Everybody Must Get Stoned

The virtues of stone cannot be over emphasized.  I’ve laid miles of tile, rolled acres of vinyl, nailed down, glued down, and floated hardwood every which way you can.  After all is said and done, you can’t beat stone.  Why, you ask, would I be so enamored with this material?  To begin with tile is redundant while stone is resplendent.  Tile chips and show it’s tasteless underbelly, while stone is itself all the way through.  Stone can be fixed, more readily than tile, and can be sanded and shaped into practically anything you want.  Properly sealed stone can be made practically impenetrable, and can be polished to any taste from dull to mirror gloss.

If pets and kids be your preference, then stone is your salvation.  For nothing holds up to abuse and perfuming like stone. Should you be of religious persuasion then you will find confirmation of your faith when witnessing the exotic splendor evidenced in stone.  The artfulness is so overwhelming that it is hard to mount an argument for random composition.  In fact, it is comforting to consider the creator as an artist rather than an accident.  From subtle hues to brilliant blues every imaginable taste can be satiated with stone, and every year it becomes more affordable.  Many travertines are currently cheaper than good tile.  The variety of sizes and presentations provide more benefits to outfitting your environment with stone.  You can lay it straight, or on diagonal.  You can add dots, or vary the spacing. You can lay little pieces or big ones.  You can choose a different color for every room, and it will stand the test of time.  Tastefully installed, it can look good for centuries.

Now the only real advantage to vinyl is it’s cheap.  Other than that it is the most destructible and impermanent of the floor coverings.  Hardwood is beautiful and the new Aluminum Oxide finishes add to the surface durability, but it still can’t take a licking and keep on ticking.  Expansion and contraction, water intrusion and possibly mold are enemies of the state when it comes to hardwood.  I love its warmth, but hate the periodic refinishing.  Ceramic tile is limited in its exposure.  You can’t bull nose or make cut edges match finished edges because the glaze is only a surface finish. All in all you should look to stone to solve most of the problems of modern living.  Low upkeep, easy clean, durable, and available in every shape, color, and size.

Stone varies greatly in its hardness and porous ness.  The softer stones such as limestone and slate are sedimentary structures, which means they were formed as sediment under pressure. Igneous stone is generally the hardest stone forged in the crucible of the earth.  Metamorphic is pressured to the point of remelting and forming a new crystalline structure.  When either igneous or metamorphic stone become granulated and deposited under an ancient sea, you form the birthplace for sedimentary stone.  Although these stones come in a vast variety of colors they are often more desirable in exterior uses because they can be prone to flaking and discoloration.

Metamorphic stones such as travertine, marble, and quartzite demonstrate a hardness factor that is more applicable to interior usage.  Travertine carries a vast variety of color in neutral tones that works well over large areas without being ostentatious.  If you are on an unlimited budget and can afford to change your surroundings regularly, you can indulge yourself in colorful flights of fancy that may be the current rage.  However, if you require a foundation that is lasting and merely adjust your accent pieces, like fabric periodically, you will want a neutral base from which to work.

Highly polished marble is a popular pick in kitchens and baths, but my personal shower is predominately travertine, and is remarkably low upkeep.  Because the surface is a satin rather than a gloss finish, it tend not to show watermarks as readily as a high polished marble or granite.  Regardless of how sexy it looks when it is new, Black is a pain in your posterior to maintain.  The same can be said of royal blue.  Multicolored slabs tend to be more forgiving and deceptive of staining.  Black should be used as accent pieces, in order to provide drama without major upkeep.

Granite has been the most popular kitchen counter surface for some years; so many have gravitated to travertine, limestone, and marble as alternatives.  All of these and others make durable and incredibly beautiful counter surfaces, and they all can be edged in a vast variety of shapes.  If you are going to indulge yourself in the eclectic kitchen or bath cabinet color and design arrangement, you would be best served to stick to a neutral uncomplicated pattern in your stone counter tops.  Let the cabinetry provide the variety.  Don’t use examples of palaces and mansions as your guide to good taste.  In most instances, especially with royalty, good taste is secondary if not entirely lacking in the choices of décor.  The rich and famous are often more involved in flaunting their wealth, over expressing great taste.

Publications like Architectural digest provide page after page of great examples from which to choose.  I recommend that you cut pages out that have the colors and textures and style that you are attracted to, and pattern your choices from there.  You will find every imaginable surface on display from which to choose.

I’ve enjoyed sharing the virtues of stone with you, and I hope that you find merit in my text, and become motivated to magically transform your environment into something unique and special.  Remember, Life is Art – Live It.