Stone of The Month … White Ice

White Ice is quarried from a bedrock quarry in Espirito Santo, Brazil.
Having a white background with blue and gray movement, this granite
has beautiful, subtle character. This uniquely white granite is limited
in its availability, therefore inventory may be limited from time to time.
During the polishing process, an epoxy resin is applied to the surface
of the stone to fill in any natural pits, cracks or fissures that may exist.
This does not affect the durability, maintenance or beauty of the stone. It is possible for some of the more minute pits that are too small to effectively hold the resin, to reopen during other finishing stages. However, this will not detract from the overall quality or appearance of the stone. Due to the qualities of the stone, the slabs are book-matched; meaning slab one and slab two will be cut and polished to create a mirror image of each other. These are then kept in sequence, which allows for a consistent flow in pattern.

Shrimp, Fava Beans and Asparagus Salad….

Shrimp, Fava Beans and Asparagus Salad
Cooking time: 25 minutes, Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients
Salad
2 pounds fresh organic fava beans, shelled (about 1 cup)
1 pound thin organic asparagus, trimmed and cut diagonally into 2-inch pieces
1 pound medium shrimp (about 30), shelled and deveined
4 cups of mixed green salad
Dressing
1 teaspoon stone ground mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh organic basil leaves
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon organic plain yogurt

Preparation
In a small bowl whisk together yogurt, mustard and basil. Add oil in a stream, whisking until emulsified, and season with salt and pepper.

Have ready a large bowl of ice and cold water. In a large saucepan of boiling salted water cook favas until crisp-tender, about 2 1/2 minutes, and transfer to ice water to stop cooking. Drain favas in a colander and gently peel away outer skins. Transfer favas to a large serving bowl.

Have ready another large bowl of ice and cold water. Return water in pan to a boil and cook asparagus until crisp-tender, about 3 1/2 minutes. Transfer asparagus to ice water to stop cooking. Drain asparagus in colander and pat dry with paper towels.

Return water in pan to a boil and cook shrimp until just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer shrimp with slotted spoon to paper towels to cool.

In bowl with favas, toss together 1/3 cup dressing, asparagus, shrimp, mixed greens and salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle salad with some of the remaining dressing.

Six Top Mistakes … Homeowners Make When Remodeling Kitchens or Baths

Designer Lists Six Top Mistakes

Debra Shababy, kitchen & bath designer for over 20 years, has seen just about everything. To simplify the process and assure that each remodeling project gets off to the right start, Shababy has boiled down a potentially endless list of potential mistakes, into what she considers the top six that homeowners make when planning a remodeling project for the kitchen or bathroom.

One
Ignoring Traffic Patterns
“Homeowners are quick to buy the latest and greatest in products and forget about the chaotic times of the day….like getting ready in the AM sharing a bathroom or grabbing breakfast in a kitchen with an inefficient layout,” Shababy explained.
She recommends that the existing layout be viewed by a professional designer with renovation plannin experience and get some possible options on how to improve each room area.

Two
Not Updating Lighting
Beautiful stone surfaces as well as task areas need to be properly lit in order to function well for the homeowner. Shababy said that investigating LED lighting is worth the time, money and effort since they are so energy efficient. Different “hues” are available, but working with a qualified lighting designer with knowledge of the latest LED forms can make a big difference in a kitchen or bath.

Three
Not Venting Properly
In the kitchen, gas cook tops can be problematic if overhead venting is not addressed. Water, humidity and moisture issues are enemies of new cabinetry in bathrooms if there is little or no ventilation. “Also, venting in the kitchen can actually be a design feature!” Shababy remarked.

Four
New Countertops on Old Cabinets
“I actually think when A potential buyer comes into a home, they actually are disappointed when seeing brand new granite or marble on outdated cabinetry”, Shababy said. Gorgeous stone tops should warrant a homeowner’s attention towards replacing the cabinets with current style and color at the same time.

Five
Remodeling in the Wrong Order
“There are many people who want to remodel in phases because they know that remodeling a kitchen or bath is going to be expensive,” said Shababy. “Replacing a refrigerator because the old one finally broke down is understandable…but it may make sense to consult with a kitchen designer before making this expensive purchase to see how a new one may impact a future makeover. Since many homeowners are likely to make quick decisions on granite for their kitchen, other areas get attention much later, when in fact, countertops should be the last phase of a remodel…not the first.” Shababy went on to indicate that the best way to approach a project is to look at it as a “total package”…even if the purchases are in the future.

Six
Unrealistic Budget
“As a kitchen and bath designer, I always need to let my clients know that I respect their budget limits, and that there are ways to save money and time in every area. However, unless homeowners are willing to do much of the labor themselves, good budget numbers should reflect qualified trade labor wages. As far as choices of products, this is the best area to control one’s budget. Stone counter surfaces, cabinetry, and appliances differ widely in costs…so every purchase decision becomes really important”, Shababy explained.
Work with a professional who can guide you through the plethora of choices! Those customers who are proficient at researching online should still go over what they have found with their designer, to assure them of their final decisions. Shababy says that if remodeling plans are in your future, the kitchen and baths will give you some of the best returns on your investment…it may just make your house memorable and outstanding to a potential buyer, but for now she advises home owners to pursue the project and enjoy the results!

Avocado and Tomato Salad!!!!

Welcome warm summer days with a colorful display of farm-fresh produce. Avocados and tomatoes take center stage when drizzled with this vibrant, well-seasoned vinaigrette.

Estimated Times
Preparation Time: 15 mins
Cooling Time: 30 mins refrigerating
Servings: 6

Ingredients
1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro or parsley leaves
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 small jalapeños, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon MAGGI Granulated Chicken Flavor Bouillon
4 medium tomatoes
2 medium ripe avocados

Directions
COMBINE bell pepper, onion, cilantro, oil, lime juice, jalapeños, garlic and bouillon in medium bowl until well combined. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

SLICE tomatoes or cut into wedges. Peel and slice avocados. Arrange tomato and avocado slices alternately on top of each other on large platter; drizzle with prepared dressing.

Cooks tips: This dressing is a great accompaniment to sautéed, roasted and grilled meat or seafood. It is also wonderful as a dipping sauce for bread.
NUTRITION
Calories: 220 Calories from Fat: 170 Total Fat: 19 g
Saturated Fat: 2.5 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 500 mg
Carbohydrates: 13 g Dietary Fiber: 6 g Sugars: 4 g
Protein: 3 g Vitamin A 35% Vitamin C 90%
Calcium 4% Iron 6%

Exotic Stones…

Something Unique… For Customers who wants something Diferent Exotic Selection of Natural Stone

 One of the things very alluring about natural stones, such as marble and granite, is that you can travel the world and never find two pieces exactly alike. That literally makes your stone installation one of a kind. While less than 100 granite and marble varieties generally make up the color pallet from which U.S. consumers select their kitchen and bath stones, there are literally thousands of potential stone varieties when you parlay color and graining.
If you are looking for stones that are truly unique and generally pretty pricey, exotic stones could fill the bill.
Exotic can be used to describe a multitude of different stones, depending upon the customer, Some clients want the most dramatic, unusual and expensive stone, and to satisfy these people is a talent help to found what they really wants…. we always enjoy it! . These stones are easily identified as exotic by their captivating opulence and by their high price tag.Exotic Kitchen
When other clients are thinking exotic, they have in a very unique selection of common marble or granite in mind. But, the one-of-a-kind appearance is exotic and appealing because it fits a design or sometimes the stone just ‘speaks’ to a client.
Sometimes these stones are rather common in the country where they are quarried, but in our market these stones have yet to make much of an appearance. Some of the rocks can be subtle and elegant and when the job is finished and the project is both unique as well as a striking success, the stone is every bit deserving of the description ‘exotic.’
The Quarries says “Materials can become exotic if they become less abundant. A major factor in determining the price is how rare the stone is. Excellent exotic stones can range in price from $100 to $400 per square foot, but can be worth every penny of it in terms of the finished product.”
The countries that produce the most exotic stones include Madagascar, The Ukraine, Russia, Finland, Pakistan, Brazil, Ireland, Australia, Sri Lanka and Italy.
For us is very important that when you pick us as your right fabricator we are going to helping you as selecting the right stone.
“Working exotic stones can be difficult,” but we always are going to let you know if is possible make your dream come true. Each stone will behave differently and the learning curve can be frustrating and expensive to overcome.
We as your profesionalism fabricators will typically realize the unique characteristics of a stone and then have the experience necessary to research and learn before beginning the job.

Recipe… Tilapia with Green Beans

Ingredients
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 6-ounce tilapia fillets
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 pound thin green beans or haricots verts
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
Juice of 1 lemon
Directions
Combine the flour, oregano and parsley in a shallow dish. Season with salt and pepper.

Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Dredge the fish in the flour mixture, shaking off the excess. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in the skillet, then add 2 fillets and cook until golden brown on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Flip and cook through, 1 to 2 more minutes. Transfer to a plate and keep warm. Repeat with the remaining 2 fillets.

Add the green beans and garlic to the skillet and cook about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then add the tomatoes and cook until just softened, about 1 more minute. Stir in the lemon juice and 1/4 cup water, then cover and cook until the beans are tender, about 3 more minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon butter until just melted.

Divide the fish and vegetables among plates. Garnish with oregano.

kitchen Lighting Design

As with all aspects of interior design, the design only works to it’s potential if we can see it! To be able to see the kitchen design, we require well thought out kitchen lighting design.

 Lighting design always sounds like a difficult task, but broken down into small areas of design it becomes manageable for the beginner designer or the home decorator. There are basically four types of lighting that should be considered when planning lighting design for your kitchen. To maintain the look and slip resistance of the granite, it is important to use a high quality, invisible impregnating sealer.

These four types of lighting are ambient lighting, decorative lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting.

Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting is the general light or overall illumination of the kitchen space. It is often achieved with simple recessed down lights using incandescent or fluorescent lamps which provide a basic glare free general light.

Decorative Lighting

As a designer this is your show piece lighting in the kitchen. It is used more for decorative purposes than functional. This is often achieved by using pendant lights, chandeliers or decorative fittings (depending on the style of kitchen) over kitchen islands, breakfast bars, or kitchen tables.

Task Lighting

Task lighting is easy to remember as it entails creating adequate light to carry out tasks in the kitchen, usually on the kitchen counter and other related work areas. This is often achieved by using under cabinet lighting to illuminate the counter or bench top and reduce shadows from the other forms of lighting used. The fittings are often simple fluorescent tube fittings as they are not seen, or if there isn’t any overhead cabinetry, a simple bulkhead with small recessed halogen cabinet fittings work well also.

Accent Lighting

This is also an easy type of lighting to remember as it simply means to highlight or accent a feature. This is often achieved by using small halogen spot lights, depending on the style of kitchen, these can be decorative fittings and used as a feature or simple recessed adjustable down lights. They are generally used to focus light on cabinetry features, artwork, display cabinetry or overhead features like hanging pot racks.

Radiation in granite is NOT DANGEROUS!!!

NATURAL STONE COUNTERTOPS AND RADON
Numerous scientific studies conclude that there are two ways in which countertops, tiles and other finishes made of granite might emit any level of radiation.
The first is by the release of tiny amounts of the radioactive gas, radon. The second is by direct radiation from the surface itself to the homeowner.

In both cases, the radiation emitted is from the same process – natural radioactive decay of one element into another. Compared to other radiation sources in the home and outside, the risk to the homeowner from radioactivity or radon gas emitted from a granite countertop or tiles is practically non-existent.

The U.S. EPA ( reports: “Based on existing studies, most types of granite used in countertops and other aspects of home construction are not typically known to be major contributors of radiation and radon in the average home.”

The Florida Department of Health (DOH) goes a bit further with a recent statement: “Staff from the Florida Department of Health’s Bureau of Radiation Control and from DOH’s Radon Program have had the opportunity over the years to survey various granite samples for gamma emissions, including a few granite counter tops, and have yet to find granite thought to be a significant gamma radiation hazard.

The term ‘significant’ is used because there was measurable gamma radiation from the granite as there is Always around us, just not at level of concern.
Radon gas occurs naturally in the environment and is present in outdoor and indoor air throughout the world. Radium, which is the source of radon gas, is a natural and minor constituent of many common building materials such as concrete, brick, gypsum, and natural stone. Granite and other stones that are a popular choice for countertops and other decorative features in homes have been evaluated extensively. Over 500 measurements of radon emissions from granite have been published in the peer reviewed scientific literature. This information provides a reasonable basis for preliminary estimates of typical and upper bound levels of radon in indoor air of homes associated with emissions from natural stone countertops.

The average and maximum radon concentrations estimated from these data to result from emissions by natural stone are low in comparison to relevant benchmarks of radon exposure. The radon concentration estimated as a result of average radon emissions from natural stone reported in the scientific literature is approximately:

  

 Radon Emissions from Stone Countertops

The amount of radon relased from a Natural Stone Countertops in a home depends on the surface area of counterop in the home and the amount of radon released per unit area of stone. Sufficient information is available to derive reasonable estimates for both of those parameters.

An average kitchen with stone counteertops has a working surface area of approximately 50 sq ft according to a large sample of sales data provided to Environmental Health & Engineering, Inc. By the Marble Institute of America, while a typical bathroom installation is approximately 18 ft2 of stone.

Accounting for both the kitchen and bath, the underside face of the countert, and the thickness of the stone a typical installation of stone countertop includes a total suface area of approximately 140 sq ft. To produce the most health protective estimates, we assume that the entire surface area is open to the room and contributing radon to the indoor air.

Over 500 measurements of radon released from granite and marble have been reported in peer reviewed articles published in the leading scientific journals that focus on radiation and health.  1-17 stones included in those studies were mined from quarries throughout the world and reflect the diversity of stones in the US market.  Radon emissions, sometimes called the exhalation rate, are expressed as the amount of radioactivity released per sq ft of stone per hour ( pCi ft-2 h-1 ) .

 

 

 The Truth About Granite and Radon/Radiation – UPDATED VIDEO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harmonize the Elements of Your Design

You have just discovered the perfect stone slab, its dramatic veining and vibrant color tones blend precisely to make that daring statement you’ve been after. As a rule of thumb, when the countertop is exceptionally striking and functions as one of the kitchen’s primary focal points, the splash takes a backseat as a complementary element. Avoiding the use of intricate patterns and intense colors within the backsplash adjoining a heavily veined countertop is generally a good idea, but going subtle doesn’t have to mean boring!! By seeking out a single color tone contained within the countertop material itself and transferring it onto the backsplash through the use of a decorative insert or border, you can create a design that will marry the two nicely. On the other hand if your desire  is to make the backsplash a primary focal point in the space, be sure your tone down the countertop as to keep things in balance.

PREDICTIONS FOR 2011’S COLORS OF THE YEAR

Coral – Perfectly paired  with blue and golds, coral adds warmth to any room particularly as an unexpected accent in a bathroom

Green – Green’s popularity soared in 2010, and 2011 will be just as kind to the versatile color, which works in just about any room in the house.

Yellow – Influenced by Mayan culture and folktales, sunstone gold will be one  of the many Native American, Influences on color next year. Yellow adds a nice burst of color to the home but can be too bold for some. A lighter shade may work for the color shy.

Gray –  Gray will be a go-to color in the coming months because it complements any other color. Gray even goes with gray

Blue –  Blue has a split personality. It can trigger feeling of sadness ( hence the phrase “ feeling blue “ ), but it’s also the most relaxing color. Icy Blue is set to be the dominant shade in 2011.

Red-Cast Blue –  red cast blue looks like a very deep royal purple, with red and blue undertones, Adding a bit of drama to everyday decors, the color is set to shine next year.

After the Holidays is a great a time to clean and shine your granite counter tops… Time to Re– Seal!!!

To maintain the look and slip resistance of the granite, it is important to use a high quality, invisible impregnating sealer. Dry-Treat impregnating sealers are safe and suitable to seal granite surfaces of all types – from wall cladding to floors, outdoors and in, residential and high traffic commercial.

Tips for  Removing Stains

Most stains can be removed using standard household products. If the stain is particularly difficult to handle, a commercial stain remover can be used. Stains of every kind can affect tiles and grout joints. The lists that follows provides some of the most common staining problems and potential solutions. Removers should never be mixed together as harmful by-products may result.

Precautions: 

 With any harsh cleaning product (acidic or alkaline), test the product on a small area of the surface, at least 24 hours beforehand, to ensure it won’t discolor or adversely affect the surface. Avoid using acidic substances on calcite based stone, including marble, limestone and travertine – these will be damaged immediately on contact with acids. After using an acidic cleaner, the surface should be neutralised with a mild alkaline solution – some baking soda or detergent dissolved in water should do the trick, then rinsed thoroughly with clean water and left to dry before attempting to seal., our invisible, breathe-able impregnating sealer will make a deep water and oil-repellent barrier within the surface which will permanently solve this problem and make it easier to clean and maintain the surface.

 

 

 PROBLEM      –        REMOVER(S)

 

 

 Blood  Baking soda, bleach, hydrogen peroxide

 

 

 Chewing gum  Ice cubes, paint remover

 

 

 Coffee  Baking soda, bleach, household cleaners, hydrogen peroxide

 

 

 Dyes & Animal Droppings  Bleach

 

 

 Fats    Detergent, sal soda

 

 

 Fruit juices  Baking soda, bleach, household cleaners, hydrogen peroxide, oxalic acid

 

 

 Grease  Detergent, plaster of paris, sal soda

 

 

 Ink  Baking soda, bleach

 

 

 Iodine  Ammonia

 

 

 Lipstick  Bleach, household cleaners, hydrogen peroxide

 

 

 Mildew  Ammonia, baking soda, bleach

 

 

 Motor oil  Plaster of paris

 

 

 Mustard Bleach

 

 

 Nail polish Bleach, nail polish remover

 

 

 Paint Paint remover

 

 

 Rust  Baking soda, scouring powders

 

 

 Tar  Ice cubes, paint remover

 

 

 Tea  Bleach, household cleaners, hydrogen peroxide

 

 

 Tough stains  Oxalic acid

 

 

 Vegetable oil  Baking soda, detergent

 

 

 Water/mineral stains  White vinegar

 

 

 Wax  Ice cubes, paint remover

 

 

 Wet paper  Bleach

 

 

 Wine  Baking soda