As we often discuss, it is apparent that homeowners are investing in their living spaces more and spending money on high-end materials such as stone and tile. The pages of Contemporary Stone & Tile Design continually illustrate numerous ways that homeowners as well as architects and designers are utilizing these products to create elegant and fresh designs for rooms such as kitchens, bathrooms and foyers. But while interior spaces such as these are often a priority, today’s homeowners are showing sophistication in their exterior material choices as well, and stone and tile products are meeting these demands.

There are so many home design shows on television nowadays, and they all stress the importance of “curb appeal.” Realtors constantly stress that a home needs to be beautiful on the outside as well as the inside so that potential buyers are attracted to the overall property. In addition to focusing on landscaping, homeowners are using stone or porcelain tile for walkways, driveways, patios and pool decks - among other applications. And by doing so, they are not only enhancing the exterior of the home, but they are also raising its value.

This issue of Contemporary Stone & Tile Design includes a feature on the use of stone and tile in exterior architecture, which begins on page 22. The article gives examples of how people around the country are using stone and tile products to dress up the outside of their homes. A common factor among these projects is that the design goal was to bring attention to the exterior. In many cases, local fieldstone was used for the facade, retaining walls and verandas

Additionally, stone and tile products are being utilized in the exterior designs of commercial buildings. Certainly these high-end products set the tone for retail spaces and hospitality venues such as spas and restaurants - creating a luxurious feel for their patrons as they arrive.

Office spaces are also seeing the value of using upscale materials such as stone and tile in their working environment. For example, the architecture firm of Ervin Lovett & Miller, which is featured in the article about exterior architecture, built a patio with slate floor tiles for their new office. The outdoor “lounge” is not only an ideal place to meet and entertain clients, but it also provides a social retreat for members of the firm.

In general, people continue to be savvy in their tastes and are gravitating towards materials that are lush and rich looking, such as stone and tile. And while interior spaces remain an obvious choice to use these materials, outdoor applications are also becoming a hot spot in today’s designs.