Archive | February, 2014

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Coverings Presents 4 Keynote Sessions, Numerous Others

Posted on 27 February 2014 by cradmin

For Coverings 2014, the 25th anniversary of the show, the organizers have put together four keynote sessions. Three of the sessions will be held on the first day of the show, which runs from April 29 to May 2, 2014, at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The fourth keynote session will be on the second day of the show. Registration for the show is free (click here to register).

The keynote line-up is as follows: April 29, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., is “Breaking Through Barriers by Putting People First” presented by Sheldon Yellen of Belfor; April 29, 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m., is “Hot Issues in Tile Standards and Design” presented by Eric Astrachan, TCNA; April 29, 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., is “Natural Stone & Green Design” presented by Robert Bacon of Daltile ; and April 30, 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., is “Rottet Style with Stone and Tile” presented by Lauren Rottet of Rottet Studio (read more about the keynote presentations here).

Additionally, the show has seven featured sessions: “Stone Trends 2014” by Vincent Marazita of Marazita & Associates; “A Leading Question: Why Can’t I Generate Leads from the Internet?” by Marty Gould of Focalize Consulting; “State of the Design Industry” by Rander Fiser of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID); “New Harmonies: Changing Themes in Color/Design Trends” by Leatrice Eiseman of the Pantone Color Institute; “Maximizing your Retail Space for Stronger Sales and Customer Engagement” by Nicole Reyhle or RetailMinded; “Prospering in Turbuletn Times: Strategies for Success” by Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender of Kizer & Bender Speaking; and “Designing for the Post-carbon Economy: It’s Zero or Nothing” by Eric Dorey Freed of organicARCHTECT (read more about the featured sessions here).

With more than 80 sessions in all, the educational offerings this year are abundant (see the complete conference agenda here).

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Wireless Recharging Built into DuPont Corian Solid Surface

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Wireless Recharging Built into DuPont Corian Solid Surface

Posted on 26 February 2014 by cradmin

Here’s a cool video that features the technology DuPont is working on for its Corian solid surface that it was showcasing at the recent Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) in Las Vegas.

DuPont has joined the Power Matters Alliance (PMA) and is working with other PMA members on wireless charging solutions for smartphones and tablets that can be effectively integrated into solid surface tops. Right now this charging technology requires an adapter to be plugged into most phones, but newer smartphones will have the receptors built-in.

The video is not from KBIS, but another show, and gives an idea of how the technology works. It is a bit promotional, but it is such an interesting development, we thought it was worth posting.

Let us know if you run across any videos you believe we should be sharing by emailing us at [email protected].


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Fabricator Profile: InteriorWorx Countertops Countertops

Posted on 25 February 2014 by CRadmin2

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A little more than 14 years ago, Aspen Countertops, realized extraordinary success in the homebuilder market, but owners Clark Taylor and Matt Pearson were not convinced that their business had reached its apex.

Instead, Taylor and Pearson decided that it was time to diversify in a bid to expand the reach of the countertop business. At the same time, they worked diligently to improve the efficiency of company. One of the hallmarks of their progress was a twofold production capacity for each bridge saw.

As many other company executives have discovered, one of the keys to the success of Aspen Countertops was through providing excellent customer service. To this end, Pearson and Taylor established a three-check quality control system for each function of the business – from fabrication to installation.

Today, the company continues to diversify, and risk is alleviated by gaining new customers. Taylor explains that no single customer is allowed to account for more than 8 percent of their business.

Update – For more than 20 years, Aspen Countertops has provided design, manufacturing, and installation services for homeowners, builders, and construction companies in the greater Salt Lake City, Utah area. In 2015, Aspen joined the InteriorWorx group of companies, allowing the company to expand its capabilities and provide the highest quality quartz, stone, laminate and solid-surface tops in the state.

It is still the same great group of talented professionals; from the president, to project coordinators, to highly experienced installers. The only thing that changed is the name.

Read more of this Fabricator Profile here.

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Coverings ETC’s ‘Topaz Blue’ Bio-Glass Wins German Design Award

Posted on 24 February 2014 by cradmin

topaz blue bio-glassThe Topaz Blue color of Bio-Glass, designed by Ofer Mizrahi and manufactured by Coverings ETC, was named the Interior Innovation Award Winner, the prestigious international design award of the German Design Council. Topaz Blue, is the latest color of Bio-Glass, which is made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled glass with no colorants, epoxies or resins added. With the addition of the new Topaz Blue, the material is now available in six colors, including White Diamond, Oriental Jade, Fossil Amber, Malachite and Emerald Forest. The stain-proof and scratch-resistant material is suitable for countertops, backsplashes, vanities and more and is available in 3/4-in sheets measuring 110 by 49 in. As the award winner, Bio-Glass will be included as a contender in the Interior Innovation Award – Best of Best 2014.

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Swan Adds 4 Sinks Models to its M-Series Granite Sink Line

Posted on 21 February 2014 by cradmin

swan product_m_series_granite_sink_1Swan Corporation offers four new models in its collection of molded M-Series Granite Sinks. These new sinks are  available in both undermount and drop-in styles. The sinks are made with 80 percent natural quartz for durability and limited maintenance requirements. The come in four colors: Bianca, Granito, Nero and Espresso. The four new models (such as the QZRC-3322 top mount show here) bring the total number of different sinks in the line to 11 models, including double- and single-bowl styles. Available in standard sizes, they have extra-deep, offset bowls and low dividers. The undermount versions have no faucet holes and smaller rim dimensions, and are suitable for undermounting to granite, quartz, solid surface and tile.

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MIA Announces 2013 Pinnacle Award Winners

Posted on 20 February 2014 by cradmin

The Marble Institute of America (MIA) announced the winners of the 2013 Pinnacle Awards competition. The Pinnacle Awards recognize excellence in commercial, residential, and renovation/restoration of natural stone projects worldwide. Projects selected as winners must demonstrate exceptional beauty, creativity, ingenuity and craftsmanship in the use of granite, marble, travertine, limestone and other natural stones. The sponsors of the Pinnacle Awards are Custom Building Products and Aqua Mix for the Pinnacle Commercial Awards, BLANCO for the Pinnacle Residential Awards and Coldspring for the Pinnacle Renovation/Restoration Awards. The competition is open to MIA members around the world.

The MIA also presented the 6th annual Grande Pinnacle Award, sponsored by Marmomacc. A Grande Pinnacle Award was also presented to the architect involved with the winning project. The 2013 Grande Pinnacle Award winner is: North Carolina Granite Corporation of Mount Airy, NC for the amazing Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on Welfare Island, New York, N.Y. The architectural firm of Mitchell/Giurgola Architects, architect of record for the project, was also presented with the award.

The 2013 Pinnacle Award winners are:
• Commercial Exterior Award of Excellence to Coldspring, Cold Spring, Minn., for the Intuit, Inc. headquarters in Silicon Valley, CA.
• Commercial Exterior Award of Excellence to Coldspring, Cold Spring, Minn., for the Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center in Denver, CO.
• Residential Interior/Exterior Award of Excellence to Valders Stone & Marble, Inc., Valders, Wis.,for a Long Island Residence in Long Island, NY.
• Residential Interior/Exterior Award of Excellence to M&G Contracts (S) PTE LTD, Singapore for the Ardmore Residence in Singapore.
• Renovation/Restoration Award of Excellence to Miller Druck Specialty Contracting, Inc., New York, N.Y., for the 632 Broadway building in New York, NY.
• Renovation/Restoration Award of Excellence to Rugo Stone, LLC, Lorton, Va., for the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita, KS.
• Commercial Exterior Award of Merit to Bestview International, Glenview, Ill.; Coldspring, Cold Spring, Minn.; and KEPCO+, Salt Lake City, Utah, for the City Creek Center in Salt Lake City.
• Commercial Exterior Award of Merit to Polycor, Inc, Quebec, Canada for the Place d’Armes in Montreal, Canada.
• Commercial Interior Award of Merit to Associated Imports, Atlanta, Ga. for the Music City Center in Nashville, Tenn..
• Commercial Interior Award of Merit to Kenneth Castellucci & Associates, Inc., Lincoln, R.I., for the Liberty Mutual Insurance Company World Headquarters in Boston.
• Commercial Interior Award of Merit to Creative Edge Master Shop, Inc., Fairfield, Iowa, for the Renaissance Shanghai Putuo Hotel in Shanghai, China.
• Residential Interior/Exterior Award of Merit to Stones and Roses International Co. Ltd., Samutprakam, Thailand for the Sukhothai Residences Unit K. Chumpol in Bangkok, Thailand.
• Residential Interior/Exterior Special Award of Merit for Craftsmanship to StenCentrum, Molndal, Sweden, for a Stockholm Residence in Stockholm, Sweden.

Two of the award winners featured countertop projects – the Residential Interior/Exterior Award of Excellence at the Ardmore Residence in Singapore and the Residential Interior/Exterior Special Award of Merit for Craftsmanship at a residence in Stockholm, Sweden:

Ardmore Residence

Ardmore Residence

Ardmore Residence, M&G Contracts, Singapore
Like an artful masterpiece, Ardmore Residence exhilarates, engages and inspires. Rising boldly above Singapore’s premier residential address, Ardmore Park, the 36-story residential tower redefines the luxury living of an urban home with imagination, privileges and services that are exclusive to its residents. The apartment’s spaces conjure up the harmony of a light-filled urban cocoon rising above the energy of the city. Orchard Road’s landmarks dazzle in crisp clarity from the apartments facing south, while the units with a north orientation enjoy Bukit Timah Hill’s lush green foliage. The living and dining wing opens to a double-volume balcony that presents an impressive space for residents who enjoy entertaining at home in style, or simply relaxing in their luxury of space. At more than 2,000 sq. ft. each, all of the 56 luxurious units have been fitted with premium stone finishes, carefully selected and processed to achieve the optimal aesthetical effect. M&G inspected and selected the blocks directly from quarries located in Iran, Italy and Spain, and then fabricated according to the customized finishes of each unit type. The flat cut pieces and solid curved pieces for each unit were then laid out per the shop drawings, inspected and approved by the owner’s representatives, before individually numbered and packed for delivery to site.


Stockholm Residence

Stockholm Residence

Stockholm Residence, StenCentrum, Molndal, Sweden
This project began four years ago in a meeting with architects. The meeting concluded with one goal; white statuario marble, very characteristic, big tiles and book matched. The pursuit for good material started immediately. Most blocks did not fulfill the requests, but finally, one was found. It was a very sound block with the right dimensions and heavily veined. Realizing that it would be much more difficult to achieve the look with this strong veining, the project forged ahead. Before presenting the material to the client, the opportunities were discussed with the architects. Sketches were made of the best use of the material. The architects were very open-minded, realizing the difficulties of the project, but also very demanding regarding design and details. StenCentrum staff went to Stockholm to measure the two bathrooms in question. After making drawings of the rooms, slabs were compared to the drawings spread all over the workshop. Realizing dimensions from the architect’s drawings could not be followed new sizes were created to follow the book matched pattern. Frames to doors, windows and shelves were carefully cut to book match the wall pieces.

Congratulations to all the winners.

Judges for the 2013 Pinnacle Awards competition were:
• Kent Duffy FAIA, SRG Partnership in Portland, Ore.
• Steve Poland, Ankrom Moisan Architects in Portland, Ore.
• Christian Pongratz, Pongratz Perbellini Architects in Verona, Italy.
• Michael Twiss, immediate MIA past president, Columbia Stone, Inc. in Tualatin, Ore.
• Chuck Muehlbauer, technical director, Marble Institute of America in Cleveland, Ohio.

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Ultra High Strength Concrete Countertop Mix

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Ultra High Strength Concrete Countertop Mix

Posted on 19 February 2014 by cradmin

In this video, produced by Trinic LLC, Mark Celebuski explains the process for creating ultra high strength concrete countertop mixes of 12,000 psi or greater. He walks the viewer through the ratios of cement, stone, slag, admixtures, water and other additives (such as colloidal silica) to increase the strength of the concrete countertop mix. He also explains how to calculate your mix formula for a particular project. He then shows the actual mixing process.

While his mix does use the company’s proprietary admix, a concrete countertop maker could use a different admixture and adjust the process accordingly, which is why we felt it was a useful video to post.

All in all, it is very insightful (if you can overlook the radio playing in the background), and those in the concrete segment of the countertop industry may find it well worth a look.

You may also want to take a look at these other useful concrete videos available on the website.

And, as always, if you have or run across a video you think would be useful to other countertop artisans, please send us a link at [email protected] so we can share it.

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Samsung Launches 4 New ‘Metallic’ Colors of Staron Solid Surface

Posted on 18 February 2014 by cradmin

Metallic SatinGold Staron Solid Surface

Metallic SatinGold Staron solid surface

Samsung launched a new series of Staron solid surface that contains four new colors. The new Metallic Series is acrylic solid surface with pearlescent chips that add depth to the materials. The new series includes the following colors: Metallic SleekSilver, Metallic Galaxy, Metallic SatinGold (pictured here) and Metallic Yukon. This is the first new launch of solid surface colors by the company in 2014. In 2013, Samsung launched four new colors of its Radianz quartz surfacing colors. More information about the Radianz Coastal Collection of quartz surfacing can be found here.

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Manage Key Accounts as if They Are Key

Posted on 17 February 2014 by CRadmin2

In any countertop business, a few key accounts can make the difference between just scraping by and having a highly profitable year. To maintain a positive relationship, these accounts require special attention, and it is always worth the extra effort to provide them with it. To begin, it is first necessary to identify your key accounts.

Don’t Lose Sight of the Goal

The idea behind singling out key accounts is that you will treat them as special, giving them the recognition and treatment they deserve. If the age-old 80/20 rule applies, 20 percent of your customers generate 80 percent or more of the profits. These customers should be made to feel as though they are really special. Most companies recognize this strategy as being important and create sales plans and organizations to reflect the idea. Many, however, lose sight of the objective of this strategy when they try to implement tactics in support of it.

As an example, one company gave its top 100 customers a special number to call for customer service. The customers were to call this number only when the product had failed, resulting in a serious loss of revenue for that customer. The customer would need assistance immediately. In practice, however, when key account customers called the special number, they were apt to experience a serious delay in service. That is because they needed to be qualified for the special service before they were eligible to receive it. They may have been better off calling the number meant for the masses.

Another company considered too many customers key accounts. What happened was that, internally, each region of the company wanted to define its own key account criteria. No region wanted to be left out of the program. The result was that the number of customers who were put into this group far exceeded the number of customers that the sales staff could reasonably accommodate. The key account sales reps did not have time to treat each customer with the special attention that the customer deserved. The hope was that each special account would be visited at least once a month, or once a quarter at worst. In fact, many were visited only twice a year or less often.

What Do Key Accounts Want?

What does a key account want from sales staff? Some key accounts do not want frequent contact, but most of them do. If its partnership with your company means that a customer is a key account, it is going to have a number of wants and needs that have been expressed frequently in market research. In general, key accounts want the following from you and your sales staff:

1. Understand their business – They do not want to have to explain their needs over and over because you have changed sales assignments or do not remember from last time.

2. Know how they make money and how your products and services help them accomplish that

3. Know their future plans – Are they expanding? Are they moving? What are their major problems? In what direction do they see their business or industry segment going in the future? You need to know in case you can help, even if they do not think the problems apply to your product or service. Find out what their problems are, all of them, and find ways to help.

4. Know the entire history of your business relationship – This means knowing not only their order history with you but also any problems in the relationship, even if those problems did not involve the sales activity (such as missing delivery dates or service delays).

Conversations with key accounts in this way can help you discover trends that will affect your business. Identifying these trends can allow you to adjust your product offerings to meet the needs of the key accounts and stay ahead of the competition.

Give Your Key Accounts Special Treatment

Many companies do not treat these types of customers as truly special. Designating them as a key account should be meaningful to you and the customer. If the people your company deals with at the key account do not feel as though they are being treated as important to you, the designation of key account becomes a negative, not a positive, in their mind.

Make sure that your best customers do not feel that way. You may want to ask them what being a key account means to them and how they would want to be treated. Some of the answers may surprise you. This type of research is invaluable. It may be done fairly easily if your sales team is sincere about making these customers feel like the select few. Ask the right open-ended questions about what being a key account should mean. Describe how the relationship should work and your reasons for designating them as key accounts. Find out their thoughts on how to grow the partnership, so both companies profit.

The bottom line: Do not lose sight of your overall objective to make the key account feel special as you implement the tactics of that strategy.


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Coverings 2014 Launches Online Photo Contest

Posted on 13 February 2014 by cradmin

Coverings 2014 has launched an online photography contest to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the show, which takes place April 29 to May 2 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Two Grand Prize Winners will be awarded a trip to Las Vegas to attend the show and a seat at a special VIP dinner with some of the most prominent leaders in the tile and stone industry. Smaller prizes will also be given away every other week over the duration of the contest, which ends March 28.

Those wishing to participate can upload their favorite self-taken photos of tile + stone, with an explanation of where they photographed the image and the hashtag #Coverings25 in its caption. The photos can be submitted via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, and there is no limit to the amount of images that can be submitted.

“As we prepare for the show’s 25th Anniversary, we’re looking forward to highlighting how tile and stone impacts our lives everyday,” said Karin Fendrich, Coverings show director. “Tile and stone continues to have the unique ability to transform the look of interiors and exteriors with rich textures, color, warmth and fluidity that few other products can replicate. We’re excited to see what inspires our exhibitors, attendees and fans as we all prepare for this year’s show.”

For full details and rules regarding the Coverings’ Tile + Stone Photo Sweepstakes, visit And, register to attend Coverings 2014 for free at

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