Tuesday, December 21, 2010

2010 Holiday Greetings from Avente Tile

2010 Christmas Greetings
Happy Holidays & Some Tile Cheer
All of us at Avente Tile want to help spread some holiday tile cheer this time of year. So we have a little gift for you. Receive 10% off all online tile purchases when you spend $100 or more. Just place your order online before December 31, 2010. Use coupon code: GIFT10 during checkout.

Don't forget we love our fans and followers and share special deals, tile tips and ideas on Twitter and Facebook.

Happy holidays and the best of the season to you!

Barcelona Tiles
Barcelona Tile Designs

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

How Relief Tiles are Made

I recently visited the factory that makes many of our tiles and got to see how relief tiles are made. Each piece is handmade and I gained a new appreciation and understanding for relief tiles. During the next few months, we'll be featuring tiles from this factory in our blog, newsletter and site. Today's post shows how relief tiles are made and highlights our Antigua Colonial relief tile line.

Bathroom Installation - Colonial Antigua Rust Capuchinas Relief Deco
Bathroom Installation - Colonial Antigua Rust Capuchinas

Colonial Antigua Rust Capuchinas Relief Deco
Colonial Antigua Rust Capuchinas Relief Tile

All tiles in the Antigua Colonial line come in one of four glazes: rust, sand, blue green, and green. The glaze creates a satin gloss on the flat areas and a matte effect on the relief areas. From the installation and product photo (above), you can see these tiles create a striking contrast with the glaze and texture of the relief. Now let's look at how these tiles are made. You'll have a better appreciation for the craftsmanship that is required to create each tile by hand, one at a time.

The Design & Concept Stage
An artist usually sketches the initial concept for a relief tile to find the most promising design. To create a mold, the pattern is carved into wood. The initial patterns may be carved from plaster until relief details are finalized by the artist. Once the design is approved, the pattern will be carved into wood and a mold created from the impression.

Capuchinas Relief Tile Mold
A Relief Tile Mold - Colonial Antigua Capuchinas Relief Deco

The Manufacturing Process
Once you have a mold, the relief tiles are created following these steps:

  1. Clay is prepared
    Making Relief Tiles

  2. Clay is worked into the mold
    Making Relief Tiles

  3. Excess clay from mold is removed for a level tile back
    Making Relief Tiles

  4. Clay body is pulled from mold
    Making Relief Tiles

  5. Detail of artisan pulling tile from mold
    Making Relief Tiles

  6. The relief tile! After drying, it will be glazed and fired.
    Making Relief Tiles

You can appreciate the time and labor that goes into creating each relief tile. Don't forget the tile still needs to be glazed and fired. You can understand why these tiles are so unique and truly a labor of love.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Tips to Create a Winning Kitchen Backsplash

These three important tips will point you in the right direction to create a winning kitchen backsplash.

  1. Decide on the countertop you want first. Then you can start talking tile and backsplash designs. Make sure the two complement each other. Don't draw attention away from a stunning counter with a busy tiled background. If the countertop is plain or simple, then let the backsplash be the focal point. Here's a few photos that show the "yen and yang" relationship of a counter and backsplash.

    backsplash design

    A bright bold backsplash using Barcelona San Jose 6" x 6" pairs nicely with a simple solid-color counter.

    The Indian Teal brown granite countertop takes center stage. The decorative dots and field tile are the supporting cast.

    backsplash design

    Decorative Spanish Teruel Dots sparingly accent the Yucatan Chamois 4" x 4"

  2. Work with the available space. You can't fit 10 pounds of gold into a 5 pound sack. Large tiles with big patterns just don't work in that tiny wall-space behind the sink with that big picture window - no matter how much you love that tile. It sounds obvious; but pictures make it very clear.

    backsplash design

    Cuban Heritage Design 110 2B 8" x 8" requires eight (8) tiles to complete both the cross and medallion pattern. It works well for a large wall with no cabinets. The same impact could not be achieved here:

    backsplash design

  3. Define your style. A kitchen designer can really help. First, though, try to define the experience you want to achieve, the importance of aesthetics versus 'ease of maintenance'. Do you like clean lines and contemporary designs or classic patterns? Bright colors or muted colors? Vivid colors or earth tones? Finally, answer questions similar to those we posed on how to Discover your Dream Bath (hint: substitute 'kitchen' for 'bath').

Here's a few more kitchen backsplash designs. Which is your favorite?

backsplash design
Oporto Kitchen Backsplash

backsplash design
Tuscan Kitchen Backsplash

backsplash design
Alcala Backsplash

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Stuck in the 60's? A Bathroom for the Morning Person

"Stuck in the 60's"? I don't think so. The abundance of exciting new products for the bath environment available today allow for a bathroom that can be inspirational as well as functional. You may remember, I'm not a morning person. I've already described how my bathroom, in a previous post, jump-starts my day and and inspires me to face the new day with energy and eagerness. Stuck in the 60's? Not in this Bathroom!

Contemporary Bathroom Mix contemporary bathroom

Not everybody is as groggy as I am in the morning. Not everybody wants or needs as much stimulation as I do to get going each day. The Morning Person jumps out of bed already fully awake and ready to start their day. Annoying as that is to grumpy risers like me, shouldn't the Morning Person also be revitalized and have an attitude shift as they stride into their bathroom? Actually they do not need an attitude shift, they want an attitude confirmation. I'm OK, you're OK, the world's OK and my bathroom is wonderful! The MP is revitalized by the serenity and comfort of their bath space. Soothing, reaffirming and beautifully harmonious. No jarring contrasts for them. Soft or neutral colors for the tile or stone surfaces create a tranquil background that sets the mood for a pleasant start to the day. While I want shine and refection, the MP finds a matte or satiny surface more agreeable. Bath fittings and fixtures blend in with the tiled surfaces for a unified design theme. Everything in its place. While I say, "Hello new day, I'm ready", the Morning Person says, "Hello new day, all's well with the world". And we both love our bathrooms.

California Cool in the Castro-Bathroom modern bathroom

Bathroom essentials for the Morning Person:

  • Walls surfaced in tile, glass or stone in neutral or soft colors that become a soothing background.
  • Floors tiled to blend in with the walls. Stone mosaics are nice in a honed finish.
  • Little or no contrasts in color and surface texture. Surfaces are non-reflective.
  • Soft lighting combined with appropriate task lighting.
  • A tub for relaxing (tubs are not for me, they make me fall asleep…) and fittings that blend with surfaces.
  • A place for their candle collection.

Master Bath traditional bathroom

About the Author
Sunny McLean has been in the tile and bath industry for over 30 years. She is the author of The Basics, a workbook for the service-oriented tile and bath showroom and has recently designed a tile line for McIntyre Tile called Streamline. To find out more about Sunny, visit her website at SunnyMcLean.com. You may purchase The Basics at TileHeritage.org.

Editorial Note
Images used in this post are the property of houzz.com. Browse over 60,000 home design photos and save the photos you like to your own ideabook at houzz.com using the image search feature below or on their site.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Create a Cement Tile Floor Plan with Double Borders

Recently, I showed how to Create a Cement Tile Floor Plan with Large Patterns & No Border. Today's variation on that theme will show how to create a tile floor plan or layout for common (four-tile patterns) that use a border or double border. This can be more difficult. You want to make sure the field (patterned) tiles have symmetry within the border, the 'rug' or field and border tiles are centered in the room, and you need to avoid cuts to border to maintain the design.

Cement Tile Flooring with Pattern, Border, and Edge Tile

Cement Tile Floor Showing Field, Border & Solid Color Edge Tiles

No matter how simple the project may seem, I recommended that you (or your designer) show the tile pattern layout for a room. You'll then know how many tiles to order and it's the best way to show the installer exactly how you want the floor to look. To create a tile floor plan you should follow these steps to achieve the best results. Make sure to use a scaled drawing and include an allowance for the grout joints (usually 1/16").

In this example, we chose the Cuban Heritage Design CH220-3B. We want to create a traditional rug pattern in the center of the room with the border forming the outer edges. This tile comes in an 8"x8" format and will use the distinctive double border. A double border is simply a border that requires two rows of patterned tiles instead of one. To avoid cuts to the pattern, the edges outside the border are filled with a solid color tile, Heritage Turquoise, that will be used around the room's edge.

Cuban Heritage Cement Tile - Design CH330-3B

Cuban Heritage Design 220-3B with Borders, Corners & Field Tile Shown

Heritage Turquoise Cement Tile

Heritage Turquoise

Here's the steps to create a flooring plan that includes a double border and is based on using a pattern that requires four (4) tiles to make the design (CH220-3B).

  1. Find the center of the room. Do this either with a chalk line for smaller rooms or more precisely by measuring each side of a rectangular room. When finding the center or a room, ignore closets, niches or alcoves connected to the main part of the room.
    Cement Tile Layout - Step 1

  2. Place the center of the pattern in the center of the room. Notice the cement tile pattern we're using only requires four (4) tiles to complete the pattern; so, four (4) tiles are placed in the room's center.
    Cement Tile Layout - Step 2

  3. Continue the pattern in all directions until their isn't enough room to complete the pattern and border without cutting a tile. Remember, the outer 2 rows of tiles will form the double border.
    Cement Tile Layout - Step 3

  4. Fill the remaining, irregular space around the edge of the patterned field tile with a complimentary solid color cement tile or stone. Connecting closets or small rooms should use the same flooring material as the edges.
    Cement Tile Layout - Step 4

  5. Voilà! The cement tile layout or plan is complete.
    Cement Tile Layout - Step 5

Creating symmetry with the pattern inside the borders isn't always as easy as it looks, especially with rectangular rooms. Have patience as you may need a few iterations to get it just right. You'll be glad you discovered any problems on paper rather than during installation.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Stuck in the 60's? Not in this Bathroom!

Avente Tile celebrates Bathroom Blogfest 2010 with its second post this week by Sunny McLean. Sunny contributes bi-monthly to the Avente Tile Talk Blog. She shares her knowledge and unique perspective with 30 years of experience in the tile and stone industry as well as design community.

Where does almost every one of us start their day? In the bathroom, of course. In the 60's it was just a place of function but today we have a new attitude. Shouldn't the place where our day is set in motion be more than a place we're stuck with? Why not let the bathroom begin the day's events with a fresh attitude?

I'm grumpy, functioning on a barely responsive level and just hoping that by some miracle each foot will find itself in front of the other as I stumble into my bathroom in the morning. I need help from my bathroom in more than the obvious ways. I need a wake-me-up-and-help-me-face-the-world kind of bathroom. I desperately need to be energized, invigorated and stimulated. I need to be delighted with colorful, reflective tiled surfaces that I am happy to see through bleary eyes. I need sculptural faucetry that is fun to look at and fun to use. I want my shower floor tile to contrast with the wall tile. As my feet steady, I relish the smooth touch of the cement floor tile. That's it: my grumpiness fades, my attitude shifts and I'm now on target to greet the new day with energy and anticipation. Hello new day, I'm ready. I love my bathroom.

Bathroom essentials for an "omg, it's not morning already?" kind of person:

  • Walls surfaced in colorful, glossy ceramic or glass tile that is not just a "background".
  • Floors tiled to delight my bare feet.
  • Contrasts in color and surface texture.
  • Great light, as much of it natural as possible.
  • A shower system (showers invigorate) and faucet that is sculptural and fun to use.
  • A place for my hair dryer.

Sunny's Bath 1
My bathroom makes me happy every morning:
Walls: handmade ceramic tile with tropical
flowers to lift your eyes and spirits.
Floors: 12" cement checkerboard tile.
Sunny's Bath 2
Ceramic Tile Close Up:
  • Handmade field tile with a layered glaze.
  • Handpainted tropical flowers used as a border.
This post is part of Bathroom Blogfest 2010, an annual blogging event in its fifth year. This is Avente Tile's first time to be a part of this event. Comments and feedback are always welcome. The participants in this year's Bathroom Blogfest are:

BloggerBlog NameBlog URL
Susan AbbottCustomer Experience Crossroadshttp://www.customercrossroads.com/customercrossroads/
Paul AnaterKitchen and Residential Designhttp://www.KitchenAndResidentialDesign.com
Shannon BilbyBig Bob's Outlethttp://blog.bigbobsoutlet.com/
Shannon BilbyCarpets N More Bloghttp://blog.carpetsnmore.com/
Shannon BilbyDolphin Carpet Bloghttp://blog.dolphincarpet.com/
Shannon BilbyFrom The Floors Uphttp://fromthefloorsup.com/
Shannon BilbyMy Big Bob's Bloghttp://blog.mybigbobs.com/
Toby Bloomberg Diva Marketinghttp://bloombergmarketing.blogs.com/bloomberg_marketing/
Laurence Borel Blog Till You Drophttp://www.laurenceborel.com/
Bill BuyokAvente Tile Talk Bloghttp://tiletalk.blogspot.com/
Jeanne Byington The Importance of Earnest Servicehttp://blog.jmbyington.com/
Becky CarrollCustomers Rock!http://customersrock.net/
Marianna Chapman Results Revolutionhttp://www.resultsrevolution.com
Katie Clark Practial Katiehttp://practicalkatie.blogspot.com/
Nora DePalma American Standard's Professor Toilethttp://www.professortoilet.com/
Nora DePalma O'Reilly DePalma: The Bloghttp://www.oreilly-depalma.com/blog/
Leigh Durst LivePath Experience Architect Webloghttp://livepath.blogspot.com/
Valerie FritzThe AwarepointBloghttp://www.awarepointblog.com/
Iris GarrottChecking In and Checking Outhttp://circulating.wordpress.com/
Tish GrierThe Constant Observerhttp://spap-oop.blogspot.com
Renee LeCroyYour Fifth Wallhttp://yourfifthwall.com/
Joseph MichelliDr. Joseph Michelli's Blogwww.josephmichelli.com/blog
Veronika MillerModenus Bloghttp://www.modenus.com/blog
Arpi NalbandianTILE Magazine Editor Bloghttp://www.tilemagonline.com/Articles/Blog_Nalbandian
Maria PalmaPeople 2 People Servicehttp://www.people2peopleservice.com/
Reshma Bachwani ParitoshThe Qualitative Research Bloghttp://www.onqualitativeresearch.blogspot.com/
David PolinchockPolinchock's Ponderingshttp://blog.polinchock.com/
Victoria Redshaw & Shelley Pond Scarlet Opus Trends Bloghttp://trendsblog.co.uk/
David ReichMy 2 Centshttp://reichcomm.typepad.com/my_weblog/
Sandy Renshaw Around Des Moineshttp://www.arounddesmoines.com/
Sandy Renshaw Purple Wrenhttp://www.purplewren.com/
Bethany RichmondCarpet and Rug Institute Bloghttp://www.carpet-and-rug-institute-blog.com/
Bruce SandersRIMtailing Bloghttp://rimtailing.blogspot.com/
Steve TokarPlease Be Seatedhttp://stevetokar.wordpress.com/
Carolyn TownesBecoming a Woman of Purposehttp://spiritwomen.blogspot.com/
Stephanie WeaverExperienceologyhttp://experienceology.blogspot.com/
Christine B. WhittemoreFlooring The Consumerhttp://flooringtheconsumer.blogspot.com/
Christine B. WhittemoreSimple Marketing Bloghttp://www.simplemarketingblog.com/
Christine & Ted WhittemoreSmoke Rise & Kinnelon Bloghttp://smokerise-nj.blogspot.com/
Christine B. WhittemoreThe Carpetology Bloghttp://carpetology.blogspot.com/
Linda WrightLindaLoo Build Business With Better Bathroomshttp://lindaloo.com/

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Stuck in the 60s? Trends & Changes in Bath Design

Avente Tile celebrates Bathroom Blogfest 2010 with two posts this week. Today's post is from me, Bill Buyok. Our guest contributor and Tile Maven, Sunny McLean, will post later this week. Avente Tile is excited and honored to participate in this fun and perfectly planned blogfest orchestrated by Christine Whittemore of Simple Marketing Now LLC.

"Stuck in the 60s?" is the theme of this year's Bathroom Blogfest. It is inspired by the TV shows, Mad Men, that, according to Christine, captured our imaginations for its portrayal of life in the 60s when social and cultural taboos meant that many critical aspects of life – like bathrooms – were ignored, glossed over and treated dreadfully." Interestingly, I found out yesterday that Christine doesn't watch TV and only attempted to watch an episode as homework for this assignment. That makes her OK in my book, because I'm in the same boat. So missing the Mad Men tie-in, let's see if bathroom design is stuck in the 60s and what critical aspects are missing.

1960s Kitchen
1960's Kitchen (scary).
Image from uglyhousephotos.com.

When I think of the 60s an image appears in my head similar to the one above. Let's face it. Nobody wants to be stuck there. Also, I think of pale peach bath tiles, white Formica with marble swirls and gold flakes, avocado green refrigerators, brown and gold mirrored wallpaper, and cheap cabinets made out of particle board with a badly-done faux wood grain plastic finish. My description is filled with negative connotations and implies there was certainly some lackluster design.

A typical 1960's bathroom might look like this:

1960s Bath
1960's Bath.
Image from uglyhousephotos.com.

Did the designers of those days gloss over the details and make a mess of it? Are these more contemporary bathrooms that much better?


2008 Spa Bath with Cement Tile

 


2003 Spanish-Inspired CA Bungalow Remodel

I say no. We forget that a 1960's bathroom was designed by and for someone living exactly at that time. It is easy to poke fun of something and find its flaws after 50 years have passed. Values and styles change and so do our needs. There's a generation gap, so to speak. We like the more contemporary bathrooms because we relate to them better. They are more familiar. In the 60s, the choice to use plastic (even for wood) was a 'hip idea', colored tubs and toilets where a thankful change after years of sanitary white, and bold statements with color were all about defining yourself as 'not part of the establishment'. Bathrooms were smaller and very utilitarian - folks didn't linger there. The concept of the urban spa didn't exist, so we didn't even know we could luxuriate in our home bath/spa. To help understand the 'generation gap' and how baths were viewed, take a look at the 1960 Kohler ad. The focus is on the housewife bathing her kids.

1960s Vision of a Bath
1960 Kohler Ad (with ubiquitous pink tile)
Image from uglyhousephotos.com.

A 1960's bath was darn nice if you were of course living in it during the 1960's. We are not stuck in the 60s. Here's some examples of how things have changed. Everyone is better at defining needs at the beginning of the project. People are better at understanding that what I want isn't going to be the same as what you want. Thank God, we don't all have to have the same peach-colored bath tiles. Our recent post, Discover Your Dream Bath, is a great tool for defining your bath goals.

There is a definite appreciation for customization. People want to express themselves through their home and use a large mosaic or decorative tile mural for a tub backsplash. Homes are built and remodeled with more bathrooms to accommodate kids, pets or guests. Bathrooms are larger and include storage, adequate space for personal items and guest towels, and plenty of hooks for towels and robes. Niches create space and add convenience for beauty products in the tub. Most folks (even in these tight times) include an allowance and incorporate some mini-home-spa features: an artisan tile backsplash, brushed nickel robe hooks or a spa tub. Finally, try to use more natural light, larger windows, and good ventilation. See, a lot has changed since the 60s. Now you can sit back and relax. Fix yourself an extra dry martini - shaken, not stirred!


This post is part of Bathroom Blogfest 2010, an annual blogging event in its fifth year. This is Avente Tile's first time to be a part of this event. Comments and feedback are always welcome. Don't be shy, feel free to chime in on this blog, Twitter, or Facebook pages and tell us what you think. Cheers to all the dedicated bloggers that make the event possible and fun. Thanks to our loyal readers who make our efforts appreciated. Accolades and a heart-felt thanks to Christine for producing the event. The participants in this year's Bathroom Blogfest are:

BloggerBlog NameBlog URL
Susan AbbottCustomer Experience Crossroadshttp://www.customercrossroads.com/customercrossroads/
Paul AnaterKitchen and Residential Designhttp://www.KitchenAndResidentialDesign.com
Shannon BilbyBig Bob's Outlethttp://blog.bigbobsoutlet.com/
Shannon BilbyCarpets N More Bloghttp://blog.carpetsnmore.com/
Shannon BilbyDolphin Carpet Bloghttp://blog.dolphincarpet.com/
Shannon BilbyFrom The Floors Uphttp://fromthefloorsup.com/
Shannon BilbyMy Big Bob's Bloghttp://blog.mybigbobs.com/
Toby Bloomberg Diva Marketinghttp://bloombergmarketing.blogs.com/bloomberg_marketing/
Laurence Borel Blog Till You Drophttp://www.laurenceborel.com/
Bill BuyokAvente Tile Talk Bloghttp://tiletalk.blogspot.com/
Jeanne Byington The Importance of Earnest Servicehttp://blog.jmbyington.com/
Becky CarrollCustomers Rock!http://customersrock.net/
Marianna Chapman Results Revolutionhttp://www.resultsrevolution.com
Katie Clark Practial Katiehttp://practicalkatie.blogspot.com/
Nora DePalma American Standard's Professor Toilethttp://www.professortoilet.com/
Nora DePalma O'Reilly DePalma: The Bloghttp://www.oreilly-depalma.com/blog/
Leigh Durst LivePath Experience Architect Webloghttp://livepath.blogspot.com/
Valerie FritzThe AwarepointBloghttp://www.awarepointblog.com/
Iris GarrottChecking In and Checking Outhttp://circulating.wordpress.com/
Tish GrierThe Constant Observerhttp://spap-oop.blogspot.com
Renee LeCroyYour Fifth Wallhttp://yourfifthwall.com/
Joseph MichelliDr. Joseph Michelli's Blogwww.josephmichelli.com/blog
Veronika MillerModenus Bloghttp://www.modenus.com/blog
Arpi NalbandianTILE Magazine Editor Bloghttp://www.tilemagonline.com/Articles/Blog_Nalbandian
Maria PalmaPeople 2 People Servicehttp://www.people2peopleservice.com/
Reshma Bachwani ParitoshThe Qualitative Research Bloghttp://www.onqualitativeresearch.blogspot.com/
David PolinchockPolinchock's Ponderingshttp://blog.polinchock.com/
Victoria Redshaw & Shelley Pond Scarlet Opus Trends Bloghttp://trendsblog.co.uk/
David ReichMy 2 Centshttp://reichcomm.typepad.com/my_weblog/
Sandy Renshaw Around Des Moineshttp://www.arounddesmoines.com/
Sandy Renshaw Purple Wrenhttp://www.purplewren.com/
Bethany RichmondCarpet and Rug Institute Bloghttp://www.carpet-and-rug-institute-blog.com/
Bruce SandersRIMtailing Bloghttp://rimtailing.blogspot.com/
Steve TokarPlease Be Seatedhttp://stevetokar.wordpress.com/
Carolyn TownesBecoming a Woman of Purposehttp://spiritwomen.blogspot.com/
Stephanie WeaverExperienceologyhttp://experienceology.blogspot.com/
Christine B. WhittemoreFlooring The Consumerhttp://flooringtheconsumer.blogspot.com/
Christine B. WhittemoreSimple Marketing Bloghttp://www.simplemarketingblog.com/
Christine & Ted WhittemoreSmoke Rise & Kinnelon Bloghttp://smokerise-nj.blogspot.com/
Christine B. WhittemoreThe Carpetology Bloghttp://carpetology.blogspot.com/
Linda WrightLindaLoo Build Business With Better Bathroomshttp://lindaloo.com/

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Modenus - Online Design Resource Launches

I had the great pleasure to meet Veronika Miller at a Tweet-up during one of the big tile shows earlier this year. Veronika is a good Twitter friend. She provides support and happiness throughout the day with her Tweets. Also, Veronika is an interior designer who caught my attention as she explained her vision, Modenus. I could see right away Modenus was a better mousetrap with some great tools destined to become an online design resource centered on creating a community.


The site has been in development for most of this year and now is now ready to launch. The service is free for designers. I encourage manufacturers and vendors to place their products on the site as well. What better what to keep your products in front of cutting-edge designers needing a source for their next project?

Best wishes to Veronika and here's the Modenus press release:

Online design resource launches – and it's free! 

The site can be used by everyone in the interior design industry: 

  • Consumers will find amazing products, connect with designers and be inspired by daily design blogs.
  • Design professionals will explore new global resources, network with peers, feature their work and manage projects on the site's unique project management application.
  • Manufacturers will engage with consumers and professionals in discussion forums, showcase their product collections in the curated catalog and communicate with their followers via a direct news feed to registered users who have selected to receive more information.

Modenus.com – a comprehensive product catalog and project management platform for the interior design industry launched this month. The catalog portion of the site is generally open to consumers and design professionals, but verified pros have the added benefit of getting access to a collaborative project manager, pro forums and trade only information posted by manufacturers.  

The resource is the brainchild of Veronika Miller, who worked as a successful Interior Designer before turning her attention to digital media. She says designers need better tools to help them work profitably and efficiently  - especially now.  

Speaking about the launch, Veronika Miller says: 

"No one needs to tell interior designers that times are tougher. We are launching Modenus to help them make the most of challenging business conditions by offering them free tools to work more profitably, a platform from which to network with peers and meet potential clients and a curated catalog of products from the US, Europe and beyond, putting new and exciting resources at their finger tips."

"But it's not just about Designers. Manufacturers are entirely free to engage with consumers and designers and can set up distribution channels that best serve their business model. Manufacturers can list showrooms, retailers, E-commerce outlets and even design studios that carry their products to provide the consumer with the most sensible avenue to specify or buy."

"But our efforts won't stop at products. We want Modenus to be a bridge that connects designers and consumers across continents. So many design professionals are now prepared to consult virtually or to travel for a great job, why not shake the geographic restraints and use a platform like ours to find a designer, a client or a product anywhere in the world. Business isn't what it once was but that doesn't mean there aren't new opportunities."

 Have a look for yourself at www.modenus.com or join the team on www.twitter.com/modenus !

If you would like more information about Modenus, please contact them at 407-376-4192 or at press@modenus.com and www.twitter.com/modenus.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Press Release: Avente Tile will Participate in Bathroom Blogfest 2010

Avente Tile is excited to be participating in BATHROOM BLOGFEST 2010. The theme is "Still Stuck in the 60s?" and includes a Mad Men twist to provide some fun - especially for more creative bloggers.


The focus of all posts will be on the Universality of Bathrooms and the Bathroom Experience. At Avente Tile, we will share our unique perspective and ideas about bathrooms in several blog posts during the week of October 25. There are over 30 bloggers and 40 blogs participating in this year's event from many different fields of expertise including tile trade journals, bath and kitchen designers, tile and flooring vendors, and marketing and consumer-retail-experience specialists. We will be sharing many posts on the Avente Tile Facebook Page and twittering about it as well. Hint: search for "#BathroomEXP" on Twitter. And, of course, we welcome your feedback and comments during the blogfest!

The 2010 Bathroom Blogfest, now in its fifth year, brings together 33 bloggers from the U.S., Canada, the UK and India to address the 2010 Mad Men inspired theme "Stuck in the 60s?" A blogfest brings together writers who direct their blog posts around a single subject while making the subject relevant to their readers during a specific timeframe. Between October 25 and 29, these experts in marketing, customer experience and service, public relations, library sciences, museums, home & interior design, life, retail, flooring and healthcare IT/RTLS will call attention to improving the overall bathroom experience for end users via their 40 blogs during Bathroom Blogfest 2010.    

"This year's theme "Stuck in the 60s?" is inspired by Mad Men, the show that has captured the imaginations of many for its portrayal of life in the 60s when social and cultural taboos meant that many critical aspects of life – like bathrooms – were ignored, glossed over and treated dreadfully," said Christine B. Whittemore, who manages the Bathroom Blogfest. "The result is that end users suffered. By calling attention to modern day instances that are "Stuck in the 60s?", we can reinforce the value associated with being more responsive to the end user experience be those users customers, clients, patients, patrons or consumers," said the chief simplifier of Simple Marketing Now, Kinnelon, N.J.

The Bathroom Blogfest began in 2006 as the brainchild of Stephanie Weaver, Experienceology author and consultant, and Susan Abbott, a business consultant and consumer researcher in Toronto. "They wanted to generate awareness for bloggers passionate about the customer experience at a time when blogging was more experimental. The Bathroom Blogfest created a forum for focusing on spaces that are not a subject of conversation, even though they should be," added Whittemore. "As an event it builds relationships and conversations about the user experience demonstrating how universal the relevance and appeal is regardless of the industry." Participation in the 2010 Bathroom Blogfest has increased 65% compared to 2009.

For more information about the blogfest, visit http://www.BathroomBlogfest.com. Follow Bathroom Blogfest on Twitter @BathroomBlogfes, look for the tag "#BathroomEXP" on flickr, del.icio.us, Technorati, Twitter and Google or 'Like' on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/BatrhoomBlogfest. Or, contact Whittemore at cbwhittemore@SimpleMarketingNow.com.

Participating bloggers for the Bathroom Blogfest '10 include:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have questions about this event or would like to participate, please contact the event coordinator, Christine B. Whittemore.

Email: CBWhittemore@SimpleMarketingNow.com

Phone: 973-283-2424

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cement Tile Quality Manufacturing Standards

My good Twitter friend and Marketing Guru, CB Whittemore, often casts pearls of wisdom at me. She is the primary contributor for the Simple Marketing Blog and one of those pearls that I've been dodging is to make my blog more 'human' and to let folks know "my story". She encourages me to 'lighten it up a bit' and follow the great story-telling techniques of Paul Anater's fun and information blog, Kitchen and Residential Design. By now, you are asking, what does any of this have to do with cement tile manufacturing standards? In this post, you'll learn a bit more about me and gain a better understanding of what quality standards govern cement tiles.


Patterned Cement Tiles in a West Coast Restaurant

I've been selling cement tile for about eight years. I love the product. However, it can be a difficult sell because folks aren't familiar with it. Recently, I was working with a designer on specifying Cuban Heritage cement tiles for a commercial floor application in Las Vegas for a casino and coffee shop.  The designer was encountering some resistance from the rest of the team. She asked if I would discuss the quality and manufacturing standards with her design team. Two questions came up in our meeting that I didn't answer very well. 

  1. What testing specification are the tiles made to so that we know the floor will be durable?  Unlike ceramic tiles, cement tiles are not manufactured to conform to TCA – ANSI standards for the class/application.

 

  1. What standard do they confirm to and have they been tested to ensure quality for our application?  I don't know.

 

I thought they were fair questions. (This is where you get to learn something about me.) You see, my college degree was Mechanical Engineering. It was a "default degree" because I liked math and science and wanted a job after I graduated. I enjoy problem solving and want to understand how things work. As an Engineer, I asked similar questions and found answers before I would agree to using any product.


Patterned Cement Tiles in a West Coast Resort Lobby

I turned to one of the best manufacturers of Cement Tile, Aguayo, to get the answers. Jorge Aguayo is the vice president of this company. I've worked with Jorge for many years and he I've visited their manufacturing plant and seen installations in large, commercial applications that demand both quality and durability.

His response was something like this:

Because cement tiles are not a mass-marketed or mass-produced product, no standards have ever been developed. It's like asking if an Oscar de la Renta gown is ISO 9000 compliant.


Solid Color Cement Tiles in a Las Vegas, NV Retail Shop

There you have it! There aren't standards that govern this product. Cement tiles are a great product. However, since there are no quality standards, where you buy is almost as important as what you buy. Make sure to purchase them from a knowledgeable seller that you trust and know. Equally important, the vendor needs to understand the product, source it only from a reputable manufacturer, and provide the service and support required for your installation. The tiles will last a lifetime, if you use follow this advice.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Hand Painted Field Tile Lend Beauty and Durability

With all the decorative tile at Avente, it's easy to forget that field tile can lend your living space the same warmth and originality. Avente's Yucatan tile is made-to-order by craftspeople dedicated to a tradition of functional, natural beauty.

First, let's take a second to define "field tile." Field Tile is tile found in the main field or area of the installation covering the wall, floor or countertop. Field tile are usually a solid color or lack a specific design or pattern which distinguishes them from decorative or "deco tile." These three installations will help you understand when you need to consider a high-quality hand painted artisan field tile for your project.

Granite Counter with Yucatan Chamois & Deco Dots

 

Outdoor Patio Countertop of Yucatan Blue Celadon

 

Deco Tiles with Yucatan Cobalt Pencil Trim & Molding

 

All three installations appeal to a different aesthetic; but look great! But, that didn't happen by chance. In each installation, a designer chose a tile with the right material requirements and design elements to work with the other surfaces. (Hint: If you need a good designer contact Paul Anater of Kitchen and Residential Design.)

Here's some design tips on when to use quality field tile

  1. Use Yucatan Field Tiles with natural stone because the hand-painted tiles create a rich, complex glaze that is not a single color.

  2. The Yucatan Tiles are ideal where the tiled surface must be durable and chip-free like kitchen counters, spas or floor entryways. These tiles are vitreous meaning the tile body is very dense with less than 3% water absorption. The tiles are frost proof and ideal for wet areas such as pools and spas.

  3. Hand painted field tile works well with decorative tile because of the variation in glaze colors. Also, our Yucatan Tiles are available in all sorts of sizes from dots to 6"x6" including trim, molding and liners! With over 50 glazes, we can find a color to work with your design. We keep sample stock of most glazes and can get additional pieces within two weeks.

To help you get more acquainted with this versatile line, we are offering 15% off all Yucatan tile purchases through October 31, 2010. Mention the "Fall Special" when placing your phone order. Offer not valid with any other discounts or coupons.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cuban Heritage Cement Tiles featured in This Old House

The email arrived at 8:54 AM. The message read, "I wanted to let you know that our kitchen featuring Avente Cuban Heritage Tile is in this month's This Old House magazine. I have attached a photo so you can see how it came out. Thanks for the beautiful tile!"

Kitchen Backsplash with Cuban Heritage Cement
Cuban Heritage Cement Tile Backsplash.
Photo courtesy of Buckminster Green.

Moments like these make my day! When I get a photo of a tile installation from one of our wonderful customers! Yep, that moment is gold. I know the customer was looking for something special and found it at Avente Tile. Then, they worked through the design and installation issues. The project is done and, now, they're just lovin' it. But, they still took the time to send me a picture. I had one of those moments yesterday.

So what are you waiting for? Pick up the October issue of This Old House. On page 37, they feature the Cuban Heritage Design 110-2B cement tile on the kitchen backsplash. You can also hop over to Buckminster Green's Gallery. The first three images show different views of this installation.

I want to thank the fine folks at Buckminster Green for choosing our tile and making my day! Buckminster Green is a general contracting company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania specializing in green home remodeling. You can view the entire Cuban Heritage cement tile catalog online or check out the details on the Cuban Heritage Design 110-2B.