Saturday, September 5, 2009

Stone Yard

Have you ever been to a stone yard? They're fascinating places! Rows upon rows of beautiful, polished slabs of granite and marble in the most fantastic patterns and colors.

Recently my hubby and I visited a stone yard, looking for two different kinds of granite for our kitchen re-do. (One for the island, a second for the surrounding counters.) This will be a slow process, because we spend our money verrrrry reluctantly. But it WILL happen. I've been living with 1980s-era tile counters featuring impossible-to-keep clean grout for 16 years now. Enough is enough!

So, here's what we found:

This beautiful slab, above, is called "Bianca Beta." (Who makes up these names?) It looks like somebody spilled a truckload of sea salt and crushed black pepper, then mixed them into a shiny slab. This granite also sports a dove-gray speckle, and an ever-so-slightly-pinkish taupe. Here's a piece of Bianca Beta close up:

BTW, it astonishes me, but stone yards are very free with their samples. If you want to take a piece of stone home to see how it looks in your kitchen, the dude showing you around just whips out a hammer, whacks away at the corner of the slab, and hands you a piece. They do this almost without your asking! Turns out the average slab of granite or marble, once fashioned into a countertop or backsplash, generates lots of leftovers, so the sellers can afford to be generous with their samples to prospective buyers.

We liked the interesting patterns in this granite, called "Coral Spring." But the creamy-white parts of it were too yellowish, not pure white enough for my tastes:

This one, whose name escapes me, was a contender. It had some interesting patterns going through it, but the darkest values veered too much into brown territory:

This one was crazy-cool but a bit too busy for us:

I fell in love with this one in two seconds. It's called "Blue Pearl," and it's the most beautiful mixture of colors: black, charcoal gray, flashes of silver, and--best of all--a smoky blue-gray that makes my heart sing:

Here is Blue Pearl, closer up:

And then I wanted to drop everything and take this beauty home. It's a flamboyant mixture of white, tan, charcoal gray, and the most over-the-top, in-your-face vivid cobalt blue. Wow!

The stone yard guy said Barbra Streisand used it in her kitchen. It's known as either "Blue Bahia" or "Brazilian Blue":

And it costs about nine times more than any other granite in the yard. Umm, never mind.

What did we decide on for our humble kitchen? Top contenders are Blue Pearl for the island and Bianca Beta for the countertops.

Next, we visit the tile yards. Please, let me not fall in love with Babs' tile, too!

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