October 2014

Family-Friendly Natural Stone

Author: Andrea Antunes McGilton

The reality is that most of us live with children, guests, pets and the traffic of a busy daily life. The challenge, for many or us, is to enjoy a luxurious home with beautiful appointments while maintaining a rich and full life.

You’ll be happy to hear that it is indeed possible to live elegantly—under any circumstances—with natural stone. Stone not only offers infinite choices in color, texture, and cost; it can also endure the most rigorous abuse and actually acquire a lovely patina over the years.

Stone actually starts out old—millions of years old, in fact! It’s hard, pre-aged and already has a history of endurance. Depending on the architecture and style of your home, you can select slabs of granite, marble and limestone that already have a beautiful patina. And, stone is stone, through and through. There are no surfaces that can change, no finishes that will fade. It has consistent color, and the natural aging process makes stone even more attractive with added richness and character. Stone mellows with time and use, unlike most materials that just get dull.

Natural stone is the one material that can take on the challenges of every homeowner. Bring on the toddlers and teens, pets and house guests, dinner parties and gangs of friends. Natural stone can withstand the rigor of the most active lifestyle and look even better over the years. Forget the worn carpet and inexpensive tile. Stone may cost a little more up front, but it is a truly timeless material.
Need more convincing?

Stone is stone, top to bottom. There’s no surface coating that can become worn. Stone is a natural product, consistent and durable.

Stone mellows with time and use. While man-made products dull over time, stone becomes more vibrant with age. Time favors stone as the color deepens to a mellow patina. One trip to Europe will clearly demonstrate the unparalleled beauty of ageless stone.

Stone eliminates the need for constant maintenance. Set tightly, natural stone reduces the space needed for grout, which in turn reduces mold and mildew growth in high humidity areas like the bathroom and shower. When a sealant is applied, there is even more protection. Cleanups are easily accomplished with a damp sponge or mop. Stone is easily maintained. It can be re-sealed and refurbished.

Stone can reduce your daily housekeeping chores. Stone is actually a great camouflage material. Beautiful stone has texture, subtle hues, shade and color tone variations that tend to camouflage dirt, dust and other tiny particles that drift around our homes. These subtle undulations of color and textures effectively hide a lot of surface particles. You may find yourself using those brooms, mops and dust rags less often on stone floors and countertops.

Stone is versatile. Consider stone for virtually every room of your house. Obviously, kitchens, baths and floors come to mind. But stone can be used creatively to clad walls, create decorative focal points and accents, and to form niches. It can function as artwork throughout your home. The artistry and colors of stone extend from the neutral to truly abstract and exotic. The choices, uses and applications of marble, granite, travertine, limestone, slate and onyx are truly endless.

Stone endures. Classic in appearance and virtually indestructible, stone may very well outlive the structure of your home itself. Stone is strong and makes a bold statement that is enhanced by the years. Consider those ancient stone buildings in Europe, the Middle East and the Mediterranean that have endured so beautifully.

Stone protects. Stone doesn’t decay; it cannot be ripped, torn, stained or damaged. Stone doesn’t change. Your original choice and investment are protected by its durability. It also protects your home value. Real estate professionals acknowledge that stone kitchens and baths can actually increase the resale value of homes.

Stone is affordable. The wide variety of natural stone makes it available within most every budget. Visit a showroom or a designer to learn how to use exotic stone sparingly for dramatic impact, select remnants, and create decorative mosaic accents, borders, and focal points without breaking the bank. Consider a fabulous floating sink or a stone shower wall. The ways to use stone creatively and affordably in your home are endless.

The best way to start exploring stone is to visit one of the local showrooms. A stone expert can guide you on an odyssey that will result in a fabulous new look for 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 has showrooms on Hilton Head Island, in River Walk, on Lady’s Island (Beaufort) and in Pooler (Savannah). For information, visit distinctivegraniteandmarble.com.

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