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British Ceramic Tile

A Noteworthy Nod for Navy

by: Saxon Henry, adroyt We’ve been coming across such a deluge of fascinating shades of dark blue, we thought we’d collect some of our favorite navy

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Home Staging: Adding Value to the Home with Ceramic Tile

Originally developed in Europe, the strategy of home staging is generally used to make the property more attractive, improving its looks to call the attention of future buyers or renters.

The use of ceramic tile is one of the sought after additions when it comes to renovating or improving a home. With an adequate investment for every budget, improvements can be made to really impact the look of empty rooms or even those with scarce furniture, giving them a new vibe. Along with aesthetic improvements, the technical advantages and durability of ceramic tiles are important for adding value to the home as well.

Here are 5 ways ceramic tile can increase the value of the house and achieve a successful home staging:
 

1. It Neutralizes The Space
Home staging techniques go beyond just adding value to the spaces. Walls and floors should maintain a neutral look, capable of adapting to the different tendencies and tastes of potential buyers. Ceramic tile offers different choices for walls and floors that highlight those essential original aspects.

Navarti Cerámica, Valdivia, Grey (47X47”)

2. Creates an Open Environment
Spaces should be neat and airy, allowing light to come through to create a bright effect. The use of ceramic tiles in light shades creates an equilibrium and increases a sense of a well-maintained rooms. Using the same ceramic tile on walls and floors creates a simple design, yet elegant, giving it visual continuity.

Azuliber, Paris Series, Semipulido Gris (20X40”)

3. Adds Tranquility and Order
Ceramic tiles with a geometric patterns can create a sense of tranquility and order. Whether it is for selling, renting or upgrading, unique ceramic elements accent visual impact and fill spaces with personality that go beyond just decor.

Onix Cerámica, Penta Geo Pattern 2 Series, Blanco (Tesela 20X20“)

4. Is Efficient and Sustainable
Bright homes usually attract more interest. Ceramic pieces that mimic materials found in nature, such as marble, alabaster, or onix, put us in tune with our natural surroundings while also making them more comfortable, efficient and sustainable.

Peronda, Museum, Bardiglio Grey (30X59“)

5. Adds Value To The Home
When we think of refurbishing a room in the home in order to change the look, be used for a different purpose, or simply update the décor, it is important to not only to plan the macro elements of the design, but to also pay close attention to the small details that can add aesthetic value. The finish, form, color and texture of each decorated ceramic piece can turn it into a sensory experience.

Gayafores, Omato Series, Austral Mix (12.5X25“)
 

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Made Piece by Piece: The Terrazzo Look Weighs In

The terrazzo look, or stracciatella look – from the Italian word ‘stracciato’ – is a revamped trend being showcased in design shows and trade fairs all over the world. Traditional terrazzo is made up of stone chips that were set in concrete and polished to create a smooth surface. The technique dates back to the mid-15th century where it was first used In Venice as a way to re-purpose left over pieces of marble from past installations. Today, the term terrazzo is used to describe an array of different surface materials decorated with various sized particles that are bonded together.

Tile of Spain Company Argenta Ceramics, Dogana Series

Tile of Spain Company Inalco, Fluorite Series

Many different ceramic tile collections feature the terrazzo look based off of the advantage that any color can be used both as the base of the tile and for the fragments themselves. The look is also popular because of the variety of fragment size variation that can be used to combine different finishes in the same color.

Tile of Spain Company Vives Ceramica, Dolce Vita Collection, Portofino Series

These finishes hold a classic look while simultaneously giving surfaces a modern feel. The look is no longer restricted just to floors either – now the material can be easily molded and applied to other volumes such as walls and kitchen surfaces. While it’s most common to see the terrazzo look in kitchens and bathrooms as decorative flooring, it can now be included in the vanities, shelving and counter tops for a classic, yet modern finish to any room.

Tile of Spain Company Vives Ceramica, Dolce Vita Collection, Portofino Series
 

This story was originally published in Ceraspaña 39, a journal published by ASCER/Tile of Spain to promote the use and benefits of Spanish ceramic tiles in contemporary architecture and interior design. Read the article and view past issues HERE.

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Ceramics of Italy – 2018 Tile Trend Report

Following Cersaie — the world’s largest exhibition of ceramic tile and sanitaryware furnishings held every year in Bologna, Italy — Ceramics of Italy gathered the top 10 tile trends that you can expect to see at Coverings and are sure to influence architecture and interiors over the next few years.

BOTANICAL
While floral designs have been around since decorative tile was invented, botanical is a new trend that reflects two movements in the design industry. The first is a focus on health and wellness and the incorporation of the natural world into interiors, which research has shown to contribute to human health and productivity. Meanwhile, the influence of tropical modernism has seeped into interiors and product design, which can be seen in this year’s abundance of palm, cacti and other flora-inspired patterns.

Pictured: ABK Wide & Style

DECONSTRUCTED
Tile companies are constantly seeking new ways to add movement and volume to the flat surface, whether by texture, pattern, or trompe l’oeil effect. Deconstructed is the most recent example, featuring a breakdown and reconstruction of shapes that transcend the traditional rectilinear format of a tile. Many of these collections are created by designers known for their eclectic approach like Studiopepe and Paola Navone and range from kaleidoscopic patterns and floating geometric shapes to fragments of seemingly broken tile. 

Pictured: Fioranese I Cocci

EARTH TONES
Drawing their main inspiration from natural elements, a wide range of Italian tiles fall into this theme. Color palettes range from dirt, clay and sand inspired browns; forest, moss and grass-like greens; red and golden tones reminiscent of the sun; and shades of blue to evoke an oceanic feel. This trend has become popular partially due to a revival of 1970s style along with a greater focus on mother nature and its ability to create a sense of natural serenity.  

Pictured: Ceramica Bardelli Corrispondenza

GLOBALISM
Designers and brands frequently look to other cultures for inspiration, which are exemplified in this year’s tile introductions. For Marazzi’s Grand Carpet collection, Antonio Citterio and Patricia Viel turned to the orient to create large ceramic slabs enhanced with the tactility of oriental carpets, Indian temporary ritual tattoos and the Kolam tradition of ephemeral rice floor decorations. Thanks to advancements in digital printing, these rare materials and handcrafted techniques are available in hard surfacing to all. 

Pictured: Marazzi Grand Carpet
 
NEW TYPOLOGIES
While some companies recreate the look of wood or stone to an impressive degree of realism, others mix different materials or handpick certain characteristics to form a whole new typology. This fusion of material-looks and themes result in a surreal, imaginative interpretation of tile and a potential new language for interior design. Sicis’ new iteration of Vetrite infuses marble designs with metallic veins to create unique materials that can’t be found in nature. 

Pictured: Sicis Vetrite

NOSTALGIA
People often look to design for an escape and in this current political climate it’s unsurprising that companies are turning to the past to bring people a euphoric boost. For their third comic-inspired collection, Del Conca recreates the feminist world of Guido Crepax on ceramic tile with his 1960s comic-strip heroine, Valentina. Meanwhile, other companies were inspired by simpler times, using square formats, candy colors and retro patterns reminiscent of the 1950s. 

Pictured: Del Conca Valentina

PAINTERLY
Everywhere you look there is an overarching softness and romanticism in the design world with gentle curves, washes of color and the unmistakable touch of an artist’s hand. Tile is no exception with this year’s collections featuring hand painted patterns, sketches and illustrations, marbled effects and watercolor designs. Standout collections include Ornamenta by Manifesto which comprises of organically painted pebble like circular shapes.

Pictured: Ornamenta Manifesto 

PASTELS
Moving beyond the celebrity of millennial pink, shades of blush, lavender, sea green and pale yellow can be found in dozens of floor and wall tiles. Less saturated than primary colors, pastels create a light, soft and calming effect, which dovetails with a few other trends from this year from Painterly to Nostalgia.  

Pictured: Marca Corona Chalk 
 
TERRAZZO TWIST
Already a popular trend in interior design and fashion, terrazzo started popping up in the tile industry last year and has grown to become a potential new mainstay, on par with marble, wood and concrete designs. Dozens of designs are now available ranging from cement to epoxy terrazzo, traditional to modern colors and glossy to matte finishes. As opposed to traditional terrazzo, which can become very slippery or fade when used outdoors, porcelain offers a durable, versatile and cost effective alternative.

Pictured: Cerim Le Veneziane

WEATHERED
A departure from the soft, romantic effects of the other trends, weathered is a style with staying power. From stones with scratch marks and colored rustic planks to rusted tin tiles and oxidized metals, these tiles mirror an ongoing fascination with unfinished spaces, worn surfaces and vintage effects. A good example is Imola’s Tube collection which has the look of oxidized metal from a worn and well used industrial space.

Pictured: Imola Tube 
 
 
 
 
 

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Tiled Doghouses at Coverings 2018

Back by popular demand, Tile Council of North America (TCNA) and its members are teaming up once again to create tiled doghouses for Coverings!

During Coverings 2018 in Atlanta (May 8-11), beautiful, one of a kind, doghouses tiled by TCNA members (along with some furry friends from a local pet charity!), will be on display in the TCNA Art Tile Courtyard, booth 7249. After the show, the doghouses will be donated to the pet charity during a ceremony in the Art Tile Courtyard on Thursday, May 10.

The forms used to make these doghouses were manufactured by Wedi Corp. (booth #7109) and contributed by Wedi Corp. and TCNA.

Last year’s doghouses were a big hit with attendees, so stop by, meet a new four-legged friend, and enjoy these lovingly handcrafted works of art. We triple-dog-dare you.

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Tile & Stone Trends: Blue Tile Fireplaces

In winter, the fireplace becomes the focal point of any room as we try to find refuge from the cold. Having a tile fireplace makes for easy cleaning as well as a space that’s durable enough for daily crackling fires. One of the biggest trends we are seeing is the addition of blue tile, a statement color that draws the eye in. 

Full Blue Tile

The color blue has been trending in 2017 and we expect that to continue into 2018. While including the color in the home can be tricky, adding blue tile to a fireplace adds a touch of interest. We have seen deep, rich blues to the lightest aqua colors included. 

Homedit.com                    

Orrick & Company on Houzz

Patterns

While simple tile with a bold color makes a statement, we have seen patterned and mosaic tile making a splash on Instagram and Pinterest. A blue tile pattern with white grout, or even a more decorative tile, is a perfect addition to rooms with neutral designs and quiet color palettes. 

Caitlin Wilson Interior Design        

Homemaker.com
 

Stay Connected to Coverings on Social Media

Social media is the fastest and quickest way to stay up-to-date with Coverings and we want to connect with you! 

The first step is to follow Coverings on social media! We post everything you need to know about Coverings, tile & stone, and special offerings and experiences at the show.

Where to find us:

Facebook: @CoveringsShow
Instagram: @CoveringsShow
Twitter: @Coverings
Pinterest: Coverings Trade Show
YouTube: TheCoveringsShow

Why should you follow us? It’s the easiest way to get the latest news and updates on: 

Exhibitors
Blog posts
Special events
Tile & stone trends and design inspiration
Registration reminders
CID and Rock Star nomination reminders
Hotel and flight information
Throwbacks from previous years’ award winners

Tag us!
We want to hear from you! Excited about the show? Want to share a photo or memory from a previous show? Questions? Let us know by tagging or messaging any of our social channels.

The countdown to Coverings 2018 is on.
 

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New Wave of Interior Trends Inspired by Spanish Tile

From classic and formal to radical illusions, Spanish tile inspires a new wave of interior design trends for 2018. Uncover the various design styles of interior rooms that can be created from Spanish ceramic tile below courtesy of Coverings partner and pavilion, Tile of Spain.

Classic and Formal
Traditional ceramic pieces are perfect elements to create timeless décor. Rectangular tiles and square pieces in earthy shades and gray hues, such as the Aria series from Fabresa, give spaces a cozy and sophisticated feeling.

Fabresa, Aria, Marrón Oscuro (4” X 12”)

Delicate Designs
Sometimes less is more. In these spaces walls are covered with subtle lines and light colors such as pink, beige, gray or white. The minimalist style creates an atmosphere that is tidy, elegant, and delicate. Niro Cerámica Lona series wall tile is a perfect example of this. 

Niro Cerámica, Wall tile, Lona (12” X 36”)

Radical Illusions
New collections from Tile of Spain manufacturers include pieces with compelling optical illusions. These visual effects challenge the norm to create stunning statement pieces. The Lins by Yomoh from Harmony (Peronda Group) includes a series of fine lines that mimic movement and have a natural flowing look to them.

Peronda Group. Harmony, Lins by Yomoh (8” X 8”)

Northern Winds
Large format ceramic tile pieces with simple designs cover spaces to make them appear larger and brighter. The inspiration for this design comes from northern European countries, as their cold weather inspires light and luminous colors in interiors to provoke feelings of freedom and happiness. Arthus Wood Tile by STN Ceramica (Keratile) features a light wood color in a long size format to brighten up and elongate the space. 

STN Cerámica, Keratile, Arthus, Wood Tile (9” X 47”)

Total Black
Black is back in wall and floor tiles. The Intense dark colors and finishes achieve a dramatic design, giving spaces an elusive character. The elegance and sophistication that black veined marble-look tile, such as this Inalco Slimmker Storm tile, intensifies the nostalgia of a glamorous era.

Inalco, Slimmker, Storm (39” X 39”)

Naive Design
Pastel colors and lighthearted designs create an ambiance of innocence and spontaneity. Pastel colors and more embellished designs like those in the Ives Cerámica Dolce Vita series co-exist to achieve spaces that are happy and full of details.

Vives Cerámica, Dolce Vita, Apulia-R Multicolor (12” X 12”)

Want more trends from Tile of Spain? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest​​​​​​​.

 

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Call for Entries: 2018 Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition

Celebrating its 25th Anniversary, Confindustria Ceramica (the Italian Association of Ceramics) and the Italian Trade Agency are pleased to announce the official call for entries for the 2018 Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition.

The annual awards program recognizes the work of top North American architects and designers who create imaginative spaces that take advantage of the excellent technical and aesthetic qualities of Italian ceramic and porcelain tile. Each year, an international jury of design experts selects three winning projects, as well as honorable mentions, in the residential, institutional, and commercial sectors. Projects displaying the highest level of functionality, creativity, sustainability and aesthetic appeal will be rewarded with an amazing prize package including a cash prize and trips to the world’s premier tile exhibitions in Atlanta and Italy. In addition to built projects, for the first time Ceramics of Italy is looking for imaginative concepts from students utilizing Italian tile.

 

To qualify for entry, built projects in the residential, institutional and commercial categories must be designed by North America-based architects and designers, built or renovated between January 2013 and January 2017, and feature a significant amount of Italian or ceramic porcelain tile. Both international and domestic projects of all scales and styles will be equally considered.

To be eligible to submit to the student category, entrants must be enrolled at an accredited university in North America. Individual or group submissions are accepted through renderings, floor plans and sketches. For all categories, the competition welcomes any type of project within the residential, institutional and commercial realm – from multi-family housing to hospitality projects to outdoor spaces and façades. The jury’s official criteria includes: overall design of the project; aesthetic and technical quality of tile installation; degree to which the tile enhances the setting; and the project’s sustainable attributes.

Last year’s winners included: Bromley Caldari Architects for their modern and versatile Fire Island guesthouse; a leading marketing company’s New York City world headquarters designed by Jennifer Carpenter Architect; and Renzo Piano Building Workshop’s neuroscience institute at Columbia University. 

Winners will be notified in March and officially announced at the Ceramics of Italy International Press Conference at Coverings, North America’s premier tile & stone tradeshow, taking place in Atlanta, Georgia, May 8-11, 2018. The prize package for winners of the built project categories includes $3,000, accommodations and travel to Coverings to present the project, a dedicated advertisement in a leading design publication, plus a 5-day CEU-accredited trip to Bologna, Italy to attend Cersaie, the world’s largest exhibition of ceramic tile and bathroom furnishings, with a delegation of top architects, designers and journalists from North America.

In addition to special appointments on the show floor, the delegation will also enjoy the world-renowned cuisine of Bologna (a culinary hub of Italy), cultural tours in the region, and a chance to see tile production firsthand. An additional $1,000 will be awarded to the contractor/distributor team involved in each winning project. The winning student entry will receive a trip to Atlanta to present the project at Coverings in front of a large audience of journalists, manufacturers and tile industry professionals.

The competition guidelines, online application and an archive of beautiful winning projects from past years can be found on the Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition website, www.tilecompetition.com. There is no fee to enter and multiple submissions are accepted. Deadline for entries: February 15, 2018. 
 

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Coverings 2017 Rock Star Interview: George Bellerose

An interview with Coverings 2017 Rock Star, George Bellerose, from Granite & Marble Works, Inc.

How long have you worked in the industry?

I have been in the stone industry for 13 years. Prior to that, I spent several years in the kitchen and bath remodeling business. 

How many years have you attended Coverings? What do industry professionals gain from attending Coverings? What is your fondest memory of attending Coverings?

The 2017 show was my first Coverings experience. It opened my eyes to the enormity of our industry and it gave me an opportunity to see and demo tools that I didn’t even know existed. I brought home ideas and techniques that we were able to implement immediately and enjoy greater efficiencies. Besides being honored with the Rock Star award, my fondest memory was the initial thrill of walking into the Orange County Convention Center and being amazed at the size of this event.

What does being a Rockstar mean to you? How has it influenced your work with tile & stone and in the community?

Being named a Rock Star was quite an honor for me. It was validation for all of the hard work that I’ve invested into Granite & Marble Works, customers, colleagues, and my own personal development. It has energized me to elevate my game even further. It has also made me a more credible leader in the industry.

What has been your favorite project to work on?

Creating the reception desk in our new showroom was one of my favorite projects to date. Our owner, Mike Roohan, and I wanted to design a reception area that was functional, yet welcoming and attractive to visitors. It needed to be a reflection of our company culture and ideals – professional, leading-edge, creative, and focused on quality. We also wanted it to blend effortlessly with the rest of our décor and, at the same time, to be a focal piece in our showroom.

A combination of style and usage were the basis of our plan, yielding a two-level design with seating for two employees. In keeping with our industrial aesthetic and company color scheme, the sides of the desk were constructed of San Gabriel Black granite, while the work surfaces were built from vibrant Botanic Green quartzite. Using our BACA Systems Robo SawJet, our logo was precision-cut into the front panel and back-lit for a dramatic effect. It was a lot of fun to see it all come together.

What is one tip you would give to younger professionals looking to work up to a Rock Star?

Always raise the bar for yourself and set an example for others to do the same. Don’t get caught up in the mundane activities of your average workday. Instead, constantly look for ways to add value.

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Alena Capra: Tile Trends in 2017

Coverings Ambassador Alena Capra shares how she has used tile trends from 2017 in projects this year:

Over the last year, we have seen many tile trends emerge — Metallics, wood looks, industrial looks, black & white, blues, and 3D to name a few. As an interior designer, I love finding new tile to use in my designs for clients, which is why attending Coverings every year is so important to me! Using something new, and different in a design is always exciting. Below I’m going to show you how I’ve incorporated some of the top tile trends from the last year, into some of my designs.

Wood Look

While I consider wood porcelain more of a staple in the industry at this point, I believe the colors, plank widths, and styles is what makes more of the trend in this category. This past year, we’ve seen wood porcelain in lots of grey hues, taupe’s, and soft whites. One of the most popular tones in this look that I’ve used is the soft grey. In two recent master bath projects, I used similar grey wood porcelain. One was set in a herringbone pattern, the other in a more traditional staggered wood set. The result for both? A calming, and beautiful retreat. The grey toned wood mixed well with the Carrera marble mosaic in one bath, and in the other white porcelain, and blue mosaic and brick. (I also incorporated a bit of the blue color trend we’ve seen there!) What I liked about these wood porcelain tiles most was not only the beautiful color, but each of the planks had a slightly different texture, and really had a very authentic feel. 

Industrial Look

We’ve seen a lot of industrial style tiles emerge as well…. think concrete looks, and even some oxidized metals, a style that I’ve used different ways this last year in both residential and commercial projects. In particular, clients have loved the porcelain that resembled polished concrete, in hues of greys and charcoals. I recently used one in a workout studio (the Vixen Workout Studio, in Wynwood)— in the locker room areas, as well as on a prominent accent wall where we set it with a wider grout joint, to look like large cement blocks. I used a similar type of tile on the main flooring of the check-in/lobby area of a small boutique hotel in Miami, called Fortuna House. In both spaces, this chic, industrial look tile created the perfect look for the style that was to be achieved. 

Black and White

Nothing is more classic than black and white decor! I absolutely love this look! Last year, I designed an entire home for a client in this theme, and we used everything form large format polished porcelain that resembled statuary marble on all of the floors, to beautiful black and white mosaic on the kitchen backsplash, and bold black and white countertops. We are calling it a trend, but you really can never go wrong with neutrals. I love the sophistication of an all black and white interior. This trend works well from more traditional spaces, to transitional and modern as well. 

Metallics

Metallics have been trending heavily, and I think also are one of the trends with staying power. We have seen everything from gold’s to silvers, and copper to platinum. I think a little pop of metallic in a tile design is always adds a nice touch. Or even a bold accent wall. Whether it is a mosaic or a larger size tile, the hint of glam a metallic tile adds is always beautiful. I’ve even recently mixed the metallic with an industrial concrete tile, for a nice juxtaposition of edgy and glam. I’ve also incorporated it into a client’s master bath, as a fun pop of copper on the tub deck, backsplash, and shower wall. Since we have seen so many new faucet and fixture finishes emerge from manufacturers (rose gold, copper, matte gold, pewter, etc.) it’s a perfect compliment to any design to have a coordinating metallic tile!

Blues

How can we talk about tile trends and not mention blue? Blue is my favorite color to design with, in any space. I always say it’s a NEUTRAL, because most people like it in decor as an accent…it’s soothing, and calming. I also have designed for clients where blue is the predominant color in their entire homes. You can never go wrong with a little…or a lot of blue! In many of my recent bathroom designs, I’ve incorporated everything from soft grey blues, to bolder more turquoise shades. 

New Tile Trends

I’ve really enjoyed incorporating so many of the beautiful tile trends we’ve seen over the last year into my designs but I am very excited to use some of the new ones too! I noted so many amazing new trends at Coverings this past April, lots of blush toned tile, terrazzo looks, and even some beautiful shades of green tile.  I’ve already started to see some of them at my favorite tile showrooms, and can’t wait to use them in new designs. 

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Stone and Tile Trends: Outdoors Spaces

Summer weather is ideal for entertaining outside and using tile and stone in outdoor spaces elevates any design, adding personality and charm. Tile and stone require minimal care, are durable materials that stand through the entertaining season, and offer several looks that cater to any style. Two trends that stand out in the 2017 season are patterned tile that add dimension and color, and rustic stone on accent walls and patio spaces.

Patterned Tile:

This year, patterned tile in exterior spaces is trending. Big or small, these symmetrical designs make patios and outdoors spaces appear open, interesting and personal. Most of the tile patterns we are seeing are symmetrical, with a reoccurring pattern in a unique shape. Another trend within patterned tile is to a Mediterranean style. This look brings warmth outdoors and creates visually stunning spaces. This example from Apartment Therapy is an example of a unique dining space that makes a statement.

Rustic Stone:

Rustic stone has been making a comeback with more designs featuring natural color palettes and incorporating greenery that draw the eye in. As stone is a versatile and durable material, using it around pools and on patios ensures a long lasting alternative to softer materials. We are seeing stone expand past traditional larger slabs to smaller and intriguing shapes that make the perfect base for the addition of furniture and décor pieces similar to this example from Elle Décor.

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My recap of Total Solutions Plus

Novita PR snaps a shot of the registration booth before the check-in madness.
As my tile travels continue, my most recent stop was in San Antonio, Texas to attend the NTCA, TCNA, CTDA, and TCAA conference, Total Solutions Plus. This was my first time ever attending the conference, and it was great to see many familiar faces from the industry while there! While I was there, I attended several educational sessions and panel discussions, the keynote speech, “TCNA- Standards, Science, Education, Advocacy- Today’s Critical Industry Issues,” as well as “Tile & Stone Maintenance Strategies” and “Best Practices of Successful Tile Contractors,” that I wanted to report back on. .
Eric Astrachan, Executive Director of the TCNA, gave the keynote, which provided updates on the steady growth of the industry, and critical industry issues such as standardization (both international and domestic), sustainability, research, methods and best practices. He also noted all of the new changes to the TCNA Handbook, including new methods for curbless showers, and radiant heat flooring.
The Tile & Stone Maintenance Strategies session was presented by Rod Sigman, CTC, CCTS of Custom Building Products. This session reviewed opportunities for increasing growth and profit in the industry, as well as tips and best practices for maintenance. As a designer who specifies stone often, the session was informative — it’s valuable to understand proper maintenance and to be able recommend products that prolong the life and protect the customer’s investment. There were a few great takeaways from the session, including the fact that for every 100 bags of grout sold, only one gallon of sealer is sold! This means that 1 out of every 10 jobs that should be sealed actually get sealed, which is shocking as sealing is so crucial for preventative maintenance.
We also learned more on different methods of sealing, and what surfaces they are most useful for. One example included pre-gouting sealing, which is good for multi-colored slate when an enhancer is being used. This method not only protects the stone or tile from grout staining, but it makes clean up easier for highly porous stones. Some other tips:

It’s important taking the time to do a mock up sample,
When in doubt- ASK! Technical reps, sales and architectural reps are trained to be able to give you the information on the products you are using
Take time to know the products you are using —  it can prevent potential costly mistakes in installation and application — which is tremendously valuable.

I also attended a panel discussion of Best Practices of Successful Tile Contractors, with James Woelfel, Dan Welch, Brad Trostrud and Jennifer Panning. This was an interesting discussion, and as a designer I always enjoy hearing about the installation side of all that we specify. It’s so important to have that synergy between all involved parties on a project. One panel made that I wholeheartedly agree with, is encouraging tile contractors to let your GC’s know why your work is best to use Certified Tile Installer, and why it is worth the cost. Allowing the GC to truly understand the role of a good tile install and why it actually saves money on the back end is crucial. The panel suggested taking the time to educate architects and contractors about the tile trade with informal events such as Lunch and Learns. They also recommended partnering with local suppliers to offer Continuing Education programs. Education on what certified tile installers can bring to the job is key.
Beyond the educational sessions, the Table Top event at Total Solutions was a nice preview of some of the new and intriguing tile introductions from major American manufacturers such as Daltile and Crossville, as well as installation materials and tools from Mapei, Custom Building Products, and Schluter to name a few. Of course, the highlight of Table Tops for many of the attendees was the Coverings Photo Booth! Everyone seemed to be having a blast taking pictures in advance of the 2015 show in Orlando, FL. 

Alena Capra taking advantage of the Coverings 2015 photo booth. You belong here.
My time in Texas was brief yet educational and fun! I had a wonderful time at Total Solutions, meeting many new people and catching up with those I know. I am looking forward to seeing everyone again in April at Coverings 2015. — fingers crossed, there will be another photo booth!

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Ceramics à la carte: Tile of Spain in restaurants

One thing restaurant owners know to be true is that every dining experience is about more than just the food, but about having an aesthetically pleasing space to spend time with friends and loved ones. 
For architects and designers, restaurant projects can be an invitation for experimentation with design. With so many different patterns, colors and formats to choose from, Tile of Spain ceramic tiles are the perfect creative choice.

Bethwood Series by Alaplana
The design of a restaurant can tell a story, and ceramic tiles can bring that story to life. The colors of the tiles can transport the diner through time and space, adding to the overall experience. 
Finding materials that are easy to clean, waterproof, and durable while offering versatility with design can be difficult, but with Spanish ceramic tile all of that is possible while still creating a beautiful environment.

FS by Peronda
As seen in the 14th annual Tile of Spain Awards, Blue Wave Cocktail Bar designed by El Equipo Creativo in Barecelona, Spain used ceramic tiles create a calming atmosphere for their patrons. Play on light and color created a seascape that mimicked crashing waves glistening in the sun. The beautiful, calming scene makes it easier for customers to enjoy their dining experience. 

Tile of Spain Award Winning Project: Blue Wave Cocktail Bar – El Equipo Creativo
Stay connected with what’s happening in the world of Spanish tile. Follow Tile of Spain and #tileofspain17 on Facebook, Google+ and Instagram at TileofSpainUSA; and on Twitter and Pinterest at TileofSpain.

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Achieve Affordable and Practical Marble Beauty with Tile

The beauty of white marble has an undeniable allure. Its sleek design makes it a perfect choice for bathrooms, countertops, floors, walls, and even exterior applications. Now, the Spanish ceramic tile industry has combined high-tech digital printing and purity of pigment with durable, low-maintenance and easy-to-install ceramics – making this precious aesthetic more widely available, affordable and practical. 

Porcelanite Dos – 1322

In nature, marble is created when natural limestone undergoes heat and pressure during metamorphism. This process creates beautiful soft designs in a variety of ecological colors, which are carefully mimicked in Tile of Spain manufacturers’ porcelain ceramic designs. 

Halcon – Antica

Unlike natural marble, porcelain ceramic requires much less maintenance and can be used in high-traffic areas. With Tile of Spain manufacturers’ book matching is easier than ever thanks to innovative slim-profile and large-format technical porcelain. Marble effects are also offered in anti-slip finishes, and with unique 3D elements and recycled glass mosaics. 

Porcelanosa – Calacata

Stay connected with what’s happening in the world of Spanish tile. Follow Tile of Spain and #tileofspain17 on Facebook, Google+ and Instagram at TileofSpainUSA; and on Twitter and Pinterest at TileofSpain.

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Tile of Spain Coverings 2017 Schedule of Events

Tile of Spain, the international brand representing 125 ceramic tile manufacturers belonging to the Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturer’s Association (ASCER), announces their schedule of events for Coverings 2017.
Visitors to the Spain Pavilion will witness some of the most advanced ceramic tile technology and breathtaking design choices the world has to offer from 97 Spanish ceramic and stone manufacturers.
The Tile of Spain booth (# 5230), in the center of the pavilion, features presentations and videos, including award-winning architectural and design projects and an overview of Tile of Spain manufacturers’ achievements featuring beautiful design and products with unsurpassed quality, durability and versatility.
Presentations in the Tile of Spain booth #5230 include:
Refine or Re-Define: Ceramic Trends 2017
Wednesday, April 5: 12:45 pm
Thursday, April 6: 12 pm
Designers have two paths they can take when conceptualizing a new product: refine an existing concept or re-define the genre. Innovations in the world of ceramics today offer users a buffet of options from both sides.
From hyper realistic stone-looks that capture the tactile sense of the natural material, to sumptuous metals with reflective sheen or oxidized gravitas, tile today can offer an option perfectly refined for the modern palette. Tile of Spain will explore trending styles from different angles including color, finish and format to help develop designers’ sense of what’s truly possible in the ceramic world for 2017 and beyond.
Ceramic for Life 
Tuesday, April 4: 12 pm and 2 pm
Thursday, April 6: 2 pm
Friday, April 7: 12 pm
Today’s consumer is primed for certain buzzwords – ROI, ease of ownership, value-added, artisanal – to name a few. Ceramics have always offered these benefits and are often selected for just such reasons. Why should your clients select tile instead of a competitive material? How can tile improve your client’s quality of life? How is tile the cheapest option in time, energy and financial sense? Do you ask yourself any of these questions on a daily basis? Join us in the Tile of Spain Pavilion as we explore these questions and their answers to find some solutions that will help your clients choose ceramics for life.
VIP Tour for Architects and Designers
A special VIP tour for architects and designers will be held Thursday April 6th, 12 pm to 2 pm. Register/RSVP at https://tileofspainviptourcoverings2017.eventbrite.com. The tour includes lunch, a trends presentation, and a curated booth tour.
Stay connected with what’s happening in the world of Spanish tile. Follow Tile of Spain and #tileofspain17 on Facebook, Google+ and Instagram at TileofSpainUSA; and on Twitter and Pinterest at TileofSpain.

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Facebook Live with Interior Design and Coverings

Interior Design and Coverings teamed up to broadcast a live video segment as a Facebook Livestream where Editor Allie Weiss and Alena Capra discussed tile trends in honor of National Tile Day. The team discussed how tile plays a variety of roles worldwide and how tile proves to be an optimal flooring solution. Tile’s benefits include durability, ease of maintenance, sustainability, health benefits, and design versatility. As trends change and other flooring types fall in and out of favor, ceramic tile will remain one of the most trusted solutions.
 
Expect to see these trends this year at Coverings!
 
If you missed the live show you can replay it here. Below is a list of tile that was featured in the Facebook Livestream, as well as trends that both Allie Weiss and Alena Capra were drawn to for 2017.
 
The trend of Three Dimensional tile showcased products by:
Realonda – Frame, Oro
Natucer – 3DHEX
Marazzi – Materika
 
The Black & White tile trend showcased products by:
Ornamenta – Artwork, Marble Key
ZYX – EVOKE Collection
 
The Look Alike trend of tile and wood showcased product by:
Emil Ceramica – Millelgni, White Toulipier
Colorker – Norden
La Fabbrica – Kauri, Tasman Blue
 
The second Look Alike trend of stone showcased product by:
Florida Tile – Precious HDP Calacatta
Stonepeak – PLANE, Calacatta Vena Classica
Refin – Graffiti, Grey
Floor Gres – BuildTech, Coal Polished
 
The Industrial Design trend showcased product by:
Peronda – Lenos by Onset
Colorker – Brookyln Collection
Firenze – Oxide
Coem – Ardesia
 
The Mirrored and Metallics trend showcased product by:
Florida Tile – Glamour
Crossville – Sideview Glass, Gold
 
The #Coverings2017 exhibitors will be showcasing a number of different products tied to Alena Capra’s favorite trends. Please see the below list to learn more about the new product offerings at this year’s show. Coverings 2017 is taking place in Orlando April 4-7. Register now!
 
TCNA:

Florim USA

FAORE
Stained Wood

StonePeak

PLANE – Extra Vena
PLANE – Dark Vena
PLANE – Napoleon Vena

Ironrock

Royal Thin Brick

Crossville

Nest
Handwritten
Ready to Wear – Smarty Pants
Altered State – Steel Gaze

American Wonder Porcelain

Fabric Folio Color Porcelain – Ivory

Marazzi

Urban District Mix – Uptown, White

Lunada Bay Tile

Namibia

Tile Doctor

Litokol Starlike

Firenze

Oxide

 
Tile of Spain:

Cevica

Brick Trend

Colorker

Fabric Collection
Madison Collection

Colorker Group / ZYX
Natucer
Peronda

Harmony Collection – Mosaic Kin by DSIGNIO
Harmony Collection – NUC by MUT
Harmony Collection – Argila Artist
Harmony Collection – Argila Peace
Harmony Collection – Eleusine by Kuramoto

Inalco

iTOPKer High-gloss
Storm iTOPKer
Fusion Series
Flourite Series

Realonda

Pattern Oro
Pattern Antracita
Frame Antracita
Glint Oro
Glint Antracita

 
Ceramics of Italy:

Floor Gres
Casa Ceramica

Ornamenta Artwork – Brick Orange

14Ora Italiana

iGattipardi – Fabrizio
iGattipardi – Donna Fugata Soft

Del Conca

Monte Napoleone –Walnut
Giugiaro – Black Carbon Fiber

Coem
La Fabbrica

Astra – Selenite Grey

Emilceramica

 

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