Set in Stone

A group of Atlanta designers reveals their latest projects, all inspired by a visit to a working quarry

In May 2012, a group of Atlanta designers headed north to Vermont on a whirlwind trip to not only learn about marble, but also to be inspired along the way. The two-day trip began in New York’s Hudson Valley, where the designers—guests of Marmi Natural Stone—visited a number of private residences, including one historic property where the use of marble in a residential setting in unparalleled.

With their creativity fueled by what they’ve seen, the group flew from nearby Poughkeepsie to the Vermont Quarries facilities in Danby, Vermont—the world’s largest underground marble quarry. After extensive tours one-and-a-half miles underground (where the same quarry opening has been used for more than 100 years), the group pondered how they would incorporate the two slabs of Danby marble offered by Marmi Natural Stone and Vermont Quarries into their design projects back in Georgia. Marmi has offices around the world, and its North American headquarters is in Atlanta.

The projects created by the designers on the following pages range from simple (a chic new top for a vintage table) to sumptuous (a new master bathroom). Each is stylish, too—and solid as a rock.

MASTER CLASS When tasked with creating a new master bath for long-time clients Don Easterling and Michael Proctor, Matthew Quinn of Design Galleria Kitchen & Bath Studio had to transform a litany of small spaces“laundry closet, guest room closet, master closet and original master bath“to create the new room. The historic house was also orignially designed by legendary classicist Philip Shutze, so any new space needed to be appropriate to the rest of the home, which exudes a timeless quality. “I had slabbed walls with marble before, but never with a panel design,” says Quinn, who used Montclair Danby in the room. “But without the panels, it would be too contemporary.” Inspired by baths from Europe, Quinn“s design for the space was completed before the trip to the quarry, but it was serendipitous because a bath at one of the historic estates (bottom left) was similar to his design. “It was confirmation that my design for this house was appropriate for its era,” says Quinn. “And it was helpful in letting the clients know that this marble was an incredible investment for the long term.”

CLEVER KITCHEN “This kitchen didn“t have much natural light in it, and we wanted it to feel lighter and brighter,” says designer Mark Williams of his client“s project, pre-renovation. “So the Vermont Quarries“ signature product“white marble“was a perfect match. The kitchen isn“t terribly large, so we wanted to make it feel larger, too, and the stone helped us do that.” Williams created his design scheme with a simple palette and just four main design components: cabinetry, countertop, backsplash and polished nickel hardware and fixtures. “Our backsplash tile has a different texture than stone, but it really responded to the veining in the Imperial Danby marble on the countertops,” says Williams. “One of my passions is getting in touch with materials I“m using, understanding their raw state and how to bring them to life in fabrication. Seeing this marble in its most natural state at the quarry was exciting.”

COTTAGE CHARM When Barbara Westbrook spotted a vintage French metal table at Linda Horsley Antiques, she knew it would be perfect for the porch of her 1897 clapboard cottage, located in a former mill village. The table“s patina was a perfect match for her unpretentious mix of wicker and other outdoor furnishings. Although it had a glass top, she chose to replace it with Mountain White marble. The new top was made with an edge detail of Westbrook“s own design, of which she created a full-scale hand drawing before it was fabricated. “My house feels cozy and relaxed, and now my porch reflects that, too,” says Westbrook.

BATH BLISS Designer Tish Mills“ own master bath appears to float like a cloud. Washed ash cabinetry hovers above the floor. The Imperial Danby marble is elevated just a smidge above the vanity“again, seemingly hovering. Both add space and volume, as well as an airiness, to the room. “I love things that are glam mixed with things that are organic,” says Mills. “Watching that block being cut out of the quarry was so powerful to me. If you look at my tub, I wanted it to feel like its own block of marble.” A chevron pattern on the tower delineates the tub and shower areas, and is an innovative solution for accomodating plumbling fixtures and fitting both a tub and shower into a tight space. “Sherwin Williams Pure White is on the walls, with an accent color on the ceiling. It“s cozy,” says Mills. “The colors and the white marble push the light everywhere.” Just like in a cloud.

BUNGALOW CHIC “I had the idea to use the stone vertically, instead of in the normal horizontal application,” says designer Susan Ferrier of the kitchen renovation she collaborated on with clients in Inman Park. Besides using the Montclair Danby marble in an aesthetically pleasing way, Ferrier devised a way that the area could be functional, too. “I designed a floating shelf to hover above the range and countertops, while keeping the intrinsic movement of the marble intact. In turn, the material becomes an architectural feature rather than just a surface application.” Ferrier adds that incorporating one large gesture in a small room calms a space“even a bustling kitchen. “The marble carries your eye up the wall, increasing the impact of the stone.”