When it comes to interior design, it is always important to consider what’s trendy or “current”, as well as keeping in mind the quintessential building blocks that stem from “classic” design. This delicate balance of popular and proper are not better exemplified than through Houston-based visionary, Laura U. We interviewed designer extraordinaire Laura and got all the details behind her “Classically Current” technique. So scroll on down to learn 6 Ways to Create A Classically Current Design by Laura U Interiors!
Black and white, cream and gray…I prefer all of my designs to carry some tension. Opposites are timeless and this powder room exemplifies that. The white floating sink rests atop the Pietra Grey Leathered Marble counter, courtesy of Aria Stone Gallery.
The lush green hues that saturate these chairs makes a true statement in this formal living room. I like to think of color as a foil to a neutral backdrop. It activates a space. To accentuate the green, we incorporate natural elements like marble and wood to ground the room.
A Classically Current interior is one that authentically reflects the personal styles of the homeowners. In this high-rise living room, the collected feel of global travelers is felt throughout. Natural elements of wood, marble and stone layer against leather, silk, and warm terra cotta hues to create a luxe space.
Incorporating the environment/natural surroundings
The blue and pink hues throughout this coastal home reflect the bright sunlight coming in from the beach. Taking a cue from the environment, we paired the interior of this home elegantly with the outside environment. For me, a Classically Current home belongs naturally to its surroundings, emphasizing the outdoors and bringing them inside.
People are naturally drawn to symmetrical elements and these beautiful sconces accomplish that perfectly. Wallpaper by Lindsey Cowles is a great partner to the marble counter. All around, a very Classically Current space.
From the pendants over the granite countertop to the marble floors and large windows, this kitchen is full of light. Good lighting is very important to my Classically Current philosophy. It never goes out of style!
Meet Laura U
Top Houston interior designer, Laura Umansky, has always had an appreciation for luxury interiors that are bold, unique, and remarkably curated. She founded the Laura U Interior Design firm to build beautiful legacies for her clients, treasured memories told through the art of high-end design and woven throughout every room of a home.
Without prescribing to any singular style, her Classically Current spaces are perfect reflections of her client’s personalities and joys. Client-centric and site-specific, a Laura U interior will always involve a bit of drama with a luxe romantic touch, bringing the environment inward and surrounding clients with what they love most.
Known for designing stunning homes all over the country, Laura has spent her life blending the beauty of art with the science of design. With over 15 years of industry experience and a background in architecture, Laura understands what it takes to execute an incomparable interior design project. She developed The Process of Design in order to keep her team organized, maintain projects on schedule, and deliver impeccable white glove service. Laura’s tailored process allows her team of interior designers to truly understand each client’s lifestyle, artfully shaping spaces that showcase every client’s unique story.
Aria Stone Gallery and D Magazine collaborated on an exciting article, New and Exciting Hand Selection Stone Experience this September, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to announce this one-of-a-kind-program!
As a pioneer in the industry, Aria continually pushes the envelope when it comes to customer experience and education which holds true with the announcement of our new, custom “World-Class Hand Selection” program. The program is a once in a lifetime excursion which gives the clients a chance to experience the behind-the-scenes process of hand selecting stone for their special project. See a sneak peek of the feature below or check out this entire article here!
From interior design to accessories, the beauty and mystery of Labradorite never fails to capture our attention among a diverse realm of applications. This stone comes packed with a unique blend of luxury, versatility and durability, and originates from exotic lands with the richest of cultures. Possessing the ability to be utilized far beyond the abilities of a gemstone, Labradorite has many defining traits that make it extremely valued to artists, jewelers and designers all over the world.
What Is Labradorite?
Labradorite is a mineral that can be found in igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks. It has a hard crystalline structure and precious stone properties that are highly valued in both the stone and jewelry industries. Labradorite ranks about a 6-6.5 (similar to the hardness of granite) on the Mohs Hardness Scale, and is also known for possessing magic, healing and psychic powers.
One of the main defining traits of Labradorite is its capability of displaying a wide spectrum of colors through highly reflective crystal pockets (which can change as the stone is rotated). Labradorite gemstones usually have a dark blue or black base color with metallic pockets of sapphire, green, red, gold or aquamarine. The color play is iridescent like the feathers of a peacock.
This unique display of iridescent colors is known as Labradorescence, also referred to as the “eyes” of the stone. Labradorescence is caused by internal fractures that reflect light back and forth, dispersing it into different colors. Some stones have a more prominent Labradorescence effect than others, and that greater spectrum of color therefore increases the value of the stone.
Due to its unique properties, Labradorite is quite rare and not typically seen among mass-merchant jewelers or stone suppliers. However, designers who specialize in unique and custom work, such as Tiffany McKinzie, often use it to create one-of-a-kind pieces of raw, natural art.
Labradorite and Lemurian Granite
Labradorite is often found in anorthosite, an igneous rock composed mostly of feldspar. Anorthosite is commonly used in the construction industry, and can be cut, polished and used for design and architectural purposes. Some samples of anorthosite rocks were even taken from the moon, and contain fragments of crystals!
Anorthosite is sometimes classified commercially as “black granite”. Aria Stone Gallery’s Lemurian Extra and Lemurian Baobab granites are both flawless examples of the marriage between anorthosite and Labradorite crystals.
Originating from the exotic island of Madagascar, Aria Stone Gallery’s collection of Lemurian granite slabs are both glamorous and durable. The highly iridescent Labradorite pockets within these stones radiate an eye-catching shimmer against a dark navy background. They exude a beautiful spectrum of colors that change as light bounces off the stone. The large amounts of Labradorite residing inside Lemurian Baobab granite in particular makes it of precious rarity, and a luxurious addition to Aria’s granite collection.
Ah yes, the daunting question: “What happens if I crack my natural stone countertops?” It’s an upsetting accident, don’t get us wrong – but no need to cry over cracked stone! Repairing, restoring and preventing future damage to your beautiful stone countertops is much easier than you think. That’s why the Aria Stone Gallery team has prepared 5 important facts you should know if you ever spot a crack, fissure, or scratch in your natural stone!
What Causes Cracks and Fissures in a Slab?
Small cracks and fissures occur naturally in stone during mother nature’s process of creating and cooling within the earth. At Aria, we inspect every slab in the reflection of the light to check for the cracks and fissures, only choosing the stones with a very small percentage of natural imperfections. That being said, this is not a typical issue you will run into with an Aria slab. However, it is important to understand the process of filling in cracks and fissures so you can spot them yourself!
Human error is an inorganic cause of cracks and fissures within a slab. Uneven cabinetry or poor foundation beneath a stone countertop, children sitting on countertop overhangs, or bumping the corners of your stone with a piece of heavy furniture might be enough to crack a slab. Whatever the case may be, we can assure you we’ve seen it all before.
How Are Cracks and Fissures Repaired?
Cracks and fissures are very repairable using a special epoxy that is meant specifically for fixing natural imperfections in stone, large or small! Since the epoxy is very runny, a fabricator will carefully lay the slab on top of plastic and pour the epoxy over the cracks and fissures, letting it set overnight. During this time, the epoxy will go deep down into the cracks and solidify. The next day, the fabricator will go in and either scrape off the residue with a razor blade or resurface the area completely, depending on the stone type and surface finish.
How Do You Repair Surface Scratches?
On softer materials, such as marble, onyx and calcite, even the best sealers are not stain and scratch proof. Before you call your fabricator, know that you have two main options: resurfacing the stone or using a stone color enhancer and sealer. With resurfacing being the more costly of the two ways to repair scratches in your natural stone, it may be a good idea to try to use the stone color enhancer and sealer first. You can always ask your fabricator which color enhancer and sealer brand they recommend for your natural stone.
Soapstone is the only exception to the scratching and sealing rule.
Soapstone DOES have the potential to scratch. It is composed mostly of the mineral “talc”, which is the softest mineral in the world. However, although talc is soft, it is also super dense, which actually makes soapstone very durable! Since soapstone is so dense, it doesn’t have many pores for debris or chemicals to sink into – meaning you don’t seal soapstone.
How do you repair scratches in soapstone then? Look no further than your garage for some sandpaper! Deep scratches can be smoothed down with 120-grit sandpaper, then finished by apply a coating of mineral oil to clean it up. Mineral oil is what you should use instead of a typical “sealer” to keep your soapstone looking vibrant and clean.
How Does a Color Enhancing Sealer Work?
Once you apply a color enhancing sealer to a dry rag and wipe in on top of a scratch, you will almost immediately begin to see the scratch disappear. The color enhancing sealer fills in and camouflages the scratch to make it much less noticeable.
Can I Use a Stone Color Enhancer and Sealer Myself?
Even if you’re the master of DIY, we definitely recommend that you first speak to your fabricator about this process, and advise you to read the instructions on the chemicals that you use. Also, as when introducing any new chemical or cleaning agent to your natural stone, it a good idea to test the how the stone will react to the chemical in a small, discreet place on your stone.
Many color enhancing chemicals are quick to apply, and can be applied easily at home. Start by putting the color enhancing sealer onto a dry, clean rag. Wipe the rag over any scratch and the scratch will disappear. Typically, you should let the chemicals sit for about five minutes, but this may vary dependent on stone, the size of the scratch, and the chemicals that you use. After the color enhancing sealer has set for about 5 minutes, wipe the stone with a clean paper towel until all of the excess product is gone. You can repeat this every three to four months. Luckily, there is no limit to the amount of times you can restore natural stone!
The comforting and thoughtful pairing of wood and natural stone never fails to create a tailored, cohesive and rustic atmosphere. Whether the application is a high-rise city loft or a country farmhouse, the iconic wood and stone trend is always in momentum and remains one of the most coveted design duos today. Read on to experience a few of our projects that feature the classic combination of wood and stone, and how you can achieve this style!
Pair Lights with Lights
The key to a soft, warming look like the kitchen below is to pair creamy wood cabinets, furniture etc. that has similar colors to the lighter veining in your stone. This will create a subtle, yet distinguished color palette that is expressed by tones we often think of as “color-neutral”. Bright, clean and neutral spaces can exude cheerful energy, and therefore, filling your home with these positive tones will attract visitors back for years to come.
Go Rugged and Rustic
Don’t be afraid to throw some elements of nature into your space! Natural stone (such as our Fusion quartzite) actually pairs quite well with river rock wall mosaics and distressed wood finishing. The smooth, organic surfaces of these materials create a rustic yet luxurious look. Pebbles and indoor plants also make wonderful accent pieces, and help to bring out subtle colors in your natural stone.
Utilize Modern Techniques
A home grounded on the combination of wood and natural stone does not always have to be traditional or rustic! Choosing a vibrant stone that brings a pop of color into the mix, as well as incorporating design techniques like streamlined waterfall edges and minimal cabinet detail will spark modernism within your space.
Visualize A Cozy Workspace
This homey, ranch-house style kitchen is overflowing with color and ample natural light. The center island features Aria’s Fusion Leathered Quartzite – pairing perfectly with warm brick, bronzed hardware and hard wood floors. We especially love the way the distressed wooden ceiling rafters bring focus back to the dark veining throughout the countertops. Taking advantage of wooden accents that radiate rich, dark tones can be very helpful when deciding on a natural stone with a lot of color and busy veining.
Typically quarries will cut and ship stone slabs in measurements of 2cm or 3cm. In some cases, harder stones such as granite or quartzite will even be available in 1cm. But what should you do if you find your perfect stone in 3cm and your project calls for 2cm? Luckily, there is a way for your fabricator to downsize your stone to fit your design needs: milling. Milling is the process of slowly grinding the thickness of a material down using a mill saw.
How Does a Fabricator Mill a 3cm Slab into a 2cm Slab?
Most fabricators will have the ability to transform your 3cm slab into a 2cm slab using a mill saw. To begin the process, a foam board is first placed on top of the work table for support and to absorb the pressure that the saw places on the stone. This will avoid creating cracks or fissures in the material. The mill saw then moves across the surface, slowly grinding the stone down to 2cm. There are many different types of milling machines, and they are categorized by orientation to their workpiece and by type of motion.
Can I Use a 3cm Material for a Backsplash?
Backsplash applications in kitchens or bathrooms are prime examples of when slabs may need to be milled from 3cm to 2cm. In some cases, a 3cm slab is too thick and may get in the way of faucets, sinks or cabinetry.
How Can I Make My 2cm Slab Appear Thicker?
On the opposite note, if you are wanting your 2cm countertop or island to appear thicker, there is a way for your fabricator to miter the edges, giving you endless possibilities when creating your edge profile. No need to search for a 3cm slab, you can make a 2cm material appear to be 3cm, 4cm, 5cm or thicker using this technique.
What Stone Thickness Should I Use for Wall Applications?
It is not recommended to use 3cm materials for wall applications since a typical household wall is not built to support such an immense amount of weight. When applied to a wall, the slenderness of a 2cm slab may be more visually appealing and easier to work with, especially when installing electrical sockets or finishing the sides of the stone.
Does Milling Effect the Strength of Stone?
Every countertop is just as good as the support beneath it. As a rule of thumb, 2cm is an appropriate strength for marble, quartzite and granite.
Creating a slab smaller than 2cm (especially with marble) is not recommended unless it is for a smaller project such as a small vanity, threshold, or backsplash. If needed, quartzite and granite can be milled to about 1/2 an inch. For marble, it is not recommended to go below 3/4 of an inch in order to keep the integrity of the stone in tact.
Onyx is a unique natural stone that originates from dripstone deposits of limestone caves. When water drips from stalactites and stalagmites within these caves and evaporates a compound called calcium carbonate is left behind. This causes the stone’s colorful veins, swirls, and patterns that are unique to onyx. Therefore, onyx is classified a chemical sedimentary stone and can at times contain fossils and shells. Prehistoric animal skeletons have even been found preserved inside onyx!
What Does Onyx Look Like?
Onyx is crystalline stone, and often translucent – which means it allows for light to pass through. The degree of translucency varies among onyx slabs and is dependent on the color, thickness and surface finish. A unique feat, onyx will recrystallize in time, often enhancing translucency as a result. Onyx typically comes in a wide array of yellow hues due to the presence of iron deposits, but other common colors are green, white, orange, gold, pink and brown.
Should I Use Onyx in My Next Project?
We believe that if you love this stone, a skilled fabricator will be able to make your onyx project a reality. Like most natural stones, onyx has the potential to etch and stain; however, a sealer can be used in addition to prevent wear and tear over time. Feature walls, countertops, art pieces and fireplaces are all especially great examples of ways to incorporate onyx into your home. Most onyx applications can be backlit to enhance the stone’s natural translucency.
We often hear, “I want granite because it’s stain resistant.” While granite is a strong material and holds up really well, it’s not your only option if you are worried about scratching, staining, or etching. Recent technological advances in natural stone sealers have exponentially expanded sealing options. There are many possibilities to keep natural stones such as marble, onyx, and even limestone to look as beautiful as the day they were installed. Read along to learn which sealer is best for your project and what you can do at home to protect your natural stone from scratches, stains, and etches.
There are two types of natural stone sealers: topical and impregnator.
Topical. A topical sealer is a coating or a film designed to protect the surface of the stone against water, oil, and other contaminants. Oftentimes, you have to strip and re-apply topical sealers, making them a less appealing choice for homeowners.
Impregnator. An impregnatingsealer is typically a water based solution that penetrates below the surface and repels oil and water. Impregnating sealers are “breathable”; meaning, they keep water and oil out, but do not stop the interior moisture from escaping.
What type of natural stone sealer should I use?
At Aria Stone Gallery, we typically suggest that our clients use impregnating nano sealers. Nano sealers are a new breed of impregnating sealers that consist of tiny particles. The smaller particles are able to penetrate and fill in more pores in the stone, creating a stone that is more impenetrable to stains. However, speak with your fabricator and check all fine print and warranties before deciding which sealer is best for you.
Will using a sealer change the color of my natural stone?
Not all sealers will change the color of your stone. If you do not want to change the color of the stone, there are impregnating sealers available that will only block moisture from penetrating the stone.
However, there are certain color enhancing sealers that can protect your stone and also bring out all of the beautiful, vibrant hues. Many people chose to use color enhancing sealers on their marble or onyx to create a more vibrant color. You can keep the color enhancing sealer at home for a quick fix against scratches and etches. For example, if you scratch the stone you can put the color enhancing sealer on the scratch – sometimes the scratch goes away completely – sometimes the scratch goes away mostly – it all depends on the material.
How do you seal limestone?
Limestone is different in that it needs to breathe more than other stones. It is important to seal limestone with a specific sealer that helps protect, but also allows for extra breathability.
How do you prevent scratching and etching in natural stone at home?
The best way to prevent scratching and etching is to use trivets for heavy pots and pans. Also, be sure to blot up any acidic liquids spills quickly with a clean cloth. Otherwise, a fabricator can come to your home with a machine that can buff the etch out of the stone. Looking for something you can do at home to prevent etching? Fabricator, Chris Wynn, from Statement Furniture, suggests using a high grade car or furniture wax. The wax will also help to prevent the stone from etching in the future. Both options are very similar. It is just a matter of doing it yourself or paying a fabricator to do it for you.
Here are the steps you can take to prevent your natural stone from scratching and etching at home:
Blot up any acidic liquid spills with a clean cloth
Flush the area with plain water and mild soap and rinse several times
Dry the area thoroughly with a soft cloth
Use a high grade car of furniture wax and spread over your natural stone
Leave the wax on overnight
Buff the wax off in the morning with a clean, soft cloth until it shines.
How often do you need to reseal your natural stone?
First, consult the brand of sealer that your fabricator initially used, as some sealers have warranties. All stones have different porosities and different finishes can lend to higher stain resistance as well. Learn more about the porosity of your stone and use your best judgement. If you see water spots or anything out of the ordinary, then call your fabricator to refinish. The maintenance could be every year or every 5 years, it depends on the stone and the type of finish.
What is Clearstone?
Clearstone is new type of topical sealer that was created in Australia over 18 years ago and recently brought to the United States. First the fabricator will paint on a primer that impregnates the stone. Then the fabricator will coat the surface with a resin solution that binds with the primer creating another layer of protection. The fabricator puts the Clearstone resin on the stone after installation and fabrication. The result is a sealer that lays over top of your stone that prevents etching and staining for 10 years, also covered by a 10 year warranty.
Does Clearstone change the color of natural stone?
Clearstone is completely (water clear) transparent and won’t change the natural color of the stone and doesn’t yellow.
Is Clearstone heat resistant?
Fabricators suggest that you treat stone sealed with Clearstone the way you would treat engineered stone (like quartz or porcelain). Meaning, Clearstone is not completely heat resistant and you should use trivets to protect from heat.
What is TuffSkin?
TuffSkin is a proprietary stone laminate, made from high-tech polyester that is chemical free and odorless. Its hard coat technology prevents your stone from etching, scratching, is removable/replaceable. It is also heat resistant and holds up to hot pans, boiling water, blow dryers and curling irons (withstands a max 400 degrees). Although your stone will not be harmed with this layer of protection, the TuffSkin laminate itself does have the potential to scratch. That is why TuffSkin calls it “long term maintenance”. When the laminate becomes too scratched for the customer’s liking, TuffSkin can easily be removed and replaced.
TuffSkin adhesive is designed specifically to work with natural stone, and is another great option for sealing. You can choose your TuffSkin adhesive in either a polished or honed (satin) finish. Surfaces coated with TuffSkin should be cleaned with any non-abrasive cleaner using a soft cloth, paper towel or squeegee.
If your natural stone is in an outdoor application, never fear! TuffSkin lasts for about 2 years outdoors (in direct sunlight). TuffSkin can also provide a special cleaner with UV protection, that if used properly will add another year to the laminate’s lifespan.
Can you apply a sealer after installing natural stone?
Yes, speak to your fabricator for traditional options to seal your stone after installation. Also, Clearstone offers an installation that creates zero dust particles to minimize the disturbance in your home.
Calcite is a transparent or translucent natural stone that can be found in both crystalline and massive forms, such as a stone slab. Although crystals of calcite are usually translucent or colorless, they can at times exhibit a wide variety of hues depending on the crystal’s chemical makeup. Calcites can have soft veins of light blue, green and other light colors, in addition to clear, sparkling crystals throughout the material.
Where Does Calcite Come From?
Calcite is formed in many parts of the Earth, from underground caves and quarries, to hot springs, even coral reefs. Without it, in fact, many of Earth’s creatures could not exist. Many marine organisms use calcite minerals to construct their shells and skeletons. Calcite is such a wonderful addition to Aria’s collection of natural stones because it is an example of how stone can be a helping hand in the creation of life – as well as a beautiful art form!
How durable is Calcite?
Calcite is a softer stone – more comparable to marble in terms of hardness, ranking about a 3 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. They can scratch, etch and stain just like marble can if not sealed or cared for properly. Calcites are generally better suited for a bathroom environment, because it is a low-traffic area that won’t take as much of a beating from day-to-day activities.
Should I use Calcite in my next project?
Calcite slabs are not new to the stone industry, but lately have become a focus of many stone suppliers. As the demand for light colored stones has increased over the years, the amount of calcite being quarried has increased. Because of their unique backstory, colors and patterns, calcite slabs will always be in high demand – making for interesting, modern and beautiful stone projects.
While their names are quite similar, there is a big difference between quartzite and quartz. The main difference being that quartzite is a natural stone and quartz is a man-made stone composite. Read along to compare the differences between quartzite and quartz.
Quartzite is a natural stone that is extracted from the earth.
Quartz is an engineered (man-made) composite, meaning that they crush up quartz and mix it with a polymer to create a slab.
Which is more stain resistant: quartzite or quartz?
Quartzite, due to its natural makeup, may stain if not sealed properly.
Quartz isn’t prone to staining due to the polymer chemical blend.
All quartzite is different in terms of porosity and stain resistance as it depends on how tightly the minerals bonded together during the mineral metamorphic process. In general, quartzite such as Sea Pearl and Taj Mahal have highly bonded minerals, while Macaubas may have been exposed to less pressure, making it more porous and prone to staining. Avoid staining from household items by using a sealer, which is typically provided by the installer or fabricator. To maintain this coverage, we recommended to seal your quartzite about once a year with a home application sealer.
Which is more heat resistant: quartzite or quartz?
Quartzite is generally resistant to heat warping; however, we would always recommend using a trivet to protect your countertops from extreme heat of pots and pans – just in case.
Quartz is generally not heat resistant due to the polymer that can change shape when in contact with extreme temperatures.
Does quartzite or quartz scratch?
Quartzite is incredibly scratch resistant due to its dense mineral composite. While the mineral composite can vary throughout natural materials, most quartzite does not scratch. In fact, it measured around a 7 out of 10 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, as compared to granite, which rates as a 6.
Quartz is susceptible to scratching due to the chemical makeup of polymer.
Does quartzite or quartz etch?
Neither quartzite or quartz are prone to etching. And if you cook frequently and want to make sure that your countertops are safe from etching, then you might want to consider quartzite. Quartzite will not etch from acids found in household items such as vinegar and lemon juice. However, both quartzite and granite will react to hydrofluoric acid, which is found in some rust removers. Thankfully, hydrofluoric acid is not a common ingredient in household products.
Is it harder to clean quartzite countertops than it is to clean quartz countertops?
No, the cleaning process for quartzite and quartz is the same. Clean both quartzite and quartz using a soft, wet cloth and regular soap. Neither should be cleaned with abrasive cleansers. Learn more on how to clean your natural stone.
Shop Aria Stone Gallery’s Quartzite
See our wide selection of quartzite natural stones, ranging from bold and colorful to soft and white.
Mid-Century Modern can be a difficult term to define. It broadly describes architecture, furniture, and graphic design from the middle of the 20th century (roughly mid 1930s to 1960s). This timeframe is a modifier for the larger modernist movement, which has roots in the Industrial Revolution at the end of the 19th century and also in the post-World War I period. It was an escape from the ornate Art Deco period and a result of the Great Depression that simplified peoples design choices. They wanted the convenience of modern gadgets with a simple and streamlined design, thus Mid-Century Modern was born.
Mid-Century Modern Furniture
Mid-Century modern first became popular in the world of furniture design. With creations like the Eames chair, the sputnik chandelier and the marshmallow couch, Mid-Century Modern taste really began to form. During this time period there was much focus on the space program, and that itself started to matriculate into every facet of design, especially interior design.
Mid-Century Modern Interior Design
This time period was greatly influenced by the German Bauhaus and their modern and functional way of designing home goods. Bauhaus designers used many non-traditional materials such as metal, glass, vinyl, plywood, plexiglass and lucite in their work. Clean lines, organic curves, and a deep appreciation for different materials (like natural stone!) was a way of life. Bauhaus inspiration is exceedingly popular even today.
In general, the terms rift cut (also referred to as cross cut) and vein cut refers to the way the natural stone was cut. There is a noticeable difference in the vein pattern of the stone depending on if the stone is rift or vein cut. Read more to learn the main differences between two most common ways to cut blocks of natural stone.
What does “vein cut” slab look like?
Vein cut is the most traditional and recognizable cut for marble slabs. The majority of marble has a vein cut pattern. Vein cut is distinctive in that you will be able to trace to vein across the entirety of the slab. Stones that are vein cut typically have the ability to be bookmatched or quad-matched to take on a unique shape and style.
What does a “rift cut” or “cross cut” slab look like?
Stone that is cut to a 90 degree angle to the bed rock or “from the top” is called rift cut or cross cut. A rift cut stone slab will have more spotting or noticeable crystals visible in the stone.
The Borghini quarry is one of the oldest operating quarries in the Carrara Region in Italy. The Borghini family has owned the quarry for many years and produces the most sought after Italian marble in the world – Calacatta Gold Borghini marble. From Architects in Beijing to New York, everyone is eager to see what the Borghini quarry will extract next.
The History of Calacatta Borghini Marble
The Borghini quarry is located in the heart of the Apuan Mountains, known as the Carrara Region in Italy. This Italian marble was the primary source of stone for Roman Architecture as well as Renaissance artists, including Michelangelo. This region is known for producing snowy white marble, unlike anything else seen in the world. According to the New York Times, the Calacatta Borghini quarry is one of the oldest quarries in the Carrara region and some of the quarry’s cuts can be traced to Roman Times.
What does Calacatta Borghini marble look like?
Calacatta stone has an very white background with pronounced, yet delicate grey veining that sweeps consistently across the canvas. Calacatta noted with “Extra” on the end of its title means that the canvas is whiter than most. On occasion, the Borghini quarry will extract Calacatta with gold veining or gold hues, which is very rare and makes for an incredible statement slab. While Calacatta Borghini is remarkable, a large, consistent slab of Calacatta Gold Borghini Extra is an exceptionally rare find.
Where does Calacatta Borghini Marble come from?
The Calacatta Borghini marble quarry is located in the opulent Apuan Alps, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, in Italy. The quarry consists of two main areas: the side of the mountain and the interior of the mountain. The side of the mountain is the more common extraction area, and the inside of the mountain is home to the most rare and prestigious Borghini Gold marble.
Calacatta Borghini Marble Production
Today, production of Borghini marble in the Apuan Mountains is very limited, which makes the stone rare and very sought-after. For example, in quarries across the world, stone is typically sold per cubic meter; however, the Borghini blocks are sold by the ton. This makes each pound of the beautiful white marble, with its famous soft golden background, highly valued in the marketplace.
Where can I find Calacatta Borghini in the United States?
Due to the rarity of Calacatta Borghini marble, there are few retailers in the world – let alone the United States – that have access to sell this majestic marble because Calacatta Borghini is so rare. Exotic stone suppliers, such as Aria Stone Gallery, will have the opportunity to sell Borghini only a few times a year. Aria Stone Gallery also offers the opportunity to visit the Calacatta Borghini quarry in Italy to personally hand-select your stone from the very same mountains that Michelangelo admired so dearly.
Watch to learn more about Aria Stone Gallery’s best Calacatta Gold Borghini Extra Marble Yet
With natural stone slabs coming in all shapes and sizes, it is very often the case that the slab you have fallen in love with may be slightly larger than what you need for your kitchen or bathroom project. Instead of changing your plan and settling for another, slightly smaller stone, think instead how you can incorporate the stone you adore in a unique way. After all, once you connect with your perfect stone, why not enjoy it further throughout your home? Read along to see a few of our favorite ways that you can give your beautiful new remnants life in another form.
Custom Side Tables
If you find yourself with plenty of stone to spare, take a note from Brooklyn-based designer, Peg Woodworking, with the Bastet end table collection, which is available in either a colorful White Beauty or a monochrome black marble, similar to Aria Stone Gallery’s Port Black. The earthy combination of wood and stone is a classic mix, refreshed by confident geometric design. By creating custom accent furniture, you will be able to transition your unique color scheme across different rooms.
Images courtesy of Kate Casey, Peg Woodworking.
Why not incorporate the extra marble from your kitchen countertops as additional storage? Shelving is one of the easiest ways to incorporate your remnants. Once the marble is cut to the appropriate size, it is easy to personalize and install.
Or, if you happened to use more than one type of natural stone throughout your house and find yourself with different remnants of all colors, incorporate them into a custom bookshelf in the likes of this one from Muller Van Severen. This tall bookshelf is not only stunning, but it will neatly tie in all of your projects from all over the house.
Cutting Boards & Trays
Turn the smaller pieces of remnants into cutting boards or elegant serving platters in your kitchen. These trays can be created using your remnants or purchased on their own at Aria Stone Gallery. For more information, contact the Aria Stone Gallery showroom in either Houston or Dallas for pricing and customization options.
If you have plenty of stone left over from your project, fashion a stand-alone piece of furniture and create a work space. This blue bahia granite desk is comprised of only granite from the base to the table top.
Designed by a fashion and art buff, this townhouse is stylish with impeccable attention to detail with plenty of show-stopping natural stone design. Each room is styled using cool, neutral tones and plenty of natural light.On the main floor, the spacious living room opens up to the island and breakfast bar, featuring Aria Stone Gallery’s Sea Pearl quartzite. The mitered, waterfall edge on the island has complimentary hues to the artwork found in the living room. The modern, white kitchen cabinets offer an abundance of storage in this vertical layout.Off to the side of the kitchen is a powder room. The silver walls and simple, modern sconces set the stage for the floating Arabescato Orobico sink.
Moving on to our favorite room of the house, the upstairs closet. The second bedroom was converted into this fantastic walk in closet and a clever office space. The closet features a glowing, illuminated shoe wall and plenty of cubbies for accessory storage. A large painting was hung on a track that conceals seasonal items and suitcases. Honestly, who wouldn’t want to get ready for their day around all of this beauty.
The Master bathroom is a pure-white haven, clean and simple. The homeowner chose a Bianco Extra Marble countertop with his-and-hers sinks with simple modern finishings.
To wrap up this stunning perfection is the guest bathroom. This space may be small, but it is certainly not short on style. The Arabescato Orobico vanity is complete with a waterfall edge, which pairs nicely to the grey glass subway tile shower.
Today, most of our most exotic and sought after natural stones hail from Brazil. Brazilian natural stones, most notably marble and quartzite, are famous for their unique composition, color, and natural beauty. Read more to discover the history of how Brazil came to be a major player in the stone industry.
The Gold Rush
The beginning of the stone mining industry in Brazil is believed to coincide with the beginning of the gold rush in the early 18th century. Gold was discovered in Brazil after years of economic disarray following the war against Spain and the Netherlands.
Quickly after the gold was discovered, a gold rush ensued, with people from other parts of the colony and Portugal flooding the region during the first half of the 18th century. The gold was extracted inland, known as the “General Mines.”
The Discovery of Brazilian Marble by the Italians in 1970s
In the 1970s, Italians immigrated to Brazil and discovered white marble deposits near the city of Cachoeiro de Itapemirim, Brazil. As the Italian immigrants had been mining natural stone for centuries, they were able to bring the knowledge, technique, machinery, and craftsmanship that is involved in mining natural stone. After this discovery, Brazil quickly became a major player in the stone industry.
Technological Growth and the Expansion of Natural Stone Mining in the 1990s
By the 1990s, Brazil had accumulated a large, experienced workforce in the natural stone industry. Quarries and miners gravitated towards nearby granite quarries, where they were easily able to transfer their skills of mining marble to mining granite. This expansion in resources lead to Brazil’s granite boom.
It was also during this time that Europe started to advance technology to cut and process stone, which drastically sped up up the mining process of natural stone. This new technology, coupled with the abundant resources in Brazil yet to be mined, made Brazil the largest stone exporter in the world.
The Discovery of Quartzite
With this new technology at hand, the search for additional types of natural stone to mine continued. Quarries were set up in Espirito Santo, in the North towards Bahia, and in the Northeast of Brazil. Some explorers even went inland, to states like Minas Gerais or the interior side of Bahia and Pernambuco, which led to the discovery of quartzite.
Although Brazil had suffered an economic crisis in the 1990s, the stone industry was able to quickly rebound with vigor. Even today, natural stone is a leading export and driving force for the Brazilian economy.
Now, there are more than 300 export processing plants in Brazil for natural stone, as well as hundreds of quarries and blocks being exported to Italy, China, India, and Taiwan where the stone can be processed. The production now covers a large variety of stones, including granite, marble, flagstone, quartzite, slate, soapstone, serpentine, travertine, and limestone, to name a few.
Aria Stone Gallery believes each stone is a unique piece of artwork. Their curated collection of luxurious, hand-selected natural stone is sourced from the most exclusive quarries around the world. Follow along as Aria illustrates the process of transforming stone into art. Learn more about experiencing this journey firsthand here, with Interior Design Magazine.
Here at Aria Stone Gallery, we talk about how we have the most unique and beautiful slabs; but what does that mean? How are Aria’s slabs different from the rest? Aria’s owner, Vinny Tavares, travels around the world, from the Carrara Region in Italy, to the quarries of Brazil, to hand select every slab that is brought to Aria. What is it exactly that Vinny is looking for when he purchases Aria’s slabs?
Quality over Quantity
In the natural stone industry, many stone suppliers will carry stock colors and commercial-grade materials that they always have on hand. Aria Stone Gallery focuses on quality over quantity and does not carry stock materials. If we sell out of a material and find that the quarry isn’t currently producing a slab that meets our standards for that same type of material, we won’t bring it in. Instead, we will wait until the quarry finds another incredible and rare bundle.
Aria Stone Gallery’s Standards and Criteria for Purchasing Stone from the Quarry
When our owner Vinny goes to a quarry, he uses a set of standards, where he grades every slab of stone from 1 to 10. The quality and uniqueness of slabs are graded based upon the 5 factors: richness of color, structure (i.e., whether the slab is sturdy or has core holes), size, vein composition, and natural quality. Vinny only purchases slabs that are considered a nine or ten.
Grade 1-2: Should not be mined from the quarry.
Grade 3-6: Lacking in 2 or more of our quality standard test.
Grade 7-8: Okay material, but lacking in one of the standards.
Grade 10: Perfect in color, structure, size, veining, quality.
How does Aria mitigate between beauty and natural fissures?
Sometimes when a stone is more exotic, it is more delicate. The reason many stone suppliers don’t carry exotic material is that it is a risk to transport internationally. The stone supplier really has to know how to move the material safely. Sometimes things are so beautiful, they are worth the risk.
Has Aria ever sent material back because it arrived in a lesser condition than you bought it?
Yes. Once Aria’s material arrives in the states, our staff inspects each slab, and if the slab is not up to our standards, it will never make it to either Aria’s showroom or online. For example, not too long ago we received a bundle of Lemurian. When the quarry polished the surface, they did not allow enough time for the drying process before the slab was loaded into the crate. So, when the slab was unloaded in the States, the slab had cracked and had huge divots everywhere. In this case, we would send the material back to the quarry rather than selling the stone at a discounted price.
How are Aria Stone Gallery’s standards different from other stone suppliers?
We are providing to a niche. Aria stone Gallery’s product is just a fraction of what is out there. As mentioned before, we do not carry stock products, staple colors, or low-to-mid grade exotics. In the off chance that we do have a middle grade exotic, it will be the most beautiful middle grade exotic that the quarry has every produced. Typical stone suppliers tend to carry five to ten percent of the quality that is stocked at Aria.
Unlike buying a man-made product, which can be done on demand, purchasing stone is a much more subjective exercise. Quarries go through bad phases, yielding undesirable blocks, and they often face regulatory issues, all of which restricts the fine buying or what Aria calls the “pursuit of the perfect stone.”
Many stone distributors are primarily focused on filling purchase orders – and that may be okay settling for an ordinary slab. At Aria Stone Gallery, we don’t sell ordinary slabs – we don’t have a standard list of “stone we carry”. The good thing about natural stone is that new quarries are always being discovered, new blocks are constantly being processed and you never know when the most dramatic slab is about to be cut. It’s a bit like baseball – the trick is not to fall for the temptation of swinging at every pitch. At Aria Stone Gallery we would rather be out of a popular stone color than have a mediocre slab in stock.
In interior designer, JanAnn Cowden’s eclectic Fort Worth retreat, the kitchen’s bold turquoise backsplash and oversized lanterns with a matching inlay bring a refreshing pop of color to the space. With a perfect mixture of neutrals with pops of color, JanAnn from Kyle Knight Design, incorporates this vivid bright hue to evoke excitement and optimism to the space, while balancing it with the use of cool neutrals.
To gracefully complement the space JanAnn chose Aria Stone Gallery’s White Macaubas quartzite with a honed finish for the countertop surfaces. With an elegant pattern of light grey and sandy taupe striations on a field of creamy white, this neutral piece beautifully marries contemporary with classic. And being a dense stone, White Macaubas is the perfect surface to keep up with their (soon to be) three daughters.Another lovely detail is that they ran the stone up the wall to the base of the window to break up the honeycomb patterned, turquoise tile from Artistic Tile. This stone also comes in polished, but to keep with the contemporary aesthetic, they decided to have it finished in a honed texture.This home magnifies the fact that beauty is in the details. With custom features such as the built in glass shelves and focal point lighting, this space is truly one of a kind.
As described by The Natural Stone Institute, onyx is a frequently translucent and generally layered, cryptocrystalline calcite. Onyx is a sedimentary rock that is usually deposited in cold water solutions, often in the form of stalagmites and stalactites in caves. Through this formation, cryptocrystalline is created and the size and uniformity of these crystals is what contributes to the classic translucent property of onyx stone.
Dating back to the Egyptians, onyx was used to create bowls and other decorative elements and nowadays onyx is commonly used to create jewelry, decorative surfaces, and wall materials. The unique patterns and striations, in addition to a wide range of colors, make onyx the perfect material to add a dramatic focal point to a space. One of the many appeals of nature’s beautiful onyx is that it has the ability to be backlit due to its unique translucent properties. When a slab of onyx is able to be backlit, it is able to take on a completely new life, showcasing the unique veining while adding additional ambiance to a space with a subtle glow.
The key to backlighting is using the correct LED panels to ensure an even coverage of light and eliminating any “hot spots.” To further analyze key tips when it comes to backlighting, we connected with the backlighting expert himself, Patrick Dwyer from Knema LLC (dba LuminousFilm), and picked his brain so you can backlight with confidence. Read on.
Q. What do you need to consider before lighting a countertop? Power source? Size? Material? Is there anything that is different about lighting a wall vs a countertop?
A. Actually, not really. As long as you are mounting the panels to a surface and securing them with something like mirror clips, or c-channel you should be fine.
Q. What should you know before choosing an LED bulb for backlighting onyx?
A. When picking a light color, you should be aware of the overall affect it will have on the room. Do you want to contrast or match existing light fixtures? And you should be aware of how the light will affect the color of the stone. If you have a honey onyx using a very warm color temp (2700K for example) would help bring out more of the yellows in the stone.
Q. What are the LED backlighting color options?
A. Our panels have two main color options. White light LEDs (ranging from ~2700K-6000K) and we have RGB LEDs, which allows for millions of different color options.
Q. How much does it cost to backlight a stone?
A. Cost per square foot varies greatly depending on the project and the products used. Variables such as the thickness of the stone, distance of panel from the stone, and how translucent the stone is can affect the square foot price greatly. Generally, we find the cost to run roughly ~$45-100/square foot.
Q. What is the maintenance on the LED lighting panels?
A. Typically there is very little – to no maintenance on the products.
Q. How often do LED panels need to be replaced?
A. If properly installed, the panels should last a very long time. We usually end up replacing power supplies before we replace panels. Our LED edge-lit panels have an L-70 rating of ~50,000 of continual use and our large LED modules have and L-70 rating of ~120,000 hours of continual use.
Note: L-70 is a rating that means that at 50,000 / 120,000 hours our lights should still produce 70% of their original brightness.
When choosing an edge style for your countertop, table or bar, deciding on the right design can be intimidating at first. There are endless edge options for all applications and materials, but a mitered edge has become very popular among designers and homeowners due to their sleek, modern look.
Images are courtesy of Aria Stone Gallery. Natural stone pictured is Aria Stone Gallery’s Arabescato Gris Marble.
What Is a Mitered Edge?
A mitered edge is created when the corners of two slabs are cut to a 45 degree angle to seamlessly join together. A mitered edge comes in handy when you would like the appearance of a thicker countertop, waterfall island, or custom trough sink.
When you see an extra thick countertop, it is probably not an 8cm or 3 inch thick slab. Rather, you are looking at a mitered edge that was flawlessly fabricated to look as if the veining “wraps” around the edges.
Using a mitered edge is a great way to make your countertops the focal point of the space as it will instantly create a luxurious and expensive feel. This technique can also be used in reverse to create custom built in sinks, cabinets, or other features.
Marble is arguably one of the most luxe finishes you can add to a home—and it has the hefty price tag to go along with. But if you can afford to spend on it, might we suggest one of these completely unexpected and totally beautiful ideas? The Zoe Report sat down with expert April Graves, Vice President of Aria Stone Gallery who clued us into the fact that marble can be used for so much more than just countertops.
Have you fallen in love with one stone, but wish that it had a different finish? An experienced fabricator can change the finish of the stone. The quarry chooses what kind of finish they would like on the slab before sending, but that doesn’t mean it is your only option. The surface of your stone, whether, honed, polished, leathered, or brushed, is easily customizable to your personal preference. A skilled fabricator with a large shop and up-to-date machinery will often have the ability to change material from a polished finish to a honed or vice versa.
In the video below, the quarry has chosen to polish the slab before sending it to Aria Stone Gallery.
Can a slab be labeled both “polished and honed?”
A slab is considered both polished and honed when one side of the slab is polished and the other side of the slab is honed. In this case, you can choose which side you would like to display. See, for example, 2cm Colorado Gold Polished and Honed.
What is the process from taking a stone from polished to honed?
The fabricator will use a machine that is smaller, yet similar to the one that polishes the slab at the quarry. Instead of thick bristles that polish the slab, the fabricator will attach coarse pads on the machine that move over the stone to slowly grind off the polished base. The fabricator sprays water onto the stone throughout the entire process. Sometimes a fabricator will put a small amount of powdered acid on the stone to help eat away at the polished surface.
How long does it usually take to make a polished slab honed?
To give you an idea, in a 60 square foot kitchen, the process of changing a polished slab to a honed slab could take about 5-6 hours, pre-installation.
Is there anything that a fabricator can do to make sure the honed finish comes out correctly?
Using plenty of water helps to ensure that the machine and the coarse pads do not grind into the stone, which can cause an unwanted swirl pattern to form on the stone. Also, the water helps for safety reasons to keep the dust settled and not floating in the air.
Does honing the slab make it more susceptible to staining?
A polished finish acts as a protective layer against stains. As you grind off the polished finish, you will inevitably open up and expose more pores than if you left it polished. To help avoid stains, the fabricator will most likely coat the slab with a penetrating sealer on the honed stone before the slab leaves the shop. Keep in mind that there is no such thing as a stain proof sealer, but a penetrating sealer will help to fill in some of the exposed pores, leaving you with more time to clean any spills.
Note that the longer that you leave acidic liquid sitting on the surface of your natural stone, the more likely it is going to stain. See here, how do I clean my natural stone?
Will honing the stone slab effect the color?
Natural stones with a polished finish will most likely have more pronounced colors and hues. Essentially, honing takes away the depth and hues that are brought out by the polished coat. The result is that you may end up with a lighter colored slab. Many people hone their stone to make it lighter and brighter. Others, may want to keep some of the colors and hues. In this case, a fabricator can use a color enhancing sealer, which mimics and restores the color without actually restoring any of the shine that is typical of a polished surface.
Memorial Villages features Aria Stone Galley’s chic and modern Arabescato Gris marble bathroom in their “Top Remodeling Ideas For Summer” article. What better way to welcome the summer heat than a cool, bold bathroom revamp? Aria’s “no two stones are the same” persona lends itself to achieving a truly one-of-a-kind look no matter the application.
Intown features Aria Stone Galley’s chic and modern Arabescato Gris marble bathroom in their “Top Remodeling Ideas For Summer” article. What better way to welcome the summer heat than a cool, bold bathroom revamp? Aria’s “no two stones are the same” persona lends itself to achieving a truly one-of-a-kind look no matter the application.
Passionate and personal, Lucinda Loya, of Lucinda Loya Interiors has built a name for herself as one of the nation’s premiere interior designers. Lucinda’s enthusiastic and sensible approach to design, along with her keen eye for detail, has led to much success in the world of interiors. Lucinda is a master at incorporating her client’s passions with her invigorating artistic spirit. Read below to see what Lucinda and her team have been up to and what she sees in the coming seasons for 2017.
“My philosophy is make it your own, and it will be timeless.”
Q. What are some of the top trends that you are most excited about for kitchen and bathroom design in 2017 and what is on the way out?
A. Heavy kitchen design is not just on the way out, it’s gone. These days, we are more interested in simplifying our lifestyle with interiors as a way of balancing our hectic lives. To achieve this, keep things light, bright, timeless, and classic by using clean lines. In a traditional home, you could take this approach by using a wild marble installation, preferably bookmatched or a large, bold patterned tile to make a statement. Stay away from browns. I always choose a large scaled tile selection over the typical 12×12, and slabs of natural stone is always preferred. Take a chance by going extra large on floor tile, and it will appear to be cut from slabs!
Q. How do you think new technology will have an effect on new designs in 2017?
A. Technology in general is broadening horizons and informing the general public and experts, alike. Now that the vast majority of people have access to social media, information has the ability to travel quickly and spread further than ever through design related social platforms. We are happy to know that the average consumer is being educated on interior design, whether they are interested or not.
“When two colors are combined in a clever way, the overall design is more interesting and original.”
Q. What type of color palette do you see for the future?
A. I believe that right now and for a long time – whether in fashion or interiors – anything goes! That said, I don’t like to think there is a color trend we are headed toward and I would like to see it stay that way. With fewer limitations we gain creative ability. My philosophy is make it your own, and it will be timeless.
In all of our projects, CONTRAST is key, and not all have color. For high contrast, black and white is the obvious choice, always being my go-to. When a project does call for color we use it in many different ways. I especially like to pair the un-expected. Mixing citrus and cranberry would be a great example. When two colors are combined in a clever way, the overall design is more interesting and original. The space becomes personalized, therefore, no trend to recognize.
“In all of our projects, CONTRAST is key, and not all have color.”
Q. What are some of the unique design directions we will be seeing in your future 2017 projects as they are completed?
A. One might guess that we lean toward a modern aesthetic, but we work in the entire spectrum of interior design. We have just been given the opportunity to work on three beautiful ranch style homes, and all three will look separate from one another. Whether our clients are looking for a Traditional, Mediterranean, Eclectic, even say a Western flare, our design principles of clean lines and authentic character are evident. We take comfort in knowing our projects remain TIMELESS!
817 Home Spring 2017 features a sneak peek of the star of Aria’s Dallas Showroom: a stunning bookmatched Fusion quartzite feature wall/bedroom vignette. This incredible article highlights the beauty of natural stone and how it can enhance any interior- from bathrooms to kitchens, even fireplaces. The options for designing with stone are truly endless, see more inspiration here.
Paris Fashion Week is romance, style, and couture all rolled into one. Design enthusiasts frequently look to fashion to find inspiration from the textures, colors, materials, and moods of the collections, as well as to determine the next up-and-coming styles. Throughout fashion week, we witnessed fascinating use of colors, silhouettes, and metallics to bring to life a stunning wardrobe. Below you will find out how you can incorporate and enjoy these ideas in your home through a colorful assortment of natural stone.
Many designers incorporated emerald and golden hues into their Spring/Summer lines. From Manish Arora’s African tribal-inspired line to Andrew Gn’s Elizabethan Couture, these rich, eye-catching colors were seen on many catwalks. Aria Stone Gallery’s Emerald Green and Emerald Sea quartzite slabs also incorporate the soft, flowing emerald hues as seen during Fashion Week. Much like the flowing color palette of Tuomas Merikoski’s incredible prêt–à–porter collection, the soft color and ease of pattern in this Emerald Green stone creates a distinguished design, while the subtle veining enhances the wonderful texture.
One concept that the French have perfected is the art of the silhouette. The precise attention to the form of design is placed at the utmost importance. From fashion to interiors, balance is always key. Minimizing color and amplifying texture allows you to experiment with unique and creative forms more freely without the risk of over-designing. To achieve a similar aesthetic in interiors, view Aria Stone Gallery’s Grigio Carnico in a bookmatch layout.
Electrifying metallics have been a prominent theme across fashion week, beginning in Milan and continuing all the way to Paris. Pascal Millet’s incredible showcase debuted a multitude of metallics with a blue-grey sheen, while John Galliano’s pink metallic jumpsuit plays with a whimsical child-like spirit. Similar to these fabrics, Aria Stone Gallery’s Lemurian Granite takes on a new life when light reflects from the material. Due to its metallic properties, Labradorite, which is found in Lemurian, is often used for jewelry. Lemurian would work as a beautiful large scale wall application near interesting lighting.
Perfect for both entertaining and everyday use, this expansive transitional kitchen designed by Sherry Hayslip of Hayslip Design Associates,is located in a stunning high-rise in Texas. Sherry and her team are known for creating innovative design with a sophisticated style that have led them to winning multiple awards in this category. The quartzite kitchen mixes elegant design styles and elements of spontaneity that perfectly encapsulate Sherry’s mastery of design.
The custom flat panel cabinetry is exquisitely contrasted with the silvery hues of Aria Stone Gallery’s bianco quartzite countertops. Over the sink and stove, the quartzite slabs extend continuously to the ceiling, visually breaking the line of cabinetry and creating a focal point with the quartzite’s gossamer-like veining. The texture and interest of bianco quartzite is poised to create a lasting statement as a work of art.
Storage and functionality go hand-in-hand, as seen in the abundance of open shelving and closed upper and lower cabinetry. The many closed cabinets and deep drawers provide a home for small appliances, additional place settings, and seasonal cookware. Over the prep sink you will find open shelving for easy access to glassware and bar items, making this ideal for entertaining and everyday use. Additionally, the glass panel cabinets are each fashioned with individual lighting to provide a wonderful way to display fine china.
Stainless steel appliances are integrated seamlessly into the floor plan and add to the overall polished theme. To add interest and texture, hunter green square porcelain tiles are used underneath the cabinetry as a backsplash, adding warmth and color to the space.
The same color scheme is continued into the 3/4 bathroom, where rectangular hunter green tiles line the shower. The sink sits on top of white flat panel vanity with luxurious Colorado Gold marble. The Colorado Gold marble has subtle, delicate veining throughout the white field that is both whimsical and elegant.
Stockholm Design Week takes place once a year every February to bring design lovers together to connect and showcase their best and favorite upcoming works. This year we have picked up a few lessons from the Furniture and Lighting Fair on how to create and execute innovative spaces.
One exhibit that sets the stage and best encompasses the theme of the Furniture and Lighting Fair each year is the “Trend Exhibit.” This year, Swedish Interior Stylist, Lotta Agaton, curated an exhibit which showcased contrasting materials and colors set in unexpected ways, entitled “Contrast.” Agaton primarily used pieces that were her “old favorites in new settings,” and showed how recovering old products with new textiles or adding a statement wall color can change the personality of objects and make them new again. The lesson from this exhibit is not 0nly the products on display; but rather, how to execute contrast between objects, textiles, and furniture.
The theme of “contrast” carried throughout the entire fair. Most notably, Tom Dixon is one of the many examples of designers using contrasting textures and colors to create an overall cohesive theme that is perfectly on trend. During the furniture and lighting fair, Tom Dixon unveiled his new office furniture line that was inspired by the archetypical Victorian school desk. Below, we see the “Offcut Stool 650mm in Natural” set against the deeply rich background of a dark marble similar to Aria Stone Gallery’s Gris de Savoie.
Dixon’s “Slab Desk” is constructed of solid oak and features smooth, rounded edges. The desk demonstrates contemporary craftsmanship through a simplistic design that is beautiful in its own right. And when the oak desk is placed in front of the vitoria regia quartzite statement wall with mechanical accent lamps, the contrast in textures makes the entire space feel well balanced and multi-dimensional.
Contrast in color is also important when it comes to creating well planned design. Furniture designer and interior architect, Gam Fratesi, worked with Gubi to create custom furnishings for Paris’ House of Denmark, which was launched as a collection at Stockholm Design Week. The collection is refined and classic with nods to Mid-Century Danish design combined with elements of traditional Parisian aesthetic. In the bar of the restaurant, the designers chose to pair a strong, dark natural stone with a light oak bar and linen “Beetle” barstools. The white and dark green marble floors further annunciate the contrasting colors through its chevron pattern.
Contrasting colors can be executed on a smaller scale when it comes to furniture. For example, Fratesi’s “TS Table” with a black steel base and white marble surface can easily be incorporated into any small breakfast area with ease.
Contemporist February 2017 features a plethora of natural stone inspiration pieces, including Aria Stone Gallery’s stunning and modern Sea Pearl Quartzite kitchen. In 5 Reasons Why You Should Use Natural Stone For Your Interior Spaces, you will find great examples of how to use this amazing material on every surface and in every room in your home.
Aria Stone Gallery’s Corteccia is nothing short of breathtaking, and the same goes for this kitchen, featured in Houzz February 2017. The colorful undertones of this earthy stone makes a statement upon all kitchen surfaces, while chocolate brown veins add dynamic flare and direction.
Houzz February/March 2017 features 7 Kitchens With Statement-Making Fridges, and among these wonderfully unique and fun appliances lies Aria’s whimsical Chateaux Blanc quartzite countertops. Green and pink tones collide in this retro-style space, and we couldn’t be more excited to show it off.
Luxe Interiors + Design January 2017 features some exclusive insight from some experts in the world of natural stone, regarding usage, techniques and importance of the material. April Graves, VP of Aria Stone Gallery was included in this informative article, Eye on Design 2017: Materials.
This transitional kitchen was designed by the homeowner. With a focus on quality above all, the homeowner chose a Calacatta Rhino marble with a honed finish for the island and countertops. If ever anything looked like a snowy mountain top, it would be Calacatta Rhino. With its soft sparkle, pure white and soft waves of very light grey and taupe, it feels as if you are in the Alps.
Honed marble countertops are a wonderful option if you are worried about reflections and scratches that occur in high traffic areas. Rather than a glossy, polished marble, honed marble has more of a smooth matte finish. Because of this matte finish, scratches are far less likely to be noticed, making honed marble a wonderful option for a busy and family-friendly kitchen.
In order to add one more dimension of visual interest, the homeowner used a diamond pattern tile backsplash from Artistic Tile. This classic pattern neatly ties together the white shaker cabinets with the marble countertops.
One way transition the look from one room to the next is to find a creative way to incorporate the natural stone or tile remnants in another room of the house. In this case, the owner used the Calacatta Rhino marble remnants from the kitchen for the countertops of a spare bathroom.
D-Town Crossfit’s new location in Dallas is the absolute place to reach your peak physical condition while enjoying incredibly stylish surroundings. The company originally opened in Denver, where designers Robert Trown & Associates brought a rustic and industrial vibe to the crossfit gym. Exposed brick, piping, bicycle wall art, topped with an antler chandelier give this place an upscale urban feel.
The front desk greets the fitness enthusiasts with a dark grey custom Grigio Italia marble surround from Aria Stone Gallery. The desk is designed with an asymmetrical jagged edge that matches the industrial-chic surroundings. A large glass garage door provides a wall of natural light and can be opened in the warmer months. And when night falls and the natural light fades, there is always the antler chandelier to light up the space.