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Best Show Experience at Coverings 2015

This year’s Coverings Best Show Experience award honors Torrecid (booth 3216), who brought the skyline of New York City to Orlando with their penthouse inspired booth layout.

The space features a concept living room, dining area, bedroom and bathroom, each constructed to feature a range of stone and tile applications that showcase some of latest and most innovative solutions for manufacturers. The dining area highlights an oversized island with built-in storage. The bedroom showcases metallic decorative tiling to complement a sleek bed, and the sunken living area showcases beautiful wood grained tiling and picture windows created out of large format slabs.

The space is back-lit by a stunning panorama of a nighttime city skyline. The immersive space is truly a show stopper!
“It’s quite an amazing, innovative booth,” said Coverings attendee Christine Whittemore, Chief Simplifier of Simple Marketing Now.  “I can’t imagine a better way to bring the solutions to life—there’s flooring, walls, and tiled surfaces including tables and furniture. What impressed me the most was the area that featured one tile the width of the room. I was blown away.”

Coverings extends a special congratulations to the Torrecid team for their stand out vision and truly impressive results!

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Coverings 2015 opens with excitement

Coverings 2015 opened yesterday morning to a bubbling of excitement as the first attendees filtered onto the show floor. More than 1,100 exhibitors displayed new products in impressively designed booths that spanned 430,000 net square feet and attendees sought out exciting product introductions and unparalleled educational sessions offered by the show.
The show kicked off with a Keynote from Eric Astrachan, Executive Director of the Tile Council of North America (TCNA) where attendees learned about the latest news on thin tile and draft standards, noting ongoing research regarding key considerations for working with this increasingly popular material. Astrachan also reviewed key revisions and updates to the TCNA handbook.

Day 1 also served as the announcement for this year’s awards and accolades, including the Best Booth Awards, the CID Awards, and the announcement of the first-ever recipients for our Coverings Rock Stars, An Emerging Leaders Program.
In its annual return the Best Booth Awards highlighted those exhibitors with impressive, imaginative booth designs that really went above and beyond. Stonepeak (booth 3823) was recognized as the Overall Best in Show display. Rodolfo Panisi, CEO of Stonepeak, described the feng-shui influence of the booth’s design, which featured a layout comprised of four “houses” distinctly decorated to reflect four personalities – Energy, Relax, Knowledge and Creativity. Each house was constructed in a different brightly colored tile, showcasing a variety of looks achieved from Stonepeak’s tile portfolio. Product lines represented in the space include Aura, a beautiful wall tile in matte and glossy finish; Zebrino, lineal high-tech porcelain marble; and floor tile in Arabescato Vena, one of six new colors from the large-format porcelain tile line Plane.

Stonepeak – Overall Best Booth Winner
Additional honors were extended to Saloni Ceramica (booth 2023), for successfully integrating tile with lighting and furnishing in its design; Unicom Starker (booth 4551), whose booth showcased a variety of ceramic tile collections in a design marked by crisp lines and a unique fencing effect; and Antolini Luigi (booth 4885), whose booth featured an attention-grabbing, backlit stone display.

Saloni Ceramica – Best Booth Winner

Unicom Starker – Best Booth Winner
 

Antolini Luigi – Best Booth Winner
 
The day concluded at the CID Awards & Opening Night Celebration, where the outstanding projects of the 2015 Coverings CID Awards and a class of emerging industry leaders, the Coverings’ Rock Stars, were honored and applauded by industry peers.
 

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Congratulations to the 2015 Coverings Rock Stars!

Last night Coverings announced the inaugural class of “Rock Stars,” 10 honorees who were recognized for their individual achievements and contributions to the tile and stone industry.
“Coverings is proud to spotlight the accomplishments of these bright, talented leaders representing several professional disciplines in the diverse and vibrant tile and stone industry,” said Karin Fendrich, Coverings show director. “In reviewing the dedication and experience of these Rock Stars, it is evident that the future of the industry is in extremely capable hands and we look forward to their leadership and successes in the years to come.”
The following 10 outstanding young professionals were inducted into the 2015 cohort of Coverings Rock Stars.

Philip Belloff, VIP Tile & Stone, Retailer
Adriano Clebes Caetano, Adriano Marble Productions & Installations, Installer
Ryan Fasan, P.A.T.T.I. / Bellavita Tile, Presenter & Designer
Matthew Karlin, Nemo Tile Company, Distributor/Retailer
Fernando Lozano Assad, Tile Council of North America, Industry Trade Association / Partner
Jairo Martinez, Crowe Custom Countertops, Inc., Fabricator
Jill Muggleston, Walker Zanger, Distributor/Retailer/Manufacturer
Eric Tetreault, EJT Contracting, Installer
Mathew Weiner, Westside Tile & Stone, Retailer
Carrie Zahradnik, ITZEN Architects, Inc., Designer

For more on the Rock Stars program, see: coverings.com/RockStars.

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Get Social @ #Coverings2015

Socially savvy? Then have we got the programs for you! From opportunities to meet your social media friends, a curated tour of the show, and a chance to win a trip to Coverings 2016, we’ve got all the social media programming to get you tweeting, Instagramming, and having a great time:
Coverings Insiders – A Twitter Tour: Whether you’re new to the show or a seasoned veteran, this curated tour lead by Coverings Industry Ambassador, Alena Capra, will give you all of the insider info to Coverings 2015. Taking place on Tuesday, April 14 from 3:00-4:00 PM, the tour will include top social media participants sharing insights via Twitter. Join us in person (starting at booth 3659) or following along with @Coverings using #Coverings2015.
Tweetup: The social media fun continues on Wednesday, April 15, as our annual Tweetup makes its return at 4: 00 PM. in the Installation Design Showcase (booth 461). Coverings attendees with a Twitter account are encouraged to stop by the special happy hour conversation that brings together industry influencers along with the participants of the Showcase for a special installation and design celebration. It is a great opportunity for social-savvy attendees to network both in person and on Twitter using the official show hashtag, #Coverings2015.
#KBTribeChat: Industry Twitter chat will be taking place live from the showroom floor to bring together top professionals in the kitchen and bath industry to chat none other than – kitchen and bath design! Join us at Crossville Tile (booth 3818) from 2:00-3:00 PM on Wednesday, April 15 to discuss tile trends, projects, and inspiration.
Get Framed for a Chance to Win a Trip to Chicago!
Keep your eyes open on the show floor for our roving ambassadors with the Coverings 2016 frame! Snap a photo of yourself (and your team) with the frame and post it on Instagram using the #Coverings2016 hashtag and tag @CoveringsShow for a chance to win a free trip to next year’s show in Chicago. The photo with the most likes wins!
Start using #Coverings2015: Just like last year, we will be rewarding the Covering attendee who uses #Coverings2015 the most during the four days of the show! Please be sure to follow Coverings on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Google+.
Register for free now for Coverings 2015. See you at the show!

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Ceramics of Italy partners sponsor Installation Design Showcase at Coverings 2015

For its sixth consecutive year participating in the Installation Design Showcase at Coverings, Ceramics of Italy is collaborating with Diana Chase, AIA of Helman Hurley Charvat Peacock/Architects Inc. (HHCP), and NTCA Five Star tile installer, Michael’s Custom Tile, to design a high-end resort bathroom. Naturalistic tiles designed by Cotto d’Este, Florim, Marca Corona, Novabell, and Rex Ceramiche will set the serene ambiance of the space while showcasing products that are both aesthetically appealing and highly functional.
The design for this chic, rustic/modern space manifests the strong attention to detail and materiality that Diana Chase has honed over her 13-year career. The versatility of Italian porcelain will be illustrated through the use of tile simulating various natural materials, establishing a tranquil, yet high-end vibe. An Axor Massaud bathtub by Hansgrohe, the focal point of the installation, will sit atop tile designed with advanced digital printing techniques to replicate the appearance of uncontaminated wood. Featuring Rex Ceramiche tiles generously donated by Florida’s own Specialty Tile—the leading tile distributor in the Southeast United States—the floor design is on-point, showing off a trendy chevron pattern that is also reflected on one of the walls in a plank layout. While natural in appearance, the material is easy to clean and durable, making it very practical for a dewy bath setting.
In keeping with the calm essence of the space, pristine white Marca Corona tiles, in both matte and patterned gloss finishes, will be used on the walls to create a dynamic surface that ripples with shadow and light. Rustic, NovaBell brick-style tiles, in a neutral palette, will complement these sophisticated tiles. Further exhibiting the ease with which different material looks can be used together, the overhang that frames the vanity and shower areas will be constructed with large, Florim stone-look tiles to add a rugged, unfinished quality, while keeping with the design’s neutral palette. The steps and countertops will be clad in Cotto D’Este Kerlite large-format tiles that evoke marble, continuing to infuse the space with a modern resort atmosphere—and calling back to ancient Italian bathhouses, in which marble was a prevalent material. These elements will also present a less conventional use of thin tiles—on furnishings—in addition to walls, floors, and ceilings. All grout and setting materials, provided by Mapei have been specified to color-match the various tiles in the installation. As a final elegant contrast, all edges will be finished with brushed antique bronze edging trim by Schluter Systems. The installation will also feature additional
Hansgrohe fixtures and furnishings including a Pura Vida tub filler, Pura Vida wall-mounted faucet, and Axor Massaud sink.
This vignette—which will be constructed in booth 461B throughout the four-day show—will not only serve as a testament to the importance of incorporating beautiful, inventive design in hospitality spaces, but also as a live demonstration of the skilled application and installation of naturalistic tiling in various styles and thicknesses. There will be a presentation followed by a celebratory champagne toast and reception upon its completion. Ceramics of Italy looks forward to inviting attendees to interact with this warm, inviting space, from start to finish!
Register now for Coverings 2015 to see Ceramics of Italy’s high-end resort bathroom at the Installation Design Showcase in Booth 461.

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Installation Design Showcase Returns to Coverings 2015

We are proud to announce the return of the Installation Design Showcase at Coverings 2015 in Orlando. This year, attendees will witness four unique interpretations of bath design come to life – all representing different market segments, including a residential master bath, a boutique hotel bath and two interpretations of resort bath spaces. These vignettes will demonstrate the diverse ways tile and stone materials and advanced installation techniques can influence the look, feel and performance of a bath space.
Design teams led by representatives from Anne Rue Interiors, tvsdesign and HHCP will be paired with installers who hold Five Star Recognition from the National Tile Contractors Association and certification from the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation to execute each vision. Even more, for the first time in IDS history, one of the spaces has been fully designed by the tile contractor and tile manufacturer. Installation materials will be supplied by TEC/H.B. Fuller Construction Products Inc., LATICRETE and MAPEI; tools will be supplied by A.T.R. Leveling, Bellota/Corona, Montolit, Rubi Tools USA and Russo Trading, Co.; and backerboard will be provided by USG Corp. John Cox, of Cox Tile and Stone, has played a critical role as technical consultant for the showcase.

The four vignettes are as follows:
Master Bathroom
The residential master bath envisioned by Anne Rue, of Anne Rue Interiors, will put a modern spin on classic Hollywood glamour with a black, white and gold color palette combined with a variety of Crossville products that emulate natural stone. Frank Canto, of Canto Tile and Stone, and his team will be taking on the challenge of installing the tile. 
Boutique Hotel Bath
Patricia Richey, of tvsdesign, has designed a boutique bathroom that combines modern and classic elements to create an unexpected space that encapsulates the one-of-a-kind aesthetics experienced at luxury boutique hotels. The extravagant bathing area incorporates Plane – Stonepeak’s large-format product line of upscale, natural stone-inspired porcelain tile panels. Installer Rodney Owen of C.C. Owen Tile Company will showcase his advanced technical skills in the space.

Resort Bath
Lead designer Diana Chase, representing HHCP, has created a serene, tranquil resort experience that promotes relaxation and well-being by incorporating soothing colors and diverse textures of wood, stone and smooth porcelain. Tile products from Ceramics of Italy will be featured, and installer and first-time participant, Greg Michael, President of Michael’s Custom Tile, Inc, will be working with emerging products and features to complete the space.
5-Star Resort Bath
The 5-Star Resort Bath design team is utilizing a variety of products from Florim USA to craft a resort bath environment that illustrates how durable materials, a key consideration in hospitality settings, need not detract from the sophisticated design aesthetic required by 5-Star properties. In addition, tiles from the Mansion line will cover the floors, counters and shower bench to offset the rustic look of the walls. Installer and Project Manager Cameron Proctor, who is representing long-time Installation Design Showcase participant David Allen Company, is eager to take on the unique challenge.
The four vignettes will be open for the duration of the exposition and conference for all attendees to enjoy. On Thursday, April 16, 2015, at 3:30 p.m., Coverings Industry Ambassador Alena Capra will host “Installation Design Showcase Deconstructed,” during which the designers and installers will discuss the types of tiles selected and the thought-processes behind the designs and exceptional installation techniques. A cocktail reception will immediately follow. This free program and reception is open to all attendees, though it is suggested to pre-register to attend the show at coverings.com/register.
For full details regarding the Coverings Installation Design Showcase, please visit coverings.com/IDS, and follow along at the show by using the hashtag #CoveringsIDS. 

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Support Tile Partners for Humanity at Coverings 2015!

Are you exhibiting at Coverings this year? Great! Are you planning to take everything back home with you? If not, please consider donating your excess product to Tile Partners for Humanity (TPFH) – the Coverings nonprofit partners would truly appreciate it!
Have you wondered how the donated materials are used? TPFH is a national partner of Habitat for Humanity, so materials are either used in homes or resold to generate funding for new construction. TPFH also partners with community outreach centers around the country that distribute materials to families and organizations in need.
Last year, River Valley Community Outreach Center in Gridley, CA, used materials to refurbish the bathrooms of two local widows in need with local volunteers contributing labor. They also used granite, marble, tile, thinset mortar, and other materials to further the mission of Twin Cities Rescue Mission and Feather River Men’s Center in the Sacramento area.
In Gassaway, WV, Central West Virginia Outreach Center shared materials both with individual families and other community organizations. One local family collected pieces of granite and marble in varying colors, shapes and sizes over several years and crafted an incredibly unique floor for their home. And they did all of the installation work on their own!
And yes, this is the same donation program that Coverings exhibitors, in partnership with Coverings and Freeman, have supported in the past. This will be the TWELTH year that TPFH has benefited from the generosity of Coverings exhibitors. In that time, we’ve collected DOZENS of trucks of tile, marble, granite, installation materials, tools, backerboard, cleaners, and sealers. Your donations have supported Habitat for Humanity partners in Orlando, Chicago, Atlanta, and Las Vegas as well as other community improvement organizations in North Carolina, West Virginia, Florida, Indiana and California. This year, we hope to reach even more partners!
So how do you donate? Easy! E-mail Ally Venugopal at allyv@mountainre-source.org or Herb Miller at hmiller@mountainre-source.org and let us know that you’d like to donate. We’ll ask you to let us know what you think you may have and where your booth will be on the show floor. You can let us know if your material will be available before the show opens or after it closes so we know when to collect it. Our volunteers will be on site before, during and after the show wearing Tile Partners for Humanity donation t-shirts and will tag and label all of the pieces you wish to donate. Freeman has generously offered to remove all donated items from the show floor AT NO COST to exhibitors. If you need for us to organize or stack materials after the show, we can do that. We also ask that if you ship large pieces or slabs that you consider donating the packing crates used to get them to the show. If you don’t need them for other pieces, we’d truly appreciate them for transportation to our partners!
TPFH is the partnership of tile industry members that collectively support Habitat for Humanity and other nonprofit partners through donations of tile, installation materials, tools, and labor. Since 2003, the industry has contributed in excess of $35 million in materials and labor to Habitat for Humanity and other nonprofit partners. In 2011, TPFH merged with Mountain Re-Source Center, a nonprofit that takes in large donations of ALL types of building materials and distributes them to nonprofit partners around the country. Through the merger, the tile industry will be able to serve an even greater number of families and organizations in need.
Please also visit us on Facebook – we have pages for both Tile Partners for Humanity and Mountain Re-Source Center. Feel free to let us know there that you’ll be able to donate!
On behalf of Tile Partners for Humanity, Mountain Re-Source Center, and all of our partners, we thank you.

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Tile of Spain announces Coverings 2015 activities

Tile of Spain is pleased to be part of Coverings 2015 and announces activities in the Spain Pavilion. Visitors will witness some of the most advanced ceramic tile technology and breathtaking design choices the world has to offer from over 75 Spanish ceramic and stone manufacturers.
The Tile of Spain booth, #1803, holds a variety of literature, including directories to the must-see Spanish tile exhibitors at Coverings, and the latest issue of Ceraspaña, Tile of Spain’s quarterly magazine.
Presentations and videos will run throughout the show, including Tile of Spain’s 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.
Every afternoon of Coverings enjoy our Spanish hospitality with a selection of tapas.

Presentations in the Spanish Pavilion  (#1803) include:
Tradewinds: Consumer Climate 2015
Tuesday, April 14: 12 PM and 1 PM
Thursday, April 16: 12 PM
Friday, April 17: 12 PM
Innovative production solutions, collaborative design, no-nonsense cost of living & nearly unlimited durability have made ceramics the go-to material for many more people today. The prevailing winds are filling our sails but if we don’t have the rigging set right we cannot take advantage. We are in the tile industry because we all believe that tile is the perfect solution for most of our clients today but are we making that knowledge available?  
Join us on the Spanish pavilion as we explore key consumer profiles for our industry in 2015, their buying patterns, critical concerns, and how to best approach them with our information to get the message heard. The winds are changing now and tile consumption is on a dramatic rise in many markets today, don’t be left on the dock!

Savvy Timelessness: 2015 Trends & Innovations in Ceramics
Wednesday, April 15: 12:15 PM
Thursday, April 16: 1 PM
In any fashion industry, technology from past & present dictate the limits of design and thus prevailing trends. Most of us never know what we want until we see it – the challenging task of the ceramist is to tweak current production capabilities to provide consumers with something that fits the ineffable sweet spot of perfection within the currently trending meta of design. That sweet spot is different for ceramics than any other material due to its longevity; our products must take the long view on trends and strive for what I call savvy timelessness.
Ceramics are uniquely suited today to cater to the macro trends due to the balanced marriage of modern innovations with centuries of artisanal history and experience. Join us on the Spanish pavilion as we explore overarching macro trends through the lens of modern ceramics. Colors, textures formats and inspiration conspire within ceramics today to provide us with everything we need to express our own individual style in a timeless way. Come get inspired!
Once again, ASCER, the Professional Association of Ceramic Tile Manufacturers from Spain, and ICEX Spain Trade and Investment organize the 2015 Tile of Spain Pavilion. For more information, contact info@tileofspainusa.com or visit tileofspainusa.com.
To visit the Tile of Spain Pavilion and participate in their activities, register for Coverings 2015 for free now.

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Sponsored Exhibitor Spotlight – Apollo Stone Imports: Best-selling stones from the service leader

Fads come and go, but the classics in natural stone are perennial best-sellers. At Apollo Stone, we offer all of them. And we’ll be showing them at Coverings 2015. In one booth—658—you’ll see every color of marble available from the fabled mountains of Greece.

Consistent supply of Thassos mosaics in all sizes
The Enduring Appeal of White
Designers and architects increasingly specify white stone, because it has the clean, crisp look that brightens any space. Maybe that’s why our Thassos Snow White flies off the shelves. In fact, we ship Thassos continuously. Why? With its uniform color, it’s great for both small and large spaces. The lack of veining also makes it a popular choice for mosaics and 3” x 6” Broadway tiles. Here’s why Apollo Stone is your most reliable source:

One of our factories produces only Thassos Snow White. We are a major supplier of 3/8” tiles to the U.S. market.
To provide such a large volume of Thassos with consistent quality, our factory cuts many blocks continually. So you’ll always get top quality, whether you order 2cm slabs or 12” x 12”, 12” x 24”, or 18” x 18” tiles.
You can get orders quickly because our factory procures significant quantities from the quarry.

Consistent supply of Thassos Snow White slabs and tiles
From Ancient Greece to Television’s Housewives of Orange County
Another classic white we’ll show at Coverings, Pentelikon, graced the columns and interior of the Parthenon. Our Stellar White and Windsor White are also popular today. A sleek gray, Trizina Silver, was chosen for TV’s Housewives set. It’s only one of the beautiful grays we sell so often. Others include Nautilus Gray, French Lavender, Monterrey Gray, Oceanus Gray, Martino Gray, and Sorrento Gray. We also offer a complete line of earth tones and other popular colors.

Stellar White 12×24” tiles are part of Apollo Stone’s regular production
What’s the Best Way to Order Natural Stone?The most important consideration when ordering stone is to select a supplier with a reputation for consistent quality and on-time delivery. You also want to avoid defective product taking up space in your warehouse. And you need to be able to rely on production with precision cutting and finishing expertise.

Apollo Stone’s Corinthian Beige was chosen for Burberry’s stores worldwide
When it comes to customer service, Apollo Stone is the gold standard. We have helped distributors throughout the U.S. increase their profitability for more than 20 years. We even offer mixed containers to lower inventory. Based in San Rafael, California, we import slabs and standard or custom stone tiles in the most popular colors, finishes, and cuts. Every order is personally supervised by the company president, Dimitri Charalambous, a California resident and native of Atalanti, Greece. Our skilled production staff and long-term relationships with multiple factories give you continued availability and first-pick quality. So if you need natural stone faster, better, or in special sizes, trust Apollo Stone Imports to deliver premier quality, on time, every time.

This is a sponsored exhibitor blog post from Apollo Stone. If you’re a Coverings exhibitor and are interested in purchasing a guest blog post, please email sales@coverings.com. 

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Simple tips for women in the stone industry

Our Coverings 2015 Speaker Blog Series continues with a guest post from Jacqueline Tabbah, Assistant Vice President at International Stoneworks, Inc.

1. Be confident
Even if you know your business, if you don’t exude confidence, you may be overlooked. Another scenario is you don’t know the answer to a client’s question. That’s ok; keep your composure, but don’t bluff.  Be honest and let the client know you will find out the answer and let him or her know as soon as possible.
2. Know your business
I’ve been in the stone restoration business for almost 6 years and I have studied and absorbed a great deal of knowledge during this time.
When customers call and hear my voice, some may not initially think I know the answer. Nevertheless, countless times, I end up helping them find out the answers to their questions. I am patient and take the time to explain the solution to their problem in detail.
3. Listen to your customers
Before you launch into your explanations and sales pitches, listen to what the client has to say. Maybe I see a particular problem with his or her marble floor, but the customer is concerned about something else entirely. Listening to our clients not only helps us do our jobs, but also shows that we are concerned and genuinely want to help them.
4. Observe your surroundings
I try to figure out what my customers really want (even if they are saying something a little different or maybe can’t quite express exactly what type of finish they would like on their natural stone surface). Many times our clients have said they do not want a high natural shine on their stone surface, but then end up wanting a mirror finish. I may not get it right everytime, but I try to look at my surroundings in their homes or buildings because it helps me understand their style and design choices.
5. Be responsive and have strong written and verbal skills
My strong point is responding quickly to our customers’ requests. Even if I can’t solve their issue immediately, I want them to know that I received their message and I am working on it.
If you are communicating by e-mail, take the time to re-read your message and make sure your grammar and spelling are correct. If you are on the phone, remain articulate and friendly. Written and verbal skills seem basic and can be overlooked when we are in a hurry, but they really help you put forth a great impression, not only for you personally, but also for your company.
6. Be a team player, even if you are the boss
You can’t do everything by yourself (even though we try) and you are a stronger company when everyone gets along and works well together. We need smooth internal communication between the administration department and the operations side of the business. It may seem mundane, but take the time to celebrate your co-workers or employees’ birthdays and milestones. Send them flowers in times of sympathy. They will really appreciate your kindness and you have created a positive workplace for them.
7. Show your creativity
I know especially in the stone industry, certain practices have been done the same way for generations, but sometimes change is good! If you have a great idea, share it; implement it. It may not work, but you have to evolve in order to maintain your business. I pioneered our entire social media campaign, updated our website to include an online shopping cart, and recently created our own stone maintenance app! It all took time and commitment, but it was worth it.

Join Jacqueline for her session, “Managing a Successful Family Business”, on Friday, April 17 from 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM at the Orange County Convention Center during Coverings 2015.
Click here to view the full list of Coverings 2015 conference sessions. Don’t miss this session register now for free to attend!

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10 creative ways for tile and stone to shine on social media

Our Coverings 2015 Speaker Blog Series continues with a guest post from Christine Whittemore, Chief Simplifier of Simple Marketing Now LLC, an inbound marketing strategy consultancy.

Can you imagine any products more visually inspiring than tile or stone? With colors that can be riotous and elegantly subtle, designs that defy Mother Nature, geometric shapes that excite the brain, textures that invite both eye and hand to get involved and all of which can be limitlessly combined into breathtaking patterns…Why not make tile and stone products shine for those looking to transform spaces with them? Make them come alive online with social media!
Why Bother With Social Media?
Because social media networks are where our customers spend time as they get ideas about transforming their spaces with tile and stone products. As Arpi Nalbandian from Tileometry states in Social Media: It’s Not All About You,  
“The tile and stone business is about visual inspiration and 80% of potential customers begin the buying process online.”
As they explore online, they will come across visual inspiration on social networks especially since online and social media content have become increasingly visual. (See How Visual is Your Online Customer Experience?)When it comes to tile and stone inspiration, Pinterest and Houzz frequently come up.
According to A Complete Guide to Visual Content,
“Content with relevant images gets 94 percent more views than content without. This oft-cited visual content stat is evidence that visuals have been vital to online success for some time. The original study from content platform Skyword came out in 2011… [Our brain simply] processes visuals 60,000 times faster than it does text.”

(Image credit: https://blog.bufferapp.com/a-complete-guide-to-creating-awesome-visual-content – article “A Complete Guide to Visual Content” referenced above.)
How to Shine on Social Media: 10 Creative Ways
If you want to shine online and on social networks, you need to share consistently and regularly over time — just as you do in real life sharing stories about the new products you offer. The 10 recommendations below will help you develop a content strategy, so you don’t run out of content ideas and images and can consistently shine on social media.
#1 – Think of your core customer groups. What information is most important to them when they’re in the market for tile and stone? Are they looking for design inspiration ideas or installation recommendations? Where do they hang out online? The more you understand who you have in mind and what’s important to them, the better you’ll be able to share content that they value.
#2 – Develop those ideas into content buckets. Take what you know about your customers and create content categories or buckets. What’s valuable about creating content buckets is that you can start to organize your content ideas and plan out how to share them so you aren’t repetitive yet are relevant.
#3 – Do keyword research. Remember that your customers search for you online, using words – even for visual content. That means that you will need to use words to describe your images and those words need to make sense to the people searching. In other words, banish industry lingo! Look for relevant #hashtags, too, to associate with your content. You may notice different themes depending on the day of the week. Perhaps it’s #TileTuesday or #MosaicMonday; consider piggy-backing off of those themes.
#4 – Brainstorm how to visually capture/support your content buckets. Even in a word heavy format like a blog, you need images. Where will your images come from? Can you take your own installation and before and after images? Can your suppliers help you? Will customers share photos with you? Can you purchase images or access Creative Commons images? Plan ahead so you don’t run out of images.

As you gather your images, be sure to create meaningful file names for them. A file name like green-glass-tile.jpg is more descriptive than image-123.jpg. Keep in mind that different social networks have distinct image requirements. Houzz only accepts high-resolution images. Narrow, vertical images are best for Pinterest. (See Always Up-to-Date Guide to Social Media Image Sizes.)
#5 – Develop a style for your images. As you develop your content buckets, you may want to develop a style that becomes associated with your business. Perhaps it’s how the image is taken, the perspective you use, or the tool you use to edit your images (e.g., Canva can help to add creative flair).
#6 – Create and commit to a calendar. This will save you! A calendar forces you to plan out content ahead of time. It also allows you to integrate what else is happening in your business into your content. Your calendar should look several months ahead; it should also provide more detailed guidance for your daily or weekly content plan.
Consider using your content buckets as a way to parse out content – in many ways, as a publication would with ongoing series and regular segments. You may want to dedicate one day every week for installation or maintenance best practices, for example.  
#7 – Pick your social networks and decide how you will customize your content to suit the personality of each network. Multi-purposing content on different social networks is an effective way to get full value out of your content; it’s also a great way to reach different audiences. However, it can’t be exactly the same on each network. How will your content differ from one network to the other? How will the tone change? It’s ok to focus on just one network, too.
#8 – Identify fellow tile and stone peeps in social networks. Social networks are social and about interacting. Be on the lookout for others in the tile and stone industry who are active socially and support them. They will do the same for you. Look for relevant hashtags (e.g., #TileTuesday, #Coverings2015), look for relevant chats (e.g., #KBTribeChat, #InteriorDesignChat). Find out who’s active on those networks and band together. Experiment, learn and share.
#9 – Connect your social activity to real life. Social networks are the digital equivalent of ongoing networking events, town picnics and church events. Ask your customers where they hang out and find helpful information online. Ask them what they like. Invite them to be involved in what you’re doing. Highlight your social activity in your newsletters. Promote it on your website and in-store. Make it part of how you do business.

#10 – Keep the shine fresh! Have a plan of action for keeping your social and visual presence fresh – just as you keep your showroom up-to-date and welcoming. Check your social inboxes for new followers and mentions; acknowledge conversations, regularly interact and share fresh content. Monitor specific search terms and hashtags. Don’t forget to keep an eye on your fellow tile and stone social media enthusiasts!
How do you make your tile and stone ideas come to life? What creative ways have you embraced so you shine online and socially?
For more information on how you can leverage image-based social media platforms, please mark your Coverings 2015 agenda, and join Arpi Nalbandian from Tileometry and me as we present Image is Everything! How Houzz and Pinterest Steer Clients to Your Tile/Stone Business: A Case Study and Guide for Visual Online and Social Success. Our session is scheduled for April 15, 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM.
Learn more about my co-presenter in Tileometry’s Arpi Nalbandian Talks Social Networking for Business
Until then, you can connect with me via my website http://www.SimpleMarketingNow.com and my blogs:

Flooring The Consumer – http://www.simplemarketingnow.com/blog/flooring-the-consumer
Content Talks Business – http://www.simplemarketingnow.com/content-talks-business-blog
The Social Flooring Index – http://www.simplemarketingnow.com/blog/social-flooring-index-blog

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CBWhittemore
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SimpleMarketingNow
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/cbwhittemore
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/cbwhittemore/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+Simplemarketingnow

Join Christine for her sessions, “Image is Everything! How Houzz and Pinterest Steer Clients to Your Tile/Stone Business: A Case Study and Guide for Visual Online And Social Success” on Wednesday, April 15 from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM and “Social Media in the Stone Industry Forum” on Thursday, April 16 from at the Orange County Convention Center during Coverings 2015.
Click here to view the full list of Coverings 2015 conference sessions. Don’t miss this session register now for free to attend!
 

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Why everyone in the flooring business should attend Coverings

Our Coverings 2015 Speaker Blog Series continues with a guest post from Lisbeth Calandrino, founding member and Associate Publisher of Fabulous Floors Magazine.

Retailers regularly attend Surfaces, but when it comes to Coverings, many back off. The main reason they give is because they don’t carry tile, or it isn’t one of their big sellers. In my mind, this doesn’t make much sense. If you’re in the flooring business, you are competing with other businesses that carry tile, so why not know what you’re up against?
Keeping your competitive advantage is something that doesn’t just happen. You don’t build it one year and then it’s yours for life. There was a time when Kmart, Sears and JC Penney were known as retailers to be reckoned with. This year, Whole Foods added an entire floor in one of our major shopping centers that originally belonged to Sears. I’m sure if business were booming, this would have never happened. Keeping your competitive advantage requires always being on top of your game, understanding what your customers need and, of course, knowing everything about your competitors.
One of the questions I ask in my seminars is, “Who are your competitors?” I get people who laugh and say, “We don’t have any.” At first, I thought they were kidding, but then I realized they weren’t. They actually believe they own all the customers in their town.
No matter how good you are, there will always be someone with new ideas to eat into your market share. Each year will bring a new bump in your road. This year, it’s the weather for many. Who would have predicted such cold and snow around the country?
The changing of the guard—the Baby Boomers being replaced by the Millennium – continues to infiltrate the retail landscape.
The Millenniums are looking for jobs in all of our industries. The smartest, brightest and most technologically smart are joining those working hard to catch up. They are different, bringing diverse skills and expectations to the workplace.
How versed are you in hiring and retaining these resources? Join me at Coverings in Orlando on April 17, 2015, 9:30 – 10:30a.m., as I discuss “The Millennials: The New Generation of Employees and How to Motivate Them.” This isn’t something I was an expert at; I had to do plenty of research on the subject. Join me as I share what I learned and how it might help you in your business.
Another topic that is hot for all businesses: “What are you Doing to Cultivate Sold Customers and Get More Business?” Join me at the Coverings Social Media Lounge on April 16, 2015, from 2:15-2:45p.m., where I’ll discuss ways to build your business. I have been working on a solution to this problem for two years and have come up with software to help you manage this.  
Check out my column in Floor Covering News, and text or call me to see if I can help. I look forward to seeing you at Coverings – register now for free!!
Lisbeth Calandrino, 518-495-5380, EST time. The first 25 people that sign up for my workshop on the “Millennials” will get a free copy of my award-winning book “Red Hot Customer Service.” Don’t forget to ask.

Join Lisbeth for her sessions, “What are you Doing to Cultivate Sold Customers and Get More Business?” on Thursday, April 16 from 2:15 PM to 2:45 PM AND “The Millennials: The New Generation of Employees and How to Motivate Them” on Friday, April 17 from 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM at the Orange County Convention Center during Coverings 2015.
Click here to view the full list of Coverings 2015 conference sessions. Don’t miss this session – register now for free to attend!

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Social media: it’s not ALL about you

Image via Tech Republic
Our Coverings 2015 Speaker Blog Series continues with a guest post from Arpi Nalbandian, owner and founder of Tileometry.

As recently as five years ago, actively spending time on social media platforms was deemed frivolous, a time-wasting activity that benefitted no one, and certainly not your business.
Of course, the above statement is a fallacy. Yet, there are companies (large and small) who feel social media platforms are only a vehicle for spewing out promotional, self-serving posts. While promoting your brand, website, blog, products, and/or company activities is highly encouraged, there is a difference between those who promote AND interact, and those that only promote.
Let me clear. The key to social media success is simple: be SOCIAL! This means you need to interact, respond, and share content on a daily basis.
Here are a few things to consider, whether you’re starting from scratch, if you’re picking up where someone else left off, or reevaluating your social media campaign.

Learn: Take the time to learn by lurking. Follow your favorite people or brands and take note on what you like and don’t like with what they’re doing on their accounts.
Connect: Let’s say you have a blog on your website. Link your latest blog post to your company’s Facebook page and Twitter feed, at the very least. You can also link your blog post to Pinterest on a board you named, for example, Our Blog. You can do the same on your Houzz account by starting an Ideabook that includes just your blog posts. Pin images from within the blog post to Pinterest and Houzz. By doing this, you’ve just connected your one blog post to various platforms.
Images: Image is everything! Our attention span gets shorter and shorter, so use images rather than words in certain situations. It’s great that you found a new tile that measures 48”x48”, is an exact replica of honed and filled Travertine, is only 2mm-thick, and comes in a variety of colors. I’d skip the detailed description and instead would post an image of your new find with a short caption.

Image via Fuentek
For the sake of this article, I’m going to focus on image-based platforms, such as Houzz, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Now, reflect on the following:

The tile and stone business is about visual inspiration
80% of potential customers begin the buying process online

If you think Pinterest, Houzz and Instagram are a waste of time, then take a look at these numbers for Pinterest alone:

70 million users and growing!
80% are women (your customer base)
Percentage of U.S. online adult women: 42%
Income: 41% earn $50,000-$75,000+

Source: Pew Research Center

Image via Shart Media
Next, think about how you currently meet your client’s visual design needs. Do you have an inspiration gallery on your website? Do you showcase new tile and stone partnerships or product availability? What about design ideas featuring installations from your clients? Do you share these images on your social media networks? If you answered no to any of these questions, then perhaps it’s time to implement a program where new or current clients can refer to these images.
Moreover, images serve to help your followers personify a brand. The photo you took of your employees working on a project, your sneak peek at a new tile or stone collection, the image a client sent you after installing your tile or stone in their home or business, or even what you do during your down time. Building a community with your brand’s/company’s followers is priceless!
For more information on how you can leverage image-based social media platforms, please mark your Coverings 2015 agenda, and join me and Christine Whittemore of Simple Marketing Now as we present Image is Everything! How Houzz and Pinterest Steer Clients to Your Tile/Stone Business: A Case Study and Guide for Visual Online and Social Success. Our session is scheduled for April 15, 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM. Until then, you can connect with me here:

Via the Tileometry Blog
On Twitter – Arpi Nalbandian and Tileometry
On the Tileometry Facebook page
On Pinterest – Arpi Nalbandian and Tileometry
On LinkedIn
On Google+ – Arpi and Tileometry
On Houzz
On Instagram

Join Arpi Nalbandian for her session, “Image is Everything! How Houzz and Pinterest Steer Clients to Your Tile/Stone Business: A Case Study and Guide for Visual Online and Social Success” on Wednesday, April 15 from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM at the Orange County Convention Center during Coverings 2015. Click here to view the full list of Coverings 2015 conference sessions. Don’t miss this session – register now for free to attend!

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Color decoded with Feras Irikat, Lunada Bay Tile

Our Coverings 2015 Speaker Blog Series kicks off with a guest post from Feras Irikat, Design and Marketing Director for Lunada Bay Tile.
“Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing? Can one really explain this? No.” —Pablo Picasso
Good question, Pablo. While the question is easy enough to understand, coming up with a complete and comprehensive answer is less so. Part of the difficulty lies in the human reaction to color, which comprises both emotional and biological factors. Although science can explain and predict our biological reaction to certain colors, it can never predict our emotional response, which varies from one person to the next.
It’s a fact that no two humans view and react to a single color the exact same way.  Catalan artist Joan Miró once said, “I try to apply colors like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music.” The comparison to music is apt. Consider each color you work with as a musical note. How every note follows the one before will have an impact on whether the final composition will sound like a masterpiece or just noise. Always keep in mind that a color can only be judged and evaluated in relationship to other colors. There are no bad colors. What makes a color unpleasant is the combination of colors or the palette in which it appears
“Harmony” is a word designers often use when working to create a color palette. But to create harmony, we must ask how colors enhance and support each other. Here, the concept of DNA, used to determine genetic relationships between humans, can be helpful. Breaking down colors to their “DNA structure” will enable you to better determine if they share a common denominator and whether they can be combined to build a harmonious color palette. Yes, you can choose a wonderful color for a kitchen or bath project, but its appeal is actually second in importance to its primary color DNA, or its undertone. To understand undertone, think back to first-grade art class, where we learned that all color pigments are made up of three primary colors: red, blue and yellow.
The primaries are the “founding fathers” of all 250 million pigments the human eye is capable of recognizing—another proven scientific fact. All colors have an undertone, which is a variation of either the founding father yellow or the founding father blue. For example, green is never simply green: It’s green with a blue undertone or green with a yellow undertone. Moreover, blue-green will harmoniously sing among other colors with a blue undertone and vice versa.
Designer David Hicks once said, “The truth is that clashing colors do not exist; the whole idea of certain colors conflicting violently with others was nonsense dreamed up by a lot of genteel women in the 1930s. Colors do not clash—they vibrate.”
Colors that vibrate share very few or no “DNA strands” and, as a result, will fight for attention. This doesn’t mean, however, that the colors won’t work together or that they’ll look bad together, It simply means that they lack the common DNA strands to create a visual transition and thus aid the eye in viewing both or even more colors in one instant.

Join Feras Irikat at his session “Color Theory and its Application,” on Wednesday, April 15 from 10:30 AM-11:30 AM at the Orange County Convention Center during Coverings 2015 to learn more about how light, vision and texture affect the design environment and how to harness those tools to design beautiful spaces. Click here to view the full list of Coverings 2015 conference sessions. Don’t miss this session – register now to attend for free!

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Tune in this Thursday for Designers and Distributors: Building a Successful Relationship

This Thursday March 5 at 12:00pm EST/11:00am CST, we invite you to tune into the webinar “Designers and Distributors: Building a Successful Relationship,” hosted by the Ceramic Tile Distributors Association and Coverings Industry Ambassador, Alena Capra, and sponsored by MAPEI.
In “Designers and Distributors: Building a Successful Relationship” Alena Capra will share a designer’s perspective on the best ways for distributors and designers to work together to create amazing projects that showcase the beauty of tile and stone products. Tapping over twelve years of experience as a Certified Kitchen and Bath Designer with the National Kitchen and Bath Association, Alena will share tips, insights, and illustrative project examples that highlight effective ways for distributors to advise designers who are sourcing products for projects.
This one is not to be missed! For those interested in registering for the webinar, you can do so through the online form here, or you can fill out this form and return it to the CDTA office.
Join CTDA, Alena Capra, MAPEI and 23,000 industry professionals at Coverings 2015 – April 14-17 in Orlando Florida. Register now for free.

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Coverings offers Appreciation Days for a diverse range of tile and stone professionals

We’re pleased to announce the return of “Appreciation Days” to Coverings 2015, which will feature tailored programming for specific attendee segments, including architects, designers, fabricators, contractors, builders and remodelers. Comprised of guided tours of the show floor and focused education sessions, the Appreciation Days will provide participants with opportunities to further their knowledge alongside fellow industry members during Coverings 2015.
Participants of each Appreciation Day will have access to a designated lounge, providing a space dedicated to networking and relaxing during the show. Additionally, all registered participants of Coverings’ Appreciation Days will be offered complimentary lunches and numerous opportunities to network with other professionals during their respective day.
Check out the dates and highlights for the Appreciation Days below:

Builder & Remodeler Day will take place April 14, and feature roundtable discussions in English and Spanish over lunch in the Appreciation Lounge, facilitated by the Hispanic Contractors Association of the Carolinas (in Spanish) and the Florida Home Builders Association, focused on current trends in the builder and remodeler industry in the Southeast market. In addition, guided tours of the show floor will take place at 10:30 AM and 1:30 PM, starting and ending at the Appreciation Lounge.

Architect & Designer Day is April 15 and begins with breakfast at 9:15 AM with Interior Design Magazine’s Hospitality Design Power Panel, moderated by Deputy Editor Edie Cohen. Lunch is provided during Joey Shimoda’s noon Keynote Session where he will present “The Sensuality of Surface,” sponsored by Contract Magazine. In addition, specifier attendees are encouraged to attend the Featured Session presented by American Society of Interior Designers Executive Vice President and CEO Randy Fiser, who will discuss “Designing Wellness.” In between the dynamic education programming, facilitated tours of the show floor will take place at 10:30 AM and 1:30 PM, leaving from the Appreciation Lounge.

Contractor Days will span two days, from April 15-16. On these days, the National Tile Contractors Association will host roundtable discussions over lunch in the Contractor Lounge. Discussions will be divided into residential and commercial contracting interests and are open to all experience levels. The Contractor Days also feature eight, one-hour guided tours of the show floor and happy hours with prize giveaways in the lounge in the afternoon.

Fabricator Day will take place on April 16, featuring several roundtables over lunch in the Appreciation Lounge on key topics, including, “CEU Immersion Class | Providing CEUs to Architects & Interior Designers Using MIA’s Turn-Key Program,” “How to Handle Wastewater in a Fabrication Setting,” and “Perspectives in Benchmarking.” “Stone Zone Passports” will also be available at registration and in the Lounge for fabricators to use as a map and guide to exploring the dozens of exhibitors located in the machinery and allied products area of the Coverings show floor.

Sign up for your Appreciation Day activities when you register for Coverings 2015 for free!

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Coverings offers Appreciation Days for a diverse range of tile and stone professionals

We’re pleased to announce the return of “Appreciation Days” to Coverings 2015, which will feature tailored programming for specific attendee segments, including architects, designers, fabricators, contractors, builders and remodelers. Comprised of guided tours of the show floor and focused education sessions, the Appreciation Days will provide participants with opportunities to further their knowledge alongside fellow industry members during Coverings 2015.
Participants of each Appreciation Day will have access to a designated lounge, providing a space dedicated to networking and relaxing during the show. Additionally, all registered participants of Coverings’ Appreciation Days will be offered complimentary lunches and numerous opportunities to network with other professionals during their respective day.
Check out the dates and highlights for the Appreciation Days below:

Builder & Remodeler Day will take place April 14, and feature roundtable discussions in English and Spanish over lunch in the Appreciation Lounge, facilitated by the Hispanic Contractors Association of the Carolinas (in Spanish) and the Florida Home Builders Association, focused on current trends in the builder and remodeler industry in the Southeast market. In addition, guided tours of the show floor will take place at 10:30 AM and 1:30 PM, starting and ending at the Appreciation Lounge.

Architect & Designer Day is April 15 and begins with breakfast at 9:15 AM with Interior Design Magazine’s Hospitality Design Power Panel, moderated by Deputy Editor Edie Cohen. Lunch is provided during Joey Shimoda’s noon Keynote Session where he will present “The Sensuality of Surface,” sponsored by Contract Magazine. In addition, specifier attendees are encouraged to attend the Featured Session presented by American Society of Interior Designers Executive Vice President and CEO Randy Fiser, who will discuss “Designing Wellness.” In between the dynamic education programming, facilitated tours of the show floor will take place at 10:30 AM and 1:30 PM, leaving from the Appreciation Lounge.

Contractor Days will span two days, from April 15-16. On these days, the National Tile Contractors Association will host roundtable discussions over lunch in the Contractor Lounge. Discussions will be divided into residential and commercial contracting interests and are open to all experience levels. The Contractor Days also feature eight, one-hour guided tours of the show floor and happy hours with prize giveaways in the lounge in the afternoon.

Fabricator Day will take place on April 16, featuring several roundtables over lunch in the Appreciation Lounge on key topics, including, “CEU Immersion Class | Providing CEUs to Architects & Interior Designers Using MIA’s Turn-Key Program,” “How to Handle Wastewater in a Fabrication Setting,” and “Perspectives in Benchmarking.” “Stone Zone Passports” will also be available at registration and in the Lounge for fabricators to use as a map and guide to exploring the dozens of exhibitors located in the machinery and allied products area of the Coverings show floor.

Sign up for your Appreciation Day activities when you register for Coverings 2015 for free!

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Ceramics of Italy: Installation Design Showcase Preview

For its sixth consecutive year participating in the Installation Design Showcase at Coverings, Ceramics of Italy is collaborating with Diana Chase, AIA of Helman Hurley Charvat Peacock/Architects Inc. (HHCP), and NTCA Five Star tile installer Michael’s Custom Tile, to design a high-end resort bathroom. Naturalistic tiles designed by Cotto d’Este, Floor Gres, Marca Corona, Novabell, and Rex Ceramiche will set the serene ambiance of the space while showcasing products that are both aesthetically appealing and highly functional.

3D drawings of the Resort Bath space by Diana Chase, AIA and team from HHCP Architects.
The design for this chic, California-rustic space manifests the strong attention to detail and materiality that Diana Chase has honed over her 13-year career. The versatility of Italian porcelain will be illustrated through the use of tile simulating various natural materials, establishing a tranquil, yet high-end, vibe. An Axor Massaud bathtub by Hansgrohe, the focal point of the installation, will sit atop tile designed with advanced digital printing techniques to replicate the appearance of uncontaminated wood. Featuring Rex Ceramiche tiles generously donated by Florida’s own Specialty Tile—the leading tile distributor in the Southeast United States—the floor design is on-point, showing off a trendy chevron pattern. While natural in appearance, the material is easy to clean and durable, making it very practical for a dewy bath setting.

1. Cotto d’Este Kerlite “Exedra” in Calacatta
2. Floor Gres “Industry” in Ivory
3. Marca Corona “Different” in Matte White
4. Marca Corona “Different” in Gloss Décor
5. NovaBell “Sine Die” in Spaccatella Sabbia
6. Rex Ceramiche “Taiga” in Var
In keeping with the calm essence of the space, pristine white Marca Corona tiles, in both matte and patterned gloss finishes, will be used on the walls to create a dynamic surface that ripples with shadow and light. These sophisticated tiles will be complemented by rustic, NovaBell brick-style tiles, in a neutral palette. Further exhibiting the ease with which different material-looks can be used together, the overhang that frames the vanity and shower areas will be constructed with Floor Gres industrial-style thin tiles to add an edgy, unfinished quality, while keeping with the design’s neutral palette. The steps and countertops will be clad in Cotto D’Este large-format tiles that evoke marble, continuing to infuse the space with a modern resort atmosphere—and calling back to ancient Italian bathhouses, in which marble was a prevalent material. These elements will also present a less conventional use of thin tiles—on furnishings—in addition to walls, floors, and ceilings. All grout and setting materials, provided by Mapei have been specified to color-match the various tiles in the installation. As a final elegant contrast, all edges will be finished with brushed antique bronze edging trim by Schluter Systems. The installation will also feature additional Hansgrohe fixtures and furnishings including a Pura Vida tub filler, Pura Vida wall-mounted faucet, and Axor Massaud sink.
This vignette-—which will be constructed in booth 461B throughout the four-day show—will not only serve as a testament to the importance of incorporating beautiful, inventive design in hospitality spaces, but also as a live demonstration of the skilled application and installation of naturalistic tiling in various styles and thicknesses. There will be a presentation followed by a celebratory champagne toast and reception upon its completion. Ceramics of Italy looks forward to inviting attendees to interact with this warm, inviting space, from start to finish!
Register now for free to gain access to the Installation Design Showcase and other exciting show features at Coverings 2015!

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Join us for a free webinar: a sneak preview into Coverings 2015

Want a sneak peek into Coverings 2015? Coverings Ambassador Alena Capra and CTEF’s Scott Carothers will be hosting a free webinar on Thursday, February 26 at 1 PM CT/2 PM ET.
A successful tile or stone project starts with a unique and practical design and ends with a quality installation. Coverings, North America’s largest tile and stone exhibition, features over 400,000 square feet of exhibit space that offers the latest innovation in tile, stone and allied products.  In addition, attendees at the show will have multiple opportunities to witness first hand the craftsmanship and professionalism of qualified tile and stone installation professionals.  

This webinar will feature some examples of the new technology you can expect to see at Coverings, taking place April 14-17 in Orlando, Florida. New installation certifications that will be offered for the first time will also be highlighted, as well as a brief overview of the Coverings conference program, which features more than 75 FREE educational sessions.  
Interested in hearing more? Register to attend the webinar for free. 

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Check out the Coverings 2015 Keynote and Featured Sessions

Check Out the Coverings 2015 Keynotes and Speakers
Coverings is excited to announce its impressive list of Keynotes and Featured Sessions for this year’s show in Orlando. More than 75 sessions that cover a broad range of relevant topics to the tile and stone industry are scheduled to take place at the show this April, with the education program beginning on April 13th.
Not sure where to start planning your conference programming? This year’s keynotes are not to be missed. And remember, all Keynotes and sessions are free to registrants!
Keynote Sessions
Among the impressive lineup are four Keynote speakers – Eric Astrachan, Executive Director of the Tile Council of North America (TCNA); Edie Cohen, Deputy Editor of Interior Design Magazine; Harris Rosen, President of Rosen Hotels & Resorts; and Joey Shimoda, Chief Creative Officer of The Shimoda Design Group – who are innovators and influencers in their respective industries. Each Keynote Session will serve a complimentary breakfast or lunch and promise to shed light on a range of topics at the forefront of industry conversation.
Eric Astrachan will discuss “Industry Update: Latest News on Tile Standards, Specification Issues, and Other Important Developments” on Tuesday, April 14 at 8:00 a.m. Back by popular demand, the TCNA Executive Director will report on industry current events, including regulatory issues, consumption data, changes to standards and the TCNA Handbook. Mr. Astrachan also will discuss a host of other issues and controversies, with a focus on how they affect segments of the tile industry. The broad-spectrum update will cover latest developments from the TCNA Lab, the latest on tile and green construction and various pitfalls and liabilities to avoid.
Edie Cohen will host “Interior Design Magazine’s Hospitality Design Power Panel” on Wednesday, April 15 at 9:15 a.m. The panel will showcase top designers from Interior Design’s Top 100 Hospitality Giants, who will discuss innovations, trends and developments in hospitality design, growth sectors, and how tile and stone comes into play. Panelists will offer their insight and tips on creating inviting and innovative spaces through case studies, projects and more.
Joey Shimoda will present on “The Sensuality of Surface,” on Wednesday, April 15 at 12 p.m, sponsored by Contract Magazine. The Shimoda Design Group has spent more than a decade crafting spaces that celebrate the sensuality of surface. The firm specializes in creating spaces that elevate each client’s brand vision and the innovative use of surfacing materials that set a tone to deliver a focused message about culture and design.
Harris Rosen of Rosen Hotels & Resorts will round out the keynote sessions on Thursday, April 16 at 8 a.m. Bart Bettiga, of the National Tile Contractors Association and Coverings’ 2015 Chairman, will sit down with Mr. Rosen for a one–on–one exclusive interview that will address the hospitality business, the design industry and his view of the future of design.
Featured Sessions
Coverings is also offering six Featured Sessions that provide additional vantage points from the tile and stone industry.

“Future Color/Design Trends: Innovation and Impact” – Leatrice Eiseman, Pantone Color Institute, Tuesday, April 14, 9:30–10:30 a.m.
 
“Secrets to Creating Remarkable Customer Experiences” – Sandy Smith, Sandy Smith Seminars, Tuesday, April 14, 10:45–11:45 a.m.
 
“Stone Trends 2015” – Vince Marazita, Marazita & Associates, Tuesday, April 14, 1:30–3:30 p.m.
 
“Designing Wellness” – Randy Fiser, Executive Vice President and CEO of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), Wednesday, April 15, 1:30–2:30 p.m.
 
“Design Build Obligations: You May Not Know It, But You Own It” – Tommy A. Conner, Superior Tile and Stone, Thursday, April 16, 9:15–10:15 a.m.
 
“10 Best Practices to Maximize Your Store Experience & Sales” – Nicole Leinbach Reyhle, Retail Minded, Thursday, April 16, 10:30–11:30 a.m.

You can learn more about the Keynote Sessions, Featured Sessions and all of the conference programming by clicking here. Register now for free to attend these sessions and more!

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News from TCNA: UL-Certified EPD for North American-made ceramic tile paves the way for green construction

Interested in the greener design? The Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for ceramic tile made in North America, certified by sustainability leader UL Environment, is now available for use by architects and specifiers seeking to satisfy green building projects, such as those set forth by LEED and Green Globes.
The 23-page report, which you can check out here, is a comprehensive disclosure of the environmental impacts of North American-made ceramic tile. When using this certified EPD alongside other flooring products’ EPDs one thing is clear: Ceramic tile has the lowest 60-year environmental impact per square foot (and per square meter) across all major impact categories: global warming, abiotic resource depletion, acidification, smog formation, eutrophication, and ozone depletion.
Not only does the certified EPD for North American-made ceramic tile report tile’s low environmental impact, it also offers the environmental transparency and reporting necessary for building design professionals to satisfy requirements for countless green building points and green building criteria. Since well over 95% of the tile produced in North America is represented by the EPD, virtually all ceramic tile made in North America can help building design professionals meet sustainability requirements for transparency. You can find out more about the specific benefits on TCNA’s website.
The EPD specific to North American-made ceramic tile is derived from in-depth analysis of data related to tile manufacturing and use—from the raw material extraction process to disposal of tile at the end of its life—with emphasis on the priority considerations of the green building community, including energy and resource consumption and emissions to air, land, and water. The environmental impacts that are measured and the methodology for measuring them are dictated by the North American Product Category Rule (PCR) for flooring EPDs. By following this standard, the ceramic tile EPD reports the environmental facts of ceramic tile in a fashion similar to other flooring EPDs, much as nutrition labeling for food is standardized in order to simplify its use.  
Learn more about these issues onsite at Coverings on Tuesday April 14th, where Bill Griese (TCNA) will explain how ceramic tile covered by the EPD can contribute to credits and compliance in popular green rating systems, making it more appealing when it comes to specifying for sustainable projects. His session is titled, “Performance and Transparency: The New Norm for Specifying Green Building Products Today.” You can find more information on conference programming here.

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What’s trending in tile for 2015

Coverings 2015 Ambassador Alena Capra recently traveled around the world, from Italy, to Spain, and even San Antonio, to see what’s new and trending for tile. With many emerging trends across shapes, sizes, and techniques, we looked to Alena to narrow down what she expects to be big in 2015.  
To keep our followers informed, Alena shared with us the top trends for 2015, and what to look out for a Coverings in Orlando:  
1. Hexagons
Once considered a more “retro” design, hexagons are now making a huge comeback, adding a unique element in designs modern to traditional. Hexagon tiles are available in sizes from small to large, with a 10-11” size among the most popular. You can find it in porcelain, ceramic, stone, and exteriors, as well as 3-dimensional and even paired with the other trends – including wood. 

2. Wood Porcelain Tile
A suitable choice for both interior and exterior, wood porcelain has become very popular over the past few years. Seen as an attractive and easy-to-clean alternative to real wood, digital printing techniques have allowed the wood tiles to look as close to the real thing as possible. Manufacturers are now adding additional style and design by printing patterns on top of the “wood,” such as damasks and other bold prints.

 
3. Pop Art
The emergence of pop art-themed tiles has been quite prominent across design trade shows, including Cersaie 2014. These tiles are designed with bold colors and often incorporate the use of 3-D, a technique Alena has seen across many emerging trends. Artist collections are also hot, as Alena highlights collaborations with Keith Haring and inspiration from Roy Lichtenstein. 

4. Gold
Talk about all that glitters. Gold is making a huge comeback in all things design – from bath fixtures to home accessories and furniture, and now tile is feeling the gold rush. Alena has seen that mixed metallics and metallics in general are also a big trend, but gold appears to be taking the cake for the most used metal. To boot: it’s available in everything from glass tile to porcelain, and even in interesting 3-D shapes.

5. Bold Patterns
Rounding off Alena’s list for tile trends to see in 2015 is bold patterns – an ever-present trend that is taking off in the New Year. As wallpaper makes its resurgence, tile that resembles wallpaper is front-and-center with paper-like bold patterns. The usage of bold patterns on wood porcelain tiles has also been very popular, and provides a nice spin on the traditional wood look. Additionally, new visual imaging technology has allowed tiles to have dynamic textures in the patterns.

Be sure to stay tuned for more from Coverings 2015 Ambassador Alena Capra, including industry events, presentations, and more! Don’t miss these trends and more at Coverings 2015 – register now for free! 

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Check out the winners to Tile of Spain’s 2015 ‘Passport to Creativity’ contest

Contest winner Jason Money shows off the Spanish tile he found.
Some lucky tile enthusiasts are heading to Spain thanks to the Tile of Spain “Passport to Creativity” contest. Tile of Spain recently announced the four winners to their annual contest, which asks architects and designers to submit a photo of themselves with Spanish tile in their own imaginative and creative way.
The design professionals selected to participate in a 7-day, architectural tour and trip to Spain are:

Jonathan Martinez – Senior Designer, Antrobus + Ramirez 
Gloria Graham Sollecito, AKBD – Kitchen & Bath Designer, Brendan Donovan Furniture & Cabinet Co. and Author of Design Blog, Kitchens for Living 
Daniel Cantwell – Registered Architect, Owner, DHC Design 
Jason Money, AIA, LEED – Associate, BarlisWedlick Architects

Jonathan Martinez captures some serious #floorcore.
The winners will head to Spain from February 6 to February 13, 2015, where they will have the opportunity to explore Sevilla and Valencia, Spain. They will be able to immerse themselves in Spanish culture, sample world-famous culinary arts, observe sites and attractions with architectural and design significance and gain a general understanding and appreciation for Spain and Spanish tile.
The trip also includes a guided visit to Cevisama 2015, factory and booth tours and a press conference. All architect and designer participants will earn CEU credits. Journalists from selected architecture and design media will also participate in the tour.
To view the images of the Passport to Creativity winners, and other contest entries, please visit the Tile of Spain Inspiration Gallery  at www.tileofspainusa.com.

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Coverings 2015 introduces a program to recognize young industry leaders

Do you know an industry Rock Star? Nominate them for the Coverings Rocks Stars – An Emerging Leaders Program today!
Coverings 2015 is proud to announce the launch of “Coverings’ Rock Stars – An Emerging Leaders Program,” which will honor the best and brightest young professionals in the tile and stone industry. Selected by a panel of industry professionals, Coverings’ Rock Stars will represent a cross-section of industry professionals who have made an impact on the industry and embody the traits and characteristics of a future leader. The inaugural group of Coverings’ Rock Stars will be recognized through a series of special events and activities at this year’s event in Orlando.
Do you have a Rock Star in mind? We’re currently seeking nominations for practicing professionals 35 years or younger including architects, designers, contractors, installers, fabricators, distributors, retailers, specifiers and manufacturers. Nominators should be an active professional also working in the industry. The selected Rock Stars and their nominators will each receive a one night hotel stay in Orlando to attend Coverings. The winners will be recognized at the CID Awards & Opening Night Celebration, which takes place on April 14 at 5:30 p.m. This distinguished group, along with their nominators, will be honored with a luncheon at the show on April 15, where they will offer insight and guidance to others interested in furthering their careers in the tile and stone industry. 
To nominate a qualified individual, or to nominate yourself, complete a submission form at coverings.com/RockStars before February 6, 2015.

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Enter the 2015 Ceramics of Italy tile competition

2014’s Institutional Winner goes to Morgan Hall at Temple University for its beautiful and creative use of Italian tile.
Have you used Italian tile in a recent design? Confindustria Ceramica (the Italian Association of Ceramics) and the Italian Trade Commission are now accepting entries for the 2015 Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition. Now in its third decade, the annual awards program honors the work of North American architects and designers who create exceptional spaces using Italian ceramic and porcelain tile. It celebrates the pairing of inspiring design ideas with products from leading manufacturers to create spaces that are well appointed, versatile, timeless, and sustainable.
For its 22nd edition, North America-based architects and interior designers are invited to submit new or renovated, domestic and international projects in the institutional, residential, and commercial/hospitality categories that have been completed between January 2010 and January 2015. From residences designed with decorative ceramics to corporate offices utilizing the energy-saving benefits of porcelain facades, Ceramics of Italy is looking for all types of projects using Italian ceramics. An international jury of design experts will evaluate the projects based on their creativity, functionality, and aesthetic appeal, selecting one winner in each category.

If you’re looking for inspiration, look no further than the Residential Winner from 2014: 355 Mansfield by D.I. Group.
Winners will be announced at the Ceramics of Italy International Press Conference during Coverings in Orlando, Florida from April 14 – April 17, 2015, where the winning architects and designers will be invited to present their projects. Each category winner will receive a cash prize of $4,000 plus a 5-day trip to Bologna, Italy to explore the historic city and attend Cersaie—the world’s largest exhibition for ceramic tile and bathroom furnishings—with a handpicked delegation of colleagues and design journalists from across North America. An additional $1,000 will be awarded to the winning contractor/tile distributor team in each category.
The Ceramics of Italy Tile Competition is completely digital and free to enter. The online application, guidelines, and an inspiring archive of winning projects from the past 21 years are available on the competition’s official website, http://www.tilecompetition.com. Deadline for entries: January 16, 2015. And don’t forget – your entry could qualify for the CID Awards, too

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