Monthly Archives: June 2016

Stone Counters for a Rustic Kitchen

Rustic and rustic modern designs are two of the hottest kitchen styles around right now. Which means that homeowners looking for these two styles will also be looking for countertops that match. Because both designs rely heavily on natural materials, things like laminate, ceramic slab, or even quartz aren’t going to cut it. For designs like these, natural stone makes one of the best materials to use in the space. Certain stones tend to work better in these design styles than others, however, so it’s important to be sure about what you’re getting.

All types of soapstone are incredibly popular for rustic kitchens. The soft, matte finish and delicate veining combine to make a surface that is practical, durable, and beautiful, as well as complementary to numerous kitchen designs.

For those that still like the look of a polished countertop, granites that have a lot of veining and movement tend to be more popular in these types of kitchens than stones that have a tighter grain pattern. A few stones to consider would be:

  • San Luiz
  • Typhoon Bordeaux
  • Atlantis
  • Costa Esmerelda
  • Juparana Gold
  • Juparana Fantastico

Another choice, is to choose a more sedate granite such as Absolute Black, and leave the edges “raw” or “unfinished”. This means that instead of having a cut and polished edge, the counters have a more natural or rustic appearance to them. This is also a popular look when using a built edge, or having an edge that gives the countertop the appearance of being thicker than it actually is, such as a full 2-inches, rather than the standard 3cm.

Marble is another popular choice for rustic kitchens, particularly that which has been honed, or given a matte finish. It’s important to note that marble does etch over time, which can be an asset to rustic kitchens, as it helps give a feeling of authenticity to the design, although some people may not like the look.

Rustic kitchen designs are poised to be around for many years to come. If you’re considering this type of kitchen, be sure to also consider the many different types of natural stone that can complement it.

Stone Bathroom Sinks

There is nothing quite like natural stone for the combination of beauty and durability. Many people enjoy the look of stone, and want to take this enjoyment a step further by using it in an unusual way or as a focal point as part of their design. One way to do this in the bathroom is by using a stone sink as the central focus of the room.

Old World - Chandler

There are numerous ways that stone sinks can be used in the bathroom. Stone vessels are probably the most commonly known, including polished stone sinks, matte stone sinks, and rustic stone sinks such as those carved out of boulders with the exterior left unfinished. More recently, stone vessels have begun to come in a variety of different shapes as well, including square vessels and irregular shapes that make it look as though the sink grew organically from the space.

An even newer and more innovative way of creating a focal point out of a stone sink is to utilize a stone pedestal, or a pedestal sink made entirely out of stone. There are several ways this can be done:

  • The stone can be carved or cast in traditional pedestal sink shapes and designs for traditional rooms
  • Large stones can be cut and polished into freestanding columns or vessels with a drain in the center and the sink in the top portion. Many of these can also be carved in ways that can incorporate LED light strips for backlighting the stone – a plus when using a translucent material like onyx.
  • Stone pedestals can also be created in a “waterfall” style, where the sink is made integrally with a small vanity top, which extends down the front of the sink in a waterfall style. The sink must be braced from behind to help hold it in place, but the effect is as if the sink is floating in midair.

Using a stone sink like these allows you to really show off the beauty, movement, and depth of real stone. Most sinks come in a variety of different stone colors styles, so you can customize the look you want to the room, potentially matching other stone accents or tiles in the room.

Consider using a stone sink in your bathroom to create the bathroom of your dreams.

Understanding the Difference between Quartz and Quartzite

There are a lot of options out there for those looking for a new countertop for their kitchens. And many of these items have lists of Pros and Cons that you’ll want to consider. Where it gets confusing for some homeowners, is when materials with similar sounding names and similar sounding attributes are occasionally recommended for a space. Which one is the right fit, and how do you tell them apart? Quartz and quartzite are two such materials that are sometimes confused by homeowners just starting to learn about what stone counters may be available. But while these two products do sound similar, they are very different in a lot of ways. Learning the differences can help you make the right choice for your home.

Gourmet Kitchen

Quartz is a man-made product. These counters are created from about 90% real stone, mixed with resins and pigments to hold them together and give them their look and style. Quartz counters are generally low maintenance, and don’t scratch or stain easily. They don’t need to be sealed, and they make nice work surfaces in busy kitchens. A quartz counter will be fairly homogenous in terms of color and appearance, however, because the product is manmade.

Leslie 
Hayes Interiors

Quartzite is a natural stone. This metamorphic material is made when quartz – an igneous rock – undergoes transformation through heat and pressure. The result is a very durable natural stone product that holds up very well in kitchens. Quartzite is often as durable as granite – if not more so in some cases – but has a lot of the veins and colors more often associated with marble. Quartzite can be wild, sparkling, and filled with a rainbow of different hues all within one stone. It can also be pure white or a very light gray with veins reminiscent of Carrara marble. Because quartzite is a natural stone, no two slabs are every exactly the same. The material should be sealed and washed with PH neutral cleansers to help it stay looking its best.

Both quartz and quartzite make excellent countertops, but with very different results. Be sure to take a look at both as you make your decision to help find the right counter for you.

The Difference between Marble and Limestone

Not all natural stones are created equally. Unfortunately for some homeowners, this fact is often overlooked by those purchasing stone tiles or slabs for their homes. Most people are aware of the differences between marble and granite, both in terms of what the two stones generally look like, and in terms of where they should be used. Things get more complicated, however, when trying to decide between other stones, such as marble and limestone. Technically, marble is simply metamorphosed limestone, changed under enormous amounts of heat and pressure from one stone to another. This change that the material underwent deep in the ground means that while the two stones are related, they are in actuality quite different.

Eclectic Bathroom

Limestone is a calcite based stone that is made up of layers and layers of densely compacted material. This sedimentary stone is most often formed in shell reefs, so it’s not uncommon to find small shells and other fossils embedded in the stone. Some limestones are hard enough to hold a high polish, while other limestones are so soft that constant exposure to water will actually cause them to dissolve.

All limestones are every soft and porous, and more easily stained and scratched than marble. Therefore, limestone should be used with care in wet and high traffic areas.

St 
Johns Wood 1 - Carrera Marble (a bitch to clean?)

Marble is also a calcite based stone, being made up of limestone. This metamorphic rock is much harder and denser than limestone. It can universally take a high polish, for example, and holds up much better in wet and higher traffic areas than limestone will. Because of the way that the stone formed, instead of small fossils, you’re more likely to find veins in the marble, which are technically impurities running through the stone and giving it its color.

Both marble and limestone in their purest states are white, and both will make a beautiful statement anywhere in your home. Take care to choose wisely, however, so that whichever stone you choose will keep its good looks for years to come.