Tag Archives: Granite

The Growing Popularity of Neutral Granite

Granite countertops in kitchens is a lasting trend that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Granite is beloved of builders and homeowners alike for its beauty and durability in the kitchen. Granite color trends do come and go, however, with wild granites being more popular over the last few years. Times are changing, however, and today’s more popular granites tend to be those in the neutral category.

It seems as though many people profess to have strong feelings about neutrals. Some people claim to love them, while others want anything but. And this may be why neutral-colored granites are gaining in popularity across the country; even the most neutral-toned granite is still filled color and interest.

With a shade of taupe being picked as 2017’s Color of the Year, it makes sense that homeowners are going to shift toward other neutral colors as well. Neutrals on areas such as walls and counters give you a lot of options for introducing color in other areas of the room. And with neutral granites, you get not only the look of a neutral, you also get a built-in color palette to work with for those other colors.

Many “beige” or “tan” colored granites contain a wealth of other colors within them. For example, Santa Cecilia, which is one of the more popular neutral granites around, contains numerous other shades of cream, brown, gold, and even cranberry in its surface. At a glance, it appears perfectly bland, but get closer and you can find a full range of other colors you can use to accent the room with, creating a beautiful, cohesive interior design that is anything by boring.

This two-in-one color scheme allows neutral granites to have a nearly universal appeal; prospective home buyers who like color or who shy away will find something to love in these counters, making neutral granites a popular option from a resale perspective.

Take a look at neutral granites for your kitchen to get in touch with this growing trend.

Leather, Flamed, and Textured Counters

Texture is rapidly becoming one of the watch words in the kitchen industry right now, with lots of natural and man-made materials taking on new texture throughout the space. This includes the countertop, where natural stone is still reigning, but with different finishes than the traditional polish.

While many people still like polished and honed counters for their simplicity and easy cleaning, more homeowners are also beginning to turn to finishes such as flamed and leather granite to get more depth out of their counters.

Flaming is the process of heating up the surface of the granite so that the weakest particles are brushed away. It leaves behind a very rough textured surfaces that glitters with quartz and silica particles. This also has the effect of muting the colors of the granite, so for example Absolute Black becomes more of a deep steel gray.

Leather finished granite has a smoother texture than flamed granite, but with a contoured movement across the surface of the stone. Meant to mimic the appearance of crocodile leather, this texture has a low sheen that still brings out the color of the stone, while adding depth and interest to the surface at the same time.

Not all granites can be textured, and not all granites tend to look their best with these finishes as well. It’s always best to have a sample done first to see how the stone will react before ordering the finish on the entire countertop. Darker stones, such as gabbros, tend to work best, and stones that handle honed finishes well also tend to work well with a textured finish.

As etching, pattern, and texture continues to become a trend in the kitchen, look for more natural stone counters that have a more tactile surface as well. Whether you opt for a very rough or a more natural texture, the results are sure to



Choosing Stones with the Color of the Year 2016

In January of each year, Pantone releases its color of the year – the shade that will likely dominate interior design for the next 12 months and beyond. This year is no different, except in one regard; Pantone has released two colors – Rose Quartz and Serenity – and has explained that the two shades are used together in this year’s color chart.

These colors permeate everything in the home, so if you’re using them, you’ll want to consider some natural stone choices to go along with them as well. There are several beautiful stones that work well with either color.

To go with Rose Quartz – a very soft, pink shade, consider Pink Onyx, a translucent stone with a color reminiscent of true pink quartz. For a more durable stone, you may want to also consider Rosa Porrino, a Spanish stone with little movement or veining, but a rich pink color that will complement Rose Quartz beautifully.

You have many more choices when it comes to finding a stone to pair with Serenity, a light, smoky blue. Azul Macuba, a very dramatic blue and gray stone with the veining of marble but the denseness of granite is the perfect choice. It’s on the pricier end of the spectrum, however, so those looking for choices that are more budget friendly may also want to consider stones such as Persa Blue granite from Brazil, which has a smoky blue background with large white crystals studding its surface. Another stone to consider may be Azul Celeste, a very light blue quartzite that is sometimes sold as a marble. This sky blue stone often has marshmallow veins running through its crystalline structure. Finally, a limestone known as Blue Elegant, which is hard enough to handle a high polish, makes a deeper accent against the light tones of Serenity.

Pantone’s Color of the Year is always sure get a lot of exposure throughout many homes. Make sure that if you use one of these shades this year, that you pair them with the right stone to complete the look.

Choosing a Granite for Your Kitchen

Granite choices for the kitchen can seem nearly endless. With the array of different colors and grain patterns available, many homeowners can feel overwhelmed trying to determine the best choice. There are a few tricks that can help, however, so you can get the perfect fit for your décor.

The first is to make choosing your granite the first step in your design process. Some homeowners may end up choosing their cabinets first, but this often limits the selection process of the stone unnecessarily.

By starting with the granite, you will quickly find that some stones lend themselves better to some cabinet door styles. For example, stones with tightly flecked patterns work best with raised panel doors, while Shaker, beaded, and slab style doors all work well with looser more open grain patterns.

The next is to not begin your search by looking at small stone samples. Stone samples can be several years old, which may mean that the colors of the stone are no longer an accurate representation of what’s leaving the quarries. A visit to the stone yard is the better choice, because you can see the actual stones and the current color and grain choices.

Once you’ve seen a few stones, you should be able to quickly determine the direction you want to move. Whether that’s to stones of a certain color, or stones that have wild or sedate grain patterns. Once you know what it is that you like about the stone, designers can help direct you to other stones that you may like.

Once you’ve narrowed it down, you have a few choices. You can ask for a sample from the slab to check it against the cabinets and tiles that you have in mind, or you can commit to a specific stone. Either way, be sure to get a sample from the stone, and to indicate which section of a slab you want for areas like peninsulas and islands if the stone has a particularly dramatic pattern. By putting your granite first and looking at the actual slabs themselves, you can easily get the right choice for your kitchen.


Cost Differences in Stone

Many people searching for natural stone for tiles or countertops often encounter a wide range of different prices. Stones like granite, for example, can vary in cost by hundreds of dollars per square foot, leaving some people to wonder if one stone is more desirable than another. For example, blue stones like Blue Bahia tend to cost a lot more money than gray stones do. This can lead to people second guessing their decisions, and even annoyance at a perceived “jacking” of the prices of some stones. There are several factors that go into the pricing of stone, however, and understanding them can give you a better sense of value for the material you choose for your home.

The first factor is availability. Some stones are extremely accessible, and there is a lot of them. This makes it easy to retrieve them and keeps costs relatively low. Other stones, however, are more rare. It costs more money to retrieve them, and there isn’t as much of them which also drives the price up.

The second factor may be transport. Most stones are imported from other countries, and with the cost of oil constantly fluctuating, there are times when the cost of importing a stone can dramatically impact its cost when it comes to market.

Fragility or strength of the stone can also play a role. Some stones which break easily and need to be reinforced with fiberglass, or which are difficult to get larger pieces of can also be more expensive than those stones that are hardy, dense and don’t fracture or break easily when being moved or installed.

The finish and potential edge treatments you may want on your stone, as well as the thickness of it can also impact the final cost, because some treatments can be more difficult to carry out, costing more in labor and broken stones, which leads to higher prices.

So while one stone may cost dramatically more than another, it says nothing at all about the quality of the stone you are considering, and more about stone manufacturing instead.

Popular Granite Colors for 2015

While trends have changed and a lot of different materials are on the market today for countertops, granite remains one of the more popular options amongst homeowners. And while for several years there was a clear cut group of favorite stones that showed up in kitchens again and again, changing trends have meant that a range of different stones are beginning to emerge as the most popular.

White and light colored granites have replaced the tans and blacks that were so popular just a few years ago. Bianco Romano, Kashmir White, and White Piracema are all nice alternatives to white marbles in the kitchen, but still get the white, clean look that is so popular right now. Stones like Shivakashi, which feature a light background with lots of swirling color are particularly popular as they have a lot of interest and movement in them as well as a light color.

Stones with a lot of movement that also have a distinctive color to them are also trending upward. Stones like Lady Dream which have a pink/gold background with a lot of movement, as well as stones like Costa Esmerelda, with a shifting green, yellow, and blue background are gaining a lot of traction for homeowners that want something a little different, but aren’t ready to commit to wild and dramatic granites.

Stones that are closer to the neutrals of the last decade, but that have richer colors and veins can also be seen in many homes. This includes granites such as Copper Canyon and Golden Crystal. These stones have the more neutral background that some homeowners prefer, but they have a lot movement, as well as unusual patterns, which helps them to fit in with the gemstone trend as well.

Granite is expected to remain popular into the next decade as trends move toward more natural materials. Look for more popular colors to keep on trend.

Stunning Stairs

Here in Florida we do not often have need for stairs, however using marble or natural stone as stairs adds such a visual appeal that it can easily be a focal point of a room. There is no need to have only wood as the material being used! Think outside the box.

Our first examples use marble and stone. These natural elements add a lot of beauty and variety as no two pieces are alike.





 stairs6Next we see use of wood but in unusual ways. Making your stairs also storage is a brilliant idea as we all can use more storage!


Next we have metal.  There are so many options with metal, reclaimed from other sources as well as new but with a variety of textures and finishes.  Using metal as an accent is also a great idea!



Using other unusual materials like concrete, glass and acrylic. Poured concrete as shown in the first images are a great option for so many things and can even be done at home for DIY projects like making pots for plants. Look up ideas to give you more inspiration!



I love how these stairs appear like they are floating! Almost scary to think about walking up them.

Using lights is also a great idea to make sure people know where the steps are or for just a little bit of ambient lighting in a room.


Not sure if these are painted glass or stained glass, but either way they are STUNNING! If you want to add a bit of pop to your space this is a great option. You can also paint/stain wood or concrete stairs to add more intrigue to your space.


If you have stairs remember that they can be beautiful and not just functional! So think outside the box and hopefully some of these images have inspired you and you can pin to your Pinterest board :)

Post written by Jennifer Harris of JLHwordsmith.com


Here in South Florida we do not get many opportunities to use a fireplace. However it is one of the quintessential cozy feel good places in a home if you do have one. To have the chance to curl up next to a warm fire with a cup of tea and a book, or having drinks and great conversation with friends. A lit fireplace is like piece of art that is always changing, so having a beautiful mantel/hearth will accentuate a fire’s natural beauty.

If you have a fireplace that needs updating, or wanting to install a new one, the images I’m going to share with you should help you think outside the box.

In this first set the use of a mix of mediums can give you a very interesting focal point. Adding a slight recess in the wall  give you additional play of light when the fire is lit. Or using materials to make a unique pattern is artistic will definitely stand out immediately when guests enter the room.


Marble is a great classic choice and comes in a wide array of colors and choices. You can also have the stone cut in sculptural designs to give extra visual appeal.



Outdoor fireplaces are also a great option for those who have the space to entertain, especially in climates that allow for time outside more often than not.


And of course don’t for the unusual and weird. These will be sure to start a conversation all on their own!


Whatever you decide to do with your space, make sure it’s inviting and that it’s only purpose is not just to warm the space but also to create a warm environment that welcomes relaxation.

Written by Jennifer Harris of JLHwordsmith.com





Outdoor Living

Being outdoors so often throughout the year is a luxury we tend to take for granted here in South Florida. Outdoor living is a huge way of life for many people and is a great entertaining advantage. There are a wide variety of options and today I want to share some of the outdoor kitchens I have found.


One great option is to add a pizza oven. This is a great addition to any outdoor space. It can be added to an existing kitchen or just a standalone feature. I personally like the more rustic looking oven, but there are many options to choose from when it comes to these wood burning ovens, like choosing natural stone, granite, reclaimed stone and brick, etc…

stand alone pizza oven

pizza oven1

If you really like to entertain and plan on spending more to invest in your outdoor space you may want to consider having all the extras. Besides the basics you could also get a range/oven, dishwasher, microwave, fridge (small and possibly hidden). Using natural stone, marble and granite are great outdoor choices and have loads of color options when building this extra living space.


Seating is an additional consideration when planning your outdoor remodel or addition. I like unusual things which can add conversation pieces to the area. Using up cycled items you can make a variety of seating like the bench below or a tee pee hammock!

teeppe seating

Blog post written by Jennifer Harris of JLHwordsmith.com


Granite slabs can offer continuity in fabricating tops for a particular room or project depending on the size and scope of the project. Be aware that granite colors and patterns can very even within the same block of stone, one slice of stone can vary from the  next one cut.

Design opportunities are limited only by your imagination. Modern fabrication facilities such as those at Real Stone & Granite Corp. can cut intricate shapes and patterns out of granite. This stone material can also be cut into tiles for back splash, flooring and shower applications. Medallions or inserts can be installed into any granite product by skilled craftsmen using the latest water jet technology.

Real Stone & Granite Corporation offers an extensive selection of granite slabs and is continually adding to the collection of exclusive colors and patterns that will allow you to create that unique kitchen, bath, flooring or decorative project you’ve been dreaming of.

Blue Granite Counter Top

Continue reading