Monthly Archives: May 2017

Should You Chose a Unique Stone?

Natural stone countertops, walls, and floors make a beautiful addition to any home. Whether you choose marble, granite, quartzite, or slate, you’re getting a beautiful, durable material that will last for years. And because of the way that natural stone is produced, you’re also getting a material that is at least slightly different than even other stones of the same type. This is part of the beauty and appeal of stone; the fact that no two tiles are slabs are ever completely the same. Unfortunately for some people, this can also seem like a drawback, especially when you think that you’re receiving something that looks exactly like the sample in a showroom, only to find that it may in fact be dramatically different. A new trend is beginning to emerge amongst some homeowners, however, that goes in the opposite direction of what many people have thought of stone in the past; more people than ever before are beginning to search for truly unique stones to use in their homes.

Bathroom - Forest Green & Sahara Gold Marble traditional-bathroom

It’s important to remember that even when you choose a fairly consistent stone, like Uba Tuba or Giallo Ornamentale, there is still going to be some degree of variation in the material. Color, tone, or veining may differ from piece to piece, even when quarried at the same time. This is one of the characteristics of stone.

This new trend is moving toward more inconsistent stones, such as Sahara Gold or Verde Luna, which are incredibly wild in color variation from piece to piece and particularly from lot to lot. The idea is that a truly unique stone like this will create a dramatic appearance within the home. And while this is true, it isn’t something that everyone enjoys. If you’re considering a unique stone for your home, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you plan on staying in the home for 5 to 10 more years?
  • Are you remodeling with the idea of a higher ROI?
  • Are you adding the unique stone simply because you love it, or because you want impact?

If you are planning on remaining in your home for at least 5 years, and want the unique stone because you value its beauty, then by all means use a dramatic and highly varied stone. Keep in mind, however, that most people feel that more sedate or classic stones are preferable, and you may have trouble finding a buyer for your home that enjoys the dramatic appearance as much as you do.

Natural stone is a wonderful addition to any home, regardless of what type you choose. Invest in a unique stone if it makes you happy, and try not to worry about what the next owner will think.

Monochromatic Stones for the Bathroom

One of the hottest trends in bathroom design right now includes the use of monochromatic colors in shades of white, gray, beige, and bone. Another trend that’s also steaming up the bath is the use of polished stones such as marble throughout the room. With the right choices, it’s also possible to combine both of these trends into one, stunning bathroom design.

Vine Ave, Park Ridge, IL traditional-bathroom

Many people shy away from using only a single color in the bathroom – even white. Often other colors get introduced through accents or accessories to help liven up the palette. Monochromatic color schemes don’t have to be boring or a single color, however, and there are several stones that can make a beautiful neutral palette in the room.

One mixture of stones is Bianco Carrara with Bardiglio. Carrara is one of the most commonly recognized marbles; a soft white with gray veining. Bardiglio is the opposite of Carrara – a deep gray stone with white veins. Used together they create a dynamic design that’s also in keeping with today’s monochromatic trends.

Another pairing that works well in the bathroom is the blend of Calacatta and Crema Marfil. Calacatta is a bright white stone with a mixture of both gray and gold veins. Crema Marfil is a softer, cream colored stone that picks up the gold vein in the Calacatta and makes it pop, creating a two-tone design that’s also interesting and eye-catching.

If you’re creating a powder room or half bath, another combination of stones that works well with today’s colors is a blend of Lagos Azul and Lagos Gold. While these limestones don’t work well in wet areas, they can create a stunning gray and gold design for a bathroom floor or powder room walls. Both stones have a soft, high-hone finish that gives them depth, along with a similar tone of color that makes them pair well particularly well together.

Finally, consider a subtle look in the bathroom by mixing Jerusalem stones such as Jerusalem Gold, Jerusalem Bone, and Jerusalem Gray. The three stones blend well together, shifting across the spectrum of neutrals, but keeping your bathroom from becoming boring with their richness and depth.

Break out of the monochromatic box by mixing natural stones in your bathroom to create a look that’s hard to walk away from.

Natural Stone and Steam Showers

There are several trends that have been gaining popularity in the bathroom for the last several years. Natural stone walls and floors, body jets, and steam are just a few of the things that more homeowners have been adding to their bathrooms than ever before. Unfortunately, two of these things don’t work well together, and too many homeowners find out only after everything has been installed.

Master Shower traditional-bathroom

Natural stone is a porous material, with thousands of tiny holes in its surface, which can absorb moisture. Some stones are extremely porous and will not only absorb the moisture from the fluids they come in contact with, but also any minerals or additives in the water, which can cause discoloration. Other stones, such as Bianco Carrara, may contain high iron content, which can cause rust to appear on the surface of the stone after a prolonged contact with moisture.

In a steam shower, the water particles being produced are small enough to infiltrate nearly all types of natural stone, even those that are less porous and not normally subject to absorption or staining. And while most stone should be sealed prior to grouting and periodically thereafter, even sealers may not be enough to stop the penetration of the water particles into the stone.

Stones that are at particularly high risk of developing problems inside a steam shower include not only Carrara, but also Lagos Azul limestone, which has been known to pit with contact with moisture, and any green marble, which contains high levels of serpentine. Nearly all stones may develop some adverse effect, however, after prolonged usage of the steam shower, including staining and developing mineral deposits.

While stone makes a beautiful addition to any bathroom and most showers, it’s generally a good idea to avoid using it in a steam shower or steam room. Avoiding the use of stone in these areas will help keep your stone shower looking beautiful for many years to come.

Creating a Wow Factor

For many homeowners, the kitchen design needs to be more than simply functional and meeting a family’s needs; it also needs to have a beautiful design and great aesthetic. For that reason, most homeowners look for ways to add a “wow factor” to their design, whether through the tile, the counters, the cabinetry, or the accessories. There is one way that you can add an instant wow factor to your design that will command attention from everyone who views it, and that’s with a unique stone countertop.

Kitchen contemporary-kitchen

The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) sends out surveys each year to industry professionals to gauge trends and interest in kitchen and bath design. And one common element that many kitchen and interior designers mention as having the biggest impact on the room is the countertop. Unique and eye catching counters outweigh lighting, cabinetry, accessories, and backsplashes as commanding the most attention from viewers.

Granite counters have been popular for many years now, with some stones getting a lot of use again and again, such as Uba Tuba and Saint Cecilia. These aren’t the stones that can give you that wow that you’re looking for, however, as they’ve been seen in so many kitchens.

To truly give your kitchen that impact that you’re looking for, consider choosing a unique or different stone for your kitchen. Look for stones that have an unusual pattern and coloration such as Mariachi or Fucco. Or consider choosing a slab of a more ordinary stone that happens to have unique veins or color streaks. For example, Costa Esmerelda is typically green and gold, but occasionally has been found with huge, thick, white marshmallow veins running through it like a river. This unique feature sets it apart from other stones, give you that impact you’re looking for.

To best find the unique stone that will best suit your kitchen, be sure to pay a visit to the stone yard to see the slabs in person. A small sample or photograph can’t show you all the color, veining, and intricacies of the stone that will help you pick just the right one. So, pay attention to the slabs themselves and choose something unique to give your kitchen the wow factor you’re looking for.