Month: April 2018

Choosing the Best Backsplash for Your Kitchen

Kitchen backsplashes are one of the most unique areas in the home. They are one of the few surfaces that is often tiled, yet that serves no actual function. While once tile was installed in this area to protect the wall from stains and splatters, new cleansers and easy to clean paints have made the original purpose obsolete. Instead, the backsplash is now the place to express yourself in the kitchen design and is often one of the most decorative parts of the room.

Backsplashes can be made of any material, and they can come in any size, style, design, or pattern as well. With all the many beautiful products out there, it can sometimes be overwhelming when trying to find the right one. Thankfully, there are ways you can narrow it down to help choose the best backsplash for your kitchen.

Focus on Style

Because the backsplash is often added last to the rest of the room’s design, let the choices you’ve already made for the room be your guide in narrowing down the field. For example, the style of this kitchen is very sleek and modern with clean lines throughout the space. The backsplash needs to match those lines to help complete the space and give it a polished look. The honed stone veneer panels match the lines of the rest of the room, creating a cohesive design.

Don’t Stress Over Color

Color is another method you can use to determine the best backsplash for the space. Are you attempting to make the backsplash stand out, or are you looking for a more subtle design?

This backsplash helps create a monochromatic effect in the kitchen, which allows the texture of the material to be focus, rather than the color. This subtle style is perfectly in keeping with the rest of the kitchen’s features, bringing everything together with added dimension.

Go Bold with Contrasting Color

If you decide that the color of the backsplash needs to be the focus in the space, then consider choosing something that will contrast what else is going on. In this case, an otherwise all white kitchen gets a big boost in dramatic style with the addition of a charcoal stone backsplash.

When choosing color, the two rules of thumb are to either choose something that already exists in the room – no matter how small – or to go for the absolute opposite of what’s there to make the room

Contrasting Texture

Your backsplash is butted right up against your countertop, so it needs to work directly with this other material as well. Just like with the colors in the space, you need to decide whether this relationship will be subtle or dramatic. In this case, the rustic stone is contrasted against the very sleek, honed countertop. Together, they create a much more dynamic display than a simple subway tile would. To keep the focus on the texture, the color matches up well with both the lighter veins in the counter and the cabinets above.

Mimicking Shape

Another way to narrow down your backsplash options is to take a look at the shape of what’s already in the room. The shaker cabinets in this kitchen get a reinforcement in shape and design from the shape of the honed stone backsplash. The placed of the stone pieces in the design adds depth and shadow, which in turn creates focus in the room, elevating the overall design and turning an otherwise bland design into something striking.

How to Pair Counter and Backsplash Materials

The kitchen counter and backsplash sit perpendicularly to one another, meeting at the angle, which means that these two materials need to work well together in order to create a cohesive and harmonious design. This doesn’t mean that the two need to match one another or be made of the same material; coordination or contrast are equally beautiful options that can add even more depth and interest to your kitchen design.

Contrasting Styles

There are two rules of thumb for backsplashes depending on the type of impact you want to make on the kitchen design. Coordinating the colors of your counter and backsplash or matching the texture or finish of the counter and backsplash will give you a very subtle look. For a more dramatic appearance, however, you need to contrast the two materials in some way.

One way to add contrast is through color. For example, a very somber, white quartz countertop would pop against a bold red tile backsplash.

Another method to add contrast is through texture and style. A polished countertop with a high gloss finish will contrast beautifully with a natural stone backsplash that has a cleft-face finish. In either case, this contrast adds depth and interest that elevates the design.

Size Matters

The majority of kitchen backsplashes are 18-inches high from the countertop to the underside of the upper cabinets. Some older kitchens may have backsplashes that are only 15-inches high as well. And even in homes that have the ability to create a focal point behind a cooktop, this area rarely measures more than 30- to 36-inches in height.

For this reason, the size of your backsplash tile matters a lot. Very large tiles can overwhelm a small space, and have the disadvantage of losing pattern. For example, while an 18-inch backsplash can handle four rows of 4-inch tiles with a 2-inch border, or six rows of a 3×6 running bond pattern, it can only handle 1-½ 12-inch tiles.

Likewise, a very busy pattern with a lot of decorative features in one small space can easily overwhelm the area. For this reason, most decorative designs need to be kept to accent walls or focal points to give them the space they need; keep the area along the countertops for more subtle patterns and moderately-sized tiles.

Get to Know Your Options

Your best backsplash can be any number of things depending on the look you want to achieve. Just find the area you want to focus your attention down to help narrow down your options to find the perfect backsplash for your kitchen.

Exterior Stone Veneer: Trends and Design Ideas in Outdoor Living Spaces

According to most landscaping professionals, more homeowners are expanding their living spaces to include the outdoors than ever before. Outdoor kitchens, patios, decks, fire pits, and pools are all becoming more commonplace, regardless of how large the property is or what type of architecture the home has.

To get the most enjoyment out of your new outdoor living area, you’ll want it to not only function well, but to look great, too. Using stone veneer to clad your walls and other exterior features can give you a variety of  attractive looks that can complement any landscape design or architecture.

Using Exterior Stacked Stone Veneer

Stacked stone veneer is a beautiful addition to any exterior feature. Good quality stacked stone is easy to install, with consistent thicknesses and no grout lines to discolor or crack over time. The material can have a  rustic or modern appearance that fits in well with most landscapes, and because it’s natural stone, you’ll have no trouble finding a color that complements your surroundings.

Installing exterior stone veneer gives you the ability to create a more dynamic landscape, with a cohesive look that fits in with both contemporary and traditional gardens. It’s also low maintenance, so you can enjoy your outdoor living space without a lot of upkeep.

Trends and Design Ideas

Exterior stacked stone veneer is so versatile, you can install it nearly anywhere. Take a look at these six design ideas to help get the inspiration you need to complete your perfect landscaping.

1. Pool Water Feature

-Pewter Honed Panels

Water features are an increasingly popular addition to many inground pools. They can simulate the look and sound of a waterfall or give you a more tranquil and modern effect. In either case, you’ll want to give the feature a natural appearance to help it blend in better with its surroundings, and stacked stone is one way to get the look you want.

In this feature, a honed stone is used with contemporary water fillers for a crisp, clean, and modern look. The cool silver-blue tones of the stone blend beautifully with the privacy fence and in turn contrast with the golden color of the limestone trim and pool deck.

2. Outdoor Kitchen

-Pewter Honed Panels

If you do a lot of entertaining, consider adding an outdoor kitchen to your patio area. Outdoor kitchens give you the ability to cook, store food, and entertain comfortably outdoors, rather than needing to constantly ferry things in and out.

Todays outdoor kitchen boasts all the luxury and beauty of the one inside. Granite counters and stone veneer bring a refined look to the simple grill, and are easy to clean up.

This outdoor kitchen is a great example of a monochromatic look, pairing the stainless steel components with a stacked bluestone cladding. Rather than having the disparate pieces of the kitchen simply grouped together, the stone helps to unify the kitchen and give it a more substantial look.

3. Outdoor Fireplace

-Sierra Accentstone Panels

Another popular feature for entertaining outdoors is the outdoor fireplace. Fireplaces give you a gathering place and a focal point for the entire yard. Clad in stacked stone veneer, this fireplace also fits seamlessly in with the rest of the landscaping, so it won’t look out of place outdoors.

At the same time, stacked stone has a cleaner more contemporary look than fieldstone, which means that it can complement a wider array of homes as well.

4. Firepit

-Carbon Honed Panels

Firepits are another great gathering place for outdoor entertainment. And while many pits are rustic or plain in appearance, they don’t have to be, especially when they’re installed in a contemporary setting.

This gas fire pit has an impressive base clad in stacked stone veneer. The clean edges of the fire pit itself give it a contemporary vibe, while the cleft stone gives it a natural appearance that allows it to fit in well with the landscaping.

5. Two-Tone Outdoor Living Room

-Berkshire Buff Estate Stone Panels

For homeowners that live in climates with nice weather, consider setting up an outdoor living room complete with fireplace and flat screen TV mount. This two-tone accent wall becomes a focal point for the entire area, with the lighter stone surrounding the fireplace really standing out and grabbing everyone’s attention.

6. Large Exterior Wall

-White Birch Honed Panels

Make a statement with a stone wall. You can bring the feeling of indoors outside with modern looking stone veneer. This sitting area with pillows to carefully match the stone, tie the whole area together for a comfortable entertaining space.

Update Your Landscaping

With exterior stone veneer, you can make any outdoor living area into a stunning display. Consider updating your landscaping to include any of these beautiful features and get the look you’re after.

Using stone and light in design for a dramatic look

All you need to bring your stone installation to life is flip a switch.

Installing directional lighting as part of your design gives you a daytime and a nighttime look that is truly stunning.

Lobby-Areia Portugal

Bedroom -Alesio 3D Frost (Coming soon)

Entryway -Mountain Rust Ledgestone

Waiting room/lobby-Hive Barnwood

Stairway -White Birch Ledgestone

7 Ways to Use Stone Accent Walls in Your Interior Design

There’s nothing like the beauty of natural stone when it comes to adding color, texture, detail, and interest to a room. Stone has been used in home interiors for centuries not only for its durability and function, but also for its beauty and timeless elegance.

Today, there are more options and ways to use stone in your interior design than ever before. As an accent wall, stone veneer tiles make a beautiful statement that take everyone’s attention, creating both a backdrop and a focal point for your room. Check out these seven ideas for using natural stone accent walls in your home.

1. TV Backdrop

If you have a flat screen TV or another viewing device in your home, then you already have a focal point in the room – a natural place where people are already turning to look. Leaving this wall blank behind the TV has a lot of drawbacks, as this means that you aren’t realizing the room’s potential.

Making that wall an accent wall adds depth and interest to the room. When people are already turning that way, an unfinished wall can bring the entire room’s design down. A stone accent gives it a more polished look that helps bring everything together.

2. Wine Cellar

Wine cellars have a romantic association to them that sparks a lot of interest. This is particularly true when the cellar has been outfitted to capture the attention of everyone who enters.

This stacked stone accent wall gives a nod to the subterranean stone wine cellar of old, but here it is paired with clean lines and a modern aesthetic.

3. Updated Bathroom

Natural stone is the classic material used for centuries as a durable and beautiful for bathroom surfaces. It can just as easily fit into an ultra modern sleek design with an ultra-thin stone veneer. Here pure white quartzite stone veneer spans a wall from inside the shower and out to the opposite wall. The subtle texture and sparkle of the stone add depth and interest to the ultra clean and monochromatic design.

4. Wrapped Wall

Have a large or thick wall that divides two rooms? Consider wrapping it in natural stone veneer panels to create a dynamic appearance. This charcoal-colored wall is inset with bookshelves for added function and brings some depth to the interior design. Situated near a window, it also adds contrast to the room, reflecting just enough light to keep from getting too dark, while still adding gravity to the room.

5. Lit Bathroom Wall

One of the unique things that stacked stone panels can bring to a room when used as an accent wall is the depth the different pieces of stone can bring. A flat accent wall done in paint or wallpaper may have interest, but it lacks the additional complexity that stone can bring.

In this case, strategically placed lights in the room highlight this effect, casting the stone into shadow in varying amounts, which brings additional warmth and interest to the room.

6. Dual Textures

Brick walls are common features in lofts, camps, and other unique styles of home. Where they end, however, plain drywall often leaves the room feeling a little flat. This room solves that problem by using a honed stone accent wall butted right up against the brick.

The dual textures of the two materials add even more interest to the room, while the light and dark tones add to the color scheme.

7. Double Accents

Don’t have one large wall, or have a lot of smaller sections in one space that could use a pick-me-up? Consider splitting up your accent the way that this room did.

These chiseled stone accents add balance to the room’s design. Because the fireplace and the TV already offer dueling focal points, the stone helps bring things back into perspective, unifying the room and creating a cohesive design.

Dress Up Your Home with Stone Accent Walls

Stone accent walls can add more than just interest to a room; they add warmth, depth, dimension, and design as well. If you have a room in your home that could use a boost, consider adding natural stone veneers as a way to get the job done.


Featured Project: Luxury Wine Room Ceiling

After completing several previous projects for these homeowners, we were very excited to work with them again to create a new wine storage room.  Since we had plenty of height, I suggested that we consider a ceiling feature to bring the eye up, possibly a brick or tile.  The client fell in love with the Hive Etched Cream tiles in our local showroom, and the rest of our design evolved from that selection.  We were initially concerned about installing such a large, thick tile on the ceiling. The Realstone Systems rep was very helpful and gave us specific instructions on how to install the tile so our tile contractor was prepared for the proper installation. The trickiest part of the installation was getting a perfect circle cut into the tile to allow for a thick chandelier canopy to be countersunk into the tile ceiling.  The result was stunning!  The Hive tile imparts a warm limestone feel that complements the traditional tones and materials used in other parts of the house, but the shape and dimensional facets resonate with the clean modern lines of the chandelier.  We couldn’t be more pleased with the final result or the service we received.

– Monica Lewis Miller, Design Consultant & Sales Manager, J.S.Brown & Co.

Realstone Dealer: Hamilton Parker

Featured Project: Chatham Day School with Sierra Accentstone

Walter Kneis and Marlene Borruso of NK Architects selected Realstone Sierra Accentstone to create a grand two story feature wall at Chatham Day School in New Jersey. Bathed in natural light streaming from above,The wall is embedded with niches, each of which holds a  photo of a CDS student. The labor intensive project was completed by Joseph A. Natoli Construction Corp and was awarded a 2017 silver medal for “Feature Element” by the Newark and Suburban Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The airy, light filled  space and  the wall of photos creates an environment where every student is a star pupil.