We recently had a chance to sit down with Kimberly Hubert-Mejia, Associate ASID | Regional Residential Sales Manager at Architectural Ceramics to see what’s new, what’s trending in tile and stone, and to tap into her expertise to help you make the best selections for your luxury home.
Established in 1983, this family-owned and operated company has been deemed by Washingtonian magazine “where the architects and designers shop,” and we certainly agree! Their newest location is opening on Rockville Pike mid-December.
1. What are the latest luxury trends in residential homes?
We are seeing a focus on outdoor living/entertaining areas, at-home gyms, home offices, and chef-inspired kitchens. Natural stone will always remain a constant in the luxury category of design. However, porcelain slabs are making a huge impact in the luxury market. They can be used in almost every application – even exterior facades and countertops. Yes, countertops. The slabs that are available for book matching are amazing – think marble book matched fireplace accent walls. The ultimate in luxury with no maintenance.
2. What’s your favorite material for countertops and why?
Porcelain – There are patterns and colors for everyone. You know what you are going to get which means everyone is happy from selection and design to installation. You can count on the consistency, color, veining, and beauty. Let’s not forget it is non-porous which helps to maintain a sanitary space, stain-resistant, and scratch/heat resistant – extremely durable.
3. What mistakes do homeowners most often make when updating their kitchens and baths?
Not allowing for enough time for material selection, shipping, and delivery. While there are gorgeous materials in-stock and available the next day, what if you fall in love with something that is a special order that takes a few weeks to come in and the contractor is ready to go now? Getting your material ordered in advance will allow you to have what you fell in love with during the design process, allow for a smooth project and not settling! (and less stress!)
4. What’s the best way to grout tile?
Advice on grouting -When it comes to grout … using the right type of grout for the type of tile you selected is key. There are different types of grouts and some will damage your tile if not chosen carefully. There are also tricks like using grout release on your tiles prior to grouting to help make clean up a breeze and cut down on labor. It is also important to seal porous tiles and especially crackle glaze tiles prior to grouting which allows for grout to be wiped off of the tiles without getting caught in the cracks and texture which will alter the look and color of your tile.
5. What’s your favorite application for tile that most homeowners don’t think of?
Face of islands and bars, accent walls behind mirrors in baths, headboards and also exterior facades…I couldn’t pick just one. #ilovetile
6. How has the use of marble changed over the years?
While the applications may not have changed over the years; we still see it in floors, walls, countertops, mosaics and such. I believe the biggest change I have seen is the increase of availability and affordability. There are different types of marbles that can fit into many budgets. From field tiles, accents in mosaics to slabs in carrara to calacatta, if you want the beauty of marble in your home…it can be yours in some way shape or form.
7. What’s one of your favorite projects and why?
Ritz Carlton St. Thomas – The beauty, magnitude and respect for the property, everyone involved and the project itself. We couldn’t have asked for a more rewarding project!
Aspire House 2020 – Aspire House allows us to work with designers from all over to create an amazing home. We are always honored to be able to participate and be a part of the team.
The portfolio page on our site features so many wonderful projects. There’s a special place in our hearts for all of them!
8. How best to mix patterns and scale?
Mixing scale and patterns is the same with tile as it is with other textiles. You want to select patterns of varying size and keep it to 2-3 patterns in a space. The colors in the patterns play a large role as well. Keeping the colors in the same family will allow for the patterns to play on texture and depth which creates subtle accents within the pattern variance.
9. We see terrazzo often used in garages and high traffic areas. When do you recommend it?
From flooring and furniture inlays to countertops and backsplashes, we are only limited by our imaginations. It truly is becoming more popular in residential settings especially those with a contemporary flair. Selecting the right type of terrazzo for your area is key.
10. What’s your favorite color scheme for a spa bath?
You have caught me on the cusp of change. I have always loved creating darker spa baths full of drama using dark navy, charcoal and an array of browns with warmer accents; channeling my inner nature lover. Now here comes that change – while still preferring the deeper, rich colors I like to invoke a more industrial feel. Pulling in more mixed metals, patinated coppers and brass and glass – a few candles and bottle of wine, yes please!