Artful Living By Design
Selecting stone for your home remodeling or building project can be overwhelming and confusing. Let’s focus on countertop surfaces for the moment: natural stone such as granite, marble, soapstone, quartzite, or basalt, to name a few; or engineered stone, which is natural quartz combined with high-quality polymer resin and pigment— such as Caesarstone, HanStone or Silestone— all beautiful in their own right... the list goes on. You are most likely concerned about durability, cost, aesthetics, maintenance, and the impact on our environment. No wonder this can be perplexing.
First consider how you move through and use your space on a daily basis. If it is a kitchen surface, whether the countertop or floor, this room is prone to more substances that have the possibility of staining or burning. Your choice should be made in harmony with your lifestyle and knowledge of the characteristics of each stone type you are considering. I personally have marble inmy kitchen (not usually recommended by sales people) and many kitchens in Europe have had marble tops in their kitchens for many decades. My husband and I are aware of the issues around marble as a countertop and have found it to be not a problem. We think the marble in our kitchen is gorgeous and after five years of use it still looks terrific.
Other applications for stone or other stonelike surfaces include floors and walls. Imagine a beautiful bush-hammered white quartzite in a niche subtly bathed in light as a backdrop to a lovely objet d’art, or perhaps chiseled limestone juxtaposed with brushed limestone set in a vertical running bond pattern as a surround for your soaking tub: gorgeous! The possibilities are limited only by your imagination. Limestone of different shades combined with black slate could be used to create a dramatic floor in an entrance foyer. There is reclaimed floor material to consider as well. How about an aged limestone tile floor planked along with richly colored hardwood?
Natural stone tiles, in my opinion, provide a level of obvious luxury to the home. Because it is natural, no two tiles are exactly the same. Natural stone is more porous and has to be finished with a penetrating sealer to prevent staining. A good rule of thumb is that honed surfaces wear better than polished surfaces, which can etch with acidic juice, wine, or cleaning chemicals.
Architecturally, a fireplace is a great opportunity to elaborate and design a marvelous focal point for a room, whether a fire is burning or not, and using natural or engineered stone can be absolutely striking. Consider a large hunk of natural sandstone as a mantle, surrounded by clay plaster or natural fissure fossilstone cladding the fireplace face to create a grand statement.
The vast array of stone is phenomenal and my recommendation is to get some professional advice to help with your big decision.
Lisa Samuel ASID, IIDA, is principal of Samuel Design Group, 607 Cerrillos Road, Suite A. She is an award-winning interior designer, lighting designer, and furniture designer. Contact Lisa at 505-820-0239.
The natural soft beauty of honed sandstone is the perfect backdrop for this beautiful ceremonial pot artifact from Africa.