Thursday, June 3, 2010


I love finding new products that make your life easier.  Using Laticrete's epoxy grout was the only way to have a stain resistant grout and generally no need to re-seal, bad news was that it is gritty and clean up with vinegar made it impossible to use on marble or travertine and it's inflexibility ruled out using it with glass. That leaves ceramic, porcelains and some granite tiles.  Now there appears to be a new product that is a lot more versatile.

Doing some research into GroutBoost and would like some feedback, especially with my Facebook friends who are in the stone business.  I know everyone has a favorite brand of grout and this is an additive that you use instead of water and can be mixed with Laticrete, Custom, Mapei or Tec.  Do you get the consistency that you want when it's mixed?  Does it clean up with water well?  Has anyone used it with slate or sandstone?  My favorite sealer is Bulletproof by StoneTech but it's not on GroutBoost's approved list so I'm wondering why.  I prefer to use products that I know won't change the look of the stone and that one is a personal favorite.  Hopefully GroutBoost has been out long enough that someone is a real fan or did you try it once and decide it's not for you?  Please let me know.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


The fun of making lots of new friends on Facebook allows me to see new products (at least they are new to me) that are amazing.  I love the pottery and tiles that come from this factory near Naples, Italy.  May just be the excuse I need to visit the Amalfi Coast for the first time in years!!  Romeo Cuomo's factory hand paints with such beautiful colors that making a choice is going to be almost impossible!!  You can find Romeo on Facebook or go to his website  The ceramic infused lava-stone tables will dress up any patio, breakfast room or sidewalk bistro!!
There are so many sizes, shapes and patterns to choose from for the tables... I honestly can't pick just one as a favorite!!  Poppies, lemons, oranges, sunflowers...  The same is true for the dinnerware or tiles!!  Check them out and find something special for your clients.

Monday, May 31, 2010


On Memorial Day I'd like to spend some time celebrating a few generations of service in my family.

My great-great great grandfather Keen served under Old Fuss and Feathers Winfield Scott during the Indian Wars.  General Scott was later the Secretary of War at the beginning of the Civil War. 

My great great grandfather Winfield Scott Keen was a drummer boy in the Civil War.  Taken prisoner toward the end of the war he spent several months in Andersonville Prison before returning home to finish school, marry, move to California in a covered wagon and have a family.  

Great Grandfather Joseph Burke didn't have a war to serve in and instead served as the sole assemblyman from Orange County around 1913.  It was a time of strawberries and orange groves in Orange County and very few people.

My grandfather, Russell Burke was a sailor in World War I.  Luckily for him he never made it out of San Diego.  He lived to watch the Dodgers and play golf and had his first hole in one at the age of 80.

My dad, Gene Clarke, passed away last month at 87.  He was a proud member of the Naval Air Force and was a gunner in VPB 146, he's on the far right.   He rarely spoke about it until after his retirement and Baa Baa Black Sheep re-runs were on TV in the 80's.  The aviators from TV and my dad's squadron were in the same theater and he began to tell some of the stories of his days on the real islands in the South Pacific rather than the fake ones in the Channel Islands!  It took 52 years and an act of Congress and they were finally given their air medals aboard the USS Kitty Hawk by Vice-Admiral Bennitt.  

To the hero's in my family, I salute all of you!!!  Thank you for your service in creating this country, preserving our country and bringing peace to the world.