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All about Onyx

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Product Education

As more exotic natural stones begin to gain in popularity for floors, walls, and countertop installations, many homeowners are beginning to give onyx a second look. This wild and translucent stone has some very unique characteristics that make it desirable in a number of situations.

Onyx Marble

Chemically speaking onyx is actually a type of marble, a metamorphic stone made up primarily of calcite. Therefore you may find some crossover in how the onyx is labeled, either as onyx or onyx marble, and in the case of some stones such as Alba Chiara, the onyx may be labeled simply as marble.

Translucent Nature

One of the things that make onyx so unique is the fact that it is completely translucent. If you hold a piece to the light, you can see shadows and shapes right through it. Therefore, onyx is often installed as counters and columns that can be backlit for a modern and dramatic presentation.

Even when it is being installed in non-lit area, the translucency of onyx needs to be considered. Because the stone is so fragile, it is often reinforced with a fiberglass backing that may be seen through the stone. Additionally, any color other than white mortar may show through the onyx, dulling its color. Ridges dragged through the mortar may also be seen through the onyx if they are not smoothed out as part of the installation process.

Wild Variation

The other thing that makes onyx so unique and desirable is its incredibly wild color variation. Onyx can differ tremendously from piece to piece and even within one piece. Some onyx, such as Honey Onyx, merely displays its variation as different shades of the same color possibly mixed with white. Rainbow Onyx, or Red Multicolor Onyx, however may show several unusual colors within one piece. This can be challenging to blend during installation and a dry layout is recommended. Homeowners purchasing the stone should ask to see pictures of several pieces within one lot to get a good idea of the kind of variation they can expect so as not to be taken by surprise with the final installation. 

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How to decorate with books

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating

If you’re a book lover you know how challenging it is sometimes to find a place in your home for the many books that you’ve collected over the years. Sure, standard book shelves work quite well. However, they only hold so much, and a bookshelf isn’t the most innovative way to showcase your book collection.  Even if you only own a few books, there are many interesting ways to not only display you books, but also use them for practical purposes. Here are several ideas!

If you are using a book shelf:

  • Rather than lining them all up in a perfect row, stack them both horizontally and vertically. Horizontal stacks create visual interest and break up the monotony of endless rows.
  • Display those that have fantastic covers. Face them outward. You can do this in the middle or at the end of rows. You can place them on a small stack of horizontal books. Or, you can reserve one whole shelf for them and display a tier of covers.
  • Buy fabulous book-ends and fill only 2/3 of the shelf with books so that the book-ends can clearly be seen and appreciated.
  • Purchase a display stand intended for collectible plates and showcase just a few books on the shelves

If you are not using a book shelf:

  • Stack larger books in a pile high enough to use as an end/side table. It works well to lay a small, flat piece on top – such as heavy wood or glass.
  • Buy decorative plate hangers and use them to mount the books to the wall
  • Buy a rack intended to hold recipe magazines in the kitchen, and instead display one of your books open to a favorite page.
  • Attach large gauge wire to the wall by securing it at each end, then hang the books spine up, with the wire set in the center

If you are okay with deconstructing some books:

  • Cut out your favorite pages and images and frame them
  • Cut out your favorite pages and images and create a collage and frame it.
  • Cut our your favorite pages and glue them to the back panel, inside your bookshelf, to create a wallpaper affect as a backdrop to the intact books sitting on the shelves.

See, displaying and storing books beautifully is a cinch!

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Understanding Pebble Tiles

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Product Education

The ultimate in Zen bathroom designs often make use of pebble tiles on the floors or walls. These tiles have a smooth surface that provide a massage to the feet as you walk on them. They also present a soothing and tranquil appearance that complements spa bathroom styles. Get to know these tiles as potential flooring for your bath.

Origins and Appearance

Pebble tiles can come from anywhere, but most come from Indonesia, where they are gathered from beaches. The stones may vary in size, and most people find that the larger stones make better floor installations due to the way they feel underfoot.

The pebbles are usually sorted by color, with colors ranging from bright white to black, with many shades of gray, green, and tan available as well. Most pebbles come on mesh sheets of 12 or 16 inches with borders in 3, 4, and 6 inch widths as well.

Installation

The sheets of pebbles are usually meant to interlock with one another like puzzle pieces. This creates the most seamless installation; when installed properly, you should not be able to see the outline of the various sheets.

The pebbles are installed like any stone mosaic in a bed of white latex-additive thinset mortar that has had the ridges smoothed out. The sheets are beaten into the bed for a uniform installation.

The difference in the installation of the pebbles versus other mosaics is in the grouting. The pebbles require usually twice as much grout as other mosaics because the grout needs to settle slightly below the pebbles, as well as around them. The finished installation should have the grout extending to just below the curve of the pebbles to allow them to be felt underfoot.

Care

Like most natural stone, the pebbles to need to be sealed to protect them from staining. If desired, a color enhancing sealer can also be used to deepen their color. Otherwise, the colors will deepen in color when wet, and lighten again when dry.

Consider using pebble tiles on your bathroom floor or walls. Whether you use them everywhere or sparingly, the effect is always striking.

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Types of Floor Transitions

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Hints and Advice

When two rooms abut one another, it’s common to use different flooring materials in each one, such as a hallway or bedroom or a living room and bathroom. When this occurs, there needs to be a transition between the two different floors. This can help even out differences in height between the two, or merely make a nice looking shift from one type of flooring to the next. There are several different types of thresholds you can use for transitions depending on the area, doorway size, and flooring choices. One of these may suit your purposes.

Marble Thresholds

Marble thresholds make great transitions from bathrooms and other small rooms with tile floors out into the main area of your home. They come in many colors, and are usually between 4 and 6 inches wide. They have a very soft edge that creates a subtle transition between the two floors.

Wood Thresholds

If one of the two floors is made of wood, you can use a matching threshold made of the same wood for a smooth transition between the two rooms. Wood thresholds come in a variety of different widths and lengths, so you can use this in nearly any size doorway.

Tile Transition

If one or both of the rooms has a tiled floor, consider developing a tile transition. This is done by the installer who cuts down one of the floor tiles to fit the space. The edges may need to be bullnosed on site if one of the floors is higher than the other for a nicer shift.

Metal Transition Strip

Metal transition strips are an excellent choice for carpets, tile, wood floors, and for very modern homes. These thin transition strips are designed to protect the edges of the two floors from rubbing against one another, so the effect is subtle. The metal strips come in several different widths as well as different metal finishes and powder coats so you can make them as decorative or unobtrusive as you like.

Thresholds are important to make the transition from one floor to the next as simple and clean as possible. To get the best results, it pays to give the same level of attention to your thresholds as you do to your other flooring choices. 

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Should I Choose a Vessel Sink for my Bathroom?

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating

With all of the different types of bathroom sinks available in today’s market, how do you choose the right ones for your home? Choices range from different materials to shapes, sizes and even installation style. Vessel sinks provide a dramatic and attractive choice for a bathroom, particularly when the homeowner wants to make a statement. Before you make that choice, however, consider some of the factors you will be dealing with; they aren’t for everyone.

What Is a Vessel Sink?

Vessel sinks are defined as any sink that sits above counter level. The vessel may be partially recessed, or partly below the counter, or the sink bowl may sit directly on top of the counter. These sinks come in an amazing selection of materials including glass, stone, porcelain, and metal as well as in a variety of different shapes and sizes to complement almost any bathroom style.

Height

The uncommon height of a vessel sink usually means that you need to reach higher to use it. So you either purchase a lower, shorter vanity, or deal with a potentially difficult-to-use sink. Your faucet will also need to clear the rim of the sink, so be sure to take the height of the vessel into consideration with the rest of the installation to be sure you’ll be comfortable with it. Frequently faucets used with vessel sinks need to be wall-mounted.

Overflow

Depending on the state you live in, sinks are generslly required to have an overflow valve to pass the building code. Some vessels have overflows, but often metal, stone, and glass vessels do not. If your state has an overflow law, you will be required to install a grid drain with the sink to prevent it from flooding in the case of a faucet leak. This means it can be difficult to stop up the sink if desired. If your state does not have an overflow law, you may be able to install a lift and turn drain that will allow you to fill the sink as desired.

Splash

Depending on the shape of the bottom of the sink and the height of the faucet, some vessels have quite a splash when the water hits the bottom. You may want to play around with pouring water from different heights into your sink before you settle on a faucet and sink shape to avoid a drenching each time you use it.

Cleaning

Vessel sinks have two sides to clean because both the top and bottom are visible. Make sure your sink is installed to make it easy to capture dirt and dust where the sink bottom meets the vanity.

Vessel sinks have a beauty and drama that add style and a unique appeal to a bathroom, but be sure to factor in these practical considerations when making your final decision, so you will be as happy with your sink’s function as you are with its look.

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Color Guide: How to decorate with purple – Berry Ice Cream Inspiration

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating

Purple is a fantastic color for decorating the home. It offers a vast range of color saturation – from mild and mellow to bold and bodacious. It can be used to lull a guest into serenity, or to start the weekend party. With so many options, how do you choose the purple that’s best for you?

One excellent method is to create an analogous color scheme. Analogous color schemes rely on colors that are directly next to each other on the color wheel. They work exceptionally well with purple! To learn how to coordinate three colors that are analogous, we will take inspiration from a daintily arranged berry-based dessert that includes raspberry, violet and blueberry.

It is easy to create harmony with these colors by placing the primary emphasis on the violet (in the photo this is the ice cream.) Violet is positioned between the other two hues on the color wheel. Although it’s fun to call those two colors “raspberry” and “blueberry,” they are in fact consider a red-violet and blue-violet. Thus, these colors easily transition from one to the other in a room.The violet is the pop color that catches attention, the red-violet adds drama and richness, and the blue-violet grounds the other two, and deepens the palette with a bit of sophistication.

Analogous color schemes work wonders in rooms where you want the vibe to feel continual and uninterrupted. With all three colors blending together so nicely, there is a sense of wholeness and oneness that makes the room comfortable.  Don’t be afraid to richen it even more by adding accessories that fall within the three main colors.

If you find a throw pillow that you love, and the color is somewhere between the red-violet and violet, go for it! As long as you stay within each side of the color scheme, you can feel confident in your decorating choices.  So, where will you start? By telling us your favorite hue of purple of course!

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Where Do I Find Inspiration for My Home Color Palette?

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating

Every home has a color palette or a color story. This is the mix of colors that flows through the home, leading you from room to room. Ideally, a good palette should be cohesive and blend well so that each room, while different, feels like it is part of the same homet. If you’re starting from scratch and wondering how to come up with a color palette for your home, you have several different ways to go about finding one.

Historical Palettes

Depending on what type of home you have, it may have a built in color palette that you just aren’t aware of yet. Victorian, Craftsman, or Colonial, every home style comes with a set of colors that the original architects and designers envisioned would work in these spaces. For example Victorian homes have what is known as a “somber” palette; all the colors were mixed with a little black to tone them down. Craftsman homes, on the other hand, took their inspiration from nature, using colors found just outside the home such as pine green or sky blue.

If you research your home’s style, you may find some palettes that can provide you with inspiration for what will work on your walls.

Interior Design Palette

If you have a specific interior design style that you are working toward, you may find that you have a built in palette for that as well. For example, if you enjoy Country style you’ll find plenty of reds, white, blue, and yellow to work with, while Tuscan style pulls colors from the hills of Tuscany – lots of terracotta, pumpkin, sage green, and sky blue. Choosing a style to decorate your home with provides you with a rich choice of color inspiration, and helps pull everything together so it flows.

Use a Piece of Art or Home Décor

If you’re truly stuck for inspiration, try taking a look at some artwork, fabric or a colorful rug you already have in your home. Look at the colors incorporated in the piece, and use them as a jumping off point for the décor around you. As long as the colors flow together well, the design will follow.

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What Kind of Tile Can I Use on My Shower Floor?

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Tile

Shower floors have some special needs. They get wet on a regular basis, which can make them slippery and which may potentially affect some types of soft stone. They also have a special shape which affects the type of flooring you use. When you choose the material for your bathroom floor, be sure to give equal consideration to what goes into the shower.

The biggest consideration you need to make when it comes to your shower floor tile is the size. Your shower floor slopes toward the drain, which means that the tile needs to slope with it. Larger tiles, like those that you may use on the rest of the bathroom floor can crack over time since they can’t conform to the slope.

Therefore, mosaic tiles of 2-inches or smaller are generally necessary for shower floor use. Some installers can make 4-inch tiles slope well, but unless you have seen examples of this, and heard from the homeowners about how it’s holding up a few years later, it’s best to play it safe and use a smaller tile.

Mosaics have another benefit on your shower floor as well. The many grout lines that accompany the tiles help to give the floor some grip, which renders it non-slip, no matter what type of material you choose to use.

Therefore, the only materials you truly need to avoid are things like hand-cut glass, which can cut bare feet, or some very soft limestones that can disintegrate in water. In fact, many people simply choose to use a floor tile that comes in multiple sizes, using the larger size on the bathroom floor itself and the smaller tile in the shower for a sense of continuity in the room. And if you use mosaics on the bathroom floor, consider running them straight into the shower without a curb and make an open shower plan instead. Both of these methods work well in smaller bathrooms because they help to make the floor plan seem larger than it actually is.

When it comes to your shower floor, put the size of the tile first in your considerations, and then look at material and style to get the best fit for the room.

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What’s the Difference between a Marble and a Quartzite?

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Natural Stone

If you’ve gone shopping for marble either for your floor or for your countertop, you may have come across some marbles that are secondarily labeled as “quartzites”. This can be a little confusing – after all, marble is a calcium-based stone. If the stone you’ve been considering for your home has the word “quartzite” in its description, you’re in luck; quartzites are much harder, more durable, and far less likely to stain than true marble.

Pick up a piece of Blue Celeste or Thasos White. You’ll immediately notice that these two stones seem to sparkle with a grain, rather than having a smooth, veined surface like most marbles. That’s because these two stones are quartzites, which gives them slightly different properties than other stones.

Like marble, quartzite is a metamorphic stone. While marble is made up of calcite, however, quartzites are made of quartz that has undergone a metamorphic transformation. This leaves the stones smooth and glossy like marble, but with the hardness and durability of quartz.

Both marble and quartzite can occur in a variety of different colors, although both are considered purest when white. You can generally tell the difference when examining the stones by looking at the stone under light; quartzites tend to sparkle and appear to be made of compressed sugar, while marbles are visually smoother and contain more veins.

The biggest difference between the two stones comes in terms of durability. Quartzites are less likely to stain and etch or to have surface damage upon contact with acidic materials such as lemon juice. If you were to place a piece of pure white Thasos next to a piece of Calacatta and place a drop of water and a drop of lemon juice on each one, the Thasos would be less likely to darken from the water or dull from the lemon than the Calacatta. This makes quartzites an ideal choice for countertops and high traffic/high use areas such as foyers and bathrooms.

Every stone is slightly different depending on the different minerals that it possesses and the variations in its composition. If you come across some quartzite in your hunt for marble, don’t feel that you’re getting a lesser product; most quartzites are just as beautiful and much more durable than marble, making them a coveted choice for many installations.

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Can I Use Glass Tiles On The Floor?

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Tile

Glass tiles have a brilliant shine and depth that is lacking in other types of tile. Whether they are mosaics or oversized large-format tiles, they make a statement wherever they are placed. This often leads some homeowners to wonder if they can use these statement tiles on the floor. After all, what better way to make a statement than with a pop of color and shine beneath your feet?

Not all glass tiles are created equally, which is the first thing to consider when determining their use. Some will scratch very easily, so while they may hold up to the pressure of being underfoot, they will quickly lose their shine. Others are not meant to withstand pressure; a high heel put down firmly may crack the tile and ruin the floor.

That said, there are several types of glass tiles that can be used safely in a floor setting. Iridescent mosaics make an excellent floor tile in bathrooms and other low-traffic areas, for example. Some types of hand poured glass can also be used on floors, provided that care is taken with tiles that have sharp, cut edges.

Color-backed tiles, meaning that the color is painted onto the back of the tile, tend to do the worst in a floor setting. These tiles are usually rated for wall use only, and if you do place them on the floor it should be as an accent or border only.

Some newer glass tiles are being combined with resins into large format tiles perfect for use on the floor. These tiles do not look like traditional glass tiles, however, and more resemble quartz or glass countertops. These are usually a green building material, however, and therefore are a good choice for homeowners wanting an eco-friendly floor tile that has some sparkle and interest to it.

If you’re wondering if the glass tile you’ve picked out could be used on the floor, be sure to ask us at Century Tile. We are happy to help with questions about tile, if it is floor rated, and if so where the most appropriate placement for the tile. Feel free to ask!