Organic Life: Lava Or Soap Stone

A strange project arrived at me all the way from the Italian Alps. It’s a house an American from California bought in Italy and is trying to remodel it remotely. Developing a project online or remotely is very doable but not always easy. Due to distance and the client’s inability to communicate in the Italian language, she feels obliged to accept the suggestions from the Italian crew she hired in loco, but she is not quite sure of how to pull their taste and her taste altogether.  Then, I come along, I see the beauty of the mountains in her photos, the rugged peaks and I want her house to be in harmony with the mountains, I see nothing but organic material and the color of the surrounding nature.

(Above Existing Bathroom Condition) 

The new sink in the main bathroom was going to be a lonely skimpy pedestal. My idea turns that solitary sink into a natural, distressed wood console, with the sink inset in a lava stone counter and a couple of shelves underneath for towels and bath supplies, something similar to the design in the photo below. (Bathroom designed by Fabiola Galli)
(Click on each photo to view it larger) 

What is a lava stone she asked me? Lava comes from the magma of an erupting volcano. Once the lava dries and hardens, it turns into a beautiful stone, holding powerful healing benefits. Due to the strong connection to the earth, lava stone retains all the fire energy of a volcano and it becomes rich in the same minerals from the belly of the earth. It is a calming stone, it reduces anxiety or depressions and brings stability.

The counter I am proposing is refinished with a colorful glaze and a lot of craquelure (a network of fine cracks in the paint or varnish), but to someone’s eyes, the cracks might look too distressed. In the natural state, lava is a very rough surface. People don’t really want to deal with rough surfaces, on the other hand, the glaze on natural lava stone dilutes its healing effect. To get a full benefit of lava stone, I would strongly suggest placing some raw untreated lava stones around the bathroom and near the tub for relaxing bathing moments.

Alternatively, to the lava stone, soapstone is a natural stone, chemically inert, easy to care and fits in a mountainous environment. As a soft stone due to the high talc content, it might scratch, but that’s is the beauty of this stone. A bathroom is not like a kitchen where a good amount of cutting happens. A bathroom is for ablutions, the chance of scratching soapstone is very slim. Just to be safe, simply, oil the surface as a sealer and the stone will outlive you.

This is the way I conceived this bathroom in the mountains: Distressed wood-look tile planks, distressed wood console, colored lava stone countertop, a stunning Indian red wall, opposite to a travertine wall embellished at random with client’s favorite castle tile insets, oil bronze faucets, and wrought iron lighting fixture.

(Above lighting:
(Banner Photo: Lamont Stone, Northern Ireland) 

Some people are afraid of bold colors, the question is will she like that red Indian wall? 


Copyright © 2018 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

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Author of 5 books available on Amazon and Barnes&Noble
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TV Producer/Host of Valentina Design Universe TV

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