Even though it might not seem like it on the East Coast and in the Midwest because of the continuous cold weather and snowstorms, spring has officially arrived. And with it, we bring you our annualKitchen and Bath focus.

It is no secret that the kitchen is the central focus of a home. For some reason, no matter what the size, it seems that is where family and guests congregate during parties and other gatherings — as well as in everyday life. So even in times when money is tight, many homeowners are investing in their kitchens, and tile and stone products seem to be the popular choice for creating their dream designs. In the feature, which begins on page 20, there are several examples of newly designed kitchens. While some were renovated to create or maximize space, others were redone to meet the homeowners’ changing tastes. But no matter what the reason behind the design, in each case, stone and tile were able to achieve the design aesthetic that was desired.

The same can also be said for the bathrooms showcased in the Kitchen and Bath feature. Whether the homeowner was going for a contemporary or traditional look, they found what they were looking for among the numerous stone and tile collections on today’s market.

Also in this issue of Contemporary Stone & Tile Design, we take a look at the continuing popularity of quartz surfacing, beginning on page 34. The feature includes comments from some of the world’s leading quartz manufacturers, who share their thoughts on why quartz has become a popular option for interior design. Some attribute it to the current trend of white countertops, while others believe that the cost is now comparable to natural stone. Additionally, others point out environmental and sustainability issues.

After recently attending three stone and tile exhibitions in the last couple of months, I have seen the latest introductions in quartz surfacing as well as the newest stone and tile products. On page 12 of this issue, you can find some of the product introductions that were on display at Cevisama, which is held annually in Valencia, Spain.

From all my traveling, I also came back with a new perspective on the stone and tile industry. All indicators point to the fact that business is picking up. I observed positive signs at Surfaces | StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas, where there was a noticeable buzz on the show floor. At Cevisama in Spain and Unicera, which is held annually in Istanbul, Turkey, I spent some time talking with some of the leading tile manufacturers that export to the U.S., and the consensus was that business is starting to improve. Soon I will be heading to Atlanta, GA, to attend Coverings, the annual stone and tile exhibition held in the U.S. I hope to see that the momentum continues, and the show also has a positive turnout. Judging by what I have seen and heard so far, I expect that the exhibition will experience successful results.