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! Stonehouse Countertops carries an array of granite, marble, quartz, quartzite, soapstone, silestone, limestone, travertine, onyx, glass, sodalite, slate, and porcelain materials in its inventory. In addition to countertops, we offer fireplace surrounds, patios, floors, and walls. Whatever your design goals, we’re happy to help you achieve your unique vision!

To keep your countertops looking spotless, you’ll need to invest in a good sealant. Our last article was dedicated to the entire sealing process–from which stone materials need to be sealed to which type of sealant suits your needs best. Beyond warding off stains and protecting against etching, sealing porous stones is essential for keeping your countertops truly clean. Bacteria and food-borne pathogens can find their way into the spaces between a stone’s grain. As you attempt to clean porous stone, certain lemon-based or bleach-containing cleansers can actually worsen the problem, etching the stone’s surface and creating new nooks for dirt and bacteria to hide.  Not all sealants are made equal, either. Certain types of sealants last longer, certain types of sealants require professional application, and certain types of sealants can leave your home smelling of chemicals for days. We gave a quick rundown of what to look for and what to avoid. If you’re interested in sealing your own countertops, our last blog is the best place to start!

Stone walls. Most people cannot imagine the need for such a thing. Often, you find marble-cladded walls in the bathrooms of five-star hotels, not the kitchen of a residence. Today, however, we’re here to help you answer the question of whether stone walls are for you. Stone walls can appear as a feature–such as an accent wall–or monopolize an entire space. What’s the purpose of a stone wall? Simply put, stone walls serve the same purpose as stone countertops or stone floors. They exist to bring cohesion to a design scheme, to act as a pop of color or texture, to draw the eye and to serve their most basic function (that is, to be a wall). Stone backsplash falls under the umbrella of stone walls, as well. In this article, we’ll give you a few design considerations to make your decision easier. We’ll provide a few examples of how you can incorporate vertical stone slabs into your household or commercial space, as well as quote a few design experts on how they design around stone walls. Even if you think stone walls are too far outside of your wheelhouse now, by the end of this article, you may feel differently! 

What is the purpose of an accent wall? 

Since stone can be costly and is sold by square footage, stone accent walls are much more common than entire rooms outfitted with stone walls. What is the purpose of adding an accent wall to your kitchen, living room, bathroom, or foyer? Accent walls can serve a few purposes. Chief among those is the ability of an accent wall to give a space dimension. When the design of a space is entirely uniform (i.e. similar colors, similar textures, similar patterns) across the board, this allows our attention to drift. These spaces can be quite comfortable, but they can also be quite boring. An accent wall is an opportunity to break up the monotony of a room and add a bit of flair. Ordinarily, accent walls are simply walls which have been painted a different color. Stone accent walls add another layer of dimension, allowing homeowners and designers the option of playing around with different textures and bold, natural patterns. 

What you hope to achieve with an accent wall is entirely up to you. Depending on which stone you choose, you can appeal to a sense of rustic charm or refine your space into a beacon of modernity. According to Miriam Fanning, a decorated designer at Mim Design, stones with a heavier vein (e.x. Portinari, White Storm, Calacatta or Statuario marble) can be used to create a “dramatic look,” while stones with a softer vein (e.x. Danby, Bardiglio, or Elba marble) are better suited for minimalist spaces. Since stone is such a hardy, natural material, its use can tell a story all on its own. Fanning says stone can convey “visual strength… due to its authenticity and luxurious nature.” She recommends limestone, travertine, granite, and slate, but prefers marble for its “luminous effect.” 

This luminosity is appreciated perhaps nowhere better than in the bathroom. Stunning slabs can be placed in the shower, behind the vanity, or along each wall, to transform a bathroom into a work of art. Designers recommend sticking to neutral shades, such as white, black, beige, and grey, as these allow you to bring color into the space through accessories. Instead of experimenting with color, the bathroom is rife for experimenting with different patterns and textures. A rough-hewn granite accent wall imbues a shower with a rugged, outdoor feel. A polished marble backdrop reflects light and makes getting ready in the morning a glamorous experience. Overall, accent walls are an opportunity to make a statement!

Stone Wall Ideas

According to the experts, subway tile is out and solid slab backsplashes are in. Solid slab backsplashes are just what they sound like–backsplash panels which are composed of a single stone material. Since the eye is naturally drawn to vertical surfaces, the backsplash in a kitchen can be an opportunity to showcase the countertop material in a different light. Or, you could opt for a different stone altogether, depending on which look you’re going for. According to Yanic Simard with the Toronto Interior Design Group, the “minimalist sensibility of unbroken planes makes the slab backsplash a key ingredient in many contemporary or transitional kitchens, balancing a modern form with a timeless traditional material for the best of both worlds… You can match the slab to the counter and island, or let it be a feature on its own paired with simpler materials for the other surfaces, even combining up to three materials for a subtly diverse look.” Further still, stone backsplash gives you a chance to test whether stone walls align with your design vision before committing to an entire wall. 

Adding an accent wall around a fireplace is an intuitive choice. The fireplace, as a design feature, already draws the eye. This is an area which people tend to flock towards, gather around, and focus on. An accent wall will not seem out of the ordinary here–especially if the wall stone pairs with the stone of your surround–and, if anything, will serve to accentuate your fireplace. Fireplaces are usually outfitted with stone walls composed of individual stones, stacked together like the side of an old English cottage. This rustic look is one of several ways you could add stone to your fireplace. A deep, black soapstone wall acting as a backdrop for your fireplace serves to create a balance between light and dark. Meanwhile, a sleek, grey granite wall might be just the thing to take your fireplace into the future. 

As we previously hinted at–bathrooms are where stone walls tend to shine and where you can outfit to your heart’s content. Whether you opt for a single wall or an entire room, the stone you choose should be timeless. This is why we recommended staying away from colors, as these can date a bathroom. Marble and quartz are elegant options. Granite can add diversity, depending on the pattern, while slate’s unique texture can serve to break up the “polished” look of most bathrooms. 

Can I afford stone walls? 

Similar to countertops, stone walls are priced by square footage. However, unlike countertops, stone walls can be incredibly thin (i.e. one cm or less). This relative thinness can mitigate some of the costs associated with stone walls. Likewise, stone walls need to be cut to size, but they do not need fancy edge profiles or cut-outs for sinks. Their general uniformity serves to make them relatively simple to produce. If you decided to outfit your entire bathroom with marble walls, you’d pay $40 to $180 per square foot. After the marble was fabricated to your bathroom’s specifications, the installation might run anywhere from $700 to $2,450. Additional accessories are associated with additional costs (i.e. floor, shower pan, etc.). Stone walls aren’t for everyone, but their cost is proportional to their pay-off. Stone walls are an incredible, show-stopping feature in any home. 

We hope we’ve given you lots to think about! 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 a consultation or for help forming a plan. We want to ensure your vision becomes a reality! Until next time—thanks for reading!