NATURAL STONE - CLASSY WAYS TO GO ALL NATURAL
The next time our highly plasticized world starts getting you down and you feel an urge to commune with nature, slip off your shoes and walk barefoot on a floor made from natural stone.
Chances are, no matter what type or quality of stone tiles you have used for flooring, it will feel wonderfully cool during the hot summer months and retain warmth during the colder winter months.
Apart from its natural beauty, natural stone also contains no toxins or chemicals which can cause allergies. But like all natural products, the qualities and features of various stones differ dramatically, so if you want to choose natural stone tiles for your flooring you need to consult an expert to find out which stones work most effectively where.
Let’s have a look at how you can incorporate natural stone indoors as a feature.
The beauty of slate is in the rich diversity of colours and its durability.
Each piece of slate tiling is like an individual work of art with its variations in tone and texture, ranging from pale greys and pinks to intense greens and blacks. When laid properly in a large space, these variations give a feeling of continuity and tonal flow – much like a painting.
Alternatively, individual slate tiles or small groups can be used to offset or complement a plain stone tile like sandstone on the walls or floors. For example, a cream coloured sandstone with overtones of pink can be highlighted with a small grouping of slate tiles with deeper splashes of pinks and blues, placed on the diagonal .
Like most natural stone products, a sealant improves the quality and durability of slate so it is easy to maintain, easy to keep clean, resistant to chemical spills, won’t fade and is impermeable to water.
Sandstone is a generic name given to a type of natural stone that contains quartzite – the inclusion of quartzite is the only characteristic the various types of sandstone share. Sandstone is obtained from quarries all over the world, so the qualities of sandstone are unique to the region where they are sourced.
Although most designers and homeowners use sandstone for outdoor paving and around traditional chlorinated pool areas, it blends beautifully indoors, particularly in bathrooms and kitchens. Sandstone is slip resistant and impervious to water (although poor quality sandstone doesn’t possess these important qualities).
Sandstone is an incredibly versatile product and is used extensively by architects and designers because of its durability, fire resistance and thermal qualities. Sandstone is generally pale in colour, so it effectively enhances the feeling of light and space when used indoors, particularly in large open plan rooms.
Designers often use a darker natural stone tile like bluestone or quartzite to break up large sections of sandstone or to define a particular area. This effect can look stunning with a little creativity and imagination.
Nothing beats bluestone for its incredible strength and versatility. Not only that, bluestone is an aesthetically beautiful natural stone that is grey in colour but with subtle variation in tone. Surface treatment options make it versatile for both indoor and outdoor applications.
Bluestone with a polished surface has a refined luster under any lighting. Honed bluestone is a softer, low sheen option popular for both indoor floors and walls. Bluestone with a flamed finish is a natural outdoor paving stone.
The best quality bluestone is being used extensively indoors in kitchens, living areas and hallways because it is virtually impervious to water and has a stain resistance. The dark grey tones of bluestone effectively hide dirt, making it a busy homeowner’s dream natural stone surface.
Cutting edge designers are now incorporating bluestone into high traffic areas because of its durability and toughness and also because it is so easy to maintain. Nowadays you will see bluestone in honed and polished form used extensively in wine bars, restaurants, hotel lobbies and up-market retail outlets.
Outdoors the natural stone tile of choice is flamed bluestone because of its non-slip characteristics, to say nothing of its luxurious appeal. Garden designers are increasingly using the grey/black tones of bluestone to offset water features and pool surrounds.
The Appeal of Natural Stone
From the sleek lines of steel and glass used in contemporary architecture to the soft decorative features of a federation style home, the inclusion of natural stone complements any environment.
Imagine a stacked stone water feature made with blue-grey slate inside a glass covered portico at the entrance to an architectural masterpiece, or the soft colours of sandstone laid in the entry of an old inner city terrace, or an expansive family room floor tiled in the earthy, ambient tones of limestone.
Natural stone is…well…natural and it glows with life, no matter how or where it’s used. In a world burdened by the effects of toxic chemicals and products, doesn’t it feel good to experience the look and feel of something that you know has been created by nature? Natural stone was here long before we were and will still be around long after we’re gone.