Posts Tagged ‘porcelain’

11 Ways to Go Green in your Kitchen and Bathroom

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Follow these simple steps to an environmentally-conscious home:


1. Fix a drip.
Drip, drop, drip, drop. That leak in the bathroom sink is not just annoying. It’s costing you loads of cash in water and energy bills and wasted gallons. Get it fixed ASAP, and if you can’t get the plumber scheduled right away, use this old trick: Tie a string on the faucet and allow the drops to dribble silently down into a cup or small bowl. Use the collected H2O to water your houseplants.

2. Get clean.
Avoid using harsh chemical cleaners in favor of natural cleansers (soap, water, vinegar, baking soda). You’ll do a favor for the environment and yourself.

3. Be water wise.
Low-flow toilets have come a long way. New models max out at 1.6 gallons of water per flush, but the very latest models can use even less.

4. Be water wise some more.
Tankless water heaters are a great energy saver. There’s no reason to keep a giant tank of heated water at your beck and call all day and night. Bonus tip: Go the extra mile when you turn on the shower by placing a bucket or other container under the showerhead. In the few moments it takes for the water to heat up, you can gather enough for the dog’s bowl and the houseplants. Don’t waste a drop!

5. Smell Sweet.
Cut down on harmful chemicals and gasses released into your home by using low- or no-VOC paints when giving the bath, or any other room, a fresh color.


6. Be water smart.
A simple hardware store doo-dad called an aerator on your kitchen (or bath) faucet cuts down on water consumption, sacrificing very little if any water pressure. For less than $15, you can install one of these yourself and save up to 500 gallons per year.

7. Vent a little.
Proper ventilation in the cooktop hood of your kitchen keeps bills down and air quality up.

8. Think small.
The kitchen is the energy gobbler of the home. If you’re planning a remodel, building new, or just replacing an old appliance, remember that bigger isn’t always better. In addition to looking for energy-efficiency ratings on your new purchase, consider going for a smaller model that uses less energy to begin with. Bonus tip: New drawer-style dishwashers help cut back on water use for smaller loads.

9. Lighten Up.
Opening up a kitchen with skylights and windows that allow natural sunlight to stream in not only helps your mood stay perky, it is a natural, free way to light your space. No budget to add windows? At least let the light in by removing heavy, lightblocking window treatments.

10. Divide and Conquer.
Dedicate a little space for recycling bins or bags to make living green convenient for the whole family. You can purchase color-coded units with separate compartments and lids, or create your own recycling center with inexpensive bins from the home center or discount store.

11. Go, greens!

Try your hand at going green by growing herbs or salad greens in the kitchen. Bringing in a natural element adds some coziness to your home’s busiest room, and naturally cleans the air you breathe. (And of course, nothing beats adding your own fresh basil to that pasta at the dinner table.


Written by: Suzanne Morrissey


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Tigerwood Porcelain!

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Tigerwood Porcelain is the newest addition to our already distinctive Porcelain Collection. If you have not seen these tiles, be prepared to fall in love! The first thing you need to know about this tile is that it is through-body, making them perfect not only for residential projects but also for commercial projects! The Tigerwood Porcelain comes in a 12″ x 24″ rectangular configuration, with a really cool striped pattern throughout. The best part? Prices start at $8.00 per sq ft delivered! I have attached the 4 colors it is available in and a couple of installation images below!

Birch Tigerwood

Ash Tigerwood

Almond Tigerwood

Black Tigerwood

Birch Tigerwood Installation

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Malkus Residence, Encinitas CA

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

This contemporary and harmonious home is located in Encinitas CA. This house incorporates the best of contemporary design to create a informal, casual, comfortable and welcoming space. It’s the perfect place for relaxing and enjoying life. The house is designed in modern style and is both a quaint coastal property and a chic contemporary dwelling. I had the opportunity to work with the owner of this beautiful property one on one, together we meticulously hand selected every single surface in the home, from the porcelain used on the floors and walls, glass mosaic backsplahes, Compac Quartz Countertops, stainless steel & glass mosiacs, and the various light fixtures. We wanted to create a simple, streamline design in every space. The interior design is white and clean with subtle blue hues, which is pleasing to the eyes. There is a lot of natural light inside that in combination with a selective amount of furniture makes rooms very airy. We used modern materials, furniture and personal art to make this home a real urban oasis. I have to say it is great working with clients like these, who know exactly what they want but give you creative freedom as a designer. With a contemporary atmosphere that is refined yet down to earth, this property is one of the best projects I have been involved in. The result? A beautiful, modern, calm, contemporary space that is truly breathtaking! Enjoy!

*A second home of similar design is currently under construction on the same property in Encinitas on Neptune Avenue. The house is for sale with an estimated completion date of Spring 2012. For more details, please visit

Mlakus Residence, Dining Room

Malkus Residence, Guest Bathroom (Sage Green 1x2 Glass / Broadway White Porcelain)

Malkus Residence, Jack & Jill Bathroom (Stainless Steel 1x2)

Malkus Residence, Jack & Jill Bathroom (Stainless Steel 1x2)

Malkus Residence, Master Bathroom (Otago Black Marble)

Malkus Residence, Kitchen (Ocean Grey 3x6 Subway)

Malkus Residence, Living Room

Malkus Residence, Fireplace (Linear Broadway White Porcelain)

Malkus Residence, Hall Bathroom (Otago Black Marble)

Malkus Residence, Hallway ( Linear Broadway White Porcelain)

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Searching for new designer tiles

Friday, March 18th, 2011

One of our commitments to our family of design enthusiast is to keep an eye out for hot new glass tile, porcelain tile, backsplash tile and design trends. There are a several different ways to do this but one of the best ways is to take the trek to Las Vegas each year and check out the week long Coverings trade show.  This is a unique opportunity to meet with manufactures from around the globe, see what new materials they are producing and get a pulse for what looks to be emerging trends in tile. It is a pretty overwhelming spectacle and there are literally thousands of vendors displaying there newest and greatest but it is well worth the effort. This year not only did we discover some great new tiles but found some pretty amazing price points for very unique and distinctive materials.

Just a fraction of the show...

Amazing natural stone display

This year the owner and her 2 month old son browsed the show and we love this picture of him as a Child Guest. We also have a few other pictures to help you see the size of this show. These shots are only the 1st floors and don’t do justice to how massive this event is. We have lots of work to do to incorporate the new tiles but there is plenty of excitement about what we plan to be offering.

Nice display mom

Does this come in a 12x24?

Newest Tile Purchasing Agent

As we work on getting some new products listed, we will keep you posted but for now, the major trend we saw was a lot of glass tile in a linear configuration like our Fusion Glass Tiles. Some of our favorites were created with glass bars of varying widths and lengths, some which incorporated stone. There was also one super stunning tile that has linear bars of stainless blended with a matte black linear stone. Sorry but we did not get a picture of that but we are working on it. So stay tuned because some of what is coming your way is enough to make you want to own 10 homes so you can use all of the great products we saw.

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Outdoor Flooring Materials by Ana Morales

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

What’s the best material to build your deck or patio with? Here are 4 outdoor flooring choices and the cost, pros and cons, and ideal locations for each.


Pros and cons: Wood decking is one of the simplest DIY projects, which lowers the cost substantially, but wood requires sealing every one to two years depending on UV exposure.

Cost: Around $8.00 – $24.00 per square foot for higher-end wood such as IPE.

Ideal location: Ground level or raised decks, pool decks.

Design ideas: Using wood deck tiles is greener and can be less expensive, since the tiles can lay over any existing flat surface there is no labor costs involved.

IPE Wood Deck Tile Installation


Pros and cons: Porcelain tile installed outdoors must be highly slip-resistant and able to withstand freeze-thaw cycles. Look for tile specifically formulated for the outdoors, which is dense with low absorption ratings.

Cost: $8.00 – $20.00 per square foot

Ideal location: Pool Decks, Front Porches, Patios.

Design ideas: Pair large tiles such as 18″x18″ or 20″x20″ with a thin grout line to create a seamless look ; use accent tiles to create a border.

Outdoor Porcelain Tile Installation


Pros and cons: A basic slab of concrete is inexpensive, low-maintenance and a good long-term option, though cracking is difficult to repair.

Cost: $3.50 – $4.00 per square foot for basic concrete; $8.00 per square foot for pavers; $12.00 per square foot for stamped or acid-etched concrete.

Ideal location: Driveways, Patios, Pool Areas, Front Porches, Garden Paths.

Design ideas: Update a traditional concrete slab by choosing a unique finish such as stamped or acid-etched. Concrete pavers are durable, low-maintenance, and come in a wide variety of designs as well.

Acid Etched Concrete Finish With Diamond Pattern

Natural stone

Pros and cons: Natural Stone such as slate or pebble tile costs less and is more eco-friendly. Once installed, natural stone is extremely durable and almost maintenance-free.

Cost: $9-25 per square foot, varies by type of stone and region,

Ideal location: Patios, pool decks, front porches, walkways, driveway accents

Design ideas: Use pebble tile to create a mosaic pathway; for a more uniform appearance, select cut modular stones. Natural stones have beautiful color variations including gray, green, blue and red, which can form an important design element in your outdoor space.

Natural Mosaic Pebble Pathway

*All costs for all materials are estimates that include labor and installation. Prices may vary by region, and installing materials yourself will cost substantially less in most cases.

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Tips For Amazing Wall & Floor Textures by Ana Morales

Friday, July 30th, 2010

There are many ways to add textural interest to any room on both floors and walls. With all the amazing tile finishes now available, the possibilities are endless! Here a a few looks to inspire your next project!

Un-Neutralize the Neutral

Neutrals are undeniably serene and soothing. To avoid looking bland, neutrals require a design imperative for their survival: texture. In this room the contrast between the neutral porcelain and the dark cabinetry offers a touch of sophisticated style and texture without being overbearing. By using the same porcelain in a different pattern behind the vanity, the color scheme remains neutral but great visual texture is achieved.

Limestone Grey Porcelain Installation

The Layered Look

Texture can be added from top to bottom in a room for dramatic effect. The trick to layering is to stick to the same color scheme when combining different finishes. To achieve this effect, mix smooth finishes with patterned finishes to achieve a unique look. In this bathroom the uniting background color is white, but the sage green flower patterned porcelain on the wall adds amazing texture without being overwhelming.

Deco Silk Porcelain Tile Installation

Get Floored

If you’re a fan of hardwood floors, a wood grain that boasts a lot of gorgeous grain, brings instant texture. The variations in the wood’s natural color will add a lot of personality to a neutral room, while providing a stunning foundation to the room’s furnishings.

Block Wenge Porcelain Tile Installation

Textural Walls

Texture lovers will revel in the effect created by installing woven finish porcelain. The woven porcelain finish is  very earthy and natural, and looks amazing on any surface. This is a great product that can be installed on any wall or floor to add textural interest.

Yakarta Wenge Porcealin Tile Installation

Faux Stone Finishes

Bathrooms can be a showcase for texture.  If you are looking for something that will be classic but with a modern twist, consider using one of the many faux stone porcelain options that are available. Using a porcelain that is made to look like natural stone in a neutral tone, brings installations from flat to fabulous. This option will give you that same visual pop, without breaking the bank.

Ferroker Laton Porcelain Installation

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Fireplace Facelift by Ana Morales

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

Does your fireplace need a new look?

Today’s options for remodeling ugly, outdated fireplace mantels and surrounds should light your creative fire. One goal of decorating and making a house a home is to create an atmosphere of warmth. Color and texture do their part, but a fireplace is the ultimate addition. Update or change the look of yours and learn options that can give warmth and ambiance without breaking the bank.

A fireplace is the focal point of any room, it always gives the room a sense of style. To make yours stand out, try dressing it up by using a great mantel material. When choosing a material for your fireplace, it is necessary to keep the existing room decor in mind. You want to compliment the style, furniture, cabinetry and even the fabrics in the room. Fortunately there is a wide range of materials including Porcelain, Natural Stone, Mosaics and Stainless Steel that will fit any decor. Mix materials or feature just one, the possibilities are endless.

Here are a few Fireplace Installations from our clients that can serve as inspiration for your project:

Glass Mosaic
When paired with iridescent glass tile, the fireplace appears custom-made.
Glass Mosaic Fireplace

Using porcelain for the fireplace provides a cool / clean look for this contemporary home.

Natural Pebble Tile
The natural pebble tile combined with the warm wood paneling gives this fireplace a very natural and classic look.

Smokey Black Fireplace

Stainless Steel
Make a cool, contemporary and powerful focal point in your room with a stainless finish

Stainless Fireplace

Updating a fireplace in your home can also increase its value. Unique fireplaces are a great selling point, they really set your home apart from the others.  It’s really a Win – Win situation, you get to look at something beautiful everyday and it increases your property value. So go ahead, get creative and give your fireplace the new look its been begging you for.

**Special shout out to Design 4 Less client Blake Gomez of Bellevue, WA. His home remodel project inspired my blog today.

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“Restaurant quality kitchen, without breaking the bank!” by Ana Morales

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

If you want a restaurant-quality kitchen without breaking the bank, here are a few designer tips. Professional-grade appliances,  a low-maintenance floor and back splash make creating your dream kitchen a cinch. A big factor in your design are the materials you use, tile is an easy way to make any space unique. I have attached a few images of a color palette that I feel is perfect for achieving this look. The palette is refined, contemporary and clean. This palette is a combination of glass, stainless steel and porcelain.  Combining these different textures will help you create an amazing installation. The crisp white glass in combination with the cool stainless steel and patterned porcelain really help set a hip restaurant vibe in your kitchen. I love the idea of  the subtle checkered pattern on the porcelain for the kitchen floor. The pattern is a great way of combining the different gray and white tones you will be using in the other materials, it adds visual interest without being overwhelming.  The glass & stainless tiles are a perfect choice for your back splash area, get creative with the combination of these materials.  I have attached a few images of a kitchen project that served as the inspiration for this color palette.  I love what was done with the stainless steel tile above the stove area. So go ahead, get creative and give your kitchen new life!

Color Palette: Blanco Glass Subway Tile, Stainless Steel Tile, Contempo Graphite Porcelain.

Amazing back splash achieved by combining Blanco Subway Tile & Stainless Steel Tile.

The large 12" x 24" Porcelain Tiles are a great way of bringing all the colors together and they are low maintenance!

Restaurant quality kitchen in the comfort of your own home!

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“Creating the perfect Spa in your own home” by Ana Morales

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

There’s no better way to wash away stress than walking into a Spa bathroom where you can easily put your mind at ease. Looking to re create a unique spa experience in your own home without breaking the bank? There are many ways to bring a soothing feeling into your bathroom without spending a fortune. A big factor in your design are the materials you use, tile is an easy way to make any space unique. I have attached a few images of a color palette that I feel is perfect for achieving this look. The palette is relaxed, comfortable and soothing. This palette is a combination of natural stone, glass and porcelain, by combining these different textures you are sure to create an amazing installation. The soft greens in combination with the natural tans and whites really help set a serene vibe. I love the idea of using a pebble tile on the bottom of a shower, it’s a great way to introduce a natural element into the design. The soft green glass tile used in the shower walls gives a pop of color while the neutral white porcelain is a great way of bringing all the colors together and neutralizing the look.  So go ahead, treat yourself to your own personal spa in the comfort of your own home.

Color Palette, great mix of materials! Soothing & Relaxing colors….

Pebble Tile on shower pan to give your feet a massaging feeling….Looks great in combination with the clean glass subway walls.

Great combination of glass & stone for backsplash….

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