BlogTourNola Sponsor: Silestone by Cosentino and an important message


BlogTourNola sponsor Silestone by Cosentino showcased some gorgeous new quartz surfaces at KBIS and I am just in love – and I’m not just saying that because they are super nice people, sponsored our trip and treated us to delicious food! In other words, my thoughts and opinions are my own!

The above montage shows some of my favorite new product releases. I have to say that I am pretty sick and tire of the ubiquitous granite countertop. Are they “over”? No, not over. But there are many natural stone alternatives that are both unique and beautiful. And, unlike many earlier iterations of quartz countertops that had very regular and repetitive patterning, they are now able to vary the surface patterns to look even more like natural stone as its removed from the earth.





White Zeus Extreme

For more detail, visit Silestone.

Photo of Eco by Cosentino countertop by Linda Merrill at a Make It Right Foundation house, Lower 9th Ward, New Orleans.


The folks at Silestone’s sister brand Eco by Cosentino have also been heavily involved in the rebuilding of New Orleans, providing the countertops to Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation. ECO by Cosentino, an innovative line of eco-friendly surfaces made of 75 percent recycled materials, was specified for the kitchens and bathrooms of the Make It Right homes based upon its unique green attributes, C2C (Cradle to Cradle) and GREENGUARD certifications.

And, breaking news! Tune in on Thursday, May 9th, for a tweetchat #Blogtournola as we all chat about our experiences in New Orleans and in particular the people and places we visited in the zones affected by Hurricane Katrina. Big headline news stories come and go, but that doesn’t mean that the story is over. Many, many people are still struggling to rebuild their homes and lives, even while helping others in need. One such hero is Mr. Joe Roberts.

Joe and Gloria Robert of New Orleans were newlyweds looking forward to a bright future together when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in August 2005. Residing in their new house for just one month before Katrina slammed the city, the couple lost everything when the levee behind their house was destroyed – one of 53 levees in the city breached by the storm surge – and canal water swallowed the home. The Roberts evacuated the city, staying with various friends and relatives. When the flood waters receded weeks later, Joe and Gloria moved into a pop-up camper in their driveway for a while, but they’ve also been staying with Joe’s daughter from a previous marriage.

Nearly eight years later, Joe and Gloria’s house is still uninhabitable. While a new house has been framed out, the building lacks essentials including electrical, drywall, flooring and plumbing. Because Joe is a contractor by trade, he has the skills to work on his house, but he has generously donated much of his free time to volunteering with St. Paul’s Homecoming Center helping to rebuild other people’s houses.

Joe works on his home little by little, but is often derailed by setbacks such as having his house broken into and his tools stolen. Even though Joe was forced to save up until he could replenish his tool supply, he has not lost his faith in humanity. Fortunately, Joe and Gloria received some good news recently when Storehouse of World Vision selected the couple and their house for a rehab project. A few weeks ago Storehouse joined forces with the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) and St. Paul’s Homecoming Center to help rehab kitchens and baths in three houses as a lead-in to NKBA’s Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) held April 19-21 in New Orleans.


While Storehouse and NKBA partners have donated materials, appliances and labor for a new kitchen and bath in the Robert’s house, the rest of the unfinished home still needs lots of TLC.

Above – Joe and Gloria Roberts house, April 2013.

Joe speaking with us in another home he is rebuilding for the St. Paul’s Homecoming Center.

Doves released at a building site in Gentilly, New Orleans.

We’re holding a fundraiser, so please visit this link to learn more. (It should be live later today). There are many worthwhile places for our money in this world, but these people have been working hard for eight years, it would be nice to see their labors rewarded and for them to know that they are not forgotten.


Thank you.


xoxo Linda