Editors and art directors are like kids in the proverbial candy or toy store: we are inspired and awed by the variety, selection and creativity processes that go into developing new designs or tile products lines by manufacturers.

Between Surfaces (held in Las Vegas, Jan. 30-Feb. 1) and Cevisama (held in Valencia, Spain, Feb. 5-9), we could barely keep ourselves from running from one exhibitor to another. Actually, by the second day, we were strolling – albeit in quick spurts.

Of course, attending these shows comes with a price: they all add to my encouragement (and unfortunately, to my husband’s dismay!) for remodeling our master bath and kitchen.

Thankfully, I can take comfort in knowing I’m not the only one caught in a decision-making quandary. According to several recent construction-related articles, the outlook for the industry is quite positive. In other words, the rest of the country has remodeling on its mind too! Let’s face it, with the current real estate economy the way it is and interest rates seeing yet another reduction, homeowners are opting for remodeling rather than relocating - all of which lends much-needed optimism to our industry. For an in-depth article on construction industry forecasts, visit our sister publication, Bath & Kitchen Pro, at www.bathandkitchenpro.com.

Which leads me back to the recent shows we attended. Here are a few items that caught our eye: the transparency of glass tile combined with delicate embedded etching; the variations of mosaic and micro-mosaic tiles; designs that resemble leather, pinpoint patterns on solid colors, retro chic, and more. Did I mention the “smart floor tile” unveiled at Cevisama from Tau Ceramica? Read more about these items and more starting on page 8 of the product showcase section. Remember, Coverings is just around the corner (April 29-May 2, in Orlando). I can’t wait to see what other designs and developments will attract our attention.

Speaking of innovations, are you or someone close to you the proud owner of an Apple iPhone, Sony PlayStation 3®, hi-def TV, or a Wii system? Then you can appreciate the value of updated technology, especially in software programs that can streamline your business by keeping it in the black. Read TILE Magazine’s Annual Software & Web Technology Solution Product Round Up on page 46 for the latest products available.

Finally, make sure you check TILE’s website daily (www.tilemagonline.com) for any breaking news, Web Exclusive features, and more.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestion, then please feel free to contact me via phone (818-224-8035, ext. 2216) or email (nalbandiana@bnpmedia.com).