A Sleek and Cool Silestone Fireplace

Queen of the Tile was asked to work on a very cool, contemporary project in Houston.  It involved a shower pan repair, new tile on the kitchen floor, new Silestone countertops in the kitchen and one of the most interesting fireplace designs that we have ever installed.  The Silestone color selected was Kensho from the Volcano Series.  Here is the “Before” picture of the fireplace.

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The architect and general contractor for the project was Jesse Hager from Content in Houston.  The installation took two days because some of the pieces like the caps and side wall could not be measured and fabricated until after installing the larger face of the fireplace.  Below is the “After” picture.

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This installation was very detailed due to the precise cuts for the shelf and firebox openings and all the corners (top and side) were all mitred corners as can be seen in the next picture.

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Alot of other fabricators would probably find a project like this a pain in the a__, but Queen of the Tile is always ready for an interesting and different challenge.

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Before and After For a Garden Shower

Demolition Picture

Before Picture of Garden Shower


These customers had a sunken tub installed but wanted a shower installed instead. The customer removed the tub, but Queen of the Tile had to pour in about 8″ of concrete to raise the bottom of the floor.

This was a unique installation because of the raising of the floor and the large picture window on the main wall. The customers did an amazing job in their material selection, choosing multi-colored pebbles for the floor and face of the bench. On the walls, their selection was gorgeous vein-cut travertine planks that came in 3 different sizes. The planks were installed vertically, visually adding to the height of the shower walls. These materials were purchased from La Nova Tile, one of the best tile importers in Houston.

Beautiful Garden Shower Picture

Gorgeous Garden Shower Installation


Please take note of the shape of the shower bench. The window sill was incorporated into the bench for a very attractive and unique design. “Earth Glitter” granite was used to cap the bench, tying in the vanity top where it was also installed by Queen of the Tile. The granite slab was purchased from Master Tile/Colours of the Rainbow in Houston.

I commend these customers for having amazing taste and putting together all these materials for a beautiful bathroom remodel. Please visit the Queen of the Tile website for more examples and information of our projects.

Marble In The Kitchen

Currently, one of the latest designer trends is having marble installed for your kitchen countertops. This has always been discouraged due to the fact that marble is softer and more porous than some other materials like granite, Silestone or Cambria. But many designers and homeowners are doing it anyway.

Below is a photo of a beautiful kitchen we installed a few weeks ago. The island marble surrounding the sink is inlaid in a large butcher block piece of wood. This homeowner also chose to have a large piece of marble installed behind her stove as her backsplash. The look is simple and and very elegant.

Carrera White marble in the Kitchen

Carrera White Countertops

If you are tempted to use a marble in your kitchen, there a few things to remember. Marble is more porous and softer than some other choices. Even though it will be sealed after installation by Queen of the Tile, you will probably end up staining it at some point. Some foods like lemon juice or wine, and many cleaners are acidic. If left on your marble countertops, the acid will etch the surface. You may probably drag a large pot or cookie jar across it or drop a heavy item from the cupboard. You will end up “beating” it up a bit. These things are to be expected and will only add to the vibrance and character of your marble as the years pass.

As I like to tell my customers, your countertops will be like your favorite pair of leather shoes. The more you wear them, the more you love them as you break them in.

This kitchen remodel, along with the pantry, guest bath and laundry room were all done by Holliday Interiors of Spring, Tx.

Elegant Vanity in Powder Bath

Gorgeous Vanity with Marble Top

Do Renovations Pay Off?

According to Remodeling Magazine’s annual survey, only steel entry-door replacements can be counted on to boost home value enough to recoup 100 percent of costs. Of course, the value of a renovation doesn’t depend on the resale price alone, which makes deciding whether to do one more complicated than just crunching numbers.

“If the purchaser walks into a home and says, ‘Wow, look at this kitchen, honey, it’s so great,’ and if that home sells quicker, the seller still gets value from the renovation, whether they get the return on investment or not,” says Kit Hale, general manager of MKB Realtors in Roanoke, Va. The home might sell quicker, or the buyer might be so excited about a particular feature that they ignore other problems, such as water damage or much-needed maintenance elsewhere.

For anyone trying to decide whether to take on a home renovation, these five tips can help:

1. Think about what you, the current homeowner, want from your home.

Homeowners can get a lot of value out of renovations before they even put the home on the market. “If you have a dated kitchen or the stove doesn’t work, you can invest money now to glean some enjoyment as well as make the home more appealing when you sell it,” says Hale.

That’s what Erin Schaff and her boyfriend did when they decided to upgrade their two-bedroom condo in Victoria, Canada, several years ago. “It wasn’t in horrible shape, but we wanted to upgrade,” she says, so they spent about $10,000 replacing the baseboards, window trim, and floors. They also remodeled the bathrooms and upgraded the hardware. In addition, they put new cabinets, appliances, and granite countertops in the kitchen.

Schaff and her boyfriend enjoyed all those upgrades before deciding to sell their home earlier this year. She believes the renovations paid off, too. “Had we not renovated, we probably would have lost money as we had purchased the condo at the peak of the real estate boom. Instead, we turned a profit and covered most of the costs of purchasing the house we now live in,” she says.

To see the whole article, please follow this link.

Lammax! 1/8″ Thick Porcelain Sheets

1/8" Porcelain Sheet Countertop

The lastest in countertops

The latest trend in countertops is using a new product called Lammax, 1/8″ thick porcelain sheets. Lammax comes in 13 different colors (no patterns yet) and the sheets are 147″ x 48″. The sheets are very fragile until they are installed on a solid plywood or cement board substrate.

So far, Queen of the Tile has installed Lammax in a laundry room (including 4″ backsplashes) in a beach house on Boliver, some table tops at a Westheimer Plumbing showroom in Houston and the restaurant installation you see in the photo. Next week we will be installing more lammax in a tile showroom for La Nova Tile in Houston. I’ll be posting some of those pictures soon.

As far as cost compared to other materials like granite and silestone, lammax is comparable to a mid-range granite. If you are looking for a clean, contemporary look, you may want to come by Medusa Tile in Galveston, TX. We have a small vanity with an U/M sink hole in the showroom and all the colors available.

Granite or Silestone: That’s the Question

Silestone Countertops

Blanco-Zeus Silestone Kitchen

Customers ask me this all the time:  What material is better for kitchen countertops, granite or silestone?  Well, I’m a bit partial, but I will be as honest as I can on this subject.  They are both wonderful products and each have pros and cons.

Let’s talk about Silestone first.  Silestone is a man-made quartz product that comes in 2cm and 3 cm thicknesses and a variety of beautiful rich colors.  Silestone is made with anti-bacterial magic stuff put into all slabs, thus the need for sealing is not necessary.  Silestone is also a more flexible material, thus eliminating the need for plywood decking for support.  Although sometimes decking will still be required so the drawers do not interfere with the edge lamination.  Your builder or granite fabricator should be able to help you with this option.

Granite is a natural stone that is quarried from all over the world, sliced to 2 cm and 3cm thicknesses, polished and imported to our area.  All natural stone varies in its porosity, but all natural stone should be sealed.  This may sound scary, but it is not.  Sealing is included in all installations by Queen of the Tile.  This process should last 2 – 3 years depending on how you are cleaning your countertops.  I encourage all our customers to use a Stone Tech product called Revitalizer.  It is a cleaner and a sealer, so everytime you are using it, you are re-sealing your tops and should never have any problems.

Have you figured it out yet?  I believe that  whatever shortfalls granite or silestone  may have, these issues can be easily overcome one way or another.  So I tell my customers to pick the color that best suits their decor and just go with it!