Exotic Marbles

eam44September 9, 2012

Soapstone. I'm pretty sure I'm going to use soapstone. If on sale it can be quite affordable, very durable, and pretty. The problem is, I want marble - yes, stainable, etchable marble. So while watching The Fifth Element (for the fifth time) I start browsing the less ordinary marbles and playing the game of "what would I choose if I could afford it?" I didn't even consider Carerras or cremas. Not interested.

I started searching for marbles by country of origin, and (now steady yourselves) I found the greatest variety of marbles from the smallest country, Greece, AND THEY ARE GORGEOUS!!! I can't stop looking at them.

These images are all from the same sit - sorry about that. I found this beautiful stone with a mix of colors called Volkas Semi-white - totally killer. I'd use it in a heartbeat.

I had never heard of Agia Eleni marble (aka St. Helena or Elena), and never thought I'd ever want a (gulp) pink stone, but it's so beautiful, I would probably change every material I've been planning to use in my kitchen to be able to use this stuff.

Then there are the "spider" marbles - so pretty!

And if white and grey are your thing (they are mine), they have stripey stones and crystalline stones (unbearably beautiful).

Just because they exist doesn't mean I can get a hold of them. They're exotic, most stone yards probably don't carry them, and I probably can't afford them anyway. If any of you have unusual marbles, I'd love to see them, if only to enjoy the thrill vicariously. Anyone have marble they'd like to show off?

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I've been sucked into those gorgeous sites.
I keep telling myself, like I do here, that the colors IRL are far different than my monitor.

However, things like the crystalline stones mesmerize me.

I have a bath and kitchen to do....
I want soapstone, I want concrete. I want marble. I am stuck!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 12:37AM
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That Volkas Semi-white is BEAUTIFUL!!! A little grey, blue, brown, and white - outstanding.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 12:43AM
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Gorgeous! I love exotic marbles too! We stumbled upon Calacatta Cielo marble when we were looking for marble for our house, it is one of the most striking stones in our house I think:

Not sure where you are located, but Imperial Marble and Granite (IMG) had a lot of exotic marbles when we looked

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 1:35AM
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If you like the crystalline stones, have you ever considered Cristallo Quartzite?

Here is a link that might be useful: Marbles of the World

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 1:53AM
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Wow, those last 2 are gorgeous! I love the depth of the crystalline one and the calm consistent movement in the striped one.

I can only imagine the cost, though, so I think I'll keep the Formica I have for a bit longer :)

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 7:46AM
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Beagles, how is your marble supported over your washer and dryer? I have been wanting to do that but can't come up with a way to support it without building a little dog house around the entire set. Then we would have to move the faucet outlets and the plug outlets down lower. Not a problem but then we would have to patch the drywall where we moved them lower, patch wallpaper and then I am not sure how we would access them in the future without moving the washer out from the wall each time. Not that we ever have to use the faucets or plug on a daily basis but it would be a pain if you had to get to them to have to move out the W/D to get to. Any insight on that? Thanks so much, your home is beautiful!!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 8:25AM
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Marble is like a beautiful Siren, she keeps calling you back. Exotic marbles, I've been told, are similar to granite pricing class E: most expensive.

Does anyone know of an online list of comparable marble prices per slab (pre-fabricated), lowest to highest? That would be a quick way to start to see if an idea may meet reality.

Very lovely, EAM44.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 9:13AM
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I love those!

If you like white and gray, this lovely granite is very inexpensive.

The only place i've found online that has prices is marble and granite.com, linked below. But they have some beautiful things!

Here is a link that might be useful: Marbleandgranite.com

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 9:34AM
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Thanks williamsem. I'll give them a good look.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 9:56AM
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It is comforting to know I'm not alone. That country must be made of solid marble. (Illuminating moment) most Greek ruins are marble, while a lot of Roman ruins are brick, so yes, it makes sense that Greece would be made of solid chunks of apparently thousands (who knew) of different marbles.

CEF - I feel your pain - and it seems you too feel mine! You must tell me how you ultimately decide.

Sparkling Water - siren indeed! What a culturally appropriate metaphor and what a useful question to ask. How can I know if it's out of reach if I don't truly know the cost (or even the degree of "exoticism" - after all, just because they're new to me doesn't mean they're rare...).

williamsem - that's a pretty granite, and I never use that sentence. Thanks for the link. Great info on a gorgeous site!

ae2ga - isn't it just! I think I typed the name incorrectly, which is exactly what I get for posting in the wee hours of the morning while watching TV. I think it's Volakas semi-white. With the additional vowel it sounds Greek; without it, it sounds more Russian.

beagles - that is one sexy stone, and it is great to see it used so beautifully and so well in someone's home! Thank you for the pictures! That site has incredible photos. I'm in CT moving to OH, so not terribly far from IMG, but not that close either.

Minker - it's very pretty. I do seem to either go for the globby, stripey, or crystalline stones. I knew quartzite could be stripey, but didn't know it could be crystalline.

Engineer - heard, understood, acknowledged. Budget wise, my preference is aluminum foil wrapped over the cabinet tops. It feels like I'm always skating that edge between choosing materials in my budget, and trying to get the most beautiful materials I can for the money. And while I want beautiful, unusual materials, I want them to be in keeping with the feel of the home, not a suite at the Plaza.

I've seen friends buy veneered mdf cabinets because they thought it was all they could afford. Instead, I search for months to come up with a plywood alternative that I can afford without spending more on the kitchen than is sensible. I want to be respectful of the home, and of myself since I will live there, without getting carried away and spending all I've saved.

I also don't want to put the world's priciest stone in a 1964 suburban Colonial Revival home where it just won't fit. The house is beautiful, but homes always look prettiest when they are renovated to be the best version of what they were meant to be. In this case, the house was meant to be a graceful, upper middle class family home. So marble isn't out of the question if I can fit it in the budget. But I have to corral my taste for unusual stones (farewell, Agia Eleni) so I don't end up with a Park Avenue counter in my Fairview Park kitchen.

And in the back of my head, creeping ever-so-slowly to the front of my mind, I know that some people are spending as much on a fancy formica as they would on well purchased marble. See? I just can't help myself.

Thanks for your thoughts and contributions!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 12:06PM
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While I like that verde marina more than any I've ever seen, just to note that in real life it's usually quite greenish reading, especially from a distance. Don't know whether that would be a plus or a minus for you.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 12:47PM
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I would have gone for that first one if I had seen it. My slab had a bit of brown, but if I had seen one with a bit more, I think I might have gone for that. My slab spoke to me though, so I'm happy with what I found and that it was large enough that I only needed the one end of lot slab.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 1:17PM
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I wondered where the verde came from, but then again I have had trouble reconciling many granites with their names!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 1:19PM
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Very true, willamsem. So often I wish they looked more like their names. :)

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 1:26PM
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EAM44, sounds like a lovely home. How big a kitchen do you have? Any estimate on counter space percolating through your mind yet? You produce such great kitchen boards. Do you specialize in kitchen design? I'm envious, as colors are fun to work with (if it's not your own typically) and as music is to ones ears, are often soothing to ones eyes. Art in motion.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 2:28PM
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Did you find this website? Pretty stuff! :) But, it said marble from that area is called "the Carrara of Greece" - maybe that will spoil your appetite! =) Or, maybe that will put it in budget!

I love the first and last ones you posted. The first, especially.

Here is a link that might be useful: Volakas Marble Site

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 2:41PM
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writersblock - got it. I don't love green marbles, although I came across this one that blew my mind. It's called Irish Green from (yep) Ireland.

lascatx - it's so great that you found a slab you love. I can't wait till I can say the same. What stone did you choose?

beeps - I love the first and last ones too. I mean no offense to Carrera lovers, it's just so overused it has become a little boring to my eye. Volakas white may resemble Carrera a bit, but I think it's a much more interesting stone. The semi-white Volakas is prettier than either, don't you think?


White Volakas

Sparkling - Thanks - it is beautiful. It's the house I grew up in, and my mother had phenomenal taste. The kitchen is currently 18' x 10'. It's going to double to 18' x 20. I haven't finalized a layout but in the smallest counter scenario there will be at least 48 square ft.

Thank you for the compliment. I never know if my boards are helpful because I am very aware I see this stuff differently than designers do, but like the marbles, I find a lot of professional designs a little boring. I'm a neuroscientist. Occasionally I feel like adding that sentence as a disclaimer to any color or backsplash boards I make, but it's sort of an odd thing to add in there...

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 11:35PM
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SaraKat, there is a full-size piece in the middle between the washer and dryer extending to the floor (which you can see if you look close) and there are also small little support pieces, basically long blocks of skinny wood it looks like, on each end.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 12:10AM
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Mine is White Venetino. The background is whiter than Carrera and the veining is a bit different. What spoke to me was what I call ink squiggles. Something about the overall effect reminded me of a black and white version of an old parchment and DaVinci sketches (not that his had a lot of ink squiggles -- just a feeling) and I was sold. I've seen so many beautiful slabs, but this one just seemed to have the right soul for my kitchen and my boys.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 11:34AM
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lascatx - wow. That's beautiful. I get the comparison.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 12:21AM
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I felt silly typing it -- glad you got it. :)

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 1:23AM
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EAM44, looks like Da Vinci was toying with fractals in your posted drawing. Beautiful post.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 7:15AM
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Oh thank you enduring! Your sharpie kitchen was a work of art too, and your real kitchen is lovely.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2012 at 5:11PM
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Yeah, I miss that Sharpie kitchen :) great memories. But I love my new one even better. Sometimes I just stare at my backsplash or the color of the walls, or the soapstone.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 7:19AM
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