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DWYER MARBLE & STONE SUPPLY  •  DESIGN NEWSLETTER  •  Vol. 1, Issue 2 click to call: 248.476.4944
News & Views
 
How to Use Natural Stone to Prepare Your Home for Autumn and Winter

© UseNaturalStone.com

Fall beckons and with the new season comes another opportunity to refresh your home design. Natural stone's versatility and ability to blend with just about any finish makes it particularly fun to incorporate fall and winter color trends into rooms featuring stone prominently. The key, experts say, is to play off the colors of the natural stone or use it as the neutral foundation from which to build a look that's perfect for fall and ...   read more>>>

Five Questions to Ask When Choosing Natural Stone Kitchen Countertops

© UseNaturalStone.com

The kitchen is the hub of the home, and natural stone countertops transform it into a beautiful gathering spot. Once just a luxurious upgrade, the popularity of natural stone has made it a more affordable option, and the benefits are many. Natural stone lasts a lifetime, its durability stands up to busy households, and a wide variety of colors and styles make it perfect for ...   read more>>>

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How to Use Natural Stone to Prepare Your Home for Autumn and Winter

by Megy Karydes



How to Use Natural Stone to Prepare Your Home for Autumn and Winter

Fall beckons and with the new season comes another opportunity to refresh your home design. Natural stone's versatility and ability to blend with just about any finish makes it particularly fun to incorporate fall and winter color trends into rooms featuring stone prominently. The key, experts say, is to play off the colors of the natural stone or use it as the neutral foundation from which to build a look that's perfect for fall and winter.

"When selecting fabrics and leathers to go in a space with natural stone, look to use colors that are in the stone," advises Caitie Smithe, designer with Walter E. Smithe Furniture + Design, a fourth-generation family-owned furniture retailer that offers full service design and a showroom of high style and high quality furniture throughout the Chicagoland and northwest Indiana area.


In this family room, the designers at Walter E. Smithe Furniture + Design used a multi-dimensional color of leather on the sectional that complimented the gorgeous stone fireplace mantel.

Natural stone is very on trend right now, Smithe adds. "The uses for stone go way beyond just kitchen and bathroom countertops as we are seeing it used in things like tile floors and fireplace mantels," she says. Natural stone is also being used to top everything from dining room tables to cocktail, end, console, and other occasional tables. "This fall, we will see the use of lots of irons, brasses, and other metals in furniture and fixtures and natural stone complements this trend beautifully."

The trend toward personalization isn't restricted to handbags and jewelry. People want to put their own personal stamp on their homes and curate a look that is uniquely their own. "Gone are the days of matching wood living, dining, and bedroom sets," notes Smithe. "Natural stone is a terrific way to blend different elements into a room and create interest."

A Neutral Foundation


Beth Wangman, an interior designer with i4design, transformed a living room wall fireplace, previously clad with ceramic tile, into a beautiful, mid-century gem featuring natural stone cladding.

According to Beth Wangman, an interior designer with i4design, a Chicago-based full-service residential interior design firm that believes that interior design is the art of blending form and function to enhance their client's lives, is noticing softer color palettes returning to the design forefront.

"Pale grays, pale blues and whites are all making a comeback in kitchens, living rooms and bedrooms alike," Wangman says. She also notes that because her clients are drawn to the rustic, reclaimed and industrial look, they're interested in furniture, lighting, fireplaces and design that incorporates those elements in modern design.

For one project, she transformed a living room wall fireplace, previously clad with ceramic tile, into a beautiful, mid-century gem featuring natural stone cladding. "The juxtaposition of the honed white stone, the linear fireplace and the custom walnut media center and mantle bring perfect balance to the space," says Wangman.

Bring the Outdoors In


When designing, Wangman also considers how to incorporate using reclaimed and natural elements throughout a home. In this West Bend, Wisconsin, home, she incorporated a linear fireplace with Moose Mountain drystacked stone from Halquist Stone to hit that rustic modern look.

Nature has a way of helping us feel more connected and grounded, which is among the reasons natural stone is often used for fireplaces in living rooms or on the floors of entryways.

When designing, Wangman often considers how to incorporate using reclaimed and natural elements throughout a home. One of her favorite bedroom and home projects is located in West Bend, Wisconsin, in which she took used both reclaimed and natural elements in the final design.

"Beams from demolished Wisconsin barns were featured throughout the home," she shares. "Reclaimed brick from a local West Bend church and antique ceiling tins from a Chicago bar were incorporated in the lower level bar area. The lake view master bedroom features an inviting linear fireplace with Moose Mountain dry stacked stone from Halquist Stone." It's their take on the rustic modern look.

In some cases, the idea is to highlight the beauty of natural stone inside the home. For one family room, the designers at Walter E. Smithe Furniture + Design used a multi-dimensional color of leather on the sectional to compliment the gorgeous stone fireplace mantel.

As fall and winter nip at our heels, it's important to remember that it is unnecessary to overhaul your entire home to take advantage of appreciating your natural stone features.

Simply adding small additions, such as natural fiber baskets, handmade textiles and beautiful wood or stone pieces is an easy way to make a space feel more inviting.

Rebecca Crall, founder of Territory, a collaborative design company and online shop which brings to market a mix of original designs, vintage pieces and curated goods, notes the strong trends of Desert Southwest and Warm Minimalism, which often incorporate natural elements.

"Natural stone, along with wood and textiles, bring the outside in and allow us to relax in our space," says Crall.

© UseNaturalStone.com


Five Questions to Ask When Choosing Natural Stone Kitchen Countertops

by Stephanie Vozza



The kitchen is the hub of the home, and natural stone countertops transform it into a beautiful gathering spot. Once just a luxurious upgrade, the popularity of natural stone has made it a more affordable option, and the benefits are many. Natural stone lasts a lifetime, its durability stands up to busy households, and a wide variety of colors and styles make it perfect for any decor.

When you head to the showroom, it's important that you find the stone that will work best for you. Here are five questions that will help you choose your best option.


Photo from Houzz

1. How does my lifestyle impact my choice of stone?

Understanding the dynamics of a customer's household is the most important consideration when choosing stone, says Caela Manninen, showroom representative for Welch Tile & Marble in Kent City, Michigan. She likes to steer busy families toward granite. "It's so durable and versatile," she says. "It's a good workhorse countertop. I typically like to recommend mid to darker colors to avoid staining."

If a family has their heart set on white stone, there are options, says Tania Kalentzos, marketing director for MARVA Marble & Granite in Richmond, Virginia. "White marble is everyone's quintessential choice, but if you have young children and entertain a lot you can achieve that look with less maintenance," she says. "Granite is always an excellent option for countertops; it meets the needs of homeowners desiring added durability, as well as offers a variety of options in lighter designs. Another popular alternative would be a quartzite. It demonstrates excellent durability as well, but gets even closer to mimicking more marble-like color tones."

For empty nesters or single professionals that eat out a lot, the sky's the limit, says Kalentzos. "In this case, durability isn't as important," she says. "You can look for a showpiece."


Photo from Houzz

2. What is the best finish for a kitchen?

Natural stone comes in a variety of finishes, and each offers its advantages. Polished is best if you want keep it looking nice, says Manninen."Honed and brushed can be difficult to keep up with unless you're going to enhance them to their darkest point," she says. "That finish shows every little thing that goes wrong."

Or you could embrace it, suggests Dave Scott, CEO of Slabworks of Montana in Bozeman, Montana. "A lovey Italian gentleman once told me to think of honed marble as a fine leather handbag that will wear and show a patina," he says. "Countertops that show wear are a sign of great hospitality."

3. What kind of care does stone require?

People often think stone is indestructible, but every material requires basic care, says Scott. "It's important to match the right stone to your comfort level so that you'll be happy with it years later," he says. "Do you own it, or does it own you?"

Stone surfaces can be cleaned with a soap made for natural stone or a mild liquid detergent. Some types of natural stone, such as marble, require extra attention.

"Marble is a calcite-based stone and will react with acids, such as wine, lemon juice, vinegar or even coffee and olive oil," he says. "It will cause an irreversible chemical reaction that is etched on surface. With marble, you need to stay on top of wiping up spills."


Photo from Houzz

4. What kind of commitment will natural stone require?

In addition to regular cleaning, many experts recommend sealing natural stone. Talk to your stone provider to learn more about sealing recommendations. Manninen gives customers a simple test to know when it's time to reseal your stone: "Find an often used area of your countertop, and place a small drop of water there," she says. "Leave it for 15 minutes, and when you come back if it's still there, your sealer is good. If it's been absorbed, it's time to reseal."

5. Once you've selected a type of stone, is it important to choose a specific slab?

Yes, says Kalentzos. "Take your time and enjoy the process," she says. "Mother Nature made this treasure and it should be enjoyed for years to come. Each piece has its own characteristics. Find one you love. It's art for your home – the focal point of the room – and it should speak to you and reflect your personality."

© UseNaturalStone.com