April 2014

Distinctive Granite & Marble: Stone is Jewelry for Your Home

Author: Andrea Antunes McGilton

Choosing stone for your home is like choosing jewelry. The inherent beauty of stone, the variety that is available, the unique quality of every slab, all offer you the opportunity to decorate and enhance your home in a very personal way.

And, like jewelry, there is stone that is affordable for every budget and lifestyle. Granted, a tight budget might allow only for stone accents, mosaics, decorative borders and designs, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have this timeless and elegant material in your home. Stone is also a good investment. Using natural stone such as granite and marble in kitchens and baths has gained popularity to the point that homes without stone are less appealing to new buyers.

Endless uses
Today, the applications for stone are virtually endless. Start at your front door, where columns, stone stairs, a fountain, surrounds and other stone details would enhance your home’s entry. Once inside, dramatic interior arches and stone-clad walls add warmth, interest and drama. A stone fireplace quickly becomes an exquisite interior focal point. Stone can be used in surrounds, above the mantle as unique art and for fireplace facings. Staircases and floors of granite, marble and travertine are simply stunning, practical and enduring.

After the countertops and back splash in your baths, consider some creative applications. Add trim and border accents around vanities and shower stalls, put a pattern in a tile floor, add an elegant stone shower with benches and a glamour tub clad in marble.

Ideal for outdoor living
The permanent quality of stone and the ease of maintenance make its use in outdoor living areas ideal. Patios, pool surrounds, outdoor kitchens, fireplaces, fire pits, fences and pathways all become more glamorous and utilitarian with stone.

One creative outdoor shower at a Hilton Head Island home creates drama with a shower head mounted on a huge single slab of granite. Stone benches, stone coping around the pool or a stone accent as a water-line border, quickly and affordably take a pool beyond the ordinary. The addition of a small wall at the end of a pool can create a water feature or small fountain. The applications are as endless as your imagination.

Have some fun
Is it the weight of stone that makes us take it all so seriously? Does its permanence make us carefully consider every aspect before we make a final decision? And, why didn’t anyone tell us how much fun we can actually have adding affordable stone to our homes?

Have fun mixing colors, textures and finishes. Forget matching and think coordinating, blending and accenting. While white may be the hot trend in today’s kitchens, creative and colorful accent walls, island tops, backsplashes and mosaics are just as popular.

One way designers get that “high design” look is by using expensive stone in small amounts. A fancy stone in a brilliant color used in a small powder room can create huge impact. A lush marble used as a fireplace surround can make a whole room come alive. Imagine the creative possibilities. A stone choice that might bust your budget in a large space could be truly affordable and accessible as an accent piece.

Don’t limit your imagination
Virtually anything that can be drawn can be cut from stone. Modern technology and skilled craftsmen can make almost any idea become reality with stone.

The big stone fabricators have remnants that offer great value and opportunity. You can find granite, marble, limestone, travertine and more in pieces of all sizes. Enjoy the search and let your imagination run wild. Another place to play is finishes. Put a polished finish on the kitchen countertops and use a leather-finish on the same stone in the island for a subtle and sophisticated look. Use a variety of finishes, edges and textures to create the unexpected look. Don’t be afraid to select different stone for different surfaces in the same room.

Here in the Lowcountry, we are blessed with a climate that allows us to live outdoors practically all year round. Use stone to create outdoor living rooms that are practical, comfortable, elegant, virtually indestructible and maintenance-free. Marble and granite are used in abundance in outdoor kitchens, patios, pool surrounds, fireplaces, cabana baths and most every other alfresco application.

The new leather finish for granite is one of the most popular options. With a rustic look and finish that hides pollen and causes water to bead, maintaining and cleaning leather-finished granite couldn’t be easier.
And, what could be more elegant and classic than a handsome granite and travertine stone shower and outdoor bath?

Decorating with stone is like choosing gems: select the color, texture, design and impact you prefer. And remember that every piece of natural stone is an original—unique to you and your home. 

Andrea Antunes McGilton is sales manager at Distinctive Granite and Marble, the 32-year-old company founded by her father, John Antunes. The area’s largest resource for natural stone, Distinctive Granite & Marble has showrooms on Hilton Head Island, in River Walk, Lady’s Island (Beaufort), and Pooler (Savannah.) For more information, visit distinctivegraniteandmarble.net.

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