.

Exterior Focal Point

Natural stone can add dramatic, bold focal elements to exterior design as well. Driveways, patios and landscaping are all excellent places to add one of these features. Yellow Polished Pebbles, used in this landscaping project, highlight the beauty of the sculpture. These could also very easily be adapted for water features and other exterior projects. These smooth polished marble pebbles are perfect for aiding in drainage around plants and trees, while creating visual interest. MSI offers polished pebbles in a variety of colors to complement the beauty of all your outdoor spaces.

Don’t be afraid of creating a dramatic focal point in your home or yard. Being bold with natural stone accent walls, statement kitchen islands, backsplashes, and in landscaping can transform your home into a reflection of your own personal style and personality. Accentuate architectural features including fireplaces and interesting walls, bring the eye into the kitchen with custom granite or marble islands, and provide your home’s unique design elements with a neutral surrounding palette to keep them at the forefront of visual attention for years to come.





Backsplash | Countertops | design | Fireplaces | Flooring | General | Granite | Hardscaping | Kitchen | Marble | Mosaics | Natural Stone | Outdoor Landscaping | Quartz | Tile