Pacific NW soapstone -- yards and installers

fern4February 2, 2008

Calling all Pacific NW people interested in soapstone!

I picked up the following information from some previous threads and made some visits. I'd love some more places to go to look at slabs and I need to know about fabricators with soapstone experience.

Casa Bella -- Portland -- currently have one unnamed variety and a polished kind (shown on website). Sample (of some dark green veiny kind) doesn't match what they have (but it's nice). Don't seem to know much about soapstone except that it scratches. They wet it for you with saliva.

Intrepid -- Portland, Bend, Vancouver --

Have one green, one dark grey (with veins), "anthracite" -- (see post about it!), and Pietra del Cardoso. Sprayed it with water.

Oregon Tile and Marble -- Portland -- not on their website but they say that they have Pietra del Cardoso (and call it soapstone).

Nuance Stoneworks -- Seattle -- fabricators.

Teresina (Northern California) -- send stone as far North as Seattle; I don't know who installs it.

I would love some assistance!

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Here's an addition from a previous post: Sierra Hills Stone (in California but obtains shipments through Seattle)

I should add that I'd like to know about Installers in case I were to obtain the soapstone from outside the region already fabricated.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 10:56AM
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We ordered from Sierra Hills Stone. It was crated and shipped from Seattle and fabricated and installed by a local shop.

Once I realized they were a small operation, but would always eventually get back to me, I relaxed, and enjoyed working with them. They did a good job estimating the numbers/sizes of slabs we would need and we did not have much overage at all.

I allowed them to pick my slabs and have been very pleased.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 11:37AM
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We got our Mariana soapstone in Seattle at:

Quarry SE
525 S Front St
Seattle, WA 98108
(206) 522-8670

This was over three years ago, but at that time they had a pretty decent selection of Mariana slabs, and new shipments were fairly frequent. It is next to/shares space with Lakeview Stone & Garden (pavers & garden rock). I had a hard time finding it - there was one other stone yard that had it at the time, but I can't find their name. They said they would only sell to the trade, and we were DIY, so I didn't even bother going there. I remember there were several people on this forum at that time that had that issue. Fortunately, it seems things have changed out there!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 12:34PM
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jraz, funny- our invoice has the above on the letterhead!

I assume they are the importer...

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 1:10PM
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I don't have soapstone at this point, but I have been researching it. I live in Oregon. I contacted Sierra Hills about soapstone via email and they wrote right back to me and said that they had someone they work with in the area to do the installation and that if I contacted him he would go pick up the stone in Seattle and bring it to my home and install it. After Francy's experience, that was one of my biggest worries: I didn't want to buy the soapstone from one place and have it installed by someone else (who may or may not be experienced in handling soapstone). I'm excited at the prospect of possibly being able to do that.

Is Mariana the only kind of soapstone that Sierra Hills carries? It's one of the harder ones, isn't it? For those who have it installed, could you tell me about it and maybe provide some photos?

Based on sending a couple emails back and forth with Sierra, I think they would be good to work with.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 2:17PM
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I had a very good experience with Homchick Stoneworks in Kenmore, WA. They supplied the soapstone, fabricated the stone, and installed it. I've been very pleased.

Here is a link that might be useful: Homchick Stoneworks

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 3:12PM
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A link to pics of our Mariana kitchen is below.

Pecanpie - That is very interesting. They are located right by the docks in Seattle, and I'm pretty sure things were coming in by ship. I read somewhere that some Rhode Island company is the exclusive importer of mariana into the US, so assuming that is true, it makes me wonder just how many layers there are before it reaches ones kitchen! Maybe Quarry SE handles westcoast distribution for them?

Here is a link that might be useful: Mariana soapstone kitchen pics

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 6:11PM
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So.... Quarry SE actually picked my slabs!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 7:24PM
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Jraz--beautiful kitchen!

Jraz & Pecanpie, As I mentioned earlier, I've been emailing Sierra Hills and they have responded quickly to each of my inquiries. They are going to send me a sample of my very own! I'm so excited!

But the BIG NEWS is that the person they recommended as the fabricator/installer of their soapstone may be opening a showroom in Portland. So it would be possible to pick out the slab(s) there. If not, Lynn at Sierra Hills said that I could definitely go up to Seattle and choose the soapstone I wanted.

I'm so excited, because now I have found someone who sells REAL soapstone and knows what they're doing when it comes to soapstone. I wouldn't feel as comfortable going to a showroom where they feature mostly granite and aren't really that familiar with soapstone---there's too much misinformation out there (i.e., identifying a stone that is clearly not soapstone as soapstone or advising that the soapstone will need to be sealed).

Anyway, it sounds like the Seattle location above would be one place to get soapstone, and, hopefully, in the spring some time, we'll have our own showroom in Portland.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2008 at 6:22AM
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jraz wa -- that's a beautiful kitchen. Does the Mariana have a bit of brown in its streaks? It looks that way from the photographs, instead of streaks that tend towards green.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2008 at 10:19AM
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I'm jumping in a little late here, but I, too, am on the hunt for soapstone in Portland!
Sail-away, you mentioned a fabricator/installer who might open up a showroom here - do you happen to know the name of that company? Just curious so I can keep my eyes & ears open.

Jamesk, this is a little off topic, but I love your cabinet color. What is it?


    Bookmark   February 13, 2008 at 7:30PM
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No company name for the soapstone installer. Sierra Hills sent me a name and phone number, though---Quinn Shields, at 209-559-5076. You might try googling his name to see if there is any information online. Sierra Hills indicated he might be opening a showroom in the near future. He did call me some time ago, and he mentioned he does concrete counter tops. I got the impression he's done more of them than the soapstone, but I may be wrong. I would have questioned more closely if I were close to being ready to go ahead with the renovation of our kitchen. When he called he also asked me if I had received my soapstone sample yet, and I still haven't---although it's been about two weeks since it was supposed to be sent. I don't know whether it might have gotten lost in the mail or what; and I'm not too eager to contact anyone about it again, since I don't even know when I'll be ready to start with the kitchen remodeling, and I don't want to nag him or Sierra Hills to send me the sample. I may just order them from M. Tex., as they offer a wide variety of samples at a nominal cost.

Hope the information proves helpful. Please come back and let us know how things are working out for you.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2008 at 9:09PM
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Have you tried Pental in Portland? I think it's

I've been looking at granite there as well as Intrepid and Casa Bella.

Happy shopping!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2008 at 11:52PM
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I'm waiting for my Sierra Hills sample too but I think I asked for it after you did, sail-away.

I forgot about Pental.

Intrepid doesn't have samples, at least not of the one that I called about (dark but not green) but that's where my architect got her stone recently. I will call her fabricator tomorrow and see if they have any left over pieces!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2008 at 12:42AM
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The paints used in my kitchen were from C2 Paints. The cabinets are Russian Olive #C2-455P, the walls are Gull #C2-429W

Here is a link that might be useful: C2 Paints

    Bookmark   February 14, 2008 at 12:53AM
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Fern, Is Sierra Hills supposed to send you the sample or the installer (Quinn)? When I called Sierra Hills, I asked them how I could order the samples they advertise on their site, and they said they would have Quinn send a sample. Then, as I mentioned before, Quinn called and asked if I'd received the sample yet. I'm wondering if there was some miscommunication between them, with each thinking the other was going to send the sample? When I called Sierra Hills I said I was more than willing to pay for the samples (per their offer on their site), but they just said they'd send me a piece.

Let me know when/if you receive your sample. I guess I didn't want to press the issue since I'm so far from starting on our kitchen. But I'd be interested in knowing what they send you and how it stands up to any experimenting you might do with it.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2008 at 3:38PM
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Interesting. Sierra Hills didn't ask for money but I offered and she said yes. She didn't say who was sending it but since she accepted my check I assumed she was! I was under the impression that it was sent regardless of my payment and in advance of my payment but I haven't seen it yet. I will tell you when I get it...or whatever happens next!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2008 at 4:25PM
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Hi, in Kirkland here. We got our slabs from Pental in Seattle, but also found soapstone at Lakeview Stone & Garden as well. Noticed that stoneyards that didn't have soapstone tended to pooh-pooh it. Ours is installed and looks fantastic--Pental called our slab "classico." It's green--sorry, don't have pics--counters are currently covered with paper since backsplash is being installed. Our fabricator is great--Advanced Marble & Tile. Our GC works with them a lot and we've been very pleased with their work on our countertops, and bathroom/shower tiles as well.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2008 at 4:40PM
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Congratulations on the successful installation of your soapstone! I'm hoping we can look forward to pictures at another time. What are you doing for the backsplash?

    Bookmark   February 14, 2008 at 8:18PM
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Thanks sail-away. We just went by the house to see the progress. We chose a glass mosaic that is called "honey mist." It's a light brownish, opalascent type glass. I think it goes well with the cabinets. I'll post pics soon---there is still about an inch of sawdust everywhere and the fridge isn't installed--in fact, it's sticking out. Just in case you do end up transporting the stone yourself--all of the big, burly men carrying in our slabs of soapstone were complaining about how heavy it was compared to granite. Good luck with all of the decisions ahead of you and in getting that sample!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2008 at 7:58PM
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Don't forget the ur-soapstone folks: Tulikivi, in downtown Portland.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2008 at 9:12PM
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Sail-away -- I contacted Sierra Hills and she said that for some reason the samples hadn't gone out but they did get sent yesterday. The size: 12'' by 12'' -- seems like a pretty large sample! I'm looking forward to getting it.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2008 at 11:07AM
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Oh, good. You just might end up reevaluating that laminate decision, huh? By the way, where are you in the planning process? Have you chosen your cabinets yet? If so, what are you planning to get?

I wish I could be getting started now---there are just too many variables in our life right now, so that we don't know if we want to remodel our current home and plan on staying here indefinitely or just update a bit and sell this home and build or buy and remodel another home. Without going into too much detail, our decisions are being driven to a large extent by the needs of a disabled child, elderly parents (on both sides), and the possibility that my mother-in-law would need to move in with us---in which case, it makes more sense to stay here, as we have a full apartment available for her.

Anyway, since our plans are so uncertain at this point, I find myself all over the map---one day I want to just complete the hardwood floors throughout the house, slap on some new laminate in the kitchen, and update our faucet and call it good. Other days I'm thinking of doing a major renovation from the floor up. Ah well, at least I'm gathering important information that will, hopefully, be useful when the time comes.

Let us know when your samples arrive.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2008 at 1:26PM
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Sail-away, I hope you got my off-line email. I got my sample yesterday. I put a little vegetable oil on one corner and now I have to go buy some official mineral oil for the rest!

The idea of this soapstone is to go with simple shaker cherry cabinets and oak floors.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2008 at 12:19PM
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Fern, I bet you're getting a tile.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2008 at 12:50PM
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pecanpie, please say more. It is 1.5 cm thick. Does this necessarily mean that it isn't representative of the slabs they are selling? They call it "Mariana" and say it's coming from Stonetrade in RI -- same stuff that is being sold by Vermont Soapstone.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2008 at 1:08PM
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fern, we have some tiles in the garage- had originally considered doing a behind-the-range backsplash with them before we found our red salvage tiles.

I am not at home, won't be able to measure, but they're proably anywhere from 1/4 to 3/8" thick.

They should be representative of the slabs, you'll have to specifically ask your supplier, though.

The tiles we got are very close in appearance to the slabs we got. Mariana is so minimally veined, you don't have to worry about getting adjacent slabs to match up the veining.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2008 at 1:36PM
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fern, Happy you got your sample. None for me today---maybe tomorrow. I think Lynn at Sierra Hills did call it a "tile" when she mentioned sending it. I remember wondering whether it would be representative of the soapstone you'd get. Once I get closer to starting on our kitchen, I'll certainly ask about that and also ask about being able to see and choose the slab I want. If I understand correctly, the slabs come into Seattle. It would certainly be worth it to me to make a trip up there to actually see the slabs and choose what I want. Or, if the fabricator Lynn mentioned actually does open up a showroom, might be able to see it there.

flyleft, Can you tell me more about Tulikivi? Where are they located? Do they have soapstone slabs there for sale, or are they simply fabricators?

    Bookmark   February 22, 2008 at 6:39PM
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Ok--I'm just reading this thread for the first time now. And I actually made an audible gasp at: "they wet it for you with saliva." I can't decide if that is more hilarious, or more gross. Both, I guess. I'm imagining that someone leaned forward, and licked a slab for you. Then wet his whistle, and finished off the section with a few more licks. Please don't tell me how it was actually done. I'm enjoying this image too much!



btw: if a "granite place" installs your soapstone, please please ask them how they adhere to the cabs. Don't agree to an epoxy that hardens (which my fabricator used).

    Bookmark   February 22, 2008 at 8:30PM
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Oh my, the Great Soapstone Queen -- Bayareafrancy -- has peeked into our thread! I'm very honored. You have a very sad story but you are very funny and I've enjoyed your posts so much. And your photographs and especially your backsplash! And my impression is that your project is dragging out over a long period of time and since that's what I anticipate with mine I'm already identifying very strongly!

I'm glad you got a big kick out of that saliva thing. I couldn't really believe it when I saw it myself. It reminded me of how I *thought* (past tense) that that thread called "soapstone etiquette" was an awfully weird title for a thread until I realized that these stone yards are so weird that in fact you do need to know what they should be doing and what your role is! Etiquette indeed: no saliva!

OK, I won't spoil your image.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 8:32PM
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sail-away, there's a local branch located in downtown Portland. Here's the company website. I'd recommend visiting because the website doesn't do the place justice. I don't know what they're doing now, but back in 2004 when I was choosing, they hadn't really thought about counters (see the difference now), and would only supply the material, not fabricate it. Times have clearly changed.

Here is a link that might be useful: counters, tiles, etc. available only in US

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 8:41PM
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Great thread, I fell in love with soapstone without ever seeing it in person and can definetly attest to Granite People (in our case a company from Granite Falls - go figure!) poo-pooing Soapstone. The salesman at the homeshow kept saying, "if you want that 90 year old feel to your kitchen, with scratches, etc... then it is a great option" DH is now back to honed granite because he doesn't want to pay top dollar for a "90 year old kitchen". Darn that salesman! I will remember these company names so as we get closer, we can go visit them in person.

Also, Pental Seattle has a Soapstone display kitchen in their showroom that was fabricated by Nuance Stoneworks. I haven't seen it in person, but I saw it on his website.

Here is a link that might be useful: Nuance Stoneworks

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 9:08PM
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