Stone is a material that can provide grounding when used in a pared down manner. Its ability to offer spaces that bring quietude, solace and meditation cannot be overlooked. In idyllic country settings, stone cottages present a home-made state of being that is rustic, uncomplicated, fresh and reassuring. Quaint bolt-holes, they capture the imagination and are especially evocative of country-living. Sometimes asymmetrical and a little chaotic, stone cottages are expressive, their contours, colours and textures inspiring and arousing.
Stone provides a wonderful backdrop and companion for many articles and objects in the home. Materials such as wood, glass, leather and metal are augmented by stone’s capacity to bolster and fuse various styles. Natural and manmade, stone is a true building marvel. Its tactility, strength and cultural relevance ensure it remains a valuable and versatile commodity. An all-encompassing label, there are of course many regional variations of stone available for use, including: granite, slate, limestone and marble.
The solid and reassuring properties of stone make it a formidable material that is often used in architecture and interior design. The capacity for utilising stone is great with applications that vary from construction to cladding, flooring to fireplaces, cills to counters.
As a building material, stone garners much respect for its multifaceted advantages and cultural significance, both historic and contemporary. With its universal appeal, stone has found favour in cultures around the world and is used in the erection of numerous edifices.
An interesting paradox is that stone – a material of much substance – is typically disregarded. When we look upon a stone floor, a wall or a walkway, we rarely consider the raw material used in the arrangement of each. On that basis, stone is often taken for granted; going unnoticed, it is obscured by whatever form it has come to represent. Yet it is the patina found in stone, its natural gloss, texture and hue, that impart elements of beauty and depth.
Stone is also subject to alteration and apparent improvement. Authors Hugh Lander and Peter Rauter in the book “English Cottage Interiors” lament the modernisation found in old cottages. Of flagstones they note: “The inexorable charm of limestone flags is the making of this cottage room. Many people treasure them, but it is a shocking fact that modernizers (sic) often ruthlessly screed flags over to provide a nice even surface for carpet and other contemporary finishes. Once covered with hard cement-based mortar they are usually beyond reclamation.”
In a world filled with many complexities, the act of appreciating simple things cannot be overstated. In an excerpt from the book “Imperfect Home”, authors Mark & Sally Bailey observe: “In the simple home… materials of construction are proudly displayed rather than hidden away under layers of paint or plaster. Stone floors and fireplaces, bare, uncovered brickwork, old tiles, wooden floors, doors and beams are star materials.” These materials have a genuine warmth and depth that ground a home’s personality, building its character and charm; they should be celebrated and embraced. Indeed materials such as stone are experiencing a renaissance as more and more people begin to appreciate their virtues and value. Achieving notions of cosiness, honesty, longevity and sustainability in design can be wholly satisfied when using stone.
Bailey, M & S. (2014) Imperfect Home. London: Ryland, Peters & Small.
Lander, H. & Rauter, P. (2001) English Cottage Interiors. Cassell Paperbacks, Cassell & Co.