Monthly Archives: December 2015

Using Stone Moldings

Many people use natural stone tiles, countertops, and slabs to decorate and enhance their homes. Many of these same people, however, may not realize that stone moldings are also available that can complement their backsplashes, shower surrounds, and fireplace hearths. Stone moldings come in many of the same shapes and sizes that traditional wood and ceramic tile moldings come in, including rail moldings and pencil moldings, which means that they can be used nearly anywhere in the home to help increase the richness and depth of the décor.

Stone moldings can be used anywhere that a traditional rail or pencil molding would be used. This includes along the chair rail or on top of wainscoting, framing window sills and ledges, along the edge of a hearth, or creating a picture frame effect on the backsplash. Stone moldings have the same rich veining, depth, and color that other natural stone products have. If stone is already being used in the kitchen on the counter and backsplash, then using a stone chair rail around the walls of the eating area can help complement the entire space and create a cohesive look within the room.

Because even exotic stones like onyx can also be found in moldings, these can even be used in more contemporary settings where a rail molding is desired, but more traditional looks and materials may clash with the rest of the décor. Stone has a unique look and depth to it when used as a rail or pencil molding, which means that it can bring an unexpected touch of interest to a space that may have otherwise looked plain or drab with a standard wood molding.

Stone moldings can be found in nearly any color, and can be found in polished, honed, and antiqued finishes to complement any installation. If a molding is required in a room where natural stone is being used, consider matching the stone with a molding made of the same material to complete the look of the room.

 Stone Flooring Transitions

Stone floors make beautiful statements anywhere they are installed. And with more people than ever before opting to install stone in at least some areas of their homes, it also makes sense that people will need to find ways to transition their stone floors. Thankfully there are some attractive options that can help move one floor to the next without breaking up the beauty of the stone.

Stone thresholds are one of the most popular options when transitioning a stone floor from one confined area to another. Shower floors to bathroom floors or bathroom floors to the hallway are the most common areas to find a stone threshold, but they can be used in other areas as well. Any defined doorway where the two floors are different thicknesses can benefit from using a stone threshold. Because these thresholds are made from slabs, they can be ordered and cut out of nearly any material, complementing a wide range of different styles.

If the two floors are within one large space, such as the latest trend of transitioning a wood floor to a slate floor in the kitchen, a large threshold won’t work in this setting, so a thinner transition needs to be used. Metal transition strips or Schluter strips are the perfect way to transition two floors that are within one large area. The metal strip can even be bent to accommodate curves and other shapes, and helps ensure that the edges of the two floors are protected from damage. Metal transition strips are available in numerous profiles and colors, which can help them blend in with a number of different stones.

If using stone with another material like hardwood in an open area, be sure to build up the stone either with additional mortar or backerboard before installing to ensure that the two materials are the same thickness.

Natural stone pairs beautifully with hardwood, tile, and other stones. Make sure to pay attention to the transition between them to make the most out of any floor installation.

Understanding Granite Patterns

Despite new materials being introduced every day, granite remains one of the most popular countertop choices available for the kitchen. Homeowners everywhere love the look, durability, and elegance of a granite counter, with most still selecting granite for their kitchens above all other choices.

When it comes time to choose which granite will work in your kitchen, you can narrow down your choices by determining what type of stone you’d like to see in the space. While granite can be found in nearly countless different colors and styles, most stones can be grouped into three different patterns: solid, marbled, and speckled. Each one of these patterns will get you a different look for your kitchen.

Solid granites have little to no color variation or movement within them. One of the most popular varieties of solid granite is Absolute Black – a solid black-colored stone. Solid granites work well in Contemporary kitchens, as well as kitchens that already have a lot going on in terms of color and movement, and that need a counter that can act as a backdrop, rather than a competing element.

Marbled granites have prominent veins and a lot of movement to them, much like some types of marble. A marbled granite can appear to be very dramatic and will usually have a lot of variation as well. Marbled granites work well in Contemporary, Transitional, Eclectic, and some Arts and Crafts and bold kitchen styles. A marbled granite will become the focal point of your kitchen design and will provide you with a palette of colors to choose from for other design elements.

Speckled granites are among the most common types you’ll find. These granites have tightly packed specks or flecks of color across their surface. Usually the flecks are around the same size, but some may have varying amounts of different colors such as the popular Uba Tuba. Speckled granites work best in Traditional, Country, and Transitional kitchens where some variation and color is desired, but the granite will not become the focal point of the kitchen design.

Whichever granite you choose for your kitchen, it’s sure to enhance the rest of the design. Pay attention to the stone’s pattern as well as its color to help make the best choice for your home.

Natural Stone for Living Room Floors

While natural stone has long been popular in entryways, kitchens, and bathrooms, many people hesitate to use it in the main living areas of their home, worried about how it will wear and how it will look with the rest of their style. Lately, however, influences from around the world have been affecting how people view their floors, with images on Houzz and Pinterest showing beautiful stone floors throughout the home. There are many beautiful natural stone choices that work well in living and family rooms, and that can complement many different decors at the same time.

One of the most popular types of stone flooring to use in these areas is limestone and travertine. These soft, calcite-based stones have a honed or matte finish that creates a welcoming backdrop for the rest of the room’s furnishings. They also come in a number of different soft, neutral colors like tan, cream, taupe, gray, and brown, and many of them coordinate well with one another, so you can mix two or three different stones together in a pattern. Limestone and travertine work particularly well in these spaces when installed in large format stones of 16-inches or larger, or in patterns such as strapping, step, or Versailles to maximize the stone’s variation.

Slate is another popular stone for use on the floor in living areas. Slate is very durable and hard wearing, as well as available in a wide range of different colors and textures. This means that slate can fit in perfectly with a Rustic or Country design, as well as in some Old World settings as well.

In modern and contemporary homes, marble with either a polished or a honed finish in large format sizes is often used throughout open floor plan homes. Classic stones like Bianco Carrara get an entirely new look when installed 36-inch tiles. The relatively few grout lines give the stone a contemporary look, while the classic veining helps keep the rooms from looking dated in just a few years.

Natural stone is the perfect complement to any room – not just those where it’s traditionally installed. Give the rooms of your home an update with natural stone flooring to gain new dimension and detail in any space.