Skip to main content

DIY Design: everybody must get stone


As painterly and sensuous as a Georgia O’Keeffe canvas, rose in heavenly crème, thassos, rosa portugalo and rainbow onyx from the Beau Monde mosaic collection by Ann Sacks brings sophistication and elegance to any room in the house. With a fresh graphic interpretation, the patterns are current yet nod to the timeless glamour of Old Hollywood.See more stone and tile designs, plus an entire portfolio of custom specialty products at

From marble floors to Jerusalem limestone surrounds, stone is the element that unifies interiors and helps to connect a home to a sense of nature and the great outdoors. Stone is the new wood. If you really want your rooms to step into the future, eighty-six the Formica and faux hardwood and bring in the stone—it goes everywhere! For those of us who step backward cringing at the mere mention of stone—with memories of dim, crustily atmospheric cellars and warrens of cold stone cells steeped in dust—let me dispel that image with one brilliant story.

One homeowner—let’s call her a ‘friend’—recently decided to update her coastal Italianate mini-chateau with a contemporary look (enter Roche-Bobois). All well and good, and the furniture was both über chic and people-friendly, but the walls were bland and the floors too natty. Wary of a ‘heavy’ European style, the owner cautioned her designer to tread lightly on natural strata. How fortunate that he had a way of linking past, present and future with some rare geological sources.

Ancient and modern, fine and rare, custom mosaics from Paris Ceramics are available to order, with the subject matter and colors left to the client’s vision. There is nothing too elaborate for the workroom artists to interpret, and all Paris Ceramics custom mosaics are made with hand-cut tesserae pieces. For product information and a full gallery of breathtaking stone and tile ideas, visit

In the ultracontemporary kitchen, he installed a rustic ledgestone wall against a view that includes a glimpse of the Pacific Ocean. Forest-dark, green-gray pietra serena countertops set off the gourmet island counter, with pebbly beige Juparana fantastico granite in the service area. Inky-blue tesserae mosaic tiles line the spa-style tub surround in the master bath, offsetting buttery buon fresco walls. The front steps, entry hall and rear terrace went to biblical limestone, while a conservatory blossomed into pure California nirvana with sun-colored walls, decorative tile wainscoting, timber-beam ceilings and cantera stone floors.

Chocolate Truffle, one of two new colors in the 2009 line of recycled quartz surfaces from Caesarstone. Comprised of post-consumer recycled glass, the collection has earned the manufacturer the global standard ISO certification for environmental protection. Visit

An inglenook in the den features a hearth built from stones culled from the sloping back property, while a fieldstone fireplace anchors the main living space. Portales sprout from the architecture like tributaries of a mighty river, paved with flagstone and terracotta trim. Transition spaces sport carved stone with traditional motifs that are sympathetic to the landscape and strengthen the home’s relationship to the outdoors. A rusticated take on a botanical courtyard integrates local rock specimens and a few boulders to fortify its boundaries.

Overall, the outcome is one of phenomenal positives. The textures and organic colors add energy and personality to the place, but more than that, the cool feel of stone against the warmth of the sunny hues and sandy dune-beiges of the seaside locale contributes the kind of stalwart panache that less plucky owners may never see.

For more info:  Please visit my favorite places to shop for tile and stone:

Ann Sacks Tile & Stone

Paris Ceramics