The Modern Stone Age
As Queensland’s interior design trends continue to evolve and change throughout the years, natural stone has proven its worth as a durable and stylish edition to both kitchens and bathrooms. With a multitude of finishes and colour palettes available, it is important to consider which stone complements your taste and lifestyle. Here, Bethany Hayes chats with director of Finestone Granite & Marble, Gareth Edwards, about design trends, the benefits of utilising stone throughout the home, and how this material really can last the ages.
AN ADVANTAGEOUS CHOICE
Natural stone has an impressive reputation as a building material – and for good reason; natural stone is extremely durable and long lasting, with some forms of stone being heat and moisture-resistant. These naturally occurring materials are readily available for use, have a high thermal capacity and can last a lifetime with proper care. Whether featuring as an island bench or unique kitchen splashback, the possibilities with natural stone are endless. However, natural stone hasn’t always been the prevailing choice for home designers. “Queensland designers went through a phase of using a lot of reconstituted stone in [their] projects, and there was some resistance to using natural products,” Edwards says.
Natural stone comes in a range of unique colours, patterns, textures and tones, and according to Edwards, it was this inconsistency in colour and tone which frustrated designers, who leave nothing to chance and plan their colour schemes with careful forethought. “Now the trend is for something different, and designers are turning to soft colours of marbles and dolomites in their projects,” he says.
A STONE FOR THE AGES
As one of the most labour-intense regions of the home, a good kitchen requires benches that are durable, and resistant to the wear and tear of everyday life. As such, choosing the correct stone type to suit your lifestyle is essential. “We would recommend granite, quartzite and dolomite for kitchens as they are the hardiest,” Edwards says.
Marble’s elegant soft veining and white and grey colour palette has long been a popular choice for both kitchen and bathroom design; with its bright, neutral colours making it extremely versatile and adaptable to any home. However, as marble contains minerals, it can be more susceptible to rust and damage from acid-based kitchen and bathroom products. “It is important not to use any products that have lemon or orange in them, as these are acidic and can damage the marble,” Edwards advises. “Warm and soapy water is fine to clean the benchtops.”
In order to preserve its integrity, ensure your stone is effectively sealed, as this will prevent scratches and permanent damage. Sealing your natural stone creates an external barrier between the stone itself and environmental pollutants, preventing any oil, water and dirt from disrupting the inner layers and slowly eroding the stone.
This is an excellent option for the softer limestone which is more porous and can be prone to etching. “Sealing is essential on most stones, and if done professionally, comes with a guarantee,” Edwards adds.
Even if you are quite selective about your home’s interior, there is sure to be a stone and colour to suit your preference. “We import several kinds of natural stones, these being marble, granite, onyx, travertine, limestone, dolomite and quartzite,” Edwards says. “We also have an exclusive range of Italian porcelain called EPIC.” EPIC is an Italian-made porcelain, which contains realistic patterns photographed from natural stone. The impact-resistant and light-weight stone is also available in polished or honed finishes. Being resistant to acid also makes EPIC a handy choice for those unavoidable spills in the kitchen
In terms of colour, the sky is your limit! While a neutral colour palette of whites and greys is always on trend, consider taking into account the flooring, cabinetry and paint colours throughout your home to find out what shades of stone can be seamlessly integrated into the existing environment.
Choosing a light-coloured stone, with an ivory or white base and heavy veining can help emphasise the natural light and make a room seem more spacious. The addition of a feathered veining pattern is alluring to the eye and a captivating focal point for any design. Alternatively, choosing shades of dark grey and black stone can modernise any room, while combining this with a polished finish can keep the stone looking sleek, classy and elegant.
A natural or engineered stone feature wall or splashback is another beautiful way to introduce this material into your kitchen and bathroom. With bold textures and tones, these statement pieces are sure to entice the eyes. Consider placing the stone feature wall behind the bath or shower to add interest, or even above the sink for users to admire. Whatever your personal preference, utilising the unique colours and textures available within stone is an excellent way to amplify the feeling of luxury in your home – making a trip to your home’s busiest rooms a captivating and enchanting experience.
Stone is truly an enduring choice for kitchen and bathroom design, and Edwards attributes this glowing reputation to the material’s natural beauty, availability and durable nature. “Natural stone is unique and timeless,” Edwards says. “Nature has produced some amazing products to suit all tastes.”