Top Trends: Natural Stone Products Steal The Show!
Have you ever noticed that once something is brought to your attention you start seeing it everywhere? We make a point of taking part in the KBTribeChat - a weekly discussion on Twitter that shares trends in the kitchen and bath industry. A few weeks ago the topic was “Why Natural Stone?” and ever since we’ve been more aware than ever of how many places natural stone is used - in some places it’s been used there for centuries.
The inauguration of our new president this month had all eyes on Washington, DC and our national monuments. Thinking about the elements that they have been subjected to, and how they have stood for generations made us realize more than ever the strength and longevity these natural products have. Plus the raw beauty - building these monuments with any other material just wouldn’t be the same.
When we were at the International Builders Show and the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show we had the same Aha! moments - natural products were everywhere. It was wonderful to see so many companies appreciating the natural beauty that can only come from using these products. Using natural stone is definitely trending, and these are some of our favorite new products and applications that we found.
Tiles and Mosaics Marble tiles are everywhere, and we loved how many manufacturers and designers were mixing other materials with these tiles. We are seeing a return to elegance, and there was a touch of Art Deco in many of the designs. It’s amazing to see all of the different patterns that had intricate patterns and were cut using a water jet machine. Texture was also an important story in the various mosaics and we think that’s something we’ll be seeing more of.
Countertops There was a lot less emphasis on glossy countertops, and more interest in a honed, or leathered finishes. We love this because it has a patina that looks like it has been earned over decades - wear and tear actually improves the look. We also are seeing a lot of countertops made of multiple materials and colors as well as heights.
Backsplashes This is a great place to take advantage of the natural beauty and patterns that you see in many natural stone products. The ultimate is using “butterflied” slabs - two slabs that are cut from the same slab and mirror the pattern like butterfly wings.
Wall Tiles or Slabs Baths especially are a place where we are seeing more natural stone on the walls, often from floor to ceiling. Using the same materials on the floor and walls tend to make the space look larger, and the accent of the stunning Ann Sacks Nero Marquina countertop in this space pulls the entire look together.
Sinks Soapstone is another natural stone that we are seeing more of, and there’s nothing we love more than a soapstone farmhouse sink. Soapstone is a softer rock that is known for it’s property to absorb and radiate heat. It’s been used for ages in science labs, can stand up to acidic materials and is nonporous. For sinks or countertops, this is a trending choice.
Education We are seeing now more than ever that consumers don’t want to be sold, they want to be educated, and then they’ll make their own decisions. Having the right resources that are readily available and easy to understand isn’t optional any more, consumers expect it. One of the best resources we discovered at the show was UseNaturalStone.com - a resource provided by MIA + BSI: The Natural Stone Institute - the association for the Natural Stone Industry. It’s geared towards the consumer, is easy to find information in, and best of all it’s a place to find a professional installer or fabricator in your own area. We’ve learned more than once that finding the right partner for your project can make the difference between a success or nightmare.
Now that we’ve starting noticing products featuring natural stone we can’t stop! Next week we’ll be heading to the World Market Center in Las Vegas - we can’t wait to share the trends and new products that we discover there.