The Modern Stone Age
Despite Melbourne design trends changing and evolving, stone remains an enduring choice in home design. With many different stone types and palettes available to utilise in your kitchen and bathroom, it is important to consider which stone type is right for you and how to incorporate this into your individualised interior design.
Sally O’Brien speaks with Madeleine Athanasiadis, director of Lithostone Surfaces, on the benefits of stone, current design trends and exciting new opportunities to feature stone in your home.
AN ENDURING DESIGN CHOICE
Stone is durable, easy to clean and offers a variety of versatile style options, making its inclusion in the home not only an aesthetically pleasing choice, but a structurally intelligent solution for an everchanging home. “Engineered stone, marble and granite are typically used in kitchens, bathrooms and laundries as countertops and splashbacks,” Athanasiadis says. “They are also being featured in living spaces as furniture pieces including TV units, dining, coffee, and side tables.” Stone has become intrinsic to kitchen and bathroom design, and with proper care will last a lifetime. With this sort of longevity and design potential, choosing the appropriate stone for your home is an important style choice that can strengthen your home’s modern interior and create an inviting atmosphere.
CHOOSING YOUR STONE
There are many different types of stone available for your home; stylish choices include marble, granite or quartz. When discussing different types of stone, you will undoubtedly need to consider whether to use engineered or natural stone. “Engineered stone and marble have definitely been in style for many years and have become increasingly popular due to extensive colour palettes and current design trends,” Athanasiadis says.
Stone comes in a vast range of colours making it easy to choose a stone to suit your colour palette.
Athanasiadis says, “consider your desired style and preferred stone finish as this may determine your colour choice.” For a straightforward selection process, Athanasiadis recommends bringing samples or swatches of your flooring, cabinetry and paints along to your showroom visits to choose a stone that blends seamlessly with your interiors. “A white or grey palette is very on trend,” Athanasiadis says. “Lighter colours are reflective, making smaller spaces such as bathrooms appear larger, brighter and feel more open.”
Proper care is recommended to ensure the longevity of any stone surface. Different types of stones require different types of care, so be sure to choose a stone suited to your needs. Natural stones have an ageless beauty but are porous and more prone to stains and scratches whilst quartz or engineered stone are heat, scratch- and stain- resistant, allowing for minimal maintenance. “No stone or colour is exclusive to kitchens, however engineered stone is the easiest to maintain,” Athanasiadis says. Engineered stone does not require sealing or polishing, but features made from natural stone require sealing at least once a year. Athanasiadis recommends daily wiping with a mild detergent, hot water and a damp cloth to ensure your stone surfaces continue to look flawless and new for years to come. To avoid permanent damage, Athanasiadis warns, “avoid exposing stone to strong chemicals and solvents, prolonged direct contact with very hot appliances and cutting on its surface.”
NEW STONE USAGE
Once used simply as a practical kitchen and bathroom surface, luxurious stone patterns and colours now have the potential to be an eyecatching feature. Current trends see Melbourne home designs promoting sleek, minimalist interiors with lavish detailing or industrial looks comprised of mixed materials. To achieve this seemingly effortless modern aesthetic, Athanasiadis recommends aiming for cohesive stone features like a large island bench with a matching splashback. If you’re looking for a new twist on the entertainer’s kitchen, consider combining different materials such as touches of timber or standout steel tapware alongside a monochrome palette of stone and matching cabinets. “Lately [popular trends include] leather finishes, which add a tactile surface to the stone, and matte finishes for their subdued sophistication,” Athanasiadis says. If you’re aiming to individualise the stone usage in your bathroom, add feature lighting to draw attention to a standout stone piece and amplify the light atmosphere.
“Current interior design trends see veining as the more popular choice as it mimics the timeless beauty of natural stone,” Athanasiadis says. “Veined stone splashbacks are my favourite!” Modern home layouts tend to incorporate the
kitchen in an open-plan design for ease of entertainment and hosting options, so an inviting large kitchen island is a modern necessity. “Large island benches with waterfall ends are a preferred choice,” Athanasiadis adds. If you’re looking for a unique usage of stone in your bathroom, consider creating a stone feature wall in a harmonizing colour. “They enhance the entire space whether it’s large or small,” Athanasiadis says. “A piece of natural stone or engineered stone as a feature wall conveys the look and feel of elegance and modern luxury.” Stone is commonplace in kitchens and bathrooms. It is a practical design choice due to its sturdiness and longevity, but it can also
offer a sense of lavishness with beautiful texture options and finishes available to suit every colour palette. When it comes to your kitchen and bathroom, your stone colour, stone type and its usage should be chosen to reflect your needs.
“The kitchen is the heart of the home so it’s necessary to create a space that you love to be in every day,” Athanasiadis says. “Design is always changing and evolving therefore it’s important to select a stone and colour that you will enjoy forever.”