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Interior Trends: Sculpted Marble in the Bathroom

Marble has been a luxury construction material for centuries, but it has enjoyed a real spike in popularity during recent years, and leading figures expect that increase in status to continue well into 2017. Marble is becoming a particularly sought-after material for the bathroom; not only is it stunningly attractive, you’ll also find it hard-wearing and surprisingly versatile.

Of course, you need to make sure you pick the right marble for the role and then take part in the trend in the best way possible. Here’s how.

Take Time Selecting Your Marble

Marble comes in many different varieties, including Carrara, Calcutta, and Danby. It can also be picked up in different grades. Taking the time to consider which type you need is crucial for your project. Carrara, for example, will differ quite significantly from Calcutta in terms of both appearance and price. You want to find the right cut and thickness as well. Remember, marble is usually quite expensive, so you want to make sure you’re spending your money as wisely as possible.

Combine with Wood Flooring

One of the nicest things about marble is its lightness. It provides an open and airy feel to any room, and it also remains nice and cool to the touch. Of course, these properties need to be balanced out if you are to avoid creating a bathroom that feels too clinical and uninviting. Try pairing a marble vanity and bath with solid wood flooring to bring some warmth into the room.  These two classic materials complement each other to perfection.

Embrace Openness

Marble tends to work best when paired with open and simple designs, so try keeping to a minimalist aesthetic. Walls and floors should join seamlessly, and you might want to think about using a freestanding bath that shares the same colour or shade as the surrounding walls and flooring. This will eliminate jarring breaks between areas and create a more seamless and flowing appearance.

Mix Materials  

Wood flooring is a great way to go, but you can also create something a little more striking by mixing in different materials. One of our favourite combinations is marble with metal; think of it as classical meets industrial. Metro tiles and metal accents across your fittings can really turn the room into something special, and you shouldn’t be afraid to use black marble alongside or instead of the traditional white.

 

What Are the Advantages of Marble Fireplace Mantels?

Fireplaces generally form the focal point of any room they are added to, so opting for the best one possible only makes sense. There are times you can get away with looking for the second-best material, but this is not one of them; when you’re searching for a fireplace mantel, marble stands unparalleled.

Here are just a few reasons why you should strongly consider purchasing a marble fireplace mantel.

Marble Fireplaces are Stunningly Attractive

Marble has been valued since the times of the Ancient Greeks for its rich, luxurious style, and that popularity continues well into the present day. Strikingly beautiful and sophisticated, marble adds a rich sense of style to any room, and it works with a variety of design styles; whether you want to adopt a modern, minimalist tone or create an antique feel, marble is going to work wonders.

Marble Fireplaces Can Be Easily Maintained

Marble carries a reputation for being slightly tougher to take care of than other materials, such as quartz and granite. However, this is an issue that is more important when you’re considering flooring or countertops; your fireplace mantel won’t need to be as resistant to staining or scratching. Most drinks and foods will be simply dealt with using a damp washcloth. You will have to make sure soot isn’t allowed to build up, but that just means giving the mantel a quick wipe over once or twice a week.

Marble Fireplaces are Heat-Resistant

When you’re dealing with a fireplace, heat-resistance is clearly something about which you should be concerned. Marble remains wonderfully cool to the touch, even when used next to a fire. This is part of the reason it was so popular in the ancient world. Even the hot Athenian sun wouldn’t be able to rob the surface of its welcome coolness.

Marble Fireplaces Will Last for Years

Marble does tend to cost more than other fireplace mantel materials, but you should consider it an investment rather than a sunken cost. Marble is known for being exceptionally durable, so it should last for years to come without showing any signs of wear. When you finally come to sell the property, you can expect the marble fireplace to add value; going cheap with such a central part of the room in question is not likely to make potential buyers willing to accept a higher asking price.

How to Clean Marble Countertops

Marble is used to create some of the most stunningly beautiful countertops around, but it does require a little extra TLC if you want it to remain free of dirt, scuffs, and stains. Unfortunately, not many people are aware of the fact that some cleaning agents and methods can have a negative impact on their marble countertops. To make sure yours stay looking as wonderful as the day they were installed, keep the following points in mind.

Use the Right Cleaning Agents

Marble is closely related to limestone, so it is soft, porous, and quite sensitive to the acids found in wine, citrus fruits, and many everyday cleaning products. Spilling coffee on your marble countertop can cause staining, but using an acidic cleaner can do damage all by itself.

This means that you need to look for pH-neutral cleaning products, although it is easier to simply pick up a specialty marble cleaner. Make sure that it is resistant to grease and water, rinse-free, and able to provide a streak-free finish. Additionally, make sure you read the safety instructions carefully before you use it.

Keep it Regular

When dealing with marble, it is crucial that you clean regularly in order to prevent discoloration and staining. You don’t need to spend hours each day scrubbing away, but you should never let dirt build up.

The best thing to do is commit to a regular cleaning schedule. Take a mild, bleach-free detergent or speciality marble cleaner, then add it to water. Lightly wipe down your countertops, then rinse with clean water and dry them off quickly with a micro-fibre cloth.

Seal It Up

Your marble countertops will probably come pre-sealed, but that seal won’t last forever. This means that you’ll need to commit to resealing every six months or so to ensure that your surfaces remain free from damage. Since countertops are used to make food, you can’t use just any sealant; look for one that has been approved for food preparation areas.

Go Natural

If you need to clean a part of your marble countertop right away in order to avoid staining, just create a quick and easy cleaning product by mixing one-part baking soda to 20-parts water. Wet a cloth with the solution, then apply to the appropriate area. Instead of using an abrasive brush or cloth, simply use increased pressure across stained areas. Leave to dry for 1-2 hours, then rinse with water and dry off with a clean cotton cloth.

Marble Countertops: What Are the Pros and Cons?

Marble has been synonymous with luxury projects since the days of the Ancient Greeks. Thousands of years later, it’s still one of the most opulent materials available for areas throughout the house, including kitchen countertops.

Marble countertops can be made from several varieties of this stone. The most popular variety would almost certainly be Carrara marble, which possesses the classic white colouration that people tend to associate with the material as a whole. Other varieties include Calcutta and Danby. Beyond the actual variety of marble, you’ll be able to choose between polished marble, which leaves a mirror-like sheen, and honed marble, which provides a satiny finish.

So, you’ll enjoy a fair degree of flexibility when you opt for marble countertops, but you’ll still need to work out whether marble is the best material to meet your needs. To help yourself come to the right decision, just take a look through our list of pros and cons.

Why Should You Pick Marble Countertops?

Marble is a beautiful stone that brings a touch of class and distinction to almost any interior design style. That kind of timeless beauty remains one of the most compelling reasons to go for marble countertops, especially since its appearance tends to add light to kitchens.

Though the material can be stained, you’ll find that cleaning it is quite easy. All that will be required is a quick wipe-down with some water and gentle soap. Best of all, marble’s luxury status doesn’t necessarily come with a luxury price-tag. This can be an extremely expensive material, but only when buyers desire the rarest varieties.

Why Shouldn’t You Pick Marble Countertops?

Marble does need to be installed by a professional, so it isn’t a perfect material for DIY-ers. It can also be scratched and chipped more easily than engineered stones, such as quartz; this softness is one of the reasons marble has been so prized among sculptors across the centuries.

Overall, you’ll find it tough to keep your marble countertops in ‘like-new’ condition. Etching, which leaves dull spots after marble comes into prolonged contact with acidic food and drinks, is a particular problem. That said, such flaws tend to add to the character of marble for many homeowners.

 

Marble countertops look wonderful and probably aren’t as expensive as you’d imagine. However, they’re also easier to damage than other countertops, and you won’t be able to keep them looking pristine throughout their entire life.

How to Clean a Marble Fireplace

Marble fireplaces form stunning centrepieces in living rooms all across the country, but they need to be properly maintained if they are to remain in pristine condition. Marble might be a glorious material with which to work, but it is also quite porous, meaning that dust and other contaminants can easily dull its appearance over time. Since even a misplaced mug of coffee can leave a nasty ring, you need to know exactly how to keep your marble fireplace looking its best.

Step One: Use the Right Materials

The fact that marble is extremely porous means that it will also absorb any liquids that you use to clean it. Many people only discover that certain cleaning agents should be avoided when it is already too late, so make sure you know what’s what before starting.

Conventional cleaning products and harsh chemicals should be avoided; they will damage the appearance of the stone when absorbed to its core, and they could even cause cracking across the surface.

In particular, make sure you avoid:

  • Baking Soda: Too abrasive – it could ruin the finish.
  • White Vinegar: Too Acidic – it can leave etches across the surface.
  • Limescale Remover: Another acidic product.

You’ll also want to avoid using any abrasive brushes and cloths. You don’t want to ruin the finish or damage the underlying material, so use a soft micro-fibre cloth to remove surface dust and dirt.

Step Two: Employ the Right Method

Now that you understand which products to use and which to avoid, you’ll need to know how to go about cleaning your marble fireplace. To start with, dip your cloth into some distilled water; you can distil some yourself by boiling it and then allowing it to cool, though you can also pick up distilled water from the supermarket.

Next, lightly wipe your cloth along the surface of the fireplace, paying special attention to any areas that have been stained. If you find that the water has not been effective, try using a specialist marble cleaning product. Read the label to familiarise yourself with the process before getting started, and make sure you conduct a test run on one small, out-of-the-way area of the fireplace to make sure no damage or discolouration occurs.

 

Cleaning a marble fireplace isn’t as tough as it sounds. In fact, you’ll find it easy as long as you know which products to use and how to use them.

Why You Should Think Twice About Granite Countertops

Granite and marble have long been viewed as the unrivalled options when you’re looking for high-end countertop materials. However, this has begun to change recently due to renewed interest in quartz.

The quartz renaissance has come about due to the natural benefits of this material, but recent advances in the manufacturing process have also played their part.
In fact, some sources are now naming quartz the leading countertop material. Just take a look at its advantages over materials like granite and you’re sure to appreciate why this shift has taken place all over the world.

Durability

Countertops, particularly those in the kitchen, tend to be some of the most hardworking surfaces in the home. Even high-traffic areas of flooring won’t have to put up with hot pans and slipped knives.

With that in mind, it should come as no surprise to learn that consumers value durability, and quartz is one of the best choices in this regard. Naturally stain-repellent and completely invulnerable when faced with acidic foods, it also resists scratches and chips. In contrast, granite and marble both develop wear rather easily; they’re beautiful, yet fragile. Additionally, granite and marble require regular sealing, which quartz never needs.

Style

Conventional opinion would have you believe that marble and granite are the most attractive countertop surfaces around, and, just a few short years ago, they probably would have been right.

Unlike quartz, marble and granite are mined directly from the ground before being reshaped. Quartz countertops are made from at least 90% quartz stone mixed with resin and colourant. That process used to produce slabs that were overly flecked and oddly uniform, but these shortcomings have been overcome. Nowadays, quartz countertops appear completely natural, and you can have them in any shade or colour you desire.

Affordability

When it comes down to it, budget represents a bottom line that the vast majority of homeowners simply cannot afford to ignore. Quartz currently commands a respectable price point between granite and marble, and its reduced maintenance needs allow buyers to save over the life of their countertops.

Granite and marble countertops once firmly ruled the roost, but those days appear to be well and truly over. If you’ve already dismissed quartz, it might be time to reconsider; you’ll receive a strong, durable material that won’t break the bank.

Get to Know Your Stone

Stone is perfect for floors, counter-tops, and other such applications due to its intense durability and ability to last for decades without ever needing to be replaced.

Of course, stone is not indestructible and will need to be properly maintained if it is to stay looking its best. For homeowners, that means knowing what type of stone you’ve used and how best to care for it.
Luckily, natural stone can be broadly categorized into basic geological classifications: either calcareous or siliceous.

Calcareous stone is composed mainly of calcium, and tends to be paler than other stones. Examples of calcareous stones include marble, limestone, and travertine. Calcium carbonate is sensitive to acidic cleaning solutions, so you’ll need to be on the lookout for milder cleaners. Anything containing lemon or vinegar should be avoided.

Examples of siliceous stones include sandstone, slate, granite, and quartzite. As the name implies, siliceous stone is primarily made up of silicates, such as quartz, mica, and feldspar. These compounds are able to resist most of the acids that cause issues with calcareous stone, but they may still contain trace levels of such substances, so acidic cleaners are still best avoided. You should also refrain from using rust removers; they contain trace levels of hydrofluoric acid, which attacks silicates.

No matter the type of stone in your house, you can keep everything clean and in good order by following the quick and easy tips provided below:

  • All you need to clean stone surfaces is a neutral cleaner, some special stone soap, or a mild liquid dishwashing detergent. Mix with warm water and then clean away.
  • Though no damage can occur when you use the products listed above, you will still find that a high concentration of cleaning agent or soap leaves a film and causes streaks, so remember to use plenty of water.
  • If you’re cleaning stone floors, a clean rag mop is best. For other surfaces, just use a soft cloth. Scouring pads may damage your stone over time.
  • Once you’re finished, make sure you rinse the surface and then dry it with another soft cloth. Change your rinsing water frequently if you need to clean a large area.
  • In outdoor areas, flush with clean water and then use a mild bleach solution to eradicate algae or moss.

Stone might be a tough material, but you still need to be careful. If you have any doubts, just contact your supplier for some detailed cleaning advice.

 

Are Stone Floors Worth the Maintenance?

If you’re thinking about what type of flooring to lay down, it’s likely that stone will have cropped up as a possible option.

After all, natural stone floors have been the top choice for centuries, and their popularity shows no signs of flagging.

That said, some homeowners worry about the maintenance work required. So, are stone floors worth it?

To help you decide, here’s a quick list of pros and cons.

The Advantages of Stone Floors

Style

First and foremost, natural stone flooring is absolutely beautiful. No other flooring material can really measure up in terms of character, and stone will provide a sense of sophistication and warmth no matter the room you use it in. Marble is particularly appealing, delivering a luxurious finish set off by unique colour variations.

Durable and Long-Lasting                 

Stone is incredibly strong, making it hard to chip or crack. If a young couple were to lay down stone flooring in their home today, it’s likely that their grandchildren would be walking on it in 50 years’ time. Despite concerns over maintenance, you’ll need to do very little over the life of your stone flooring. In contrast, wood floors need to be regularly treated, and they can easily develop dents and scratches.

Banishes Allergens

People with allergies need to be extra careful when selecting their flooring. Some choices, such as carpeting, prove disadvantageous since particles will be trapped within the fibres. Stone floors, on the other hand, make it tough for allergens to gain a foothold.

The Disadvantage of Stone Floors

Expensive

Stone flooring is undeniably expensive, and it also requires professional installation due to its weight. However, homeowners often save in the long run since their flooring won’t need to be replaced in a few years’ time.

Hard

Stone flooring isn’t recommended for seniors since it is quite hard. A fall on stone flooring is much tougher on old bones than a fall on carpeting, and stone tends to be more slippery.

 

Ultimately, the benefits of stone floors easily make the maintenance work worthwhile. In fact, most people overestimate the amount of work that will be needed. Cleaning is easy when you use the correct materials, and significant damage is hard to create. Instead of having to refinish your wood floors or tear up your carpet in a few years, you’ll have something built to last that will never go out of style.

5 Tricks to Mastering the Marble Trend

Marble has been celebrated for its beauty and style since the days of Socrates and Aristotle, and it’s becoming more and more popular with modern homeowners.

If you like the look and want to jump aboard the marble trend, try experimenting with these tips.

Blend with Rougher Materials

When people think of marble, they often picture wide open floors and unbroken countertops. That’s certainly one way to go, but modern designers often combine this favourite of classical antiquity with modern industrial materials, and the dining table is a great place to merge the two.

Try finding tables that use marble for the top surface but then stand on bases made from timber or metal. This creates a dramatic appearance, and it also prevents the marble from overpowering your kitchen.

Use It to Accent

Again, marble isn’t a material that necessarily needs to be used widely. Take a look at your coolest local homeware store and you’re bound to find gadgets and cookware that makes use of the material.

Chopping boards are a good example since they can strike a regal tone while still appearing subtle. You can also try marble servingware to achieve a similar end.

Add it to Your Bathroom

The timeless appeal of marble is something that blends well with modern bathrooms. We tend to use monochromatic colours in these rooms, so white or dark marbling is perfect.

Of course, you might not have the budget for a marble bathtub, but you can take the accenting advice here again. Take a look online and you’ll find plenty of bathroom accessories that have been handmade from marble, including soap dispensers and dishes.

Try Marble in the Living Room

Pointing two sofas vaguely in the direction of a television set is something done only by the unadventurous. If you don’t want to stand among them, try using marble in these spaces.

As with the kitchen, one of the best things to do is use marble on table tops. However, you can also add a sense of grandeur to the room with a marble wall clock or introduce several accenting items, such as marble candleholders and tea trays.

Marble the Green Revolution

Just a few years ago, you’d tend to see more houseplants adorning the living rooms in seventies era sitcoms than you would in the real world, but interior greenery is now enjoying something of a renaissance.

If you’d like to take part in the growing marble trend, why not combine these two fashions by using marble planters, pots, and urns?

 

Unique Uses for Marble

Marble has been the favoured material of artists since the dawn of Western civilisation, and it continues to inspire fresh works of art right through to the 21st century. Here are some of our
favourite ways that the world’s creatives have used marble in fresh and unique ways.

Apple-Watch-chargers_NATIVE-UNION_Marble-Collection_dezeen_936_5Apple Watch Charging Dock

Uniting the cutting-edge with the classical, Native Union has just released a charging dock for the Apple Watch. The dock combines a solid block of marble with a rotating metal arm. This gives it e
nough weight to keep the stand from toppling over when users are tapping the touchscreen, and, when combined with the Apple Watch’s night mode, it forms an enviable alarm clock.

Hand-polished marble is used for each product, which was released in 2014 in Milan during April’s design week. If you want to combine state of the art technology with the grandeur of antiquity, this unique use of marble is for you.

Marble vs Bronze Table

While Native Union used marble to give a touch of timelessness to the new, a Chilean studio called GT2P collaborated with New York’s Friedman Benda gallery and used it to reinvent our most ubiquitous piece of furniture by combining the material with one of the oldest-used metals. They call it the Marble Vs Bronze table.

To create each table, they used digital mapping technology to chart veins and decide exactly where each piece of marble needs to be cut. They then remove large sections that are subsequently filled with bronze. The inner tabletop therefore features small irregular bronze accents, with the alloy then coming together at the legs to provide structural support. Because of this craftsmanship, each table is completely unique in and of itself.

3D Rippling Pool

Mathieu Lehanneur, a noted French designer, decided to use marble as his canvas to create a stunning rippling pool sculpture for his Petite Loire installation. Sculpted from a single section of hand-polished green marble, the undulating waves of the 7.5-meter piece are meant to evoke the Loire itself, and extensive 3D mapping software was needed to create an appearance of being “gently ruffled” by the wind.

This is just the latest work from Lehanneur’s Liquid Marble series. The series made its debut in Milan as a static pool that features rippling waves carved from black marble. Housed in a room

constructed from white marble, it created an awe-inspiring contrast.