Monthly Archives: July 2016

Types of Soapstone

Soapstone has an ultra-smooth surface and an appealing depth of color that makes it one of the more popular choices in kitchens around the world. Made of metamorphosed talc, soapstone doesn’t stain or etch the way that other stones do, and it can be oiled to bring out a lot of additional depth and color. There are also several different variations of soapstone available, which means there’s likely a type for everyone to enjoy.

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Vermont Soapstone is a dark gray stone with minimal veins that becomes a very deep green when oiled. Despite its name, this stone originates in Brazil, and is most often what people think of when they consider soapstone for their kitchens.

New Iceflower is also from Brazil. This is another dark gray stone that has minimal white veining. What makes it unique is the fact that it frequently has white crystalline spots across its surface that make it appear as though it has freshly fallen snow on the surface.

Green Soapstone is from Finland. It’s a very rich green in color that is reminiscent of some very dark green marbles. It’s a lot denser and more substantial than soapstones found in Brazil, so it can sometimes be cut into extremely large slabs.

Barocca is another soapstone from Brazil. This is a very light gray stone that has minimal to no white veining, and a much more consistent appearance than some other stones.

Silver soapstone is another very light gray stone from Brazil. What makes it different from Barocca is the presence of lots of white veining, which in some cases can appear as though swirls of marshmallow were moving through the stone. This soapstone has a lot more movement and energy to it, while still remaining very light and neutral in color.

Emerald soapstone is an extraordinarily wild green stone from Brazil. Dark green in color, this stone has a lot of movement, color, variation, and veining. It’s a fairly rare stone, so on the pricey side, but when oiled it has the appearance of a rich, emerald green that makes it extremely appealing.

Gray soapstone is the final stone emerging from Brazil. It has a dark gray color, but lots of rich white veining and a lot of movement.

Soapstone’s popularity isn’t going away anytime soon. If you want a unique, low maintenance stone for your kitchen, consider one of these beautiful options.

The Hottest Bathroom Counters

Bathroom vanities are incredibly useful, stylish, and versatile. While it used to be that many people focused more on the sink, now people are beginning to see the appeal of using a vanity and sink top to add color, interest, and utility at once. With an upsurge in vanities also comes an upsurge in interest in the vanity countertop. With so many different choices for material, however, there is one that is getting nearly all the attention – granite. Granite bathroom vanity tops are hands down the most popular material for the space, followed by quartz and marble. Learn which granite tops are getting the most attention to help get the look in your bathroom.

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Just like in kitchens, white granite is currently in the lead for the most popular stone for the space. White stones like Alaskan White, Andromeda, White Princess, Thunder White, and Bethel White all hold up incredibly well in the bathroom. Their light color works well with white bathroom fixtures and tile, while their veining and the occasional color introduction such as burgundy helps make it easy to pull accent colors.

Also popular in the bathroom right now are cool-toned colors that help bring to mind soothing, spa experiences. Blue Celeste and Ming Green as well as more exotic stones like Alba Chiaro are desired for these very light colors and crystalline appearance.

As bathrooms start becoming larger and people begin taking more risks with their designs, more exotic and wild looking stones are also beginning to make their appearance. Things like onyx, which can backlit, as well as gemstones like agates are quickly catching on for more contemporary-style bathrooms.

Finally, for bathrooms that have a more rustic appearance, very quiet, honed stones with “unfinished” edges are also getting a lot of use. These stones are meant to complement things like rough-hewn basins and stacked wall stones to give the bathroom the look of a rustic cabin interior.

As more people begin to put their focus on the bathroom, both granite and marble continue to be the most popular materials for use everywhere in the space. Invest in a stone countertop for your vanity to help complete your look, no matter what it is.

The Hottest Thing in Marble – Danby

White marble has been one of the most popular choices amongst homeowners for countertops, floors, ledges, and walls for the last several years. And while most people have looked to Italian marbles to get the look they want, there has recently been a large upsurge in the popularity of a different type of Marble – Vermont Danby.

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Danby is not a new material or a recently discovered quarry. In fact, the famous Danby quarries have been operating for more than 100 years, and are considered to be the largest underground marble quarries in the world.

There are several different types of Danby, categorized by the color of the stone and its veining. Danby can range from a very white stone with lots of gold veining (Imperial Danby), which resembles Calacatta, to a softer, light gray stone with subtle veining (Appalachian Gray). It’s the location that the marble is mined from that helps give it its characteristic looks, and there are eight different locations and types of Danby marble available.

Eureka, Imperial, and Royal Danby are the whitest and most striking of the stones. They are also the rarest, found in long, twisting veins which means that these stones tend to be priced a little higher than those that are easier to access and more abundant.

Like all white marbles, Danby can have great variation even within one type. It is also prone to etching, stunning, and staining like other white marbles, and will develop a patina over time when used in locations like kitchen countertops.

Because Danby is quarried within the US, however, it often costs less than Italian stones which come with heavy shipping price tags attached. For those that want to support a more local market and economy, Danby is a beautiful choice that rivals several well-known Italian marbles.

If you’re looking for a beautiful stone with a history and character to match, consider any of the Danby marbles to do the job.

Adding Texture with Natural Stone

Rustic modern décor and a movement toward more natural-looking décor have both seen a sharp rise in popularity of late. More and more homeowners are beginning to incorporate more natural materials into their homes, as well as a blend of contemporary and rustic or country styles. To this end, many materials, such as natural stone, that have already been getting a lot of use and attention, are beginning to be used in new and innovative ways as well. One of these is in the addition of texture.

Texture has the ability to add depth and interest to an area that might otherwise have been seen as flat or unnoticeable. Rough wood, live edges, and unfinished metal are all beginning to get used in homes as people begin to search for a way to add more texture and interest to a design. Natural stone also fits in very well in these areas, offering not only the ability to add that texture, but all of the natural beauty and variation that stone is well known for as well.

Split-face stone is one way to add some texture to a wall. These naturally-cleft surfaces of slate, sandstone, and limestone can add a visually tactile element to backsplashes, fireplaces, and bathrooms.

V-tiles, or stone tiles cut like wedges that are installed to have areas sticking out further from the wall is another way to add texture with a cleaner, more geometric look. V-tiles can be installed in several different directions, giving you the appearance of waves moving across the wall.

Both of these types of stone are often installed tightly together without grout, giving the whole installation a more organic look, one that is more of a work of art than it is a traditional tile installation.

When you’re looking for ways to embrace these trends and add some texture to your home, be sure to consider the many different ways that natural stone could be used to help achieve this look.

What’s Hot in Countertops Right Now

It seems like trends are constantly changing when it comes to home décor, and in particular kitchen design. One thing has held true for the last several years now; granite is one of the most popular materials for installing on your kitchen counters. Colors, patterns, and other trends are constantly changing, however, with a few things beginning to emerge as the most sought after for countertop design.

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The first is the idea of “bling” or having something a little extra sparkling or shiny scattered throughout your counter. A good example of this is Black Galaxy, which features a solid black countertop speckled with shining copper flecks. Another is Blue in the Night, which is a very dark counter studded with flashes of bold, bright blue. Natural stones like these that can mimic that sparkly effect of quartz are in particular demand in many areas.
Natural, or neutral colors are also beginning to emerge again. Soft, yellow, gold, and beige tones have never really gone out of style, but they’ve definitely begun to pick up steam again, with stones like Santa Cecilia and Giallo Ornamentale leading the way.
However, it’s white stones of any kind that are at the absolute height of popularity right now. Any white granite, quartzite, or marble is getting a lot of attention, particularly as people try to lighten and brighten their overall kitchen designs. This means that stones such as Bianco Avorio and Andino White are getting a lot of attention right now.
Finally, stones that have a lot of movement to them, such as Avalanche, are also catching a lot of eyes. People want stones that can show off just what Mother Nature can do, filled with color, movement, and a lot of style.
No matter which stone you choose to go with, however, one thing is bound to be for certain; natural stone will remain one of the best choices you can make for your kitchen countertop and for your kitchen design in general.