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.


Granite vs. Quartz

Granite and quartz countertops are both derived from natural materials, although quartz countertops will contain manmade elements, and they’re both very popular choices. Maintaining quite a similar appearance and providing homes with the rich, timeless beauty that comes with any stone countertop, it isn’t hard to see why these materials are so widely utilized, but they do have their own separate benefits and drawbacks.


Though referred to simply as quartz, quartz countertops will actually be made using a mixture of 93% crushed quartz and 7% resin. The fact that quartz countertops aren’t completely natural turns many buyers away from them, but it is their artificial nature that presents the most compelling benefits.

Because quartz countertops can be manufactured with different colours of resin, you enjoy much greater flexibility when it comes to colouration. Additionally, there will be no imperfections to deal with. Quartz is also completely non-porous, will never require sealing, and is incredibly durable and stain-resistant.

However, quartz is a lot heavier than granite, so expect to pay more for professional installation. It also discolours over time when exposed to direct sunlight, which can be a real problem if only one section of your countertop will be regularly hit by sunlight. Furthermore, the seams between slabs are sometimes easier to see. However, this problem can be greatly mitigated by choosing slabs that are dark and very similar in colour and shading.


Granite, on the other hand, is a completely natural product that is taken directly from the ground in large chunks before being shaped into slabs. The expense associated with this quarrying and shaping process tends to push the price of granite slabs up compared to quartz, so granite countertops don’t often play well with tighter budgets.

That said, many people prefer the more natural appearance that granite countertops can provide. The stone itself is not quite as hard as quartz, and it will require resealing every two years or so, but it is certainly still durable enough to stand up to everyday use without any breaks or chips unless subjected to particularly heavy abuse.

However, one thing to remember is that it’s almost impossible to hide the seams between stones, although this simply reinforces the natural appearance of granite for many homeowners.

7 Top Benefits of a Marble Fireplace

Whether you’re upgrading your current fireplace or adding a whole new one, the material you use is going to be a major concern. There are several available options, but marble normally comes out on top, and here are just seven reasons why.

  1. Stunning Appearance

If you were asked to name a luxurious building material, it’s likely that marble would spring instantly to mind. Valued for thousands of years, it offers an upscale appearance while remaining both inviting and sophisticated. Your fireplace will be a focal point of the room in question, so opting for a superior material makes perfect sense.

  1. Easy to Maintain

Marble fireplaces are far easier to maintain than you probably imagine. Any spilt foods or drinks can be wiped up with a damp washcloth, and even soot will be easily wiped away when dealt with quickly. Other materials require daily attention, but marble is far more convenient.

  1. Range of Options

Marble is just diverse as it is durable. You’ll almost certainly be familiar with the famous pure white marble of ancient statues and monuments, but marble can be quarried from all over the world, and each site brings its own unique colorations.

  1. Resistant to Heat and Fire

Marble is very dense, meaning that it insulates against heat extremely well. Even with a roaring fire going, it will remain comfortably cool to the touch.

  1. Extremely Durable

Marble is softer than many stones; it is this quality that makes it so prized among sculptors. However, it is also far more durable than other fireplace materials. Remember, a fireplace isn’t something that is going to need to resist hard-wearing usage, but it does need to remain looking as good as new for years to come. Marble can offer that kind of longevity.

  1. Fits Diverse Styles

There aren’t many building materials that fit in with all kinds of styles. Quartz, for example, comes with benefits of its own, but it works far better with a clean, modern style than when you’re trying to create a period atmosphere. Whether you’re going for ornate and lavish or keenly minimalist, marble is going to work wonderfully.

  1. Adds Value

With all these benefits in mind, it should come as no surprise to learn that a marble fireplace can add a significant amount of value to your home. When you come to sell, you might just find that it pays for itself.

January Sale

View our January exclusive offers across a range of marble fireplaces and granite worktops.capture

Silestone Countertops: The Pros and Cons

Silestone isn’t quite as well-known as quartz and granite, but it comes with benefits that can make it a much better choice for your countertops. Made from natural quartz crystals, with polyester resin used to bind and hold those crystals together, it is closely related to standard quartz.

Here’s a quick rundown of the benefits and drawbacks that come with using Silestone for your countertops.

The Benefits of Silestone Countertops

Silestone presents an upscale appearance. Replicating the look of granite and marble more closely than quartz, it shines brightly and is available in a vast range of colours and styles, so you’ll be able to customize a first-class final product that perfectly fits around your own needs and wants.  The material works particularly well with clean, minimalist designs, so it’s a natural fit for new properties.

Beyond aesthetics, Silestone is able to deliver when it comes to practicality; it essentially unites the low up-keep of regular quartz with the beauty of granite or marble. The surface of Silestone will resist scratches and scorches, which is obviously going to be an important concern if the countertops in question are going to be based in the kitchen. It also boasts a non-porous surface, so stains won’t be something you have to worry about, and you won’t have to go to the bother of sealing it every couple of months.

The Drawbacks of Silestone Countertops

Silestone is a fantastic material for countertops, but it isn’t without its disadvantages. Cost, for example, is likely to be an overriding concern. Silestone, though usually not as expensive as high-grade granite or marble, usually rests at the higher end of the cost spectrum when it comes to countertops. This might change as the material becomes more widely-used, but that kind of process is going to take time.

Compounding this issue is the fact that not many people know about Silestone, so these countertops aren’t as likely to add value to your property as marble or granite ones.

Finally, Silestone countertops are not heat resistant. If you place hot pots and pans directly onto the surface, a ring may be left underneath, permanently marring the appearance of your countertops. Of course, this is an issue that can be combatted by making sure you always have a cutting-board or other surface to hand.

Should You Invest in Caesarstone Countertops?

Caesarstone is a stunning countertop material that is also used for vanities, work areas, and wall panelling. Made from 93% natural quartz mixed with polymer resins and pigments, it is then heated to 90 degrees Celsius and put under 100 tons of pressure. What you have at the end of that process is one of the most impact-resistant stones in existence, and its popularity continues to show exponential growth as more and more people become aware of its benefits.

The Benefits of Caesarstone Countertops

Caesarstone has been manufactured with a number of advantages that set it apart from natural stone, and durability is probably the most compelling. When you’re working in the kitchen, there’s always the chance that a heavy pan or sharp knife might slip. Cracks, chips, and scratches could easily be the result if you’re dealing with a natural material or weaker laminate, but Caesarstone is unlikely to experience any degree of damage.

It will also never need to be resealed, and its non-penetrable surface eliminates the possibility of staining. All you need to maintain the original appearance of the stone is a quick wipe-down with soap and water.

Finally, you’ll be able to exercise a huge degree of control when it comes to the final appearance of your countertops. Separate thicknesses, edge profiles, shapes, and surface finishes are available, so there can be a huge difference between one piece of Caesarstone and another. You’ll have trouble finding a design scheme that it won’t fit around.

The Drawbacks of Caesarstone Countertops

Cost is perhaps the only real drawback that comes with installing Caesarstone countertops. This material does tend to command higher prices than other types of countertop, though the price is likely to come down as it becomes more widespread. Of course, homeowners can always see the higher cost as an investment since Caesarstone countertops are likely to add value to a property and will not need to be replaced for decades. Whether this trade-off makes sense will come down to your own personal circumstances.

Caesarstone might not be the best option for homeowners who prefer to decorate using natural materials, but this is really a matter of individual preference.


Caesarstone countertops are still on the costly side, but you will certainly be getting what you pay for. Long-lasting and extremely resistant to damage and staining, Caesarstone countertops are apt to pay for themselves over the years they spend adorning your kitchen.

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.

Curious About Quartz? The New Kitchen Countertop Trend

Homeowners often decide on either granite or marble for their countertops, and then they find out about the disadvantages each material carries.


Marble, for example, is prized for the sense of luxury and warmth that it evokes, but it is also porous, meaning that it requires frequent sealing and can stain and scratch easily. Not many people know that one of the reasons marble is so often seen in the bathroom is that it will only be stepped on by bare feet; it just isn’t tough enough for other applications, especially countertops.

Granite is a slightly better choice since it is a little bit tougher. Of course, it does come with weaknesses of its own. Granite can be scratched easily, needs to be sealed at installation and then resealed regularly, and can chip and crack more easily than engineered stone.

With these facts in mind, it isn’t hard to see why well-informed homeowners tend to reconsider their original choices in favour of an engineered stone, and quartz is the perfect option. When we refer to it as ‘engineered’, we mean that it has been made in a factory; quartz countertops are actually made from a mixture of mined quartz and special resin.

This process means that manufacturers are able to work around the flaws that develop in natural stones, such as granite and marble. This used to mean that the slabs produced looked slightly artificial, but advances have ensured that modern quartz can be made to look almost any way you want it; in fact, you can replicate the appearance of both granite and marble.

While you enjoy the look that originally attracted you to marble or granite, you’ll also benefit from a number of important advantages over both materials. For starters, quartz is less expensive than granite, and it’s usually less expensive than marble. Countertop costs can really add up if you don’t watch out, so there’s no reason to spend more than you need to when it comes to materials.

Quartz countertops are also going to stay looking their best for longer, and without any need for routine maintenance work. Stronger than either granite or marble, quartz is also non-porous, meaning that it never requires sealing and cannot be stained by spilled drinks and food. Bacteria won’t be able to gain a foothold, and all you’re going to need to clean up your countertops is some soapy water.

Boasting the looks of marble or granite without the problems of either, it should come as no surprise to learn that quartz is the new kitchen countertop trend.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Spruce Up Your Kitchen This Summer with Quartz Worktops

The warm sunshine and long days that come along with summer make it everyone’s favourite time of year, and it also represents the perfect time to take care of some renovation work.

You’ll be able to have tradesmen come and go without tramping rainwater into your home, and there will be no unpleasant breezes coming in as the transformation takes place. Best of all, you’ll be all sorted by the time winter rolls around.

Kitchens are usually the focus of such renovations, and worktops often represent the bulk of the work. When you choose new worktops, one of the first things you’re going to have to decide upon is what kind of material you’d like to use. There are plenty available, from bamboo to granite, but quartz is one of the best.

Here are just a few reasons why quartz has become the go-to material for kitchen worktops all over the country.

Reduced Cost

Keeping to your budget is always going to be important, and quartz can help make that happen. Of course, stone will usually be pricier than other options, but you’ll find the costs associated with quartz far more manageable than those associated with granite and marble.


One of the most appealing things about quartz is that it isn’t actually a natural product; rather, it is manmade in factories. This means that you can control the colour, texture, and pattern that you’re after, and you don’t have to worry about flaws.


Quartz counters are made of at least 90% natural quartz mixed with resin binder and colourant. The result is an extremely tough stone that is stronger than either marble or granite. Durable and scratch-resistant, it can take dropped dishes and slipped knives without enduring a dent or a scratch.


Not all stones are non-porous – many contain small capillary channels between minerals, and this can cause problems. To start with, spilled substances sink into these channels and stain the stone. Furthermore, bacteria can invade and start to make your stone countertop less hygienic. To help prevent this, other stone countertops require regular sealing; quartz countertops do not.

Heat Resistant

You shouldn’t go leaving hot pots and pans directly on the surface of a quartz countertop, but this material does boast an impressive resistance to heat. If you place those pots and pans on a wooden or plastic surface, you’d probably be faced with either a large black scorch mark or a ring of melted plastic.