Neil deGrasse Tyson: Trump’s anti-science budget will make America stupid again

March 21, 2017 by  
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President Donald Trump ’s proposed budget eviscerates government funding for basic scientific research and development, taking a sledge hammer to education, health and environmental protection. In a series of Tweets posted on Sunday, astrophysicist and TV host Neil deGrasse Tyson indirectly took on Trump’s budget , writing that making America great won’t happen until we make America smart again by increasing government funding, not by ignoring the scientific consensus on man-made global warming and slashing financial support for important programs that improve the quality of life for American citizens and ensure a livable world. https://twitter.com/neiltyson/status/843510463392616448 https://twitter.com/neiltyson/status/843513652611231744 https://twitter.com/neiltyson/status/843516171748069376 https://twitter.com/neiltyson/status/843518683053940736 https://twitter.com/neiltyson/status/843521200278069248 https://twitter.com/neiltyson/status/843523716977905664 https://twitter.com/neiltyson/status/843525981570662400 https://twitter.com/neiltyson/status/843530014104592384 Trump’s budget boosts Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs while proposing deep cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency (31.4%), Health and Human Services (16.2%), the State Department (28.7%), Commerce (15.7%), Transportation (12.7%), Labor (20.7%), Education (13.5%), Interior (11.7%), Agriculture (20.7%) and Housing and Urban Development (13.2%). Related: Trump team claims funding climate change is “a waste of your money” The budget would also eliminate or zero out programs including Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), which funds clean energy research; Global Climate Change Initiative; Great Lakes Restoration Initiative; Chesapeake Bay funding; National Endowment for the Arts; National Endowment for the Humanities; NASA’s Office of Education; and TIGER transportation grants, a program included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 that funds innovative transit projects. Tyson isn’t the only scientist taking action against Trump’s war on science. The March for Science  is scheduled for Earth Day, April 22nd in Washington, D.C. and cities across the country. The mission statement posted on the March for Science website calls for “robustly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity. We unite as a diverse, nonpartisan group to call for science that upholds the common good and for political leaders and policy makers to enact evidence based policies in the public interest.” Via Huffington Post Image 1 , 2 via Wikimedia

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Neil deGrasse Tyson: Trump’s anti-science budget will make America stupid again

ScottWhitbyStudio transforms a shipping container into a pop-up cinema

March 21, 2017 by  
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We’ve seen shipping containers repurposed into everything from homes to museums , but ScottWhitbyStudio’s recent cargotecture creation marks the first pop-up cinema that we’ve heard of. The London-based architecture and creative consultancy converted a single container into Caution Cinema, an immersive and funky movie theater as part of the ‘Beyond Zero’ health and safety campaign. The mobile cinema plays instructional videos to promote vital dockside safety information to port employees up and down the country. Working together with a major UK port operator, ScottWhitbyStudio was asked to create an engaging pop-up cinema that provided an immersive viewing experience that would block out the hectic and noisy port surroundings. In choosing the commonly found shipping container as the cinema structure, the designers introduced an element of surprise by dramatically transforming the windowless container interior into a “dark and mysterious realm, which challenged expectations.” Attendees to the Caution Cinema enter via a disorienting zigzagging path to the cinema, where all external light and sound are blocked out. Related: The epic Creative Co-Op Is a Multi-faceted Film Studio Made from Shipping Containers “Using this multi-sensory experience, visitors are forced to take extra care and to proceed with caution—as promoted by the safety campaign,” write the architects. “It is hoped that the memory of this multi-sensory experience and intervention will be embed[ded] in the user’s memory for a long time to come.” All internal surfaces, from the entrance path to the cinema and seating, are clad in over a thousand pyramidal acoustic foam pieces laid out in a checkered pattern of black, blue, and red. The resilient foam pyramids create a soundless chamber so that attendees can focus on the video presentation without external distraction. + ScottWhitbyStudio Images via ScottWhitbyStudio © Osman Marfo-Gyasi

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ScottWhitbyStudio transforms a shipping container into a pop-up cinema

Repurposed shipping containers make a bold statement at the National Theater Company of Korea

March 1, 2017 by  
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Seoul’s trendy mall made of shipping containers isn’t the only place you’ll see cargotecture in the city. Urbantainer , the same local firm behind the world’s largest cargotecture mall Common Ground , recently completed an extension for the National Theater Company of Korea , one of the nation’s flagship theater companies based in the capital. The new visitor area comprises a series of red shipping containers skillfully transformed into a contemporary and functional space that still preserves an industrial character. The National Theater Company of Korea (NTCK) commissioned Urbantainer to create a visitor area that would serve as a social space within the grounds. To integrate the new space with the existing buildings, the designers aligned the containers with the building axis and painted them the same shade of red as the NTCK logo. “While highlighting the modular form of containers, the design is deliberately held light and maintains a balance with existing features and objects such as a former oil station and the grass square,” writes Urbantainer. Related: World’s largest shipping container shopping mall pops up in Seoul Although the cargotecture building looks like it’s made up of separate containers stacked together, many of the container walls were removed to create an interior with a 12-meter-long column-less space to accommodate large gatherings. High ceilings, access to natural light, and the light color palette give the interior a spacious and open feel. The flexible open-plan area can be manipulated with partitions and moving walls to allow for a variety of functions. + Urbantainer Images © Kyungsub Shin

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Repurposed shipping containers make a bold statement at the National Theater Company of Korea

Mid-century modernism and sustainable design meet in two desert homes

February 28, 2017 by  
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Two new residences in Palm Springs by o2 Architecture  combine the best of mid-century modernism  and 21st-century sustainable design. The team brought to life an unbuilt project by Arizona modernist architect Al Beadle designed in 1970s, while combining mid-century modernism and sustainable design in the o2 House, located just a few steps away. The two structures, each in its own way, fit into the rocky desert landscape of Arizona . Originally named Palisades Dos, the Beadle House is built primarily out of steel, concrete and glass. Originally designed by modernist architect Al Beadle, the house stays true to the late architect’s meticulous drawings and schematics. Lance O’Donnell of o2 Architecture worked with Mike Yankovich of local design-build firm Better Built to bring Beadle’s work to the modernist community of Palm Springs. The house features a large, gravity-defying second floor that cantilevers over the desert landscape. Related: Midcentury modern ranch is renovated into a spacious energy-efficient home The second building, o2 House, is a 3,664-square-foot sprawling residence that celebrates mid-century modernism and marries it with contemporary sustainable design practices. Natural ventilation and a solar energy system complement the interior design. Both houses were part of the architect’s Miele Chino Canyon Project. + o2 Architecture + Better Built Via Architizer

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Mid-century modernism and sustainable design meet in two desert homes

Beautiful cabin pops up in ten days with minimal landscape disturbance

February 20, 2017 by  
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BIO Architects recently completed a modern modular cabin, proving yet again how beautiful homes can be affordable with the help of prefabrication . Commissioned by a young couple that desired a cost-effective home on the lake, the prefabricated cabin is the latest iteration in the Russian firm’s line of modular Dubldom homes. The dwelling, located at Pirogovo Lake in the suburbs of Moscow, was installed in roughly ten days with minimal site impact. The lakeside cabin, named DublDom 2.110, is the client’s second Dubldom commission following BIO Architects’ completion of a compact 40-square-meter Dubldom house in 2015. Since none of the firm’s standard prefabricated models were suitable for the site, the architects created a custom design that still retained the Dubldom’s iconic gabled shape and full-height glazing . To keep costs at a minimum, the new 185-square-meter build was constructed with natural and affordable materials that help blend the home into the forested environment. “Most of the individual decisions are based on a simple technology and inexpensive materials, so we managed to follow one of the basic principles of DublDom company—quality of architecture at an affordable pricing,” wrote BIO Architects. “The front facade with the maximum number of glazing was dictated by location of the house on the site. All the technical and utility rooms are located along the rear facade, and the children’s room, office, main entrance and the living room with fireplace look at the site with a wonderful view on the water.” Related: Affordable DublDom prefab home pops up in just one week The modules were prefabricated in Kazan and were delivered with the interior trim, utilities, furniture, and electrical equipment pre-installed. Installation on-site took roughly ten days to complete. + BIO Architects

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Frank Lloyd Wright’s unbuilt Trinity Chapel brought to life in vivid renderings

February 9, 2017 by  
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It goes without saying that Frank Lloyd Wright has a large and loyal following, but Spanish architect David Romero has taken his admiration for the famed architect to new, visual levels. Romero became enamored with Wright’s design for the unbuilt Trinity Chapel, and took it upon himself to create detailed color renderings of how the building might have looked today if the project had been realized. Frank Lloyd Wright designed Trinity Chapel in 1958 for the University of Oklahoma, but due to a misunderstanding with his client, the project was never built. Almost 60 years later, Romero used Wright’s original designs as a guide to imagine how the project would have looked if it had been finished. Thanks to modeling programs AutoCad, 3ds Max, and Vray, he was able to create the vivid renderings of the church design , complete with all of its complicated angles and dimensions. Related: Frank Lloyd Wright beach house listed on Airbnb for under $150 per night Romero’s version of the chapel features red zigzag walkways leading up to the building, which has a green shingle spire and a central window of stained-glass panels. Just outside the entrance comprises a soothing water pond with floating greenery. On the interior, Romero’s amazing work captures the color reflected by the stained glass windows. He even went so far as to furnish the chapel with wooden pews and blue cushions around the central wooden pulpit. Romero says he fell in love with this chapel because of its “suggestive design” and tried to stay true Wright’s style as much as possible,”I have had to speculate in some details that were not yet designed by Wright as the design of the stained glass, the pulpit or the large pond, but always thinking of what Wright would have done if he had had the opportunity to continue his assignment.” + David Romero Via Curbed Images via David Romero

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Frank Lloyd Wright’s unbuilt Trinity Chapel brought to life in vivid renderings

You could win this beautiful organic farm with your best 200-word essay

February 9, 2017 by  
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Have you always dreamed of running a little organic farm , but could never afford land prices? Norma Burns, owner of Bluebird Hill Farm in North Carolina , is planning to give her 12.88 acre farm away for next to nothing. Aspiring homesteaders need only submit a $300 entry fee, fill out a brief entry form with their resumes, and pen a 200-word essay titled “Why We Want to Own and Operate Bluebird Hill Farm.” Burns, an architect and farmer, wants to help out a couple embarking on the farming lifestyle by giving away the land she’s owned for nearly 20 years. She said , “I’m looking for a like-minded couple who have experience and training in organic farming and are willing and able to put in the long days and hard work that farming requires. The only thing they don’t have is an actual farm. I want to make it possible for these new farmers to get started.” She’ll be moving on to urban life in Raleigh, but wants to leave her farm to a couple who will cultivate and love it. Related: How to get off the grid and live rent-free So she started the Bluebird Hill Farm Essay Contest . The winners will receive the title to the farm, which is certified organic by the United States Department of Agriculture and worth around $450,000. Those interested can check out pictures of the farm house here . The two-bedroom home features a dining room with antique furniture, kitchen with tons of storage, light-filled day room, what Burns calls an evening room, laundry closet, and front porch. The barn is around 200-years-old , according to Burns, and also houses a garden room and shop. There’s a chicken coop, distiller, greenhouse, and farm cat on the property too. If you have questions, Burns requests you reach out to her through the farm’s Facebook page . Entries must be submitted by mail to Essay Contest, P.O. Box 851, Siler City, NC, 27344, USA. The contest ends June 1, 2017, and winners will be announced around June 30, 2017. + Bluebird Hill Farm Essay Contest + Bluebird Hill Farm Facebook Via The Charlotte Observer Images via Bluebird Hill Farm Facebook

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Sandia solar glitter can fit into and power devices of any size or shape

February 9, 2017 by  
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Small, lightweight, flexible: these attributes when applied to solar cells hint at a far-off clean-powered future to come. But Sandia National Laboratories is now one step closer to seeing the tiny bendy solar cells they’ve developed, which they call solar glitter, on the market. These energy-generating cells could easily be integrated in small gadgets like drones , satellites , or smartphones. Former Sandia scientist Murat Okandan started his own company, mPower Technology, Inc. , and recently signed a licensing agreement with Sandia for microsystems enabled photovoltaics (MEPV), the technology that makes solar glitter possible. Okandan described the moment as a key milestone, saying, “It is an extremely exciting time in the solar industry with the upcoming critical, rapid change in the worldwide energy infrastructure .” Related: Amazing Glitter-Sized Photovoltaic Cells Look Like Golden Snowflakes MEPV draws on microdesign and microfabrication techniques to create the tiny solar cells that are then are released into a solution much like printing ink. The mix is then printed onto an inexpensive material. mPower will commercialize MEPV as Dragon SCALEs, which Sandia says will “fit into and power devices or sensors of any shape or size.” Dragon SCALEs fold like paper for easy transportation, and could be utilized as portable energy generators. They could be installed more rapidly and cheaply than typical solar power systems. Okandan said Dragon SCALEs are more reliable, with lower energy costs, than the silicon photovoltaic (PV) cells common today. In a statement he said, “The key limitation to silicon is that if you bend and flex it, it will crack and shatter. Our technology makes it virtually unbreakable while keeping all the benefits of high efficiency, high reliability silicon PV. It allows us to integrate PV in ways that weren’t possible before, such as in flexible materials, and deploy it faster in lighter-weight, larger-area modules.” Via Treehugger Images via Randy Montoya/Sandia National Laboratories and Sandia National Laboratories

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Sandia solar glitter can fit into and power devices of any size or shape

This train station which doubles as city hall in Sweden will function as an "urban living room"

February 2, 2017 by  
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The new station and city hall in the southern Swedish city of Växjö is an urban living room that gathers several functions under one striking, prismatic roof. White Arkitekter ‘s winning proposal for an anonymous competition, the building combines an expressive form with accessibility, and provides a series of public spaces for citizens, visitors and employees. The 150,000-square-foot wooden structure is topped with an elegant, sloping roof that ensures lower energy consumption . The three main entrances connect these spaces to the city and lead to a central space that functions as a public living room with a tourist office, exhibition area, waiting room, cafés and shops, meeting rooms  for various occasions and a modern workplace for municipal employees. While glass dominates the exterior of the building, the interior prominently features wood. Related: White Arkitekter wins bid to design Sweden’s tallest timber building “Our goal has been to create a building at the forefront of development in sustainable construction as well as to achieve the highest Swedish environment certification,” said Klara Frosterud, Lead Architect at White Arkitekter. “People are placed at the heart of this building which will be socially, economically and ecologically sustainable over time,” she added. + White Arkitekter Via World Architecture News Images by Tegmark

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This train station which doubles as city hall in Sweden will function as an "urban living room"

15 stunning examples of interior design using natural stone

January 31, 2017 by  
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Successful interior design creates aesthetically pleasing and healthy indoor environments that enhance how we live, work, and play. Since many of us spend the majority of our time indoors, it is important that the spaces we inhabit support health, productivity and happiness. From uber-renewable bamboo , to hard woods that develop rich patinas over time, it is no secret that nature produces some of the most beautiful building materials around. But out of all of natural building materials available on our planet, time has proven stone to be the most resilient, luxurious, and longest-lasting of them all. Its ability to resist rot, mold, extreme temperatures and water damage, coupled with a low need for maintenance, makes natural stone a great choice throughout the home. Designers and homeowners often choose stone for flooring and walls due to its durability and resistance to wear and tear, but nowhere is natural stone more popular than in kitchens and bathrooms, where its moisture-resisting properties really shine . For those of you who are interested in the design possibilities of natural stone, here are fifteen examples of stunning interior design using natural stone. Why natural stone is an ideal material for bathrooms When it comes to interior design, stone is a perennially popular finish material – especially in bathrooms and kitchens. Natural stone such as marble and granite connote luxury and opulence in an interior space, and it is easy to see why. Not only are these materials more expensive than your average vinyl countertop or vinyl floor, but stone is also much more durable , water-resistant and long-lasting than any synthetic manmade building material. In the wettest room in the home this water-resistance matters. Because of this, the bathroom is the most-likely room in the house to find marble, slate or other types of natural stone. Here are some beautiful examples of bathrooms using natural stone: photo courtesy of MSI Modern marble makes this bathroom shine From the Taj Mahal to the Washington Monument, marble has always been a popular building material due to its wide availability and durability. This modern and minimalist bathroom (above) makes the most of white Arabescto Carrara marble (also known as “Chinese White” and “White Carrara”), which typically exhibits white and grey coloring in medium variation. This marble isn’t too high-contrast or showy, therefore it is neutral as a background color, allowing the homeowners to have fun with their Chevron Pattern White Quarry marble tiles around the bathtub. These beige-colored marble tiles cut into a chevron pattern lend a cool geometric look to the tub that spices up the minimalist bathroom just a bit and gives it more personality. Spa-like bathroom mixes wood and stone to create zen tranquility This gorgeous bathroom combines rich tropical wood with different textures of grey stone to create a warm, soothing ambiance.  The shower floor and backsplash is lined with Ostrich Grey Quartzite tiles from India which are durable, water-resistant and easy-to-clean, making this shower hassle-free as well as rejuvenating. photo courtesy of MSI The modern, freestanding bathtub next to the shower sits on a textured floor of Black Marble Pebbles .  These pebbles look like river stones, but are polished black marble, so extremely durable and water resistant  The varied, bumpy texture of the pebbles on bare feet stimulates the nervous system and is purportedly good for health , if you subscribe to Asian medicine philosophies (see Chinese reflexology path ). It’s like a massage or acupressure for the feet! Imagine stepping out of the tub on to this textured pebble floor. photo courtesy of Stoneshop Luxurious marble bathroom channels old-fashion opulence Reputed to be Michelangelo’s favorite stone to work with and one of the most sought after natural stones around, calacatta marble carries a certain prestige and emotional weight that few other natural stones rival. This elegant bathroom in a Moorestown, NJ mansion utilizes calacatta marble for flooring, backsplash, shower and vanity countertops, creating a sense of timeless grandeur. An elaborately inlaid floor with gorgeous water-jet marble tile pattern looks a bit like reflections off a surface of water, and creates a feeling of organic flow. photo courtesy of MSI Black slate creates a nature-inspired bathroom retreat This open-plan bathroom embraces three different types of natural stone to create a nature-inspired respite for its homeowners. The shower wall and floor tiles are made of smooth, unglazed Montauk Black slate , which creates an tranquil backdrop for the shower’s water stream. With waterproof and slip-resistant qualities, slate is an ideal material for bathroom applications, and creates a sense of calm and grounding. By sticking with a consistent dark-gray color pallet, eye-catching textures come to play without being overwhelming. Watertight thin veneer black marble covers a large expanse of the bathroom wall and creates a rippled effect reminiscent of a waterfall. Both planes meet loose river stones that soften the look on the bathroom floor, evoking a natural river bed. photo courtesy of MSI Classic marble tiles exude elegance This charming bathroom utilizes 2-inch  hexagonal Telaio marble tiles for the vanity backsplash. The intricate geometric Telaio tiles provide a refreshing twist to a traditional mosaic pattern, with white honed marble and mini gray accents. This preset mosaic looks great on walls but is durable enough for countertops and floors as well. photo courtesy of MSI Laid-back limestone channels beachy vibe Limestone is a unique natural stone that actually improves with age. Uniformly textured and even in color, this pleasantly beige stone weathers evenly over time and even develops a patina that is described as antique, old-world, or comfortable. Occasionally it contains pieces of fossils or seashells, which only add to its character. Due to its ability to scratch and stain, limestone is not an optimal choice for kitchens, but it holds up well against water, making it the perfect material for bathroom floors, showers, or tubs. This gorgeous bathroom embraces a beachy vibe with an entire coastal sand limestone wall and a backsplash made of eye-catching hexagon tiles. photo courtesy of Lundhs Using stone in the kitchen Stone is widely used for kitchen countertops, due to durability, water resistance, and imperviousness to scratching, bacteria and food stains.  Popular countertop choices include granite, marble, quartzite and Lundhs Larvikite.  Some kitchen countertops – like the Lundhs Emerald (shown above) are so scratch and stain-resistant that you can forgo cutting boards and do your chopping right on the stone. photo courtesy of MSI Form follows function in modern granite kitchen There’s a reason granite is the most popular choice for kitchen countertops. It’s easy to clean, durable, and scratch resistant, but economical and available in a wide range of colors and patterns. This snowfall granite countertop adds an unexpected pop to an otherwise minimalist kitchen, making it eye-catching yet still understated. Snowfall granite is distinctive for its speckled, snowfall-like markings, which come in black, charcoal, grey and beige. photo courtesy of Stoneshop Quartzite countertop exemplifies elegance and practicality Any successful cook will tell you that having a sturdy, accessible, and fuss-free counter space is key to getting the job done. With constant and repeated exposure to sharp utensils, extreme temperatures, mechanical force, and spills, kitchen countertops take a beating that is guaranteed to wear down even the sturdiest synthetic materials over time. For those who want to spend less time on cleanup and more time on preparing yummy food (all of us), hardy, water-resistant quartzite makes an excellent choice for kitchen counter top material. With a creamy gray-white backdrop decorated with beige or darker gray veins, quartzite resembles marble but it boasts the incredible durability of granite, making it well suited to the daily kitchen stresses. This well-polished Mont Blanc quartzite island in a Moorestown, NJ mansion brings all of marble’s timeless elegance to the room without forgoing practicality. photo courtesy of Stoneshop Quartzite counter accents contemporary kitchen style Like other types of quartzite, White Macaubas quartzite boasts all the sturdiness desired for a kitchen countertop, with the rich and timeless beauty of marble. Lighter in color than most forms of granite, white macaubas is a sure bet for anyone looking to increase the value of their home with a material that is sophisticated, low maintenance, and durable. Breakfast nooks, kitchen islands or counters, buffet tables and decorative wall accents are popular spots to make the most of this attractive natural stone. In this kitchen, the quartzite countertops look great paired with the classic tiled backsplash. photo courtesy of Lundhs Norweigan Larvikite sparkles in modern kitchen A beautiful, sparkly stone endemic to Norway is sometimes marketed as ” Blue Granite ” – but it is not actually granite. Instead, it is called Larvikite , and it comes only from the specific Larvik region of Norway . Larvikite is prized as a building material due to its incredible durability and iridescence caused by the crystalline structure of the stone. You can find it in many upscale storefronts in London and New York such as Harrods, and even in the Burj Dubai, but it is also quite popular as a kitchen countertop material. This modern kitchen in Norway is using Lundhs Blue for the countertop. Photo courtesy of Lundhs Here’s another photo of a different Lundhs blue larvikite countertop in the same modern Norwegian kitchen. Prized for its polish and crystalline sparkle, larvikite contains dime-sized crystals of feldspar. Lundhs larvikite is just as hard and durable as granite and is used in similar applications. Larvikite is believed to have calming and healing properties and has also been adopted as Norway’s national stone. photo courtesy of Arizona Tile Artistic tiling exudes charm This eye-catching geometric wall using Arizona Tile illustrates the design possibilities that can be explored by combining different types of natural stone. The contrast between the artfully arranged round White Carrara marble tiles and smooth Fantasy Brown marble countertop demonstrates the homeowner’s artistic eye and attention to detail. While beautiful and easy-to-clean marble has always been a popular countertop choice, it is subtle decorative applications like this that add character and warmth to a home. photo courtesy of MSI Sleek granite and unpolished quartzite complement each other in surprising ways This arrangement by Arizona Tile provides another example of how pairing contrasting natural stones creates unexpected depth and texture. A sleek and contemporary Marron Cohiba Satin granite countertop meets rugged Golden Gate Stack quartzite to create a kitchen space that is both unique and inviting. What might seem like an unlikely combination at first ends up feeling like an organic pairing. To learn more about different types of natural stone, check out MIA+BSI: The Natural Stone Institute . + MIA+BSI: The Natural Stone Institute

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