Five surprising features celebrate the design power of natural stone.

The not-so-secret secret of creating many of today’s most stylish spaces is, in two words, natural stone. We’re not talking your run-of-the-mill granite countertop or limestone hearth. These days, design pros are choosing special varieties of natural stone to transform surfaces and features in surprising and spectacular ways. Once considered unthinkable, today’s innovative stone applications and details prove that design possibilities are limited only by the imagination. For proof, we present five jaw-dropping features showcasing how natural stone can, dare we say, make any space rock.

Monumental Wall

Why be limited to paint and wallpaper when dressing a wall? Clad the surface in stone to create an eye-catching  design element unequalled in style and natural beauty. “Choose natural stone for spaces where you spend a lot of time, so you can really enjoy and experience it,” says interior designer Soma Pradhan. She teamed with European Marble & Granite and Jackson & Leroy to transform the two-story fireplace wall of an Emigration Canyon home into a dynamic architectural statement. They clad the floor-to-ceiling feature with three natural stones, placed bottom to top in the same order in which they would be found beneath the earth: Brown antiqued leathered granite, honed silver vein marble and Fantasy Brown leathered granite. The wall angles outward like a canyon wall and boasts bolts of silver, copper and gold-plated metals templated to match the stones’ natural veining while nodding to the geological origin of the earth-born materials.

Two-Stoned Bathroom

Talk about power couples! Just look at the magic created when two natural stones team to make a space extraordinary. Malachite is a magnificent, modern choice when paired with classic, Calacatta marble in this stunning, stone-wrapped bathroom. Large slabs of the brilliant green stone—hand-placed with 14K gold inlays—form the room’s clean-lined floating vanity, countertop and bathtub surround. Horizontal banding between the walls’  Calacatta marble slabs foster the room’s elegant, modern design. Stone from The Stone Collection.

Fabulous Floor

Ready for a floor show? There’s a lot going on underfoot in this spectacular Park City master bathroom. Not only are each of the four slabs of Branco Prana marble spanning the floor impressive in their size and elegance, but their symmetrical diamond-match installation creates a breath-taking pattern that amplifies the beautiful veining of the adjoining marble slabs. Stone is from Italia Granite and installed by Curtis Damon & Associates.

Illuminated Fireplace

Among the many materials used to frame a fireplace, natural stone is among the most spectacular. In Park City, Tally Stevens not only chose beautiful Bronzo quartzite to form the stately modern fireplace, but he upped the ante by siding it with two towering panels of translucent Radice onyx, backlit with sheets of lighting rather typical rope lights. “Our clients wanted a unique feature in their living room and fell in love with onyx and the idea of lighting it,” says Stevens, sales and design specialist with European Marble & Granite. He and his team designed and engineered the feature before the home was built and masterfully created seamless panels reaching up to 15-feet high from multiple pieces of the highly patterned onyx. “There are hidden vein joints that unite the slabs,” he explains.

Natural Art

The beauty of stone comes from its unique and natural variations of color, pattern and veining. That’s why many designers choose it to create functional works of art, from furnishings to lighting, worktops to walls. But some also literally view stone as pieces of art. That’s what interior designer Soma Pradhan did when she teamed with the pros at European Marble and Granite to create a triptych from large Red Dragon quartzite slabs that hang in the light-filled hallway of an Emigration Canyon home.

Pattern Plays

“Natural stone isn’t just about slabs,” says Kelli Corkill, designer with Venetian Tile & Stone Gallery. “It has been used as a building material for centuries, but we’re now seeing more contemporary designs using stone paired with metal and glass.” Fact is, homeowners are, dare we say, loving stone to pieces. Intricately cut fragments and shapes of natural stone are paired with assorted metals and glass, as well as antique mirror and contrasting stones in striking designs, ranging from geometrically modern to richly opulent. “They have become the new wallpaper for today’s accent and feature walls,” Corkill says. They perform similar magic on floors and surprising details throughout the home. Consider all of the possible stone pairings as well as dynamic designs, and you have hundreds and hundreds of ways to deliver bold pattern-play to your décor.

“Mixing materials as well as finishes—honed, polished, leathered—adds

­––Kelli Corkill, designer with Venetian Tile & Stone Gallery.

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Brad Mee is the Editor-in-Chief of Utah Style & Design Magazine.