Rock of Ages
Stone may have ancient beginnings, yet they’re at the core of today’s hottest flooring trends.
Roll With Stone Flooring
Stone flooring never goes out of style. It sure does change, though. New shapes and hues bring a modern vibrancy to rock-hard surfaces. What’s more,fashion-forward homeowners mix and match finishes and textures to create a refreshingly contemporary look using a material with along history.
To learn what’s cutting edge with this most natural of under foot products, we spoke with flooring guru Eric Barthelemy. As director of sales and marketing for Stone-Mart (stone-mart.com), a specialist with two Tampa Bay stores plus two more further south along the Gulf Coast, he’s a go-to source for style-savvy shoppers. Here’s what he says is selling today.
Tread Lightly With Stone
Lighter marbles are selling briskly as we enter 2018. “Customers are choosing white to light beiges and earth tones,” he says, pointing to products like the ivory Diana Royale, creamy latte Ephusus and dotted Cappuccino, which is a shade darker. “We are even seeing the Shell stone, which really pops.” This option, a white tileembedded with fossil shells, is popular on lanais as well as inside homes. Also on the pale side are travertines; vein-cut versions are all the rage. “Those are unlike all others,” Barthelemy notes. “They are cut against the grain, which really exposes the bedding [the inside of the stone] and shows color variations. People are excited about those.”
Line Up Stone Planks
Planks are for wood, squares are for tile, right? Not anymore. One of the biggest changes in flooring is that many people are installing stone planks in their homes. Some are a wide 12 inches by 24 inches,others more like traditional hardwood at 6 inches by 24 inches. The result is striking. “It’s the wood look, a striated look [with horizontal lines], that shows a lot of movement throughout the stones,”Barthelemy observes.
Color Me Blue Stone
Suppliers are selling travertine in more color options than ever,Barthelemy reports. In addition to the creamy and tan hues, grays and blues are finding their way into homes – or, more specifically,onto home exteriors. “A dark gray-blue marble called Ocean has multiple options,” he shares. This option isn’t a true blue like the actual sea; rather, it’s laced with rivers of bluish and/or grayish ribbons. He sees it “not just under your feet” but on walls, on claddings (natural-stone wall coverings) and in signature pieces such as decorative inserts.
Let’s Talk Texture Stone
Since shoppers are so fond of their neutral-colored stones these days, one might think their flooring would be bland. Not so, in large part because those with a keen eye go a little kooky with textures and colors. “People are being bold,” says Barthelemy. “They’re not afraid to think outside the box. They’ll use the same natural stone but with two contrasting finishes – maybe one on the floor and another on a bathroom wall or a kitchen back splash.” Others might install a solid-color floor with inserts of a different texture or hue. Another type of variation: tumbled versus polished or filled, within the same stone family. The benefit? “The room will have layers of depth, like a painting, because each stone or finish has a multitude of different color variations from the earth, and the contrast will bring that out.”
All Natural Stone, All The Time
With porcelain and ceramic, cork and concrete, glass or even rubber, folks have long mixed and matched various flooring for contrast. “They’d just go to a different material,” Barthelemy recalls.Now, the movement is toward only natural flooring choices. “With the multitude of color and texture options on the market, we see customers using a mix of natural tiles to change the tone while the color palate remains the same.” The results? Enchanting. “You can’t replicate the depth that only Mother Nature can provide.”
For morning information on stone options, go to www.stone-mart.com or call 813.885.6900.
By: Rona Gindin