Interior design Archives - cornerstonecustomconstruction

How to Add Glass Tiles for Today’s Shimmer Trend

By | Custom Home Construction, Custom Home Design, Fireplace design, Kitchen Design | One Comment
NKBA 2013 Design Contest Contestant "Mosaics Meet Their Match" , photo courtesy of NKBA

NKBA 2013 Design Contest Contestant “Mosaics Meet Their Match” , photo courtesy of NKBA

Surfaces with shimmer and sheen go perfect with today’s popular transitional style. 

Surfaces that shimmer are trending in home decor and that makes glass tile an ideal tool to add sparkle to any space. From kitchen backsplashes to bathtub surrounds, accent walls and pool perimeters, indoors and outdoors, glass tile is IN. The National Kitchen & Bath Association says the current look in the kitchen is all about surfaces with sheens that gleam alongside stainless steel appliances, capturing light and complimenting more traditional elements such as wood cabinetry. Orlando Custom Homebuilder Jorge Ulibarri uses a mixture of glass, stone and metallic tile mosaics in many of his homes.

“Travertine or stone mosaics work well in more rustic styles while the glass tile mosaics help fuse rustic and contemporary. It’s an affordable architectural detail when used in small, high profile areas,” says Jorge.

Glass Mosaic tiles frame a vanity built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Glass Mosaic tiles frame a vanity built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Glass tile is a timeless material adorning ancient temples, monuments and other great architectural works. Today’s modern twist on glass tile mixes it up in mosaic patterns with other materials such as stone, ceramic and metal.

Glass tiles come in many shapes, colors and sizes and are available in sheets of predesigned patterns. Prices vary from a low $5 per square foot  sheet to upwards of $15 to $30 per sheet. Although these mosaics may look like artisans painstakingly handcrafted each design, glass tile mosaic sheets are easy to install.  Here are some of the hottest looks for 2013.

Glass Stick Mosaics:

Glass tile backsplash in a Modern-Mediterranean Kitchen designed and built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Glass tile backsplash in a Modern-Mediterranean Kitchen designed and built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Rectangular tile or glass stick  mosaics are popular shapes and patterns in modern home design.

The  larger rectangular blocks known as subway tile are surfacing in many kitchens where the aim is to incorporate simpler, more modern elements.  Shiny glass tiles combined with  stainless steel and industrial materials work to create a transitional style that blends traditional and contemporary elements.

White Subway Tile in the kitchen of The New Southern Home, photo courtesy of NWC Construction

White Subway Tile in the kitchen of The New Southern Home, photo courtesy of NWC Construction

Glass Mixed with Stone or Metal Mosaics:

Glass mixed with stone or metallic tiles in a mosaic lends itself perfectly to that Mod-Mediterranean style that blends Old World with modern design.


Metallic tile alone can add an industrial edge to a room as an accent wall or niche backdrop. These mixed mosaics merge shiny and natural materials to pull together stone floors with beams and contemporary fixtures. As an example, Orlando Custom Homebuilder Jorge Ulibarri is framing a wall-to-ceiling fireplace with a mixed mosaic design of stone, glass, and metallic.

Glass and stone tile fireplace designed and built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Glass and stone tile fireplace designed and built by Orlando Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Glass Tiles for Sparkling Pools:



Many of today’s pools feature glass tiles on the sides and bottoms to capture light and liven up the color of water. A blue or emerald-green glass tile bottom can make pool water mimic the azure hues of the Caribbean ocean. Because the glass tiles are durable, tough, and resistant to mildew and stains, they are ideal for embellishing outdoor areas such as water features.


Glass Tiles To Infuse 2013 Color of the Year:

Emerald Green Glitter Glass SubwayTiles by Susan Jablon

Emerald Green Glitter Glass SubwayTiles by Susan Jablon

The new hue for 2013 as anointed by Pantone, the global color authority,  is Emerald. This jewel-tone hue is surfacing as color pops in home décor and fashion. Consider incorporating emerald glass mosaics to sparkle up a space.  Pantone suggests infusing its Color of the Year in emerald painted accent walls and home accessories as well.


Check back soon for more home design inspiration and new home construction tips. I’m headed to the NAHB International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas next week. We will return with the latest products, sources and trends in home design and new construction. I can’t wait to share with you more about what I discover. Thanks for reading.

The Mod-Mediterranean Home

By | Custom Home Construction, Custom Home Design, Kitchen Design | No Comments


Tips To Blend Old World and Contemporary Styles

Mediterranean architecture endures in Florida as a style perfectly in sync with its surroundings and history, but exterior curb appeal doesn’t have to dictate interior decor. Florida Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri says most of his clients prefer some variation of Mediterranean architecture but their interior preferences often merge Old World and 21st Century styles.  “I have clients who want a home that looks from the outside like it has endured for generations, yet on the inside, the style is sleek and modern-a look commonly defined as contemporary.”

Jorge is building several homes featuring Tuscan architecture with contemporary interiors. It’s a trend that Wolfe-Rizor Interiors, based in Winter Park, Florida,  is seeing as well. Design Principals Hattie Wolfe and Abigail Rizor say clients no longer want heavy furniture, fabrics and decor. “There is a formality to that look and the younger generations are very informal. Mediterranean is here to stay but clients now want contemporary interiors,” explains Hattie, who co-founded the interior design firm with Abigail 17 years ago.   The mother-daughter design team of Wolfe-Rizor says interiors are becoming more casual in feel. “People want less fuss, a sleeker, easier look to match their lifestyle,” says Abigail.

This modern twist on the Mediterranean home eschews heavy, ornate detailing popular in the 90s and early 2000s in favor of sleeker, simple flourishes. Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri been in business for more than a decade and says the dominant style in Florida remains Mediterranean for practical reasons.  “There are many practical reasons for Mediterranean exteriors in Florida. Stucco finishes protect the walls of a home from rain, sunlight and Florida’s hot, humid climate,” explains Jorge. Many of his homes draw inspiration from the Haciendas Jorge grew up with in his native Mexico. “The tile roofs seen on many Florida homes actually help cool the home and protect it from water intrusion and fire,” says Jorge who points to the roof tile’s ancient engineering.  “Spanish and Mexican missions used tile made of out clay pots and bricks to shed water easily. The air pocket in the half tube helped to keep air cool.”

Wolfe-Rizor Interiors terms this style “Italian-Modern,” a popular twist on Old World architecture. “Americans have fallen in love with that Tuscan look, which used to mean heavy ornate detailing. But truthfully, Italians are known for great contemporary. Sleek cabinetry, terrazzo flooring, chrome state-of-the-art faucets, just to name a few elements,” says Abigail.

She cites the kitchen as an example. “Contemporary kitchens are big now and go well with Mediterranean architecture. Instead of heavy stained cabinetry with corbels and mosaics, cabinets are now flat paneled. Countertops are sleeker with contemporary hardware,” says Abigail.

Contemporary style kitchen seamlessly blends with its Old World architecture and exterior

The floor plan of today’s Mediterranean home also has evolved. Jorge says many clients are opting to forgo the formal living room.  “I’m building for two clients who both decided not to have formal living rooms to optimize their square footage. Most people today entertain in the kitchen and family room as a large open, connected social space,” says Jorge.

Contemporary kitchen with off white color palette seamlessly integrates rustic beams to blend modern and old world styles, photo courtesy of Florida Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri, imyourbuilder.com

Wolfe-Rizor is seeing the same preferences with their clients. “For a while the ceilings couldn’t get high enough and rooms couldn’t get big enough. People didn’t know what to do with all that space. The trend now is to get cozier, more realistic about space and not have all this empty volume you have to fill up,” explains Hattie.

No matter what the architectural style, a home’s interior serves as the palette for self-expression. “It should tell the homeowner’s story, personify their tastes and lifestyle,” says Jorge. Therein lies the challenge of contemporary decor: creating a home that is warm and not cold and impersonal. “Ideally, contemporary decor is counter balanced with personal touches.”

Contemporary interior designed by Wolfe-Rizor Interiors that seamlessly integrates with Old World architecture. Photo courtesy of Wolfe-Rizor Interiors

At Wolfe-Rizor Interiors, the aim is to help clients create a home that looks lived in.  “When you go into a home and everything is new and contemporary, it looks like you don’t have a connection. A lived-in home showcases items that you’ve acquired over the years,” explains Hattie.

With tastes trending towards a mixture of the Old Word and 21st Century styles, how can a homeowner successfully integrate two different looks?

Here are a few tips:

Use color to bring the outside inside even though the styles are different. Abigail cites an example: “Use a strong color accent on the exterior such as painted shutters then integrate that color indoors with decorative accents such as pillows, printed fabrics or painted cabinetry.”

Choose contemporary light fixtures for the interior to mix rustic elements with modern design.

Furnish the room with monochromatic pieces and accent with color. Elements like a traditional velvet sofa and a contemporary coffee table relate to Mediterranean architecture but are more today.

Incorporate stainless steel kitchen appliances to give the kitchen a clean, utilitarian look and instant gourmet status while complimenting more rustic accents.

Accent with personal effects such as a great piece of art, family photos or a family heirloom. Use objects that represent where you have come from, where you have been, and adventures ahead. Those things make a house a home,” explains Abigail.

Contemporary interiors designed by Wolfe-Rizor Interiors that mixes personal effects with sleek furniture and decor to create a room that can successfully compliments the home’s Old World architecture

Mediterranean architecture remains the gold standard of Florida home design. Whether it’s Spanish Mission, Tuscan, Spanish Colonial, Italian Renaissance or another variation, successfully integrating Old World architecture with 21st Century interiors can create a signature style for the homeowner.

For more design tips and ideas to add affordable luxury to your living space, check out the series Trade Secrets by Jorge available on YouTube.


Cast Stone for Affordable Timeless Touches

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Another money-saving idea to add luxury to your living space

Cast stone range hood in a home designed and built by Florida Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Cast stone range hood in a home designed and built by Florida Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

For centuries, cast stone has been used in some of the world’s most celebrated monuments and architectural works. Today, cast stone remains a popular architectural element for its cost and durability. In custom homes, cast stone is often the material of choice for a variety of ornamental details including the fireplace mantle, range hood, windowsills, columns, crown molding and even baseboard. Florida Custom Home Builder Jorge Ulibarri uses cast stone or architectural precast in most of his homes as an affordable architectural detail that gives the home character and its timeless appeal.

His latest example is a Tuscan-style home on Park Avenue in Winter Park, Florida. The home will feature cast stone details throughout including cast stone interior window stills. It’s an original architectural touch that creates a dramatic visual impact and adds to the home’s timeworn style.  “The cast stone window stills are considered an upgrade from the wood window sills that I typically include with my homes. The cost for the cast stone upgrade is approximately $40 dollars more per sill but far more affordable than real stone,” says Jorge.

What is Cast Stone or Architectural Precast?

According to the Architectural Precast Association (APA), cast stone and architectural precast are comprised of

Cast Stone windowsill and door surround on winery in a home designed and built by Florida Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

cement, sand, water, pigment and additives to achieve a finish that simulates natural stone. This cement aggregate is poured into a mold and cured to create a variety of shapes and structures. Cast stone products can look like a variety of natural building stones including but not limited to limestone, granite, slate, travertine or marble.

The APA calls the production of architectural cast stone an art form. “When done properly, this product provides the owner with a beautiful, lower cost structure that will maintain its aesthetic properties for many decades,” says Fred McGee, former executive director of the Architectural Precast Association.

The use of cast stone has a long and storied history. The APA says the earliest known use of cast stone dates about to the year 1138 and was seen at Carcassonne, France, the Cite, which contains the finest remains of medieval fortification in Europe. Cast stone was first used extensively in London in the year 1900 and gained widespread acceptance in America in 1920.

The Advantage of Cast Stone over Natural Stone

For ornamentation, Florida Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri prefers cast stone to natural cut building stone for its affordability, durability, and its ability to simulate the look of natural stone.  “Cast stone weathers better than natural stone. It is structurally stronger when properly reinforced and it offers a consistent look for trim or ornamentation that natural cut stone does not.”

Ideas to Enhance Your Living Space with Cast Stone

Cast stone fireplace mantle in a home designed and built by Florida Custom Builder Jorge Ulibarri

Precast stone is a luxurious and timeless architectural detail that can enhance the style of any home. It’s affordable when used in high profile, small spaces. Some potential uses of precast stone include: columns, windowsills and door surrounds and entries, and cladding, fireplace mantles. For more affordable design tips, check out the series Trade Secrets by Jorge on YouTube and Vimeo.

Ceiling Details-Designing the Look Above

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In this episode of Trade Secrets by Jorge, learn how to enhance your overhead living space with strategic architectural ceiling details. Luxury Custom HomeBuilder Jorge Ulibarri shows you various ceiling designs he uses in his homes and offers honest cost breakdowns and tips on how to create rooms that make you look up and go “Wow.” Also, for the latest tips, design finds and other useful information on home design, architecture and homebuilding, be sure and “like” his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Jorge.Ulibarri.Luxury.Home.Builder and register to win a free custom made wrought iron winery door valued at $3000.


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Home Design with Wrought Iron

By | Custom Home Construction, Custom Home Design, Fireplace design | One Comment

In this episode of Trade Secrets by Jorge, Luxury Custom Homebuilder Jorge Ulibarri shares design ideas on the use of wrought iron doors and accents to customize your home. Learn money-saving tips on creating an old world custom look with strategic architectural touches using wrought iron. Jorge shows you various locations and uses for wrought iron including winery doors, window treatments and stairwells. For more information, go to www.imyourbuilder.com

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Fireplace Design Tips from Trade Secrets by Jorge

By | Custom Home Construction, Custom Home Design, Fireplace design | 2 Comments

In this episode of Trade Secrets by Jorge, Luxury Custom Homebuilder Jorge Ulibarri shares tips and design ideas for creating a fireplace that is both functional and a focal point of the room. Learn about various materials, labor costs and design considerations when adding a fireplace to an existing room or including one in your design plans. As always, Jorge welcomes any questions or comments. For more information go to www.imyourbuilder.com.

Watch the latest episode of Trade Secrets by Jorge for “Another Affordable Idea to Enhance Your Living Space”

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Trade Secrets by Jorge- Floor Design Ideas

By | Custom Home Construction, Custom Home Design | One Comment


Custom Touches that Will Floor You

In this episode of Trade Secrets by Jorge, Luxury Homebuilder Jorge Ulibarri focuses on floor design. Jorge takes viewers on a tour of one of his homes that showcases a mixture of floor designs and materials. Jorge shares ways to create and define space with floor transitions and offers ideas to add affordable custom touches such as floor medallions, wood details, and mosaics to create that luxury look on a budget.
Watch the latest episode of Trade Secrets by Jorge for “Another Affordable Idea to Enhance Your Living Space”

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