The world of stone and tile is moving as fast as the world of fashion. A visit to any of our great purveyors on the East End proves it. Herb Crestani of Stone Source told me, “Every year we have more and more opportunities to bring in new and innovative products that are perfect for the East End of Long Island.”
Indestructible porcelain tile has moved beyond its imitative fake wood position in the market to imaginative possibilities. With new textures, your mud rooms can appear like Escher grids, watery grasscloths and dappled plaster. And what porcelain tile is imitating has been elevated to a whole new level. Large 24-inch-by-24-inch terrazzo lookalikes now allow you the possibility of easy installation without the concrete-mixer and ear-splitting, dust-clouding grinding. Highly dramatic large format porcelain called “Drama and Fume” inexpensively paves an entry hall with enormous magnifications of richly veined marble. Retro patterns like Tratto’s “Get in Line” porcelain reverberates the Jetsons’ kitchen backsplash. And for those who can’t afford the price of cross-cut travertine to line the walls and floors of their mausoleum, the giant format reproductions come pretty darn close.
Waterjet slicing and dicing capabilities, which have been extant for some time in the universe of marble, granite and quartzite, are reaching newer peaks. Complicated inlays of brass, nickel, bronze and cerused wood certainly tickle the fantasy and seduce designers although they do sit high in the stratospheric price range! Perhaps using it for a small backsplash or as an inset in a separate jewel box powder room may be worth the price tag.
Concrete has been the popular pièce de résistance in the tile world, but unfortunately, unless sealed fastidiously, it suffers staining and wear. Not to miss an opportunity to sell a “look,” the tile world has created some interesting lookalikes. “Electra Grande” lends the look and style without the maintenance (though I think it misses a bit of the matte softness of real concrete.)
As if we have not made marble expensive enough, let’s etch it with tiny Moroccan patterns and fill in those etchings with 22 karat gold! Though ludicrously costly, it is truly remarkable looking.
You can search for these and many of your other favorites at all our great purveyors of tile and stone here on our great East End.