Stone, stones and stones, natural stones and artificial stones, natural colors and man-made colors, texture, honed, polished and matt. The large selections available on the market might be overwhelming and confusing for most consumers. Nature produces stones in many colors and man provides many textures. If one has too much time to spend looking around for the perfect stone, it’s fine, as I see many wondrous people in showrooms doing exactly that, but the choice should be dictated by price, colors and texture. One should pose these questions: Is the stone of my desire in my budget? Does it match the rest of the décor in the room? Do I want rough texture, or do I want smooth texture? Do I want a semi-precious stones, a common stone or a natural stone?
Some stones in the onyx and most expensive family, can be illuminated from the back side to bring out the beautiful natural veins in the stones and not much else is needed, other than a sealing treatment. Onyx can be used as wall decor, countertops, accessories and lighting, but that’s a different story.
It is very common to think only the right side is the prettiest, usable side of a stone. Often, the right side is polished, natural holes and cracks are filled by the industry to make them look perfect, but have you ever taken a closer look to the back side of a natural stone?
One time, I was designing a fireplace with a travertine stone. I saw the beauty of the back side and specifically ask the fabricator to use the back side as the right side. The result was stunning as you can see. Click on the photo to see it larger.
One other time, I used the back side of a stone in which fossils were visibly embedded and it became the top of a kitchen counter.
Traveling abroad allows us to feel, admire and learn about ancient stones. We learn and understand the efforts and difficulties to install heavy stones, sometimes without the appropriate engineered machines. We appreciate the beauty of the patina that comes from time passing and weather beating on the stones and even admire their imperfections. However, when used in home décor, most people want pristine stones, no holes, no blemishes, no discoloration, no defects, but stones don’t grow uniformly, levigated and in a continuous color. They grow as nature intended, rough and able to stand various weather conditions.
People are afraid of staining their stone countertop if a lemon, or a glass of red wine sits on the counter too long and are afraid the natural holes will be filled with debris in no time. Stones will outlive its owner, just like mountains live in nature century after century. Let your stone live with you and let it tell the story of that fabulous party you had, or that spectacular wine of $300 you tasted, or that fantastic lemony shrimp salad someone brought you. Let your stone live with you.
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TV Producer/Host of Valentina Design Universe TV