High-End Stonework Reshapes Georgia Residence
March 1, 2009
Nestled on nearly 1 ½ acres of heavily wooded property in the Dunwoody area of North Atlanta, GA, is a 6,000-square-foot classic Italian villa designed and built by the owner, Bob Welton, President of stone supplier RKW International. In selecting stone for the project, Welton relied on his experience in the stone trade - particularly his supply of stonework for Ritz-Carlton hotels.
The residence was originally constructed in 1985, and it was decorated with the then-popular colors of gray, mauve, green and white. At that time, Welton founded his own marble and granite business, and in this capacity, he supplied or installed stone in 14 Ritz-Carlton hotels around the world as well as provided material for hundreds of high-end residential projects around the U.S.
Having provided marble directly from Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal for the Ritz-Carlton hotels, all of these resources were readily available for Welton during the renovation of his own home, and they created an upscale feel throughout the residence.
A Diverse Stone InstallationSince the house had been constructed using some 20 truckloads of concrete, solid dimensional lumber and ¾-inch plywood, the structure could handle the installed weight of 4,600 square feet of interior stonework.
The entire home was gutted, including removing all existing interior stone, carpets, cabinetry, appliances, toilets, HVAC, water heaters and roofing. The rear wall of the kitchen was removed to create a “keeping room” from the former back porch. Removal of the original terra-cotta tile kitchen floor and living area marble floors proved quite a challenge, with dust and debris engulfing the entire main level.
The home’s main level was originally constructed with a plywood substrate. Therefore, 4- x 8-foot fiberboard substrate was installed to secure 18-x 18-inch tiles of Greek Ligurio Light marble for the floor, with 6-inch beveled baseboards in the living room, powder room, foyer, new keeping room and closets. All of the material was 2 cm thick with a polished finish.
At the entry foyer, the stone flooring was installed in a Rhomboid pattern to recall the look of European cathedrals. The pattern utilizes Ligurio Light marble as well as Ligurio Dark and Thassos marble, and the foyer is framed with full Roman arches on all four walls.
The kitchen and butler’s pantry were upgraded using custom-made Italian cabinetry, Bosch appliances, Italian art deco lighting and a combination of stone materials. For the flooring, the design called for 18- x 18-inch tiles of Italian slate with a cleft finish, accented by 4-inch-square pieces of Absolute Black. The countertops in the kitchen are 3-cm Giallo Venice granite with a 6-cm full bullnose edge and full-height backsplash. A classic Italian Rosso Levanto countertop was selected for the butler’s cabinet.
Meanwhile, the laundry room was designed with a floor pattern of 12- x 12-inch tiles of Crystal White and Absolute Black granite, with Crystal White granite countertops.
In the dining room, natural stone was used for a unique application, as Fior De Pesco marble from Italy provided new cladding for the floor-to-ceiling niche. Meanwhile, this space also contains the only wood flooring in the home.
At the terrace level, which houses the offices of RKW International, the design utilizes nearly 500 square feet of Italian Calacutta Fabricotte tiles for the office flooring. The full bathroom on this level is clad in 300 square feet of 2-cm Portuguese Breccia Tivara flooring, base and thresholds, with 1-cm wall tiles and a full 6-foot vanity. The remaining 1,000 square feet on the terrace level is covered in Spanish Rosso Porrino granite, ceramic tile and carpeting, and it features a full bar with a Rosso Balmoral countertop.
A 400-square-foot solid cedar screened pavilion with a 16-foot cathedral ceiling was added to the north end of the home, with 20- x 20-inch, chiseled-edge porcelain tiles installed for the flooring.
Inspired by Ritz-CarltonBathrooms on the upper level were heavily influenced by classic Ritz-Carlton design. All existing ceramic and marble floor tile was removed, and 4- x 8-foot fiberboard was installed to accommodate the new stone flooring. The front guest suite, which features a full-seated bay window, is complemented by a full bath with Greek Ligurio Dark marble flooring, base, wainscot and beveled cap. Welton explained that this material was prominently featured at the Ritz-Carlton in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Complementing the Greek Ligurio Dark marble, the 3-cm vanity, backsplash and diamond flooring accents are Italian Calacatta Moonlight marble. Also contributing to the overall design goal, the vanity and backsplash feature “Ritz Ogee” edges.
An adjoining guest suite bath has the same Calacatta Moonlight and Ligurio Dark marble, while the third guest suite bath was completed with Calacatta Moonlight throughout - serving as flooring, base, wainscot, cap, vanity and backsplash. For the counters, the material was used in a 3-cm format with an ogee edge, and Welton noted that the Calacatta Moonlight marble was used for the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay project.
For the master suite, a full range of stone was used, including a diagonal flooring pattern that uses Ligurio Light marble for the field, with Epidarvius Light marble for the floor accents and border. The Epidarvius Light marble, which was used for the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City, UT, was also used for the vanity tops and backsplash, and the edges feature the same “Ritz Ogee” edge.
Outside the residence, Welton had laid over 18 truckloads of Tennessee fieldstone on the property over a seven-year period. The work included 2- to 3-foot dry stack walls - totaling over 800 linear feet - plus a columned entry and three sets of steps. Additionally, there are 150 linear feet of 6-foot retaining walls, arched gateways, three weathered barn-wood gates and a 1,000-gallon waterfall and koi pond gracing the property. As intended, this maintains the look and feel of traditional Italian gardens. Tennessee fieldstone also forms a large-scale fireplace wall in the living room.
All of the new stonework was installed by Dow Blaine, owner of Atlanta Classic Stone, and Welton praised the quality of the finished installation as a factor in achieving all of the design goals for the project.