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(Musings of a Stone Designer)

Friday, September 01 2017

With the advent of the internet and social media, home décor that looks fresh at first sight, quickly becomes over-exposed. Unfortunately, this leads to a style that is dated before its time. How does one avoid this dilemma?

Here are eight tips for acquiring a timeless look when designing your personal space.

  1. Go for basics when choosing investment pieces. Skip the patterned upholstery, the colorful granite, the eye-catching rug. You don’t want to live with very expensive items perpetually reminding you of the year everything was geometric, blue, or leopard. Think of these major pieces as the little black dress of decorating—you can change their look with less costly accessories.


     2. Remember, natural materials that age gracefully last, and look good, forever.




3. Don’t think you can’t do something in your own home if you haven’t seen it on Houzz. Instead, lean on classic design
principles…balance, scale, unity, contrast, along with your own good taste. If you think it looks good and functions well, go for it—even if it is not the latest craze. As designer, Karl Lagerfeld has said, “trendy is the last stage before tacky.” 


4. Edit, edit, edit. Force yourself to periodically view your rooms with new eyes, and remove anything that is dragging down your look. Just because you loved that dried flower wreath when you received it 15 years ago, doesn’t mean you should live with it for the rest of your life. Once again, timeless fashion advice works equally well for home design. “When you think you are dressed, take one thing away,” or the always appropriate, “Less is more.” 

5. Make it personal. Customization goes a long way to create a unique environment and avoid fads.

6. Mix in things that aren’t new. Shop second hand, repurpose, make it yourself, or incorporate a bit of whimsy for some of the design details. This trick prevents your home from looking like a store.


7. Mix in things that are new—but keep them to a minimum. A touch of “the latest thing” will keep your home looking current, and keep you from looking like someone who just crawled out from under a rock. But remember, just a touch.


8. Finally, avoid selecting the item or material that initially excites you the most; Instead, go with your second choice. This tip was shared with me by a recent customer who was given it by another. Initially, it sounds like bad advice, but I have noticed it rings true in so very many situations. The exciting one inevitably emerges as the next big trend, it becomes over-exposed, and you are so over it before it even has a chance to settle in. It reminds me of a comment I heard years ago from another customer who was trying to decide between a soapstone slab with an amazing pattern and vivid hue, or the slab of traditional black soapstone she had always envisioned in her kitchen.   As she walked past the show-stopper, shielding her eyes from its beauty, she walked directly toward the Church Hill soapstone slab saying, “No, I will not choose the cute boyfriend—I am going to stick with the sensible husband.”

Posted by: Marlene AT 10:47 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, May 25 2017

With the internet, trends quickly become "tired" and over-exposed. Now-a-days, everyone wants a home that is uncommon, personal, unique...not what you see at every store and every other design web site. The only way to make this happen is customization. Custom floor plan. Custom woodwork. Custom cabinetry.

Why not custom stonework? 

Take a look below at a few details we've added to some of our projects to give them that "something extra."

Recessed detail in backsplash adds a nice touch.

Recessed panels in stone work mimic panels in woodwork

Bathroom trough sink designed to perfectly suit customers' vision

And sometimes we go all out to give our customers the "wow factor" they are after!

Click here to see work by other fabricators across the country. Stone fabricators can be craftsmen too.

Posted by: Marlene AT 09:41 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, May 18 2017

The homeowner of this beautiful new residence found our company after an all out, city-wide search for the perfect black soapstone. She had first laid eyes upon her dream countertop at a home show. It became the centerpiece for her vision of the kitchen she wanted for her own home. Ultimately, she selected hard-to-find Church Hill soapstone from the inventory we stock at our shop in Batesville, just a 40 minute drive from Cincinnati. It is a traditional black domestic soapstone with a very clear background, and just enough artistically scattered white veins. In the photos below, the client has yet to oil the stone because "it looks so good" in its natural state. That is everyone's first reaction...until they oil it and are truly amazed!

See close up view of oiled Church Hill soapstone from Alberene Soapstone company in Virginia.
Posted by: Marlene AT 07:42 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, April 27 2017
I knew it was so! It is​ possible to build or remodel a kitchen in 2017 that does not have white cabinets, white countertops, white walls...and still make it look bright, fresh, & current. White kitchens are beautiful, but they are everywhere! Think outside the box and take a look at these refreshingly  unique, non-cookie-cutter (but definitely of-the-moment) color schemes.
Posted by: Marlene AT 08:57 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, March 28 2017

Countertops are like politics. The public keeps hearing the same message repeated over and over until it becomes part of their consciousness. First, the popular sentiment is expressed by a self-appointed expert. Then it is discovered by another's "research." Next, it is posted again and again, as undisputed fact. Soon, it is the only viable opinion. Eventually, we don't even question its truth.

When it comes to choosing a material for your countertops, I offer five suggestions to help you cut through to the truth:

1) Don't believe all the hype generated by companies marketing their own products.

2) Don't submissively delegate decisions about your personal living space to your designer or your builder. (Their priorities may be different than yours, and quite possibly, they will be motivated by much different criteria than you are)

3) Don't base your selection on what everyone else is doing, unless you want your house to look like everyone elses...or you want visitors to know at a glance the year your kitchen was built or remodeled.

4) Do gather information and opinions from a variety of sources. Countertop fabricators will be more aware of problems with materials. Contractors or builders (with skin in the game) may be the most knowledgeable about what voids warranties. Designers will have a better sense of the trends. Homeowners can talk about their personal experience living with the product. Unfortunately, a large majority of writers will simply repeat what they read or heard, without actually having any first-hand knowledge.

5) Remember, nothing is perfect in every way and no product is right for every application. If your source sounds too "black-and-white," you should probably disregard their advice.

Follow these links for helpful information: 
5 Countertop Options to Know
5 Questions to ask when choosing kitchen countertops

Posted by: Marlene AT 12:03 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, March 09 2017

I loved this very balanced article from about the battle between Quartz and granite. (See the link below) I have found that most information written about countertop material originates from the product's marketing departments, or from homeowners who tend to be biased toward the decision they have already made. It is refreshing to read true pros and cons, followed by comments from actual experts, in this case designers and fabricators. It is also interesting to note the different perspectives most often taken by the two professions. Designers typically prioritize appearance and trendiness; Fabricators tend to go for function and longevity. 

After reading the article and the comments that followed, I spotted a few common themes:
1) At the moment, Quartz is in high demand and very popular among designers. In contrast, granite is prefered by builders & fabricators, as it is time-tested and will continue to be around for a very long time.

2) Properties true about one Quartz are pretty much true about all. On the other hand, granite comes in many varieties and therefore is more difficult to make blanket statements about. There are "busy" granites and "clean style" granites. There are hard granites, harder granites, and granites that are the very hardest. While one exotic variety of granite may be porous, or chip easily, most others do not have these problems. (Todays sealers are so effective, staining is no longer a big concern with granite)

3) Under certain circumstances, Quartz may scorch, chip, or fade, and cannot be repaired. Quartz may crack if it comes in contact with high temperatures, as it is not heat-proof. Be sure to read the warranty! Granite is very heat-resistant and can be repaired if it chips. 

4) Finally, those of us who are partial to natural stone are bothered by the artificial elements of Quartz. (The unnatural look, especially when used in large expanses, the toxins in the polymors used to manufacture, the misleading name) 

Posted by: AT 01:19 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, June 22 2015

As an owner of a company that makes soapstone sinks for our customers, I'm always looking at new sources of inspiration. I came across this post from Apartment Therapy and just had to share!

Posted by: Marlene AT 11:49 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, May 27 2015

I am very pleased to announce that, after months of waiting, we are expecting a container of black Minas soapstone to arrive any day. (also known as Barroca, as well as several other less common names) Watch our inventory page for photos and a description of our new slabs. 

To whet your appetite, here's a nice little post about traditional black soapstone recently posted on Dorodo Soapstone's blog:

Posted by: Marlene AT 08:01 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, October 15 2014
Posted by: Marlene Wukusick AT 06:38 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Saturday, June 14 2014


*As someone from the "I love soapstone" camp, I found this article to be very interesting...though my experience has not been identical to the author's. Personally, from the beginning, I have chosen to oil my stone regularly. But I do love how it looks as it begins to dry out. I love how the oil enhances the veining, making it a "soft" black (nothing like a black granite--more like the black found in nature) and then looks more and more stone-like as it fades and ages. I guess I would have to echo what many of our customers have told me: "I can't decide if I like my countertops best when it has been freshly oiled or at any stage as it dries out."
Unlike the author, I would  have the urge to rub out the blotchiness around the sink pictured in her article. Still, I stand firmly in my camp. I love soapstone. Rather than live with blotchiness, I would simply add a touch of oil. The oiling seems like no trouble at all to me. Besides, it needs less and less as time goes on. And I am highly motivated by the beauty, character, and authenticity it adds to the stone, and therefore, to my home.
Regarding one's feelings about soapstone, I agree that there are two camps; however, in my opinion, the "I love soapstone" group needs to be subdivided into 2 smaller camps. The "I love soapstone as it is" sub-camp, and the "I love soapstone in every stage, especially as it evolves to develop a stunning patina that keeps getting better, and I am happy to oil it to help make that happen sooner" sub-camp. Admittedly, we from sub-camp #2 may be a tad bit more finicky than those from the first group.
Posted by: Marlene AT 10:20 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email


Located in Batesville Indiana/
Serving parts of Indiana, Ohio, & Kentucky

*Please Note: We reserve Saturdays, by appointment, for slab viewing and tours.

To receive an estimate,
or to schedule an appointment,
call us today.
We work directly with you,
the homeowner,
to ensure outstanding service.


Pete & Marlene Wukusick in Batesville, IN on Houzz

Remodeling and Home Design

Pete & Marlene Wukusick in Batesville, IN on Houzz
Pete & Marlene Wukusick in Batesville, IN on Houzz

Pete & Marlene Wukusick in Batesville, IN on Houzz

Pete & Marlene Wukusick in Batesville, IN on Houzz

Pete & Marlene Wukusick in Batesville, IN on Houzz
Pete & Marlene Wukusick in Batesville, IN on Houzz
Pete & Marlene Wukusick in Batesville, IN on Houzz

Sebastian and Angie Moster, Owners

Natural Stone & the Green Movement  Countertop selection is often the first place people look to when opting to go green. Natural stone (especially Soapstone) is a top choice for the environmentally-friendly. 

The Stone Studio
20157 Five Point Road, Batesville, IN 47006
Phone: (812) 933-0200