Hello, readers! Welcome back to the Stonehouse Countertops blog! We’re pleased you’ve chosen Stonehouse Countertops for everything you need to know about custom countertop materials. We provide comprehensive deep dives into various aspects of the design and installation process, as well as helpful tips for choosing the best material for your home. Our goal is to equip you with the information you need to commission the perfect countertops! Our last article was the first part of this series and covered the design implications of granite and quartz. Natural stones such as granite come in a variety of colors and patterns, meaning there are a near-infinite number of design combinations possible. The same goes for quartz! We wanted to give you a few references for popular colors among those stone materials and how they would pair with other aspects of design. If you’re interested, we recommend reading the first part of this series!
Today, we move on to the second part of our series, which will cover the design implications of marble, quartzite, and soapstone. These stones can be muted, but are never boring. Because of their refined patterns and textures, you can really play around with the rest of your space without having to worry about your countertops clashing! We hope this article gets the wheels in your head spinning about how you can pair these countertops with complimentary cabinetry, floors, and backsplash!
Marble has been used for centuries for sculpting and construction purposes. This evocative, luxurious rock has been used as a status symbol by the wealthy and is derived from an Ancient Greek word meaning “shining stone.” Adding marble to your kitchen or bathroom will illuminate the space. Though marble is commonly used as a statement piece, its understated beauty pairs well with a variety of bold, rich colors. You can pair most marble options with any cabinetry, floor, or backsplash and achieve a sophisticated look! That said, marble comes in muted pinks, murky greens, muddled browns, misty greys, pearlescent whites, and deep blacks. The options are endless!
According to Karen Pearse, one of the world’s top designers and experts in marble, “Marble has been one of the most sought-after materials for centuries, but many people only think of it in a very traditional sense. While there is great beauty in this, that is only one aspect of it. I have seen a tremendous renaissance in recent years, with new quarries being discovered around the world and new ways of fabricating and finishing the stone being developed every day.” She has a staunch belief in marble’s versatility and ability to adapt to multiple environments. To prove her belief, we’re going to discuss different types of marble and their design capabilities!
To begin, there’s an entire class of white-based marbles. The first (and one of the most popular) is Calacatta, a type of marble hailing from Italy. Characterized by a milky calcitic base, Calacatta is threaded with light-grey veins and hints of gold. From above, these striations resemble strands of sea kelp floating just beneath the surface of a white ocean. While white, this marble isn’t cold or alienating. If anything, there’s a sense of warmth imbued by Calacatta marble which defies expectation. Likewise, Calacatta Gold expands on this warmth by incorporating large swaths of the golden-grey streaks inherent in Calacatta. Both of these options can be paired with wood flooring or wood-toned cabinetry, due to their warmth.
Bianco Carrara, or Carrara White, is a much cooler option. The color deposits in this stone resemble capillaries more than veins; bespeckled grey dot the surface of Carrara White. One of the most famous types of marble, Michelangelo used this stone to carve his precious David. Stately and remote, this marble brings a seriousness to its surrounding space and might be paired with stainless steel appliances and concrete floors. Similarly, Statuarietto keeps to a grey theme, with hints of indigo for depth. This type of marble looks like an angry artist took a thin charcoal pen to its surface. Marked and scratched-looking, Statuarietto is a dramatic addition to any kitchen or bathroom.
Macael White marble takes us to Spain. Used to construct the Patio de Los Leones of the Alhambra Palace in Grenada, this stone resembles opal with its pearlescent luminosity. If you’re looking for a more interesting pure-white, Macael will give you the depth you’re searching for. Meanwhile, Thassos White is “the purest white marble in the world.”
There are beige marbles, such as Boticcino. Akin to the faded brown of a coffee stain, Boticcino is characterized by golden-brown streaks which some liken to “sea foam.” This option is timeless and pairs well with dark browns and whites. For more dramatic options, the range of Travertine marbles is your best bet. They range from soft to deep, rich to pale, and can vary in terms of appearance depending on the way they are cut, thus ensuring originality.
Fior di Bosco is a grey marble resembling smoke trapped in crystal. Spots of orange or white are common, with crack-like veining along the surface. This marble is actually non-porous, making it a great option for those who are nervous about staining marble countertops in their kitchen. Fior di Bosco pairs well with a variety of blues, greys, whites, and light browns.
Finally, there are the black marbles, which offer an unparalleled intensity and beauty. Marquina Black is an internationally recognized type of marble, lauded for its richness and ghost-like white veins. Blue Violet is a grey-adjacent black which will seem to have been freshly hewn even once it’s atop your countertop due to its vigorous black veining. Portoro holds its place as the most expensive marble in the world thanks to its signature gold and white splatters which resemble a Jackson Pollock painting. Black doesn’t go with everything (although we wish it did), which is why it’s recommended you pair darker marbles with lighter cabinetry and other design elements.
Quartzite is the step-sister of marble. Although they look very similar, they are not related by geological blood. Quartzite is actually easier to clean than marble and physically harder than any other stone used for countertops—even granite! Its similarity to marble begins and ends with its characteristic veining. But, while marble is primarily composed of calcite or dolomite, quartzite is primarily composed of quartz. For those looking for the design positives of marble without any of the maintenance, quartzite is a wonderful option!
When Cailtlin Murray of Black Lacquer Design took up the task of revamping a Silver Lake home, she knew she needed a totem for the design project. In the kitchen, this totem was stone. During trips to local stone yards with the owners, she showed the homeowners quartzite slabs, “which are nearly as hard as granite, don’t scratch like marble, and have a range of natural patterns and texture.”
Macaubus White is a creamy, tanned white-beige with long, wavering streaks of grey and ivory. Like Calacatta Gold, this type of quartzite adds warmth to kitchens and bathrooms alike. Likewise, Taj Mahal Sensa is another warm beige resembling extremely milky coffee. These quartzite options pair well with light woods, such as maple, bamboo, and pine.
For a more vibrant option, Macaubus Blue features cobalt-rich blues and splashes of orange with white veining. This blue quartzite is certainly a statement piece; as such, to emphasize the stone and prevent clashing, pair this with white cabinetry or floors. Another stunning statement quartzite is Patagonia, a kaleidoscopic art-house stone which combines blacks, greys, and ochres for a cool effect. Finally, Red Revolution, with its ruby base and bluish-grey, orange, and white streaks also adds a touch of flare to any space.
If you’re seeking options which closely resemble the understated beauty of marble, Calacatta Macaubus quartzite and Cirrus White are grey-veined options which resemble Calacatta and Carrara marbles. Classic White quartzite is also comparable to Thassos White.
Check back into the Stonehouse Countertops blog for the next part in this series, during which we’ll discuss the design implications of Soapstone and Limestone! As always, we’re happy to help! Equipped with information, you’re now able to make the choice best suited to you and your needs. At Stonehouse Countertops, we are willing and able to work with you to your specifications. We offer a wide range of different materials and always have someone on hand to answer your questions! Don’t hesitate to reach out for consultation or for help forming a plan. We want to ensure your vision becomes a reality! Check back into our blog for further iterations of this series with different stone materials! Until next time, thanks for reading!