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Dress up or down with stone and tile

Kitchens and bathrooms are the home’s hardest working rooms and the most popular settings for stone (granite, limestone, marble, slate and travertine) – and tile (ceramic or porcelain) on surfaces such as backsplashes, countertops, floors and tubs, and sink and shower surrounds. Whether you’re thinking of sprucing things up with a remodel, renovation, expansion, or an all out conversion, these projects are still among the best remodeling investments, whether you’re looking to sell someday or just improve the living conditions. As a backdrop or a focal point, these materials create a style. For example, ceramic tile belies crispness, marble stone says formal and terra cotta spells country. And for setting a mood, a checkerboard, diagonal or mixed colors portray, respectively, classic, fanciful and whimsy. The available choices are dizzying. Before embarking on a remodel of any size, think about how the room is used and let this guide your selections for all surfaces and accessories. It’s a good idea to peruse home decorating and design books and magazines to help pinpoint your preferred style. “With natural stone, each piece is unique,” says Don Sanford, manager of Fort Worth-based Stone Distribution. “It’s a reflection of you.” Stone for countertops, floors, walls or tiles is typically purchased as a slab from a stone dealer. Then, the slab is picked up by a fabricator subcontracted by a builder or the homeowner’s general contractor who will create and install the finished surface. The price is built into the bid for the entire installation process, and varies according to the job’s details. “With all the colors, textures and accents available today, it’s just endless as to what you can do,” says Tom McClure, owner of Roma Tile in Fort Worth. “Just use your imagination.” BY CHERRI GANN Special to the Star-Telegram

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